Harry here. Our number one message to drivers here on the blog is to work smarter and not harder. And with that in mind, today RSG contributor Christian Perea and I wanted to provide a guide that would help you save money while driving.
Btw, if you’re reading this, take note of the date – this was our April Fool’s day post 🙂
A few weeks ago, we calculated that the average full-time rideshare driver would spend $18,250 a year on various expenses. And that got us thinking about how we could lower that number.
So we did our research, contacted local fleet owners, and looked into various government studies on vehicle operations to come up with a list of things you can do to save even more money while driving. With these tips, you will become the cream of the rideshare crop and be able to post screenshots of your profits into local driver lounges only to incur the ire of everyone else in those lounges.
1. Properly Inflate Your Tires
Most people use regular old air but helium is actually lighter than air, relatively cheap, and can be found at any Party City location. The nice thing about helium is that since it weighs less than air, it actually has a lifting affect on your car. So your car will weigh less, thus giving you better MPG. Thank you science for saving us drivers some money!
2. Remove Unused Seats
I am always a fan of doing things to my car that will save me money and make it faster. And since most rides have only 1-3 passengers, you can probably get rid of your front seat and make your car even lighter!
If you really want to take this strategy to the max, you could actually get rid of your back row of seats since it’s about 3x heavier than the front seat. You’ll have to turn down a lot of requests but the nice thing is that you won’t have to do any UberPool!
3. Minimize Running The Air Conditioner
The air conditioning unit runs on a belt attached to your motor or something like that. Anyways, it places extra strain on your motor and thus causes your car to use more gas. So you can obviously save some money by keeping it off but make sure you don’t roll down your windows since that could affect the aerodynamics of your car and offset the savings.
And if you’re wondering about turning on the heater, we didn’t mention that since drivers should already be AVOIDING the heater at all costs. Remember what they say, if it’s cold out you can always put more clothes on, but if it’s too hot, there’s only so much you can take off.
4. How About Some Rideshare Baggage Fees?
Budget airlines are infamous for charging for carry-on luggage. And while it was initially controversial, by now we’ve all gotten pretty used to it. For rideshare drivers, there’s actually good economic reasons to do the same thing. When your passenger brings luggage into your car, it will affect your fuel economy and place extra wear and tear on your tires and suspension.
And since a lot of people consider Uber a budget carrier anyways these days, we might as well start charging passengers for luggage right?! I suggest starting off with a $5 charge for carry-ons and $25 for large suitcases, since that might involve some lifting on your part.
5. Skip the Turn Signals
You are a professional driver. Do you really need a blinker light? Those lights may only cost a few bucks a piece but over time, they add up! Furthermore, if you have to pay someone to replace it, you may be looking at a hefty $20 to $30 dollars in labor costs. Yikes.
Here’s another thing to consider: Sun Tsu actually wrote in the Art of War that “the key to victory is the ability to use surprise tactics.” Do you really want to give away your intentions to the person behind you only so they can cut you off or speed up ever.so.slightly. to prevent you from changing lanes? No. You want to establish dominance to prove you are an Alpha car.
6. Let Your Passenger Get Behind The Wheel
As we all know, navigation is the number one reason for low driver ratings. So if you allow your passenger to drive, you’re able to ensure that they always take the most optimal route and it will eliminate any anxiety over whether or not you should have taken the freeway.
If you’re real slick, you could probably even do a TaskRabbit job or two while you’re in the passenger seat and increase your earnings even further!
7. Rideshare And Delivery At The Same Time!
Uber has often painted a vision of the “never-ending Uber ride” for drivers. A system where drivers are so efficiently utilized that there are few unpaid miles. Unfortunately, a system like that is going to take AT LEAST 3-5 more rounds of price-cutting to achieve. But you can start today by leveraging delivery in tandem with your ride!
Here’s how: This hack involves slyly accepting a Postmates or Doordash delivery request while on an Uber trip and then convincing your passenger that they should hit the drive-thru with you. After you pick-up the food and drop off your Uber passenger, proceed to deliver the order and you just doubled your earnings!
This strategy works really well during the Party Hours since, if you think about it, most of your passengers are hungry anyways and are already asking to go through a drive-thru. Even if they don’t ask, they are likely thinking to themselves “I could really use some KFC Popcorn Chicken” as you drive by the KFC on the way to their destination. So it’s up to you to make it happen!
8. Reuse Your Water Bottles
Let’s face it, water bottles can be expensive. And we all know that only a small fraction of our passengers ever take a water. Furthermore, the few who do are bound to leave the water bottle behind. So if you take the leftover bottle and re-fill it with tap water, you can save money AND make the world a better place by refilling those bottles and tightly closing the lid.
Pro-tip: If there’s one of those annoying safety seals on the top, chew up a piece of gum and use that to seal the two pieces of plastic together so it looks like the bottle hasn’t been tampered with!
Oh and if your previous passenger crushed the plastic bottle, you can try pursing your lips around the edge and blowing into the bottle to make it new again. Now that’s what I call recycling!
Drivers, what do you think about all the new ways we came up with to save money as a rideshare driver? Do you agree or do you think some of them are just going too far?
-Christian @ RSG