How to make more money with Uber
Lots of our readers have been asking us how to make more money with Uber. There seems to be this notion out in the world that Uber and Lyft drivers still make a lot of money. While that may have been true a few years ago, these days one of the most common complaints I hear from drivers is that they’re not making enough money.
New drivers are especially at risk because there is a steep learning curve in this industry. It’s not rocket science being a rideshare driver, but it is a little more challenging than it might seem. And unlike other jobs where everybody makes the same amount from day 1, a more savvy driver will be able to make more than a brand new driver since there are all sorts of tips and tricks that will impact your bottom line.
As you drive more, you’ll gain valuable experience and likely increase your income. But in the meantime, there are a few Uber driver strategies you can use to start increasing your income today.
Top ways Uber and Lyft drivers are making more money
I.) Join a referral program
This 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.
Freebird is an app for Uber and Lyft riders. Promote Freebird to your Uber and Lyft riders and get up to $10 per referral. Every passenger you give a ride to is an opportunity to make an extra $10.
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.
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!
II.) Be Strategic
Maximizing your income isn’t just about making more money, but also saving more money. Use tips like these to get more cash back at the end of the year.
1. Maximize your tax deductions
To make more money with Uber, begin maximizing your deductions during tax season. Start by reading our ultimate tax guide for rideshare drivers. In this guide we cover everything that rideshare drivers should know when it comes to taxes, including the best software and tools to use to keep track of everything.
2. Keep track of business expenses
Being an Uber driver means that you are self-employed. Being self-employed means you need to keep track of and report everything yourself (or with the help of a professional, like a CPA). But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer like we are, then read this article to learn how to form an LLC, set up a business checking account and credit card, track income, expenses, and mileage, and more!
3. Use a mileage tracking app
To get the most out of your tax deductions, you’ll need a mileage tracking app. In our mileage tracking app review, we cover the best free mileage tracking apps that will accurately record you mileage while you drive for Uber and Lyft, so you can just pull up the data and plug in some numbers during tax time. Easy!
4. Dress to impress, and get more tips!
Install a tip jar or a tip sign in your car and go the extra mile to make a good impression on your customers. In this article we go in depth on strategies Uber drivers use to increase the amount of tips you get. You can even try experimenting with driving for Lyft vs driving for Uber, because sometimes customers on one app tip better than customers in the other app!
5. Document your journey
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to become a content producer. Whether you want to write blog posts, or make Youtube videos, or even a rideshare podcast, if you’re the creative type then there’s no excuse not to start creating content. The important thing is to just start! We recently did a podcast with the content creator Randy Shear, who runs the UberMan Youtube channel.
6. Learn by listening
Listen to podcasts, learn a new language, or otherwise always stay learning. You time on the road does not need to be dull and mind numbing, you can use this time to listen to podcasts on your favorite subjects and learn about things you’ve always been interested in but haven’t had time to commit. You never know, the time you spend diving into new subjects could unlock a passion that turns into your dream job down the road.
7. Network with riders
Keep your pipeline of opportunities fresh by talking to your passengers. Every day is a new opportunity to learn something new, and you can learn tons of new things by sparking up random conversations with people. I know, the more you drive, the more difficult it is to stay motivated to talk to people. But you never know, that one person out of the hundreds of people you talk to can be the key to a big break.
8. Save on gas and shopping with cash-back apps
Use one of the best cash back apps like GetUpside app and you’ll never pay full price for gas again. Earn cash back on every gallon of gas you buy, plus deals on food and restaurants, too! Get your GetUpside promo code here. We also recommend getting the Ibotta promo code, which gets you cash-back on your every-day purchases at 300+ stores. You can also use the Fetch Rewards referral code and Dosh referral code to get cash back on groceries, restaurants, and hotels.
9. Get coaching
If you want to get mentored by a professional rideshare driver, check out the rideshare coaching service we offer for current and prospective rideshare drivers. Learn how to make the most money with tips and tricks from veteran rideshare drivers.
