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9 min read

    9 min read

    Think driver coaching can’t help you earn more? Think again! Driver coaching can help turn you from a ‘grinder’, driving aimlessly with no real plan, into someone who is earning more while driving less. Below, senior RSG contributor Sergio Avedian shares how he helped one driver increase his earnings 50% with rideshare coaching.

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” That is what I said to Alex Cohen, the host of Inside the Issues during my appearance on Spectrum Channel 1 recently. As an active driver on both the Uber and Lyft platforms with over 5000 rides combined, I can unequivocally state that as easy as rideshare driving may sound, there is a steep learning curve. This is valid for new drivers as well as veterans.

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    Like anything else in life, what you put into this gig is what you will get out of it. The success of a driver is directly correlated with how much thought they put into their daily shift and how experienced they are.

    After I interviewed 40 Uber and Lyft drivers for a recent article, it dawned on me that 80% of drivers are out there with a daily dollar goal in mind and are aimlessly driving around accepting every request thrown their way. I think one of the major reasons that a large majority of drivers quit in less than a year is due to lack of earning potential. They realize after six months that all they’re doing is beating their brains and cars into a pulp sometimes for less than minimum wage.

    Uber and Lyft don’t have detailed training manuals for each city other than gamified colored maps. Strategies that may work for San Francisco or New York may not be valid for Los Angeles. However, by just applying basic fundamental strategies, in my opinion a full time or part time driver can immediately increase their earnings by $5-6 per hour.

    Let’s extrapolate that into weekly and monthly earnings. If a driver is on the platform for 20 hours a week and increased their hourly gross earnings by $5 dollars, that is equal to $100 a week or $400 a month extra in cash. Doing the same amount of work, driving the same amount of hours, doing less rides and making more money, it sounds too good to be true, right?

    With the application of advanced strategies, a student of mine, James makes $30 per app on hour consistently in Los Angeles even with current rates of 60 cents a mile and 21 cents a minute. As I mentioned on my surge-only driving podcast with Harry and wrote in another article on surge-only strategies, for me surge only/mostly driving is the key as well as the three P’s! Always remember, quality over quantity, I would rather do one ride an hour for $30 than 4 rides an hour for $30 chasing the carrot Uber and Lyft call the quest.

    How James Earns $30 an Hour in Los Angeles

    I met James in early February 2018 at Mel’s Diner in Sherman Oaks for breakfast. He asked me if I could teach him how to be a more successful rideshare driver. I must say, not only has he increased his gross earnings immediately after our meeting by applying simple fundamentals, but after a year of applying advanced strategies and creating his personal routine and plan, I am proud to say that he is consistently earning over $30 per app on hour.

    Interested in rideshare driver coaching from Sergio or Jay? Check out our Rideshare Driver Coaching page here.

    Both Uber and Lyft say that over 85% of drivers are on a part time basis, and so is James. He is now making the same or more money by working half the hours he used to, doing fewer rides with much better results. When I met him, UberX in Los Angeles paid 80 cents a mile and 12 cents a minute, today, we get paid 60 cents a mile and 21 cents a minute. The following is his story in his own words.

    James’s Story

    In October 2015, James lost his job. He looked into Uber at the suggestion of a friend, and began driving with Uber using XChange leasing.

    Editor’s note: Uber XChange is no longer available, but you can take a look at other vehicle rental options here.

    To test the idea of driving, he leased a used PriusC from Uber in April 2016 and drove straight to Uber’s sign-up trailer (then in North Hollywood). After completing all the paperwork and receiving his Uber stickers, he asked if there was any information or guide available to show him the ropes. The Uber service representative grinned and said “…all you need to know is on the app.” He couldn’t believe it, but the whole meeting was over in a matter of minutes and only consisted of being told how much passengers pay.

    Initally, James drove in his neighborhood of Sherman Oaks, but he was completely clueless as to how to make more. He believed driving more for Uber would earn him more, but he turned into a grinder – someone without a plan or idea of how, when and where to drive.

    Each week he began in the red because of the $159.56 a week Uber car lease, plus gas and insurance. He was doing 50-65 trips a week and driving at least 30 hours with the app on (sometimes 45 hrs. actual driving) to only book $500-600 before deductions. The following screenshots are from that period:

    After a month, he returned the PriusC to Uber Xchange and bought a car to drive. Uber is always moving the goal line on its drivers, but he figured out Surge, Personal Power Zones, and later Uber Quest and Lyft Streaks. In time, he drove more efficiently, but he wasn’t driving any smarter. Chasing incentives, he took every request ping. At day’s end, he would do the numbers. He was driving his butt off, 45-60 trips a week and if he was lucky, he’d gross $20 an hour, but he was mostly in the $15-17 range.

