Hello to all in the rideshare drivers in the gig economy!
As you may have already seen, we’ve been giving out tips on dash cams, taxes, extra side hustles, and more, all focused exclusively on you—the driver. But today we’re going to switch it up a touch to focus a little bit more on the other person in the car. That’s right, the rideshare passenger. But not just your ordinary, everyday, mostly forgettable passenger. We’re going to focus on the really crappy ones.
How to Deal with Uncool Rideshare Passengers
Don’t Pick Them Up
First of all, you can check a passenger’s rating and history. If they have a history of being drunk and dumb, or abusive towards drivers, or cancelling trips midway through so you don’t get paid, or whatever—don’t pick them up. Already accept the ride in the app? Cancel it. You shouldn’t be able to get a negative rating for a ride you cancel.
But that's easier said than done sometimes, especially if you're newer to the game. So, assuming they're already in the car, let's move on.
Drunk Rideshare Passenger[s]
The rideshare drivers I talk to almost all say some variation of: “I’ve got some good stories for ya, most of them are about drunk passengers.”
If it’s a weekend, there’s a good chance someone is using the rideshare appbecause they are being “responsible.” We commend the decision not to drive, but sometimes the good decisions end there. It’s not uncommon for folks who’ve been driving awhile to have people ask if they can bring an adult beverage in the car. With the exception of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, you CAN NOT have open alcohol in a rideshare. Even if you drive (or ride) in those states, you may want to read this bit of legal wisdom from Hire an Esquire on where you can legally drink in a rideshare.
If someone throws up or makes any other kind of mess, document it with your phone and/or dash cam, let the company know immediately—different companies can charge anywhere from $25 to $200, depending on the type and severity of the damage, and then it's up to you if you want to cancel the ride and kick them out or finish it out.
If you have a passenger who is severely intoxicated, an article from Fast Track Mobility says, “If a rider makes you fear for your safety in any way, you should absolutely stop the ride and tell them to leave. If the situation continues to escalate, contact law enforcement immediately. Once you are in a safe place, contact [the rideshare company] and report the incident. Having a dashcam installed is a great way to give you an extra level of protection if these situations arise.” (*see 3 Dash Cams to Consider.)
RideSharing Forum suggests, “It’s best to keep necessary things like vomit or barf bags, towels, tissues, air freshener, mints, and mini cleaning supplies in your car rather than getting cleaning fees.” See our in-depth post about what you should put in your cleaning kit, and our other post about how to report a puker.
But the ultimate advice on how to deal with drunk passengers comes from futurism.com: “Just don't give drunk people rides.”
Stoner Rideshare Passegners
A lot of people talk about stoners being terrible rideshare passengers. If someone is super duper stoned, they might be annoying, but that'll be the end of it. Keep some spray in the car in case they were smoking some really good s**t that leaves an after-scent in the vehicle. If they were able to remember what they were doing long enough to get two correct addresses into the app, they shouldn't be a problem. They may get the munchies and ask you to stop somewhere unplanned. That's your call, but make sure they add the stop in the rideshare app. If they can't do it, or don't understand what you're saying, you probably don't want to wait while they look over an entire fast food menu. Drop them off, tell them you have another ride waiting, and to use Door Dash or something. Worst case, they'll be seriously bummed for about 14 seconds.
Rideshare Passengers with a Bad Attitude in General
Some rideshare passengers are rude. Some rideshare passengers are overly controlling about how you drive, which way you take, the music, the air, the windows, the volume, the station. The advice I've heard from rideshare drivers, and seen around the internet, all boils down to this: Treat a rideshare passenger with a bad attitude like you’re their therapist. Ask them questions. Let them answer. Don’t bring up any potential triggers. Keep your emotions out of it. They talk, you “listen”, and hopefully they either run out of steam, or they get out of the car at the end mad at everything but you. The team at AutoBlog advises drivers to remember the 5 Principles of Customer Service, to avoid uncomfortable situations on the job:
- Acting as if the Customer is always right (this one alone diffuses more potentially bad situations than any other).
- Never say "No" to a customer.
- Never raise your voice in front of a customer.
- Never curse or use foul language.
- Dress professionally.
That goes a long way in any situation.
But if it feels dangerous, stop, ask the rider to leave, and, if necessary, call the po-po.
Keep your head on a swivel out there. Good luck!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me here:
Whether you already do gig work, or you’re simply toying with the idea of joining the gig economy, you’ve probably asked yourself: Can I do this for a living?
Short answer, yes.
Long answer, yes and here's how:
How to Make Gig Work a Full-Time Job
The last few blog posts have mainly been focused on gig work that directly involves using your vehicle. But there are tons of opportunities to make some side cash. If you want a more relaxed hustle, or if you're looking for that just-right job so you can make gig work a full-time job, we've got a few ideas for you. On that note, here's a few...
