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How Grab is helping me pay off my car loan

I had the loan. I had the car. Now I just needed to pay it off… This is what happened when I signed up as a Grab driver to pay off my car loan.

When I made the decision to buy my first car, my experience of Grab’s ride-sharing service was limited to weekend trips to cool cafes in remote locations. Everyone’s heard of Grab, and while I liked using it, I never thought I would be a driver. That was until I started looking for ways to put more towards my car loan.

Finding my financing

As a writer and personal finance expert for finder Singapore, I knew finding the right loan wasn’t going to be my biggest problem. I used a car loan calculator with each of the lenders I compared to make sure the repayments were going to be affordable. I compared all my available financing options and kept their restrictions in mind.

After comparing my options for a few weeks, I settled on GrabCar financing as I could borrow up to 90%. While I could afford repayments over a five-year term, I opted for a seven-year term, wanting to give my budget a bit of breathing room.

Girl driving uber

The decision to sign up with Grab

People are always looking for ways to make additional repayments on their loan, and now I was one of them. Making your lunch and bringing it to work every day, while good for some, wasn’t going to give me the kind of lump sum payments I wanted. So I looked elsewhere, and then I remembered the Grab driver sign-up ads.

“You are your own boss”

“Work your own hours”

“Boost your income”

Sounds like a dodgy Internet ad, doesn’t it? But the lure of Grab was real, and I wondered if this was a viable option to help clock up however many hours I wanted and put what I earned towards my loan. With my editor’s blessing, I decided to investigate how to sign up with Grab.

Find out how much you can really make as a Grab driver

What happens when you sign up with Grab

  • Conversion of vehicle. Visit ONE.MOTORING and do a simple conversion for your car to Z10/Z11 classification. The process will cost you $100. You’ll also need to one of the decal affixing centres to obtain and affix the tamper-evident private-hire decals.
  • Purchase commercial insurance. It’s mandatory for your car to be commercially insured to protect both you and your passengers in the event of an accident.
  • Account activation. You can create a partner (driver) account by visiting the GrabCar office with the necessary documents: NRIC, driving licence, proof of commercial insurance, Z10 / Z11 vehicle log, bank information and private hire car driver’s vocational licence (PDVL).
  • Complete the driver app training (optional). The optional 60-minutes session provides you with all the information you need to know about succeeding on the Grab platform.

What is the PDVL and how do I obtain it?

Starting from July 2017, it is mandatory for all private hire drivers in Singapore to have a valid Vocational License (TDVL/PDVL) before they can start to drive with Grab or any other ride-hailing platforms. All taxi drivers would need to obtain the Taxi Driver’s Vocational License (TDVL) and all private-hire drivers would need to have the Private Hire Car Driver Vocational Licence (PDVL).

To qualify for the licence, you will first need to apply for a vocational licence through LTA by submitting a completed form. This process will cost $20. After you’ve received an application approval from LTA, you’ll need to undergo a medical checkup to ensure that you’ve a clean bill of health, before applying for the course via this form.

You may choose to attend either the full-time or part-time PDVL course:

  • Full-time course duration: 1 day, 8 hours per day.
  • Part-time course duration: 4 days, 2 hours per day.

The entire PDVL course will cost $155.15 (at the time of writing, 7 June 2018). You may find more details on the course via the Singapore Taxi Academy website here. Alternatively, you can also apply for the PDVL training course at Express One via Grab, which will allow you to claim all the course fees. Find out more at Grab’s website.

At the sign-up centre

I visited Grab’s office in Midview City with my documents and car in tow. I was greeted by a friendly Grab rep and run through a presentation that explained the partner app used by drivers, driver eligibility and a bit about Grab’s philosophy. Afterwards, another rep was assigned to go through my documents.

The whole process was quick as I had everything ready and on-hand.

What I learned at Grab

  • Grab needs drivers. Grab has more passengers than drivers and is in need of new sign-ups. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria to be a driver, company reps can help you through the process and get you working quickly.
  • The work sounded enticing. While I was unsure of whether I wanted to work as a Grab driver at first, the presentation was pretty convincing. You can work when you want, take breaks when you want and you’re paid weekly. The whole structure is transparent.
  • There are eligibility criteria. You need to be over the age of 21, with valid PDVL/TDVL and have at least 2 years of driving experience. Your car also needs to be a 4-door car (1.5l and above).
  • It’s easy to make money. Grab has an hourly guarantee system that promises you a level of income despite lower demand levels. This system allows you to potentially double your earnings. However, do note that Grab has various payment schemes and may revise them periodically.

Car on highwayIf you’re looking to put an extra $200 a week towards your loan and have a few spare hours every weekend, Grab is an option you’ll want to consider.

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