3 Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings When You Drive with Uber

Let’s cut to the chase: If you want to make extra money, driving with Uber is a legitimate option.

I know what you’re probably thinking…

Why in the world would I want to let complete strangers into my car and drive them all over town, while, at the same time, accumulate wear and tear on my vehicle? I know, I thought that too.

Sure, I gave a ton of rides (and talked to more drunk people than I really wanted to), but it was a nice gig for the weekend.

It’s definitely not for everyone, but from my experience, it’s a decent option if you are strapped for cash and looking for ways to make money in a relatively short time frame. Perhaps even more appealing than the pay is the flexibility that driving with Uber provides.

As a driver, you have no set schedule– whenever you have free time and want to give a few rides and make some cash, you turn on the app on your phone and wait for ride requests to come in.

3 Effective Ways to Increase Your Hourly Earnings with Uber

Your hourly earnings will vary widely based on where you live. The more rural you are, the less opportunity there will be to stay busy providing fares. Get too urban and you’ll be competing with dozens of other drivers. As with many things, the sweet spot is often right in the middle. Here are three other tips for maximizing your earnings.

Related: 9 Best Ways to Generate Passive Income with Your Car

1. Drive during peak hours only

I live in a college town. After my driver sign up process was finished and I was activated to drive, I posted up at my local Starbucks one afternoon and waited for rides to show up near me.

After getting only 1 ride over a 2 hour window, I knew I wasn’t going about this the right way. I turned off the app for a few hours and worked on other stuff for my website, and decided I would wait until later that night to try again.

*Cue in the first Friday night all the college students are back in town from summer*

Holy smokes, this was a game changer. Everyone was out having a great night out on the town, and that meant a steady flow of rides from 8:00 PM till about 2:30 AM, when I finally decided to call it quits.

2. Give your riders a great experience

I found that driving with Uber is just like any other service-based gig: if you give the rider a great experience and connect with them on a personal level, they will treat you well. When I went out of my way to make the rides enjoyable, the volume of tips I got went way up.

Some things I recommend for a great rider experience:

  • Have a spotless interior that also smells clean.
  • Especially late at night, I always offered up the AUX cord. This was a huge hit every time with the party-goers.
  • Get to know your riders! Make small talk.
  • Have water and/or snacks on board.
  • Bring a vomit bag (luckily I didn’t need this, but I’d rather be safe than sorry)
  • Drive safe and go the speed limit.

3. Use your time with riders to your advantage

Almost every rider likes to ask, “so what do you do outside of driving with Uber?” I don’t know why people like asking this, but they always do.

While I don’t really bother doing this when I’m driving at night, there is definitely value in networking with your riders during the day. As an entrepreneur, I like the idea of meeting people in the community and spreading the word about my business and what I do.

You never know who you’re going to meet and how you might be able to help them or they can help you. Keep all options open!! Use the intimate platform of ride sharing to your advantage.

Downsides of Driving with Uber

Although I definitely think the benefits of being an Uber driver-partner are worth it, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with this gig economy-type job.

Uber doesn’t pay you for gas or expenses

Between rides that cancel when you’re halfway there to pick them up, to stop and go downtown traffic, your gas bill can add up pretty quickly. This also means that you shouldn’t drive around between rides, because it quickly burns through gas (and you’re not making any money between rides).

Wear and tear on your car

When you have people getting in and out of your car consistently, your car is going to take a little bit of damage. For me, it wasn’t anything too terrible, but I can see how the wear and tear can add up.

It’s not a great long term option

At the end of the day, there aren’t really any growth opportunities with being an Uber driver-partner. And while giving people rides can be a good time, you need to make sure you prioritize actual resume-building opportunities and skills. Don’t let the earnings blind you. Think long term.

After my initial stint of driving with Uber, I’ve cut back a lot. Now I only drive on the occasional Saturday night because I’d rather stay focused on building my business.

So, in the end, I think Uber is a great option, as long as you recognize it for what it is. Give it a shot.

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