Should You Work More Overtime, or Drive for Rideshare?: An Analysis of Your Side Hustle Options

What is better, to work overtime at your current job or to take on a rideshare driving gig on the side? Which will earn you money faster, with the least added stress to your life? RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook walks us through whether rideshare will get you the extra cash you want for that dream vacation, car upgrade, and more.

Though some start gig work because they lost their “regular” job, many start so they can pay for something specific.

They have a debt to pay off, a new home to buy, or a vacation they want. They don’t plan on this being their full-time job or even replacing that income.

But is it reasonable to actually make enough on the side to pay for whatever it is, especially if that item is very expensive?

If you’re considering taking on extra overtime work at your current job, or picking up ridesharing, I’ll break down the reasons why rideshare driving made way more sense for me, both in terms of “less stress” and “more money.”

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Quick Summary: 

  • Not everyone has overtime as an option at their job, so ridesharing could be a good supplement. 
  • To drive for ridesharing services, you’ll need a vehicle. If you don’t already have one, renting is an OK short-term option, but not advised long-term.
  • Ridesharing allows you to work as many hours as you’re comfortable working. 

How Much Are You Willing To Work?

The first thing you need to answer is how much are you actually willing to work, and how long are you willing to work it.

Say you already work 40 hours a week for your 9 to 5 job. Are you willing to work another 20 to 40 hours a week?

Maybe you can do long, 80-hour work weeks for a while, but how long can you continue that before your health starts to suffer, or your friends and family start to worry about you?

I’ve done heavy work months, and then I take a few months of light work.

For instance, December may be a heavy work month where I work a lot more than I typically do. I let my friends and family know that I will have that month set aside for work, but afterward, I’ll be much more available for at least 2 months.

Some have found working a lot one week at a time is the best and then they take the following week off.

If you have a long-term goal, maybe you plan on working extra for one to five years.

Whatever it is you’re trying to attain, decide before you start how much, and for how long, you are willing to work, then plan accordingly.

If you’re considering signing up to drive for Uber, you may have questions about how Uber works, how to navigate the app, and how payments are calculated. Check out Uber’s Learning Center to get answers to those questions and more!

Why Working for Uber May Be Easier Than Working Overtime

One question I got a lot about driving for Lyft when I first started was why not just work overtime at my regular job rather than drive for Lyft.

My regular job did have overtime available, and from time to time I would do it. At the time, overtime would be around $24 an hour for me, and I wasn’t making $24 an hour after expenses doing Lyft.

On paper it does make sense just to work overtime if that’s an option, but there is more to think about than just what makes the most financial sense. In addition, not everyone has working overtime as a viable option.

Driving for Lyft, or having a second job, allowed me to shut off that part of my mind and actually enjoy something else. I didn’t have to worry about all the things going on at work, I just had to drive people around, and when I was done, I was done and could go home.

Another reason I think gig work is better than working overtime is that if you are working an overtime shift and you realize you bit off more than you can chew, and really just need to go home and rest, you can’t until the shift is over. With gig work though, you can turn it off for the night and go home.

Rent to Own

A question we get asked a lot is whether it’s worth it to rent a car to be a rideshare driver.

The short answer is probably not in the long run. But, if you don’t have a car, or the money or credit to get one, it may be the only option you have to start with.

If that’s the case, you should view it as a “rent to own” situation where you rent for now until you can afford to buy your own car.

If you’re only ever going to do this part-time, you must realize the cost of renting a car. Depending on where you live, and what type of car you get, you are likely going to pay  $500 or more per week for a rental car that you can drive for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc.

Unless you drive enough to cover those costs, as well as the cost of fuel, it is likely that it just isn’t worth it to rent a car. It would likely be cheaper to buy or lease a car, even getting a car payment of $700 a month would be cheaper than renting every week. Plus, eventually, you would own that car.

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A better option would be to start with a cheap car that runs and is about 10 years old, right on the edge of the age requirements for vehicles for rideshare driving. Then, once you make money using that car, upgrade to a newer one if needed.

Need to make extra money with your current vehicle to upgrade to a new one? Here are more ways to make money with your car:

Driving part-time and renting a car is not worth it. You can do it on the side from your 9 to 5 job, but you will have to drive a lot, essentially having a second full-time job, to make the payments and a profit on top of that.

Can You Make Money on the Side?

You can absolutely make an extra $500 or even $5,000 on the side while rideshare driving.

One of those ways? Wrapify! Learn how Wrapify works and how much you can earn here: How Much Does A Wrapify Campaign PAY Drivers?

Keep in mind though how much you’ll have to work to make that, and how much wear and tear you’ll put not only on your car, but your body, and your relationships.

Decide if you’d rather work overtime at your regular job, or have another income stream.

Whatever your goals are, take the time to figure them out, and the best way to reach them.

Takeaways for Drivers

If you don’t have overtime as an option at your 9 to 5 job, rideshare driving can be a great way to supplement your income. You can stop and start whenever you want, giving you that freedom and flexibility to work around your schedule while earning that extra income.

Even if overtime is an option at your regular job, you may not be guaranteed overtime or if you find yourself worn out, you can’t just leave your shift and go home. With ridesharing, you can go offline and pick it back up when you’re ready.

What have you used rideshare driving earnings to pay for? 

-Tyler @ RSG