Needless to say we were in shock for a while and didn't know what to think. We were leaving the following week to go to Texas to pick up and drive back to California my grandparents' old Prius that they weren't going to use anymore. That gave us time to think about what he should do. It dawned on me, now we would have two cars, he could drive for Uber or Lyft while he tried to get another job. Problem solved! I didn't think my husband would consider switching altogether to just driving for his job because . . . well . . . he hates driving! But we quickly saw how the benefits of doing this outweigh any of the negatives. So here you have it, the positives and negatives of driving for a rideshare company.
Benefits of Being a Driver
- Flexibility. Create your own hours. Want to go on a vacation? Take some time off! Need more money, go out driving for a few more hours. You are in total control of when you work.
- No boss to deal with. Sure you still work for a company and they can have some strange rules or frustrate you with something, but there isn't someone constantly there above you.
- Perks. Companies are now offering perks like discounts for gas, car maintenance and insurance but also fun things like movie tickets!
- Meet new people. You can meet some interesting people and have some great conversations!
- Explore new areas. You really get to know the area around you and found out new places that you might want to visit yourself!
- Bonus. When you first sign up, they offer a bonus which can be anywhere from $300 to $2,000! (Make sure you find out what the requirements are. See details below). They also offer other bonuses throughout the year. You can also get money for referring people.
Downsides of Being a Driver
- Paying for gas. Rideshare companies don't reimburse you for gas. So you should probably have a fuel efficient car if you are considering doing this.
- Wear and tear on your car. You will be putting a lot of miles on your car which depreciates value and means more upkeep and maintenance.
- You'll owe taxes. You will be an independent contractor which means your taxes aren't automatically taken out of your paychecks and you will owe money to the government come tax time.
- Your body can hurt. Just sitting around driving for hours on end several days a week can give you some aches and pains.
What You Need to Drive
- Be 21 with a valid driver's license and at least 1 year driving experience (3 years experience for under 23 with Uber)
- A 4 door car (generally 10 years old or newer but that varies by city and state). If you don't have a car, they both have programs to buy and car through them.
- Proof of registration.
- Proof of insurance.
- Pass a driving record check and background check
- Smartphone with good data plan (I recommend MetroPCS)
Chances are you already have everything!
What Do You Make?
Uber and Lyft take 25% of the fare. You keep the rest. That simple. My husband has been driving around 20 hours a week and averaging between $20 - $35/hr. You can figure out based on those estimates about how much time you'd want to put in for how much money. Keep in mind that the amount will vary depending on where you are and when you're driving. It can be a lot less than that or a lot more. I say why not try it out and at least get the sign up bonus and that will be worth the trial time at least.
Misconceptions About Driving
The biggest misconception is that it is unsafe. While I won't argue that it is 100% safe and nothing could happen to you, it is a lot safer than people think. Yes you are letting strangers into your car, but they aren't just any old person.
- They have to own a smartphone and a credit or debit card. Obviously since these companies run off an app, you have to own a smartphone to use it. That means you won't be picking up homeless people.
- Riders get rated too. If you've used a rideshare as a rider before, you know you rate your driver and those ratings affect whether or not they can keep driving. Most people don't realize that the riders are rated by the drivers too. While it isn't as strict, a person can be banned from using the app if they are rated low enough by enough drivers. That means the crazies are weeded out.
- Phone numbers are kept anonymous. Riders and drivers both get routed through another number so you can't contact that person later.
Bonus for Couples
I mentioned a sign up bonus and a referral bonus. Well if you both sign up, and the second person signs up with the first person's referral, you'll double down on the bonuses. For example, I signed up for Uber a year ago. My sign up bonus was $300. When my husband signed up in October, he used my referral link and got $700 for his sign up bonus and I got $700 for referring him. Together that's a $1,700 bonus! Each bonus is different at different times of the year and for each company so chose when to sign up wisely!
So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!
If you sign up through these links, you'll be provided a bonus from mine or my husband's referral links. The bonuses change throughout the year (remember I've seen them vary from $300 to $2,000) so keep that in mind when signing up. If the bonus seems low, you might want to wait a bit. There are specific requirements for getting the bonus, so make sure you read everything and understand what you have to do to get it!