This is a transcript of Episode 20: What’s It Like To Be A Brand New Rideshare Driver.  You can find show notes, comments and more by clicking here.  You can also listen to the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Man: Welcome to The Rideshare Guy Podcast, the site that’s dedicated to helping drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder. So whether you drive for Lyft, Uber, Sidecar, or anything in between, we’ve got you covered. And now, here’s your host, Harry Campbell.

Harry: Hey. What’s going on everyone? Harry here, and I just want to say thanks for joining our podcast whether you’re a first time listener or you’ve been with us since the beginning. Thanks for stopping by and checking out this episode. Episode number 20, what it’s like to be a brand new Rideshare driver.

Now, I actually just finished up my business of a Rideshare course over on the blog and I’m giving that away completely free so you can find that on the site. Or if you want it delivered straight to your email inbox, you can sign up on maximumridesharingprofits.com, and that’s where we host our video course. We’re also giving away this free business of Rideshare course where you guys can go and learn about everything from setting up an LLC for your business to looking at business checking accounts and even business credit cards or gas credit cards which is something we’ll touch on in this episode.

And from there, we’ll take you through all the best apps to track your mileage and cover taxes and all of that good information. So that’s the business of Rideshare course and it’s available now. It can be delivered to your inbox, email inbox, in seven days. It’s a six-day course, so hope you guys will enjoy that and get to take some time to head over there and check it out. I’ll live a link in the show notes so you guys can subscribe and check it out.

But onto today’s show, I’m pretty excited for today’s show. We’ve got a pretty cool interview. This is one that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. It’s actually I wanted to find a brand new driver. So today’s show is going to be all about what it’s like; what the perspective is like from the shoes of a brand new Rideshare driver, so someone who hasn’t been doing it for a year or two years. And when I look back and think, I’m actually now, I’m over a year. I’ve been driving for over a year, which is pretty crazy to think about because I started my blog right about the same time that I started driving and it’s now been a full year.

So I wanted to get someone who had a little bit of experience, as in a couple of weeks, so they were able to get the hang of things and they knew the ropes of how things are working. And maybe you were starting to look at ways of optimizing their income, and the good and the bad, and also someone who just necessarily hasn’t been jaded yet by fare cuts or the bad or the good or any of that stuff.

As you guys know when you’re first getting started, there are ton of questions. I just want to figure out how I can help those people. And I also think that it’s good to just remind everyone what it’s like as a new driver. The problems, the challenges they face. And also to look at it because these new drivers are coming on and they don’t know what’s happened in the past. They’re coming in with a fresh set of eyes, and I think that can be really valuable. Because when you’ve been doing something for so long, you tend to overlook a lot of small things, maybe even some big things. So that’s kind of what this show is going to be all about. Hopefully, you guys will enjoy it.

This episode and show notes can be found at therideshareguy.com/episode20. I want to give quick thanks. We’ve got a couple of more five star reviews in iTunes. We’re actually at the 48 five star reviews in iTunes. So just two more and will be at 50. So thanks to Liquor Fish and I am Salt Lake for leaving those awesome five star reviews. I definitely appreciate it.

Make sure you stay tune to the end too because Ned is going to give out some pretty good tips. And I specially love the last few items that he talks about on the podcast, and he definitely save the best for last. So you guys will see that he really brings… He’s very analytical like me, and maybe that’s why I ended up having him on the podcast, because I saw a little bit of myself in him. But I think you guys will definitely enjoy it because he provides some really good insight. So without further ado, let’s get onto the interview with Ned Malone. Hey, Ned, how are you doing today?

Ned: All right. How are you, Harry?

Harry: I’m doing well. Just here in Newport Beach hanging out in my office. How about yourself?

Ned: I’m good. I’m sitting here in my living room in Washington D.C. It’s a dreary day outside, but that means it’s a good day for Rideshare driving.

Harry: Is that true? Awesome. Well, we’ll definitely get into that and more. But before we do, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself so we can get to know you and maybe why you started driving too.

Ned: Yeah, sure. So I’m originally from North Carolina moved to D.C. in 2008 and I’m a grad student at American University. I’m pursuing a PhD in Public Administration. And so basically, the reason I started Rideshare driving, and I’m currently driving for Lyft, and soon probably for Uber. My job at the university ended in April and I have a new job starting in June. I had a gap in my income, so I figured, “Well, I might as well try this out for a month and see how it goes and make some cash.” And the other reason is I’ve actually always enjoyed being a passenger in Rideshare so I thought it would be neat to try the driver perspective.

Harry: Interesting. Yeah, I think a lot of actually new drivers probably. Well, I don’t know about a lot but I think definitely some, because that’s how I got started. I actually was taking as a passenger bunch and I started driving. So I’m curious, so what was your passenger experience like and what made you want to start driving for Uber and Lyft?

Ned: Well I guess, I tend to take Lyft in D.C. I started out doing that because when they first came to D.C. they had some really great passenger promotions. So a lot of free rides, so it just made sense. But I enjoy random conversations in general. And so I just enjoyed striking up conversations with the drivers and I found that we would have really interesting conversations about all kinds of random topics. Each time I got into a car, it seems I had a different interesting conversation. So yeah, I figured in addition to making some cash, I could also built in networking. I mean, meet all kinds of people. So I enjoyed that meeting aspect from the passenger’s side and I thought I could try it from the driver’s side as well.

Harry: Yeah, definitely. So one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on is because you are a brand new driver. So how long have you been driving at this point?

Ned: I’ve been driving for about two and a half weeks. I’ve given 63 rides total.

Harry: Coo, cool. Yeah. And I think a lot of us can probably think back in 63 rides for someone who’s been driving for a while is a very long time ago. So obviously, we’re very curious to hear some of your initial observations and just get the sense of what it’s like to be a new driver. So maybe you can give us a little bit about what was some of the initial observations you made maybe through the sign up process or just getting started in general with Lyft, right?

Ned: Yeah, with Lyft. So one thing I’ll say that I did appreciate about Lyft is that I met with a mentor in person, so people probably know Lyft has the mentor program. And so that was nice to meet someone face-to-face and know that they could be there to help me with some of my questions as I got started. But honestly, you get thrown into it. There’s only so much they can do to help you out, and so you learn best just by doing. And so I would say one of my initial impressions was that there’s a little bit of anxiety involved because you go from being a person who just drives yourself and your family around to being a person who drives strangers around, and that can be a little unnerving at first.

I don’t know if I call this a mistake, but I made the decision to start driving. My first ever ride run at Saturday night. And my third trip, I picked up a guy who brought an open beer in my front seat and I had to tell him to get out. I was nice about it, but I said, “You can’t have that in here.” And so I call it like baptism by fire.

Harry: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I know. I think that’s actually an interesting point. If you could do it over, do you think starting on a Saturday night is a good idea or would you rather ease into it on maybe on Tuesday afternoon and get a couple of rides or were you pretty comfortable after a few rides on that first Saturday night?

Ned: It probably depends on the person’s personality. For me, I’m slightly more introverted. And now, I don’t drive at night really at all except during the week a little bit. I would say if you’re more like me, probably start on afternoon. Actually, I drove the next day on a Sunday afternoon and I noticed how incredibly more laid back it was. Everything was just lower pressure. And also, you’re driving in the daylight, so navigation is a little bit easier. It’s not as much of a challenge to carry conversation and navigate during the daytime, so that was better.

Harry: Yeah, definitely. That’s a good point. Yeah, I think that’s a good tip because that’s how I got started. I remember doing a few rides during the day maybe after work. And then eventually, when I got brave enough, I went and try to Friday night and then on Saturday night, and eased into it. Because there is a lot to take in. I guess on that first Saturday night, you experience one of the very common problems with driving on Saturday night.

Ned: That’s right. Yeah.

Harry: So how did you handle that situation? You mentioned that you didn’t give the ride. But I’m curious to know, for someone who really has no idea or just getting started, how would you handle a situation like that?

Ned: Well, I actually did end up giving the ride. I said to him, “Hey sorry, you can’t have that in here.” And at first he was kind of shocked because he was already pretty inebriated at that point.

Harry: What time was this?

Ned: This was about 11:30, so it’s relatively late.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: I said, “You can’t have it in here,” and he basically accepted it begrudgingly, and drank the beer, threw it in the bushes, and then got in the car. And it was a little bit aggressive with his questioning about, why is this policy in existence and all this stuff. I toe the line between sympathizing with him and also not condoning that behavior.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: And actually, by the end of the ride, we had found some music, a radio station we liked. He actually wanted to drive for Lyft by the end of it. And I was trying to get him for the driver referral, but his car was too old.

