Ridesharing as a Side or Main Hustle for College Students
Ridesharing holds benefits for students who are always on the go. (Photo: Amanda M. Gordon)
It’s hard to make a buck, especially when you’re a student. Minimum wage with a full or part time job just doesn’t cut it sometimes, and the stress of finding work that respects the school hours? Forget it. These are all the reasons why college students around the nation have been turning to rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.
It sounds perfect on paper. Use your own car, make your own schedule, and best of all get paid whatever you want. Is it really as great as it seems though? As a Westchester driver I’m here to let you in on a few of the things I’ve learned on the road.
Firstly, does it actually pay? Happily, yes if you put in a good shift of 5+ hours at the right time of day it does. That being said you will not always make the same amount of money on a daily basis and the hours can vary in profitability. There is no fall back if you have a slow shift, and no minimum wage to supplement wasted gas.
Ridesharing is very dependent on the time you go out. During the rush hours when people are going to and from work they need transportation. On those late-night weekend hours when people stumble onto the sidewalk from bars it’s also a big money maker with the occasional drunk tip thrown in, but don’t expect them. It may be common to tip a taxi driver but it’s still not common to tip a rideshare driver.
Is a newer car necessary? Yes and no. This is a tough one because the age limit of cars is about 10 years old and anything older is not allowed by the companies. Ridesharing puts considerable strain on older cars as this job puts considerable strain on your car and if you have an older model this will be an issue going forward–the repairs just might not be worth it.
When starting up as a driver it can be a bit nerve wracking, strangers trusting you to drive them to their destination. Should you talk? Luckily this part gets easier and more natural as you go along. Not everyone wants to chat while some never stop, its part of the job and a factor that can make it enjoyable.
Sometimes you may get the customer that’s a little too drunk or someone who sneaks a bottle of beer in his jacket only for you to find out as he exits the vehicle. You never know what you’re going to get.
Getting started is easy and most documents like registration and insurance can be uploaded right on the driver’s app without having to go to an office or even speaking to anyone.
Payouts are quick but keep in mind no taxes are taken out and if a driver makes over $600 a year they will be responsible to the IRS for the total taxes of that income at the end of the year.
As a main source of income ridesharing can be tough but as a supplement to another job it’s a great option to pay off a few books or bills and maybe even take yourself out for a night.