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How to Easily Maximize your Uber Driver Earnings

Posted by: Sergio Avedian Sep 26, 2019
Updated Jan 16, 2020

2 comments

In a recent article I laid out my top 5 important driver tips for new and veteran Uber & Lyft drivers alike. Today, I wanted to share with you a few more driver tips that will help you to maximize your earnings potential. After all, like anything else in life, what you put into your work is what you get out of it.

Rideshare driving has very low barriers to entry. All you need is a car, a valid driver's license, and a completed background check. In fact, you don't even need to own a car, you can rent one from Fair (Uber rides only) or Hertz (Lyft rides only) for as low as $200 per week. Yes, it is more costly than owning your own car but you don't have to worry about mileage, depreciation, maintenance, insurance, etc. Just gas the car up and drive. The mileage and per minute rates Uber/Lyft pay you when you drive one of these rentals may be lower in your city than driving your own car. Please, inquire with the rental companies before you get involved.

While the act of rideshare driving is quite simple, there are a few strategies that will maximize your earnings. Here are the ones that have worked for me over the past few years.


1. Find a mentor or a driver coach

As with any job, rideshare driving comes with a steep learning curve. I had two wonderful mentors who taught me the tricks of the trade right out of the gate. Instead of averaging $14-16 Gross per app on hour, I was able to earn at least 50% more than the average rideshare driver immediately. Not only is it important for your pocketbook to have a coach or a mentor, it is more important for your state of mind. It is tough to drive day after day and make minimum wage or less, it becomes discouraging. Lack of education, planning and strategy is one of the main reasons for 90% of drivers to quit in less than a year. Even with the best advice and coaching, it took me almost a year to learn on my own when and where to drive, basically drive on autopilot. As a rideshare driver, the most important tip I can give someone is not to think about the ride they're on, it is what to do after the ride ends since we already know the destination. It is like playing chess with the Uber and Lyft algorithm. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

If you are looking for a mentor try asking a veteran driver on the RideGuru Forum.


2. Stay Put Between Fares:

One of the biggest mistakes drivers make, is after they finish a ride, they keep driving around or move to an area where they think it’ll be busy. Honestly, the best tip is to just stay put if you’re already in the core of the city you live in. Uber and Lyft have reached such scale that rides are usually plentiful. You also have to think that every mile you drive without a passenger in the car is adding to your cost of driving. There’s plenty of times when I drove someone to the next city over and then on my way back to my starting point I would receive a request for a ride literally block over from where I dropped off the last passenger. Until I became a veteran, I did this numerous times only to learn that each time I ended up burning more gas and adding more wear and tear to my vehicle than what was actually needed. With driving for a living, saving pennies on gas will add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars saved each year. So, stay put.

Note: If you been sitting in one spot for 15-20 minutes and still no requests, then maybe you should move or use your DF (Destination Filter) 


3. Try to do surge only/mostly rides:

Luckily Uber still has the surge multiplier in my city of Los Angeles. They have replaced it with flat rate surge in many cities. Lyft has gotten rid of PT (Prime Time) in Los Angeles and has replaced it with PPZ (Personal Power Zones). As drivers, we’re all hustling to get that next fare to make more money. When surge pricing jumps into the picture, now we’re all hit with the taste of extra money for the same amount of work. Problem is, the surge pricing will be on the other side of the city and we have to drive 15 minutes to catch it. It’s like a tease where you are trying to get home because your favorite meal is being made, but by the time you get there it’s all gone. Don’t chase surges. Wait it out, it is like a tornado, it will come to you if you're working at the right time at the right place. Position yourself for the upcoming surge in your city. If you are working enough hours eventually the surge will pop up in the area you are driving. Personally, I mostly drive for Uber these days. Take a look at the screenshots below, why would anyone drive for Lyft? Work Smart Not Hard!



