By now, you’ve probably heard of ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft. If you’ve used either app before, you likely know what they entail and how convenient they are. But what if you’re looking to make some extra income on your own schedule? Becoming a rideshare driver isn’t a complicated process and depending on where you live, could be a livable income.
In this article, we’ll detail what it takes to become a rideshare driver, the major companies you can drive with, and info that could help you be a successful rideshare driver. For more information on ridesharing, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- What is Ridesharing?
- What are the Most Popular Ridesharing Companies?
- Comparing the Companies
- What are the Pros and Cons of Being a Rideshare Driver?
- Can I Drive with Multiple Rideshare Companies at the Same Time?
- Driver-Partner Requirements for Uber
- Driver Requirements for Lyft
- Vehicle Requirements for Uber
- Vehicle Requirements for Lyft
- How to Submit an Application
- How to Get Your Car Inspected
- What You Need to Know to be a Rideshare Driver
- Beam Electronics Phone Mount
- Anker Phone Charger
- IVVO Multi-Charging Cable
- KNGUVTH Backseat Car Organizer
What is Ridesharing?
In the most basic sense, ridesharing is the ability to get one-way transportation on short notice without looking for a taxi. In recent years, companies such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized how we look at transportation. For many people, owning a vehicle is no longer a necessity thanks to ridesharing apps. Simply use your smartphone to select your destination and a vehicle will take you there.
What makes ridesharing unique is that nearly anyone with a vehicle and a driver’s license for at least a year can become a rideshare driver. That means if you own a vehicle that meets the requirements and you complete the background check process, you too could start picking up passengers and shuttling them to their destination in exchange for a fare. As a result, being a rideshare driver has become extremely popular for many parts of the world, allowing people to make income on their own schedule, simply by driving.
Thinking of going out for a nice dinner and a couple drinks? Use a rideshare app. Want to avoid having to fight for parking at a concert or major event? A rideshare driver will drop you off at the door and you can grab a ride back when you’re ready to go.
What are the Most Popular Ridesharing Companies?
Currently the two most common ridesharing apps in the U.S. are Uber and Lyft. You’ve likely seen vehicles sporting their logos on a daily basis, and most rideshare drivers sign up to drive with either one of the two, if not both. There are smaller companies that operate in select cities, such as Via and Juno, but for this article we’ll focus mainly on Uber and Lyft since they’re the most popular and readily available in U.S.
Comparing the Companies
Both Uber and Lyft offer various services, which also means you can sign up to be a specific partner within those services. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different services for the two companies.
Uber offers options such as UberX, UberXL, UberSELECT, UberBLACK, UberSUV, UberLUX, UberPOOL, UberTAXI, UberWAV, and Uber Eats. Availability of these ride types varies by location.
- UberX: Standard Uber service that provides rides for up to 4 passengers
- UberXL: Larger vehicles with capacity for up to 6 passengers
- UberSELECT: Not available everywhere, offers more high-end vehicles compared to UberX
- UberBLACK: Luxury option that includes a professional driver and luxury vehicle
- UberSUV: Similar to UberBLACK, but for vehicles with larger capacity—up to 6 passengers
- UberLUX: Only in select markets, includes luxury sedans with a professional driver
- UberPOOL: Share your ride with other passengers to save money—may take longer to get to your destination due to more frequent stops for pickup/dropoff of other passengers
- UberTAXI: Select cities allow you to use the Uber app to hail a standard metered taxi
- UberWAV: If you need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle
- Uber Eats: Get food delivered to your door!
Lyft’s offerings aren’t as comprehensive, but there are a few options to choose from in addition to the standard Lyft service.
- Lyft Lux: High-end vehicles with four seats
- Lux Black: Premium black car service that is limited to luxurious makes and models
- Lux Black XL: Premium black SUV service with up to 6 passengers
When signing up as a rideshare driver with either of these companies, you may want to opt for a different service if you’re eligible. This could equate to more income, but could also result in less rides if demand isn’t as high. It all comes down to what you want to use your vehicle for. In addition, food delivery apps like Uber Eats allow you to make income without having to actually drive passengers around. Instead, you’ll make stops at restaurants to pick up and deliver food.
