Driving for ride-sharing companies like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar has become a popular way for many women who want to make some cash on the side. One of its major appeals is its portability as a side hustle — you can do it on the way to or from work, in between errands, or whenever you choose. But there’s a difference between making a few bucks here and there as a ridesharing driver, and building a truly thriving side business. Here are a few ways you can make your ridesharing business a moneymaking success.
Learn the Market
Whether you’re just starting out, or have been in the ridesharing game for awhile, it pays to know the nuances of a constantly-changing business environment. One of the best ways to get a handle on the market is to be a customer and check out your fellow drivers. Don’t be afraid to ask some friendly questions about how much they earn, what obstacles they encounter, and the most lucrative times to drive. Ridesharing training courses and apps like Gridwise can help keep you abreast of relevant events and customer demand.
The Fine Print: Business, Taxes and More
Once you’ve made the decision to start your career as a ridesharing driver, you have a decision to make. Will you be a sole proprietor, an LLC, or S-Corp? If you just jump in and start driving, you’re a sole proprietorship by default. This is the simplest option, tax-wise, but could open you up to liability. An LLC (Limited Liability Company) requires more time and expense to set up, but offers more protection from being sued, which is just as important as having proper insurance for your vehicle.
To make sure your taxes are in order, you’ll have to keep mileage logs, receipts, and have a means of tracking work-related expenses. As a business owner, some tax software is one of the best investments you can make. Knowing what you can and can’t write off as a deduction can make a huge difference when it comes time to file your taxes.
So all your paperwork is in order, and you’ve started driving. How do you maximize your profits? Most experienced rideshare drivers will tell you it comes down to a handful of business practices:
- Endeavor to drive during rush hour and weekends. Simply put, these are the busiest times, when drivers are most in demand.
- Refer new customers, either with business cards, sharing your code with customers or on social media, or asking passengers.
- Make some more money on the side by promoting products in your car. Platforms like CoPilot offer an easy way to get started with this.
- Offer snacks, water, beverages, and other little touches to make your passengers’ ride comfortable and memorable.
- Have a wide variety of music on hand. This is actually a big deal to a lot of rideshare passengers, who will often remember a killer musical selection more than any other facet of customer service.
Leverage Your Time
Keeping a side business running can be rough at the best of times. Maximizing your time is one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face. Make sure you know the surge times in your area, minimize wasted driving, and get the most out of your driving time. Chances are, there are other drivers in the area who know the market already, or even videos or courses that can help keep you informed. Take advantage of them! There’s no shame in making use of every asset you can get your hands on.
Being a rideshare driver can be a fun, rewarding and lucrative way to earn some cash. By endeavoring to be a better driver and arming yourself with the tools you need to excel, you can turn your side hustle into a truly successful bu