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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You
I have a number of friends who are getting involved with rideshare and delivery apps like Lyft, Uber, and Doordash of late to help to bring in a bit of extra income on the side.
I’m not going to give an ultimate verdict as to why you should or shouldn’t get involved in making money with any of these apps, but I do think that there are a number of things that you need to think about before you just jump into this.
Let’s take a look at what a few of these things are.
Will your insurance still cover you?
Once upon a time, I got a job as a pizza delivery guy. I was going to be the new Glen from The Walking Dead, learning valuable map skills that would save my life in the zombie apocalypse. Just kidding, I just wanted to make money driving around town.
While I got the job, after notifying my insurance company, I was told that my policy would no longer cover my car if I ended up in an accident. It didn’t even matter if the accident wasn’t my fault – if I was using my car for business purposes, my policy didn’t cover it.
I would have had to purchase a business policy for my car that was a lot more expensive than my current policy if I wanted to drive with coverage as a pizza man.
As an Uber or Lyft driver, that is something that you’re going to want to consider. Insurance companies already deny claims like it’s their job. The last thing you want to do is to get in an accident and then discover that you’ve given them plenty of reasons to deny your claim.
Is the pay worth the mileage?
It’s not just your time that people are paying for when you’re a driver for one of these services. You’re also putting in your gas and wear and tear on your car. If you’re only running the occasional trip, perhaps that’s not something you’re too concerned about.
If you’re making a lot of trips for these companies, though, you need to make sure that you’re covering your expenses. When you add how much faster you’re going to cause your car to depreciate in value, how much money you just spent at the pump, and the increased need for oil changes, air filter swaps, tire purchases, and the like, are you still coming out ahead?
Are you going to be driving in rough areas late at night?
Yeah, you need money to live, but you also need to be devoid of bullet holes to stay alive too. It’s one thing to be running deliveries to college dorms all night long. It’s quite another to be regularly running deliveries in a part of town where the crime rate is through the roof.
Statistics regularly show that being a pizza delivery man is one of the most dangerous jobs that you can have. Why? Because you’re showing up late at night at random strangers’ houses. You’re doing the exact same thing with these rideshare or delivery services. Maybe this doesn’t bother you. Maybe it should.
Just food for thought.
Do you have a car breakdown plan?
Breakdowns always happen when you’re 90 miles from civilization, you’re flat-broke, and it’s raining. Add in the need for a rapid delivery, and you just add more fuel to the fire. My recommendations here would be to make sure you know how to change a tire (my book What School Should Have Taught You discusses this), keep a tow truck’s phone number at the ready, keep physical maps in your vehicle, keep your phone charged, keep off-grid phone charging batteries at the ready, and pay attention to where you are at all the time when you’re doing these runs.
This way, you’ll be able to get yourself out of one of these messes as quickly as possible by either resolving the situation yourself or being able to call for help and give them as accurate of directions to where you are as possible.
Know what you’re jumping into with rideshare and delivery services.
Don’t get blindsided here.
I don’t care one way or the other whether you get involved in one of these rideshare/delivery services, but I don’t think you should just jump into it without some type of thought having preceded your dive. If you can sufficiently answer the above questions and are happy with making money this way, then, by all means, go for it.
If you’re clueless or uncomfortable when you look at the above, well, in that case, I would perhaps do a bit more research before beginning to drive all around town with strangers or their food in the backseat of your car.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been a rideshare or delivery driver? Do you have other advice? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
2 thoughts on “Things to Think About Before You Sign Up as a Rideshare Driver”
Good summation of some of the challenges. You didn’t mention that you’re only paid 50% of whatever the value to you was when the ride/job is cancelled, EVEN if it is THE Company’s fault.
– Also you have to go through at least one layer; some services more, to get a human being to talk with. I do DD and Lyft and currently with DD you’re given to some one who is ESL and therefore operating on another sphere mentally which does make commuication certain details more challenging. To me it’s also distasteful as a Patriot with 18 years active duty Army service with 2 handicapped adopted sons all of us whom are trying to get jobs/better jobs. Whether it’s H1B or offshore has no relevance to this issue, nor does nationality.
– DD says they consider your distance when they offer you a ‘Long Distance’ pickup. Can’t prove it by me. $8 for 19 miles which is less than .50/mile and that’s one way. No return is guranteed to your home area. “DASH ALONG THE WAY” has had me looping in the same distant area for more than a hour until the jobs were exhausted at 1 a.m. Try that time frame to get a job or two to get you home.
– There are things you only learn from bad experience or more experienced folks. Hat Tip to Tracey of Johnson City TN who has been doing this add a nest egg to her CDL Recruiter daytime job. She doesn’t take any gig that’s not $1 In and $1 out. It appears that as you adopt that strategy your algorithms reset to some degree and you will get better funded options. You’re % will drop significantly but I can’t tell if there is a negative effect from that.
– DD will send you to office buildings, hospitals, apartment complexes that are : a) Poorly marked; b) controlled access; c) gated/charged parking which is not covered; d) Not at street level, requiring numerous stairs/elevators/hallways-corridors/towers; e) commerical – free parking is half a block or more away. All of this eats into your pocket funds. Sure you can charge it off taxes and you’ll need to IOT beat the life out of the 1099 system.
– DD and Lyft comparison by mile showed that DD was $1.26 vs. Lyft at 1.81.
– Around Universities you get alot of activity BUT you deal with lousy parking/no parking. One way streets, poorly marked everything in KNOXVILLE TN, alot of poorly lit markers/signs or missing, huge amounts of vehicular traffic of all types; idiots on bikes and scooters ignore road laws blowing STOP signs/lights, flying across cross streets, buzzing on the right down a sidewalk to cut back into traffic and do some other brainless manuver – RT or LF from 2 lanes away, down a one way the wrong way ’cause they only need to go half the distance!’
– DD and Lyft have issues alot when IT updates; usually 2300 to 0130. I’ve lost more than $20 in the last week due to this. YEP, the ESL person will give you 50% happily – argue until you die and that’s the party line. They need to keep their $4-/$6/hr position too.
In my earlier years, a friend was working F/T during the day and p/t in the evening then telling me how much extra she earned & what-all she could spend it on – made it sound attractive. So I sat down and did some math.
The 2nd job had its own transportation & other costs which, depending on how far away the job would be, would double the amount needed; two jobs became less attractive. If I got sick, I’d lose more. After deducting various costs for the 2nd job v. its hourly wage & deductions, then I looked to see where I could ‘cut corners’ in my spending habits using only the ‘day job’ funds.
Cutting corners was best for me: I didn’t need that 2nd job: all I needed was to become more frugal. That idea has stuck with me for decades – still works 🙂