Harry: Nice, nice. First night, you already worked in the driver referral. That’s what I want to hear. So that’s smart.

Ned: Yeah.

Harry: Well, that brings me to my next question. Why did you choose Lyft instead of Uber to get started with?

Ned: Yeah. So I’d say, first of all, just straight up practicality. They had a great promo going. I think it’s actually still going on. It’s the double-sided driver referral program. If you sign up with an existing driver’s code, then you get $500 after you give 30 rides in your first 30 days.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: And so I was like, “Well, that’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Harry: Definitely.

Ned: I’m just going to go for that. But at the same time, it was also I had always preferred being a Lyft passenger. I found the Lyft drivers generally to be a little more personable and also had better drivers.

Harry: Interesting.

Ned: Some of the Uber ex-drivers, they got me from point A to point B but I found them to almost be green in their driving skills; like not green, like eco-friendly, like green as in naive.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: Like quick lane changes, lot of short stops, stuff like that.

Harry: Interesting.

Ned: Yeah. I found the quality of the Lyft drivers to be a little higher.

Harry: Yeah. I haven’t really heard that too much but I do think that some of the general trends because I try to talk to a lot of passengers too. Always, they have a lot of friends that take Uber. And some of the general trends that I’ve seen are there a lot of passengers are feeling like maybe some of the Uber drivers aren’t as… They’re in a hurry to get to the next ride so they aren’t as careful with their passengers. So that’s definitely a good point. Because the number one thing that drivers have to keep in consideration is keeping the passengers safe. And the passenger really wants to get a safe ride from A to B, so you really have to keep them safe at all times, and your definition of safety could be very different from the passengers.

Ned: That’s true. Yeah.

Harry: Cool. Yeah, it’s pretty interesting. So it sounds like your passenger experience really was determining factor in why you started with Lyft, and obviously, the sign-up bonus which I do think is still active in Washington D.C. and other cities.

Ned: That’s right.

Harry: Cool. So now that you’ve got 63 rides under your belt, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what it’s like from the driver’s perspective now that you have a little bit of experience?

Ned: Yeah, sure. So it definitely gets easier with time. So it’s just like most things, practice makes you better. And I think I would really counsel patience, because it probably took me I would say three, four days before I really felt comfortable and the butterflies went away. But actually, what I’ve found is that as a driver, I have to be really strategic. And this is something I did not anticipate. Maybe we can talk about this more. But I think at first, I was maybe a little bit naive and just thought I’m just going to go out, flip on the app and just drive around and make money. And I didn’t expect to become a millionaire or anything, but I guess I thought it will be a little bit more simple.

Harry: Yeah, yeah.

Ned: I mean, you can certainly do that. And I do know some other drivers in the community here who just they don’t strategize very much, but that’s not really my nature. Like I said, I’m a doctoral student. I’m very analytical.

Harry: Yeah, you and me though.

Ned: Yeah, and that’s one of the reasons I gravitated towards your blog. But I have found that it’s more complicated than you think. So you have to consider what time of day you’re driving, what location you’re driving in, whether you want to drive around looking for passengers or just sit still and wait for them to come to you. And then there’s the whole aspect of your expenses. How are you factoring in gas, vehicle appreciation, time used? It’s just there are lots of variables that go into it, and taxes of course. And I think maybe it’s more complicated than a lot of passenger lay people realized.

Harry: Yeah. I think that’s a great observation. Because on its surface, what I like to say is being a driver seemed so simple, right? You pick someone up at point A and drop them off at point B. So what could be so hard about that?

Ned: Right.

Harry: But then it’s like once you start peeling back all of these layers, you start to see all these issues and things like maximizing income, and obviously, which is what I talked about a lot. And I think that there are a lot of drivers, at least some drivers out there who are happy just going out and driving from point A to point B and doing rides and not worrying. Obviously, they’re happy with making more but they’re not going to really go out of their way. But I think it takes almost not a special kind of person but it takes a motivated person like your eye to really start looking at the numbers and not ignore things like expenses and taxes. Maybe you can touch on that a little bit?

Ned: Yeah, absolutely. So once I started to want to dig deeper into those numbers, I took a tip from your blog and signed up for SherpaShare.

Harry: Okay, cool.

