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If working with adorable children is more your speed than driving around rowdy Uber riders every Friday night, HopSkipDrive may be the platform for you.
HopSkipDrive is a youth transportation service that helps busy families find safe rides for their equally busy children. It’s one of a handful of “Uber for kids” mobile apps that have been developed over the years, offering unique transportation solutions for parents and schools. Whether a child needs a ride to karate class, or a school district needs a school bus alternative, the HopSkipDrive app is often the best option — and its CareDrivers make it all possible.
Keep reading to learn how you can get involved in this unique opportunity and how much you can earn.
What Are CareDrivers?
CareDrivers are independent contractors for HopSkipDrive who provide two different kinds of transportation services for minors age six and up. These services are:
- Single-family rides: For these rides, drivers only need to make a single stop to pick up and drop off up to four children.
- Carpools: Some families may request to share a ride. You’ll make several stops for these trips.
Drivers for HopSkipDrive are highly vetted to ensure children only interact with the most trusted and experienced caretakers possible. However, by participating in a few extra onboarding steps and meeting higher standards, you will reap far better benefits than a typical rideshare driver.
CareDrivers who consistently accept rides — especially during peak hours like before and after school — can make up to $32 per hour. While you can’t immediately receive requests just by logging in, HopSkipDrive’s version of allowing you to set your own schedule provides added transparency for your upcoming rides. You’ll be able to see how much you can expect to earn and where you’re going before you accept a ride.
The driver vetting process for HopSkipDrive is one of the strictest in the rideshare industry. This allows parents to have peace of mind, no matter which CareDriver is helping them fulfill their child’s transportation needs. These are all requirements that CareDrivers must meet to complete their 15-point certification process:
- Be at least 23 years old
- Have five years of caregiving experience (childcare experience required)
- Have a valid United States driver’s license with at least one year of driving history
- Have an iPhone 5s or newer, or an Android that’s compatible with the CareDriver app
- Have no criminal history within the past seven years
- Have a good driving record
HopSkipDrive’s certification process takes tremendous care to prevent sexual offenders, violent criminals, and more from joining the platform by looking as far back with their background checks as legally possible. When you’re invited to an in-person orientation, you’ll additionally be required to provide fingerprints. All of this allows the company to perform routine background checks to ensure you’re still qualified to provide riders with safe rides to school, after-school activities, and more.
Location-wise, CareDrivers must be located within one of the company’s five regions of operation:
- Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area
- Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego
- Colorado (Front Range), including Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs
- Virginia, including Arlington, Fairfax, and Washington, D.C.
- Arizona, including all of the Phoenix metro area
If legally required by your state, you may be asked to complete a medical exam. This is a check to ensure you’re physically fit to operate a vehicle. Your doctor may examine your limb movement, vision, and mental health, as well as check for potential heart issues, respiratory conditions, and epilepsy.
When earning with HopSkipDrive, drivers will be required to wear a branded orange shirt (which the company will send you) to help passengers identify you as their CareDriver. To add an extra layer of security, you’ll need to say a family’s secret code word and your rider’s birthday.
HopSkipDrive Vehicle Requirements
In addition to meeting all driver requirements, CareDrivers are also required to meet all of HopSkipDrive’s vehicle requirements. While the company heavily emphasizes the driver vetting process, vehicle requirements are actually less strict than the ones traditional rideshare drivers have to follow. Your vehicle must:
- Be a 2009 model or newer in good condition
- Have four doors and be able to seat four to seven passengers
- Be insured and registered in your state, under your name
- Pass a 19-point inspection. You can refer to Lyft’s identical inspection process for more details.
Once you get the go-ahead to pick up riders, your vehicle must always be equipped with:
- Two HopSkipDrive window decals: Much like Uber and Lyft drivers, CareDrivers are required to display their company’s current trade dress on their front and back windshields. This gear, provided by HopSkipDrive, helps passengers identify you immediately. If you drive for any other rideshare service, your additional decals must be removed before you begin a trip.
