By now most people have at least heard of, if not used, a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft. They have become a very popular option for commuters, travelers, and more. Ride-share services like Uber and Lyft allow drivers to drive on their own time. It’s often used as a secondary income or a side job. The hours are as flexible and what the driver wants them to be. But like any job, there are pros and cons to driving for a rideshare service.
The top reason most people drive for rideshare services is the income, whether its extra or main. The amount of money a driver can make depends on a few factors. Time and distance to a destination are key factors, but others include the number of passengers and high demand pricing. For example, if an Uber driver decides to work during a “surge” period, the fees double and they can earn more for the same service.
Other pros include some discounts drivers can receive from partnering companies. For Uber, there are certain cell phone companies that offer exclusive discounts to drivers. Similarly, drivers for Lyft can get discounts on oil changes and tires from partnering companies. The discounts, extra income, and flexibility make rideshare driving both attractive and lucrative. Unfortunately, rideshare driving has imperfections as well.
While rideshare drivers are paid by their company and carry that companies logo as an identifier, drivers are considered independent contractors. Since they are independent contractors, drivers do not receive reimbursements for the gas they use, nor are they reimbursed for expenses related to car maintenance. This included license plate renewal fees and personal insurance.
Although companies like Uber and Lyft provide insurance, there are a number of stipulations on the coverage. Additionally, the coverage is minimal liability unless you have a passenger waiting or in the car. The rideshare coverage breaks down into 4 periods, that range from uncovered, to liability coverage, to full coverage.
A personal insurance policy is still required for drivers since there is a time when they do not have coverage by the companies insurance. Insurance companies require drivers to disclose using their personal vehicle for this purpose. Some companies offer rideshare insurance coverage that can be as low as $14 more per month when added to an existing policy.
If the demand for rideshare services is high, then being a driver can be very lucrative. Some would say it’s a legitimate side hustle, but others would say it’s not worth the cost. It really comes down to the market demand, and the risk an individual is willing to make in using their personal vehicle. If the costs make sense, and a driver only plans to drive in surge or higher demand times, then go for it, but drivers beware of the indirect and direct costs of driving.