Ned: And actually, I just became a SherpaShare ambassador in D.C. There’s only two of us; two ambassadors here. Yeah, I got into the SherpaShare website and also their new iPhone app. And then in addition to that, I keep a spreadsheet through Google Docs on my phone so I just have my own log in addition to this SherpaShare tracking. And that’s been really helpful just to get a real idea of my earnings. Because Lyft is great and that they send you this daily driver summary, but I believe the hours on there are only the hours that you’re in driver mode.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: And I started to wonder about I’m putting a lot more time into this than when I’m in a driver mode.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: And so yeah, that led me to go a lot deeper and eventually led me to SherpaShare.

Harry: Cool. So what kind of realizations? I guess I’m curious to know maybe what you found or what you are looking for. Because obviously, we get numbers from Uber, we get numbers from Lyft about what our total earnings are from them. But obviously, there are things like expenses and taxes, so I’m curious to know how you’re factoring that in if it matters to you or if you just want to track it.

Ned: It matters very much to me. Tracking is the first step, I think. But I’m interested in taking the data that I gathered from tracking and then analyzing it, and then using that in turn to become more strategic with my driving. On the Lyft website, I don’t know about Uber, but it says, “Make up to $35 an hour.” That’s obviously pretty enticing.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: I don’t know what it would take to do $35 an hour. I think maybe you would have to drive exclusively during prime time or surge pricing like in the middle of the night with the bar crowd or something. Maybe that’s what it takes. So I started out with just my normal driving habits. It looks like I was making around maybe $10 to $12 an hour. And since I become more strategic, it’s edging up towards about $15, which I find a little more acceptable. And of course, that setting aside the double-sided, the $500 bonus, and then passenger referral bonus. I just exclude those for my hourly earnings because I want to try to figure out how much am I making just from driving, not any kind of referral stuff.

Harry: Definitely. And I think that’s the way to do it. It’s to figure out how much you’re actually making from driving. And obviously, there are a lot of ancillary opportunities which we can touch on later. So you’re $10 to $12 and then now $15, that figure is taking into account the number that Uber or Lyft gives you after their commission and then minus your gas expenses and appreciation.

Ned: It’s minus gas and taxes.

Harry: Got you.

Ned: I haven’t factored in depreciation yet. It’s obviously, if you really dig into that, it’s really hard to figure out what depreciation per mile would be.

Harry: Definitely.

Ned: But I did looked at your post you had recently, I think in the last couple days, about how much is your vehicle really costing you.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: I haven’t done the online calculator yet. But I have a 2012 Honda CRV. And based on what I read on there, the fact that it’s about three years old, so it’s passed the steepest part of the depreciation curve. It’s a very fuel-efficient vehicle. It has a good resale value tendency. A lot of those things lead me to believe that I’m doing about the best I can in terms of depreciation.

Harry: Yeah, definitely. And I think that make sense too. Especially now with rates getting lower, I think it’s easy to overlook the costs of vehicles because it’s a delayed cost or maybe you bought the car years ago, right? Especially part time drivers that are doing it aren’t going out and buying brand new cars for this. But maybe they bought one in the past and now they’re using it for driving with Lyft or Uber. So I think it’s definitely important. And that’s obviously one of the things I’ve tried to help people out with a ton but it is confusing and it is a lot of work to track that. So it’s definitely interesting to hear from someone who’s just getting started and already discovering all of the tools that are out there to help and how difficult it can be too.

Ned: Yeah, absolutely. And one thing I would point out with the per hour earnings is that, SherpaShare, I believe that’s accounting for taxes, so that $15 per hours after taxes.

Harry: Got you.

Ned: So if you’re comparing this to other jobs, like I’m about to start working for a federal agency that will pay me about $25 an hour, that’s a before tax figure that they’re giving me. So it’s actually not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Harry: Yeah, definitely. And I think that’s one thing that a lot of people missed. Because most people aren’t familiar with getting paid 1099 and they don’t realize that, “Hey, I know I have to save something for taxes.” But if you are going to compare it to a job that says pay say $25 an hour, that is a before tax number. So it’s definitely something to keep in mind I think. So you talked about SherpaShare a little. Have there been any other tools that have really helped you or maybe resources or things that maybe you’ve come up with on your own that you think could be really helpful for new drivers? Maybe give us a couple of examples of something that new drivers have to check out or have to do or use.

