“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Napolean Hill
Whether you ride share as a side gig or it’s your full time endeavor, you must look at your budget. It’s not a pleasant thing to do but it must be done. Before we get into that you must know what you are capable of, do you have the discipline and determination to be your own boss? It’s not for everyone.
Work ethic is key. If you’re going to work, go to work, plan on 8-12 hour work day. If you’re going to run errands that’s okay but those are not “work hours.” Once you set aside a full work day you will quickly learn how much you can make in a day. That too depends on you. I still drive wherever the ride share apps take me. Regardless of the distance or neighborhoods. If I find myself in a neighborhood I do not know I find the town’s main local road leading me back to my area and generally I will get another request. It doesn’t matter where that next ride takes me. The important thing here is that I’m making money while someone is warming a seat in my car. If you maintain that attitude you will do the rides necessary to achieve your daily goal.
So what’s your daily goal? It’s different for everyone. I call it knowing your numbers and how do you get there? It begins with a list. This list is not going to be complete in the beginning and you will probably have to guess some estimates but you can always readjust it when you attain new information as you continue this journey. This is what I did, I broke down all my expenses as follows:
* Savings - plan on $5,000 as your goal for an emergency fund. I’m still working on mine.
* Cash - plan on keeping $40 at all times if you use a debit card. $100 if you don’t.
* Taxes - Set aside 35% to start.
* Vacation - If you have a full time job what do you earn per day? Then multiply by the days you want off.
* Time-Off - Same as vacation (above).
* Fuel - Plan on a half a tank a day.
* Average maintenance costs - base it on 300 miles a day to start.
Take this number and add the total let’s call it $6,000 a month as an example. For some is more, for most it will be less. If we focus on five days a week that’s 20 days a month. $6,000/20 = $300 a day. That’s your daily goal. Let’s say you had a few off days, no worries...you have day six to make up the difference and one day of rest.
When you know that you cannot go home without $300 it changes your perspective and motivation. If you made your $300 early you can either continue working or treat yourself to an early day. I prefer to push (if energy allows) and treat myself to extra time at the end of my week. Keep in mind that revenue opportunities and cost of living varies from region to region so $300 may be extreme in some parts of the country and not others. This is an example and obviously your numbers will be different. This methodology will quickly let you know if you can make ends meet doing this line of work.
Fatigue is your enemy, don’t push yourself to drive while exhausted, worse than driving under the influence.
Try not relying on the Instant pay feature of the apps, always have cash in your account(s) especially savings for many of the allocations mentioned above.
Use apps like Waze for navigation and GasBuddy to locate fuel at the lowest costs.
If you treat this like a business it will reward you like a business.
For you part timers, it’s good to know your numbers as well and the formula still works when you want to add some extra money in your pockets too.
This formula works well for me and if you apply should work well for you. There’s your plan now make it work for you!