The 6 Things You Should Know Before Taking a Driving Job
Posted by: Dan on 8/02/2016
For many auto enthusiasts, a job behind the wheel has long had a certain appeal. With the rise of rideshare services, this has become even more true. A 2015 study showed that up to 80 % of Uber drivers already had full or part-time employment when they started driving for Uber.
Most people desire a job they’re enthusiastic about, and driving is such a job for many – and everyone loves the extra money that comes with a side gig. But it's also important to make sure you're up to speed on the requirements and regulations beforehand. Doing so ensures you're ready to drive, and helps you avoid any unpleasant surprises once the job is underway. Read on to learn 6 things you need know before taking a driving job.
Most people recognise that in order to drive a car, you need to be licensed. Yet, all licences are not made equal. Even if you just want to take a weeknight shift with your local pizza shop for some extra cash, you need make sure ahead of time that you’re licensed to do so.
While precise licensing requirements vary from job to job and state to state (so it's important to check your local laws), there are a few common barriers to watch out for.
First, even if you passed your probationary licensing and are permitted to drive a car by yourself, there are often still prohibitions concerning the type of car you can drive (such as no V8 or turbo engines), a maximum number of passengers (even if the car can seat five, you may only be allowed one other passenger), and other regulations surrounding towing and transport of goods.
Second, be sure to check the laws that concern large vehicles – anything bigger than a conventional car, such as a camper vehicle, delivery van, or other type of truck can require a separate heavy vehicle licence.
2. Vehicle Requirements
Whether you’re driving for a takeaway shop that does not provide a company car, or you’re keen to kick off a career in ridesharing, you need carefully consider whether your car is suitable (and acceptable) for the job.
That old neon green Datsun you have sitting in the garage may pose more problems than just lack of style – it also can be problematic in terms of reliability. For example, if you break down while on the clock, it could have a significant bearing on your business if a fare is late or a package goes undelivered.
What’s more, many driving jobs require a newer model car as a matter of policy. So if the job you want to take requires one, you need to carefully consider whether or not it’s the right time for you to buy a new car.
It's a reality that the more time you spend on the road, the greater chance you have of being involved in an accident.
To some degree, if you're in a vehicle that shows you're a professional driver – whether that’s a taxi, a courier, or an 18-wheeler – other drivers are inclined to believe that you’re a seasoned driver, and so give you ample space. This notwithstanding, its impossible to avoid all accidents (especially if you encounter a reckless driver), so be certain to check your insurance before beginning a new driving job.
Ensuring you’ve got a policy to protect you in all circumstances – whether you’ve sustained some minor damage to your vehicle that requires some small maintenance, or you’ve been in a crash that leaves you personally injured – is essential.
4. Passenger Health and Safety
Most of the time, the worst a driver might deal with is a Friday fare who throws up in the back seat after too much to drink. If they’re nice, they’ll apologise, pay extra, and all will be forgotten after a trip to the carwash.
In contrast, occasionally drivers need to deal with more demanding circumstances, such as people who get in your vehicle while sick, or who fall sick during the journey.
Most of the time this is easily manageable – just drive them to a doctor or a hospital, or even call an ambulance if necessary, and ask them to meet you by the side of the road. At times, though, this may not be possible, and that means you should know CPR and basic first aid. You should also be aware of your duties and responsibilities to your passengers in this regard, according to the law.
5. Hidden Fees
Taking a new driving gig can seem like a fun way to earn some easy cash, but make sure you really examine any hidden fees you may encounter along the way.
Got a gig driving passengers around town? Excellent! But who pays for petrol – you, or your fare via an add-on fee? Most people who’ve ridden in the back of a cab would think the fuel charge would be added into the passenger’s fee, but companies looking to make their service more attractive by keeping customer fees low, often levy those extra fees on their drivers instead.
So, be sure you’re aware of your total take-home pay before deciding whether the wage paid is one you’re going to be happy with.
Sometimes, the customers you drive around won’t be interesting in chatting with you when you feel like it – and there will be just as many who will want to chat when you don’t. This can be difficult, and that’s one reason why having the right personality for a driving job is so important.
Like with any job, over time drivers grow into their role – so you shouldn’t stress if now and then you feel a little introverted. But at the same time, if you want to be a courier but find yourself regularly flustered in peak hour traffic, you should take the time to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses in determining if a driving job is right for you.
Ultimately, a new driving job can be fun, exciting, and rewarding. It’s a great option for those who love driving, being on the move, and interacting with the wider community around them.
Just make sure you’re considering all the factors before signing up for a new role. In the end, if you're unsure, it never hurts to take more time and ask some more questions.
On the other hand, if you’ve read through this piece and ticked all the boxes? We look forward to seeing you on the roads!
What driving job are you currently considering taking up? Have you ever held a driving job before? What tips can you share? Let us know in the comments below: