If all this talk of ridesharing has piqued your interest in driving, here are some things to consider:
- Flexible hours – Most professions don’t offer the flexibility of choosing your work hours like Uber/Lyft do. When you want to work, you turn the app on and start making money, even if it’s 4am on a Friday night. Evening plans cancel and you have a 2 hour window? Why not make some money?
- Destination Filter – I had been considering rideshare for a while, and the feature that made me finally sign up was Destination Filter. Let’s say you have a one hour commute to work in the morning. If you leave a half hour early and set the destination filter in the app to your work address, it will pair you up with passengers who are on your way and heading in the same direction as you. If you pick up one or two passengers on the way to work, those fares will pay for your gas. If you know you’re going to be driving a long distance, why not subsidize it with rideshare? If not, you’re leaving money on the table. Note: I’ve found Uber’s destination filter to work better than Lyft’s, which can sometimes send you out of the way or even in the wrong direction.
- Be your own boss – Unlike traditional office jobs, when driving for Lyft there are no office politics. The only people you have to interact with are passengers one ride at a time. There’s only one employee in your company, and it’s your car, so you decide how you want things to be run. Nobody can tell you what to do! …until a passenger says, “Turn right here!” That advice, you might want to take. Also, as an independent contractor, you can write off miles driven, cell phone, car maintenance, etc.
- Meeting new people – This was another reason I wanted to drive. I had never had a profession where I constantly had the opportunity to meet and interact with strangers. On a car ride, there’s plenty of opportunity to strike up a conversation and learn about people and their experiences. If you don’t want to be social, there are plenty of food delivery apps that allow you to drive and earn money with minimal social interaction as well: Uber Eats, Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub, Amazon Flex, etc.
- Learning the city – The more you drive, the more you’ll discover trends. Where will large crowds of people gather? What events and concerts are happening in your city? What restaurants and clubs do most people frequent? You become like a concierge, able to tell visitors where the happening places in town are on any given night, and you’re never without ideas on places to go.
- Vehicle depreciation – The more you drive, the more miles you’re putting on your car’s odometer. You do get to write off the miles for tax purposes, but you are beating up your car. If you end up driving more than 40 hours a week, those miles can add up quickly.
- Being on the road – Driving in general is a dangerous activity, so you’re putting yourself at risk of a car accident by spending extra time on the road. Aside from accident risk, being on the road more than usual also increases your chances of getting a flat tire, hitting a pothole, or getting pulled over by police.
- Belligerent passengers – Some people could be having a bad day, or are rude, or lack basic social skills or hygiene. You may be in a car with someone you don’t get along with. If there’s a confrontation or you feel in danger, you can always stop the car and end a ride immediately. If you’re female and working late night hours, you may want to consider something to protect your safety.
- Drunk passengers – Especially if you work nights, you’re probably going to deal with driving around folks who’ve had one too many to drink. They may puke in your car, get handsy, or pass out. If these scenarios make you uncomfortable, you can always drive during the mornings/days to minimize these types of interactions.
- Service animals – According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, you have to accommodate a passenger with a service animal. That means you can’t turn down a blind passenger with a service dog, even if you’re allergic to dogs. The chances of this happening are very slim, but it is a possibility you should be aware of.