Although we focus on Uber and Lyft a lot, Sidecar has been doing some cool things so far in 2015. Today, RSG contributor Scott Van Maldegiam takes a look at the ins and outs of Sidecar.
We keep saying it every week, but the only thing that stays the same in rideshare is change. And Sidecar is full of change, especially this year. I know some of you are not familiar with Sidecar, so I will go over how Sidecar is different as a platform, then go over what is new for 2015 and discuss a few strategies for driving with Sidecar.
Differences from Uber and Lyft
Rider Picks the Driver
When a rider is making a ride request, the rider is presented choices of which car/driver they want. From riders I have spoken to, most choose based on price and/or proximity. I have had a few riders say they check the driver’s “awesome” rating and/or type of car. Not too many riders are going to want to squeeze 4 people into a Ford Fiesta if they have the choice for a bigger car. Even if it is a little bit more for the ride.
- Pickup Radius – No more getting a request from far away, unless you want to go that far. Keep in mind that this radius is “as the crow flies”, not miles driven.
- Minimum Fare – Tired of the low fare rides? You can set your minimum fare. It can be set from $0 to $12.
- Price Multiplier – You can set your multiplier (surge) from 0.8x to 1.5x.
- Dropoff Area – If you hate getting requests that take you to an area where you won’t get another request, this feature is for you. For me, this is great, since when I get into Chicago for the morning commute, I want to stay there. I don’t want to get a request that takes me to either airport or the suburbs. My morning will basically be done if I go to those locations since it will take me so long to get back to the city. I can set my dropoff area to be a large area but exclude both airports.
- Block Passengers – While Lyft does block any passenger that you rate a 3 star or below (there’s no such feature on Uber), Sidecar allows you to specifically block a rider without giving them a bad rating.
How You Get Paid
With Sidecar, you request payment when you want to receive payment. Each payment request will deduct 50 cents from your payout balance. Also, there are two buckets for payments: Reimbursements and Rides. The bucket for rides is pretty self explanatory; this is the bucket for rider payments and tips. The reimbursement bucket is for guarantees, bonuses, rider cancellations and promotions.
Yes, Sidecar allows tipping. They even provide you a percentage your fare is above the “suggested donation”. This number comes out to be what your average tip is. Currently, my number is seven percent. I am not sure if that is good or not, but I am happy with it. It is comparable to what I receive in tips with Lyft and much higher than what I receive with Uber.
This feature is similar to Uber Pool and Lyft Line. Sidecar has Shared Rides rolled out in more markets than either Lyft or Uber. They have been focusing on offering reduced cost Share Rides in certain markets to attract new customers. This strategy is working.
What Is New for 2015 – Promotions Galore
Sidecar has been concentrating their promotional efforts in the Chicago, Boston and Washington DC markets.
Sidecar has not been taking a commission from rider payments. So even though Sidecar may have lower fares in some markets, it may provide the highest payment since the driver keeps 100% of the rider payment.
Matched Payments (Bonus)
Sidecar has also been offering a bonus. They call this “matched payments”. It works like a surge or multiplier calculation. Last week, they offered a 1.1x matched payment during peak hours. This means that they will pay the driver an additional 10% on top of the rider payment. This week, they are offering 1.25x in Chicago and Boston, and 1.1x in Washington DC.
Discounted Shared Rides
Shared Rides is a great feature all by itself. It provides a reduced fare in exchange for sharing the ride with another passenger. What is even better is getting a shared ride for three dollars or less. This week, there are FREE shared rides all week in the Chicago, Boston and Washington DC markets. Sidecar pays out what the ride would have paid under normal circumstances. Most of the time, shared rides provide a larger fare for the time and mileage driven, but occasionally it doesn’t work out as well.
Sidecar has also been offering thirty dollar an hour guarantees during Friday and Saturday night peak hours. You need to complete at least one ride an hour to qualify for the guarantee. There are other requirements, but they vary by market.
The best part about this guarantee is that the drivers know exactly how much they will receive for their online time. This is a guarantee on how much the driver will make and NOT a fare guarantee like with Uber.
Related Article: How to Hack Uber’s Fare Guarantees
When I Work App
Due to the guarantees being offered by Sidecar, Sidecar was paying out a lot of guarantee money for drivers that were doing only a few rides per hour.
It seems they got smart and found a way to limit the number of drivers they would offer the guarantee to though. They introduced the When I Work app.
Once you sign up, Sidecar creates the shifts on Friday and then it is first come first serve to sign up for the shifts. The first weekend, I know there were some drivers that were unable to get a shift. If you want the guarantee shifts, it is best to sign up early.
Strategies to Maximize Sidecar Income
Take Advantage of Guarantee Shifts
Driving during the guarantee shifts is good money. With all the other promotions, it is not difficult to meet the requirements. It is comforting to know that, in most circumstances, you will make a minimum amount of money per hour regardless of what happens.
Take Advantage of Shared Ride Discounts and Matched Payments with Max’d Out Multiplier
Another Sidecar driver that I gave a ride to suggested this strategy. When Share Rides are discounted, max out the multiplier at 1.5x. To the rider, the payment won’t be much different, but the payment to you as the driver will be 50% higher as Sidecar will make up the difference. And the matched payments will be higher if you are accepting ride requests with a higher multiplier.
Educate Riders to Favorite Drivers
I have been asked many times while driving for Lyft and Uber, “Can I request you as a driver?” Of course, the answer is no on those platforms. With Sidecar, the rider can favorite you.
Related Article: Take a Ride as a Passenger to Become a Better Driver
Assuming you made a good impression, educate the rider on how to make you a favorite driver. The more riders that favorite you, the better chance you have for receiving more ride requests than your fellow drivers.
I really enjoy driving for Sidecar. I feel much more in control of my destiny. Have you tried driving for Sidecar? What do you think?
Drive for Sidecar And Get $100
-Scott @ The Rideshare Guy
Scott Van Maldegiam
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