Let’s face it: Ridesharing ain’t easy. The passengers we encounter range anywhere from “quiet and polite” to “drunk and incoherent” – and the ones who fall into that last category can be tough to deal with when you’re out there on your own.
When I first started driving, I thought all I would need was my car, my phone, and a steady hand on the wheel. While that’s technically true, I’ve found that it really pays off to be prepared for the variety of different situations one can encounter on the road. Now, I can’t imagine hitting the road without these supplies. Here, in order of importance, are the 11 most helpful items you can add to your ridesharing setup.
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1. Phone Mount
Coming in at #1 is the trusty phone mount – a staple of rideshare drivers everywhere. The main benefit of having your phone up on your dash or windshield is simple: You won’t have to look down at your lap for directions every 30 seconds. This is a tremendous benefit to your safety (and that of your car). Plus, a phone mount can improve your ratings: Passengers appreciate being able to see the directions you’re following, and they always feel safer with a driver who has both eyes on the road. Here’s an overview of the different options – keep an eye out for a full review coming soon!
Many drivers like magnetic mounts, as they allow you to easily remove your phone when you need to make a call or send a text. Make sure your phone doesn’t contain a hard drive, as a magnet can ruin this type of storage. The vast majority of phones use flash memory, so for most devices the magnet should be just fine. This mount from Scosche includes multiple magnetic backings that adhere firmly to the back of your phone or the interior of your phone’s case. If you have multiple devices, or if you lose one of the backings, you can also order extra magnets.
For a sturdy non-magnetic option, these RAM mounts are the gold standard, with adjustable grip tension and a variety of other options. If you have a deep dashboard, you can even accessorize with an extension arm to bring your phone closer in.
And if you’re looking for something unobtrusive, check out smaller vent-mounted options, like the Kenu Airframe.
2. Chargers And Cables
If you’ve been driving for more than a few hours, you’ve probably had a passenger ask for a phone charger. Having a good one is important not only for keeping your own device online, it’s also a great way to offer something extra to passengers – without having to stock up on snacks or bottled water.
When the USB standard was first introduced, it put out a relatively low amount of electric current. As screens and batteries grew bigger, the amount of electric current required to charge a device went up. That means your old 12v-to-USB adapter might not be charging newer devices very quickly (if at all) – and that can be a major nuisance to a driver who works long hours.
This charger has four USB ports, all of which charge at a full 2.4 amps – so you’ll be able to power and charge a phone, a GPS, and a dashcam, and still have a slot left for passenger. Plus, it even has a surge protector and a microchip to determine each devices’ charging needs, so it won’t put too much current into a device that can’t handle it. Combine that with an 18-month warranty, and this might be the perfect car charger.
The adapter alone isn’t the full story – passengers often don’t carry cables with them, and they really appreciate it when drivers go the extra mile and provide one. Although you can purchase “universal” cables with multiple charging tips for different devices, I usually steer clear of these. In my opinion, it’s better to get multiple cables – they’re usually longer (better for reaching the backseat), and if one wears out, you can replace them one at a time rather than shelling out for another universal cable. In my car, I keep one for Android and one for iPhone; it’s rare to encounter a device that uses something else these days. The cheap (and surprisingly durable) offerings from Amazon Basics are usually your best bet: You can also save some dough on these by buying in multiples!
And last but not least, there’s the all-important aux cable – both for playing your music, and letting your passengers DJ (if you’re so inclined). I like this one from Anker: The housings on each connector are made from reflective metal, making it more durable and easier to find in a dark car.
3. Dash Cam
A dashcam is the cheapest insurance policy you can buy (you should still look into rideshare insurance though!) – both for yourself and your car. Having a dashcam in your vehicle will not only discourage bad passenger behavior, it will also act as an objective witness if you’re ever involved in a collision or some other incident on the road.
To see a full explanation of several top-rated dashcams, check out Jon’s article and video reviews here. Our current favorite is the Falcon F360.
