The Complete Legal Guide for Drivers to Stay Safe and Successful
Thinking about driving for Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company? There is more to consider than just the extra cash you’ll make. Rideshare drivers need to be aware of the potential legal issues like gaps between your insurance and the company’s policy, what you could be liable for in an accident, and what to do in an emergency situation.
Check out this guide to navigating the law as an Uber or Lyft driver, and stay safe and successful!
Many drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies could fall into an insurance coverage gap if an accident occurs while they are logged in as a driver. The gap in coverage occurs due to the lack of protection for rideshare drivers within personal automobile policies and because of the secondary nature of the insurance provided by ridesharing companies. It may not be brought to your attention when you sign on to drive for a rideshare company, but their insurance policies only cover certain circumstances. Personal insurance policies often prohibit driving for profit, and thus they will not cover you if you are working as a rideshare driver unless you’ve purchased additional insurance coverage.
This insurance gap means that in the case of an accident, questions and disputes could emerge about who is responsible for paying damages. This situation could delay insurance claims and expose a driver to costly legal battles. Without the proper insurance coverage, a driver might end up responsible for vehicle repairs and medical bills of everyone involved in the accident. To avoid these consequences, be sure to obtain an insurance policy that specifically covers ridesharing work and/or commercial driving.
Many personal car insurance policies give you the option of buying supplemental insurance. Without one of these supplemental policies that specifically grants coverage for commercial driving, you are likely operating under a personal policy that specifically excludes coverage of driving-for-hire work. Be sure to read the fine print of your insurance policy and talk to your insurance agent or an attorney about getting sufficient coverage for your rideshare work.
1. When drivers turn on a rideshare app and are waiting for a pickup request, the rideshare company provides liability coverage for third parties. This pays for property damage and medical bills when a rideshare driver is at fault. When an outside party causes the accident, the rideshare driver could make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.
2. After drivers accept ride requests, they are considered “actively engaged in a job” while traveling to the pickup location and transporting people to destinations. During this period, Uber covers third party liabilities and bodily injury caused by uninsured or underinsured at-fault drivers, including hit-and-run accidents. Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage is also active. Lyft insurance pays for damages in excess of the commercial coverage, if any, carried by drivers.
3. Once drivers shut off the ridesharing app and enter offline mode, they are covered solely by their personal policies.
In some states, Uber drivers have access to driver injury protection policies through Uber’s affiliate Aon. In a qualifying accident, you could receive disability payments up to $500 per week and as much as $1,000,000 could be available for your medical expenses. The policy also includes a survivor benefit up to $150,000 for the driver’s family, in cases of the driver’s death.
The same insurance companies who provide personal coverage have developed products specifically for rideshare drivers. They serve as either extra protection while online with a rideshare network, or as an extension of personal coverage while engaged in driving-for-hire work. Depending on the insurance company and policy, you can expect to pay an extra $10 or $25 per month or an additional 15 to 20% of your existing premiums for this extra coverage. When selecting a policy, evaluate your current coverage, consider your deductibles, and determine how much extra protection you need.
If you want to pursue ridesharing work, you should find out if your state requires a commercial driver’s license to transport passengers. Some states impose commercial licensing on people who perform any ridesharing work, while others only require it of full-time professional drivers. Each state’s department of motor vehicles provides precise information about licensing laws.
If you are a commercial driver who has partnered with Uber, there are particular insurance requirements for you. Drivers in this category must carry a commercial automobile policy that acts as the primary coverage for accidents. This applies to all UberBLACK, UberSUV, UberTAXI, and UberT partners. It also applies to UberX partners and Lyft drivers in some specific places (such as New York City). Uber’s insurance policy may pay for accident expenses in excess of the primary coverage.
When accidents happen, drivers should check to see if their passengers are injured. Call paramedics or emergency services if people are hurt. Drivers, even if they appear uninjured, should visit a doctor as well. Some motor vehicle injuries are not immediately apparent. Rideshare drivers also have a responsibility to document the accident scene by taking pictures on their phones and recording interviews with witnesses. They can also request a copy of the police report. Drivers must inform their insurers about the accident and the companies covering any other vehicles involved. Drivers should likewise inform the ridesharing app company they are driving for as soon as possible.
