For those of us looking to earn a little extra cash on the side, driving for an app-powered taxi service like Uber or Lyft holds a certain appeal. If you have the ability to drive, after all, then why not make the most from it? But is this particular side-hustle worthwhile? Let’s find out!
What should I know before becoming a driver?
As a driver, you will be dependent on good reviews from your clientele. That means you’ll need to have emotional intelligence. This needn’t mean being extroverted; some clients will appreciate a driver who knows when to keep quiet. But it will mean that you need to be professional and courteous.
We should also consider the flexibility (or lack of it) inherent in jobs of this sort. While it’s possible to earn money while still adhering to your own schedule, certain times of day yield the highest prices. These are rush hours in the week, and social hours at the weekends. If you’re in 9-5 and you’d like to maintain a social life, then perhaps this isn’t the hustle for you.
Moreover, for all the advantages of being a driver, you’re never going to get the independence that comes with really being your own boss. The companies are hiring you as an independent contractor, which means that they set the prices and the terms.
What should my budget be?
Your budget will need to take into account several expenses, some of which might not be immediately obvious. You’ll need to pay for cleaning supplies to keep the interior looking fresh. That means if someone dirties up the back seat, you’ll need to clean it up (though they will still be charged). Wear and tear on the exterior will also be more strenuous than if you’d just used the vehicle for personal purposes, which means more frequent washes and waxes, more frequent tyre replacements, and more expensive repairs.
Your insurance premiums will rise if you use your car for this purpose. Moreover, the money you earn will be taxed – which might make life unduly complicated if you’re only earning a little bit from your side-hustle.
What about Uber X or UberXL?
Uber’s higher-capacity services are attractive to drivers, as they allow for higher fares – provided that there is enough demand for a high-capacity vehicle. For large events with many big groups attending, a more capacious vehicle, like a Mercedes Benz M8 from Cab Direct, can pay for itself. The only problems occur when clients order a smaller vehicle and then attempt to cram more into it than is legally allowed. This isn’t such an issue for UberXL drivers, who can simply have the ride upgraded afterwards without getting into an argument.