- A booster seat: HopSkipDrive will provide you with a booster seat (or more, if they anticipate the need) that you must keep in your vehicle when driving. Six- to eight-year-old children are required to use this booster seat.
- A cell phone mount: CareDrivers must place their phone in a cell phone car mount while driving with HopSkipDrive. This promotes hands-free driving and keeps your eyes closer to the road, so your passengers are guaranteed a safe ride.
- A HopSkipDrive safety card: CareDrivers must print this safety card and keep it within their vehicles at all times. This helps you understand what to do in emergency situations.
How to Become a CareDriver
If you expect to pass all of the requirements listed above, you’re likely a prime candidate for the CareDriver position. If you’re still interested in signing up, follow these steps to get started on your path to becoming a CareDriver:
- Submit your name, email, and phone number on the driver sign-up page.
- Once your submission is approved, HopSkipDrive will notify you to provide required documents. Follow their instructions to submit your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration.
- Attend a CareDriver orientation. This will be an in-person meeting with a HopSkipDrive employee that will include your fingerprinting, a brief presentation, and a Q&A session. Make sure to bring the vehicle you’ll be driving with HopSkipDrive to this session, as your complimentary vehicle inspection will occur at this time, too.
- After attending the orientation, you’ll be given your final steps to complete your FBI criminal background check, DMV driving record check, and medical exam (if required).
- Complete a W9 and review online training.
Beyond these steps, you’ll really just be waiting for a text message or an email that will notify you that you’ve been activated. This will include directions to help you set up your CareDriver app, schedule, and direct deposits.
We highly recommend signing up now, as HopSkipDrive is currently offering a $1,000 earning guarantee for your first month. If you complete 40 rides in 30 days and don’t reach $1,000, the company will make up the difference by providing you with a bonus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Becoming a CareDriver may not be as easy as driving for Uber, but if you love working with children, it will be a rewarding (and higher-paying) opportunity. To help you make your final decision on whether you’d like to help out busy families in your area, here are our answers to a handful of common questions:
1. Do I need to provide a car seat for my riders?
No, you shouldn’t ever have to provide a car seat for passengers, since all your unaccompanied riders will be age six or older. However, if accompanied by a parent or guardian, younger children who need car seats may be allowed in the vehicle. In these scenarios, CareDrivers are not allowed to provide the car seat or assist with the installation of parent-provided car seats, since this increases liability.
2. How do drivers receive ride requests?
Unlike traditional rideshare services, HopSkipDrive doesn’t automatically send ride requests. Instead, available requests will be listed on the app for existing drivers to claim. To claim a ride:
- Tap “Available Rides” on your CareDriver app menu.
- Select the blue “Claim Rides Now” button under “My Rides.”
- Select your desired date and set any filters you’d like (ex: preferred times and distances).
- Scroll through available requests, which include locations, time estimates, and any bonuses the trip qualifies for.
- Tap on your desired trip and select “Add to Cart” on the pop-up.
- From here, you can keep adding rides, but you’ll have to finish claiming your rides within five minutes. To do so, select “Claim Rides” at the bottom of your cart.
3. Will I ever be assigned to last-minute rides?
You will never be required to take on last-minute requests. Parents must request rides by 7 p.m. the night before their ride. Most CareDrivers map out their day at least 24 hours ahead of time.
If you wish, you are welcome to pick up any leftover rides as late as 30 minutes before the requested pick-up time. However, in the rare situation that these rides remain unclaimed, parents know it is their responsibility (not CareDrivers’) to find a solution.
HopSkipDrive will also never assign you to bring riders to the airport, so if this occurs, you can report it to the company.
Help Families Reach Their Goals
Being a parent isn’t the easiest job, but even the busiest moms and dads will stop at nothing to help their kids. When you provide a helping hand to support their children’s education, hobbies, and social life, your efforts won’t go by unnoticed. This fulfilling career will have you looking forward to getting behind the wheel — and the pay isn’t something to frown upon either.
If you want to consider all you options before landing on HopSkipDrive, read our article on Zūm, another popular Uber for kids service that also offers babysitter opportunities.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.