Your driving for Uber, Lyft or another gig, and you don’t seem to be reaching that amazing income promise of $25 an hour, no worries, welcome to the club. If driving was lucrative rich people would do it for a living. So, what does this mean? It means that driving as a rideshare driver is about providing supplementary income or driving for a living and making enough money by maximizing your efficiency to minimize the delta loss from non-income periods.
OK, so what is a non-income period, well in rideshare, a non-income period is any time you don’t have a passenger in your car. Simple! This means that from the moment you turn on the app to the moment you turn it off, you want a passenger in your car.
However, not every passenger is profitable, and, its impossible to drive continuously with passengers since in most cases they are not clumped together waiting like lemmings for an Uber. Now that you have understood that there is a lot of non-income time involved in driving, you can also understand that managing the time you do spend on a shift in an efficient way is the only way to increase income.
Lest start with the basics, sure I can give you the standard “blah blah” tips on 5-star ratings and not chase surges, but it’s time to become a little more original and innovative. Everyone now reads up the standard regurgitated tips on how to maximize profits by having a clean car, smiling like an idiot and offering candies to kids. (Yes, it sounds loony and is).
Maximizing profit is about creating a lean environment, anyone from manufacturing knows what lean is, it’s not a diet, (well actually it is, it’s an industrial engineering diet). Lean rideshare driving is how to reduce waste while on a shift. What is a waste? You ask, well waste is any moment in the shift you are not making income. Another form of waste is how much you spend when not making any income, and that is an issue that many drivers overlook.
OK, ‘nuff chit-chat let’s begin with the tips
Tip #1: Driving Seamlessly
This is the hardest function to perform and is virtually impossible. However, you can maximize your driving time by reducing wasted time. The best way to do this is to sign onto both Uber and Lyft as well as add UberEats and other food delivery services in your area. However, even when you do sign on to these, you will need an app to switch and choose incoming requests so that you drive from one gig to another without any dead time. The only waste is the time you drive from dropping off to picking up.
Also, use the directional filter at the start of your shift and the end, so you can get rides immediately.
Tip #2: Monitoring Expenses
One of the biggest fails in many self-employed gigs is the inability to maintain control over expenses. This does not mean you are throwing money out; it means you are not monitoring on what you are spending. Monitoring expenses mean using an app to record all expenditure, note down every mile driven and to link each expense to a specific schedule and even ride. This way you can review your daily spending habits and see how much you earn per hour versus how much you spend per hour. Once you have a clear picture of your expenses, you can then figure out how to cut them down to maximize profit from a leaner (less expensive) operation (shift).
Tip #3: Vehicle Choice
This is something you would do if you decided to work full-time in this gig and before you start too. There are some very thrifty cars out there, and the leader of the pack is the Toyota Prius. If you can reduce your car mileage costs, you will essentially reduce your main overhead, which is gas. Add to this the car cost itself, which is the cost of buying with the added interest of payments less the salvage price (what you sell it for when you sell it). The remainder or delta is the actual cost of the car that you can divide into hours, and this gives you the real car cost per hour. You can do this exercise with many cars, and you will find that the Prius is the leader of the pack, being the most economical and not the most expensive.
Tip #4: Know your Location (The Knowledge)
This is the standard know where you drive and how to get around the tip. It’s more than this, its truly knowing all the shortcuts as well as knowing the different times to drive and where to drive in each hour of the day. Learn and know the patterns, and you will always be able to determine your best location for maximizing income through seamless driving.
Basically, this tip and tip #1 go together, they exponentially improve the others potentially. So, go out and learn the patterns, learn the shortcuts, and be creative.
Tip #5: Remember, you are not a taxi
Why did I say this when you are a taxi? Because you are not. A taxi driver is a driver that can have regulars and can be hailed in the street. You cannot have either of these beneficial sources of income. Therefore, you need to maintain a 5-star rating. Passengers look at the ratings and the vehicle type; they can decide not to take you; the same way you can decline a ride you don’t want. However, as a rideshare driver, maintaining a good reputation is the only way of keeping that 5-star rating.
A 5-star rating is something that is built over time and includes all the tips you read about, such as cleanliness, apps, service, etc. etc. There is no point in discussing it all since there are a gazillion article son 5-star ratings out there.
Bottom line just remembers you are not a taxi, you are a rideshare driver that needs to keep your ratings high to maximize the number of passengers that will want you.
Rideshare driving will only work if you are patient and willing to work hard. This means reading up on the network chatter in your area. Knowing what going on is and where. Knowing where there are roadworks and understanding the nature of patterns. You can reduce waste and have a lean operation, but if you don’t know where and when to drive you will have a very wasteful shift. So, buckle up, get the knowledge and reduce waste by following these tips.
Bikram Bhangoo is a resident and an Uber driver in Seattle. He’s the co-founder of Uber Drivers – Ridesharing Forum who helps rideshare drivers and customers to find answers to their most pressing questions. With over 5 years of experience, Bikram brings a vast amount of knowledge, style, and skills to help fellow drivers. He has given over 10,000 rides with Uber and more than 3,500 rides with Lyft.