What are the Pros and Cons of Being a Rideshare Driver?
One of the biggest benefits of being a rideshare driver is the ability to work within your own schedule. It offers great flexibility, allowing you to drive when it’s most convenient to you. You’re also your own boss, with no one to answer to. Taking a vacation and want to make some extra money in the evenings once the kids are asleep? Take a few rides that will help cover your hotel for the weekend.
For some driver-partners, there’s joy in meeting a lot of new people and having short conversations while you take them to their destination. Most riders are friendly, especially if you choose to work during the day rather than the night. If you’re tolerant of a noisier bunch or want to live vicariously through others, the late-night crowd is definitely more interesting.
Now there are plenty of cons of being a rideshare driver as well. You’ll add extra wear and tear on your vehicle simply by driving more, which means racking up miles on your car. In addition, you’ll be making a lot more stops at the gas station if you’re driving a standard gasoline vehicle. Don’t forget to budget in the need for new tires and brakes, as well as general maintenance items such as oil changes and windshield wipers.
You also always run into the risk of getting passengers who are not on their best behavior. Some could be loud and obnoxious, while others may not care much about the interior of your car. There are even similar cons for Uber Eats delivery-partners, depending on the food you’re picking up. Some cuisines may leave an unpleasant smell inside your cabin for days, and sometimes you may be waiting a while for the food from the restaurant. This means long trips delivering food for little money in return.
Just remember, you aren’t getting paid until a passenger gets into your car. So, if there isn’t a high demand for rides, you could be driving or parked somewhere for a while waiting for a passenger.
Can I Drive with Multiple Rideshare Companies at the Same Time?
The short answer is yes. In fact, many rideshare drivers drive with both Uber and Lyft at the same time to try to minimize downtime between rides. When you’re a rideshare driver, you’re an independent contractor and not an employee, which means you’re free to do as you wish.
That means if you have all the time in the world, you could drive with Uber, Lyft, and even Uber Eats, taking on as much as you possibly can for maximum income.
Driver-Partner Requirements for Uber
Uber has a few minimum requirements in order to be a driver-partner. First, you must be at least 21 years of age and have at least 1 year of driving experience in the U.S. If you are under 23 years old, then you must have 3 years driving experience. You must hold a valid U.S. driver’s license and use an eligible 4-door vehicle—we’ll detail some of Uber’s vehicle requirements below.
Before you can get cleared to be an Uber driver-partner, you’ll have to supply the following documentation: a valid U.S. driver’s license, proof of vehicle insurance, and driver profile photo. The driver profile photo will probably need to be a forward-facing, centered photo that includes the driver’s full face and top of shoulders, with no sunglasses. No other subject can be in the frame, and it must be a well-lit and in-focus photo.
Once you’ve signed up to become an Uber driver-partner, there will be a background check process.
Driver Requirements for Lyft
Requirements to drive for Lyft aren’t that much different than Uber. You must be at least 21 years old and you’ll need to pass Lyft’s free, online DMV and background checks. You’ll also need to own an iPhone or Android smartphone. Along with needing a U.S. driver’s license for at least one year, you’ll have to supply Lyft with proof of insurance and a car inspection (for most cities). Like Uber, you’ll also need to submit a photo of yourself.
Most cities will have some local requirements also in order to become a Lyft driver. You’ll want to refer to Lyft’s website so you can select your specific location for further details.
Vehicle Requirements for Uber
Along with meeting the requirements for becoming an Uber driver-partner, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle is safe for ridesharing. Vehicle requirements vary by city. Uber requires a vehicle to have 4 doors. The car must be in good condition with no cosmetic damage and has no commercial branding. It’ll also have to pass a vehicle inspection. Additional requirements required by city.
Vehicle Requirements for Lyft
How to Submit an Application
Both companies have online sign up forms where you put in the necessary information to begin the process. After you complete the sign up form, you’ll need to submit the necessary documents, complete the background check process, and get your vehicle inspected if necessary.
