Pros and cons of rideshare
To Ride-hail, or Not to Ride-hail?
Americans who use rideshare spend $4,000 annually on average, which, for residents in urban areas, is cheaper than the average cost of $9,576 to own a vehicle. One can see the appeal these services provide. But how can you get your hands on some of that sweet moolah?
To drive for Uber in Atlanta, you must meet a few requirements.
- You have to be 21 years of age or older
- Have three years of driving experience, and an in-state drivers license
- Additionally, you need a rideshare specific insurance plan for your vehicle (to cover passengers)
- Pass a screening process that involves checking the candidates motor vehicle and criminal history.
- Your vehicle must also be a 2005 or newer model
- 4-door or larger car, SUV or minivan
- Lack cosmetic damage, and
- Pass a vehicle inspection
Lyft is a bit more stringent when vetting their potential drivers. You must be at least 25 years of age with a 2007 or newer vehicle. Other than that, Uber and Lyft are essentially the same.
So you’ve got your candidacy approved for either or both services. Now what? It’s good to know some ridesharing basics.
You work on your time
One of the main benefits of driving for a rideshare is that you work when you want to. During my time as a rideshare driver, I would sit in my room with my app enabled, play video games until I got a match for a rider.
Other times, I’d come home from my nine-to-five job on weekends or holidays and immediately drive out to zip around the city for juicy fares. Driving for a rideshare is something you can do at your leisure and don’t have to adhere to a rigid schedule.
“I was working with Amazon and I’m also a student. When I was working with Amazon, they were paying me $12.50 [per hour] and I decided to use my car for Uber. I was making way more than that every day,” said Chris Rufus, a nursing student at Chattahoochee Technical College.
Rufus elaborated that Thursday through Sunday is the best time period to drive for a ride-hailing service and especially the evening on weekends. He also said that everything has pros and cons and if you really want to make money driving for a ride-hailing service, you need to be patient and consistent in regards to getting fares.
Fill in the gaps
Since ridesharing is something you can do at your discretion, it can be your primary source of income, help pay a few bills, or even give you some extra spending money. I mainly used it to pay for my car note.
Also whenever I had a purchase that would have otherwise been frivolous like a new pair of fashionable shoes, it gave me the extra money that I needed.
Perhaps more importantly,driving for a rideshare can help add much needed funds to your bank account when emergencies arise. Many millennials do not have huge savings accounts and could be at greater financial risk for life’s little surprises, and the immediate income from ridesharing could help fill in those gaps.
This gives you the opportunity to engage with people that could lead to friendships or employment among other things. You never know who you might come across, so always network as much as possible.
“Any university area is good – any business area. Midtown is very good and downtown is excellent,” said Ranjit Singh, a four year Uber driver when asked about the best parts of town to look for fares.
Singh stressed just how great the apps are at notifying the driver in real time where the best fares are.
What’s not so great?
As with any form of employment, there are some caveats to consider.
- Your insurance will become more expensive, as your personal insurance alone is not applied when you begin driving for a rideshare.
- You may also be less inclined to participate in holiday festivities. Holidays are among the most profitable times of the year for rideshare drivers.
- There will also be the additional wear and tear on your vehicle. Not only will you be using your vehicle much more, you’ll also have the added erosion from myriad passengers entering, using, and exiting the vehicle.
Similar to other service related professions, you’ll also have to deal with potentially unpleasant customers. Many customers use rideshare to avoid driving while they are intoxicated and this can exacerbate irksome experiences.
“You have to be mature enough… because there’s a lot of customer relations that are required and expected to drive [ride-hailing]. I think you just need a little bit of experience working with people,” said Singh.
There’s also the instability of earnings. As this isn’t a structured hourly or salary position, your income will be at the whim of not only how much time you dedicate, but also the fluctuating prices of fares, traffic, number of other rideshare drivers and the demand for rideshare drivers.
The Bottom Line
Driving for a rideshare company can be a flexible way to pull in primary or supplementary income that is relatively easy to get started in. While this can be a potentially life-changing move, you need to take time to weigh out all the pros and cons before hitting the streets of Atlanta.