Ned: I’ve used your blog a lot. I found it very helpful. Other than that, in terms of actual tools when you’re Rideshare driving, you have to choose a navigation app or you should. I guess you could try doing it without navigation, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

Harry: I wouldn’t recommend that either.

Ned: I recently just switched from Google Maps to Waze. And frankly, in a city like this that has a ton of traffic, I find Waze to be more effective at finding alternate routes and getting me from point A to point B more quickly. But some people have strong preferences and prefer Google Maps. The other tool that I would mention is the GasBuddy app. And Harry, you know that I suggested. I would love to see a post on your blog about minimizing gas costs.

Harry: And by the time this podcast comes out, we’ll actually have that post up on the blog.

Ned: Oh, sweet. Well, great. Yeah, I like the GasBuddy app and that’s a free app. I think they have a paid version as well, but you might as well just get the free one on the App Store, and I’m sure it’s on the Android as well.

Harry: Yeah, it’s on Android.

Ned: I really like that. I actually have a rewards card. One of my credit cards gets me rewards from Exxon and Mobil stations.

Harry: Oh, nice.

Ned: So I use the GasBuddy app to figure out, “All right, what stations are closest to me right now? Can I get rewards there and is the price that they’re charging for the gas there a good price?” So I think that really helps. It was gas strategy, I guess you can call it.

Harry: Yeah, definitely. And there are so many things that you can do, and I think a lot of these little things matter. I know that one thing I’ve tried to do when I’m out driving is really do a lot of this stuff in my downtime. So for example if I’m in between waiting for a ride and I see that I’m getting low on gas or maybe I need gas in an hour or two, that’s when I start looking at GasBuddy and figuring out, “Hey, which gas station is nearby?” or, “Which one is gonna give me…?” Like you said, if you have rewards credit card that will get you more points. And these are all little things to consider. So it’s like maximizing your time too, if that makes sense.

Ned: Yeah. And I will say, I think one of the things I did not anticipate that I’ve learned is the intangible benefit of learning how to be a great manager of my time. I think already, I was pretty good with time management. But I think Rideshare driving has made me just a perch at a whole new more efficient way, and I’m actually seeing at play out in other areas of my life. Like when I’m driving, I’m always thinking about, “What is the best use of my time right now? How can I maximize my revenue and minimize my costs?” And when I’m done driving I come home, instead of just like plopping down on the couch or whatever, I’m still in driver mindset, “All right, what’s the best use of my time right now?” And my wife even noticed. She’s like, “You’re a lot quicker these days.”

Harry: That’s pretty interesting. That’s definitely an interesting observation. Yeah, maybe we can expand on that a little. Because I think there are definitely a lot of parallels that can help you with driving. I’m curious to know a few. Maybe we can talk about the good and the bad. But the few after a couple weeks of driving, what are some of the benefits that you’ve seen from being a driver?

Ned: Well, like I mentioned networking earlier, I’ve met a few people and we’ve shack up a conversation and they’ve been interested in my dissertation research. So I got a business card from them and we’ve exchanged emails. So that was, I think, intangible. Who knows where it will lead, but it could lead to somewhere. Other benefits, if you can be strategic, I think the money is still decent. I know that fares have been cut and who knows when that will stop. But I think if you’re smart about it, work smarter and not harder, you can still make decent money doing this.

And another thing that I love, and this is actually this might be my favorite thing, I love the autonomy of driving. I can’t go driving like just any old time. But when I do go out driving, I can turn off driver mode, take a quick break, grab a coffee or whatever and just park and take a break. There’s no manager whose breathing down my neck or telling me, “Do this. Do that.” You’re your own boss, I think, to a great extent. And that flexibility is very appealing.

Harry: Yeah. I’ve definitely touched on that in the past. And I think that is one of the main reasons why people value this line of work so much. And I know we’ve talked about it a little bit offline, but do you feel like someone who maybe, you mentioned that you’re going to be going into the real workforce soon. Do you think that this experience is going to be helpful or hurtful when you have to go and sit at a 9:00 to 5:00?

Ned: I think it will be really helpful. Now, me personally, the job I’m starting is a part-time job. And in the future when I’m done with my graduate degree, frankly, this experience has made me want to seek out a non-9:00 to 5:00 job.

Harry: Interesting.

