Craig Mitchell, 63, makes about $700 a week driving an Uber near Indianapolis while his wife is at work.
"I have five daughters and I used to tell them, 'Don't talk to strangers or get into a stranger's car.' Now I pick up strangers and talk to them for a living," he said.
Mitchell is part of a growing number of seniors driving for ride-hailing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, to supplement their retirement income. On the flip side, the costs and regulations to be a driver are rising while the pay rates have fallen.
Twenty-three percent of people who drive an Uber are 50 or older and two-thirds of drivers have never made money driving before Uber, according to a 2015 company survey.
Uber is actively recruiting older drivers. The company partnered with AARP's Life Reimagined subsidiary to enlist drivers over 50 with a $35 sign-up bonus if they drive 10 times or more. The program has brought in nearly 600 drivers.
Lyft, another popular ride-sharing app, doesn't publicly share how many senior drivers it employs as independent contractors. But people like Dominic Angelo, 67, of Walnut Creek, CA, use the app to boost their retirement income.
"I work about five hours and try to earn $30 per hour, which is a good wage for someone my age," Angelo said. He aims to make $150 per day and usually stops after he hits his target.
After a career in business equipment sales, Mitchell tried his hand at substitute teaching, but the job didn't pay well. "I set my own schedule with Uber and I don't have to deal with the kids," said Mitchell, who has been driving for Uber since March 2014.