Gig Work You Might Not Have Tought Of...
Sell Stuff Online:
A lot of folks might not consider it gig work, but it is! Selling online covers a wide range of stuff. I know people who go to estate sales to find cheap buys they can turn around and sell online. You can make things to sell on platforms like Etsy. I spoke to a stay-at-home mother of 4 who cuts hair from home, coaches JV volleyball, and makes shirts, earrings, bracelets, and whatnot to sell online. Selling on Etsy is the highest income of the three. She actually expanded her business with a friend so she could keep up with orders.
If you have a product to sell, consider Amazon's FBA program. FBA means "Fullfilled by Amazon." The Selling Family has a great article about selling with Amazon FBA. You should check it out on your own, but here's a helpful tidbit from that page:
Things you need to do as a FBA seller:
- Find a product to sell on Amazon
- List the product on Amazon.com (it's not for sale yet at this point)
- Prepare the items to send to Amazon warehouses (these are located all over the US)
- Ship the items to Amazon's warehouses
What Amazon does:
- Unpack and then store your inventory in their warehouses
- Make your product available for sale on Amazon.com
- Indicate that your product is Prime Eligible on the product page
- When a customer buys your product, Amazon employees will find, package, and ship your product to the customer
- Prime buyers will receive their product either later that day or with 1- or 2-day free shipping (non-Prime buyers still get free “regular” speed shipping)
- The customer is happy!
- If the customer is unhappy, Amazon customer service reps handle all refunds, returns, and exchanges. The customer won't even contact you.
Be a Mystery Shopper
This gig work sounds like fun! There are companies that will pay you (if you have to pay to play, it's a scam) to make specific purchases at a store, then give an in-depth evaluation of your overall experience. The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) has some pointers to help you find good companies and avoid the scammers.
Social Media Manager
"Figure out what social platforms you want to get started on (for me it was Instagram and Facebook but more so Instagram), choose a niche you want to work with--the more specific you are the better! Decide how often you want to work and what you can bring to the table." And as far as pay goes, she said, "There are people that make $5K+ a month. Some people make $5K on just one client full time and completely replace their '9-5' income." If this sounds good, here's one last tip for ya: "Invest in a course or a coach that teaches you everything you need to know about the legal aspects of starting your business and the creative aspects if you have no prior experience with starting a business like this!"
If you like taking pictures, you have decent equipment, and some free weekends, maybe you should take pictures as gig work. You could do weddings, families, events, artistic stuff, online content for social media managers, you name it. If you're passionate about photography, turn your pictures into profits.
If you're a talented writer, use that. There's technical writing (writing manuals and things of that nature), medical writing (similar to tech writing, but, duh, medical stuff. Or, if you have a particular talent and something to share, you could write non-fiction (not make believe) and share your wisdom...for a small price. I met a writer who specializes in writing biographies for the terminally ill so they have a physical story to share after they pass.
You could do like I do and write blogs as gig work! (See my website for tips on that.) Or you could do like independent horror novelist, Jennifer Soucy, and write novels. She got tired of the grind and got into the thing she loves. As she puts it: "Writing...that's what I used to love, so I began. I wrote three novels over six months. Shortly after, I also began editing with one of my publishers. That's also been amazing, helping indie writers like myself achieve their dreams of sending their book babies into the world."
The fellas at Hey Guys Media Group originally just got together to make a podcast about gig work, which then spawned another podcast. Then they thought, We're pretty good at this--let's do it professionally. So they started a business of making other people's podcasts. If you're thinking about that but don't have all the know how, Hey Guys can also teach you to make podcasts.
Which brings me to my next point.
If you're a teacher or have a degree in something academic, you might be able to tutor after school and/or summer as gig work. Even if your background isn't education, you could give music lessons, teach English as a Second Language (ESL (they'll train you)), or teach someone how to do something you're good at. It could be fishing, painting, languages, cooking, organizing, or any of the things listed earlier.
The point in all of this is that you don't have to be in rideshare or food delivery to get into gig work. You can make your regular work gig work. Your passion projects can be gig work. Your talents can be gig work. Be creative.
For More Gig Work Ideas:
Alright folks. That's all we got this week. See ya next time. Check out our other blog posts for more great info on gig work and all things related to the Gig Economy!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me here:
Gig Economy Drivers!
Ya know, dash cams are pretty neat little gadgets, with more uses than you might think. Particularly with parking mode (see here for more info on parking mode). Consumer Reports has an interesting article on some lesser talked about dash cam applications. But for the sake of gig economy drivers, we’re going to stick to what works best when you’re on the job.
(**PRO TIP**: No matter what dash cam you get, reformat the card in your dash cam at least once a week!)