4. Join Online Forums & Communities:

Drivers who communicate with one another usually have the upper hand over a driver who is isolated from other drivers. By leveraging the power of the crowd, you can learn at a quicker pace and have a better pulse for what is going on in the city. Join community forums like Rideguru or Facebook groups. There are over 150 driver groups nationwide on Facebook, including both US groups and city-specific groups. Although online forums such as Uber People are a great place to seek answers to most of your rideshare questions, they could also be full of trolls. You should also engage with some blogs such as Rideguru Newsroom.  These forums not only represent different points of view for drivers but they will keep you up to date on the changes regarding the rideshare industry as well as you get to vent all your frustrations every time Uber and Lyft cut the fares. Knowledge is Power!


5. Invest in a good phone & Keep your vehicle as clean as possible!

Your phone is your one stop shop for everything rideshare. Other than the face to face time you get with your passengers inside of the car, every other interaction you’re a part of during your driving is connected to your phone. I use the two phone method to be able to see if the area I’m driving into with a passenger is surging since the Uber driver app does not show the heat map during the ride and they may in fact stack you with an inferior rejected request by other drivers in the area. Everything that has to do with your phone has to be set up optimally for driving. First off, ensure that your phone is reliable. It’s part of your job to have a communication channel open, so poor equipment can result in issues that you really can’t afford to have happen. Your drives become considerably easier if you have a phone mount for your dashboard or your windshield. You have full visibility of what’s happening on the road, on the GPS and on your driver resources. Invest in a phone charger for yourself and the passenger, a dead phone battery is a nightmare when you’re in the middle of a pickup. Have everything you need to drive successfully at the ready. I am not a believer in offering water, gum or mints for the rider. At today's low rates, it just adds to the driver’s overhead.

A clean car goes a long way. Riders expect the vehicle they request to be basically pristine, or at least cleaner than a cab (not a hard task). Hold yourself to a certain standard of cleanliness when handling your rideshare vehicle. Don’t roll out of bed and into your vehicle looking like a mess. Give your riders the comfort of knowing that they’re working with a professional. If there’s trash left on your floor, pick it up as soon as you have the time and throw it away. Keep the interior of your car free of dust, trash and stains, make certain that the car smells decent. Get regular car washes to keep the exterior of your vehicle presentable. A clean car inside and out may mean more tips from your passengers. Drive careful & Be safe out there!

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Comments

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    orkywheat
    Driver
     2 years ago

    I'm relatively new at driving, a couple of months now.  The only issue I have is navigation and I have not seen it addressed, so I think I'm making too big a deal of it.  For instance, driving for Lyft last night, I accepted a rider and followed navigation which I could tell was near the local mall.  As I approached the mall, the navigation map gave me the address of the mall, yet it showed the rider at a sporting goods store across the street from the mall with a totally different address.  The mall has several entrances, so I circled around to where it actually showed the rider in front of the sporting goods store, no one was there.  As I drove into the parking lot, the app said "You have arrived".  Great.  I called the rider, no answer.  I drove to closest mall entrance and waited, nothing.  I drove back to the sporting goods store and only one person was outside.  It was a guy and the person I was to pick up was a…

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    I'm relatively new at driving, a couple of months now.  The only issue I have is navigation and I have not seen it addressed, so I think I'm making too big a deal of it.  For instance, driving for Lyft last night, I accepted a rider and followed navigation which I could tell was near the local mall.  As I approached the mall, the navigation map gave me the address of the mall, yet it showed the rider at a sporting goods store across the street from the mall with a totally different address.  The mall has several entrances, so I circled around to where it actually showed the rider in front of the sporting goods store, no one was there.  As I drove into the parking lot, the app said "You have arrived".  Great.  I called the rider, no answer.  I drove to closest mall entrance and waited, nothing.  I drove back to the sporting goods store and only one person was outside.  It was a guy and the person I was to pick up was a woman, but I asked the guy if he was waiting for a Lyft and he said no.  This is totally ridiculous, so I canceled the ride.  There have been several instances like this lately, one being that the Uber app kept telling me to drive the wrong way down a one way street.  My full time job keeps me in my house all day, every day and so I do enjoy driving, but this navigation situation has me thinking that it's simply not worth it.  Any suggestions???

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      {{ ratingSum }}
      Uberserge
      1296 Rider Driver
       2 years ago

      when you drop off or pick up at large malls or colleges, its best to ask the passenger where they exactly are since the pin they drop may not be at the exact location they are at