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As an active driver on both the Uber & Lyft platforms with over 6000 rides combined, I can unequivocally state that as easy as rideshare driving may sound, there is a steep learning curve. This is valid for Newbies as well as veterans. Like anything else in life what you put into your gig is what you will get out of it. The success of a driver is directly correlated with how much thought they put into their daily shift. In this article, I will explain what a rookie driver MUST do in order to be successful! In my next article, I will specify my final 5 tips in order for you to achieve your maximum potential.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Within the ridesharing economy, barriers to entry are very low, anyone who meets the baseline qualifications can start earning money by getting approved within 48 hours, downloading the Uber/Lyft driver app, gassing up the car, and driving. As a result, driving for Uber or Lyft can be something you decide to do on a whim. You may have jumped right into the ridesharing business without any prior experience or true knowledge of what you were getting into. There isn’t an in-depth orientation; there isn’t any real training provided; and the lack of support is legendary.
If you’d like to avoid making some of the classic mistakes that many rookie drivers make, keep reading below and I will outline the top 5 tips you need to know in order to get started as a new rideshare driver.
Start by applying for one of the TNC’s first, there may be decent bonuses for a new driver sign-up. Although Uber and Lyft have reduced their bonuses and replaced them with guarantees lately, it is very important that you get on both platforms as soon as possible. You may find out soon enough that your UR (Utilization Rate) will be higher by running both driver apps at the same time, therefore your hourly gross earnings will be higher as well. In some cities, Uber is dominant but Lyft is catching up fast and taking market share from Uber. If you only use one platform, you're limiting your maximum earning potential. Also, it is a great back up plan to drive for both platforms, deactivations can happen for ridiculous and unjustified reasons these days!
Recognize that, even if you’ve been driving for many years, driving professionally is its own skill. You’re thrown into the fire quickly, so it may be helpful to keep things simple as you start to get the hang of rideshare driving. Learn your best practices for driving by completing a bunch of drives. Do not be afraid to let a passenger know that you’re new to the platform, they’re more likely to be forgiving of any mistakes you might make and you'll avoid getting rated poorly! Understand that, depending on when you choose to drive, customers could be either drunk enough to puke or tired enough to spill coffee all over the back seat. You’ll know, after your first few drives, what to keep with you as you move around. Drive often and reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t. Do not accept every ping Uber & Lyft throw your way, there are many fish in the ocean, be selective, do the rides that you want to do and that will produce the most profits for you. WORK SMART NOT HARD! QUALITY OVER QUANTITY!
This is something most new drivers fail at. They may not know their city well enough to position themselves correctly for the upcoming rush hour surge rides. Rideshare driving is not a 9-5 job, you must drive when and where there is demand. I would also suggest paying close attention and taking plenty of screenshots during your shift. Study them, learn from them since surge is not a mythical creature, it keeps repeating itself on a daily basis. Surge mostly or only driving style is something I have adapted to when I first started driving and it has worked for me, doubling my earnings of that of the average rideshare driver. I still make over $30 per hour gross when I drive in Los Angeles where rates are pitiful at 60 cents a mile and 21 cents a minute. Luckily, we still have the Uber surge multiplier but Lyft has taken away PT (Prime Time) and replaced it with the PPZ (Personal Power ones).
The best and most successful rideshare drivers have an outline of what they’re doing in advance. One of the most eye catching benefits of rideshare driving is having the ability to set your own schedule. It’s best to know when your best and worst times to drive are so that you can plan around anything else you have going on in your life. For me splitting shifts is the best way to drive. I will try to get out with an early airport run, as early morning surge rides can be very lucrative. Every city is different, so it’s important that you know when traffic is heavy and when surge prices are at their peaks. Taking the time to know where and when you’ll be driving saves you both money and time in the long run.
The biggest rookie mistake that drivers make is to chase down surges. Although it may seem like a better idea in the short run because of the higher multipliers, chasing down surge rides will lead to disappointment if there’s no strategy involved. When you sporadically chase surges, it’s possible that the multiplier will disappear as you arrive. TNC surge algorithms are dynamically changing each minute, so chasing multipliers one by one isn’t going to help you earn money.
This isn’t to say that surges aren’t good for making you money, they’re clearly more worthwhile financially than driving without surges. However, instead of chasing them, you should plan ahead and position yourself in areas where surges are likely to occur during a given time frame. This strategy maximizes your time by putting you in the right place at the right time!