In most states, rideshare network companies designate their drivers as independent contractors. As an independent contractor, you have no legal rights to a minimum wage, overtime, reimbursement of expenses, or unemployment benefits. Contract law, however, does apply, and in a recent lawsuit, Uber drivers have sued the company for alleged breaches of contract based on shorting drivers’ pay or keeping tips. Other legal actions have challenged the premise that independent contractors have no rights to the reimbursement of expenses or benefits. Prior to driving for a rideshare network company, you should research your state’s laws to see how your state classifies rideshare drivers.
As independent contractors, drivers are solely responsible for their own income taxes. Taxes are not automatically deducted from your paycheck as they are for full-time employees, so you will have to make quarterly tax payments or possibly pay a large chunk of tax when taxes are due annually. Your earnings from driving are reported to the IRS by the rideshare company using Forms 1099-MISC or 1099-K. These forms take the place of Form W-2 that someone classified as a full-time employee would have. Drivers should record their work-related expenses, such as mileage, cell phone bills or supplemental insurance because those could serve as tax deductions. It’s also recommended that on-demand workers use a third-party rideshare assistant service like SherpaShare to automatically track mileage and expenses in one easy-to-use app.
Your independent contractor status also raises the question of whether you have a right to advertise your driving services on any platform. A current lawsuit in federal court challenges the concept that drivers must be exclusive to Uber or Lyft. The case draws upon people’s First Amendment rights to advertise themselves as drivers for hire.
Traffic tickets could inhibit your ability to keep working as a rideshare driver. Uber and Lyft can check for traffic citations and release a driver from service at any time. Rideshare drivers should take any moving violations very seriously and go to court to fight any citations, even minor ones, in order to protect their means of earning income.
You must also be aware that criminal convictions and/or traffic violations on your past record can impact your ability to pass the background check that companies like Uber and Lyft run on their applicants. To pass the background check and begin working, prospective rideshare drivers must have:
The investigation takes two to seven days and will look at county courthouse records in all the locations you’ve lived in over the past seven years. Federal court records, criminal databases, sex offender registries, Social Security records, and motor vehicle records will come under scrutiny as well. To pass a criminal background check and driving record check, a driver must:
Additionally, a record of reckless driving and DUIs is unacceptable for the rideshare driver’s background check. One caveat to this is that Californians can have a DUI on their record, as long as it happened over 10 years ago.
In addition to insurance policies, license requirements, and background checks, there are a few more issues rideshare drivers should look out for. As strange as it may seem, accepting tips could create a legal problem for drivers in some states. South Carolina, for example, prohibits cash transactions for ridesharing services.
Finally, although most fares will be routine, emergencies can happen. If someone who needs medical attention calls for a ride, you should tell them to call 911 instead. You may want to install cameras in your vehicles to record evidence or to protect yourself, since criminal activity could occur during a ride. If you see criminal activity, are assaulted by a passenger, or witness passengers assault one another, contact emergency services and an attorney. You may also want to contact the rideshare company in these cases as they can help. Lyft, for example, provides a critical response team that responds to drivers who experience damage to their vehicles, personal attacks, or other emergencies.
Attorney J. Blake Ledbetter leads the civil law practice for Conoscienti & Ledbetter, LLC, a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Ledbetter is a 2018 SuperLawyers Rising Star in the practice area of civil litigation and has written extensively about the legal ramifications of Uber accidents.
How to Earn More, While Driving Less
As a rideshare driver, relaxing means no revenue. Being an entrepreneur with a side hustle isn't always easy. But what if you were able to generate revenue while recharging, by making money with your car?
HyreCar is the carsharing platform that helps rideshare drivers with their own vehicles to make money, while on the app - or off.
The peer-to-peer car rental platform connects rideshare drivers with vehicle owners to provide an easy, flexible solution to start driving with companies like Uber or Lyft.
As a car owner, you’re able to list your car on the HyreCar platform when you aren’t using it to create an additional income stream.
Imagine going on vacation, or maybe taking the weekend off of the road, but still getting paid while you’re not working? These guys make it possible.
We know that your car is your money-making machine, but what about all of that time you aren’t driving for Uber or Lyft?
It just sits in the driveway, depreciating.
