It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
You bust your butt driving for your favorite ridesharing service, and between maintenance, taxes, and gasoline, it barely feels like you’re breaking even. Plus, some of the passengers you pick up can be, how shall we say, unusual?
Here’s how to buckle down and make more moola from your driving.
Work For More Than One Service
This just doesn’t dawn on some people, but you can (and probably should) be working for more that one ride-sharing service. That way, when calls for one service are down, you have another service to rely on for fares.
Keep Water And Snacks Around
When you’re out on the road for hours, you want to make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable and full. There’s no surer way to eat up your profits that to literally eat (out) on the road. Takeout is expensive. And, the more money you spend eating on the road, the less money you bring home.
Know The Bathroom Situation
You’re going to have to stop sometime. And, you don’t want to pay for parking each time you have to. Some cities are better about free parking than others. But, generally, grocery stores tend to be the best places to stop in when you need to use the restroom. More upscale places, like Whole Foods and Starbucks, tend to have some of the nicer bathrooms, too.
Ignore Uber Texts
Some services, like Uber, send out alerts to drivers when there is an expected high demand for rides. Uber drivers are sent text messages on where drivers are likely to find passengers. Each message suggests the specific time and location where demand is likely to be high, but those areas often get “flooded” by drivers all following the same messages.
Uber uses something called “surge pricing.” Which means Uber charges a premium price when there are fewer drivers in a particular area. This surge pricing drops precipitously when these texts go out and there is suddenly and over-concentration of drivers in a particular area.
Ignore the texts, and make more money by seeking out moderately-populated areas.
Drive Up Fares
Periodically log out of the driver app before times you can anticipate surge pricing in a particular area. For example, when bars are closing, log out of your app – roughly 10 to 20 minutes before the peak time.
For example, if you know that there’s a bar closing at 2AM, you might log out of your app at 1:50. Wait 15 minutes. Then, log back into take advantage of the now higher fares. Logging out of the app means that you’re taking yourself off the map and Uber thinks there is a shortage of drivers. Of course, you want to stay compliant with the TOS of the company, and you want to abide by the Uber driver requirements. But, there’s nothing wrong with making sure your fares are the best they can be.
Do Not Drive Around Looking
Driving around looking for fares is what taxis do. But, they get paid to drive around. You don’t. It wastes gas. Stick to a central area and avoid the suburbs, if at all possible. If you’re driving miles and miles to pick someone up, you’ll probably have to drive a long way to meet them than you’ll end up taking them.
Also, if you have to drive too far, the person might get bored or impatient and cancel the ride and find another way.
Most ride-share drivers make the mistake of thinking that if they hunt for a ride, that they will increase their chance of making money. However, it rarely works this way. You really need to weigh out the cost of gas and maintenance on your vehicle with the potential for profit by driving around looking for fares.
In almost every case, driving around is not a winning strategy, with one exception. If you have an ultra-high fuel efficiency vehicle, you may not spend much, or any, gasoline looking for rides. For example, hybrid vehicles which use a 100% electric motor at low speeds may be an ideal way to search for fares as long as the area is reasonably well-populated with potential rides.
Use The Passenger App
The passenger application will help you take advantage of some features not available on the driver app. For example, you can see where the other drivers are – this is your competition. Ideally, you will choose a high-traffic area without a lot of competition. And, the passenger app helps you better understand the traffic flow and patterns for other drivers so you can avoid them.
Chad Fonger has been driving for rideshare companies for many years including for services such as Lyft and Uber. He strives towards sharing his experiences and helpful information with his popular comprehensive blog, which goes in-depth about the dynamic and ever-growing rideshare industry and share economy smartphone applications.