Rideshare services have quickly become one of the most popular components of the modern gig economy. With so many services available, it’s never been easier to join the Transportation Network Company (TNC) industry. Whether driving has become your full time job or is just a side gig you do in your free time, there are a few things any rideshare driver should know.
Understand how each rideshare company is different
Each rideshare company will have different rules and regulations for things like number of years of driving experience or record requirements. For example, to become a Lyft driver in Massachusetts, you must be at least 21 years old and have had your license for at least a year. For Uber, however, if you are under the age of 23, you must have at least 3 years of driving experience. Vehicle requirements can also differ, even within a company. Uber, for instance, has different vehicle requirements for their different services such as UberX or UberSUV.
Know the specific regulations for your city
Each city or state will have its own regulations for how rideshare companies can operate as well as where they can pick up fares. Background check requirements will also differ from state to state as well as specific driving restrictions. In Boston, for example, rideshare services are not allowed to pick up riders at Logan Airport, however they are allowed to drop passengers off there.
It is possible to drive for multiple companies
Many rideshare drivers in Massachusetts choose to work for multiple services. This way, if rides are slow on one app, there is a backup way of finding a fare. If this is your plan, make sure that you understand and meet driver and vehicle requirements for both services.
Filing and Paying Taxes
New drivers should remember that they are required to pay taxes on their rideshare income, even if it is only a side job. Make sure to track your miles and expenses such as gas, insurance, taxes, car repairs and depreciation to get the appropriate tax deductions. Driver should also know that the standard write-off for business use of a car is 56 cents per mile.
Vehicle Registration and Insurance
Once you begin working for a rideshare service, your personal auto policy will not cover you when you are driving for fares. Rideshare drivers should register or rewrite existing personal auto policies as commercial auto policies. In fact, in Massachusetts, on page 2 of the general information portion of the personal car insurance application, drivers are specifically asked whether they are collecting fares for driving. Saying “no” to this question as a rideshare driver is actually a federal offense.
Although some services like Uber offer insurance, drivers should know that this insurance is not regulated and that the amount of coverage is dependent on several factors, including but not limited to: the phase of a trip you’re in (ie just on the app, accepted a trip, picked up a passenger, or ending a trip) or the type of accident you get in. You wouldn’t want to find yourself facing a million dollar lawsuit with only the insurance provided by your rideshare company. We can’t stress enough how necessary a commercial auto policy is for rideshare drivers.
The best way to make sure you’re covered? Get your commercial auto policy from an agent who understands how TNC insurance works.
Driving for a rideshare service can be a great way to make extra income, especially if you have a car and the time to do it. As with any job though, it’s important to do your research before starting. Follow these tips and guidelines to ensure that you are making the most out of your driving time.
Need more help or advice about starting work for a rideshare service? Lighthouse Insurance is an expert in transportation insurance with a specific focus on the TNC industry. Our team is very involved in local Massachusetts TNC regulation and are the best option to make sure you, your vehicle, and your passengers are covered at every step. Give us a call today at 617-464-3777 or visit our website to learn more.