HyreCar allows entrepreneurs like you the chance to take your earning potential to the next level and create a new stream of income by renting out your car while you are out of town or simply enjoying some time relaxing for the weekend!
The service is simple:
We know you could always use a day (or 10) off, so why not make some passive income while doing so?
The typical owner that rents out their car on HyreCar is bringing in about $1,100 every month per car that they list. Pretty sweet right?
It’s time for you to enjoy your true passions while reaping the benefits of some extra cash in your pocket.
By providing a safe, secure, and reliable marketplace, HyreCar helps both parties build roads to financial freedom - one driver, one vehicle, one road at a time.
hyrecar, car leasing
The Complete Guide to Becoming an UberEats Driver
Are you considering becoming a delivery driver for UberEats? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about being an UberEats driver and help you decide if it's right for you.
If you've walked out onto the street of any somewhat populated city, you've surely seen Uber driving around. As Uber's popularity has grown, so has its reach-- introducing new features like UberEats. Now, many are wondering how they can become an UberEats driver.
Whether you're looking for a full-time gig, a great way to make some side income or need a break from passengers and rideshare driving, UberEats is a great and fulfilling way to make money. Now, where do you start? This is a comprehensive guide designed to give you all the knowledge that you need to become an UberEats driver in no time! Let's begin.
For those who aren't too familiar yet, UberEats is a branch of Uber where an UberEats driver will go to a participating restaurant or eatery of sorts and pick up food that UberEats customers have ordered via their app. This is great for those who can't drive or don't have time to pick up and are really craving food from their favorite restaurant, especially one that doesn't deliver.
The customer begins by logging into the app and searching UberEats for local restaurants that partner with Uber. They can either browse the feed for restaurant deals and ideas or type their desired restaurant into the search bar. Once they've picked their eatery, they will choose from items on the menu and place an order. Then, they will be matched with an UberEats driver that is in the right area who will pick up and deliver the food to them.
Now, for the driver, the process is different. A driver who is logged on and ready to receive assignments will park or drive around a certain area of their choosing and wait for an order to be placed.
Once an order is placed, the UberEats driver will be offered the assignment and will either accept or decline. Once accepted, they will go to the location where food was ordered, and then wait for the food until it's ready. If the food is ready, they will either pick up at a designated area in the eatery, or they will ask the staff where to pick up. Now that the order is received by the driver, they will simply drive to the customer's location and meet them at the curb. Once the food is delivered, they simply wait until the next assignment arrives.
Now that you've learned a bit about how it works, you're probably eager to get started, right? Well, luckily, it is a pretty easy process to become a driver for UberEats.
First thing's first, you are going to make sure that you meet all of the work requirements. In order to drive for UberEats you must:
If you meet all of these requirements then you'll want to move to the next step.
There are certain documents that UberEats will require upon receiving employment, just as any other employer would require. Those documents include:
You may also be required to show proof of identity on top of your license with either a passport, birth certificate, or social security card.
Now that you've got all your requirements and documents in order, you're ready to apply! It's super easy, you simply create a driver account on Uber's app or website and consent to their safety screening (background check) and upload your required documents.
Once you've done that and everything has gone through smoothly, you will receive notification that you are active, meaning you are ready to start delivering. Now, let's move on to one of the biggest reasons people drive for UberEats... the money!
This is probably the biggest question people have when inquiring about becoming an UberEats driver. How much do UberEats drivers make, and how do they get their money?
Well, how much you make and your success with UberEats or any other rideshare service for that matter depends solely on how much you work and how diligent you are with tracking your mileage and expenses to reduce your tax bill at the end of the year. The more deliveries you complete, the more cash you can make, the limits are all on you. That being said, there are certainly other factors to consider in your pay-- that is, what location you are in and what times you are delivering.
Obviously, there will be certain regions and certain times of day that are going to offer more opportunity for money. For instance, downtown Seattle will be a lot busier at lunchtime than a small town will be at 2:00 am.
Now, how is your pay calculated? Here are all the different parts that factor into your total pay:
Now, as you can see, the amount that you make with UberEats is virtually limitless. It all depends on the amount of time and effort that you put towards driving for UberEats.
