How to pivot and change how you earn from driving
Lockdown has led to big changes in our working lives, for both drivers and riders. Staying at home has clearly meant less of the usual trips, but it has also led to a huge spike in demand for delivery services. Drivers have had to be flexible and adapt to keep earning.
We are now hopefully about to leave many restrictions behind us. But the past 15 months or so have taught us it pays to be able to earn in different ways, and to be able to go to where the jobs are if we need to.
If you’re thinking about pivoting to a different type of driving work, or if you’re looking to top up your income, here’s what you need to know.
From rideshare to delivery
Drivers will know from personal experience that coping with lockdown, and the impact it had on takings, was tough.
Last year some drivers, such as INSHUR customer Paulo, moved quickly to make sure they could keep earning, taking on delivery jobs and supermarket work.
The move into delivery jobs seems to have continued this year. The BBC reports there were near-record levels of new van sales in the UK in the first six months of this year, thanks to the boom in home deliveries and businesses reopening.
If you’re a rideshare driver looking for extra work, delivery or courier jobs can be a good option. You still have independence and flexibility, choosing when you want to drive, and some companies also do scheduled deliveries to guarantee work.
Delivery drivers need to have basic English and maths skills, good eyesight (including colour vision), a good driving record and the correct licence.
As you’ll be collecting goods from depots and warehouses and loading and unloading, employers will also expect you to be physically fit enough for the job.
The type of vehicle you can drive will depend on when you passed your driving test:
- If you got your licence before 1 January 1997, you can drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes without needing a separate licence.
- If you got your licence after 1 January 1997, you can drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. To drive vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, you’ll need further training to get a category C1 licence.
You’ll also need to complete a short course to get a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.
One of the most common driver roles is a multi-drop delivery driver, where you do a round of deliveries in a certain area. The growth of online shopping means you could be delivering anything from small parcels to groceries.
You may be given a company van to use, but if you’re using your own vehicle it’s worth checking you’ve got the right insurance in place.
There’s more on the types of pay rates for delivery drivers here, and you can read what it’s like to be a multi-drop delivery driver here. You can also use these links to look for delivery jobs in your area.
INSHUR customers with private hire insurance can automatically take advantage of our food delivery cover at no extra cost. If you want to deliver food only, take a look at our dedicated food delivery insurance.
From parcels to people
What if you’re looking to move the other way, from doing deliveries to picking up passengers?
The National Careers Service suggests private hire drivers can earn an average of between £14,000 and £30,000 depending on experience, based on 41-43 hours a week.
Outside of London, you need to apply to your local council to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle.
Your council will be able to tell you how to become a rideshare driver in your area, and any fees they charge.
To apply you must:
- Be able to work legally in the UK
- Have held a full GB or Northern Ireland driving licence, or a full EU driving licence, for at least 12 months.
Your background will be checked as part of the application process, and your council may also carry a criminal records check.
You may also need:
- A medical examination
- A ‘knowledge’ test
- To take a driving test.
In London, to apply for a private hire driver licence from Transport for London you need to:
- Be at least 21 years old at the time of applying
- Hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland, or other EEA state driving licence that’s at least three years old
- Do a specific skills test from an accredited assessment centre
The right to live and work in the UK, the need to be of good character and being medically fit are also requirements.
Private hire gives you control of your hours and a chance to get to know new people. But it’s also worth thinking about the extra costs involved, such as buying or renting a suitable vehicle.
You could try speaking to other drivers to see if it’s for you, or get advice from some of the trade unions, such as the GMB Union (professional drivers branch), The Licensed Private Hire Car Association and the Private hire board.
If you’ve decided to give private hire a go, you need to make sure you’ve got the right insurance cover. INSHUR can help – we insure all private hire drivers on any platform, you just need an Uber driver login to sign up to our app.
Things to think about
If you’re thinking about earning in a different way, there are some things you might want to consider.
Being able to do a variety of driving jobs around means you can top up your earnings but also get the best of different worlds. You are in control to make sure that earning across different types of jobs works for you and your lifestyle.
There are lots of part-time driving jobs being advertised at the moment on sites such as indeed.com. Going part-time can allow you to bring in a steady income, perhaps until things fully reopen again. There’s also the option of temporary contracts if you’re not quite ready to make a permanent switch.
If you’re coming to private hire for the first time from being employed elsewhere, spend some time thinking about what it means to be self-employed. Your rights and benefits will be different.
A recent Supreme Court ruling for a group of Uber drivers has made it clearer about what to expect, and Uber itself has made a number of positive changes to help with flexibility for drivers.
At INSHUR, we want to help you keep earning, whatever that looks like. Whether you’re a private hire driver, courier or food delivery driver, make sure you’ve got the right cover today.