Ridesharing is increasing popularity as many cities and states lift their previous restrictions to accommodate the ever-growing “sharing economy” we have all grown to love. With the right personality becoming a rideshare driver can be a great part-time gig.
Harry Campbell, rideshare driver and owner of TheRideShareGuy.com, has stopped by to share his experience with rideshare websites Uber, Lyft, Sidebar and more. He has a few tips for getting started and maximizing your profits.
Tell us a little about yourself and your motivation to get involved in ridesharing.
Currently, I work as an aerospace engineer by day and rideshare driver by night. I also run a blog and podcast for rideshare drivers at The Rideshare Guy, and a personal finance blog, Your Personal Finance Pro. I’m a pretty busy guy! That said, I became motivated to get involved in ridesharing when I was a passenger. I talked to a lot of drivers during this time, and the idea of being a rideshare driver really appealed to me. I liked the idea of diversifying my income as a business owner, meeting interesting people, and setting my own hours to make money. Making money as a rideshare driver is what you put into it: if you work more hours, you can make more money, but if you want to take a break and not drive for a few days, that’s okay too.
What companies have you worked with, do you prefer any one over the others?
I currently drive for Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. I prefer Uber over Lyft and Sidecar because you can make the most money with them, and they usually have the most requests for drivers.
It's important to drive for more than one company because that gives you the best opportunity to maximize your earnings potential. Sometimes things are slow on just the Uber app, so if you're able to leverage Lyft too, that means you'll get more requests and earn more money.
What was your first step in getting started?
For all drivers, you really only need two things to get started: a car and a smartphone. However, there are a few rules outlining the type of car and what you’ll need to get approved:
- A newish car (2000-2005 depending on the company/city)
- Clean driving record – no DUIs and you will have to pass a background check.
- 20-point inspection for your car.
Once my car passed inspection and I was approved, I signed up with all 3 rideshare companies (Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar), downloaded the apps onto my smartphone, and logged on as a driver. The best part about being a rideshare driver is the flexibility – if you’re bored, go into driver mode and wait for someone who needs a ride. If you get tired or want to spend time with family, turn off your app and take a break.
How much can new drivers expect to earn working part-time?
I’ve always said it really depends on when new drivers work. As a part-time driver, the best times to log on are during the weekends, particularly Friday and Saturday nights. Basically, you’ll want to follow the parties, as these customers will be looking to get home after a night out.
You may have heard about surge pricing, which means you get paid more because the number of people looking for a ride outnumbers the drivers offering rides. Keep in mind neither the companies nor you as a driver set surge pricing. Instead, it is based on supply and demand, so it’s not something you should count on often.
Some weeks are better than others, and being a driver is not as easy as it once was, as competition is growing. However, if you do it part time and take advantage of the opportunity to be a driver, it is a very good supplement to other income sources you have.
What has been your biggest surprise the way?
The biggest surprise I’ve seen since becoming a rideshare driver is the popularity of the sharing economy. When Uber started out, many people criticized it and thought it could never compete with the traditional taxi service. Now look at it! Not only has it spawned competitor companies, but it’s also helped expand the growing sharing economy, like Airbnb, and encouraged people to become more entrepreneurial, like TaskRabbit. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the sharing economy continues to grow and what new companies will come forward.
Where do you recommend others getting started in your industry turn for help?
I would suggest people turn to Google and forums online devoted to the rideshare industry. Many rideshare drivers talk about their experiences, good and bad, and rideshare drivers need to be aware of all the pros and cons of driving. I run a website TheRideShareGuy.com where I share information, host a podcast and interview other people in the industry, and have an online forum where people can ask questions and share information. It’s one of the most comprehensive rideshare information-sharing websites out there, and it’s a great place for people who are just getting in the industry to find out more information and how to be a better rideshare driver right from the start.