Contents:

7 min read

    7 min read

    Are you a part-time Uber or Lyft driver? If so, you’re probably wondering how you can maximize your time on the road to earn the most in the least amount of time. Fellow part-time driver, and RSG contributor, Paula Gibbins shares her strategies to maximize earnings while on the road part-time.

    Driving for Uber and Lyft part time is a great way for many people to earn little side money or save up for vacations. In my experience, there are highs and lows in driving times that are just part of the trade.

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    Like most drivers, it has taken me a while to really figure out what times are best for me and worth my time. I do acknowledge up front that if I were to drive later in the evenings on the weekends, my hourly rate would likely improve, but I personally don’t like dealing with driving in the dark. Every driver is different, which is why we have many driving strategies on RSG depending on when, where and how you drive.

    I’m a part-time rideshare driver in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, averaging between 5 and 20 hours a week depending on my current needs. My husband, Adam, is a full-time driver in the same area, averaging between 35 and 40 hours a week. In this article, I pull from both of our experiences to give my opinions on how to make driving part-time worthwhile.

    Comparing Part-Time and Full-Time Uber & Lyft Driver Earnings

    For me, I can take or leave rideshare driving and my earnings certainly reflect that. I’ll be sharing a week where I really committed to driving on a schedule because it shows what potential it truly has for part-time drivers. Keep in mind, however, if you don’t put in the hours, you’re not going to get results you’ll be happy with.

    Now, on ideal weeks, I drive along my commute and pick up riders heading the same way as me by using the destination mode. I set my destination for work in the morning and home in the evening. About three days a week I make it a goal to drive a couple of hours after my regular job to make a little more and then set a destination for home around 7 p.m. On weeks where I’m busy, I love that I have the freedom to leave the driving behind and focus on what I need or want to do.

    Here’s one of my weeks where I committed to a schedule and stuck with it:

    image of Part time driving income

    Part time driving income

    As you can see from the images, I worked a little extra on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that week as well as working a “full” day on Sunday. For part-time earnings, I think $318.98 sounds like a pretty good deal with driving for a minimal 14 hours that week. It equates to $22.78 an hour before expenses (gas, car payments, insurance, etc.). Now, let’s take a look at one of my husband’s recent full-time weeks:

    image of Full time driving income

    Full time driving income

    He ended up with $1,039 for a 41-hour week, which equates to $25.34 an hour before expenses. So, overall, he averaged better than I did per hour. But I held my own and that’s a pretty decent per hour ratio that I’m happy with, especially working only part-time.

    One thing to keep in mind while comparing earnings is that my husband was able to earn promotions with Uber and Weekly Ride Challenge Bonuses with Lyft while I was only able to earn promotions with Uber. I never drive enough during the week, or the right hours, to hit any of the Lyft ride challenges or streaks.

    What’s the Secret for Part-time Uber & Lyft Drivers?

    Part-Timers Should Set a Schedule

    My secret to success as a part-time driver is creating a schedule. It helps me frame in my mind what I expect of myself throughout the week. Obviously, sometimes life gets in the way, so I’ll have to shift things around, but I try my best to stick to my schedule.

    For example, this week I am planning on driving after work on Tuesday and Thursday because on Monday and Wednesday I have dinner dates with friends and on Friday I’m going out of town for a family gathering. Definitely won’t expect high earnings this week with that kind of personal schedule, but I can always make up for it next week when I don’t have anything going on.

    Use Your Commute Time to Drive

    Another tip I have is giving the commute option a try. With just doing my daily commute with no extra hours, I earn anywhere from $30 to $60 on average a week. That’s enough to pay for my gas that I use on my commute and then some. I figure, it’s doing what I have to do daily anyway, may as well get the gas paid for with doing minimal work.

    One thing to bear in mind is by keeping the schedule that I have, I am forcing myself to do rideshare driving during the busiest hours of the day, namely rush hour. This means I am almost guaranteed to get rides with minimal down time, and I am more likely to get a surge price, making it even more worthwhile. I find that I have a few regulars I’ve seen a handful of times because we are heading in the same direction around the same time every day. In a lot of ways, it feels like giving a friend a ride to work in the morning.  But getting paid for it.

    Check out how Harry was able to make over $30 per hour tax free using a similar ‘commuting strategy’.

    Drive When It’s Busy in Your City/Town

    Knowing what’s going on throughout the city you drive in can be helpful when planning out your schedule. I know that when the Vikings are in town, I’ll be busiest Sunday morning or afternoon before the game, so I’ll make it a goal to get out of the house around when tailgating is supposed to start. Then I’ll drive until game time.

    After the game starts, it’s like the city is asleep. Everyone is watching the game, so I let myself do the same. If I feel like going out again, I’ll head out either right before the game is over or soon after because I know people have been drinking and will need a safe way home.

    Is It Worth It?

    The big takeaway from all of this is that it’s totally worthwhile doing Uber and Lyft part time. I am able to cover my basic car needs (namely, gas) without dipping into my paycheck from my full-time job and without killing myself by driving as many hours as possible after my 40-50-hour work week at my regular job.

    During weeks when I have a busy social life, I don’t feel the need to skip out on events because I haven’t met my goals yet. I’ll just carve out a little more time the next week if I really need the spare cash, or I’ll let it slide and just take a break for that week with no regrets.

    Overall, driving part time is a great way to make extra cash without burning yourself out. Have a game plan made up every week and do what you can to stick to it for the best results. If I start driving one evening and all of a sudden I hit a lull where I’m not getting requests from either app, I’ll set my destination for home sooner than I intended and try again the next day. Don’t get frustrated with slower days. Those are always going to crop up. Just go with the flow and try again later.

    Readers, do you drive part-time? What are your strategies to maximize your income while on the road?

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    -Paula @ RSG

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins, a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, is a part-time rideshare driver and a full-time proofreader. She is based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In her free time, Paula enjoys reading, playing board games and participating in trivia nights.