At the Rideshare Guy, we try to educate drivers on how to be more efficient, utilize all the tools in the rideshare box and increase their earnings. The potential of making more money per hour depends on the type of driver you are. Our motto has always been: drive smart, work smarter – not harder!

    However, when we’ve shared recent stories about maximizing earnings and choosing to accept certain rides over others, we heard from many of you that choosing the more lucrative rides is unfair to passengers. Senior Contributor Sergio Avedian, aka Surge-io, shares why he employs the “pick and choose” method and why he believes choosing to work smarter, not harder, is most advantageous to drivers.

    Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below!

    Let’s all get this straight! Rideshare driving or any other gig economy job is not a Public Service. I am an Independent Contractor, I am in this for ME to make as much money as I can in the shortest amount of time possible!

    As a veteran of rideshare driving for five years with thousands of rides under my belt on both platforms, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly! Nowadays it is good, really good. Will it last? Probably not, but for now, SHOW ME THE MONEY Uber and Lyft, and I will drive for you.

    As far as I am concerned, there are two types of drivers. Pros who consistently earn a lot more per hour than the average driver and people who turn their app on and accept every ride Uber and Lyft algorithms throw their way (sometimes referred to as “ants”).

    Which one are you? Personally, I am a hybrid of the two these days. I try to cherry-pick as much as I can but when I am offered juicy quests or Consecutive Ride Bonuses (CRBs) I will “ant” with the best of them.

    A few weeks ago to keep things exciting at RSG, I came up with the idea of a contest. BEAT SERGIO AND WIN CASH! It was published on November 19th and to my surprise, I got beat in all categories except one.

    I accept defeat with grace and pride since the driver who did that applied strategies to his advantage and earned almost $100 per online/active hour. How he did that is his secret and I am certain he was thinking about how to maximize his earnings, not do public service.

    When I write an article, I am not trying to create controversy. I am trying to do the best job I can by sticking to facts (supported with screenshots) and actually getting behind the wheel.

    People may not like what I write and frequently voice their opinions. I usually try to respond to each one of them and explain my point of view but ultimately we are all adults, we have to agree to disagree. But in the process, I sometimes get a gem and that was the case with this RSG reader. I felt compelled to respond point for point.

    RSG Reader Disagrees With Picking and Choosing Rides

    My Rebuttal: You Should Drive for Multiple Platforms

    “No thanks — I don’t have to prove anything. First of all – I DO NOT drive for Uber, who has more promos and higher bonuses. Second — I do not Cherry Pick my rides. Third — I drive part time.. I’m not getting into a contest with anyone over who can make the most money.”

    I agree, you don’t have to get into a competition. The contest was created to offer drivers a reward for a job well done.

    If you do not drive for multiple platforms, we always suggest that you do so to increase your income (check out these recommendations for the best food delivery services).

    You admit Uber has better promos and higher bonuses, yet you refuse to drive for it? Interesting. Cherry Picking will be addressed further down the article in detail.

    I also drive part-time.

    My Rebuttal: Yes, You Should Drive When You Are Offered Bonuses

    Sergio states that he makes an average of $24 per ride.. Cherry Picking at its finest. Frankly, I am looking forward to the day when business is slow and he has to take a $2.62 ride.”

    I used to be the best Cherry Picker in the days when the surge multiplier on Uber and primetime on Lyft was available. But in today’s marketplace of flat-rate surge and funny Pink and Purple boxes that arbitrarily show up, I had to adapt.

    I am more of a hybrid these days. When juicy Quests and CRBs are offered, I apply my destination filter strategies and try to make as much money as I can. Actually, I love accepting all the $2.62 rides when Uber offers me 3 for $30 CRB.

    “The truth, Harry, is this — If you remove the Driver bonus of 20 trips for $250 (which I have NEVER seen a Lyft offer BTW), Sergio drove 6 hours and made $94.48. That calculates to $15.75 per hour.

    The final screen shows that he did 20 trips in 6 hours.. You cannot do 20 trips in 6 hours unless they are short trips with little traffic and the drop-off and next pickup, on all trips, are close together. Simple fact.”

    You must be talking about my Lyft article when they offered me 20 for $250. It didn’t just happen once, it happened in consecutive weeks. Sorry that Lyft is not offering you such bonuses in your market, maybe they love me more?

    All kidding aside, I hadn’t driven for almost two years and Lyft wanted me back. Unfortunately, since those two weeks, I have not driven for Lyft due to the low incentives offered.

    That is why you should drive on both platforms – go where the money is! As you correctly stated, targeting only short trips (destination filter strategy) was my goal to get $250 as fast as possible, and I achieved that.

    You can definitely do 20 trips in 6 hours; the driver who beat me in the contest did 42 rides in 10 hours!

    My Rebuttal: Just Because I Try to Get High Earnings Does Not Mean I Decline Every Ride – Far From It!

    “He cherry picks his trips and can get away with only taking $20 or high trips because it is currently very busy. Do you consider him a good driver ?? Who do you think takes up the slack of all the trips that he refuses to take ??

    Those riders do not disappear because he does not think they are worthy. The trips are sent to other drivers, who would prefer not to do them, either, but are honest drivers.. .”

    Actually, I did not cherry-pick any rides the past few weeks. When Uber offers me a 20 for $100 Quest, that is $5 per ride. Then add to that, 3 for $24 CRB, which is another $8.

    Before I even accept a request, I am already ahead by $13. Add the flat rate surge to that, why would I have to cherry-pick? Now, if the Quests and CRBs were not that high, I would definitely try to do so!

    Does that make me dishonest? NO!

    Take a look at the screenshots below. My Acceptance Rate (AR) is the highest it has ever been. In the old days my AR would hover in the low teens.

