Making More Money in 2023: Tips from a Rideshare Driver

With all of the changes to rideshare over the last year, from new ways to earn and changes to the algorithm, how can drivers plan to earn more in 2023? If you think you already know all the tricks to earning more in less time, or you’re a brand new driver who wants to start the new year off right, you won’t want to miss this article. Guest contributor Jeff H. shares his “tips” on how you can make more in tips in 2023 and beyond.

It was Tuesday, May 17, and I was at the Las Vegas airport. It was 11:54 am, and I could not wait for this. A short vacation? No. Gambling? No. Drinking? No. I was getting in my first Uber after giving 8,000 Uber and Lyft rides. I said hello to my driver and told him I was an Uber driver from South Carolina. I thanked him for picking me up and handed him a $5 tip in advance.

I have a tip for you, and it’s worth more than $5-here it is: You can get more tips in 2023 than you did in 2022, if you want to. If you want to lose weight, just saying that you want to, just doesn’t cut it. You need to have a game plan.

Over the past four years of driving part-time during the day, I have tried to maximize my income by focusing on my riders. Over the last few years, 38-40% of my riders have tipped me, but this year I’m up to 46%, which means an extra $1,000 this year.

Since I am a big fan of the show, “Show Me The Money” with Sergio and Chris with The Rideshare Guy, let me show you how you can earn extra money in 2023.

Watch the Show Me the Money Club on YouTube and check out a popular episode below: Where Has Uber’s Quest Bonus Gone??? Show Me The Money Club

How to Earn More as a Rideshare Driver in 2023

Be a Sponge

I live in Myrtle Beach, and I drive in Charleston, South Carolina, also. I’m on both local Facebook sites, so I can learn from experienced drivers, and they have been terrific.

I am always learning things there that have made me more confident, knowledgeable, and comfortable as a driver. It’s important because riders pick up on that, and it does result in more tips.

Having followed The Rideshare Guy over the past few months, I look at all the material they put out as a large, all-you-can-eat buffet. I select the things that I’m interested in and what can help me achieve my goals. Pick and choose from my tips what will work for you. Are you willing to learn more in 2023 to help you get more tips?

Focus and Set a Goal

Expect to get more tips and set a reasonable goal. In order to improve on something, you need to know where you are. Before you lose weight, you have to determine what your weight really is.

Tips are not based on one day or one week or one month. They can vary from time of day and time of year.

You can analyze tips three ways: How many riders tip you, what is your average tip, and at the end of the week, what is the percentage of your tips compared to your base pay? (On your summary sheet on the app, add your cash tips to your app tips and divide it into your net fare. If your tips total $100 and your net fare is $400, your tips are 25% of your net fare)

By knowing how many riders, on average, tip you, you’re able to judge how you’re really doing. Keep in mind, some riders never tip and some riders always tip; these are the riders you can practice on. However, it’s the ones in the middle that you can make a difference with. Will you focus on getting more tips in 2023?

Track What You Do

I’ve kept track of the number of riders who have tipped me on a large desk calendar pictured below. When I’m done driving that day, I put in this info, (10-20, ten tips out of 20 rides), and then I add net fare, promotions, tips, cash, and a total.

I can look back to any day in the last few years and get my numbers. Below also is the top part of my yearly chart. I have 2019, 2021 and 2022 numbers that I look at and set monthly and yearly goals with.

I set a goal each month for what I want to make based on the days I’m working. This month, I’m working only 8 ½ days. Are you willing to take a few minutes a week to measure how you’re doing with tips in 2023?

An example of me tracking my rides
My calendar tracking

Your Attitude Makes a Difference

Are you in a good or great mood when you drive? Can riders tell that you enjoy what you’re doing? I’m looking forward to driving when I get up to drive at 3 or 4 am. Any ride can be a great ride and I can’t wait to get started. I play music that I like when I’m alone in my car, so I keep my mood and attitude up.

When a rider says, “Do you like driving for Uber?” I say, “No, I love it.” You don’t have to have my enthusiasm, however, years ago my history teacher taught me, “Enthusiasm is infectious.” Your positive attitude will help you get tips.

A driver recently said, “I dictate the energy in my car.” What’s the energy in your car? I want riders to know that this ride is different.

I drive an orange Ford Transit, a car many people have not been in. The first thing they see is a sign that says, “South Carolina law requires everyone to wear a belt and a smile.” It’s an amusing way to communicate a rule and get a smile.

The bright orange sign above my head says, “If You Can’t Find The Sunshine, Be The Sunshine.” It’s an upbeat message that riders like and some have taken a picture of it. The hats below of my favorite teams get the attention of anyone from the Northeast or any sports fan. The blown-up picture of a Super Bowl ring a female rider showed me gets a lot of attention and I show the real picture below also. Will you improve your attitude and energy while you’re driving in 2023?

South Sudan bill from a secret agent
A hand holding a ring

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Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl ring!

Treat Each Rider As a Friend As You Would Want to Be Treated

The golden rule is simple: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” One young female Lyft driver in Charleston told me she hangs out with ten people that she met driving. I wish some of my riders were my friends after the ride ends.

The people in our cars are hardworking, incredibly talented and some are hilariously funny. There are young people who are inspiring and older people who are a treasure due to their wisdom and experience. We pick up people who work in our supermarkets, post office, factories, and hotels.  They make our towns run and many work long, difficult hours.

If you haven’t had the pleasure and honor of talking to military cadets, active members of our military, or retired military personnel, you’re missing out on something special. Everyone deserves to be treated well, and I treat them the same way I would treat you-as a friend I don’t know yet. Can you work in 2023 to see your riders as friends?

Give the Best Ride They Ever Had

I love to hear riders tell me as they leave that this is the best ride they ever had. I educate and inform tourists on what they need to know during their trip. Can I save them money or time? What would you tell your best friend?

I have brochures in my car that make their trip easier. I love to make them laugh and I tell them stories about other riders from their state or their occupation. I’ve learned a lot from riders and I share this with other riders, and they enjoy it. My former riders entertain my current riders, I’m only the messenger.

For local people, I do small talk and entertain them as much as tourists, but my conversations with them are a little different. If you’re driving someone in the medical field, thank them for what they’ve done these past couple years to help everyone. Ask teachers how they’ve managed through the pandemic and the businessperson on how they did during this difficult time. When the woman has orange or bright blue hair, compliment them and when they ask for a selfie or tip you, they are thanking you for acknowledging them.

How many riders can you give their best ride to in 2023?

Give the Rider Something Extra

I’ve been writing a blog for five years, but my favorite blogs come at the end of the month when I make a list of dozens of my favorite rider comments and I write a few stories of my favorite riders.

After my first year of driving, I wanted to give some of my riders a holiday gift. I made a list of my favorite comments of the year and gave them to some riders. The reaction and appreciation I received surprised me. 98% of the people I drive during the day have not been drinking, so my riders are mostly sober, normal people who say very funny and odd things.

This is the third year I have given my “gift” out to 30-40% of my riders. When I tell them I’m going to give them a gift, many of them laugh. One woman going to a wedding, wanted to sit in my car and read my list. I told her she has to go into the wedding, and she should put it in her purse for later. She said, “I don’t want to fold it, I want to frame it.”

What can you give to your riders that they don’t expect in 2023?

Have As Much Fun As You Can Safely

Some of my family will tell you that I’m not funny, but I am a lot funnier now because of my riders.  I get to practice lines with my audience; some are very good.

My second favorite rider was a young woman on a 1.2 mile ride in  Charleston. She was so funny I had to shut her up so I could drive. Her comment on the app was that we had, “A magical evening ride.”

One woman I sang the Uber song I wrote and the next time I drove her she sang a Spanish love song that I didn’t understand a word of.  One rider who works in a supermarket deli told me that when the rotisserie chickens are ready, she walks out behind the counter and does a chicken dance with music and some customers join her. I’m going to do that this winter. Chicken is my favorite food and when someone brings chicken into my car, I have a whole “chicken routine” to see if I can get a piece and it’s a lot of fun.

Hanging in my car now I have a small museum – riders have given me 15 bills from the country they live in. The South Sudan bill comes from a secret agent for our government. He gave me the first bill and others have followed.  I tell riders that this is the “educational part of their day.” Some of them take pictures of the bills and really enjoy seeing them. How can you make your rides more fun for you and your riders in 2023?

Will the Rider Remember Your Ride As the Best They Ever Had?

I asked two flight attendants last year, “What’s the best ride you’ve ever had?” The woman answered immediately and told me there is a male driver in Las Vegas who writes a personal note on a post note for every rider, and she still has it. I don’t know how he does it, but I would tip him right now.

I feel very fortunate to have had so many incredible riders over the last four years and I can never thank them enough for their tips and their kind words. One rider posted on the app, “This man is a credit to the human race. I wish I could get more rides like this every time I get a Lyft.”

I know you have riders who have said wonderful things about you and that you’re the best driver they ever had, but in 2023, what else can you do for your riders? The more you appreciate and give to them, the more will come back to you.

My first Uber ride in Las Vegas was with Garaped and I was impressed with him. He told me that he purposely drives under the speed limit, “Since people come here for a good time and I want to make sure they can do it.” He also told me that the next day was his 65th birthday.

As he took my luggage out of my car, I wished him happy birthday and tipped him another $5, which confused him. If you drive out in Las Vegas and you know Garaped, tell him that crazy Uber driver from South Carolina who tipped him twice said hello-he’ll remember me.

I’m not done showing my appreciation to him. How can you make more of your riders remember you in 2023?

-Jeff @ RSG

Jeff H. with his new car
Jeff H. with his new car

Jeff Hoenig has been a rideshare driver for 4 1/2 years and has lived in South Carolina for five years with his wife of thirty-nine years. He will hit 10,000 rides in February.  He’s a “number’s guy” who loves to read and talk sports and politics and writing his blog, “Becoming A Southerner.”