Not everyone thinks of earning their driver's license as nailing a job interview. But with the introduction of what seems like countless ride apps like Uber and Lyft, is it really that far off? All you need is four wheels and a dream. So what are the best ways to make money in the transportation industry with only a driver’s license?
If you want to go the route of becoming a certified taxi driver, the process may be a little more involved than you would have imagined. According to the DMV, you will need to provide a laundry list of documents such as a criminal background check, a driver’s history report, and proof of residency or U.S. citizenship. Some cab companies may even charge you certain fees to join their team as well as renting a car from the company if you do not have your own. Of course, you can only get to this point if you have gone through their rigorous training period to get the lay of the land.
So how much money can you expect to make working at one of these cab companies? According to a study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics “The median annual wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs was $24,300 in May 2016,” with the “lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $38,500”. Depending on how you look at it, this can be huge time commitment with a low reward for someone pursuing driving part-time. On the other hand, it could be a great salary for someone who is ambitious enough to put in the time and eager to give their passengers a pleasant experience.
But what if you want to take rides on your own time through one of these newer driving apps? I spoke with Jayme Gonzalez, a 32-year-old who does product development and release planning at Sony Music, who decided to start driving for Uber around Westchester County, NY for a little extra cash on the weekends.”It seemed like a great way to make extra cash without having an actual time commitment,” says Gonzalez, “having a ‘9-5’ makes it tough to want to pick up an actual second gig so this allows me to use my time as I like.” So how hard is it to get approved to drive for Uber? “It was super easy,” he says, “there are very few barriers to entry. You need to pass a background check, have a clean license, and a four-door car, 2002 or newer.”
Gonzalez says he generally likes to work one full day during the weekend and picks up rides when he has the time during the workweek. On an average, he says he is able to pull in around $25 to $35 an hour for where he lives and to him, the extra money has been a huge help. “It's allowed me to just have some extra cash in my pockets for all sorts of random things,” he says, “I'm getting married in a few months so it helps there, I own a home so it helps there as well.” So is this a job he sees himself sticking with? “Long term I see me doing it and having it going straight to savings,” he says, “it's me turning idle time into money while getting to knockout my weekly podcast rotation and new music releases. No complaints here!”