How To Become A Rideshare Driver
The rideshare industry has transformed the way we commute and get from place to place. With ridesharing apps openly available in almost every major city around the world, it’s no wonder that it’s popularity only continues to grow.
But in order for the ridesharing community to thrive, it needs drivers! And frankly, the culture around ridesharing wouldn’t be anywhere close to what it is today if it weren’t for them — just regular people driving complete strangers to their desired destination. The perks of becoming a driver are quite enticing so it’s no wonder people are applying for the job. It’s a great way to earn a little side money as drivers can make anywhere between $20-30 an hour. Not too shabby!
For those who have some extra time on their hands or enjoy the flexibility of working around their own schedule, ridesharing apps truly cater to those who like to work independently and be their own boss. And the best part? It doesn’t require any sort of certification — just some good ol’ driving experience and a clean record. If you have both and are thinking about getting a side gig, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in working for some of the head honchos like Uber or Lyft, here’s the full step-by-step guide on how to become a rideshare driver.
Make Sure You Meet All The Car Requirements
Depending on the rideshare app you want to work with, they all have specific car requirements that your vehicle needs to meet before you’re able to hit the road. Some of their requirements include:
Car requirements for Uber depend on the type of rideshare program you want to apply for such as UberX, UberBlack, or UberSelect. To make sure you meet the requirements, head to Uber’s website for full details.
Overall, vehicle requirements vary from city-to-city. For example, in some places your car can be 5 years old or newer, while other cities allow your car to be 10 years old or newer. The only consistent stipulation amongst all vehicles operating under the Uber platform is the requirement of driving a four-door vehicle. On top of that, cars are also not allowed to have any sort of commercial branding except for the Uber logo provided.
This platform prides itself for stipulating some of the toughest vehicle standards in the industry to help ensure passenger safety. Much like Uber, vehicle age varies from city to city so be sure to check on the website for those specific details. In regards to doors and seatbelts, those requirements are uniform as they expect all vehicles to be four-doors and have five functioning seatbelts (including that of the driver).
As of February 2019, Lyft also introduced vehicle restrictions which includes the elimination of subcompact cars. Drivers with these vehicles can no longer get approved to work on the platform unless they were approved before the changes took place. In that case, the new restriction does not affect them — so don’t be surprised if you still see a couple left on the road.
Make Sure You Meet The Driver Requirements
To ensure that passengers are in the best driving hands possible, both Uber and Lyft have strict driver requirements to help filter through applicants. Some of their requirements include:
Uber stipulates that drivers must be at least 21 years old with a valid provincial driver’s license in order to apply. They also require to see documentation including work eligibility, vehicle registration and vehicle insurance. Applicants are also subject to a complete background check of their driving record and criminal history.
Driver requirements for Lyft are quite similar to Uber’s. Drivers must be 21 years old and have at least one year of driving experience under their belt in order to qualify. They also go through an extensive background check to see if they trigger any of their red flags. Lyft will disqualify applicants if they find any of the following on their record:
- More than three driving violations in the past three years
- One major driving violation in the past three years – for example, reckless driving or driving under a suspended license
- A DUI driving violation in the past seven years
- A serious driving condition, including hit-and-run, in the past seven years
Submit Your Online Application
Once you’ve done your research and determined that you meet all the criteria for your desired rideshare company, it’s time to apply. Both Uber and Lyft have an online application form that is required to be filled out by interested applicants. First, you’ll need to create an account if you haven’t already. Then when you’re all set, look for their “sign up to drive” button. Once you’re there, their online application process will prompt you submit personal documentation, direct deposit information, and more. Before you hit submit, look to see the company you’re applying for has any sort of referral program. See if you can find one on the internet as you may be eligible for sign-up bonuses (which means more money in your pocket!).
Pass The Vehicle Inspection
To ensure that your vehicle meets industry standards, both Uber and Lyft require a car inspection. Depending on the province that you’re from, some cars will need to be inspected annually or every couple of months.
You’re All Set
Once you’ve sent in your application, you’re all set! All you have to do now is wait for the rideshare provider to give your profile the thumbs up. If you meet all the requirements listed above, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ll get approved. It typically takes 5-7 days to get your application reviewed, but once you get the green light — you can start hitting the road and raking in those extra bucks.
What You Need To Know Before Becoming A Rideshare Driver
While becoming a rideshare driver is a great way to earn some side cash or keep yourself busy while you look for your next steady job — there’s a couple things you’ll need to know before applying. If you’re going to start working for Uber or Lyft, here’s what you need to know:
Final Destination Is Unknown
Possibly one of the biggest sore spots about rideshare programs is not being able to know the final destination of your passengers. For example, when drivers accept a new passenger on the app, they don’t know the final destination until the passenger is physically inside the vehicle. This can be problematic, especially if the passenger is travelling large distances (to another city potentially) and the driver isn’t prepared to make such a long drive. If drivers aren’t ready for it, getting caught in this situation can be very uncomfortable for them.
While this scenario doesn’t happen too often, it’s certainly possible. On Uber’s website, they explicitly state that there is no distance limit on the app and that trips may end if they last past 4 hours. To avoid any sort of inconvenience, riders are encouraged to inform drivers beforehand if they plan to travel large distances. Otherwise the only way drivers can get out of it, is cancel the ride — if they want to get out of it that is!
You Need Mobile Data To Operate
Before you head on their new side business endeavor, you need to make sure you have an operating smartphone and good mobile data plan to support it. It’s unlikely you’ll be within wifi range all the time, so you’re going to need your own data to make sure you can take rides wherever you are. Depending on how much you plan to drive, you may need a lot of data so make sure you check in with your mobile provider to see if you can get a better plan if you don’t have one already.
You Don’t Get All The Money You Earn
It probably comes to no surprise to anyone, but a portion of your all your earnings will go back to the rideshare app you’re working on. Since they provide the platform to conduct your business, depending on the company, ridesharing apps can take about 25% off each ride that you make. This is typically apart from the booking fee they charge to riders as well.
While that might not be so bad, rideshare drivers need to remember that they’re still personally responsible for all their car expenses including gas and car maintenance. Costs can definitely add up, especially if you’re starting to work with Uber or Lyft full-time.
With that said, if a rider has done some sort of damage to a driver’s vehicle beyond the regular wear and tear (i.e. vomit in your car during that late night rush. It happens!), drivers are able to report the incident to their rideshare provider. Depending on the situation and the amount of damage caused, rideshare companies are willing to compensate the driver up to a couple hundred dollars as part of an “inconvenience fee”. In order to qualify, drivers much contact their rideshare company within the first 5 days of the incident, provide an estimate of the repair and photo evidence of the damage. If drivers are unable to provide the necessary documentation, they may not be compensated for the incident.
You Can’t Drive All The Time
The success of ridesharing is a credit to the strict implementation of safety standards. If it was unsafe to ride with Uber or Lyft, there’s no way it would be as popular as it is today — with local governments reacting quick to shut down the platform entirely. Thankfully, this is not the case as apps are constantly updating their safety standards to ensure positive user experiences for both the driver and the rider.
In an effort to keep up with this mandate, ridesharing apps have now implemented mandatory breaks on drivers which forces them to take a break after working on the app for 12-14 consecutive hours. In most cases, drivers are able to get back on the road after 6 hours have passed. But until then, drivers are blocked off the app so they can get the necessary rest they need before the hit the road again.
Still interested in becoming a rideshare driver? What do you have to lose! Work when you want, for as long as you want and earn a decent money along the way. When it comes to the ridesharing economy, there can never be too many drivers on the road! Good luck.