A few years ago, hailing a customized private car service from the touch of a screen would have sounded like science fiction. Today, there are a number of companies competing to be the fastest, safest and most trusted transportation option to anyone with a smartphone. But they can’t do it alone. These companies rely on the individual rideshare driver looking for extra income. Globally, hundreds of thousands of people have answered the call to become professional drivers working for themselves. It’s not for everyone, though. There are a number of initial obstacles and certain standards a prospective rideshare vehicle must meet, but once those are met, it’s pretty smooth sailing. Is your car rideshare ready?
The first thing to know about using your car for a rideshare service is that different requirements exist based on the company, location and market. One of the most basic considerations is the age of the car. This varies widely. In some cities, a baseline year might be 2001, while in others (think coastal), you might have to drive a 2010 or younger. The age requirements are largely dictated by individual state law. However, if the company you drive for divides their offerings on a scale from basic to luxury, you might be required to drive a 2012+ vehicle regardless of location.
Even as a private rideshare driver, you are representing a brand. Companies schedule in-person interviews to meet you and have a thorough look at your car before accepting you into their network. Dents, cracks, a worn interior and chipped paint are not acceptable and will likely be denied, however, most companies allow you to repair anything that shows up on the initial inspection. If you can submit proof that you’ve fixed it, they’ll give you a reevaluation and send you on your way. It’s not just for them, either. Your potential customers will be judging and rating their experience, which leads to more business for you if they like what they see. It’s in everyone’s best interest to keep your vehicle looking nice and welcoming.
Safety and Comfort
This is obviously something everyone is interested in. Every aspect of your vehicle must be in working order, and usually without modification (in the exhaust system, for instance). Check all lights and turn signals, the horn, emissions, leaks, steering and brake operation, and wheel condition. The rideshare company will consider everything you would need to pass a state inspection.
Access is another issue. Four doors must be able to open on their own from the inside and outside. If you’re driving a truck, for instance, an extended cab won’t do; you’ll need the full crew. While SUVs are in demand and often in a category of their own,
Ultimately, your vehicle must be up to snuff for the company you’re driving for, in the area where you’ll be working. Since this varies so much from place to place, most organizations will help you track down what guidelines you have to meet and have information readily available online. Remember that requirements often update to meet market demand, follow state laws and stay relevant to larger business goals. So even if you’re approved, it pays to stay on top of things.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on getting your car rideshare ready as a rideshare driver, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.