33 min read

    33 min read

    How Much Does Uber Pay?

    If you’re looking to get rich from driving for Uber, you’re probably going to be a little disappointed.  But if you’re looking to make a few hundred bucks part-time, work for a few months while you job hunt or even replace a crappy full-time job, this is one of the best gig jobs.

    I’ve always been a part-time driver and targeted the most profitable hours to work, but the average Uber pay is in the $15-$20 per hour range.  It’s definitely enough to pay a few bills and cover some expenses, but like I said, it’s not going to make you rich.


    Sign up here using our link to drive with Uber

    You might be asking yourself a few questions about Uber pay:

    • How much does Uber pay?
    • How much do Uber drivers make on a single ride?
    • How much do you make as an Uber driver overall?

    How are Uber Driver Fares Calculated?

    Before passengers request a ride, they are quoted an upfront price, and your pay is based on the mileage and time it takes to get from the pick-up point to the destination.

    Let’s say a passenger takes a ride from Santa Monica, CA to LAX and the ride takes 26 minutes and comes out to 8.5 miles.  In order to calculate your payout, we’ll need the current rates in Los Angeles, which are $0.28/minute and $0.80/mile.  Additionally, there’s a $3.00 marketplace fee (this amount is different for every city) the passenger pays that goes straight to Uber.  So the cost to the passenger looks like this:

    • $7.28 = 26 mins. X $0.28/min
    • $6.80 = 8.5 miles x $0.80/mile
    • $3.00 Booking Fee

    The total fare paid by the passenger for this ride will be $17.08.  But the driver will receive a different amount.  In order to calculate the driver’s cut, we need to subtract the booking fee ($3.00) and Uber’s commission (around 25%).

      • $14.08 = $17.08 – $3.00 (Driver’s Gross Pay)
      • $3.52 = 25% x $14.08 (Uber’s commission)
    • $10.56 = $14.08 – $3.52 (Driver’s Net Pay for this ride)

    As you can see, the Uber passenger paid $17.08 for this ride, but the driver ends up with a payout of $10.56 for about 26 minutes of work.

    What About Uber Surge Pricing?

    As a driver, Uber surge pricing is your new best friend.  Surge pricing basically happens when there is high passenger demand and low driver supply.  During busy times like Friday and Saturday nights and commuting hours, you will typically see red surge on the map.

    Any ride you give on surge will have a surge multiplier, and you’ll receive the surge amount multiplied by the regular fare.  So if we look at the ride from above and add a 2.0x surge multiplier, what happens to the driver payout?

    • $21.12 = $10.56 x 2.0 surge multiplier

    As you can see, the driver’s income doubled in this example, but the driver doesn’t have to do any additional work.  Fortunately, a 2.0x surge is pretty common during busy times.

    Related article: How Uber drivers are making hundreds of extra dollars per month

    How much money do Uber drivers make on average?

    On average, most Uber drivers will make in the $15-$20/hr range.  When Uber surveyed its drivers, they found drivers earned around $19/hour, with drivers in New York topping out at $30/hr.

    The goal of an Uber driver is to always be moving with a passenger in the car, but that doesn’t always happen.  There are times when you won’t be making any money, including the following.

    You are not paid for the following:

    • Waiting for a ride request.
    • Driving to pick-up a passenger.
    • Waiting at the pick-up point for your passenger to come outside.

    Do Uber drivers get tips?

    Yes, Uber drivers now get tips. Unfortunately, this is still not common according to most drivers we speak to.

    Should you ask for tips? Drivers say you can – but do so at your own risk! Personally, I’ve found asking for tips does actually increase the numbers of people tipping. However, other drivers have shared that some passengers get angry when you mention tipping, or they ‘promise’ to tip but never do.

    Basically, you can hope for a tip, but don’t expect one. Keep reading below for drivers’ suggestions on tips!

    How Much do Uber Drivers Get Paid in a Week?

    According to the drivers we’ve surveyed, a majority of them work 10 hours a week and make around $200-$300/week.  Most full-time drivers are earning around $600-$800/week but I know many drivers who routinely top out at $1,000/week (or more!) due to the many bonuses, guarantees and promotions that Uber offers to incentivize drivers to hit the road.

    So if you’re a brand new driver, not only will you receive a sign-up bonus for signing up to drive with Uber, but you could also earn promotional pay and further bonuses once you get started.

