There is a lot of misinformation out there not only put out by the companies to get you to drive, but by the drivers who don’t actually know what they are talking about and make claims that are untrue. The goal of this post is not to take down those spreading the misinformation, but to give you better information so you can make better decisions. So let’s get to some real facts here:
What you will get paid varies wildly based on where you are driving, when you are driving and the rate of the service you are driving for.
Start with New York City versus New Orleans. I heard one driver say he made 4x as much in NYC than New Orleans. And that seems likely. I know that near the mall versus near my house is a 2x difference. So the answer to how much you will make is not easy. Typical seems to be in $9-$20/hour range outside of NYC and San Francisco.
When you are driving for any rideshare company, you are selling them your time, your gas, your insurance, your car payment, car maintenance costs, the value of your car and your cell phone plus data plan all in exchange for what they pay you.
When you add it all up, most people would make more money working for minimum wage. The value comes in the flexibility and the fact that it is a lot more fun than being a Walmart greeter or asking people if they want to make it a combo.
You will need special rideshare insurance.
Every insurance company requires special rideshare coverage on top of your normal coverage. Trying to skate by is a bad idea. You can end up paying for insurance and having no coverage when you go to file a claim. Some insurance companies have no coverage and some do in only a few states. You should look into this before you start.
The best way to make money is to drive an inexpensive car.
Every mile you drive devalues your car. If your car has less value in it, that means you are losing less per mile. The hard part is that people want to ride in a nice clean car. So you want a used car that is in great shape. Whether that is your own car or you buy one, always make sure that the devaluation of the car is part of your calculation of whether it is worth it.
In most places, you will be sitting and driving to your next pick up for more time than you will have a passenger. And you don’t get paid anything for that time and mileage.
The reason that independent contractors in most lines of work make 50-100% more than they would as employees is that they have anticipated downtime. Right now, the rate per minute is $0.15/minute and the driver get 75% of that. That comes out to $6.75/hour. And you only get that when you have a passenger. The rest of the time you get nothing. The minimum wage in San Diego is $11.50/hour. The minimum drivers should be paid in San Diego is $11.50 x 150% / 75% = $23/hour or $0.38/minute.
You should sign up for both Uber and Lyft if possible.
Things will happen with both of them and you will want to drive for the other. Computers and connections have gone down. One may suspend you for some unfair accusation and you will still be able to drive for the other. Be the independent in independent contractor.
Sign up for Facebook groups and driver forums.
People may be able to answer your questions faster and more honestly than the companies. Local groups also help with local issues like airports and stadiums.
You should not plan on driving too many hours.
Drivers always push how many hours they drive to make money goals. This is unsafe for everyone. Be safe. There is always tomorrow.
You will need to find the best hours and times to drive.
Friday evening and Saturday all day are the best times in most places. Always drive the best times so you can make your money goals in the fewest hours.
You don’t have to become a “snack taxi” to get good ratings.
Bottles of water are a nice thing to have in case anyone needs one, but candy and gum is unnecessary. Your job is to transport people. You can maintain a 5 star rating without anything in your car. I have found that the people who play their music on your car sound system and take a bottle of water usually don’t even bother rating you. Usually the best ratings come from good conversations. Being positive about life. That said, I gave my first driver who took me to the airport 5 stars and he was deaf. He did his job.
Don’t sign up if you don’t like dealing with people.
A huge part of the job is dealing with people who will mistakes and expect you not to. You will make mistakes and will get blamed for things that are not your fault. You will have to maintain your cool and just move on. You need to decide if this is a job you can deal with before committing to it.
You may be able to try it out with little cost.
Rideshare insurance can cost as little as $20/month. Add that, sign up and use your own car to drive after work. See if you like it. If you don’t, cancel your extra insurance and go back to your previous life.
Always be as informed as possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The system has little training and no manuals. This lack of organized training requires everyone to ask a lot of questions. So don’t be embarrassed that you don’t know something. Ask. We have all been there.