    During this period of anger and frustration, he started posting on rideshare blogs and eventually encountered Sergio. James took detailed notes during the meeting, and in one hour he learned enough from him to increase his earnings by 25-30% per app on hour within a very short period of time. The following is a screenshot from February 2018, a week after Sergio and James had breakfast.

    In March of 2019, Uber cut rates to $.60 a mile and $.21 a minute. The remaining carrots were Quest (trips per week) and Streak (3 continuous trips) and boost zones (guaranteed multiplier). Every time James figured out how the game worked, Uber changed the rules. Uber embraced inexperienced new drivers because the less drivers knew the more they can control them.

    After a couple of more phone conversations with Sergio, James started fully trusting his system. The more he learned, the less Uber controlled him or the way he drove. During the past year, his earnings have increased by another 25% by having his own routine and applying Sergio’s advanced strategies.

    James is driving less now while grossing over $30 per app an hour. Uber manipulates (incentivizes) its drivers in an effort to control when they drive and where they drive but to succeed you need to drive smart. The following are James’ results from recent weeks for Uber and Lyft:

    Strategies to Earn More as a Rideshare Driver in Any City

    Patience

    As Alex Rosenblat said in her wonderful book Uberland, “The autonomy to choose which fourteen of the twenty-four hours in a day to work does not create the sense of freedom implied by the flexibility rhetoric of Uber and Lyft”. I totally agree with that comment. You can turn your app on and work at noon to 3 p.m., known as the dead zone by veterans, but you’ll be scraping for pennies. On the other hand, if you work the morning and afternoon rush hour where surge is plentiful, you can make decent money with horrible mile/minute rates.

    Recognize that, even if you’ve been driving for many years, driving rideshare requires its own skill set. Drive often and reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t. Do not accept every ping Uber and Lyft throw your way. There are many fish in the ocean, be selective, do the rides that you want to do and do the rides that will produce the most profit for you. The platforms are set up the other way around. Work smart, not hard, and practice quality over quantity.

    Related article: make more money while driving for Uber and Lyft by joining this exclusive referral program.

    Position

    This is something all new drivers and as well as many veterans fail at. They may not know their city well enough to position themselves correctly for the upcoming rush hour surge rides. I would also suggest paying close attention and taking plenty of screenshots during your shift.

    Study surge and learn from the patterns since surge is not a mythical creature – it keeps repeating itself on a daily basis. Surge only driving style is something I have adapted to when I first started driving. It has worked for me and still does. I average over $30 per app on hour gross (I take breaks when things are slow) when I drive in Los Angeles where rates are pitiful at 60 cents a mile and 21 cents a minute. Luckily, we still have the Uber surge multiplier (Uber recently launched new flat rate surge here 🙁 )but Lyft has taken away Prime Time (PT) and replaced it with the Personal Power Zones (PPZ).

    Planning

    Rideshare driving is not a 9-5 job, you must drive when and where there is demand. The best and most successful rideshare drivers have an outline of what they’re doing in advance. One of the most eye catching benefits of rideshare driving is having the ability to set your own schedule. It’s best to know when your best and worst times to drive are so that you can plan around anything else you have going on in your life.

    For me, splitting shifts is the best way to drive. I will try to get out with an early scheduled airport run on Lyft. Then position myself for the morning rush hour surge rides which can be very lucrative. Every city is different, so it’s important that you know when traffic is heavy and when surge multipliers (or flat rate surge bonuses) are at their peaks. Taking the time to know where and when you’ll be driving saves you both money and time in the long run.

    What do you think? Does coaching offer value to drivers? Can anyone do what James has done? Is it still possible to make money driving for Uber and Lyft?

    We offer all of the tips you will need to increase your earnings for free on the blog, YouTube and podcast, but if you’re looking to fast-track the process, we have options for you!

    Resources for Beginner & Intermediate Drivers:

    Advanced Drivers:

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    -Sergio @ RSG

    Sergio Avedian

    Sergio Avedian

    Sergio has been driving Uber and Lyft for about three years. He has over 4500 rides on both platforms, mostly on Uber. Sergio has a degree in finance, and worked on Wall St. for over eighteen years. In his free time, he still trades stocks and derivatives for himself and a few friends. He is also a PGA certified golf instructor, teaching golf is his passion. Sergio is married with two wonderful kids who take the rest of his afternoons/weekends between their soccer practices and golf tournaments.

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