If you’re looking into becoming an independent driver for a living, there are a lot of options!
Whether you’re looking for a full time driving job or a part-time gig, there are a lot of driving job opportunities. The focus of this article will be on Truck drivers and Rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft.
These are options that can become a way for you to experience the freedom of being your own boss as a self-employed driver.
Can I Drive Full Time Or Is This Only Part Time?
This is a great question and there’s no easy answer. Based on the research I’ve done, it can DEFINITELY be a full time career but many people start out part-time initially to get their feet wet and grow their business first. Or they join an established trucking company to get familiar with how the trucking industry works
I’m talking more specifically about 18 wheelers here. According the American Trucking Association there are around 3.5 million truckers in the US and around 20% of those are self-employed. In the UK, there is a shortage of truck drivers as older drivers retire, so there is room for this opportunity to grow there. Per Indeed.com, the salary for a trucker in the US is about $63,416 per year or higher, depending on what type of trucking you get into or what part of the country you’re from (US). But according the Salary.com, it’s listed in the range of $37,000-$49,000 on average (in 2017).
There are a lot of different types of freight or hauling involved in the trucking industry – refrigeration freight, flatbed freight, dry goods, tanker freight (gas, oil, other fluids).
Other factors to consider in this career is whether you want to deliver local (near your home), regional (within a designated area, like your state of residence), or OTR (Over The Road). OTR usually involves traveling long distances which, on one hand, sounds like fun! But on the other hand, there is a lot of wear and tear not just on your truck but on your body as well. Also, if you have a family, you may be gone a lot during the week.
There are a lot of great resources on the web about how/where to get started at All Trucking, which discusses how to get started.
Part of being self-employed in any industry to factor in taxes, how much you’ll pay etc. In the trucking business, mileage and vehicle “wear and tear” must be factored into the equation as well. Quickbooks offers an excellent guide for the self-employed driver, spelling out how to estimate taxes, vehicle expenses and the like.
It used to be that Taxi companies owned the “people hauling” market. However, over the past few years companies like Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare apps came on the scene and have given taxi companies a lot of competition.
If you enjoy driving and interacting with the public, this may be a great self employment option for you! There are pros/cons to everything, including rideshare companies.
- Set your own hours – You choose when you want to drive and what areas of town, providing a great deal of flexibility. It’s easy to start part-time when you’re not at your full time job so you can get a sense of how much money you can make should you decide to make it a full time thing.
- Start out part-time to see if it works for you before going full time – I have personally gotten many rides from Uber drivers and love picking their brains on how they got into the business. The ages of the drivers I talked to varied greatly, from late teens to retired people in their seventies! And I’ve gotten rides from both genders. In talking with them, I’ve learned that many of the drivers are doing this part-time to supplement their income. But I’ve also talked to drivers who said they are doing it full time and loving it!
- Easy to get into – Depending on the rideshare company you’re looking at, if you have a car that’s 10 years old and newer, you can be a driver. There are other hoops, of course, but it’s an incredibly simple way to jump into a driving business like this.
- No Health Insurance – This can be a big deterrent if you have a large family or have some medical issues. Plus, the costs of health insurance out-of-pocket ain’t cheap! There are a few options for those working in the rideshare industry, however, and they are found here.
- Taxes – Since you’re considered an Independent Business when signing up for Uber, Lyft, or other rideshares, you fall under the 1099 tax rules. Uber (or whoever you sign up with) will report what they paid you to the IRS so it’s good have a plan in place to alleviate some of these tax burdens – they hurt! For Uber (I’m not sure on other companies) if you make over $400/year it must be reported. Talk to your tax accountant for more
- Keep Track of your mileage and other car related expenses – this will help lower your tax burdens. Quickbooks has some great tools for this.
- Talk to your Tax adviser to find out other ways to manage taxes – the internet has a TON of information, but nothing can beat talking to someone you trust and who knows how to legally manage this.
Common Rideshare Companies
I was surprised at JUST HOW MANY Rideshare companies were popping up! As with anything – you’ll need to do a lot of research to determine which company is best for you.
Uber – One of the most common, along with Lyft.
Lyft – When riding with drivers working for Uber, many also worked for Lyft as well! So apparently you’re not required to be loyal to just one company.
Uber and Lyft are the most common companies operating in most parts of the US. However, there may be other companies operating specifically (locally) in your neck of the woods. I found a great rideshare site that lists DOZENS of rideshare companies all through the US and world! It can be found here. Check it out if Uber or Lyft don’t seem like a good fit for you
I hope you’ve found a few ideas useful here if you’re interested in a career in driving – whether it be people or goods! If you are not sure if driving is for you, or want more ideas on how to become self-employed, click HERE.. To see my favorite self employment option, which can be used to supplement your driving business, I recommend looking into THIS.
Whether you already have a driving business set up or are just thinking of starting a career in this industry, I welcome your comments below. We can all learn more together! Thanks for visiting.