Using Your Car For Rideshares: What You Need To Know
Convenience is king in today’s world, with everything you could possibly need available at the touch of a button. Delivery services have increased in demand since the start of the pandemic, with so many people stuck at home or having moved from working in the office to remotely. During the height of the pandemic, many people needed to get rid of their cars to save on costs. Since the restrictions began to ease, rideshare apps have seen a drastic uptake in use.
If you’re thinking of using your car for ridesharing as a side hustle or full-time, it’s worth understanding how to make the most out of it and what requirements you need to get started.
How To Maximize Earnings
The most important part of any job where you manage your own schedule is understanding your local market. You need to know where and when to drive for the best fares. New drivers often find themselves floundering in the beginning until they find the right rhythm for their area.
To learn about your area, you can speak to other local drivers or take a look at the passenger app. The most efficient way to gain information about your local area is by talking to other drivers. They’re usually forthcoming with plenty of tips for the local area; this is because when potential customers see the town as rideshare friendly, demand increases for every driver. However, if you can’t find any local driver to speak to, then using the passenger app can help you get the information you need. Use the Uber calculator from Ridester to understand how your potential fares think; this will help you get the most out of every ride and make more money in less time.
It is common for fares to drastically increase on Fridays and Saturdays, especially late at night when the bars close. You may begin with requests early in the evening as responsible drinkers are heading to their first bar of the night, then it will become quieter until it gets closer to closing time, when you will mostly have a rush of partygoers. Be aware that many of these revelers will be intoxicated, and you need to clean your vehicle in between fares.
Learning how the Uber ride fare changes during certain events in your hometown will give you an edge; for example, fare prices increase during football games, but many people would rather use an Uber than find parking.
To drive for any rideshare app, you need to meet a set of basic requirements to begin working. The level of the conditions vary between app, but all of the apps have very similar needs for their drivers.
- Minimum age: most companies expect you to meet the minimum age to drive in your city or state.
- Driver’s license: This one might seem obvious, but it’s important; you must have a valid license before you can drive for a rideshare app.
- Driving experience: You must have held your license for at least one year unless you’re under the age of 23. In the event you’re under 23, some rideshare apps need you to have held your license for at least three years.
- Screening: Most expect you to pass a standard screening test which includes a full background check and a review of your driving records.
- Proof of Residency: When you choose the area you want to work in, you must provide proof of residency for your city or state.
- Insurance: You need to meet your state’s minimum auto insurance requirements
Companies like Uber maintain auto insurance on your behalf to protect you and your fares in the event of an accident. Minimum insurance requirements vary by state, and some areas have conditions for ridesharing drivers that are not covered by the company insurance.
The insurance provided by the rideshare companies often only kicks in when you accept a fare, and they do not include comprehensive cover or cover for damages by uninsured drivers when waiting for a ride request. So you need to make sure that you are covered the rest of the time to fill in the gaps that could cost you thousands out of pocket.
In many states, insurance companies are offering tailored insurance policies for those who use their vehicles for rideshares. Buying this type of coverage or adding it to your personal policy is the best way to avoid unexpected costs, and it’s usually reasonably priced at under $20 a month, depending on the insurance company.
However, suppose your state does not have insurance companies offering special rideshare coverage. In that case, you may want to consider commercial auto insurance, but that is a costly alternative and could eat into the profits you make working for a rideshare company.
In general, rideshare companies expect your car to be in good working condition, have four doors, and meet state requirements such as having up-to-date registration. Many companies have more requirements on top of this, such as not being titled as salvaged or rebuilt and having no commercial branding. It’s a good idea before you sign up to make sure your vehicle is able to meet them.
- Inspections: Your vehicle must pass inspections; requirements vary by city and state. Many rideshare companies have their own inspection hubs for your to use if your local center is too far away.
- Age restrictions: Your vehicle must meet the ages requirements in your city and state, which are usually 10-15 years old at a maximum.
- Windows and air conditioning: The windows and air conditioning in your vehicle must be in working order.
- Seating: A minimum of five factory-installed seats and seat belts is needed by most rideshare companies.
Where to Wait
It can be tempting to drive around in circles when you’re waiting for your next fare, hoping that you will be pinged as closer to a potential ride. This is a mistake many new drivers make as it doesn’t make much difference in gaining you more fares. It does add more miles to your car, wasting gas and increasing the wear and tear, which can cause a higher need for maintenance.
Other drivers can give you advice on where to wait, but you can also use your own local knowledge to find a place that has high foot traffic to increase your chances of picking up rides.
Back to Back Rides
Many rideshare companies have introduced a back-to-back ride feature to avoid long wait times for their drivers. This helps you reduce your waiting times by accepting new rides that are close to the end of your current fares route. With this feature, you can accept rides during your current fare so that once your drop off one ride, you can head to the pick up of another immediately.
Use More Than One Rideshare App
Another way to maximize your earnings is to use multiple ridesharing apps to have the best chance at getting the most fares during a shift. When you start driving, log into all of the ridesharing systems and when you get a fare, log out of the others for the duration of that ride. Once you complete the ride, if you haven’t received any back-to-back rides, log back into the other systems and wait to begin again.