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Driving for Uber and Lyft During the Holidays
Let’s take a look at what days of the year rideshare drivers see record numbers. My reasoning behind this list is pretty simple: follow the alcohol.
We already know that Friday and Saturday nights are peak demand times since everyone is out and about drinking, so it only makes sense that the biggest rideshare days of the year would coincide with the biggest drinking holidays of the year.
1.) New Year’s Eve
If you’ve been driving for any amount of time, you’re probably already familiar with the stories from NYE. New Year’s Eve is off the hook busy: multipliers are maxed out and this year’s NYE will likely be the biggest rideshare night we’ve ever seen! When I say maxed out, this means 8x for Uber and 3x for Lyft.
Most rides after midnight between 12:30 and 2:30 were steady at this high multiplier. The rest of the night is commonly above 4x except from about 10 until 12 when there is a bit of a lull. Plan to wait to e at dinner and take a break during this time. I started this past year about 3pm and I remember having a 5.5 multiplier around 5:30pm so demand is strong most of the day.
It is not unheard of to make $500-$1,000 on NYE (even in the lowest cost market of Chicago) but you have to be prepared for the drama. There are mainly 2 types of riders on a night where there are high expectations. There are people who had fun and those that didn’t. There isn’t much in between and those that didn’t have fun will be surrounded by drama and tears, so be ready.
Around Christmas is a good time to pick up some extra shifts, especially around hotels, airports, and other places that visitors tend to hang out. Christmas day is pretty slow itself but the day(s) before and after are jam packed with travelers who will be looking for rides!
3.) St Patrick’s Day
Unfortunately, I could not drive on St. Patrick’s Day this past year. I was at home with a 103 degree fever. I was very disappointed and watched the app to see how much money I was missing out on. It was a lot. Multipliers weren’t maxed out but they were high over a longer period of time than New Year’s Day.
In Chicago especially, this is a huge holiday and it starts early, so plan on getting out there bright and early. In Chicago, this is THE day where there is the most alcohol consumption so on this day more than any other, beware of pukers and be prepared with some vomit bags. Click here to read all the gear you might need.
4.) July 4th
Honestly, this day surprised me a bit, but when you think about all the festivals, traffic and parking issues, you can see why this is a great day to drive. This was a day where I saw not just Chicago lit up with multipliers, but also the suburbs. That rarely happens, if ever.
If you live near the beach, you will likely see even higher surge and PT though. You can listen to Harry’s podcast about how he handled July 4th weekend at one of the busiest beaches in the country.
I didn’t drive on Halloween this year, but regretted not doing so. It would have been great money. There were large multipliers for a good portion of the night and of course we all saw what happened the week after with all the surge complaints. It went as high as 10x in certain parts of the country and riders were not happy!
The night before Thanksgivingis a big day/night because a lot of college kids are home from school, ready to see their friends and ready to party! This should be a good night to drive because there won’t be too many drivers out on the road.
Related Article: Is The Night Before Thanksgiving The Busiest Night Of The Year?
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Bonus 5) Honorable Mention Holidays
- New Year’s Day – Bowl games all day long… need I say more. And since most drivers will have driven late the night before, there is plenty of demand for fewer drivers.
- Super Bowl Sunday – This was a busy day with a few rides with very high multipliers, but there is a steady supply of high demand so multipliers are moderate for most of the day.
- Valentines Day – People like to splurge on this day so people who just want a ride to dinner will take an UberX. It was very busy this past year and one of my better earning days.
- Music Festivals – These are some of the best days to drive all year long. Of course, if it has been raining, your passengers will track in a lot of mud which will then take you a good amount of time to clean up. The thing I liked best about music festivals is that there are a lot of tourists that need rides.
- Cold/Wet/Snowy weather – When the weather gets crappy, people don’t want to have to find a place to park just so they can walk a few blocks to their destination. People would rather be dropped off at the door. This drives up demand.
- Days other people won’t drive – Think about it… Days where people have places to go, but where most people have family plans. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas are 3 great examples of this. I won’t be driving those days since my wife would kill me if I did, but that is exactly the reason why it is a great time to drive. The number of drivers will be reduced.
How to maximize your earnings on busy nights
This was a big reason why I wanted to touch on this subject. We all know that we need to maximize our time to maximize our earnings, but when there are large multipliers and tons of business, it is easy to get a little complacent. Here are a few things to watch out for and things not to do:
- Person comes up to the car & wants to request you as a driver – On these busy nights, people are desperate to find rides. You may think “that’s great, I will be the closest person so it will be easy to get connected to this person on the app.” In reality, it will be very hard to connect to this person and you will waste valuable minutes and cancellations to try to connect to this person. It is a waste of time. It is just easier to move on to the next request that is coming on your phone and say, “Sorry, I already have another request.”
Quick story, I had a group of guys get into my car right as I dropped someone off. Instead of telling them to get out of my car, I spent 10 minutes trying to connect to them and then finally told them to get out. I learned my lesson.
- Person wants to pay you cash – This is such a bad idea in so many ways. First, you could get a ticket as only taxis are allowed to accept street hails. Also, you wouldn’t be covered by insurance since you are performing a commercial activity but not on the rideshare system where they will cover you with their insurance. And lastly, they are not likely to offer you the same amount of cash that you would make just accepting your next fare.
- Uber vs Lyft – On these busy holidays, UberX is always more profitable than Lyft. Uber has higher multipliers than Lyft. The multiplier maximums are different across the country but I have never heard of a market where UberX’s was at or below the maximum multiplier of Lyft.
Are there some great days that you have found to drive that I haven’t mentioned? I would love to hear your input.
-Scott @ The Rideshare Guy
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- Essential gear every Uber and Lyft driver should have.
- If you haven’t started driving for Uber and Lyft yet, click here to sign up.
- Holiday gift idea: Funny Uber driver t-shirts and sweaters
Scott Van Maldegiam
Latest posts by Scott Van Maldegiam (see all)
- Most Lucrative Holidays To Be An Uber Driver (Xmas & NYE 2018) - September 20, 2018
- Age Limit: Should Uber Drivers Transport Kids & Minors? - April 29, 2018
- Why Your Uber Driver App Isn’t Working - February 1, 2018