There’s no question that technology has changed our lives. The idea of having a pocket supercomputer with access to the sum of human knowledge was too farfetched for sci-fi. Now we call it a phone. This powerful tool has not only changed the way we live but also the way we work. These devices have given small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs opportunities that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. A big part of that is how rideshare apps have given people from all walks of life the opportunity to do business.

The Sharing Industry

Uber was the first pioneer in the sharing business, and Lyft soon followed. Now there are several companies, all wanting to find their niche in this new way of doing business and become a successful sharing service. And who can blame them? Uber alone is worth around $40 billion dollars. One measure of their success is how hard the traditional taxi companies are lobbying local and federal governments to save them from a competitor that’s killing them.

The rideshare industry has turned many people into small business owners by letting them turn their own cars into a taxi service. They become their own boss, set their own hours, and determine their own pay by how much they want to work. When you’re calling your own shots like that, it gives you unbelievable sense of freedom. These are your friends and neighbors who have found a great way to make some extra money on the side, or even turn their driving into a full-time job. It’s an option for almost everyone. The most common one is driving for a service like Uber or Lyft, but there are similar businesses out there that focus on revolutionizing carpooling in the same way.

You don’t even have to be a driver to get a slice of the rideshare pie. Services like HyreCar are an Uber or Lyft car-lease type of operation. Users rent cars from the car owners and drive them themselves. This is great for people on vacation wanting to see the sights at their own leisure or for business travelers needing a car while they’re in town working on a project. The great thing is that the car owner can literally earn money while sitting at home.

Getting Started

So, what does it take to be able to be a part of companies like, Uber, Lyft, or HyreCar? First off, a person has to be willing to take charge of their own business and work hard. After that, any would-be entrepreneur has to meet the rideshare company’s standards. Each one has its own specific requirements, but there are some universal standards that they share.

1. Pass a Background Check
One of the main things rideshare companies want to do is make everyone using their services feel safe. The best way to do that is to do a background check on all the drivers. The extent of and how the background checks are done is different from state to state, but basically a wannabe driver has to be free of criminal convictions and not appear on any sex offender registries.

2. Have Your Insurance in Order
Rideshares will have different insurance requirements and rules depending on their location, but the bulk of the insurance responsibility falls on the driver. Your insurance should also be in good standing, i.e. you must have had car insurance for the last six months or more. Being the sort of person who drove around without insurance beforehand is a red flag for rideshare companies.

3. Have a Nice Ride
A person wanting to drive for the bigger rideshare services needs a good car. It doesn’t have to be a new Lexus, but a 25-year-old rust bucket without a heater or AC isn’t going to cut it. In general, the car has to be fewer than ten years old and in perfect working condition with no major dents or body damage, and it has to be safe. The brakes and seatbelts have to work, and the car should comfortably seat at least four people.

Keeping the car clean is another must. One of the big draws that brought passengers to Uber and Lyft was the promise of a clean ride. No one likes getting into a taxi that smells like a decade’s worth of cigarette smoke with all sorts of weird seat stains and sticky floors.

4. Smartphone Technology
The whole deal with rideshare services hangs on the users and the drivers having smartphones. The good news is that almost any smartphone will work. Anyone wanting to drive won’t be forced to go out and buy the latest phone from Apple or Samsung.

Conclusion

The sharing industry is taking the market by storm by allowing others to make money and save money. All it takes is some technology savvy, responsibility and a few assets. We can expect to see many more sharing business models pop up thanks to the forward thinking and success of Uber. Will your idea be next?

James Ruhle is a BusinessTown.com contributor