Now you have all of the resources and information that you need to get on the road and become an UberEats driver! Before you get started make sure you’ve signed up for SherpaShare to log all your mileage and expenses to maximize your tax refund at the end of the year.
We hope that this information was informative and fun. Check out hour blog for more amazing tips and advice for Uber, Lyft, and more!
7 Tips for Success with Uber and Lyft
Starting a new gig can come with a steep learning curve. There are a few comprehensive guides out there about starting your rideshare business, but if you’re short on time, those can be daunting.
Whether you’re contemplating becoming a rideshare driver, you’ve just started out or you want to refresh your rideshare game, most drivers are happy to take a few tips from the pros to maximize earnings, efficiency, and overall success! The four rideshare experts at GR Rideshare Adventures gave SherpaShare their top tips for starting out on the right foot.
Why? Because: more money. Referrals help grow rideshare presence and awareness in your area, and you get a bounty when your referee hits their requirements. Small markets have a leg up, as most riders haven’t signed up for a gig yet. We recommend Vistaprint for great deals on printing cheap business cards.
Some vehicles allow you to customize the wallpaper on your dashboard display console with info. If your vehicle has the feature, create a wallpaper, save it to a jump drive, and upload it.
A placard or wallpaper allows you to start a dialogue with your customers about the services you offer and reminders (i.e., phone charger availability and wearing seatbelts), and preferences they may have like, vehicle temperature or radio station. On the placard/wallpaper, be sure to include the following: your name and instructions to passengers to let you know their preferences. If you’re not the DIY type, you can order placards on Amazon and eBay.
They’re as little as $19.99 a month and will make a great impression on your passengers, especially if you are transporting business people or airport customers.
Bonus tip: You can write it off on your taxes! Upload your receipt to your expense tracker in the SherpaShare app, so it’ll be ready come tax time.
Familiarize yourself with what it’s like to drive in your area through other drivers’ experiences. This will save you time and help you to start earning more right away.
PSA: Before you ask a question, Most questions have been asked before, so it’s crucial to utilize the Search Bar at the top of the group page and search for them before asking the group. You’ll find answers quickly and avoid asking the group repeat questions. Some drivers in these groups will not be welcoming to new group members who post a frequently asked question.
Check out the GR Rideshare Adventures Facebook page where the four of us share our experiences. We also take part in several regional Facebook groups for drivers.
You can also communicate with fellow drivers using the Chat feature in the SherpaShare app for tips and tricks of the trade. If you desire to set up your own regional group download the SherpaShare Pulse app for a more robust set chat options.
Do some research on what to expect while rideshare driving, so you’re prepared. Videos show you precisely what to do and what not to do, so you don’t have to learn the hard way! For some fun and crazy (yet informative) videos, check out GR Rideshare Adventures YouTube channel.
Riders will appreciate you having this item and are usually the tipping type.
This is a must. You can write off all your Uber, Lyft and delivery miles, and not just when you have a passenger, but the second you leave your house to work until you get home. We use SherpaShare. It runs in the background and automatically tracks mileage. SherpaShare also has some fantastic features designed specifically for drivers, such as Travis for your driving stats, Hotspots where demand is likely to be higher, Compass to provide route recommendations and Chat where you can talk to a community of other rideshare drivers. Check out this blog post for a list of 32 ways you can maximize your tax deductions.
All the best in your rideshare driving endeavor!
32 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR TAX DEDUCTIONS
Most drivers will end up taking the standard $0.545 per mile deduction for expenses related to operating their vehicle. However, there are opportunities to deduct a whole host of expenses not directly related to operating your car.
Here are 32 of them:
Fire up your SherpaShare app to easily add your expenses and keep receipts safe in the cloud. SherpaShare helps drivers save thousands of dollars on taxes and hours of tax prep by automatically tracking mileage and expenses and giving you IRS-ready reports so you can prepare taxes with ease.
Let us know if you’ve found other tax-deductible expenses that we should add to the list in the comments below.
How many women drive for Uber versus Lyft exclusively?
Lyft still appeals to more female drivers, propotionally
Part of the report, which was done by Benenson Strategy Group, showed a clear trend of more female drivers. According to the survey, 19% of all Uber drivers are now female, up from 14% a year ago. In addition, Uber says women make up 30% of all drivers who joined in the past 3 months.