    How Much “Salary” Do Uber Drivers Make in a Year?

    We actually built a model of a full-time driver in Los Angeles and found the average full-time driver will earn just under $42,000 a year (gross earnings).  But remember you also have to account for all of your expenses, which leads us to our next section.

    What About An Uber Driver’s Expenses?

    Since Uber drivers are 1099 independent contractors, you are responsible for all of your own expenses.  Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of costs to getting started and once you’re driving, taking care of your car will be your only real expense.

    Drivers Are Responsible For Gas and Maintenance

    Your biggest cost as a driver is going to be gas since you’re going to be driving a lot of miles.  Most new drivers are surprised at just how many miles they’ll put on their car, but to give you a good estimate, a full-time driver doing 40-50 hours a week will probably put 1,000 miles a week on their car.

    That’s one of the reasons why you see so many Toyota Prius’ driving around, but you don’t have to drive a Prius in order to be a profitable driver.  Any fuel-efficient 4 door sedan will work on UberX, and sometimes passengers enjoy not riding in a Prius 🙂

    We broke down the best cars for rideshare drivers here.

    Uber Drivers Should Also Save For Their Taxes

    At the end of the year, Uber will email you a 1099-K form that has all of your gross earnings for the year and your total on-trip mileage.  When you file your taxes, you’ll need to fill out a Schedule C and pay state and federal income tax just like a normal job.

    The nice thing about taxes when it comes to driving for Uber is there are a ton of potential business expenses.  Tracking your mileage is of utmost importance since you get a 54 cent per mile deduction (tax year 2016) for every business mile you drive.

    So if you earn $1,000 a week driving for Uber and put 1,000 miles on your car, you’d get a $540 deduction, which means you’d only have to pay taxes on $460!  Stride Drive is a great free mileage tracking option if you’re on iOS, and we have a full list of the best mileage tracking apps here.

    Sign up here using our link to drive with Uber!

    Top Tips from Record-Breaking Uber Drivers

    I spoke with seven drivers from all over the U.S. who have all accomplished impressive feats on the Uber and Lyft apps. Here is a brief background on each of them.

    Brian from Lexington, KY

    Brian has a 4.99 rating with more than 22,000 rides under his belt. His longest trip was from Lexington, KY to Atlanta, GA, and he was only tipped $10 for the 6-hour one way trip.

    Gary from Miami, FL

    Gary has been driving for almost 6 years total for both platforms, though now he’s only doing Lyft. He’s completed approximately 26,000 trips between the two platforms (Uber and Lyft).

    Tom from Nashville, TN

    Tom has over 30,000 rides and deliveries completed having driven for Uber and delivered for Uber Eats for 4 years and 6 months so far.

    Being in the country music capital of the United States, he’s got a fun story about driving Kacey Musgraves.

    Tom earned over $100,000 driving for Uber last year alone.

    Tom with Kacey Musgraves taking a ride in his car.

    Leon from Charlotte, NC

    Leon has kept a perfect 5-star rating on Lyft for the past 2,100+ rides. He’s never received lower than a 5 star rating from a passenger.

    John from San Francisco, CA

    John grossed over $33,000 last year by keeping a quick turnover rate for dropping off passengers and picking up the next. He’s got around 23,000 rides on both Uber and Lyft though now he works only for Uber.

    Jim from Boston, MA

    Jim offers life coaching services while driving his passengers, allowing them to unburden themselves to him if they so choose. He currently has over 34,000 rides completed and has a 5-star rating on Lyft and 4.98 on Uber.

    The Lyft app shows Jim has given a total of 1,902 rides with a 5-star rating. Jim also provided a letter showing he accomplished 32,957 rides on Uber with a 4.98-star rating.

    Chuck from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

    Chuck has completed around 24,000 rides between Uber and Lyft and started out by picking up rides during slow times for his regular job of being a contractor/master carpenter. Now Uber and Lyft comprise his main earnings.

    Chuck has also had the unique experience of picking up Dalvin Cook and Anthony Harris from the Vikings.

    Chuck has had over 21,000 trips on Uber and 2,200 on Lyft.

    While not all of the drivers gave the same tips, here are the tidbits they’ve picked up along the way.

    Please keep in mind that each driver’s experience is different and tips may vary depending on the location and size of the market.

