Top 17 tips for uber drivers
Uber is one of the most viral, controversial, amazing, innovative, and terrible companies of our generation. Well, it depends on who you speak to.
We like to believe Uber is at the sharp end of the spear of a tectonic shift that is happening in modern day economics, and here at the Casual Capitalist, we have always argued that the sharing economy is here to stay.
The amount of overwhelming evidence keeps piling on with companies like Uber, Lyft, but also Airbnb, or DogVacay, bringing more money into the pockets of me and you, away from giant conglomerates.
Those who oppose the idea (or practice) of sharing economy are on the wrong side of history. No doubt about it. They are like the candlestick makers protesting Edison’s lightbulb.
Uber has been one of many lightbulb ideas emerging from the ashes of traditional capitalism. Why do we say this?
“87 percent of Uber drivers said a major reason they drive on the Uber platform is to be their own boss and set their own schedule.” – Larry Kim, Founder and CTO, WordStream
Why do we like Uber so much? Well, beyond its foundational contribution to the sharing economy, it’s making people like you and me lots of money.
Meet Jessie – author of uber tips #1 & #14
Jessie and I have known each other for a few years. We met through The Casual Capitalist, as Jessie is a part-time real estate investor from Atlanta who dabbles in the sharing economy.
Jessie is an Uber driver only on weekends when she isn’t out partying with her friends. According to Jessie, on average she works eight hours a weekend which earns her $640 a month. Jessie only works 2-3 hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. For a part-time gig, this ain’t bad.
Wanna learn more about your potential Uber income? Feel free to read our detailed analysis here.
And we’re assuming you’re gearing to, or are already driving for Uber. Or driving with Uber for yourself? We’ve prepared some tips and hope that you can up your ride-sharing game and earn even more money.
Uber tip #1 – Jessie’s advice: invest in education before you hit the road
Before helping people go places as an Uber driver, Jessie invested in herself ($90 to be exact). Jessie signed up for an online ride-sharing course and hasn’t looked back since. According to Jessie, the advice she got on this course has increased her income substantially. $90 was a good investment that provides ongoing returns.
We couldn’t agree more. I’ve personally sent out thousands of emails to the Casual Capitalist community asking them to describe their sharing economy successes and challenges. Overwhelmingly, the majority wants to explore the Uber option. Their common challenge is not knowing where, or how, to start. It’s not as simple as signing up on a website, there are many different variables at play.
Fortunately, my friend Harry Campbell has developed an awesome course to help you get started with Uber or Lyft. The Maximum Ridesharing Profits course will easily get you from zero to sixty in the ride-sharing game.
Many in the Casual Capitalist community have taken this course and loved it, you will too. Although it costs some money, you will make this back easily within a day of driving. If you’re going to drive with Uber or Lyft, do it right. Get Harry’s advice and increase your income on a daily basis with the tips from this course.
Uber tip #2 – Be a customer first
Besides investing in yourself with education, the next best thing you can do is shop before you buy. You need to go places too, so take some Uber rides yourself. This will give you an amazing opportunity to chat with drivers and ask them all the important questions you have, like:
- What are the municipal or state/provincial laws that affect you?
- How much do you earn?
- What is your biggest challenge?
- When is the most profitable time to drive?
- Do you enjoy driving with Uber?
- …and we could go on, but you get the point.
Uber tip #3 – Consider advertising while driving
One of the easiest ways to earn more money while driving for Uber or Lyft is to promote products in your car.
Don’t know what to promote? CoPilot is a free platform that makes it as easy as possible to get started, hiring Uber and Lyft drivers to showcase the latest tech products in their car.
Drivers select a product package from one of CoPilot’s increasing number of partnering brands and receive training in key skills to maximize their in-car success.
Apply using this form, some of their top drivers earn an extra $400+/week!
Uber tip #4 – Keep track of your costs
To figure out if an Uber ride is worth your time as a driver, you must be clear on not just how much money you’ll earn but also how much it’ll cost you. Many drivers will focus on the gas used since it’s the most visible expense, but you have to go much further than that.
Getting an accurate picture of profitability requires you take a closer look at other costs such as financing, insurance, state fees, car washes, new brakes, new tires, and other maintenance expenses. It’s only when you have a firm grip on what your costs are that you can really determine the amount of money you make every day, week, month and year.
And remember, it’s because you’re operating a small business, you can deduct your mileage and vehicle costs on your taxes. This will reduce your taxable income, and put more money in your pocket.
For more on the tax issues for ride-sharing, check out this great article by Harry Campbell, the guy I introduced earlier. Also, check out Harry’s article on deductions, it will make your life easier come tax time.
Uber tip #5 – Insurance
Although Uber has its own insurance protection, make sure you check with your insurance provider before driving. We know this is a pain, but you have to cover yourself in case anything terrible happens.
The good news is that many insurance companies are developing ride-sharing specific insurance policies. These including Geico, Aviva, and much more.
Uber tip #6 – Snacks and water
It never hurts to have a case of water and a box of individually packaged snacks in your trunk. You can then offer them to riders which will make them more appreciative and likely to give you a 5-star rating.
We know many drivers who don’t do this, and it’s not a huge game-changer. But, the more you can please the passenger, the easier your life will be.
Plus if you ever get thirsty or hungry, guess who’s got a trunk full of goodies?
Uber tip #7 – Recruitment incentives benefit you in more ways than one
Uber will pay you a bonus whenever you recruit new passengers to the service (they’ll do the same when you recruit a new driver but that is perhaps not in your best interest). While the bonus is a direct benefit, there is a less direct but equally important advantage. When new passengers sign up for Uber in your city, they increase the demand for rides which means more money to go around.
Create a business card with your referral code that you can share with potential users at events, conference centers, airports and hotels. Pay particular attention to passengers who accompany the person who booked the ride but haven’t signed up for Uber themselves.
Uber tip #8 – Drive as little as possible
Make sure you have a book or something to occupy your time between fares. Driving around and chasing business rarely works, and increases your costs substantially. Don’t drive 15 miles for a fare, unless it’s a big one.
The only time to ignore this advice is if you’re swarmed by other Uber drivers. Move around in this case, to increase your chances of getting riders.
Uber tip #9 – Have a nice ride
Uber has minimum requirements before they accept a car on their platform. Nevertheless, consider these as the bare minimum. Cars are not created equal. If you want to be a 5-star driver, the quality of your car is a decisive factor. Remember that one of the reasons many passengers switched from conventional taxis to Uber was the newer and better quality of cars.
All factors constant, newer and more spacious cars will attract more 5-star ratings than older and less spacious vehicles. Also, a newer car will mean lower running costs. If you’ve used the same car for a while and have already chalked up thousands of miles, it’s probably time to consider an upgrade.
Uber tip #10 – Keep clean
Keeping your car clean is important for the same reasons as having a newer car. It doesn’t matter how inexpensive the trip is, passengers will find a dirty car not just repulsive but also disrespectful. It’s perhaps the surest path to a 1-star rating.
Avoid eating in the car (stale fast food has a particularly obnoxious smell), get rid of any rubbish, and never sleep in the car.
First impressions count and few things can leave a more lasting negative impression than a dirty cab. The passenger will certainly never forget it and they’ll make sure your ratings don’t either.
Uber tip #11 – The little things count
At its most basic, the job of an Uber driver is to move passengers from point A to point B. Accomplishing this goal is therefore not much of an achievement considering that’s what every taxi is expected to do. If you are going to be a rockstar Uber driver, grabbing those seemingly small opportunities to demonstrate exceptional service is the way to go.
Think about opening doors for passengers, helping them with their luggage or meeting them with an umbrella if it’s raining. It’s these little gestures that show passengers you care.
Uber tip #12 – Be a good tour guide
Is there a major concert over the weekend? Perhaps an event in the Formula One circuit is happening in a nearby city. Whether you deliberately set out to be one or not, an Uber driver is a de facto tour guide for a visitor. You might as well be good at it.
Always be on the lookout for major events taking place in your city. That includes both entertainment and professional events. If in the course of your conversation your passenger mentions they are a visiting banker, you could alert them of a major financial industry conference currently underway. You’ll develop a strong bond with clients especially tourists which can only be good for your bottom line.
Uber tip #13 – Have fun
Make no mistake; having fun doesn’t mean being all up in your passenger’s business. An Uber driver has to walk a fine line between being friendly and getting overly intrusive. There are safe ways to create a fun atmosphere where the client doesn’t feel like they are being dragged to do something they aren’t interested in.
For instance, you could dress up your car for an event or season. It can be subtle and tasteful. The occasion could be anything from cultural celebrations to sporting events. Even when they want to just sit quietly as you drive them to their destination, the themed decoration and dressing can lift their mood.
Uber tip #14 – Jessie’s advice – music choice
Remember Jessie? While I was talking with Jessie, she told me a story about the only problem she ever had driving with Uber.
Jessie explained that it was a crisp Friday evening in her hometown of Atlanta. Jessie had picked up her last fare of the night at 2am. After, she was going to head home after a hard night of Uber driving. Jessie had worked 3 hours and earned over $120. Sounds tough, no?
These particular riders were a small group of entitled and intoxicated 20-year-olds heading back to their hotel. The ride started out well, except the group was very upset when Jessie informed them that she had no Taylor Swift to play for them. Unfortunately, Jessie only got a four-star review from those riders.
Jessie’s Uber Lesson #14: Always have some Tay-Tay at the ready for drunk 20-year-olds. Or, do what most drivers do, have a versatile selection of music at your disposal. Use a streaming service if you must.
Uber tip #15 – Get out of the burbs!
Suburbs aren’t only annoying because all the streets and homes look the same. They are not overly profitable for Uber drivers. If you drop someone off in the suburbs, make sure to get back to an area with more traffic. But again, remember tip #8: drive as little as possible.
Uber tip #16 – Know surge times
Know your area and timings. If bars close downtown at 2am, make sure you take note of that and plan accordingly. If rush hour tends to run from 4pm to 6pm, keep that in mind.
Driving during surge times can increase your profits, so what’s not to love?
Uber tip #17 – Get some tips
And by that I don’t mean just my words, but also more money in your account. Uber passengers can now tip their drivers directly through the app, after a ride has been completed. Tipping is optional, but the interface is simple, and if you follow all of our other tips, expect to cash in on the tips from your passengers.