This dashcam starts recording automatically every time you start your car, and it both the road and the interior of the car simultaneously. This offers protection against both passengers and other drivers. Hopefully, you’ll never need it – but if you do, you’ll be really glad you had one!
4. Floor Mats
If you pick up a lot of passengers from the beach like I do, you’ll end up with a lot of sand in your car. Even in inland areas, passengers usually manage to track a fair amount of dirt into your car. Adding some quality rubber floormats to your ride will make cleanup a snap, and offer added protection against spilled beverages, rain, and so forth.
These universal floor mats can be cut to size to fit most vehicles. WeatherTech also makes custom-fit mats for certain types of cars, so check to see if there’s a pre-cut option for your car before ordering!
5. Plain Old Towels
Speaking of spilled beverages and rain, it’s always a good idea to have a towel on-hand. In the wise words of Douglas Adams, “a towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.” Not only do they make great seat covers when it’s raining outside, they’re also great for protecting your upholstery when transporting service dogs that like to shed all over your car. You probably have towels already, but just in case, here’s one from Amazon…
6. Seat Covers
For a more permanent and/or classy solution to the above problems, consider investing in some seat covers. Amazon has a great selection of both universal and custom-fit covers for an assortment of different vehicles. Check out all the options here.
7. Illuminated Uber Sign
If you work busy areas or large events, finding passengers can be a huge hassle. Simplify the search with one of these awesome light-up Uber signs. Your passengers will appreciate being able to find you more easily, and you’ll appreciate less downtime waiting on people trying to hunt down your car. It’s also a helpful identifier for valet guys and parking attendants who love to give drivers a hassle – when they see the sign, they’ll know that you will be on your way soon, and may be less likely to give you a hard time about your parking decisions.
LightWorks Labs makes cool (and affordable!) signs for Uber and Lyft. Plus, you can even order a custom sign with your name on it – perfect for situations where you find yourself in a crowd of other drivers!
8. Cleaning Implements
Car washes can add up fast. Save money by going DIY and investing in some quality cleaning tools. For the exterior, I recommend these California dusters. They’re treated with paraffin wax to clean effectively without the use of sprays, and they’re made of 100% cotton to ensure your car’s finish stays scratch-free.
For the interior, you can’t beat the classic Dust Buster. Although there are some options that charge through your car’s 12v outlet for on-the-go cleaning, I’ve found that the beefier “stay-at-home” models are more powerful and better at picking up dirt and dust from your car’s nooks and crannies. Plus, they’re great for keeping the house clean, too. Here’s the model I use, which contains a lithium-ion battery for consistent suction and a long lifespan:
9. Tip Generators
With the recent ruling that Uber drivers can, in fact, accept tips, many drivers have taken to putting signs or small donation boxes in their vehicles. This is a great way to pick up extra cash on the job, and over time it could add some serious dough to your bottom line. This is especially true if you use a funny sign, or offer some extra amenities to passengers during trips!
10. Throw-Up Bags
Gross, I know. But if your passengers need these, everyone involved will be very glad you had them. The technical term for these is “emesis bags,” and there’s actually a couple options. These blue ones are some of the cheapest:
If you work in a college town where this is a more regular occurrence, you may want to invest in these Cadillac emesis bags, featuring absorbent pads to fight smell and an extra closing mechanism in case the first one fails:
11. Business Cards
Rideshare driving is one of the best ways to network with people in your area. If you’re a freelancer or run another business on the side, keeping a stack of business cards with you is a great way to get your name out there and pick up new work. Or just to promote your passenger referral code. You can get cheap cards on VistaPrint or if you’re looking to really stand out, Palm Interactive has some of the best business cards money can buy! This is where I got my Rideshare Guy cards done actually 🙂
Drivers: What are your favorite products to have with you out on the road? Let us know in the comments!
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-Harry @ RSG