    1) Know your territory—don’t rely on GPS

    It may seem obvious, but the better you know your area, the better off you’ll be. John suggests to always have three options for getting out of bad traffic. Know which exits you can take or side roads you can use to get around large traffic jams. Your passengers will appreciate not sitting in traffic for 40 minutes longer than they need to be.

    “Don’t totally rely on GPS,” said John. “Don’t be afraid to listen to the customer if they say they have a better route. GPS will make the correction.”

    Along these same lines, Jim said, “I never use Uber or Lyft navigation because they stink.”

    Chuck added, “My advice to drivers in general would be to study your market in order to optimize your earnings. Learn the busy times and places, events, etc.”

    Brian also mentioned that during your first few weeks of driving, you should accept as many rides as you can and drive full days to learn the patterns of where you want to drive.

    2) Be fast/efficient, but don’t speed

    Leon said to get passengers where they need to go quickly, but safely. Your passengers will likely not rate you well or give you a tip if you’re speeding and making them feel unsafe by weaving in and out of traffic.

    A personal experience I had as a passenger was a driver who was going consistently 15 to 20 mph over the speed limit and going much faster than anyone else on the road. It was a longer trip, so I’m sure he was just trying to finish it quickly so he could get back to it after dropping me off, but I did not feel safe. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever not tipped my driver.

    John said, “You don’t get anywhere any quicker by speeding around.”

    John also recommends not speeding when you’re driving your car for personal reasons. Since you still have the trade dress in your windows, you are representing Uber and Lyft. You can get in trouble if you cut someone off or speed and the other person records your information and the fact you work for Uber and Lyft.

    3) Don’t sit in one place OR Do sit in one place

    The drivers I spoke with were polarized on this subject. One adamantly is against sitting at the airport waiting for a ride, unless you’ve got platinum level which allows you to jump the queue.

    Gary said, “I don’t sit in one place. I keep driving.” While Chuck said, “Do not drive aimlessly and never chase the surge. I set a time limit on how long I will wait without a ride in one place and will move to a better spot if I need to.”

    Each driver has their own ideas of what is best, and it varies by market as well. In some markets, you will likely receive a request while sitting in one area. Others, you might need to reposition yourself to get closer to where ride requests may come through. Use your best judgment and test out what works for your market.

    4) Offer your expertise

    This can have many different definitions. If a passenger is visiting the area and asks for things to do, be prepared with suggestions. If you’re a life coach by trade, offer a “free session” while you’re driving your passengers to their destination.

    If it’s a large tourist area, you may even want to suggest lesser-known activities and restaurants that they wouldn’t likely find on their own to give them a true experience of your area. However, Tom cautions, “It’s ok to carry a conversation, but you have to pay attention to what’s going on around you, too.”

    5) Set the right tone with the right music, or no music at all

    John recommends that you know the music of the age group you’re driving and cater to that as best you can. Someone in their 60s probably won’t enjoy heavy metal. A teenager or 20-something might not enjoy classical music. “Do what makes them feel comfortable,” said John.

    On the other hand, Jim does not play music at all. “Most passengers listen to their own music,” said Jim. “I don’t play music unless they ask.”

    6) Do everything you can to pick up the passenger

    One thing that will take you from being an average driver to a great one is to do your best to pick up your passengers. Wait a little longer (in some instances, not all) before canceling.

    Leon said, “I wait a little longer than the required 5 minutes for certain situations, like picking up from the hospital.”

    Jim adds, “I send a text saying I’ve arrived.” He’s had passengers thank him for doing this because their app says that you’re still a few minutes away instead of parked right outside their home, ready and waiting.

    Chuck also sends a text if the passengers are not outside when he pulls up that reads: “Uber Wan Kenobi is here.” One passenger wrote back, “You are our only hope!”

    7) Be personable

    If you’re not a people person, this is not the right job for you, even if you’re just doing it for a side gig for a little extra cash.

    Part of this is knowing what is appropriate or not appropriate to discuss with your passengers. Some don’t want to talk at all, which is something you’ll pick up on as you give more rides, but there are some conversations that are taboo.

    Gary recommends, “Don’t discuss how much money you make.” It sets the wrong tone and gives people false expectations of how much you can earn or do earn as rideshare drivers.

    Jim said, “I don’t bring up politics, and I don’t complain about rideshare, which a lot of drivers seem to do. Passengers don’t want to hear that.”

