Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have been around for less than 10 years, but they’ve quickly become an important part of getting round the city quickly and cheaply. More of us are seeing that it’s an easy way to make extra cash – if you’ve got a car, a block of free time and a wallet that’s feeling a little light, why not? If you want a piece of the action, check out our guide to buying the right car for ride-sharing.
Checking All the Boxes
First things first. This is a list of requirements for all Uber cars that offer a ride-sharing service. Whether you want to drive for Uber, Lyft or Sidecar, we recommend that the vehicle you buy should meet these criteria:
- Must be 10 years old or newer (model year 2006)
- Must be a four-door car, truck, or minivan.
- Can be automatic or manual
- No major cosmetic damage
- Must pass a vehicle inspection
- Driver’s full name must be on the insurance for the vehicle
- Driver must pass a background check (learn more here)
There are exceptions and additional requirements depending on the type of passengers that you’d like to take, but this is a good starting point.
What Type of Car?
You’ll need a four-door car, 2006 or newer, in good working order. All of the cars that are for sale through TRED have passed a strict 150-point test, so there’s no doubt that they’re reliable. But, there are other considerations when buying a car for ride-sharing.
A practical car that’s fuel-efficient is an absolute must. Stain-resistant seats will save you a lot of heartache. With the wear and tear that ride-sharing causes, choose a car with low maintenance costs. We recommend you buy a car that you’ll enjoy driving – if you’re going to spend a few hours in it a day, it’s a good idea to like your car!
Passengers and Their Requirements
Next, it’s time to start thinking about your routine and how this syncs with potential passengers. After all, you need to know who you’re likely to pick up if you’re going to buy the right car.
If you’re in school full time, the weekends will be when you want to ride-share. Perhaps you’d like to give rides to families? They’re going to need lots of space, an ample trunk for the baby carriage(s) and extra baggage. A car seat might be good idea as a way to set yourself apart. If you want to offer that little bit extra, why not prepare your vehicle for transporting their pet too? Just pack a big towel. (This is your choice – drivers aren’t required to allow pets unless they’re service animals, which you’re required by law to transport).
Buying a big car with the aim of driving during the day means that you also have the option of ride-sharing with people who need lifts to sports practice. You’ll have plenty of room for any equipment they have.
Or maybe you’re a night owl and being part of the nightlife industry would be preferable? Bear in mind that some passengers may be inebriated, so being prepared with a bottle of water, paper towels and other cleaning accessories is sensible. Stain resistant seats are especially important if this is your ride-sharing plan.
If you’ve got spare time during the day, commuters would be the best type of passenger to fit in with your schedule. No one wants to arrive at work smelling of cigarette smoke, so don’t buy a car that’s been owned by a former smoker (and smells like it). These passengers don’t tend to have lots of baggage, so a huge car isn’t necessary.
Ride-Sharing With a Difference
If the idea of interacting with strangers doesn’t appeal, you can still buy a car and make money from it through Sidecar and UberRUSH. Unlike Lyft, this type of service is for making deliveries. Although you don’t need a van for either company, it’s a good idea to look for a bigger car if this is your intention.
If you want to earn more money, buy a luxury car. Here are the requirements for Uber cars that offer a premium service. Lyft no longer offer this option, but do have provision for drivers with larger cars to earn more: Lyft Plus.
Beyond that, it’s a nice idea to offer a little extra to your passengers (they’re going to rate you, after all). What would you really appreciate if you were in their shoes? At TRED we’re always going the extra mile for customers. Here’s how we’d make it a special journey:
- Bottle of water (if it’s spilled it won’t stain)
- Gum or mints
- iPhone charger and Android charger
- Car kit to let passengers sync their playlist