Rideshare or food delivery seems like a good way to make cash – but are they?
When you get that Uber paycheck deposit and all those tips straight into your account, life seems pretty darn good. The wages appear to be decent! Unfortunately, there is more to the story (or the wallet) than meets the eye! To determine whether or not these side hustles are really good for the pocketbook, potential drivers need to look at more than just their wages and tips. If you are considering shopping for Shipt or delivering for GrubHub, it is important to consider the toll it will take on your vehicle.
The first issue is depreciation. Of course, your car is going to depreciate regardless of whether you do delivery, but because you will be putting additional miles on your car than you would personally, the car will depreciate more quickly. Kelly Blue Book is a good way to determine the current value of your car. Factor in how many additional “work” miles you are putting on your car throughout the month. A car will depreciate as much as 25% in the first year off the lot and 15% after that according to the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit. Therefore, it is wise to look at how much your car is currently valued, plus how much you owe to determine if you will actually be losing or gaining money by driving. Here is a common scenario: a delivery driver goes to trade in his/her car and the dealer tells them that the value of their car is actually less than what you owe! EEKs! You don’t want that to happen, so you have to determine how much your car is depreciating because of your side job, and determine if it is worth it!
Because you will be paying for insurance regardless of whether or not you are using your car for work, many don’t consider it a pro/con for taking delivery jobs. But, did you know that many insurance policies will not cover the costs of injuries to passengers should you get in an accident while driving? This means that you may have to (and it may be wise) to take out an additional third party policy or change to a more comprehensive policy in order to cover yourself while driving—that equates to more costs.
In addition, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has increased coverage for using personal vehicles for commercial food deliveries under Emergency Regulation 20-e-03. Each situation is unique and you should check with your insurance agent. If delivering for a restaurant as an employee and delivering food the restaurants commercial policy might come into effect.
Right now gas prices work in favor of the delivery driver making money, but not all that long ago, when gas was up above $3.00, it was very difficult for drivers to make a living wage (especially if tips weren’t good). Now, when gas is right at $2.00/gallon on average, a driver can make a decent hourly wage. If the cost of gas goes up, you will need to factor in the prices and mileage to ensure that what is coming in monetarily is keeping up with what is going out.
Maintenance and Repairs
We all need to keep our cars maintained, and the older they are the more they cost us in upkeep and repairs. If you are driving for Uber or Door Dash, the wages for drivers can dwindle quickly, so keep an account of how often you are changing your oil, buying new tires, replacing belts, plugs, and everything else. Factor that into your equation for how much you are paying out versus how much you are receiving in wages.
A Reason to Drive
Not only are the wages pretty decent for most of these delivery jobs, there is another positive to using your car for your side hustle. You can use it as a tax right off. The IRS has a per mile allowance of somewhere around $.54. You will need to record all of your miles each day. To determine what exactly you can right off, go to IRS.gov.
With the economy and job market in its current state, many people are taking on side jobs to make ends meet; working for a delivery service can look and sound really great wage wise. The key is to make sure you factor in the wear and tear and gas prices to determine if it is too good to be true or a worthy employment opportunity.