As part of our October 2015 survey we covered the top demographic trends of all on-demand workers, not just Uber drivers. In particular we pulled out two interesting trends related to female drivers: First, that more middle-aged women are drivers then would be expected. While women overall make up 19% of the on-demand workforce, they make up 22% percent of drivers between 40 and 55.
The second trend related to female drivers was that they work less hours, and therefore earn less then men in the on-demand workforce. On average, women drivers report making 34% less gross driving income per month than men, but are far more likely to drive part time.
Nearly 30% of drivers who only drive for Lyft are female, compared with 16% of Uber-only drivers. We've documented many times in our research that 2/3rds or more of on-demand workers work for 2 or more services, and this trend continues to increase.
However, we've also observed - as Uber noted in their recent research too - that most of these workers are first-time drivers. Therefore they start with one service, and eventually decide to "diversify" with the other service. And the entry point for more of these workers seems to be Lyft, in proportion to the percent of male drivers.
This seems consistent with Lyft's persona and what we've heard from female drivers - Lyft 'feels' like an easier, safer, part-time option to dip your toes into. However, if Uber's last 3 months is an indicator of their workforce trend, Uber may very soon have a the same overall percentage of female drivers as Lyft, or higher, in their workforce.
Thanks for reading our short post in reaction to Uber's recent report. To see more of our reports and survey data, visit our Report Home. To get even more exclusive driving insights and manage all your independent work for free, try out the SherpaShare app.
female rideshare, women rideshare, female uber, female lyft
Should you drive for DoorDash in addition to Uber or Lyft?
Q&A with Paul, an Uber driver and DoorDash deliverer, in Orange County
Our recent on-demand demographic survey showed an increasing number of services being used for supplemental income - supplemental income to other on-demand work. The most common trend has been between ridesharing and delivery: Uber or Lyft drivers looking to fill the off-peak times with other driving work. Overall, the crossover is still relatively small, but it’s growing.
We asked Paul if he could share some of his insight into the DoorDash experience. And if you have direct questions about DoorDash for Paul, he’ll be answering questions tonight - Thursday November 19th - from 7pm to 9pm PT in the SherpaShare App. Join in on iOS or Android.
According to Paul, there aren’t really any challenges to delivering for DoorDash. “You pickup food and deliver it.” Plus, he can get free food samples every once in a while.
In addition, the experience has been positive. He usually delivers in safe areas, and the worst thing he’s encountered is the loss of the GPS connection. “Luckily, I can read maps fairly well.” Paul does carry pepper spray in case he runs into anything bad.
One surprise for Paul - which has been in the news recently - is that In-N-Out is not allowing DoorDash pickups now, since they cannot “guarantee the quality of the food”.
According to Paul, he learned a lot when he onboarded for DoorDash but a few important details were left out they he wish he’d known about. “Our trainer did not tell us that DoorDash places the order in most instances”. So, Paul ended up ordering the food himself on his first day even though it had already been placed.
In addition, in the app, “the order stacking feature can be a little intimidating at first”, but you get used to it and realize it’s a good sign to have those multiple orders. Just realize what you cannot control, such as the food prep time.
Also, when you’re working, the app “wants to return you to busy areas after completing a delivery.” Paul’s tip is to ignore the app in this case. Avoid the extra "dead" mileage and just move a block or two away after a dropoff and wait for your next ping. Plus, the next request you get could be in the opposite direction from what the app recommends.
According to Paul, he schedules DoorDash shifts in the evenings, which works with his full-time work schedule, and Ubers on weekends only during surge times. One of the main reasons for doing more DoorDash work is there’s less risk and liability if anything were to go wrong. “I’ve never had an incident, bit I can’t justify the pay rate for the liability that a driver has to take when driving a passenger, especially since I have a new car,” says Paul.
That being said, Paul things there is greater earning potential with Uber. Higher risk, higher reward. He’s made anywhere from $0/hour to $20/hour with DoorDash with his average now being around $14/hour, gross. For Uber, his hourly average is about $17, gross. “My real incentive is the tax write-offs,” says Paul.
As for other delivery services, Paul has thought about them, particularly Postmates, however, he noted, the Postmates interview hours don’t work for him.