    I am a great driver – I average $50+ per hour when I decide to drive with a 4.93 rating over 5000 trips in 5 years!

    “Drivers like Sergio are the other 5 drivers in that story. They drive for Lyft and Uber. Accept a trip with Lyft and while en route will get a high-paying trip from Uber, so they cancel the Lyft ride and take the Uber. Yep — we are here to make money but they are not following the T.O.S. of the company and should be deactivated.

    Drivers like Sergio only think about their needs and wants. Their world is ME, ME, ME. How many ways can I cheat the company and the passengers? I find it embarrassing and disappointing that you actually support his style of driving.”

    My Rebuttal: We Are Independent Contractors. Rideshare is Not a Public Service.

    This is a loaded paragraph with a bunch of accusations and falsehoods. We obviously have a fundamental difference of opinion.

    I am in this for ME, because rideshare driving is not Public Service nor it is Public Transportation. We are all ICs; that is by Uber and Lyft’s design.

    Rideshare companies can’t have their cake and eat it too. When it comes to the T.O.S, I hope you have read it word for word because I have and written extensively about it. Uber and Lyft can’t deactivate a driver for low Acceptance Rate (AR) or high Cancellation Rate (CR), please go back and read the T.O.S. carefully.

    At the start of each week, I commit to driving for one platform or the other depending on what I am offered. In five years, I have never run with both apps on and canceled a ride after accepting it because I felt one was more lucrative than the other.

    Are there drivers who do that? Probably. Is it the right/ethical thing to do? That is questionable but since they are ICs on both platforms… The most successful drivers in my market are the ones on multiple platforms, and that is a fact!

    Cheating the company? I am not their employee! What are you talking about? If anyone is cheating, it is Uber/Lyft by taking over 50% of what the passenger pays.

    My Rebuttal: I Write to Help Drivers Earn More and Adapt to the Changes Uber and Lyft Throw Their Way

    “The sad thing is this — other drivers will read this dribble and start doing the same thing.. The day will come when the market is quieter and the streets are flooded with drivers.. Then Mr. Sergio will have to change his style or go home with only $200 NET earnings like the rest of us. I will look forward to that day.”

    I take offense to your calling what I write as dribble. I try to help drivers with strategies and proper advice. But then there are a few who have chosen to be martyrs like yourself. Even when the market was grossly oversaturated as it was pre-pandemic, I would average over $30 an hour in Los Angeles – tops in my market. I would urge you to revisit some of them.

    I am proud to say that I have adapted to whatever Uber/Lyft have thrown at me. I have changed my style, as you call it, and I have done so to maximize my earnings.

    My Rebuttal: Drivers Don’t Include the Take Rate from Uber and Lyft in Their Earnings Calculations

    If you two were actually being honest, using the net earnings to calculate an hourly wage is incorrect. You always use the Gross Earnings in that calculation, which includes the amount paid to Uber/Lyft .. So your “hot-shot” driver actually makes more than he claims because to state an ACCURATE hourly earning, it MUST include the take paid to the company in the calculations. If you are going to take the time to write a report, at least, make it correct…”

    In what world does that math exist? The earnings I put up are GROSS to me, before deducting all my expenses.

    Why would I include the Take Rate for Uber and Lyft? I don’t know of any driver who does that. What Uber and Lyft make on a given ride is up to their algorithms. I can’t fight that or change it, as much as I would like to do so.

    I think you were trying to give me a backhanded compliment, and I appreciate it. If I used your incorrect method, I would be averaging over $100 an hour. We could take this to the public and ask 1000 drivers what metrics they use, but I don’t think you will have a single one agreeing with you.

    My Rebuttal: We All Miss Jay, Agreed.

    “All I can say is you must be desperate for writers.. Bring Jay back. At least, he handles his business like an expert driver and understands that we all must take the $2.62 trips along with the $60 trips..”

    I miss Jay too! He has gone to bigger and better things! These days of high CRBs, I can’t get enough of those $2.62 trips.

    My Rebuttal: My Strategies Will Not Get Anyone Deactivated (They Haven’t Gotten Me Deactivated!)

    “I must say that these articles are starting to aggravate the hell out of me. They are deceptive and dishonest. I will tell you the same thing that I told a driver in Las Vegas that gives earning improvement suggestions to drivers that will get them deactivated — Use your Website for educational but honest improvement suggestions to driving RideShare work..

    New drivers are unable to decipher when driving suggestions will get them banned from a platform. It is not fair, and unethical, for an experienced driver to give bad information to a Newbie driver.”

    Thank you for reading and commenting. Five years, thousands of rides, 4.93 rating and I am still here. If what I was doing was illegal, I would have been banned a long time ago. If you really did your work and read my past articles carefully, you would actually understand how helpful I have been to the driver community. Deceptive and Dishonest people are out there for sure but not at RSG!

    New drivers are exactly the ones who should be able to benefit from what I write since they have no clue how to maximize their earnings, and they go about aimlessly driving around and accepting every ride request. That is exactly the type of driver Uber and Lyft want.

    In Los Angeles, Uber rates are 60/21 and Lyft rates are 80/12, do you think a driver can make money with those base mile/minute rates?

    My Conclusions

    • Rideshare is not a public service nor it is public transportation (subsidized by the government)
    • We are all Independent Contractors (ICs)
    • I am in this to make the most amount of money in the shortest period of time
    • Drivers should be on both platforms to maximize their earnings
    • This is not a 9 to 5 job; drive when and where is demand
    • Full time or part-time, always apply strategies that work for your city
    • Study the surge patterns, they tend to repeat

    -Sergio @ RSG

    Sergio Avedian

    Sergio Avedian

    Sergio has been driving Uber and Lyft for about five years. He has over 6000 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.