Ned: And if it is a 9:00 to 5:00 job, one thing you are finding in more traditional workplaces these days is that more of them are offering flexible schedule and teleworking. So that’s something. I think for me, I would definitely be looking for that in a job just based on how much I enjoy flexibility and autonomy. But no. I think this experience has been really helpful and it will be helpful in a 9:00 to 5:00 job just learning these lessons about efficiency and number crunching. These are lessons that are broadly applicable beyond Ridesharing.

Harry: Yeah, and that’s one of the things that I’ve noticed too in my experience from being a driver and starting my own business in regards to the blog and the podcast. But also having some corporate experience, you can really take the best aspects of a lot of different areas. So for example, when I was working as an engineer, they are really big on standardized processes and standardized work when you’re doing repetitive tasks, right? You want to do a lot of work upfront so that you can outline. So that when you do it in the future, you don’t have to say, “Hey, why did I do that one time?” You can repeat these tasks. And I think they are so much carryover between different industries and it almost benefits you to work in multiple areas.

Ned: Right, right. Definitely. It’s almost like you gather best practices as you go along.

Harry: Yeah, that’s cool. And so I don’t think you mentioned it yet. But obviously, so you started with Lyft. And so have you considered driving for Uber? Have you considered other services? Because I think that I know that I was like you. I started with Lyft and then I switched over to Uber. And then now obviously, I’m trying out a bunch of different services. But I think there’s a lot of interesting room to expand into other services. What are your thoughts on that?

Ned: Yeah, absolutely. So I have actually applied for Uber and I’ve been approved. I’m not driving just yet, but I have found that there’s a little bit of downtime sometimes in-between rides. And I think my impression is that demand for Uber is little higher here in D.C. than it is for Lyft, although I think Lyft is actually really surging right now. But, yeah. I decided to sign up for Uber. I’m going to try out driving for both.

I’m not committed to doing that in the long term but I’m curious to see if I have less downtime when I do that. The other two services I have considered, I may not have time for this when I start working again, but Instacart and Postmates. So it tends to get a little slow around lunchtime here in D.C. for Rideshare driving so I’m curious to see whether that might be a good time to drive for Postmates. And then Instacart, I’m actually seeing Instacart is getting a lot more popular here in D.C.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: And maybe this is strange, but I actually enjoy grocery shopping. I love hunting for deals and stuff like that, and so to get paid to go and do that for someone else and then maybe involving some driving. I thought that might be worth a shot so I might check out Instacart as well.

Harry: Yeah, and I think most people are probably familiar with Postmates. But like you mentioned, Instacart is basically grocery shopping and delivery, and I’m not too familiar. I know about them but I’m not too familiar with the nuts and bolts, but it definitely maybe one of the services I explore. So it sounds like your main motivation for signing up with Uber was along the lines of maximizing the income and taking advantage of those downtimes possibly with the Uber app?

Ned: Yeah, exactly. I think it’s a chance to be a little more efficient with my time and make little more money. I will say for the record that I definitely still, I’m more of a Lyft loyalist. And so I feel that part of me feels a tiny bit guilty. So we’ll see how this goes. But I’m curious to see driving for Uber, if it tends to attract different types of passengers or how the experience might be different from being a Lyft driver.

Harry: Are you scared that you might sign up with Uber and you might start making way more money with Uber and get a way more request and forget about Lyft?

Ned: Making way more money doesn’t scare me. It would be a shame though. I don’t think I’ll ever stop driving for Lyft. I really admire the company’s vision and mission and I’m actually really excited about Lyft line. I’m hoping that they’ll bring Lyft line to D.C. because I would love to see traffic reduced here in D.C.

Harry: Definitely.

Ned: I’m still pretty loyal to the Lyft Company. But yeah, if I started to see that I was making more money with Uber, I would probably gravitate towards that a little bit more.

Harry: Yeah, and I think that’s the biggest challenge. Because in most cities, you do make more money as an Uber driver. If you’re leveraging both apps, you will probably get a majority of your request on Uber. But at the same time, I think it’s really good for passengers and drivers in general. Obviously in any industry, you always want competition, so there’s some short-term sacrifice. But in the long-term, if Lyft does well and then it will going to be a big competitor to Uber, that’s going to benefit both drivers and passengers long-term.

Ned: Right. Yeah, I agree with that.

