One of the coolest parts for me about being a rideshare driver is all of the neat tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. There are a ton of new apps, gadgets and software that I now use to simplify my life that I would have never know about if I didn’t become a rideshare driver. Today, RSG contributor Scott Van Maldegiam takes a look at 9 tools that will make your life easier as a rideshare driver. This is a really impressive list and there are a few items on here that even I hadn’t heard about until now! Let us know in the comments if there’s anything we missed.
In case you couldn’t tell from my previous articles, I think a lot about how I can do things better. Today, I want to share with you how I set up my phone to make my job of being a rideshare driver just a bit easier. Specifically, I will share what apps/tools I use. Some of this may seem basic but in my time as a mentor, new drivers have really appreciated sharing some of these tips.
Harry touched on this in one of his podcasts a while back but or tax purposes, you need to track your mileage. This can be done on paper, but I prefer just having it done for me. There are 2 apps/tools available that I have used to do this.
Related Podcast: Rideshare Driver’s Tax Guide
This application, when setup correctly, can automatically start logging miles. There are a number of triggers you can set for the autostart. The one I use is connected to Bluetooth and speed over threshold. I also use TripLog for logging gasoline purchases.
While this isn’t important for tax purposes, as it is almost always better to take the standard deduction for mileage, it is important to help you understand your costs as you are calculating your cash flow for any given drive period.
Metromile (using Metronome)
Metromile is a company who sells per mile insurance. With that said, that has nothing to do with why I am recommending this as the preferred choice for logging miles. Metromile provides free of charge a device that tracks trip data and then downloads it to their app on your phone. This device plugs into your OBD II port in your car. It tracks speed, location, miles and also mpg.
I love this tool as it removes some of our job to an external device. The phone doesn’t need to be doing the job of tracking your mileage so the processor has one less thing to think about. The trips don’t show up right away but they do show up in the app.
If you drive in a city where weather has a major affect on demand and driving difficulty, it is important to know when weather is going to strike. One of the problems with most weather apps is that their radar images are too delayed to be of much use.
This is why I use Radarscope. It provides detailed radar images that have no more than a 5 minute delay. The delay is usually no more than a few minutes as opposed to 10 or more that is typical with weather apps.
This is also a radar tool that meteorologists and weather chasers use. My son is studying meteorology in college and this was actually the same tool the professor suggested.
Navigating your phone
If you are like many rideshare drivers, you drive for multiple services. So, between navigating between each rideshare app and all the other apps you need to use like Google Maps, texting, and phone; it is important to be able to switch quickly between apps. Sure, you could use the list of apps feature built into both iOS and Android, but the apps are never in the same order. Sure, you could build your homescreen just for ridesharing so when you press your home button, you know exactly where all of your apps are, but I don’t use my phone just for ridesharing and didn’t like this idea.
I love this tool. This little app gives you the ability to set up a slide out bar with all your important and most used apps. I use this exclusively for rideshare driving. With the free “lite” version, it gives you the ability to add up to 8 apps to the bar. This should be enough for most people.
The biggest expense that hits our immediate cash flow is each and every time we pull in to fill up our gas tanks. I am guessing that everyone knows this tool, but if you don’t, it is the most important tool to use.
I know I have mentioned this before but it is worth mentioning again. Gas Buddy will help you find the best prices for gas near your location. Also, be sure to click and toggle between distance and price for sorting the list. Today, I could drive to my Costco which is 4 miles away to get gas for $2.84 or I could go to my local gas stations which are each about 1 mile away and get gas for $3.09.
Don’t forget to take into account any credit card rebates you earn when calculating the net price too. For example, my local Costco is less expensive, but I currently only get 0.5% cash back from the Costco Amex while with my Amazon Chase card, I get 2% cashback on all gas purchases, plus another 3 cents off at the local Shell. So the effective difference is really about $2.83 vs $3.00.
Getupside is another great app you can use too. GetUpside is an app that saves you up to 25¢ per gallon of gas that you buy. It also saves you money on food and groceries too. We also have a GetUpside promo code that you can use to get an additional 15¢ per gallon sign up bonus. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s true and there’s no catch. That’s why GetUpside is one of the most popular cash back apps that millions of people are using to save millions of dollars.
We all know we shouldn’t be texting and driving. I make a point of not doing this. So, it is very important that you find ways of texting quickly. One way to do this is to set up text shortcuts. I won’t go into exactly how to do this, but I will provide a few links. We’ll be covering how to set this up more extensively in a future article.
Yes, the absolute most important thing you can have is a mount for your phone. I originally used the Droid Razr specific mount for my old phone, but now I use the vent mounted holder that Lyft provided in my welcome packet. If you never got that mount or would like to buy one, the model is called the Kenu Airframe and it’s available on Amazon Prime.
It works really well for my car and, best of all, it keeps it nice and cool since the frame sits on the A/C vent. No matter where you mount your phone, keeping your phone cool on sunny days is an important consideration. You’ll also want to put it where your eyes don’t have to divert too far from the road.
This one might be up for debate here, but I highly recommend either using your vehicle’s Bluetooth for phone calls or buying one that mounts to your visor. I am fortunate to be able to use my vehicle’s Bluetooth and it works really well.
You may be wondering why I wouldn’t recommend an in-ear bluetooth but I find that passengers are really put-off by this. Riders will always be wondering “Is he talking to me or talking to the person on the phone?” If you have no other choice, make sure to wear the device in your left ear where it is less visible to your riders.
While I don’t currently do this, when I had an Uber phone, I found it beneficial to have more than one device. In the case of Lyft, you could be checking to see where the other cars are while still being in Driver Mode on your primary device. You could use an older smartphone for this and setup your primary with the hotspot feature enabled.
I hope this article helped. Let me know what you use and find most beneficial when you drive.
-Scott @ The Rideshare Guy