    Another thing that Gary said is that he never asks for gratuity or puts signs in his car asking for tips. “Don’t ever ask for gratuity,” he said. “Never put signs in your car. It feels like you’re asking for it and people will feel offended. The people that tip don’t tell you, they just do it.”

    Chuck added, “Some people want to talk, others need quiet. Be aware of the signals. I have offered comfort to people, prayed with others and have had conversations ranging from Nuclear physics (about which I know nothing) to Game of Thrones (I am a raging fan!).”

    Leon also said, “Even if they [the passengers] are having a bad day, wish them a good day as they are leaving, and it might improve their outlook on the ride.”

    Tom recommends just trying it out on a part-time basis before making any life-changing decisions to become a full-time rideshare driver.

    8) Relax and have fun

    Lastly, they pretty much all recommended that you have fun with it. If you’re not having fun, it’s not worthwhile. “You have to love driving,” said Jim. “I have fun with my passengers.”

    John explained, “Just relax. If you’re relaxed, your riders are going to be relaxed.”

    Passengers will respond better to a driver who is relaxed and in control of the situation instead of one who is upset over traffic or holding a grudge from a previous passenger.

    Chuck said, “Bottom line, stay safe and make it fun! A lot is really up to you.”

    9) Love what you do, but don’t accept every ride

    Michael, a driver in Pennslyvania who has given over 20,000 rides, advises you to be cautious about which rides you accept. Time is money – figure out where it’s busy in your city and don’t waste time while you’re on the road. He also recommends driving with Uber and Lyft on to see which app you prefer – and which one is busier for you!

    Other general tips include very basic, common-sense things, such as keeping your car clean inside and out. No one wants to get into a dirty car. You can keep your car clean with these recommended cleaning products for drivers.

    When you first start out, take every request you can. Once you’re used to it, then you can start becoming more strategic if that works for your area. In some markets, taking every ride as much as possible is the best option. And finally, as Tom says, gratuity is earned, not given.

    Top 10 New Uber Driver Mistakes

    1) Unsafe driving habits for Uber Drivers

    Whenever you start driving, that woman’s voice on Waze says … drive safely.  She’s right. It’s good advice not only for safety, but also for avoiding tickets.

    Cops all have their hiding places and even when you think they’re not there, they often are.  In San Francisco, cops don’t even have to be there. Busses now have cameras up front, and if you’re dropping off a passenger in a bus stop or traveling in a bus lane, they’ll snap a picture of your license plate and send you a ticket in the mail.

    My second weekend as a rideshare driver, I saw that fateful flash of a red light camera at 2 am in downtown San Francisco. I fought the ticket and lost. The whole episode cost me three tips to the courthouse, endless hassle and $490. Not worth it. Respect the law. Drive safely.

    Related: 12 Must Have Apps for Rideshare Drivers

    1a) Driving without rideshare insurance!

    Speaking of unsafe driving habits, one of the least safe things you can do is drive without rideshare insurance. After all, you are not fully covered by Uber and Lyft during period 1 (when you’re waiting for a ride but haven’t received one yet). You’re most at risk during this period, as you won’t get collision coverage from Uber or Lyft and your personal insurer won’t likely cover you during this time either.

    You get rideshare insurance over at our Rideshare Insurance Marketplace here – we’ve made sure these insurance agents are up to date on rideshare insurance, and they’ll be able to get you what you need in your state!

    2) Failure to get a good cellphone mount

    I spent my first two weeks as a driver fumbling around with my cellphone when fortunately I got a passenger who was also an Uber driver.  She saw me fumbling and said.  “Get yourself a dashboard mount for your phone.  For 15 bucks it will be your best rideshare investment.”

    Not only is it handy, it’s also safer and frees up your drink holder (if that’s where you store your phone) up for your water.

    Related: Top Phone Mounts for Rideshare Drivers

    3) Focusing too much on your smartphone

    If you’re looking at your smartphone, you’re not paying sufficient attention to the road. If there is any doubt, pull over to the right curb and figure things out before you get back on the road.

    In areas of heavy pedestrian traffic, this is a must do. These days pedestrians are often texting while crossing the street. Their lives are at stake, but somehow they don’t perceive the risk.  If you’re looking at your cellphone too, your life and theirs could change in an instant and not in a good way.

