Driving for Uber and Lyft is, essentially, a quick, easy and flexible way to work and earn money. Will you get rich? Probably not. But for someone looking to start a job, work several hours, then cash out – it’s practically perfect. Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins outlines all the things she loves about driving for Uber and Lyft – and yes, two things she absolutely despises.
It’s easy to list off the negatives of anything and everything these days, and it’s super easy to complain about the company you’re working for. But I’m going to take a break from that today (mostly) and talk about what I love most about driving for Uber and Lyft…and two things I despise about it. I 100% realize that my opinions aren’t going to resonate perfectly with all of our readers, but this is truly how I feel about this job that I do part time. Also, keep in mind, this is in no particular order.
The 10 Best Things About Driving for Uber and Lyft
1. The ability to rate my riders
I LOVE that we can rate our riders, though I do kind of dislike they have the same capabilities. On the positive side, I love giving 5 star ratings to all of the interesting, funny and nice passengers I’ve had while rideshare driving. I also like the ability to rate passengers lower depending on how they’ve treated me, but luckily I haven’t had to do this much. When I have done this, it’s either because a passenger really messed up the inside of my car or because of a safety issue.
I have only ever given a poor rating in two situations. One was that the person had thrown up on the floor of my van despite having a vomit bag in his hand. He was too drunk to lift it to his face. I felt like submitting the issue to get money for the cleanup wouldn’t be taken well by Uber if I hadn’t rated him low enough. Can’t exactly justify asking for more money while also giving the passenger a high rating.
The second situation was where I felt extremely unsafe driving a passenger. Being a woman who isn’t the strongest person ever and avoids confrontation at all costs, I didn’t feel confident in pulling over and kicking him out. I feel like he would have snapped and who knows what could have happened from there? I just waited it out and was as patient as I could be while also plotting an escape if he were to freak out on me before I was able to drop him off at his destination and get the heck outta there.
I totally get that it has to go both ways, otherwise it wouldn’t really be fair, but I do feel like the handful of times I’ve gotten 1-star ratings has been unfair. They didn’t specify what was wrong with the ride and I feel like it was just the passenger’s way of taking out a bad day on a stranger who actually tried to help them out.
Granted, they could have thought I was a horrible driver, but if so, have the decency to tell me what I did wrong. If I was speeding or driving dangerously in anyway, it would be nice to know that’s how they felt and that’s why they rated me poorly. But, like I said, I get it. They have to be able to rate us just like we can rate them. That said, if you do continue to get low driver ratings, we have tips on how to improve your driver ratings here!
2. Cash Tips!
Cash tips are the best thing ever, and I hope you agree with me. It’s very rare that I get cash tips because, let’s face it, no one carries cash anymore. But when I do it’s typically more than I would get in the app. There have been more than a few times that I’ve been handed a 20 as a passenger is climbing out of my van. I’ve always asked if they wanted change and that has always been denied. My husband gets especially jealous of this because even as a part-time driver, this happens to me about once a month, if not more frequently.
I like to think it’s because I’m awesome, but more likely I am just lucky in who I pick up. With driving a minivan, it’s often that I’m taking 5 or 6 passengers around and usually they are drinking before I get there. That would explain why one passenger gave me $20 in tips just for the “right” song playing on the radio by chance while driving him and his buddies to their next bar during a bachelor party.
There was one instance where I did refuse a cash tip. I was driving a man to the hospital to visit his wife who was pregnant with twins and had been hospitalized to monitor the remainder of the pregnancy. I had picked him up at his job 45 minutes away from the hospital and I could just tell this guy hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in ages. He reached for his wallet to fish out a tip and I told him to get out and go to his wife. He had enough to worry about without trying to find a tip for his Uber driver.
3. The passengers – yes, really!
Overall, I love my passengers. I know this is controversial to say! I’ve had some awesome conversations with people while driving them to work, out to dinner, across town and anywhere else I’ve driven people. There are bad apples, but the majority of the time, my passengers are great and I truly enjoy being their driver.
4. Driving my own hours
As someone who has a full-time job that’s not driving, I appreciate that I can set my own hours with Uber and Lyft. There are some weeks where I don’t drive at all and others where I drive 30 hours or more. It’s a tough world out there living paycheck to paycheck.
