Preparing your vehicle for ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft is simple. Most importantly, you want to make sure you’re ready for the vehicle inspection, which is part of the application process. After you pass the inspection (fingers crossed!), you will be well on your way to making some extra cash. There are plenty of perks to rideshare driving like creating your own schedule, meeting cool new people, and virtually being your own boss. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
We’ve put together a list of tips to make sure you pass the inspection with flying colors and get the best ratings from passengers:
#1 Purchase a car phone mount
Phone mounts are inexpensive ($7.00-$20.00) and make taking calls, following directions, and accepting new passengers much easier and safer. Magnetic car mount holders are great because you don’t have to fuss with getting your phone in and out of the holder. Here’s another option for an adjustable car phone holder. Just make sure it fits your phone type!
#2 Get an app that tracks mileage
Keeping a mileage log is key for Uber and Lyft drivers. The government actually sets a standard mileage reimbursement rate that you can deduct from your taxes every year. The current rate is set at $0.54 per mile. You can choose from a variety of phone apps to help track your miles and generate reports. These are some of the most popular (+ they’re both iPhone and Android compatible):
MileIQ – automatic drive detection makes it easy to capture every drive. The app stores a history of all of your drives on the cloud. It uses automatic mileage logging and comprehensive reporting. Create an account here.
TripLog – tracks mileage and expenses specifically for mobile employees. The app simplifies automatic mileage tracking specifically for IRS tax deduction purposes. You can even categorize and record trips based on your preferences! Create an account here.
Everlance – it helps keep track of mileage, expenses, and revenue. Like MileIQ, this app detects every trip and saves it in the cloud. Create an account here.
#3 Keep iPhone 5/6 and Android chargers handy
If you decide to become a rideshare driver, chances are your passengers will be on their way to work, meetings or running errands. Having a phone charger available is an easy, thoughtful way of showing customer service. If you don’t already have one, buy a USB car charger, 6-foot iPhone charger cord, and an Android charger cord.
#4 Hand over the aux cord
Sometimes passengers will want to play their own music, especially if they are in a group en route to a party or night out. Consider keeping an auxiliary cord in the car and make sure it can comfortably reach passengers sitting in the backseat.
#5 Keep it fresh
Air fresheners are great for obvious reasons. Passengers are catching rides from the gym, work, airport, dinner dates, etc. This could add up to a concoction of strange smells. Avoid weird looks from new passengers by using car vent air freshener clips. You can buy them almost anywhere.
#6 Store towels and other cleaning supplies
Prepare for accidental spills or, dare I say it, post-night out vomit, by keeping paper towels in the glove compartment. Consider having some type of spray cleaner and hand sanitizer too. You never know what could happen and you want to make sure it gets cleaned up ASAP.
#7 Clean your car inside and out
Your car should be spotless. Be sure to vacuum underneath, in-between and on top of the seats. The upholstery should be free of stains (as much as possible) and freshly washed. There shouldn’t be any dust or build-up on the center console and dashboard. Spending $50-75 to get your car detailed is another option that will save you time and effort.
#8 Get an A+ on that mechanical inspection
Inspection for both Uber and Lyft take around 30 minutes and are conducted by certified mechanics. Standards for cleanliness and mechanical inspections differ between states. Here is the Uber vehicle inspection for Seattle drivers and the Seattle/King County vehicle inspection information for Lyft, for reference. In general, the inspection will check to see if the following parts are functioning properly:
- Emergency/parking brakes
- Muffler/exhaust system
- Seat belts
- Tail lights, head lights, brake lights
- Foot brakes
- Air conditioning/heater
- Tire condition
- Steering mechanism
- Front seat adjustment
- Turn indicator lights
- Rear view mirrors
- Doors (open, close, lock)
These are our top recommendations for preparing your car for Lyft and Uber. Having an auxiliary cord on hand or keeping paper towels in the glove compartment may seem minuscule, but they will pay off in the long run. Being a great rideshare driver is about getting people where they need to go AND making them feel as comfortable as possible in the process! Happy driving!