Looking for a Ridesharing Gig? Here's How to Prep Your Vehicle

Posted by: Lydia on 5/02/2019

Category: General


Starting a ridesharing gig can be a fantastic way to earn new income, whether you're looking for some extra pocket money or a new full-time job. The great thing about a ridesharing job is how easy it is to attract customers – and the flexibility it offers.

But while ridesharing work is easy to get into, there some things you need to be aware of when just starting out, as it does require a little more than just your car and a tank of petrol to start work. Ticking the boxes on these points will help you start off your new ridesharing venture a positive note, and sidestep any of the issues that can arise for new drivers.

Here are 6 steps you should take when preparing for a ridesharing gig.

1. Research and practise

All new jobs come with a learning curve, so don't be too worried if you encounter a few bumps in the road with your first couple of fares. At the same time, building up positive ratings on rideshare apps is often crucial to success on the platforms, as it will win you more customers.

Even if you know your local area well, you'll probably be driving all over your city and its surrounds as a rideshare driver. That’s why some research into your city's busiest roads, unfamiliar neighbourhoods, peak hour congestion, and even the existence of other issues like wild animals is a smart move. You should also drive around the city at different times of day to familiarise yourself with the areas and the flow of traffic.

By building local knowledge, you can avoid hazards and delays and give your fares a great experience.

2. Check licensing and other requirements

Although Uber needs plenty of drivers to service all of their 100 million customers around the world, a key requirement in Australia is that all Uber drivers have their full license. This means if you have your probationary license, you won’t be able to drive for them right now (and it's probably a similar story with other companies).

Because of these prohibitions and other limitations in the ridesharing space, many entrepreneurial drivers looking for some extra income may consider starting their own ridesharing venture.

While it is possible to start your own ridesharing business, it's essential to remember it’s not as simple as just launching a website and offering to drive people around. If you plan to go down this path, it’s best to get some professional advice about your new business and go from there.

3. Have insurance

While ridesharing can be a fun and generally safe job, the more you're on the road, the more your risk of an accident increases. Fortunately, many ridesharing drivers find the more they drive, the more their driving improves, including their ability to anticipate accidents.

But even if your driving is excellent, another driver can be at fault and involve your car in a fender-bender.

That’s why considering your insurance cover in-depth is really essential. For example, if your car is involved in a crash and it takes two weeks to get repaired, that’s two weeks of lost income you won't be compensated for without the right type of cover. Some rideshare companies provide certain supplemental insurance, but it's also wise to consider whether you need to take out your own business insurance. Check with your rideshare company and insurance agent for appropriate advice.

4. ABN and GST registration

In order to work a ridesharing gig, you’ll likely need to process some paperwork. Getting an Australian Business Number (ABN) and registering for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

should be considered as you plan your new gig, depending on your ridesharing gig’s requirements.

5. Get backup gear

If you're driving to a friend’s party and your GPS fails, it isn’t usually a big deal – you’ll just be a few minutes late. But when you're a rideshare driver, fares will expect you to get them to their destination quickly and to deliver a problem-free experience. If you don’t, you may not only get a bad rating, but you'll have to deal with other drama like a fare withholding payment.

That’s why having backup gear and plans in place is vital. Sometimes problems are completely unforeseeable (like sustaining a tyre puncture) – but most problems that arise can be anticipated. So grab a second smartphone and GPS as backup.

6. Clean and service your car regularly

Your family and friends may not fuss too much if there’s a takeaway wrapper or some sand from the beach in your car. But for customers, a dirty vehicle can ruin their whole experience. That’s why it’s crucial to set up a regular schedule for cleaning your vehicle when ridesharing.

This scheduling should also apply to regular services. As a rideshare driver, your vehicle will shift from personal use to business use. That means an increased risk of problems arising. Getting your vehicle serviced and checked regularly is important.

Have fun (and make notes about difficult fares)

Having a ridesharing gig is a lot of fun, and most fares you encounter will be pleasant. Unfortunately, you're also likely to encounter a difficult fare here and there.

And because the old adage ‘The customer is always right’ often applies, if there's a complaint with your service, you may find yourself on the back foot at the start in trying to explain what really happened.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a notebook while you drive and make some brief notes if you encounter a difficult fare. It’s tempting when you're busy to skip this process, but it can be really helpful if a complaint is made. An event like this is likely to be rare, but because you’ve spent a lot of time and money getting started as a rideshare driver, it’s smart to take steps to protect your reputation and income.

Follow these steps and you can be certain you’ll build some good income as a rideshare driver. Happy driving!

What other preparations do you feel are important for a rideshare gig? Let us know in the comments below:

Image: Pixabay