I am always trying to find ways to pay off my debt faster! One of my favorite ways is to participate in the gig economy, particularly ride sharing (driving for Uber & Lyft). Now, I try to drive every other weekend when I don't have my kids. Last year, I made about $2,500 just from this gig and I didn't even drive that much! Here are some things I do to maximize my time and earnings:
Use Both Platforms
There is no rule or law saying that you can only work for one. As a matter of fact to be considered a contractor, which you are if you work for either company, they can not restrict you from doing similar work or they will have to classify you as an employee. I usually sign in to both apps at once and if I get a ride on one, I turn off the other until the trip is complete and then I continue that cycle until I log off for good. This way I am able to make more money than if I was depending on one source. In my local market, demand is not super high so with the customer base split between both platforms, it only makes sense for me. I have learned that some parts of the city use Lyft while the other uses Uber. When you are utilizing this strategy, proceed with caution. You have to be very aware to turn off the other app when getting a ride for the other. Otherwise, you can end up with two requests at the same time and drop your acceptance rating.
Don't Waste Money on Fluff
When I first started driving, I googled and watched YouTube videos about how to make the most money ride share driving. I mean who wouldn't? Most of the conventional wisdom out there says to make sure you have water in stock and mints and chargers, etc, etc. Most of this is not necessary and doesn't really equal more tips! I used to keep water in stock and available in the back seat, drive all day, and maybe one person would touch it. It was such a waste! Then, to top it off, the people that took the water, didn't even tip! I consistently get good ratings with or without the fluff so I just started saving my money. If you do want to invest in fluff, I suggest splurging on a backseat phone charger. I plan to get one soon because I have customers that ask to use my charger and I only have one (bonus: those people usually tip!)
Be Friendly & Make Friends
Most customers comment on how nice I am and very pleasant to ride with. I make a conscious effort to greet people when they come in the car and wish them a good day (or night) when they get out. First and last impressions are so important! I could have a stellar drive and if I say the wrong thing or nothing at all once they are exiting, it could leave the wrong impression and everything else would be for naught. I am typically able to determine if I should hold a conversation while driving based on their reaction from my greeting. If I get the sense that they don't want to be bothered or on the phone, I refrain. Most people appreciate the kindness!
You never know who you will meet (whether a fellow driver or a rider). I have helped riders get jobs (my HR connection), gained new blog readers, talked about finances, and became friends with other riders & drivers. I have met some really interesting people!
Don't Just Head to The Airport
This is what all drivers do when first starting out! In my market, this is a big mistake! Our airport is small and hit or miss. I typically only go to the airport if I want to take a nap! It generally takes at least an hour to get a request because it is low demand and high supply. Do your research! Some airports are very busy and you can probably get by with just working them but pay attention to how fast the queue is moving. Sometimes, more money is made by doing the smaller in town trips than what would be made on a long airport trip (considering the wait). I always go to the airport's website to check the arrival schedule before I go. If there are no planes coming in, I know there will be little to no rides. But, if there are a lot of planes arriving in a short time frame, it may warrant me sitting in a queue that's a little longer. Do your research before you go to save time and potential $$.
Research Local Events
Now, you may be like duh, Tiffany! But, hear me out! This is what everyone does. Therefore, a lot of times, there will be oversupply at events and under supply in other areas. Also, at events, there is typically more traffic so rides take longer. I have learned to be selective with what events I drive for. For instance, I would drive to Raleigh to do a UNC football game or Halloween but I will not do the High Point Furniture Market. Some events have a higher return on time and investment!
These are just a few tips I've learned in my time driving for Uber & Lyft. I've been driving for about a year and a half now. I've completed 311 trips on Uber (4.95 rating) and 216 trips on Lyft (4.94 rating). I'm looking forward to another year of additional money, new friends and opportunities!
Do you drive? What tips do you have? Please drop them below.