Make More Money With Every RideCredit: techcrunch.com
The first question passengers ask me is "Do you do this full time?"... followed by "Is it worth it?".
I became an Uber driver because I started a business a year ago and as we were running out of our seed money, I needed some quick cash with flexible hours. After debating between working at a bar, The Gap, or temping, one of my colleagues suggested I start driving for Uber. He said his brother did it, and it would pay the same as any part-time job I could get. Plus, the key was the flexible hours - so I can run my business accordingly and wouldn't have to miss out on client meetings, conference calls, or putting out the daily fires.
So, that night I signed up to be a driver. After about a week, the background check was complete and my car passed the inspection. I was ready to start making some serious cash.
You learn a lot the first day driving; how to use the app, greet passengers, and be your most charming self to get that good old fashion 5 star rating. You also learn about how much gas you use, the miles per dollar ratio, and which rides are good and which are...smelly (yes, passenger B.O. is a problem).
A week into it, you get your groove and start coming up with your own tricks on how to maximize your earnings. Now, 6 months later, I'm making more money than ever, have a 5 star rating, and I strictly stand by these 3 principles:
1) Drive Busy-hours only: I can't stress this point enough. Don't drive when it's not surging, you're wasting your gas, time, miles, and energy. You will make up that money driving peak hours when fares are 1.5-4.5 times higher. Uber is great at giving drivers reports on when peak hours are, and it's important that you follow that schedule. Yes, sometimes you will be driving until 2 or 3am, but your money will be 2 to 3 times more. You could possibly even lose money by driving normal hours, depending on the price of gas, and distance. Be careful... also imagine if no-one drove during normal hours... this would cause a big demand, and a surge would occur. (mind explosion)
2) Research Events: Just driving during a surge is not enough, you must get the rides! Find out the biggest event(s) of the evening, go there, and stay there. And if you end up far away, drive back there. This includes sporting events, concerts, movie premieres, parties, etc. Not only will these areas be surging, but you will never go more than 1 minute between rides. One of the biggest mistakes drivers make is waiting for rides... sometimes 5, 10, even 20 minutes! That's why it's imperative to know the busiest area and work it guuuurl... or guy...whatever.
3) Volume: Get as many rides as possible. I would say accept ALL rides, however, if the ride is an unreasonable distance away, you may want reject it. I know Uber wouldn't approve, but spending 15 minutes driving without getting paid is just not good business for anyone. Sorry. Sometimes, it's nice to occasionally get that super-long ride that pays $40-$50. But the key point here is that every ride is a minimum of $4. Whether you drive for 30 seconds down the block, or 10 minutes away, you will at least get $4 minimum. So you have to churn as many rides as possible. If you try to make the ride longer, the fees are simply not as good, as if you were to do a ton of short rides. That being said, get them in and out fast! Find the shortest route, avoid traffic, and keep moving! Imagine doing 4 two-minute rides - that's $16 in 8 minutes... $120 per hour. Get my drift?
If you follow these 3 principles, not only will you make more money, but you will also have much more free time to enjoy it. Am I right? :)