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Making Money With Ride Sharing

In today's world, making ends meet often means working more than one job. There was a time when the typical American worked a lifetime for a single company and retired on a decent pension, but that time is gone. An average individual now earns less from their job, and most people don't stay in the same job for more than a few years.[1] Thankfully, the changes in the way we work haven't been all bad. The "gig economy," a development that owes its very existence to both the internet and mobile technology, provides opportunities to bring in money on the side.

Perhaps the most well-known "gig" in this new economy is ridesharing. By signing up and working with companies like Uber and Lyft almost anyone with a functional car can become their own, self-made taxi driver. These companies also have a variety of programs in place to not only help anyone become drivers but to ensure that those who do become drivers become successful at the job. After all, successful drivers benefit everyone: the drivers, the passengers, and the company itself.

Do you have a working car and some free time? Or are you hoping to get into a new car and wouldn't mind finding someone to help pay for it? Ride sharing may be your best bet to get in on the gig economy while earning some money on the side -- or even as a new, full-time job.

How to get started in ridesharing
Unfortunately, getting started as a rideshare worker is not an overnight process. The two main rideshare gig companies, Uber and Lyft, both have a waiting period after your initial sign up to become a driver. They use the waiting period to complete things like a background check, driving history record check and a check to determine whether your car is up to the task. More specifically, here's what each company looks for when hiring new drivers.

Age 21 or older Age 21 or older
Licensed to drive for at least one year Minimum 1-year driving experience in the U.S. (3 years if under 23 years old)
Currently valid U.S. driver's license Currently valid U.S. driver's license
Valid license plates with current registration Valid vehicle registration with in-state plates
Valid insurance with your name on the policy Valid insurance policy
Own an iPhone or Android phone with a newer operating system Valid Social Security Number
Pass DMV check (more on this later) Pass DMV test (more on this later)
Pass background check (more on this later) Pass background check (more on this later)
Meet additional State or City Requirements[2] Meet additional city or state requirements (requires you to sign up to view)
Pass vehicle standards (more on this later) Use an eligible 4-door car (more on this later)
If you think you meet the above minimum requirements, you're in good shape! However, you'll need to make sure you also meet the DMV check, background check, and vehicle standards. Below, we'll lay what each company requires for those more detailed requirements.

DMV requirements
No more than three moving violations in the past three years (e.g., speeding or parking tickets) No DUI or drug-related driving offenses
No major moving violations in the past three years (reckless driving, license suspended, etc.) No violations related to driving without a license or insurance
No DUIs or drug-related driving incidents in the past seven years No reckless driving violations
No driving-related convictions in the past seven years (hit-and-runs, vehicle felonies, etc.) No fatal accidents
No more than three moving violations in the past three years
Criminal background check requirements
Both companies, for the most part, check public records going back seven years. In some cases, they may check further back if that information is publicly available or required by the state. They cannot and will not review sealed records and will likely not consider offenses that have been cleared by a judge. However, should you get rejected for a past criminal offense, both companies allow you to appeal.

Clean criminal history with no convictions related to sexual assault, drugs, felonies, violent crimes and certain theft or property crime offenses Clean criminal history with no felonies or misdemeanors, mainly related to theft, violence or drugs at any time in your past
Still in good shape? You're almost on your way to qualifying for Uber or Lyft (or both!). All you'll need to do is pass the vehicle requirements.

Vehicle requirements
2005 or newer (can vary by state) 4-door sedan that can seat 4 (excluding driver)
4-door vehicle with passenger-accessible locks and door handles 2002 model car or newer (city requirements can vary)
Pass official Lyft vehicle inspection No taxi marks or salvaged vehicles
Pass an official Uber car inspection
For more details: Uber has vehicle service shops that provide inspection services. You can get your vehicle inspected at any shop with the official form, although this may slow down the process. Lyft will instead have you sign up for a Mentor Session, where a third party, often another driver, will provide an inspection.

If you fit all of these requirements, you're ready to sign up!

How to sign up
Once you've determined that you're eligible, you can begin the sign-up process.

During this process, both companies will take you through the screening process involving all of the above requirements mentioned. However, Lyft will assign you a Mentor. The Mentor will also do a vehicle inspection to ensure that your car is in good shape to use as a ridesharing vehicle. Before meeting with your mentor, make sure you do the following:

Clean your car thoroughly, inside and out. Try to give it a "new car" look

Check the inspection form yourself to see if you qualify to pass

Make sure to show up at your mentoring session location on time

Between signing up and the inspection process, you should expect to wait some time for the entire process to finish before you can begin driving. For Uber, your wait will be anywhere between 3-7 days, depending on how much of a background check and vehicle inspection check the companies must complete. For Lyft, your wait could be anywhere between 3 days to 2 weeks.