14 things every Uber and Lyft driver needs

If you are just starting out driving for Uber or Lyft, you may be wondering what you should keep in your car in order to get 5-star ratings. Some drivers offer granola bars, candy, or homemade cookies to their passengers. One Lyft driver I rode with had a karaoke machine installed into his vehicle. In general, I think the best idea is to keep it light. You do not need to be a full-service concierge for passengers.

However it is a good idea to be prepared and to offer the basic things that passengers have come to expect from drivers.

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Here are 14 things every Uber and Lyft driver needs…

1. A car phone mount

Please do not try and hold the phone in your hand while you’re driving. It’s dangerous and it certainly looks disturbing to the passenger. Also, don’t stick it in a cup holder or lay it on the floor. You don’t want to have to look down while you’re driving. A dashboard mount for your cell phone is really the only way to go. The suction kind are very easy to mount. You’ll wonder how you ever got around without it.

I got this phone mount from Amazon, and it is has worked great.

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2. Mileage log for taxes

A mileage log is an absolute must-have for Lyft and Uber drivers. Instead of actual car expenses, the government sets a standard mileage reimbursement rate that you can deduct from your taxes. The current rate is $0.565 per mile. Unless you have an expensive SUV with poor gas mileage and high depreciation, this will likely be higher than your actual costs.

I record my miles in this book, but there are also apps that automatically track your miles for you, such as MileIQ or TripLog.

3. iPhone 5/6 charger and Android charger

You will most likely already have one of these. Make sure you get the other one in case a passenger wants to charge his/her phone:

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4. Auxiliary cord for music

Sometimes passengers (or you) will want to play their own music. Having an aux cord that is long enough for passengers in the backseat to plug in, is a very good thing to have.

5. A pen and paper

A must-have.

6. Gum or mints

Offering your guests gum or mints is a nice extra thing to do. Helps with your rating sometimes. It can get expensive though if you’re like me…and end up chewing all of the gum yourself.

7. Water

Being able to offer your passengers water is also very nice and appreciated. You can deduct this from your taxes too. Also, if someone is drunk, it can really help prevent them from vomiting in your car…

8. Paper towels

Keep these in the glove compartment just in case.

9. Spray cleaner

Also just in case, keep spray cleaner in your trunk or glove compartment.

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10. Air freshener

Driving all day with passengers, between perfume, body odor, and whatever else…your car can smell a bit stale, unless you invest in some sort of air freshening device. I keep one of these organic California Scents in my vehicle.

11. Towel for Dog

You are required to allow someone to let their service animal ride along with them. I keep a large towel in the trunk for dogs.

12. Sunglasses

Try driving into the sun without them, it is impossible.

13. A book or a Kindle

For your downtime between rides: Instead of checking your Facebook or Instagram for the thousandth time that day, use your time in a productive way, get a book or a Kindle and read something.

14. Starbucks app

I love coffee and with Starbucks Rewards, I can get free refills and free drinks. I also don’t usually carry cash and so I like that I can tip directly on the app.

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Anything I forgot?

Leave a comment and let us know what you always keep in your car while driving for Uber or Lyft.

14 Things from idrivewithuber

      1. No, he means when you can’t see the house number at night from your car. A good flashlight is necessary to shine at the house numbers…your cellphone’s not going to cut it.

        1. And sometimes merely a decent flashlight won’t cut it. I’ve put my vehicle highbeams on the side of apartment buildings a few times. Some apartment complexes have non-existent sign lighting and non-existent ambient (street/parking area) lighting, so all you have is what you brought. I was at one complex where the very nice trees were planted so close to the buildings and directly in front of the numbering that light couldn’t even penetrate the branches and leaves.

          1. I bought a tactical light as seen on the internet. Work’s great as a flood light or spot light.

      1. And not just spotlights. Dynamic Headlights and Dynamic Light Spots are also illegal in many locations. Worst part is when you’re trying to find a house number and it matches the color of the house or is so dark you can’t see any house numbers on any buildings. Plus there’s also on one article that brake lights that flash are illegal, but I still see them on at least 5 car models in the united states.

  1. I would definitely recommend baby wipes & hand sanitizer. I’ve even seen people say that if you’re going to a family event (like baseball games) that having a booster seat can be helpful.

    1. This is very true! I get frequent headaches and so I carry Advil with me as well as excedrin and one day I asked a passenger how they were and they said, ok but I have a head ache. they were so happy I had something because they had run out and were on their way to work.

    2. I kept meaning to put some in my car and still haven’t but had a rider last night who was jumped by some guys in a bar and I felt bad for not having some pain relief mess to give him!

  2. Velcro is an amazing phone holder. When it gets old, remove with rubbing alcohol. Also, all those pesky plastic grocery bags make great barf bags, free and recycled. Mini cooler for water and a spare child seat. Safety first!! Oh and of course, pepper spray or tear gas. Beware of blowback rofl.