    4) Ceding authority to the passenger too easily

    I can’t emphasize this enough. Under no circumstances should an Uber driver make an illegal or unsafe move just to please a passenger or get to a pickup faster. I’ve had numerous passengers saying, “oh just make a u-turn here” (across double yellow lines) or “Hey just run it” (chance a red light by running a yellow.) Don’t. Just politely ask the passenger if they’re willing to pay for the ticket. That usually shuts them up.

    This also includes stopping for passengers! Don’t do it if you can avoid it. Stopping and waiting for passengers to go shopping, run errands, etc. just wastes your money and time. If you aren’t accepting rides and moving, you’re not earning as much as you could.

    5) Too much nervous chatter

    Conversations with passengers are an art, not a science. When a new Uber driver first gets on the road, they’re likely to be nervous – which often translates into forced conversations.

    Passengers don’t like that. Don’t let your nervousness affect the passenger’s experience.  Just relax and let any conversation come naturally from the circumstances.  For more on this, read my post: The Guide to Being a Great Rideshare Conversationalist.

    6) When an Uber Driver Chases the Surge

    As Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”  Surge represents temptation for driver. You see this sea of red on the app, two miles from where you are and it seems to make so much sense to chase it. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it doesn’t.

    Why? Because other drivers are doing exactly what you’re doing. As soon as enough drivers get to the red, the surge disappears.  The process usually takes a few minutes.

    The only exception to this are for major events – concerts, sporting events etc.  In those cases you can expect surges to last for much longer – sometimes up to an hour.  It’s still a risk to chase those surges, because during that hour surge can vary – widely. The best strategy is to anticipate the surge. Veteran drivers know which spots and bars are likely to have a big demand at which times.

    In general surge seems to be diminishing as a strategy for Uber and Lyft. These days, I seldom see a surge near where I live, even on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Related: Sam Choi on Outworking and Outearning Other Rideshare Drivers

    7) Continuing to drive while fatigued

    One Saturday night a few years ago, I was dead tired and getting ready to pack it in around 12:30 when I got a ride to Concord – about an hour in the other direction from my home. Against my better judgement I took it. After dropoff, I stayed online – hoping for another ride back in my direction. So I accepted two more.

    On the second ride, I got three young guys in the car – they’re pretty wasted and are keeping me busy with good natured chatter. I pulled up to a stop sign. After about 45 seconds of waiting, it suddenly occurred to me the stop sign was not going to change to green, because… well, it’s a stop sign?

    Fortunately for me, the guys were so wasted they didn’t even notice. This is when I knew it was time for me to go home. If you’re dead tired, like I was, go home and don’t take any more ride requests. It’s just not worth a low rating, possible accident, or a ticket.

    8) Starting the ride too soon

    One of the biggest newbie mistakes is starting the ride too soon. Why is this important? Ratings are important in the beginning. One low rating can knock your average well below the cutoff. Once you start the ride, the passenger has power over you in the form of the rating.

    I learned this the hard way. I got a ping an unlucky 13 minutes away and when I arrived the guy came out to the car and said, “I will be right with you – just have to ‘corral’ my wife.”

    The guy seemed cool and I felt comfortable with him, so I started the ride. Big mistake. The guy went back into the house, I could see a party inside with lots of people getting very drunk. Then the guy gets into a fight with his wife. Get your own Uber, he shouted at her in not-so-nice-words, and he comes out to the car again. But on the way out, he apparently changed his mind yet again. He says to me, “I can’t leave my wife like this.”

    “I’ve already started the ride,” I told him. For another ten minutes, I debated whether to end the ride, lose the fare and get a low rating. He goes back into the house. He’s really pissed at me now too, because he knows he’s getting charged.

    The thing about waiting is you never know exactly when to give up on them and end the ride. While sitting outside, I see his wife come out in tears. A friend is hugging her trying to console her. It was another 20 minutes before they finally got it together and came out to the car together.

    I got a really low rating and wasted almost an hour. It all could have been avoided had I just waited to start the ride until they were both in the car and ready to go, or I could have canceled them as a no-show. Drive and learn.

    9) Relying on Waze, Google or Uber’s map navigation

    I’ve heard it said often on driver message boards “the way to tell a newbie driver from an experience one is how much they rely on the online navigator”.  Time spent getting to know the streets of your area is time well invested.

    When I was first driving, if I ever got lost, the night after I went offline, I would retrace my route and figure out where I got lost so it wouldn’t happen again. Also, if a passenger tells you they know a better way to get there, listen. Even if they’re wrong, you’ve shown them some respect – and that’s the basis of a good experience.