Harry: So cool. So before we wrap up here, maybe you can talk a little bit about a couple of challenges you face, or maybe even give us the worst thing that you found about driving. Because we’ve talked about a lot of the good and I want to present the entire picture too. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about something in negative?

Ned: Yeah, sure. I’ll throw out three things. One is that you probably will not make as much money as advertised. So if you go in assuming that you will make that much, then you’re going to be disappointed. So just be patient and be strategic.

Harry: Are you expecting to make $35 an hour?

Ned: I wasn’t expecting to, but I was expecting to make more than $15 an hour. I’ve been a little bit disappointed by that.

Harry: Got you.

Ned: Second of all, I don’t like sitting on my butt in the car for such a long stretch of time. I generally, I’m a pretty active person. And so that’s actually been a downside. I try to get out of the car and stretch as much as I can, but you can just get in a busy stretch where you’re not really able to get out of the car.

Harry: Yeah.

Ned: And so you have to be proactive to turn off driver mode and just a take a break, which I think is really important for both mental and physical health. And then the final thing is Rideshare driving can be addictive. Because you’ll be sitting there at home or maybe you have a lawn [SP] and whatever you’re doing at home. And you turn on the app and you’re like, “Oh, this actually might be a good time to drive.”

Harry: Good time to drive.

Ned: But then it’s don’t forget that you have friends and family and relationships you need to maintain. Or I guess I would just encourage people to always say like, “What is the best use of my time right now and may not be a Rideshare driving?” In fact, you shouldn’t just go out any old time. That’s a mistake, I think, some drivers make. Sometimes I turn on the app in the middle of the afternoon and there seems like dozens of drivers just sitting there. I’m wondering, “Is that really the best use of your time?” So just make sure it is.

Harry: Yeah. You know what? I really love that. Because I think one of the best things about being a driver is that you can just flip on your app whenever you want, tight? But it’s not necessarily always the best use. I love that term, “the best use of your time.” Because there are many other things that you could probably be doing at that time and then move driving to a later time.

Ned: Yeah. And I will say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the value of considering if you’re going to get a return trip. So you might go out during a slow time and you might get ride and take a passenger. It’s pretty lucrative. But then because there’s a lot of time, you’re going to be stuck somewhere without a return trip and you might end up having to drive back without a passenger. And essentially, you might even cancel out your earnings. Whereas during a busy time, you’re much more likely to get that return trip and that’s just a much better use of your time. So don’t get in that trap of driving during slow times. I think that’s pretty risky. I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Harry: Yeah, that’s a good point. So, awesome. Well, I think all of the advice that you gave was super helpful and I’m definitely very appreciative of everything. Do you have any final questions for me before we get out of here?

Ned: No, I don’t think so. I just really appreciate the opportunity to come on here and talk with you. And I really love the blog and the podcast, so I hope you’ll keep that going strong.

Harry: Yeah. Well, it is my full-time business now so I do have a motivation to keep it going so I can keep eating and living in an apartment. But other than that, I think I’m definitely excited to hear more from you in the future. Maybe we can touch base again and see how things are going. And other than that, Ned, I appreciate you coming on. And definitely, I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Ned: Yeah, that sounds great. Thanks, Harry.

Harry: All right. Take care.

Ned: You too.

Harry: All right. I just want to say thanks one last time to Ned for taking time out of his busy day to come on the podcast. We actually had a couple technical difficulties, but luckily we got them straightened out and get the podcast recorded. And I’m just really appreciative to the him and everyone who’s come on the podcast and all of my listeners too, because you guys have definitely inspired me to keep on going and keep finding new and interesting stories and people to interview. So it’s definitely fun for me and I love just talking to people about the industry and figuring out more and more ways to help drivers.

So I think that the goal of this podcast was really to put you guys in the shoes of a brand new driver and see what we can learn from them. What challenges and what problems are they facing and how are they solving them? Because I think that one of the things that Ned mentioned that really stood out to me was how as a brand new driver, you’re really just thrown to the wolves and have to figure things out for yourself.

Lyft has its mentor program which I know a lot of drivers like. Uber is experimenting with something similar called the Uber Expert Program. But on the whole, you’re really just thrown to the wolves to figure things out. And he gave some good tips about when to start. Starting on a Saturday night might be a little rough. So that right there just from hearing him say that, I said that’s probably a good bit of advice for brand new drivers to ease into things. And that’s one of the reasons why I actually created my video course with Brian Cole. And it’s our video course over on maximumridesharingprofits.com. And we really wanted to take drivers from the beginning all the way to the end.