III.) Driver Smarter (Not Harder)
1. When and where you drive is key to making the most money
In my opinion, it’s all about when and where you drive. Now obviously you can’t do a whole lot about the city you live in, but on average, you will make more the bigger your city is. Uber and Lyft are in hundreds of cities across the country, but a majority of their trips happen in just a few limited markets. That’s why you see the biggest sign-up bonuses, guarantees and incentives in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and New York.
If you don’t live in one of those cities, all is not lost, but just understand that the average income in a mid-sized market will be lower.
This also means be strategic on which rides you accept and which ones you decline! Learn more about how cancelling rides can help you earn more here.
2. Follow the Alcohol
I’ve always focused on Friday/Saturday nights and holidays like July 4th and New Year’s since that’s when demand is at its highest and you see the most surge pricing. This Uber driving strategy isn’t foolproof, but it’s a good place to start if you’re looking to maximize your income.
(I’m not a big fan of sitting in traffic, but weekday commuting hours are also a busy time for rideshare drivers since lots of people use Uber and Lyft to get to and from work.)
It’s not hard to figure out when the busiest times to drive are since Uber/Lyft send out weekly summaries and heat maps, but you have to realize that it’s not just about when lots of passengers are requesting rides. As a driver looking to maximize your income, you also have to consider times/places when there aren’t a lot of drivers out.
A simple example will show you that if there are 100 requests coming in and 200 drivers to meet those requests, you only have a 50% chance of getting a ride. But what if you find an area where there are only 25 requests coming in AND just 15 drivers to meet that demand? You’re now guaranteed a request and you may even get some surge pricing.
3. Learn to love the puke
Yes, someone vomiting in your car sucks. There’s no doubt about that. But with a few precautions, it can go from an extremely unpleasant experience to a minor inconvenience. In this article, we discuss how to use the cleaning fee to your advantage.
4. Drive when others are not driving
Now that there are more drivers than ever, it’s important to focus on times when there aren’t a lot of other drivers out. There are always a lot of requests on Friday and Saturday nights, but there’s also a lot of drivers out, so you may not get a ton of requests during these times. But there are lots of times and places where only a few passengers are requesting rides and there aren’t any drivers around.
Here are a couple examples:
- Early AM airport runs from 3-7 a.m. or so. Not many drivers are willing to get up this early and drive and, although there aren’t a ton of requests, when there is a request, you’ll be very likely to get it. And since literally no one is up at that time, there’s no traffic and people tend to travel long distances. No one is going to make a grocery run at 5 a.m. so no need to worry about that 🙂
- Walk of shame rides. A lot of drivers stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights chasing the surge, which is a fine Uber driver strategy, but it also means that many of them are too tired to drive in the mornings. Passenger demand isn’t high at 8 am on Saturday/Sunday, but there are lots of people who had a little too much fun the night prior and now need rides home. Again, this is a time where there’s no traffic, no pick-up confusion and not a lot of Uber drivers out, so you can come in and make a killing.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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!
8. Get your weekly incentives
Most people know about all the lucrative sign-up bonuses you can get as a new driver, but once you check that off the list, it’s important to stay on top of the weekly driving incentives. Not every city has these, but when you do see offers for earnings boosts, or “do X trips and get $Y” type offers, you should take advantage of them. I think Uber has lowered rates to the point where it’s unsustainable long term, and in many markets they have to add extra incentives just to get drivers to come out and drive every week.
It’s important to read the fine print on these programs, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably find they start to make up a sizable portion of your weekly income. As a driver, I would rather see higher rates across the board and none of this incentive crap, but if that’s what’s presented to me, I’m going to try and take advantage of it.
Over time, you’ll learn there is a Uber driver strategy that can be applied to each incentive program. For example, Uber has been sending me lots of ‘do 20 trips, make $60’ this week type offers. That may not sound like a lot, but if you can bang out 20 quick trips, you’re getting a ‘$3 tip’ on each and every single ride, which adds up. In this type of scenario, I might go down to the college area where lots of students need short rides to the bar and try to rack up 2-3 rides per hour.