    Related: What Questions Are Uber and Lyft Drivers Asking?

    10) Music troubles

    Music is a problematic issue for an Uber driver, often needlessly so. Younger passengers especially tend to have it in their head that the radio or sound system in your car is their sound system.

    One Saturday night, I got a ping for a pickup near Redwood High School, in Marin County. No one was around so I called and got a mother who eventually located them. I suspected they were underage, but wasn’t sure and besides I’d wasted 15 minutes to pick them up.

    When they finally got in, one asked me to put the radio on. I did. He didn’t like the music and said, Change the station. I did. Next time he asked me to change the station, I calmly asked, “Do I get a say in this matter, since it’s my car?”  They got the message, but an awkward silence followed.

    As the guys got out of the car, they started banging on the outside. One opened up the hatch in the back for no reason and slammed it shut.

    All of this was probably sufficient grounds for their de-activation, but who wants all the hassle of having to write it up and go through Uber’s investigatory channels? Instead, I opted for simplicity and did something I’ve only done a few times.

    After the guys were out of view of my car I drove up the block and pulled off to the side, but I had not yet ended the ride. I called the kid’s mother and explained everything that happened. I then told her that she had several options. Option one is that both of us give each other a really bad rating – which I suggested neither of us really wanted.

    The second option was that I write it all up and the likely result would be that her account would be de-activated. Then I put a third option out there – a peace offering of sorts.  I said, “If you cancel the ride before I end it, neither of us will get rated.” In other words, why don’t we just put this behind us and move on?  I explained that the charge will be the same whether she cancels or not. She said, “Let me think about that.”

    I wait another minute or so, presumably as she spoke to her son, and quickly my app reads, “Rider has canceled the ride.”   Problem solved, no dealing with Uber tech support and onto the next adventure.

    Additional, Creative Ways to Earn More as an Uber Driver

    1. Join a referral program like Freebird

    Freebird is the #1 way to make money with Uber. Uber and Lyft drivers have made hundreds of extra dollars. If there’s one piece of advice to take from this article, it’s this.

    Promote the Freebird app to your Uber and Lyft riders and get up to $5 per referral. Every passenger you give a ride to is an opportunity to make an extra $5.

    Promoting the Freebird app is an easy way to make more money while driving for Uber and Lyft. Click here for more information about the referral program.

    1a. Sign up for Rakuten – and encourage your passengers to do so, too

    Rakuten is similar to Freebird and helps you make extra money by referring your passengers – earn $25 per referral! Rakuten is a free app and website that gives you and your passengers cash back on shopping, both in store and online.

    Promoting Rakuten is another easy way for Uber and Lyft drivers to make more money while driving. Click here to sign up and get started promoting Rakuten. You can also print out these cards to hand out to your passengers, encouraging them to sign up for Rakuten with your referral code.

    Related: Rakuten Review

    1b. Sign up for GetUpside to get cash back on gas

    GetUpside is a cash back app that saves you up to 25¢ per gallon of gas. Every rideshare driver should not only be using the GetUpside app (if it’s available in your area), but they should also be promoting it to their passengers because you get a sign up bonus when you refer someone AND you earn money every time your referral buys gas using the app!

    Read our GetUpside Review here

    2. Recruit Uber and Lyft drivers

    Everyone already knows this Uber driver strategy, so I’ll keep it brief. You can make money with Uber by recruiting other people to drive for Uber and Lyft using your referral code. And it doesn’t stop at just Uber and Lyft, you can recruit people for Postmates, Doordash, the list goes on and on. Find the program that works for you and your passengers.

    3. Create your own referral or advertising program

    Partner up with a local business that you like. Ask them if they are willing to give you a commission if you refer customers to them. Then print a little card with the businesses information and your name or custom discount/promo code. Or you can place an ad for the business in your car and get a monthly payment from the business. Get creative!

    4. Drive on holidays

    Holidays are usually the best days to make the most money while driving for Uber and Lyft. We even wrote several holiday guides for Uber and Lyft drivers. You can read more about driving on holidays here.

    5. Drive on special event days

    Look for concerts and other big shows happening in your area, then, be prepared! The reasoning is pretty simple, so we don’t need to explain why, but if you’re interested in strategies for driving Uber and Lyft on big event days, check out this article.

