Ride-sharing companies treat their drivers as independent contractors, not employees. So if you’re thinking of being an Uber or Lyft driver, you can’t expect wages from the company. You won’t also be paid for time-offs, nor compensated for overtime and health insurance. In other words, you’d essentially fend for yourself.
That means the cost for your car’s repairs, maintenance, and modification will also come from your pocket. It can be a bit stressful to think about, but there are great perks too. You’re in full control of your time, you’re your own boss, and you can get discounts and other rewards for car-related expenses. Uber, in particular, also allows drivers to sign up for an injury protection plan, which will give you checks every month if you get injured while working. They also included tuition assistance for the Arizona State University in their perks.
Considering those, being a ride-sharing driver isn’t so bad after all. The upfront costs of preparing your car are the only downside, but you can earn your money back quickly after getting generous bookings.
But before you take off, note these qualities that your passengers will be delighted to see in your car:
1. Clean Inside and Out
Uber and Lyft are both known for their clean and sleek fleet. Live up to the reputation by giving your car a thorough cleaning before starting on the job. Invest in some car-specific cleaners for the interiors, so that every surface will be spotless, shiny, and fresh. Don’t forget the disinfectants as well; you can provide one for your passengers. And before taking in a new passenger, disinfect the seats and the surfaces. If your city’s protocols require acrylic shields to be put in cars, go and install one between the front seats and the backseats before accepting bookings.
2. Fix the Imperfections on the Exteriors
If your car’s exteriors are riddled with stains, scratches, and other signs of its age, splurge on complete detailing. You can also do the procedure yourself, though buying your own car detailing machine won’t give much difference on the price. But you can use it whenever you need it, which will be convenient in urgent times; for example, when a passenger has spilled their drink on the door.
3. Improve Your Car’s Stereo
Though your passengers will likely have their earplugs on when they hop into your car, improve your car’s stereo, nonetheless. Consider that it’s for your own entertainment, too.
A high-quality stereo system will drastically boost your car’s audio quality, making it more crisp and clear. It will make listening to music and podcasts much more enjoyable. The new components don’t necessarily cost a lot, too. You can just upgrade what you already have if your budget is limited. Besides, it’s better to improve your audio quality gradually than to change it all in one go.
4. Cover the Backseats in Faux Leather
Since many ride-sharing passengers bring take-out beverages with them into the car, they risk spilling and permanently staining your seats. But you can prevent the latter by covering your backseats in faux leather. It doesn’t absorb liquid, so it’s easy to clean and maintain. It gives your car a more luxurious look as well.
5. Install an Air Freshener
It’s not enough to just clean your car and expect it to smell fresh all the time. Boost the effect by installing an air freshener on the AC. The only downside to this is some passengers who might be sensitive to smells. Still, it’s better to welcome them into a fresh-scented car; there are lighter scents that don’t cause headaches anyway.
Look for clean fabric scents because they’re universal and aren’t harsh on the nose. Avoid perfume-like fragrances like vanilla or anything too overpowering. Consider the season as well before choosing; in the summer, for example, go for sea salt or any other scent that reminds you of the beach. Do the same for the rest of the seasons: Sweet scents for autumn, musky scents for winter, and floral scents for spring.
6. Don’t Abuse Your Car
Driving your car every day for ride-sharing can abuse the car, so don’t add to your auto’s daily strain by taking note of the following:
- Don’t overfill your tank. Stop pumping when the fuel pump automatically shuts off and you hear the click.
- Refill the tank before it gets empty.
- Don’t keep the engine idle for more than 10 minutes. Shut it off if a passenger’s taking too long.
- Avoid slamming the brakes on stops and accelerating suddenly when the lights turn green. Practice “feather footing”, or stepping on the pedals gently.
- Don’t delay oil changes. You can already start even before the dash lights give you the signal. Changing the oils early on prolongs your car’s health.
You may not have the best job in the world as a ride-sharing driver, but it can give you a high-performing car with a long, healthy life. Using your car for business purposes lets you discover ways to continually improve your ride.