15 Things Every Uber & Lyft Driver Should Keep In Their Car

Updated August 2019

When you become an Uber driver or a Lyft driver, you’re taking part in one of the best ways to earn extra money in the sharing economy. And since you spend several hours a day in your car, there are various items you should always have on hand to make sure you and your passengers are safe and comfortable. After all, a passenger that feels safe and comfortable in your car is a passenger that might give you a high driver rating and a really good tip. 

Besides physical items, you should also install a business expense and mileage app on your smartphone to track mileage and expenditures related to your rideshare business. This is the best way to keep as much of your Uber and Lyft salary as possible when tax time comes around.

We put together a list of apps and items that rideshare drivers like you should always keep in their car. Let’s get started!

1. Business Expense and Mileage App

A mileage tracker app should absolutely be downloaded to the smartphone that you use for your rideshare business. Using this kind of app will definitely keep your Uber driver tax deductions and Lyft tax deductions easy to calculate as April 15th rolls around. Always ask your tax professional for advice on what and how much you can deduct. Here’s why you really need this kind of app

  • Approximately 55¢ for every mile you drive for Uber or Lyft can be considered a rideshare mileage deduction on your taxes. The app will help you log these miles and calculate your deductions. Your mileage deduction can literally add up to thousands of dollars. 
  • You can also use the app to enter and calculate the toll road charges and parking fees you rack up while rideshare driving.. These amounts are also deductible as a business expense.

A percentage of pretty that’s related to your rideshare business is deductible. An app is the best way to keep track of a much EVERYTHING you buy. The following self-employed driver tax deductions and more.

  • Gas, satellite radio subscriptions, cell phone mounts.
  • Cell phone plans, your smartphone, auto insurance, gum, snacks, and water you purchased for your passengers.
  • Car washes, car air fresheners, oil changes.
  • First aid kits, new tires, dash cams, umbrellas. 
  • If something you buy is somehow related to your car or your rideshare business, ask your tax professional if it’s deductible. Chances are it is. 

So, what is the best mileage tracker app out there? We recommend Hurdlr.

  • Hurdlr is an excellent tracker app that will help make filing your taxes a whole lot easier. The app automatically tracks mileage and purchases while you’re on the clock. Hurdlr also offers real-time views of your earnings and potential tax deductions. That’s extremely valuable to a rideshare driver.

Click HERE to download Hurdlr on iOS and Android.

2. Dash Cam

One of the most important safety tips for Uber drivers is to install a Dash Cam in your car. What are dash cams for?

  • They record video and audio of everything that happens in your car when you’re transporting a passenger. This can be helpful if a passenger becomes unruly, physically threatening, or verbally abusing.
  • You can also use the recorded footage to defend yourself if a passenger wrongly accuses you of doing something inappropriate.
  • Get one with a wide angle lens so the front and back seat areas are viewed by camera.
  • Check your local regulations regarding recording people in your car. You may be legally required to inform passengers that they are being recorded.

Thinkware provides great Dash Cams at an affordable price. Click HERE to order yours and enjoy FREE shipping!

Thinkware - Dash Cam Accessories

3. Cargo Snack Box

We recommend installing a Cargo Box in your rideshare vehicle instead. Basically, a Cargo Box is an app-based, see-through plastic container filled with affordable yummy snacks and personal items that passengers might need, night or day. Think of it as an Uber vending machine! Best part is that they will deliver your box to you for FREE!

Click HERE to sign up and get your Free Cargo Box!

Here’s what a Cargo Box is and why it should be an essential accessory in your rideshare vehicle.

  • Your personalized Cargo Box will contain gourmet snacks, gum, mints, and candy, health and beauty products, energy and coffee drinks, smartphone accessories, first aid products, and more.
  • You make money every time a passenger either samples an item for free or buys an item from inside the box using the Cargo app. They download the app and enter your Cargo Box code, which is displayed on the box. 
  • When the passenger decides on an item listed as being in your Cargo Box, say like a package of gourmet cookies or an Advil package, you open the box and hand it to them. You then get credit for all transactions. 
  • All transactions are done through the app. No cash is ever exchanged between you and the passenger.
  • Best part? The box costs you nothing, and the contents are automatically replaced by Cargo for free when they’re running low.
  • The Cargo Box easily attaches to your car’s center console. Plug it into the cigarette lighter. The box to light up and become an multi-port cell phone charger.
  • The Cargo Box turns a passenger’s ride into a fun and rewarding experience. That could earn you a high driver rating and more tips.
  • Over 20,000 rideshare drivers already have a Cargo Box in their car. Some drivers earn an extra $25 to $50 a week from Cargo purchases.