    6. Always keep experimenting

    The key thing to keep in mind is that these suggestions are a starting point.  I can’t tell you what to do since everyone’s situation and location is unique, but if you apply this type of thinking, you’ll start to notice patterns and put yourself in the position to make more money more frequently.

    My advice would be to keep experimenting and trying new things and see if you notice an increase in your earnings. There are lots of pockets and times/places you may find that meet the criteria above and will help you make more money!

    7. Sell seasonal gear like rain ponchos, umbrellas, hats, gloves, etc.

    You can buy and sell rain ponchos when a rain storm comes out of nowhere and catches everyone unexpected.

    If you’re somewhere warm, you can sell sunglasses and other beachy items.

    8. Sell portable phone chargers

    Portable phone chargers always come in handy. If someone asks if you have a charging cable for their phone, offer them a portable charger instead:

    9. Sell hangover cures to the drunks

    Everyone hates to have a hungover. So when you’re picking up someone from a bar late at night, ask them if they’d like to buy a hangover cure and a bottle of water. Just tell them to drink it before going to sleep, and they’ll feel great in the morning. It’s an easy sell.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it better to work full-time or part-time as an Uber driver?

    Personally, I prefer working part-time since you’re able to target the most profitable hours to drive.  The more you work, the less flexibility you have when it comes to driving with Uber.

    Is it better to stay parked or drive around when it’s unusually slow?

    The short answer is: It depends. But, for the most part, staying put is better than driving aimlessly.

    If you’re in a highly unpopulated area, you’re less likely to get a request anytime soon. So, it’s usually worth your time and gas to head toward a more populated area and park there. 

    As one ex-taxi owner pointed out on Reddit, “Every mile you drive that isn’t paid for (including driving to pickup) comes out of your pocket so it’s dead money.” 

    If you’re driving around and wasting gas, you’re essentially wasting your own money. If you are already in a populated part of town, settle down in a parking lot or a street where you don’t have to pay for parking. If you do park in a lot, make sure you’re not taking up one of only a few spaces in a small lot. The business owner could kick you out. 

    Gravitate toward places with high traffic where you’ll be more likely to score a new passenger, such as a hospital, shopping center or even movie theater. 

    Most drivers on the forums tend to agree on this, however: Don’t spend more than 10 minutes in one spot waiting for your next ride. If you hit the 10-minute mark and you’ve got nothing to show for it, head to another area that might bring you more luck. 

    What can you do while waiting for rides?

    Let’s face it…it can get really boring sitting around waiting for a ping, especially if you hit a long lull but aren’t ready to call it a day yet. So, what are some things you can do to keep yourself busy—or make your situation better? 

    One thing I highly recommend is taking a few minutes to get out of your car and stretch before your next ping comes through. You’re sitting cramped up in your car all day every day and you probably don’t take care of yourself as well as you should. Take a moment for yourself and do some back, neck, arm and leg stretches. 

    You can also work on your Plan B during these lulls. Do market research for whatever you’re interested in doing with your life outside of rideshare driving. Shop around for any tools or supplies you might need. Make a budget for yourself for funding your Plan B. 

    It’s amazing how much you can get done if you have a few minutes of downtime. Put the time to good use to help out your future self.

    During my downtime, I usually bring a book to read so I can unwind and focus on something else for a few minutes. It can also be a good conversation starter for when I do have passengers and they see what I’m currently reading. 

    If you’re at home before getting going for the day, switch on your app as you finish up odd jobs around the house. Just be sure that you’re ready to head out the door as soon as you accept a ride request. Empty the dishwasher, switch the load of laundry, pack a snack for yourself for if you hit downtime on the job.

    And, if you’re signed up for multiple platforms, make sure you’re logged into both if you hit a lull. You might get a ping on one but have zero requests for an hour on the other. Manage your time well and use all of your available resources. You are trying to earn money, after all. 

    Want to read more? Check out the complete driver training guide articles below or download the free PDF here.


    Want More Tips? Deliver With DoorDash

    ddlgoDashers receive tips on 97% of their deliveries. DoorDash has a tip button and encourages customers to setup "automatic" tips. Become a dasher here.

    Get started as a gig worker today! Learn more:
    - Is driving for Doordash worth it?
    - Postmates Driver Pay
    - Instacart Shopper Pay
    - Uber Eats Driver Review
    - Best food delivery service to work for
    - Rideshare insurance


    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.