Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies can turn anyone with a driver’s license into an entrepreneur. Driving for money is a great side hustle for college students and anyone else who needs extra money.

Of the rideshare companies, Uber is the largest. As of 2018, Uber is a $70 billion company that employs 2 million drivers! According to money.cnn.com, 750,000 of those drivers are making money in the USA. The chance to choose working hours and shake off “the boss” make this is a dream career for many people.

Even if you work for a rideshare company, you are still responsible for your own profits. Not all Uber drivers are created equally, and while Uber has some guidelines, you will need to go the extra mile for your customers if you’re going to make real money.

1. Dress Appropriately

While no one at Uber is going to tell you what to wear, no one is going to get in a car with you if you look like a bum. This is not the time to wear leggings as pants or cut off shorts with a tank top. It’s not about fashion—it’s about sending the right image to your customers, and the image you want to portray is that you’re serious about your Uber gig.

Gentlemen, try wearing khakis and a polo shirt. You can also wear a button-up shirt. You don’t need to dress in a suit and tie, but do wear a shirt with a collar. Make sure you’re well-groomed, too. Save and comb your hair at the very least.

Ladies, business-casual is always trickier for us. You can sport the khakis with a polo or button-up shirt like the guys, but you can also throw on a skirt or casual dress. The idea is to look professional, and not in the “escort” sort of way.

2. Clean Your Car

If you are going to make money driving people around, you have to have a clean car. This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the reports we’ve read online about dirty Uber cars. Ick.

The outside of your car should be clean, and the inside should be cleaner. Vacuum out your car after each job. You can find nice portable vacuums that plug into your car’s cigarette lighter, or you can use your home stick vac. I clean out my cars with the Dyson stick vac, and while it’s the best thing ever, it’s also pricey.

Make sure your car smells good, but avoid perfume air fresheners of any sort. A lot of people have allergies. Instead, work on making your car smell clean. Wipe down the inside of doors and your dashboard with interior detailing wipes. Wash your floor mats once a week or so. Become an expert at car detailing.

3. Offer Extras

The Uber drivers who make the most money offer their customers something that other drivers don’t. Sometimes it’s as simple as candy. Other times, it’s a full-scale party van.

Ridester suggests offering your passengers complimentary bottles of water. You can buy big packages of bottled water at bulk stores or have Amazon deliver them.

4. Be Friendly and Helpful Your Customers

If you’re helpful, people will leave you good tips and good reviews. Think about your customers’ needs and how you might help them. If you drive in a high-tourist area, print out a list of “can’t miss” attractions or local restaurants that deliver to hotel rooms. Keep a stack of the free coupon books in your car, too.

If you pick someone up at the airport, offer to help them with their luggage. Make sure your trunk is always clean and ready.

If you pick up a group of ladies, always get out of the car and open the car doors for them. Don’t flirt, gentlemen. This is about being courteous, not picking up a date.

Make polite conversation, unless your customer seems like he/she doesn’t want to talk. Always verify where they want to go, too—just in case. For example, we took an Uber to the Orlando airport awhile back to pick up a rental car. If our driver didn’t know we were going to the rental car pick up, she could have dropped us anywhere at the airport and we might have walked miles before finding the rental car office. Communication is important!

5. Set Reasonable Hours and Take Breaks

Any freelancer knows the importance of set work hours. But, this is even more important for Uber drivers. As you earn based on fares, there’s a temptation to work ridiculous hours. The trouble is, when you’re on the road, working too long can lead to fatigue. And, if that happens, you’re a risk to yourself  and others.

You’re even at risk of coming under fire from attorneys like those found at www.ubercaraccidentlaw.com if you cause an accident. That would spell the end of your side-hustle, as well as big legal trouble for you. Even if no accident occurs, overworking could lead to burnout, and issues such as stress and anxiety. So, it’s crucial you draw lines. Anything over 9-hours per day is probably pushing the limit.

It may even be that your issues with time fall the other way. While some overwork, other freelancers struggle to motivate themselves at all. While money should be enough to get you out of bed, it isn’t always the case. Having set hours that you’re committed to working should help motivate you to reach your financial goals.

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Being the boss of your own company doesn’t give you an excuse to stop learning. If you are going to stay ahead of the competition, you have to exist in a constant state of research. The best business owners never stop thinking, planning, and talking about the state of their industry.

No matter how experienced you are, you can never know everything. Even the richest men in the world look for ways to grow. Here are four habits of smart business owners:

1. Smart Business Owners are Always Learning

Learning never stops for smart business owners. They attend conferences where they listen to seminars from other people in their industry. They attend workshops to learn new skills.

Even if you don’t have the money to travel to conferences and workshops like a rockstar CEO, you can still take online training courses to keep learning. You can learn anything, from negotiation skills training to a niche skill like how to use 3D Printer. Online courses come in all formats, but most allow you to learn at your own pace, at whatever time of the day you have time.

We take online courses all over the place, from Lynda.com to MIT. Think of them like “mini-courses” instead of full-blown semester-long courses like you took in college. There are a lot of certificate programs online, too, but do your research before committing to one. Make sure the certificate is worth something to other people in your industry.

2. They Outsource Professional Advice

Smart business owners hire consultants. The truth is, even if you’re a super genius, your business is going to grow to the point that you can’t do every single task alone. You need professional advice from financial advisors and legal advisors, at the very least.

You can find consultants for absolutely anything. Our parent company, Escape the Classroom, consults with corporations, colleges, schools, and even homeschool parents on learning topics from how to engage modern learners to crafting transcripts for homeschool students. Perfectly Employed offers both individual and corporate career coaching sessions.  

Hiring a consultant is a great way to both learn from an expert and broaden your network. In a lot of cases, you can barter services with consultants if your business offers something their business needs. For example, if you build WordPress templates you might redesign your legal consultant’s website in exchange for legal advice.

3. They Hire Smart Employees and Learn from Them

Structuring your team is the most important thing you will ever do as a business owner. Good employees aren’t subordinates—they are teammates. They become like family for a small business owner. The trick to hiring good teammates is to hire people you respect for their skills and intelligence, and take their advice when they offer it.

A good team of employees are like built-in consultants. They should feel free to propose new ideas and teach you about the things they know an continue to learn. Respecting your employee’s knowledge also makes them more loyal to you, which again, is like building a family.

4. Smart Business Owners Read Constantly

If you spend any time at all studying the habits of the world’s richest CEOs, you’ll see they all have one thing in common: They read.

If you don’t know what to read, check out Bill Gates’ seasonal reading lists or UpLead’s list of 37 sales books. You should also read reviews in finance magazines for recommendations. Steer clear of books more than 10 years old (other than The Art of War and How to Win Friends and Influence People—the classics never die). Try to read multiple sources so that you’re always getting a good cross-section of advice on a topic – it’s easier to trust an opinion shared by multiple people than it is to trust an opinion held by one source.

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