Check out our full blog article on Cargo by clicking HERE

4. Install a Hands-Free Cell Phone Mount

handsfree

Lyft and Uber drivers like you rely on smartphone GPS navigation systems for directions to passenger pick up and drop off locations. Also, ride requests come through the phone as well, often while you’re on the road. So you need your smartphone mounted where you can see it at all times, without looking down to see where it’s fallen during the ride. That’s incredibly dangerous. 

A hands-free cell phone mount attaches your phone to either your windshield by suction cup or to an air conditioner vent using clips. Here why cell phone mounts are important:

  • A  phone mount keeps the phone in one place, squarely in your line of sight. This allows you to take a quick glance now and then while watching the road to check on directions, or accept a ride request while the car is in motion. Distractions while driving are kept to a minimum.
  • No matter what, do not text while you’re driving. Ever. 
  • As mentioned earlier, Phone Mounts are tax deductible when purchased for your rideshare business.
  • Passengers feel at ease when they see your phone is mounted in a safe place and your hands are on the wheel. This could contribute to a high driver rating and a good tip when the ride is over.

Here are some cell phone mount recommendations:


5. Cell Phone Charging Block

Passengers are always worried about keeping their phones charged, right? Well, instead of disconnecting your phone from its charger so they can plug theirs in, buy yourself a cell phone charger block. It’s a tax deductible investment that will make your passengers breathe a sigh of relief. Especially, if they need to make an important call from your car just as their phone battery is about to die. Make sure the charger block you buy is iPhone and Android friendly.

We’re big fans of the Nonda Zus Smart Car Charger. Here’s why:

  • Charges two phones simultaneously at maximum speed.
  • The automatic car finder feature saves your parking location. So if you forget where you parked, you can use the Zus app to locate where you left your car. 
  • The built in mileage tracker really helps with calculating your mileage deductions.
  • Monitors your car’s battery life. This will make sure you replace a low battery before it completely goes dead.

Click below to buy your Zus Smart Car Charger. Your passengers might reward your help with charging their phones with a high driver rating and sweet tip.

 

6. Auxiliary Cords for Passenger Smartphones

Uber Aux Cord

Some passengers might want to listen to the music they already have stored on their personal devices. We recommend buying and keeping a couple of auxiliary cords on hand so they can plug into your car’s audio system. You may need to listen to some ear splitting death metal during the commute but you might get a high driver rating and a gratuity out of it!


7. Air freshener

The first thing people notice when they enter your car is the smell. We’ve been in plenty of rideshare vehicles and there’s nothing worse than shutting the door and being hit with the odor of the driver’s onion-heavy lunch. Or if the driver is a smoker, the lingering tobacco stench that clings to their clothing. (We’ve had that happen, too) Yuck. And that goes for noxious scents brought into the car by previous passengers. Double yuck.

A bad smelling car puts you on the fast lane to a low driver rating and a non-existent tip. We strongly recommend either keeping a can of air freshener in the trunk for a quick refreshing interior spritz, or buying a fresh scent dispenser that attaches to one of the air vents.

airfresh

Some passengers may be allergic to certain strong perfumes, so we suggest going with a subtle light scent or a fragrance-free deodorizer. 

  • They can last up to 30 days on average, and Febreze offers a subscription program that automatically send you a new air freshener every month.
  • Only two scents to choose from but they’re on the most popular list: Original pine and Island Fresh (tropical fruity)
  • You can adjust the intensity of the fragrance from light to heavy with the turn of a knob. 
  • The product also deodorizes the air in your car.


8.  Paper Towels, Cleaning Supplies Etc.

Humans are messy by nature. Drivers sometimes eat their meals in their cars. Sometimes passengers will eat their meals in your car. Beverages spill, sandwich contents ooze, and salad dressing can splatter, especially in a moving car. And what about a passenger who brings their beloved, but drooling, doggie along for the ride? 

