TRENDING TOPIC: Is a Side Hustle Worth It?

December 1, 2019

Kevin Naughton, Lending: My side hustles are Uber and Lyft. I have been driving with them part time for over two years. Mostly Uber (4,229 trips so far)


How I got started:

A friend of mine was driving for Uber and later Lyft. He convinced me to sign up to both. He said I would be perfect for it. He said my knowledge of the history of the City of Chicago and my personality would be a big plus. I used his referral codes so he could earn a commission too.


My car:

2017 KIA Soul


What I like the most:

Flexibility! I can drive when I want. Sometimes I just turn it on here at BCU and set the destination for my home (you can do this two times a day on Uber). I oftentimes pick up someone going to O’Hare Airport. When I get there I can turn off the app and go home. I live about two miles from there so these trips pay for my gas, tolls and a bit extra on a trip was taking anyway. On weekends, I can drive in the mornings and evenings and avoid worst of the traffic during the day. You can drive as little or as often as you like. If you get hungry, stop and eat. If you get tired, go home. There is no set schedule at all. Just a couple of trips a year should keep you in good standing.

The extra money I make when I drive. It helps me pay for vacations, an extra mortgage payment from time to time and fancy dinners at Morton’s Steakhouse. I was also able to pay off my car loan in less than a year. I typically earn $500.00 per week or more doing this part time.

Meeting out of town visitors and sharing with them information about the city (restaurants, museums and historical points of interest). Uber recently informed me that I have had people in my car from 38 different countries so far. You get to meet all kinds of people. Some don’t like to talk and that’s fine. But for those that do, I have had many great conversations.


Advice to others:

You should be fine with driving and interacting with the public. If you are not both of these things, you will not enjoy being a rideshare driver.

Lyft is a great company to start with. They provide online lessons about the app and how to start out as a driver. Uber… not so much. At least when I started driving. I had to learn by trial and error, by speaking to other drivers and by watching YouTube videos on what other drivers were doing along with tips and tricks. I drive Uber more because I tend to get more ride requests.

Unless you rent a car from them, you have to use your own car. It must have four doors, be no more than 15 years old, no cosmetic damage, seats for 4 passengers (plus one more for the driver) with seatbelts for all and it must pass a safety check. The websites for each company have all the details.

You must be 21 years old or older, three years or more of driving experience, have a clean driving record and be able to pass a basic background check. You will add miles and wear and tear to your car. I have had 2 flat tires so far and had to replace a set already. You will be going to Jiffy Lube more often to get oil changes (There is a discount for being an Uber driver). You will also use a lot of gas. Having a fuel efficient car with decent cargo room is a good idea. A Costco or Sam’s Club membership is great for getting discounted fuel as well.

Getting the car washed and making sure the interior is clean is helpful in order to make a good impression on the passengers. This can lead to better ratings and tips.


MOST IMPORTANTLY

You will want to add a rideshare rider to your auto insurance policy. If you get into an accident, your insurance company may not pay out if you were using your car as a commercial vehicle unless you have the rideshare rider. I have State Farm and the cost to add this insurance is under $20.00 per month. The rideshare company has an umbrella policy to help cover the passengers and others but you will have to rely on your insurance company for losses you sustain. (They will have you go through your insurance company first for all claims) Always speak to your insurance provider about your policy BEFORE you start out as a rideshare driver.

I hope this information helped provide some insight into the wonderful world of being a rideshare driver. See you on the road!