Is It Still A Good Idea To Become A Rideshare Driver?

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Since the rise of Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare apps, a huge amount of people have been able to establish their own hustles, whether it becomes the main source of income for them or whether it’s just a means of earning some extra cash. However, the landscape of ridesharing has changed a lot since these companies first came to prominence and with it, comes new concerns. Below are some tips to help you manage any potential rideshare career with care.

Be prepared to invest in your car

A lot of new rideshare drivers get surprised by the fact that their vehicle is going to see a lot more use and, as such, a lot more wear and tear. This can result in them getting caught off guard by more frequent needs for servicing and repairs, as well as the fact that their vehicle may become more and more inefficient, resulting in higher fuel costs. To avoid this, it’s essential that you learn the essential car care tips that can keep your vehicle in much better condition for longer and keep an eye out for early signs of trouble.

Make sure you have a navigation app

One of the skills that you’re going to need to develop is the ability to recognize where your customers want to go and to find the best possible route to get them there. Many drivers are surprised by the fact that their knowledge of their area isn’t as strong as they first thought. For that reason, choosing a professional quality navigation app is essential for helping you with routing and with getting from point A to point B as soon as possible. Basic navigation apps will show you the most direct route, but more intelligent apps will find the best route in real-time based on traffic and the experiences of other drivers. Over time, you will learn more about the different routes, but there’s nothing wrong with relying on tech for now.

Work on your manners

This might sound like a no-brainer, but people want to be treated courteously and polite when they’re in your car. Unlike taxi drivers, you’re not going to keep getting business if customers have the occasional bad experiences in your car. Uber, Lyft, and other apps work on your reputation, which is based on ratings from your past passengers. Doing what you can to provide good service, from being polite and friendly to making sure that your car is hygienic, pleasant, and safe can all affect your ratings. The better your average rating, the more likely you are to get future passengers. Don’t worry about particularly nasty passengers, either, as you can rate them too.

Learn your obligations

This will largely depend on where you operate, so it’s important to do your own research. However, there may be legal requirements or obligations enforced by the rideshare company that you have to be aware of. For instance, this can include mechanic requirements to ensure that the vehicle fits the standards of the rideshare company. You may also find that rideshare coverage is necessary to cover any liability. Learning about those obligations, as well as how much it may cost to meet them is essential. They might be worth it if you plan on driving full time, for instance, but higher costs may be worth reconsidering for those who only want to do it as a side gig.

Start tracking your earnings and expenses

If you want to know how to really make your rideshare career a more profitable one, then it’s time to treat it like a business. Utilizing self-employed accounting software can help you track how much you earn with your car every day. You can also keep track of any costs of doing business, from every gas station stop to the repairs you have to invest in. This can help you see whether or not your current rideshare activity is worth it or whether you need to change it up in order to make it more profitable. Furthermore, this can make it easier to track deductions that you can make come tax season, keeping more of your money.

Identify surges and when to chase them

Surges are when there’s a much greater demand for cars on the road and, when used right, they can be an opportunity to make a lot of money. However, fitting your schedule to chase surges without any strategy can result in a lot less profit than you might think. Chasing a surge could lead to you being too late to capitalize on it, and can make your lifestyle more hectic as you have to be ready to hop into action when you spot a surge. Instead, position yourself in a way that you are more likely to catch surges naturally than having to chase them.

Don’t anticipate tips

While good passenger service is always a good idea, simply because of the way the rating system works in Uber and Lyft, you shouldn’t expect that you will always, or even often, get a tip for going the extra mile (metaphorically or literally). The stats are in, and they show that two-thirds of Uber customers don’t tip their drivers ever, even when the service is good. So, don’t rely on tips for your income, based your earnings on how much you can make for the service fees alone. Any tips that might come your way should be considered an extra bonus more than anything. Of course, you should still endeavor to make the ride as pleasant and comfortable for the passenger as possible, for the ratings if nothing else.

If it’s accessible to you, then ridesharing can still be a reliable and flexible way to make yourself some money. However, it’s important to pay attention to any changes to that landscape, such as the changes to (or lack of changes to) payment, regulations in cities, and so on. Like many different arms of the “gig economy”, the rideshare world is still highly volatile so must be maintained with care.

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