I’ve had other part-time jobs where I have to be there a certain time and I’ve literally gotten sick trying to keep up that schedule. Going from an 8 to 10-hour day at my regular job to a 3 or 4-hour shift at my part-time job was killing me. It was too much. Driving for Uber and Lyft, I’m able to drive when I need to without going completely crazy.
5. It’s easy
This is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s just so easy. There’s nothing really difficult about the job at all. The application process was just what I needed when I was let go from a job and had nothing else to do but needed money for rent, groceries and bills. The app is easy to use. The passengers are typically easy to pick up and drop off. It’s just so darn easy.
One thing my husband and I have loved is the deductions for rideshare drivers. Since I still pay regular taxes with my full-time job, we have more than enough set aside at the end of the year that we actually get money back from our taxes and have done so every year since starting rideshare driving. The mileage we can claim mixed with deducting the Uber and Lyft fees lowers our income so that we get money back.
7. Choosing which rides you take
This is a good one. You can be picky about which rides you accept. Even to the point of getting to the neighborhood and pulling up to the house. If anything looks or feels wrong, you can cancel the ride and bail.
You can also see how far away you are from the person before accepting the ride in the first place, so you can determine if they are too far away to bother picking up. If it’s an extra-long ride, each app will give you a notification letting you know approximately how long the trip will be so you can choose if it’s right for your schedule or something you’re willing to do.
Some people hate long rides…personally, I love them. They make me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile instead of a bunch of short rides that don’t get me anywhere. Granted, as a very part-time driver I can never reach the quests that Uber puts up there, so I’m never concerned with getting as many rides as possible.
8. How much money I can make if I need to
Overall, it’s a decent income. I can make about $60 an evening after my regular job or $100 during a 6-hour weekend day. This helps out when it’s crunch time if my regular paycheck doesn’t go as far as it needs to. I can stay out later if I need to make more. I can quit driving early if I make more than I need and just want to relax for the rest of the day.
I also love that I can cash out whenever I want. When I need money, I often need it quickly. For example, I spent all my money on bills but need to pay for groceries for the week. I can drive for one or two evenings and make more than enough to get whatever I need at the grocery store.
9. It’s a great part-time option
I’ve already mentioned multiple times that I use Uber and Lyft as part-time income. It’s a great option for me. I can set my destination on my way to the office and on the way home every night and do nothing else for the week and that pays for my gas for the week.
Or, I can drive extra if I need or want to and I can pick my own hours. I don’t have to drive if I don’t want to. And it’s always sitting there waiting for me. I just need to make sure to keep my insurance info, license plate tags and other necessary paperwork in order so I can pick up the app whenever I want to drive more.
10. Find out great places to go in your city
I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t get out much aside from driving people around. But I’ve learned about a lot of restaurants that are pretty awesome as well as events going on around the city that I never would have heard about otherwise. I’m grateful for my passengers who are willing to talk about where they are going, if they’ve gone there before and if it’s worthwhile for others to go there, too.
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2 Things I Despise About Driving for Uber/Lyft
The first is that the pay rate is constantly changing and it never ever ever gets better for the drivers. It’s becoming a joke and it’s going to lose the companies their drivers if they continue going the way they are, but I’m sure Uber and Lyft are banking on the fact that people are living paycheck to paycheck and this is the best gig they can find right now. They’ll always have someone who is willing to drive for them for peanuts.
The second is that my van is quickly turning into a pile of junk. I’ve put so many miles on it so far that it would be impossible to sell at any kind of profit and I’m still paying off the loan on it. That really bites. I just hope this van won’t crap out before I’m done paying for it because if it does, I won’t be able to afford another vehicle to take its place. I don’t live close enough to my office to justify using Uber or Lyft as a daily commute option and the bus system is pretty unreliable near me, especially in the winter, which seems to last forever around here in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
All in all, in most markets it’s best to drive for Uber and Lyft the way I do – part-time and to supplement other income (or as a flexible way to earn money quickly). Pay rates will change over time and this isn’t the type of job to pay you a lot of money. However, it’s easy to get started, which makes it the perfect part time or side job for many people.
What type of rideshare driver are you – part time or full? What things do you love and what do you hate about Uber/Lyft? Try to keep the ‘things you hate’ equal to the ‘things you love’!
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-Paula @ RSG