If the idea of joining the rideshare party appeals to you — or if you’ve already signed up with Uber or Lyft — then it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that you want to make as much money as possible.
However, as you may have heard or (unfortunately) personally experienced, many rideshare drivers make far less than they expected — which is why the attrition rate is staggeringly high. According to a report in The Information, only 4 out of 100 Uber drivers are still on the roster after a year, and the numbers for Lyft are alleged to be in the same miserable ballpark.
Granted, some drivers hit the eject button on their rideshare aspirations because of excessive, relentless competition. Others said sayonara Uber or adios Lyft after realizing that it just didn’t mesh with their schedules. For example, when the majority of potential passengers needed a ride, they were obliged to be at their full-time job, take care of their kids, or do something else that was mandatory instead of optional.
Yet, not everyone who fails to find gold in the rideshare mountains can legitimately blame insane competition or incompatible schedules. Rather, it’s often because — through no fault of their own — they didn’t know that there’s the ordinary way to make money with Uber and Lyft, and then there’s the way that top earners practice.
To help ensure that you’re in the latter camp instead of the former, here are three tips to maximize your earnings when driving for Uber and Lyft:
Ignore Recommended Locations And Times.
In theory, following Uber and Lyft’s recommended locations and times makes sense. But in practice, it usually doesn’t, because all available drivers get the same information. It might as well be advertised on a giant freeway billboard from the Landmark Sign Company. As a result, not only does competition spike, which makes it harder to find passengers, but premium (surge) pricing decreases due to the glut of supply. Your best bet is to discover your own hot spots that are off the beaten trail. It may take a little while, but you’ll eventually build your own, profitable map.
Don’t Drive Around Looking For Passengers.
Many rideshare drivers are like folks trying to find a parking space at Costco: they drive around, and around, and around again (until they eventually park so far away that they’re basically in a different zip code!). Don’t do this. Instead, stick to centralized areas or your hot spots (as discussed above). Also, beware of driving long distances to pick up passengers. The longer they wait, the greater the chance that they’ll cancel. And even if they don’t, you’ll be putting more wear and tear on your vehicle — not to mention burning gas money. Keep your eye on the prize (profit), and not how busy you are.
Lower Your Insurance Costs
This tip is surprisingly easy. But what’s even more surprising, is the number of rideshare drivers who don’t use it to save hundreds, and possibly thousands of dollars: shop around to lower your insurance costs. Indeed, many people mistakenly believe that their only option is to get coverage from a large insurance provider. However, there are many smaller (a.k.a. “alternative”) providers that offer low base rates, and then just a few cents a mile. Make some calls, do the math, and see if you can keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket!