Contents:

    We’ve been talking about increasing gas prices on the Rideshare Guy social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, for a while now. Recently, Harry shared information about the fuel surcharges Uber and Lyft implemented, and one reader responded by saying the high gas prices were ‘a good thing.’ Say what?! In this guest article below, HelloGigEconomy argues for why that’s true and what you can learn about being a profitable driver. 

    It’s easy to forget that the gig economy has an element of competition to it. We’re so busy thinking and dealing with a hundred other things we forget that every other driver on the road is a competitor. If you wanted to go to the extreme: the enemy. 

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    When you get rid of your competition, you create more opportunities for yourself and the potential for more income. Before we go further, let me define getting rid of the competition because I’m not talking about mobster mentality or tapping into a friend who works for Verizon to shut down a competitor’s phone—I’m talking about something far more subtle: gasoline.

    Rising gas prices in the gig economy are a perfect catalyst for one set of drivers thriving and another either cutting back or dropping out altogether. The Rideshare Guy’s recent survey of drivers for Uber and Lyft found that a little over half had done just that. 

    Although that survey is just from rideshare drivers’ perspectives, it can be applied to other parts of the gig economy, most notably being food delivery, or as I call it, foodshare

    Quick summary:

    • Any driver can succeed in the gig economy if they employ the right strategies
    • Having the right rideshare vehicle is a small component of success, although it can be a factor
    • Always multi-app, and sign up for a variety of food delivery companies, like DoorDash, to maximize your time on the road

    Gas Prices are Eliminating Some Driver Competition

    According to AAA, the national average of gas is $4.22, whereas even more recently, it was $3.61. If all it took was less than a dollar increase to see a little over half of rideshare drivers alter their plans, imagine what an increase of $1.50 or $2 would do. 

    Controversial opinion: I’m rooting for either. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind if gas went up by $3, and I want that to happen because my market, along with every other one regardless of size, will have a scarcity of drivers, which means those left standing, in theory, will make a windfall. 

    I’ve wanted to test that theory since 2016, when I started in rideshare, but gas prices have never gone berserk like they have now. In all honesty, I feel bad for drivers whose primary source of income is from the gig economy and have had to cut back or drop out. I assure you that there are ways to stay in the game or even profit significantly from the gas increase. We all know that the gas surcharges most gig companies are giving are better than nothing, but they don’t completely offset the cost of gas.

    Learn more about Uber and Lyft’s fuel surcharge news here: Uber Adds Fuel Surcharge For Drivers And Couriers With Rising Gas Prices

    How Savvy Drivers Can Thrive with Higher Gas Prices

    I want to focus on the thriving drivers and the ones that will thrive all the more if gas prices continue going up. How can drivers survive in a market where profits are razor thin and gas prices are going up?

    I’ve mentioned the first way: be one of the few left standing when gas is high, but let’s talk about two factors that will allow you to be one of those few drivers still on the road with whatever app or apps you have running on your phone. (It should be apps, plural.)

    Let’s point out the prominent but smaller slice of the pie: hybrid and EV (electric vehicles); they’re the rage all over again. They’ve been a popular topic for some time now, but when gas goes through the roof, they get talked about more and more. If you’re interested in an electric vehicle, take a look at RSG’s article on the best electric vehicles for Uber and Lyft drivers.

    While you can absolutely get a cheap hybrid vehicle (check out RSG’s recent article on the best rideshare vehicles under $10k), those vehicles are scarce. Whatever you do, don’t rush out to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle and overpay because they’re in high demand. 

    What if I told you there was a way for you to go from being the driver that drops out to staying in the game and capitalizing on the rise of gas? Even if you don’t own a hybrid or EV. The answer starts with looking at the correct question: what strategy should I use to make more with whatever company I am driving for? 

    Employing the Right Driver Strategy, Regardless of Platform

    In my estimation, strategy is ~75% of the pie, and your vehicle is ~25%. I would venture to say that if you took a poll of veteran drivers, they might even say that 75% figure is higher. 

    If you’re in the gig economy and you’re on the brink of quitting but want to stay in, there is an excellent chance you can accomplish that goal simply by tweaking your strategy. Or creating one (don’t feel bad if you don’t have a strategy, we can get you from point A to B if you hang tight.) 

    For instance, cutting back on driving can be a good thing. Just driving prime time is where the money’s at, so that means weekends and weeknights. Say you’re working DoorDash. Instead of taking a lot of offers maybe you just take lucrative offers and happily sit until one comes. One thing is for sure, and it’s plain as day: don’t miss Saturday or Sunday.

    Think of a scenario that could potentially play out in the United States: gas prices go up and not just up but significantly up. Gas prices traditionally go up during the summer when vacations abound, so it’s not unlikely that prices could continue to rise. This much I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt: we should be bracing for them to go even higher—better to be prepared than to be caught off guard and then having to make several painful adjustments in life.

    Takeaways for Drivers

    These are all thoughts and theories, of course, and time will tell, but I’m not here to spook you or brag about how I’m in a position to catch the potential windfall. I’m here to inform you of two things: don’t focus so much on the car you drive and crazy gas prices, but on the strategy you employ. Second, if you get down a solid strategy, you too can reap the benefits of higher gas prices. 

    Interestingly enough, when I was approached to write this article, I was at the tail end of writing a strategy guide for foodshare. It’s longer than this article, and by longer I mean several football fields longer because a winning strategy isn’t some small thing. It’s not something you just come up with in ten minutes or a month. 

    I’ve been in the gig economy since 2016, starting in rideshare and then switching to foodshare when the pandemic hit. If you want to stay in the game, succeed and make more money, I’d encourage you to read this: Foodshare. The guide is free!

    I wish you well and much success, friend. If there’s a will, there’s a way, and that way is possible. All it takes is a tweak here and there because the last thing any of us want to do is quit our side hustle or go get a normal job.

    What do you think of my strategy? What strategies do you use to earn more as a driver?


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    Get started as a gig worker today! Learn more:
    - Is driving for Doordash worth it?
    - Postmates Driver Pay
    - Instacart Shopper Pay
    - Uber Eats Driver Review
    - Best food delivery service to work for
    - Rideshare insurance


    @HelloGigEconomy started driving for rideshare in 2016, then moved to delivery (aka ‘foodshare’) during the pandemic and can’t imagine going back! If you’re making crummy money in the gig economy, just know you don’t need a politician or gas surcharge, you need a coach. Follow him here

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.