Rideshare driving for companies in South Africa like Uber, Bolt and inDriver has become a popular side hustle allowing everyday South Africans to earn additional daily income on flexible schedules.
By leveraging your own car and spare time, you can easily make over R1,000 per week working just 10-15 hours in major cities. This provides an excellent work-life balance and cash flow.
Here is a complete guide to earning as a rideshare driver in South Africa.
What is Rideshare Driving?
Rideshare driving involves using your personal vehicle to provide taxi-like services to passengers booked through mobile apps like Uber and Bolt.
As an independent contractor, you get to keep a percentage of every fare you earn by picking up and dropping off users in your city. This allows you to set your own schedule and work as much or as little as desired.
Rideshare platforms make the process easy by providing the apps to receive bookings, process payments and track your trips and earnings.
Why Rideshare Driving is a Great Side Hustle
Rideshare offers major advantages as a daily side hustle:
- Work when you want – Log in and accept rides during peak hours in your free time.
- Quick payouts – Earnings get deposited weekly or even daily.
- Earn extra cash – Flexible way to supplement your income short term or long term.
- Meet new people – Engage with locals and travellers during rides.
- Explore your city – Discover new neighborhoods and local hotspots.
- Low start-up costs – Only need a suitable vehicle, insurance and registration.
- Scalable – Can start small and expand your hours over time.
With rideshare, on demand income opportunities fit around your schedule. This is perfect for students, parents, retirees and professionals.
How Much Do Drivers Earn?
Rideshare driver earnings depend on factors like:
- Your city (size and demand)
- Times and days worked
- Events and seasons
- Incentives and promotions
- Your vehicle type
According to Bolt, drivers earn between R18 – R40 per hour on average across South African cities. However, during busy periods, you can expect to earn R25 – R60 per hour. Earnings per hour tend to be highest in major metros like Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Assuming you drive just 10 hours per week at an average of R40 per hour, you can make around R1,600 per week in supplemental income. That equates to over R6,400 per month working less than 15 hours a week.
Many drivers work 15-25 hours per week and make between R8,000 – R12,000 per month. During big events, you can also earn much more through price surges.
Vehicle and Licensing Requirements
To become a rideshare driver, you need:
- A 4-door vehicle newer than 5 years old in good condition
- Valid SA driver’s license for at least 2 years
- Professional driving permit (PrDP)
- Public driving permit (PDP)
- Vehicle license and insurance
- Clear criminal record
Uber, Bolt and inDriver have different vehicle requirements in terms of models, age and number of seats. Be sure to review their websites for specifics.
Getting Started with Uber, Bolt and inDriver
Signing up to become a driver with top platforms is quick and easy:
- Download the Uber app.
- Submit your details and documentation for review.
- Complete an online onboarding process.
- Get approved and activate your account.
- Set your availability in the driver app to receive ride requests.
- Download the Bolt Driver app.
- Submit your driving and vehicle details for verification.
- Provide any other requested documentation.
- Complete training and watch tutorial videos.
- Get approved to start accepting trips via the app.
- Download the inDriver app.
- Upload your driver’s license, car info and any other KYC details.
- Review and agree to the driver terms and conditions.
- Set up your payment account with earnings details.
- Verify your mobile number via OTP.
- Wait for approval and start earning.
Once approved, you can immediately start accepting nearby ride requests during peak times to maximize earnings.
Maximizing Your Income as a Rideshare Driver in South Africa
Follow these detailed tips to earn the highest hourly income possible as a rideshare driver:
Drive During Peak Demand Rush Hours
Ride demand surges during busy commuting hours when people are heading to and from work or school. Target the following peak times:
- Early morning rush – 6am-10am weekdays
- Evening rush – 4pm-7pm weekdays
- Weekend late nights – 10pm-3am Fridays and Saturdays
You also want to be out driving during other high demand periods like big events ending (concerts, games, festivals etc.) and around airports as flights arrive and depart. Planning your driving schedule strategically around predicted peak demand results in more rides and less downtime.
Work Late Nights Around Major Events
Big events that draw crowds are ride goldmines. Late night demand spikes sharply as people head home from:
- Sports events
- Holiday parties
- Performing arts shows
Monitor event calendars in your city and schedule yourself to work a late night shift when major happenings conclude. Position your car strategically to get rides as crowds disperse. Event ride fares often surge providing huge earnings.
Target Airport Rides During Busy Travel Times
Airports have spiked rideshare demand from business travelers and vacationers. Target popular airport pickup times:
- Early morning departures: 4am-9am
- Arriving flights: Morning until afternoon
- Evening arrivals: 4pm-10pm
Create an airport pickup routine by monitoring flight statuses in the driver app and waiting in designated areas. Consider specializing in airport transfers for consistent income between city trips.
Take Advantage of Platform Incentives and Promotions
Platforms like Uber and Bolt run periodic promotions where you can earn bonus incentives by completing a certain number of rides in a timeframe or hitting other goals. For example:
- Earn an extra R200 by completing 25 rides from 5-9pm Fridays
- Get a R500 bonus for finishing 60 trips in one week
Read all offers carefully and take advantage of promotions to significantly increase your weekly earnings.
Provide Excellent Service to Earn 5-Star Ratings
Your rider rating heavily influences ride request frequency and fares offered. To earn a 5-star rating:
- Keep your vehicle immaculately clean
- Be professionally dressed and well-groomed
- Be polite and positive in your interactions
- Offer amenities like phone chargers, mints and chilled water
- Take optimal navigation routes to save time
- Ask riders if they have a preferred radio station
Striving for a 5-star service experience from every passenger helps maximize your income long-term on the platform.
Track Tax Deductions from Work Kilometers Logged
As a contractor, your rideshare income is taxable, but you can deduct expenses like:
- Kilometers driven for work
- Car washes
- Water/snacks for riders
Apps like Everlance automatically track your work mileage for maximum deductions. Logging all work kilometers can significantly reduce your taxable income.
Drive a Fuel Efficient Vehicle to Maximize Profit Margins
Your profit margins are directly impacted by rising petrol prices – a fuel efficient vehicle helps minimize this expense. Consider these options:
- Hybrid vehicle – Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq etc.
- Electric vehicle – Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 etc.
- Smaller sedan – Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic etc.
Choosing a vehicle that stretches kilometres per tank will maximize your net income after fuel.
Follow Rideshare Safety Best Practices
Your safety is priority number one. Follow platform safety guidelines:
- Only pick up passengers who match booking name/photo
- Avoid street pickups
- Notify someone you are driving
- Charge phone and bring charger
- Report any incidents immediately
- Follow instinct and end trip if uneasy
Taking reasonable safety precautions gives peace of mind to earn comfortably.
Making strategic decisions and providing exceptional service will maximize your income potential as a rideshare driver. Follow these tips to earn the most from every hour on the road.
- Rideshare driving allows you to earn R100s extra daily working flexible hours.
- Drivers typically make R18 – R60 per hour depending on city, time worked and events.
- Popular platforms include Uber, Bolt and inDriver with quick signup processes.
- You need a newer 4-door car, valid licenses and clean record.
- Focus on peak times and drive efficiently to maximize hourly income.
- Start part-time as a side hustle and scale up over time.
Rideshare platforms like Uber make it easy for everyday South Africans to leverage their spare time and car to generate supplemental cash flow.
By driving just 10-15 hours per week during busy times, you can easily earn over R1,000 extra per week.
With minimal startup costs, rideshare driving provides the perfect flexible side hustle opportunity.
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