How to Get Your Car Inspected
Depending on which city you live in and where you want to drive, you may need to have your vehicle inspected. Typically this process could include downloading an inspection form and finding an inspection center. You’ll want to refer to your specific city’s requirements to determine what’s necessary to become a rideshare driver.
What You Need to Know to be a Rideshare Driver
A major part of being a successful rideshare driver is the reviews you get from riders. At the end of each ride, the passenger has the opportunity to rate you and you also have the opportunity to rate the passenger. If your rating drops too low, you may start receiving notifications on how to improve your rating. If it continues to fall, the rideshare company may deactivate you as a driver-partner for its app.
To enhance the experience of your riders, you may find it helpful to grab a few accessories for your car before embarking on your journey as a rideshare driver. Some Uber and Lyft driver-partners even outfit their vehicles with TVs in the headrests and video game consoles to keep their passengers entertained. While the passenger won’t know whether your vehicle is outfitted with those amenities before getting in, they may help you earn that 5-star rating.
Here are some products we recommend to make your ridesharing experience safer and more pleasant for your passengers.*
*Uber or Lyft does not represent or warrant third party products, services, or offers. Products featured here are not selected, endorsed by, or affiliated with Uber or Lyft.
Beam Electronics Phone Mount
When you’re a rideshare driver, nothing is more important than your smartphone. Having a mount to easily access your phone is extremely important, as it’ll show you when passengers need rides, as well as navigate you to their destination. You don’t want to be distracted while driving, so having a phone mount to keep your phone easily accessible is vital.
There are hundreds of options for you, but this Beam Electronics is an air vent mount that works for a wide variety of devices. It features a quick release button so you can easily take out your phone and has 360-degree rotation so you can get the best viewing angle for your situation. It comes with a one-year warranty and is extremely affordable.
Anker Phone Charger
Since you’ll constantly be using your smartphone while being a rideshare driver, you’ll want to always have it charged. But not only does a car charger benefit you, you’ll want to have it for your passengers as well. Nothing earns you a 5-star rating quicker than offering a charge while your passengers are on their commute.
This Anker 24W dual USB charger allows you to charge your device and a passenger’s device at the same time and features PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies for the fastest possible charge—up to 4.8 amps or 2.4 amps per port. This charger does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge however, so look elsewhere if your device supports QC. Anker includes an 18-month warranty with the charger.
IVVO Multi-Charging Cable
Having a car charger is meaningless if you don’t have a cable for yourself or your passengers. And while you will definitely have the right cable for your phone, you never know what your passengers may need. So instead of carrying one cable of each type, we recommend getting this multi-charging cable that will cover most of the devices in the world. This cable is a 4-in-1 and has a USB Type C, micro USB, and both adapters for Apple products.
Best of all, it’s extremely affordable and comes in a 2-pack, which means one cable for you and one for your passenger, or share both with your passengers if necessary. IVVO offers a 30-day money back on this product, along with a 1-year warranty.
KNGUVTH Backseat Car Organizer
You’re probably wondering why your passengers would need a backseat car organizer. Well, if you really want to go above and beyond, it’s always nice to keep your car filled with random useful items, such as napkins and tissue paper. More importantly, you can surprise your passengers by keeping random bags of candies and snacks in the backseat organizer and have them help themselves. You never know when you’re picking up a passenger who is in a rush and starving and that snack could make his or her day. Don’t forget, being a rideshare driver means earning tips, and sometimes people are extremely grateful for a pick-me-up when they least expect it.
The KNGUVTH backseat car organizer comes in a 2-pack and feature multi-pocket storage and even has a clear iPad holder, although we don’t really recommend you to have an easily accessible iPad for your passengers. But if you’re driving for one of the more luxurious services, it may not be the worst idea! These organizers measure 16″ wide by 24″ long and are water-resistant and machine washable.
KNGUVTH offers a 12-month warranty with its products.
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