Older Adults Find Rideshare Driving A Great Way To Make Extra Income
By: Tommy Andrews
As an older adult over 50 looking for a job, particularly in certain fields like technology, will uncover the ugly fact that age discrimination runs rampant in the United States and elsewhere. In many cases, seniors are faced with the real challenge of bridging the financial gap, whether that be in between jobs or supplementing their retirement income.
Along comes rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. The smartphone has enabled a revolution, ushering in what is called the “share economy”. In this new share economy, resources such as your car, your time, and even your house can be more efficiently utilized very quickly and easily in order to generate extra income for you and provide convenient services to your customers. In particular, by driving people around like a taxi, you can make income quite easily without all the traditional hassles of the long and tedious process which a taxi driver would normally have to go through. If you like driving and you like people, then driving for rideshare services can really be a great way to supplement your retirement income or be a full-time job, for that matter, which may enable you to delay drawing on your Social Security until much later.
Before rideshare services came along, the more traditional places for seniors to find jobs were in fast food restaurants, warehouse-style hardware or big-box stores, libraries, etc. Now, the share economy has added rideshare as a significant viable choice and it is a job which, unlike many others, really does not discriminate based on age or sex.
To become a driver, you should look inward first and do an assessment of yourself because the love of driving and socializing with people are paramount to both enjoying this type of work and helping one simply do a great job. Applying to drive for Uber or Lyft is fairly straightforward. Both rideshare services have a number of restrictions in terms of the type of vehicles and the age of the vehicles that can be used. This can vary from city to city; however, having a car with four doors is always required. You have to agree to have a criminal and driving record background check conducted by an independent third-party organization. Don’t worry because one speeding ticket is not going to be a game-changer. However, if you had a DUI in the last seven years or have any felonies on your record, then this is not the job for you. Although for most people, this will not be an issue. Uber and Lyft simply want to make sure that passenger safety is addressed as their primary concern.
It should be noted that as an Uber or Lyft driver, you are actually going to be working as an independent contractor. That means you are working as your own business and own boss. It also means you have to file your taxes as a business and depending on your situation, you may have to file estimated taxes every quarter. As far as tax deductions are concerned, this is the goose that laid the golden egg because for many drivers, the option to deduct mileage or all direct expenses such as depreciation, fuel, oil changes, tires, and other expenses can reduce one’s adjusted gross income (AGI) so much that you virtually pay no federal income tax. This could also help you to comply with the Affordable Care Act limits on AGI in order to qualify for health insurance assistance and other government programs that are based on AGI for that matter. Remember that being an independent contractor also means that you are encouraged to work for multiple clients and in this case it means you can work for Uber and Lyft simultaneously. When you are really good at driving, you can also add services like DoorDash, Amazon Delivery, or Wingz to your portfolio of clients.
For most seniors, driving during the day is a more palatable proposition than driving at night. There is plenty of business to be had during commuting hours before and after work as well as any time during weekends or holidays.
Like anything else, there are a number of key resources online that you should consider which can help drivers get on the road and stay there:
www.rideshareconsulting.com/seniors is a great resource if you are considering driving for rideshare services because unlike Uber or Lyft, which only provide email support to applicants, these folks are experienced drivers who will help you in-person over the phone for free with any questions you may have about applying and driving for rideshare services.
www.rideshareguy.com is a great resource for those who are already driving and need the latest news about driving for Uber and Lyft. This is like the New York Times for drivers to stay in the know as there are articles about the latest class-action lawsuits against rideshare companies, how drivers deal with tipping, new services drivers can consider working for, etc.
www.sherpashare.com is a great app for drivers to use in order to automatically track their mileage and automobile expenses.
If you are ready to sign up to become an Uber or Lyft driver then please click on the appropriate buttons below to get the application process started…