9. Use the destination filter
The whole point of this article is to drive smarter, not harder. You won’t see us telling you to drive more hours to make more money. But we will tell you how to use the functions and features of the Uber or Lyft app to increase your efficiency. One of those features is the destination filter. Here’s how to use the destination filter to increase your income.
10. Change your passenger’s mind
One driver named Jarod told us about how he upsells his passengers – not by selling them anything directly, but by convincing them to change their destination to somewhere he suggests and recommends. The place he recommends is usually farther than the place the passenger was initially headed to, earning him more income!
11. Maximize airport runs
If you like to pick up passengers at the airport, be up to date on the latest airport driving strategies so that you can be the most efficient. Time is money and waiting around at an airport is a waste of time! But with a few tricks you can maximize your airport runs.
12. Get 8 hours of sleep
A well rested person is a happy person. In fact, getting 8 hours of sleep per night is one of the top 5 recommendations from our contributor Jay Cradeur, who made $250,000 driving for Uber of a 2.5 year period.
IV.) Sell Things
You can make more money driving for Uber by selling things. Whether it’s something they need, like a phone charger, or something they want, like jewelry, when you have someone in your car it’s always an opportunity to strike up a conversation to see if they might be interested. Also, here’s a little secret, you can buy a lot of cheap things in bulk on AliExpress.
1. Sell snacks
You can use a car back seat organizer
A great way to display products for sale on the back of your seat. Put drinks and snacks right in front of your passenger, cause how could they resist the temptation?
or you can add the Cargo vending machine to your car
Cargo is a startup that sends you a car vending machine with snacks FOR FREE. You just pay them when you sell the snacks.
There’s also Vendigo, another startup that does the same thing
2. 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.
3. 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:
4. 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.
1. Drive for Multiple Rideshare Companies
I usually tell new drivers they should pick either Uber or Lyft to start with, and after a few months add the other. The biggest benefit you’ll see is that during slow times, you can turn both apps on and increase your chances of getting a request. Personally, I prefer driving for Lyft since they tend to have higher rates and allow in-app tipping, but there are plenty of times where you’ll make more money by driving for Uber and that’s why I keep both around.
2. Drive for delivery companies when rideshare is slow
One common strategy is to drive for a delivery service like DoorDash during the middle of the day or when not that many people are going out for the night. DoorDash tends to be busy when rideshare is slow. Think about it, people who are staying inside are more likely to order takeout right? Also, unlike rideshare, most of the orders on DoorDash will pay a tip. Click here to see your other delivery options.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of variability when it comes to pay for rideshare drivers – most are earning in the $10-$20/hour range but there are some who are earning more and some who are earning less. A majority of your pay is a function of the city you live in, but beyond that, there are specific Uber driver strategies you can use to increase your income.
VI.) Bonus tip
If you’ve made it this far then you deserve to read a great bonus tip. Drum roll please….
You can make more money driving for Uber and Lyft by starting a business that you can promote to your Uber and Lyft passengers. It can be anything. I’ve personally been pitched by financial advisors a few times while getting an Uber ride. Someone also tried recruiting me for a pyramid scheme.
I’m not saying you should start recruiting people into a pyramid scheme, I’m just saying that Uber and Lyft drivers find clever ways to sell something to their customers.
In this podcast, we speak with an Uber driver and masseuse in Portland, Oregon who pitches her passengers on massages.
These are our top methods for generating more income as an Uber or Lyft driver. If you haven’t yet, click here to sign up to drive for Uber and Lyft.
If you liked this post and would like to learn more about the Uber strategies that are being used by Uber and Lyft’s top drivers, please check out our paid video training course at maximumridesharingprofits.com
Drivers, what do you think about the earnings potential of a new driver? Have you employed any of these strategies in order to make more money or would you rather just flip the app on and see where the night takes you?
-Harry @ RSG
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