Uber and Lyft aren’t the only transportation companies who have used modern tech to change the way people get a ride, and change the way drivers find passengers. GroundLink is another technology-centered car service that focuses on prearranged car trips and and airport transportation. It’s a driving job worth looking into for professional drivers.
What is GroundLink? What type of drivers can drive for GroundLink?
GroundLink is a black-car vehicle service that connects a network of professional drivers to passengers. Passengers can book rides online, in the GroundLink app, or via telephone. Drivers accept and manage jobs arranged by GroundLink through the GroundLink app and are paid by GroundLink.
- For GroundLink passengers: What is GroundLink, and how does it compare to Uber?
GroundLink is targeted toward existing limousine drivers who already have the licensing, insurance, and other qualifications to be a professional driver. GroundLink uses a dispatching system that sends scheduled and on-demand work to qualified drivers, so it’s a way for existing drivers to get new work.
There are two ways to drive for GroundLink
- As an independent operator – Drivers accept jobs directly from GroundLink
- Through a limo company partnered with the GroundLink affiliate network – Drivers work for a limo company, limo company accepts jobs from GroundLink
The primary focus of this article is the driver requirements for independent operators. For limousine companies, check out the GroundLink affiliate network to see how you can connect your company with GroundLink.
GroundLink driver requirements
To become an independent driver for GroundLink, you must meet the following requirements.
- Must own qualifying black-car vehicle: 5 years old or newer, black paint
- Insurance policy – Up to the minimum for commercial drivers in your area (typically $500k)
- Commercial licensing
- Proof of EIN
- Airport permit for commercial drivers
- Must pass background check
GroundLink drivers are professionally-licensed drivers, so the qualifications to be accepted by GroundLink are typically the same as the qualifications for any other limousine company in the state where you want to work.
The EIN requirement, along with commercial licensing and registration indicate that GroundLink is looking for drivers who have already taken the steps to create a professional driving business.
Where can you drive for GroundLink as an independent operator?
The GroundLink independent operator network is a newer GroundLink program that is currently available in the following cities.
- Fort Worth
If you’re a licensed limo driver with access to a qualifying vehicle in those cities, GroundLink is worth looking into. GroundLink is available for fleet owners in all US cities and states.
GroundLink vehicle requirements
- Must be 5 years old or newer
- Black paint
- Luxury models or SUVs are the most desirable
GroundLink is a black-car service for professional drivers, so the vehicle standards are high. GroundLink is generally geared toward drivers or fleet owners who are already established in the high-end livery business, so most eligible drivers will already have access to a qualifying vehicle.
The GroundLink driver signup process
If you have all of your documentation in order, the GroundLink signup process is a fairly simple online application with a background check.
- Create a profile
- Upload required documents
- Download the GroundLink driver app
- Watch training videos to learn how to use the app
- Undergo background screening
What do GroundLink drivers do? A job overview
GroundLink focuses on higher-end rides, typically to and from airports. Expect clientele to be businesses travelers or higher-income passengers who prefer to pre-arrange a ride with a professional car services. What sets GroundLink apart from other livery work is that you use the GroundLink platform to accept and manage fares.
The GroundLink driver experience generally follows these steps:
- Use the GroundLink app to accept scheduled or on-demand rides
- Use the GroundLink app to prepare for and complete a ride
- Drivers are paid by GroundLink once per week
- Drivers keep 80%, GroundLink takes 20%
GroundLink drivers give scheduled or on demand rides
Most rides arranged through GroundLink are pre-scheduled, but an on demand feature called Ride Now is now available in all cities that accept independent operators
Scheduled rides: To schedule rides, set your schedule one day in advance in the GroundLink app and accept rides from a list of available job listed. The jobs will contain information about the pickup and dropoff location, along with any other special instructions. While you’re working, there is a View Jobs area where you can book rides.
On demand rides: The Ride Now on-demand ride feature operates in a similar way to Uber or Lyft: When you’re signed into the app, ride request notifications come in. You have 45 seconds to accept the request, and you are then expected to head toward the passenger right away.
App features during a ride: While you’re on a ride, you use information inside the app to find the passenger. You then set your status based on three conditions: On location, pickup passenger, drop-off passenger. After you have dropped off the passenger, you can review the fare and check to see that the payment covered all tolls or other fees you incurred on the ride.
GroundLink driver pay: Drivers keep 80%, GroundLink takes 20%
GroundLink’s fee to drivers is 20% of each fare; Drivers keep 80%. Based on my own research into typical GroundLink fares, most normal rides were in the $80 – $100 range, with the cheapest ride being $60. GroundLink drivers can expect high-value rides, but there is no guaranteed minimum and the company doesn’t publish detailed earnings estimates.
Payment system: GroundLink provides an automated payment system that handles all customer payments and sends drivers one weekly payment. Passengers pay GroundLink up front, then GroundLink pays drivers. If dealing with passenger payments is a hassle for you in your normal livery work, this could be a benefit to you.
GroundLink vs. UberBlack
For most drivers or fleet services interested in GroundLink, UberBlack is a relevant competing service. Like GroundLink, UberBlack only accepts fully-licensed livery drivers. And like GroundLink, UberBlack is mainly intended as a platform for professional drivers to conveniently find fares and receive electronic payment.
The primary difference between GroundLink and UberBlack is that UberBlack is intended for on-demand rides and GroundLink focuses on scheduled rides. Fleet owners and livery drivers use UberBlack for on-demand rides when their ordinary schedule has gaps that need to be filled. GroundLink could also fill in any gaps in your ordinary schedule, or become your primary source for fares.
- UberBlack driver requirements: Commercial insurance, luxury cars, and more
- Blacklane is another car service that focuses on airport transportation
GroundLink is for existing professional drivers looking for new opportunities
If you’re interested in driving for GroundLink, it’s important to emphasize that it’s geared toward existing professional limousine drivers who already have the licensing, insurance, and vehicle necessary to operate a high-end car service. If you’re already a state-certified limo driver, GroundLink may be a good option for you because it will connect you with local high-value jobs.
If you’re not yet a professionally licensed and registered livery driver but you want to become one, GroundLink may not be the starting point for your professional driving career. You first have to obtain the licensing, permits, insurance, and vehicles that any professional driver in your area would need. If you want to get started with a passenger-oriented driving job without having to become a certified professional driver, consider Uber or Lyft.