© LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters/Corbis
Tempted by the idea of using your car and your free time to bring in some extra money? Before you jump onto the ridesharing wagon, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
App-based ridesharing companies promise you can “earn good money” (Uber), meet “awesome, friendly people” (Lyft) and be “in control” as your own boss (Sidecar), but drivers provide a more nuanced and realistic picture.
“Being a rideshare driver can be a good source of income, but you have to view it as running your own business,” says Josh, an Uber and Lyft driver in Indianapolis. “You have to track your miles for tax deductions and understand your insurance coverage.”
Don’t quit your day job
Ryder Pearce, co-founder of SherpaShare, a Menlo Park, California, company that provides income analytics for rideshare drivers, says 70 percent of drivers work full time at other jobs and rideshare drive for supplemental income. Only 20 percent drive more than 40 hours per week, according to SherpaShare data.
While some drivers have complaints about their experiences, SherpaShare’s year-end 2014 survey of drivers found that 80 percent planned to continue their rideshare work in 2015.
Thinking of joining them? Here are six things you need to know.