The one thing I hate the most about travel is driving to the airport and finding parking in long-term parking, paying for the long-term parking and then taking the shuttle to the actual terminal. What I hate even more is when visitors (family or friends) come into town and ask me to pick them up or drop them off at the airport.
I bet I'm not the only one with these hateful feelings toward the airport and air travel. If I knew someone that provided airport rides, I would pay them an insurmountable amount of money to take this task off my hands.
Oh, wait . . . this is where you could possibly come in. If you don't mind going to the airport, lugging luggage in your trunk and are a friendly-type person, you should think about provided rides to your local airport . . . for a fee of course.
Here are the requirements to successfully provide this service to your family, friends and acquaintances:
1. You must be a person that manages TIME well. For instance, you have timed several routes to the airport in different traffic conditions so when there is an accident on the interstate, you know just the perfect route to get your traveler to the airport on time.
2. Have an excellent GPS system in your car or at least a smartphone with a GPS system that monitors the traffic conditions in your area. For instance, I love the WAZE app that I have on my iPhone. This wonderful little app shares real-time traffic and road conditions. Click here for a demo and tour of how this little app works!
3. Thoroughly learn the airport terminal layout. Having some knowledge of departing and arrival gates of airlines can save you and your traveler a lot of time. I like these two websites that will give you a full map of your local airport: Airport Terminal Map and Flight Stat's Airport Terminal Guide.
4. Make sure your vehicle is in shape and clean with plenty of space for luggage. No one wants to get in a car that smells (like tobacco or any other product -- so fresh and clean car smell is required.)
5. Get a separate phone number with voicemail and e-mail for your airport deliver service. You don't want a phone ringing at home disturbing your family or disturbing you. There are a number of services like YouMail.com that provide excellent voicemail service for $2.99 per month! Such services can ring your smart phone and your home phone and if you don't answer send you an alert via e-mail or Twitter. It also allows you to put on a professional face to your potential travelers and provide 24 hour access.
6. Find out how much shuttle and cab service is charging for a ride to the airport. You don't have to necessarily price yourself competitively with these services, but you should make sure that you are covering gas, wear & tear on your car, your time, plus a bit of profit.
7. You must be available at all hours, meaning the majority of the time you'll be driving around during the dark hours from 11PM to 6AM - it's just the nature of the beast. Great opportunity if this does not bother you. But note, you can charge extra for red-eye flights, so it's worth it.
Now that you know what it takes, here's the warning . . .
This is a service that you should offer to family, friends and acquaintances ONLY. Advertising such a business or putting up a website offering your services makes you a Taxi-Shuttle business! To be a bona-fide taxi-shuttle business (which means transporting strangers) will require more licensing and insurance.
Remember, you are just doing this venture to make some extra money. So let's stay legal and honest.
UPDATE: You can also register to be a Lyft Driver -- a ride-sharing service. Lyft Drivers are screened with the DMV and given background checks. This is a process that takes about 1-2 weeks. You must be at least 23 years old and have a car made in 2000 or newer. Drivers are matched with passengers who request rides through IPhone and Android app. Drivers get 80% of the total donation received. Drivers are paid once a week. And passengers rate you after the ride is completed.
Where marketing is concerned for this little venture, keep it at word of mouth. Only provide this service to family, friends and acquaintances. If you decide to provide simple business cards just put your name and contact information, voicemail and e-mail, on it. Let your family, friends and co-workers know that you have no problem taking them to the airport.
Believe me, word gets around fast. You'll be visiting the local airport often and having a little more change in your pocket in no time. And if you decide to provide this service in Berkeley-Oakland area of San Francisco Bay Area, let me know. I'll be the first one to call you up!
Did I tell you that I hate driving to the airport?
PERSPECTIVE: The quick money series on Telecommuting Millionaire? is to help you find funding so you can take your first steps to following your dreams. After you read a few of my Quick Money articles, you will realize that Money is Everywhere. Don't use these quick money ideas, unless you understand that you are using these ideas . . . not to pay off debt, not for extra salary, not for "fun money" . . . but as a stepping stone to financing the first steps of your dreams. Dog-gone it, we are going to gain our financial freedom together! Read: Money is Everywhere to get the proper perspective.
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