You do not need a big rig to work as a driver. If you have a valid driver's license and your own set of wheels, you can land a job driving your own car. These jobs have obvious benefits. They require minimal training, and anyone with a car, a driver's license and a good driving record qualifies as a job candidate. Plus, you can stay away from office cubicles and possibly crank up your favorite tunes. However, some of these driving jobs require you to make vehicle upgrades, purchase equipment or obtain licensing or insurance. Learning the details of these jobs can help you to decide whether to pursue one.
Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
Approximately one in four taxi drivers and chauffeurs own their own vehicles, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They keep all of their fares and pay their own expenses. The median annual wage for these drivers was $34,750 in 2013. Drivers must have a valid driver's license, and most states require drivers to obtain a chauffeur's license, which requires you to pass a written test and a drug test. You also may need to upgrade your vehicle by adding a taxi sign for the top of the vehicle, vinyl signage for the side of the vehicle and a two-way radio for communicating with dispatchers. You also will need to purchase insurance coverage and advertise your services. Most independent drivers gain employment by contracting with a local taxi or chauffeur company.
Drivers frequently use their own cars to make deliveries for companies. Besides restaurant delivery drivers, companies hire drivers to deliver groceries and distribute printed materials, such as newspapers, phone books and promotional door hangers. Delivery drivers normally receive an hourly wage. In the restaurant industry, delivery drivers earn $8 to $12 per hour plus tips. These drivers are busiest on nights and weekends and during peak dining times. Some companies require delivery drivers to perform other duties when there are no orders to deliver. To find work, you need to fill out applications online or in person at restaurants known to employ drivers. Some companies also hire couriers to deliver packages. Quicksilver Express Courier in Colorado requires couriers to have a valid driver's license with a good driving record, good map skills and the ability to lift 50 to 70 pounds.
Companies now pay drivers who agree to place advertising on their vehicles. According to BankRate.com, companies place vinyl decals on your car and ask you to follow your normal driving routine. You can earn the equivalent of a car payment, about $300 to $600 per month through one of these firms. Companies prefer to select drivers who live in high-traffic urban communities or who will drive in an area matching a desired demographic. You can search online for a list of companies that pay drivers in your area.
If you own or lease a vehicle and use it for work, you can claim a federal income tax deduction. You must choose one of two methods of figuring your deduction. The easiest method requires you to log all work miles during the tax year and multiply the total by the standard mileage rate, which the Internal Revenue Service set at 56.5 cents per mile for 2013. Alternately, you can keep receipts of all actual expenses, such as fuel, repairs and maintenance, and deduct the total of the receipts. Commuting miles are not deductible, but you can deduct miles driven from your place of employment to a job site. If your employer reimburses you for all of your driving, you cannot claim a deduction.
In the wintertime, you can earn money by plowing snow with your own vehicle. In rural areas, you can land a contract with a road district, which may hire you to plow the county's roads with your own vehicle. Business and homeowners hire people to plow snow from their driveways and parking lots. According to the "Democrat and Chronicle," a man in Rochester, New York, earned $175 to $400 per hour from plowing work. However, the job requires some investment. You need to buy a plow, which costs approximately $3,000, and you must buy insurance. You also spend money for vehicle maintenance, and the work is seasonal.
2016 Salary Information for Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a median annual salary of $24,300 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a 25th percentile salary of $20,490, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $30,440, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 305,100 people were employed in the U.S. as taxi drivers and chauffeurs.