So even some things as simple as your set up in your car. Because you’d be shocked at the number of drivers who are driving around without something so simple as a phone mount. These things cost $15 on Amazon. You can get a nice Kenu Airframe and then you never have to worry about getting flagged for navigation or a passenger thinks that you’re driving unsafely, which I know that a lot of passengers don’t like when drivers are looking down at their phone, for example.

So these are just a couple of things. Ned mentioned some of the tools that he is using. And I think that one of the things that really stood out to me was how we think very alike. He’s already looking at ways to maximize income. He’s signing up for Uber because he sees it as a potential to increase his income when times are slow during Lyft. And I think that’s really a smart way to approach things. Because not only is it going to benefit you for Rideshare in general but it’s going to benefit your life and other business opportunities. Because if you’re always thinking about you return on investment, then I think that’s a great way to look at things because you’re saying, “Hey, what could I be doing? Is my time spent? Is it more valuable to be driving right now or maybe I can do something around the house?”

And it doesn’t even necessarily have to be monetary trade off. It could be better to do your laundry at home at 12 p.m. than it is to Rideshare. And then later on at 6 p.m., you go and drive instead of taking care of chores around house. So it’s really just thinking about what time works for you and how to optimize and be as efficient as possible. And I know that for me and my business, especially as a one-man business with only a few people part-time, very part-time helping me out, that’s important. Because no matter how rich or how poor you are, we all have the same number of hours in a day. So I think that’s definitely important.

And it’s cool to hear what kind of tools he was using. I know he mentioned SherpaShare a lot, which I’m actually a big fan of. I know a lot of you guys have signed up for it but maybe some of you haven’t, and maybe you overlooked it when you’re first getting started. And this will be the motivation that go back in and sign up for it. Because I actually interviewed a rider on YouTube the other day and I put a post of a video interview with him right appears with the co-founder of SherpaShare. And they just launched a pretty cool new iPhone app. The best part about their service is it’s completely free, so nice little plug for them. But I do think it is a nice service and it’s free, so it’s definitely worth giving it a shot. And maybe you’ll love it, maybe you don’t, but at least you can try it out.

And I think the key takeaway from me at least is to really think about all of these ways. All of these things are helping drivers and there’s no shortage. If you want to just drop people off from point A and take people from point A to point B, like I said in the podcast, you really can and that’s cool. But if you want to take advantage of all these other ancillary opportunities and use all these tools at your disposal, it’s crazy how many services are popping up, how many companies are popping up, and they’re all looking to help drivers and you can really leverage a lot of them and you can make the most out of this opportunity that you want.

So I think that’s definitely super important. And if you guys, going forward, want to hear any more interviews. If you want to hear new topics, any type of questions that you might have answer or you want it answered on a podcast, definitely let me know because I’m open to all sorts of new ideas and new pitches for podcast.

So you can check out the show notes at the rideshareguy.com/episode20. Subscribe to our email list. Get notified of new articles, new podcast, all that good stuff.

I also want to thank a lot of you who have been using YourMechanic to book appointments. Now, YourMechanic is actually active in Washington D.C. where Ned is from. And last month, I had over 100 people booked appointments. So I advertise it a lot on the podcast and mentioned them on the podcast a lot, so I’m assuming a lot of you who are out there listening right now book an appointment or you’re thinking about it or maybe you have one scheduled. And they’re definitely a cool service. One of my only ad partners. I like them a lot because they are like the Uber for mechanics.

They’ll send a mechanic to your home, to your business, and they have a pretty sweet deal. Use the code RSG15 and you get $20 off your first service. You actually get an oil change done at your house for $20 which is a pretty good deal. And obviously as drivers, things like gas and maintenance on our cars are number one expenses so it’s definitely important to figure out ways to reduce all of the expenses, so I’m all for any of that type of stuff. All right, if you guys have any questions, definitely feel free to reach out to me. Leave a comment. And other than that, I’ll talk to you guys soon.

All right. Take care. Bye.

This is a transcript of Episode 20: What’s It Like To Be A Brand New Rideshare Driver.  You can find show notes, comments and more by clicking here.  You can also listen to the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.