We think it’s a good idea to keep a supply of paper towels, napkins, and other cleaning supplies (like a carpet stain remover) in the trunk or in your car itself. For both you and your passengers. 


9. Towel for service dogs

Uber and Lyft drivers are both required to allow passengers to ride with their service animals, so make sure to keep a towel in your car to keep any dog hair off your seats. Sometimes a passenger will ask the driver if it’s okay to bring their non-service dog along, and this decision is entirely up to the driver.

Here are Uber and Lyft’s policy regarding animals that are brought into your car by a passenger:

    • Uber and Lyft drivers must allow a passenger’s certified service animal into their vehicle. It’s not only company policy; it’s an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) law.
    • Drivers are not allowed to ask passengers for proof that their pet is a certified service animal. In other words, you have to take the passenger’s word for it.

So why did we bring this up? Because dogs and other pets shed, puke, drool, pee, and other things. Therefore, if a passenger with an uncrated animal, service dog or not, wishes to enter your car, keep an old blanket in the trunk that you can lay out on the back seat. You can either wash it or throw it away if the animal mistakes your backseat for a fire hydrant.

10. Sanitary wipes

Apart from paper towels and napkins, having sanitary wipes can come in handy for a quick wipe-down of your dashboard and steering wheel before picking up a new passenger.

11. Vomit bags

In the unfortunate, and sometimes likely, event that a passenger needs to throw up in your car, save yourself the headache and offer them a vomit bag. They’ll avoid damage fees and you’ll avoid a messy cleanup.

bag

12. Rideshare Insurance

Rideshare insurance is a specific policy that every ridesharing driver is legally obliged to get if they want to work with a TNC like Uber or Lyft.

Once you start working for these companies, personal auto insurance will not suffice as the vehicle is being used for business purposes.

With the massive growth of the industry, there are now a lot of rideshare insurance companies to choose from. Some of the most renowned names include:

Not sure which one to use? Click HERE here to compare quotes and save!

Take the Hassle out of Insurance. Get a Fast, Free Quote Online with Esurance today.

13. First aid kit

It’s a good idea to keep a stocked first aid kit in your car at all times in case of an emergency. They can be purchased at drug stores and department stores. But always call 911 if a passenger appears to be injured when they get in your car or if you get in an accident while driving. A Band-Aid will not help in those situations! 

We also recommend keeping some hand sanitizer or lotion in your cup holder for your passengers to use. Passengers who have been running errands all day or who just got out of a meeting might appreciate a quick hand cleaning, especially if they’re on the way to lunch or dinner.

firstaid

14. Water Bottles

Passengers will always enjoy being offered a refreshing bottle of water. Keep some on hand in an insulated cooler if you can. That would really be appreciated on a hot day.

15. Spare Tire or Flat Kit

As a hard-working rideshare driver, a flat tire can ruin your whole day or night during a shift. Keeping a spare tire or a flat tire kit in your car will help you get out of a jam if you ever need to quickly repair your tire while you’re on the job. These can be found at most auto stores or you can also order them online.


Conclusion

We hope this list of necessary items and apps will help keep you and your passengers stay safe, entertained, and comfortable as you go about your daily rideshare rounds. And as we mentioned, your miles and rideshare-related purchases can be used as tax deductions, which could save you thousands of dollars a year.

Need a Car for Rideshare Driving? Give HyreCar a Try.

Want to be a rideshare driver for Uber or Lyft but don’t have access to a vehicle? HyreCar can help you rent a vehicle for ridesharing in less than 24 hours, in all 50 states, with no long term contracts and insurance included. Just make sure to stock your car with all the essential items we listed above. Get started on the road to renting HERE!

Summary
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Uber and Lyft Driver Necessities
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By | 2019-08-11T18:01:18+00:00 October 10th, 2016|16 Comments

16 Comments

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  3. Derek July 28, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Nice post… Thanks.
    I been Uber now for a week plus, not yet 1.5 weeks… I already offer a charge cord though it’s android only. I offer ice cold bottles of water. Of course, cold air is a must, but i let customers know, if the air needs adjusting, let me know… but the NIGGEST AND MOST impressive offer I give which customers have not seen anywhere else?? Wi-Fi. I have unlimited data on my phone, with 8GB Hotspot service. So I tailored my hotspot with a recognized name, and easy password they can enter themselves. Every customer, I tell em “I have WiFi in the car, if you need to save your data plan, just let me know, I’ll give you the details “. And received lots compliments for it. One gentleman, a business man actually used it on way to airport with his tablet.

