Ever wonder how some drivers can make so much driving for Uber and Lyft? We had senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur explain his strategies for how he makes $1,900 driving for Uber and Lyft. And even though we can’t all live in SF, a lot of the strategies Jay uses on a weekly basis can translate to other markets.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on Day Driving versus Night Driving and shared two weeks worth of earnings, both topping $1,900. Readers asked how it was possible to consistently earn over $1,900 a week as a rideshare driver in San Francisco in 2018 so let me share my secrets, tips and strategies so you can go out there and do the same.
I’m a Workaholic – You Have Got To Put In The Hours
Here is my goal for each day of the week:
I don’t always work seven days a week. In fact, I usually take Monday off. But if I am leading up to a big vacation, as I am right now (Vietnam for four weeks in April), I am pedal to the metal, throwing $2,000 per week into my bank account.
In general, I am looking to make $30 per hour (pre bonus) and do an average of 3 rides per hour. I always set these as my goals when I get behind the wheel.
If you’re serious about earning more, set an hourly or daily goal for yourself so you know what you’re working toward – and you know when to stop [Click to tweet this!]
On Monday through Thursday, I work 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Then I take 6 hours off to eat, relax, exercise and work on other projects. Then I drive again from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This puts me in good shape to earn the Lyft Power Driver Bonus. It also puts me in good shape to be able to cash in on one of Uber’s bonuses over the weekend.
On Friday and Saturday, I will start at 6 a.m. and drive until noon. Then I will take a break for an hour or so, and resume driving for another 4 hours. Sunday always has a 6 a.m. start and I quit no later than noon.
Get All The Bonuses
Clearly bonuses are a key component of my weekly pay. The bonuses account for 20% to 25% depending on the week. For example, here is where I am at right now (Thursday night, March 22, 2018) after having driven solely for Lyft.
As you can see, I am already at 98 rides, so I only need 32 more to get my Power Driver Bonus. With this information, I will determine if there is any real money to be made driving for Uber over the weekend. This is what Uber is offering this week:
So at this point, I can see that I need 32 for Lyft and 45 for Uber. This averages out to 26 rides per day if I drive Friday through Sunday. The Uber bonus per ride is right at $3 per ride, which is fairly decent. I am going to go for it.
Maximize Long Rides During the Weekend
This is so important. Long rides on the weekends really boost up my earnings per hour. When I am driving on a 30-minute trip at 70 miles per hour, I am making the most money I can make as a driver (with no Primetime or Surge in play).
If I am downtown, I will set my destination filter to the San Francisco Airport, and then get a ride to the airport. More than likely, I will get a long ride from the airport.
On one Sunday, I had 7 consecutive rides of 30 minutes or longer, and racked up $400 by 2PM. Some days really click. Some days don’t. Consistency is the key.
Here are a few long rides from over the weekend. I like the long rides best when the minutes match the miles. This means I will be averaging 60 mph for the entire trip.
Get $100 Per Week in Tips
If you are driving for Lyft, you have a reasonable chance to make an extra $100 per week in tips. Some folks don’t want to talk. They generally don’t tip.
The ones that do want to talk may tip you. The key is to build camaraderie so you feel like you are the passenger’s good friend, then (hopefully) they will feel obliged to tip you.
Don’t be afraid to point out some of the good things you did. I might say something like “Wow, we got here 5 minutes faster than expected!” Help passengers with their bags at the airport and when doing a pick up.
Tourists, I find, are the best tippers. Be kind to tourists, tell them about your city or town, make some recommendations, and they will often reward you with a nice tip. $100 represents 5% of your weekly goal of $1,900 and all it takes is some friendly conversation.
Cancel On The Wrong Rides
If you drive for Uber, it is far more difficult to cancel on a passenger. With Lyft, it is much easier. Let’s take an example from Wednesday morning. Here is the morning earning statement:
I worked from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.. It was raining, so many of my rides incurred PrimeTime earnings. At 7:30, I was approaching a pick up and clicked on Arrival. I checked for the destination, and it was the Oakland Airport.
I immediately cancelled and drove away. Why? In the rain, a trip from San Francisco to the Oakland Airport could take up to 90 minutes! I would have sat in traffic for the majority of the time. Then, I would have been in Oakland, in an area without the same kind of high Primetime values.
Had I taken that ride, I estimate I would have made $75 less than I did by staying in San Francisco. If this happens three times in a week, you will be sacrificing $200 in weekly earnings.
Cancel the rides that hurt your profitability. There will always be another driver who will take that passenger to their destination. Don’t feel bad about it. You are running a business, not a charity [Click to tweet!]
Stay Away From Heavy Traffic
Traffic is the biggest killer of a good week. Getting stuck in traffic lowers your earnings and zaps you of your energy.
If you are in traffic, set your destination filter to a point far away from the traffic. For example, when downtown I will usually set my destination filter to Daly City. This way I can avoid Highway 101 (more traffic) and drive through parts of San Francisco that are usually not as congested. See below for how far that is:
Sometimes I have felt like a ping-pong ball, picking someone up, dropping them off, and then getting another ping back downtown. The destination filter will stop that from happening.
Get 8 Hours of Sleep
I make more money when I am well rested. My mind works better. I am friendlier with the passengers, which leads to better tips. Everything functions better when I have had a good night sleep.
I have certainly driven tired, and it is no fun. I go to bed earlier now, just so I can get 8 full hours of sleep. I also use an app called Sleep Cycle to monitor my sleep. It has taught me the importance of getting good deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
That’s how I do it. Now that the week is over, let’s see how we did. $2,246.28. That money will go a long way in Vietnam!
In this article, I have shared with you the things that I focus on. These are the strategies that I use.
In between all the driving, I get to the health club three times per week. I highly recommend the health club (or gym or outdoor exercise). Our bodies are not meant to be sitting in a car 50 hours per week.
Lastly, track all of your miles with something like QuickBooks Self-Employed’s automatic mileage tracker. Making $1,900 a week means I probably drove my car more than 1,200 miles and that translates into a $654 deduction each week so I can actually keep this money!
My mantra is three rides per hour and $30 per hour. I wish you the best of luck out there. Be safe.
Drivers, do you have any questions for Jay? Let us know in the comments!
-Jay @ RSG
Want More Tips? Deliver With DoorDashDashers receive tips on 97% of their deliveries. DoorDash has a tip button and encourages customers to setup "automatic" tips. Become a dasher here.
Read next: Simple way to increase your Uber income