Tell us about your experience - we’d love to hear it and share your story in an upcoming blog piece. Email us! And if you’re interested in trying out DoorDash, support Paul by using his referral code when you sign up: 7608957018. DoorDash currently deliverers in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Denver, Orange County, Toronto, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Dallas, Houston, New York City, Minneapolis, San Diego, Phoenix, and Indianapolis.
doordash, uber, earnings, lyft, postmates, sherpashare
Is your mileage tracking IRS compliant?
Any business mileage submitted to the IRS is likely to be closely scrutinized, and your mileage log is the most important piece of evidence for this. The reason: Mileage can be an enormous deduction for tax filers and the IRS knows how to quickly find record keeping mistakes that could wipe out your entire deduction. Here’s how you can avoid common mistakes when submitting your business mileage.
Don’t wait until the end of the year to make something up. Even if you think you have a “sense” of how much you drove for business and you attempt to re-create a log before filing, chances are it will be missing some key information. This could lead you to losing your entire mileage deduction.
If you drive 200 miles a day for ridesharing for example, at the current 2015 per mile rate of $0.575, you could deduct $115 per day. Chances are that’s a major portion of your daily income - and would be a huge hit if you lose out on.
Don’t leave out the business purpose in the log. Even if you diligently keep track of the mileage for each trip and starting locations, if you don’t have the purpose of the trip written down, there’s a good chance the IRS may throw out your deduction. The purpose helps substantiate the mileage you’ve written down. It doesn’t have to be a complicated description, just a clear way of identifying the business purpose for each mileage recorded.
Don’t try to cut corners. This is really meant to underscore the above points: Don’t try to take shortcuts when keeping track of your mileage and business purpose. If your record is sloppy or not clear, it will raise questions. And if your descriptions are too vague, this will also raise questions.
To take the above mileage example, if you drive 200 miles a day even for only 150 days of driving, that’s 30,000 miles a year, or $17,250 in potential deduction. It’s fair to say it would be a disaster if you lost out on this deduction.
The good news is it’s easy to avoid some of the above problems. Here’s what the IRS requires for record keeping: Your mileage for each trip, the places you drove for those trips, the purpose of those trips, and the date of those trips.
The best way to keep track of this is when your taking these trips, such as the same day or right after you complete the trip. The reason for this is: Most people are bad at guessing or forgetful, and keeping a record as soon as possible minimizes these risks.
One other note: The IRS also wants to see the total number of miles you’ve driven during the entire year, for business, commuting, and personal driving. It’s a good idea to jot down your year beginning and end odometer readings too.
You can either track this mileage in a paper log or with an app. SherpaShare is compliant with the above requirements, and the best part is, it uses GPS tracking to accurately track all of your mileage. All you have to do is categorize the type of trip and purpose.
Whichever method you use, be sure to keep a record. You cannot simply wait until the end of the year and make up a number. For more information, here’s the IRS publication on Recordkeeping.
irs, mileage tracking, compliance, mistakes, mileage deduction
How Much Do Uber Drivers Earn?
We love providing insight into this question, and have provide various reports on driver earnings over the past 2 years. Recently, we provided a look at on-demand earnings by demographic. Below shows previously unreleased data based on that on-demand demographic report from October 2015. Enjoy!
The below chart shows a distribution of weekly earnings of Uber drivers who participated in our October survey. The chart only shows drivers who exclusively drive for Uber.
The y axis is the number of drivers who reported earning, on a weekly basis, within the range plotted on the x axis. As you can see, the average weekly earnings is skewed quite low. The 50th percentile of earnings is $250 per week.
Another way to put it is this. If you earn $125 per week, you're already higher than 25% of surveyed drivers. If you earned $450 per week you're higher than 75% of drivers. And if you earned $845 per week, you're higher than 95% of drivers.
On SherpaShare we breakdown earnings at the city level. If you want to see what you can expect in your city, how you compare to averages, or how you rank compared to others, you can visit our City Metrics page. (Full disclosure: You'll need to create a free SherpaShare account and then select your city in order to view).
Visit SherpaShare City Metrics to see where you standClick to Share | Click to Tweet
how much do uber drivers earn, uber, earnings