    If anyone has available hotspot on their car, or phone, and willing to give it out, this is highly recommended.

  4. Rex Cornwell August 4, 2017 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Good stuff – thank you

    • Hector September 28, 2017 at 4:24 pm - Reply

      Not worth it. Most customers on Uber x or lyft just want cheap rides. You provide all this staff including water, subtract from the mile rate, just loosing money. 4 dollar minimun earned, minus water – gum- AC-etc. The trick is to be polite, drive a few blocks more if passenger asks for. Quick pick up and exact drop off. I do this and I keep my rating 4.9 – 5 stars even when I don’t provide iphone charger and napkins. Another issue is uber pool or lyft line, people are very unhappy when picking up 2 or 3 pax, so the suggestion is don’t take pools, and if you take pools, be polite with the pax explaning you have to pick up another pax, it will work 70 % of the time.

      • Reese Moulton September 29, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

        Thanks for your feedback! The total amount of earnings that Uber/Lyft drivers receive completely depends on where they are driving, when they drive, the amount of hours they drive, etc… We have drivers making around $1,000/week on average!

  5. Deva December 21, 2017 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you this was such a huge help for my first Uber experience thank you and bless you.

  6. Diane Silk December 24, 2017 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Are Uber drivers permitted to promote their own exclusive cliental/passengers if so what must I do to be compliant? May I have professional business cards printed?

    • Reese Moulton December 27, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      Yes, you can! That is one of the easiest ways to get referral bonuses.

  7. […] other threat, your first move should always be to call 911. This is true for both Uber and Lyft. It also wouldn’t hurt to keep a first aid kit in your car. But what […]

  8. Mark February 25, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Im sorry but you are wrong my friend .
    Been ubering and lyfting for year and a half with an exaptional rating of 4.9 for both and i do not provide none of what u mentioned above except a charger.
    People expect you to be luxury whike its not , remember its only a fast safe ride from A to B and nothing else. We can offer more but there is no nothing like we need to .

    If you would be a driver and but your self in their shoes you will understand. Thx i really had to reply on that

    • Reese Moulton February 26, 2018 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      That is awesome, well done Mark! Also, these are simply suggestions to improve the passenger experience, not specific requirements.

  9. Cathy Kelly March 16, 2018 at 1:08 am - Reply

    I’m an Urber driver in the Bluffton-Hilton Head, SC. I have been a Certified Nurse Assistant for 17 years, Mother and a Nana. What I find that my Riders like is my story, if they want to talk, I always engage conversion, since I am not usually in an environment that is on vacation, going to work, leaving our area, or coming to the area.The items that I have for my Riders are:
    Water, napkins, hand sanitizer, menus, mints, individual nuts of different types, two different kinds of baked cookies, on holiday’s , like Valentine’s, heart shaped Donuts, etc. Phone charger, pet treats for Therapy Dogs, cat Treats for the one’s in my pickup location and willing to stop for Riders in route, to pickup items that they need. I have been named The Best Uber Driver, from many Riders. And I don’t charge for my Treats. I saw the Drivers are looking to make more money by changing for treats, I would rather the Tips and Stars, Badges and Compliment.

  10. Mike March 16, 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Just say no to air fresheners. As a Uber/Lyft customer, keep in mind that what YOU think smells good, others may not. People become desensitized to smells too and drivers do not realize the smell is overwhelming and oppressive.

  11. Eric January 17, 2019 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Many would say all you need is some gas and a smile.

    I am of the opinion there are some key essentials every driver should have in their car before they start driving for Uber/Lyft. For starters, a dash cam, a phone mount, phone charger and anything that helps keep your car clean and tidy.

    We too came up with a list: https://uberdriverthings.com/25-things-you-need-in-your-car-as-an-uber-driver/

    Sure, not everything is necessary. But you can probably make an argument for each and every one.

    • jesslyn January 21, 2019 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Hello Eric, we certainly couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing. What do you think of the list that we have on our article? We hope that it has given you more supporting information.

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