  3. Not sure if listed below but I also have Fast Trak so I don’t have to worry about cash for tolls and I can drive on specific roads to avoid traffic. I also keep a nice trash container in the back with a tissue box underneath. In addition, I’ve heard ziplock bags for passengers who may get sick either from drinking or motion sickness can be convenient. Another thing I make sure to keep is a car seat. I can’t believe how many parents get into my car without a car seat for their young children. A risk I am not getting ticket for because the parents are too lazy or ignorant to follow the law.

  4. I use SherpaShare to log in my miles.Doesnt seem like a big bad corp is looking over me. ala mileiq and microsoft!!

  5. I’m wondering about some kind of sleeve or pocket that would stick or attach to the passenger dash area? To place various items obvious to the passenger.

  6. I never understood this, why on earth would you actually go through the trouble of manually logging miles? IRS couldn’t care less about what and when you drove, they just want to make sure you don’t claim something ridiculous. Why not just claim whatever you want and make the records up if it comes to it? Do it daily, monthly, when you file taxes or if you get audited. You’ll have plenty of time to do as nobody is going to bust through the door of your house in the middle of the night and ask for the logs. IRS will look at your 1099 and then your deductions if you made 30k/yr and claimed 29k if deductions for the last 5 years – you better believe it is suspicious. On the other hand they couldn’t care less if you claimed 3k of deductions or 5k just don’t be a complete idiot when you try to explain it. By the way I’ve never heard anyone having issues with their transportation deductions.

    1. Agreed. Since the partner dashboard contains paid miles, it’s easy to extrapolate from that a reasonable estimate of unpaid miles (eg. en route to pick-ups, repositioning to higher demand area after dropoffs in the boonies, traveling to the edge of the service area if you don’t already live or work there) by multiplying by a factor of 1.2 or 1.4 or 1.6 or 1.8 or whatever’s realistic for your circumstances.

      1. On the other hand, a mileage log is very easy to do and acts as a reality check against the electronic record which is occasionally wrong believe it or not. When I was driving big trucks a mileage log was indispensable…

  7. Please PLEASE don’t use air fresheners. A lot of people are allergic to the commercial ones. Frankly, I’d prefer the previous passengers’ (or the driver’s) sweat smells to any kind of air freshener.

  8. When rides are paying $4, and expenses eat up half of that, why in the name of God would I supply Karaoke, homemade cookies, granola bars, laptops, ect ect ect? You poor damn fools. You make one third of what a nasty taxi cab gets, and still play that dumbass game. Suckers!! For $4 you get a safe quiet ride with winter heat, or summer A/C. These drivers catering to the riders, that 90% of will not give a tip to, are pathetic.

  9. I have leather seats, so I bought leather conditioning spray to keep everything looking nice, I also have a “feminine basket” (woman’s needs), in my trunk and believe it or not, I have condoms too, you never know who might actually ask you for something like that (as a joke, but they might be pretty thrilled to see you’re doing whatever you can to advocate for safe sex practices).
    I have a small suggestion/feedback box in the back seat also, with a mini notebook and pen, there’s a mini first aid kit in my trunk, a couple plastic bags for trash, etc, facial tissues and hand sanitizer too. I also have disposable plastic gloves incase I have to clean up some unwanted fluids/debris.
    This might be overkill, but I also have sealed straws to offer with the bottled water I carry too & since I get coupons in the mail for a lot of different places, I carry them and offer those to anyone who might be stopping by sometime later for food.

    Those are the few things not on the list that I carry, (I have everything on the list already).

    1. Very cool and you’re a good person and professional, Angelicia.
      Uber on!
      (I drive for Lyft as well but “Luber on just sounds wrong, snork)

  10. I always carry a one gallon pitcher with a plastic shopping bag in for the puking drunk person to use. And make them take the bag at drop off.

  11. Hi Guys,

    I would definitely recommend adding the Carebag Vomit Bag with Super Absorbent Pad to this list. The last thing you want is to be unprepared for a passenger who had a bit too much to drink..

  12. I’m interested in #2 MILEAGE records for taxes – does this mean the total distance driven each day including getting to each pickup and also driving around trying to get a fare, or is it just the amount of miles driven with a paying passenger?

    1. If the app is on Mathew and/or miles driven are for business. They are deductible. Picking up, relocating to better areas, to repairs/fuel. Shopping for business related items such as cleaning supplies.

  13. Okay, I went through your post! Most of it seems helpful yet with some clarifications. Can you please make why I should use Starbucks app more clarified as it seems a bit confusing to me? It would be a great help for our community that usually relies on our website Sandersreview as they need any information.

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

    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.

  15. I would guess it’s illegal and if its illegal it seems like there should be a way for people to try to take action and make them pay the fine or to just not be a passenger. They don’t seem concerned.

    As far as safety goes it’s definitely not the safest thing, because as you probably know, it is illegal for a person to have a vehicle while they’re on a ride. It’s illegal to have a vehicle where they don’t have permission and is also illegal for someone to own a vehicle that is operating without a vehicle license. There are plenty of times in my life where I would be able to go around and help myself, but my phone wouldn’t work for reasons that involved driving through traffic. Those people aren’t there for ridesharing, they are there to just get a ride and get money.

  16. Excellent post however I was wondering if you could write a little more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!
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