Are you looking for a side gig to bring in a little bit of extra cash? A lot of people have begun working for the popular ridesharing platforms Uber and Lyft. Beginning an adventure in this industry is not for the faint of heart, though. Depending on the area you live in and where you will drive, you may not be making much more per hour than flipping burgers at a fast-food joint. Even with the minimum fares promised to drivers, the commission for the ride you give can still end up costing you if you aren’t building up your rideshare empire. So, what can you do to increase the amount you make and succeed in the rideshare industry?
10 Ways To Kill It as an Uber and Lyft Driver in 2021
How to Increase Earnings as a Rideshare Professional in 10 Steps
If you watch the news or scroll social media, you have likely heard of Uber and Lyft. You don’t have to know the specifics to understand that these are services that are app-led where a driver picks you up when you summon them. Think “luxury taxi service.”
Maybe that is not a fair assumption to make, as the application for each does provide a lot more perks than taking the normal NYC taxi. You can track your driver to see how long until they reach you, share your location with a friend for safety purposes (you are essentially getting into a stranger’s car), and everything is handled virtually.
Not everyone is cut out to make money in this market and there are some things you will have to keep in mind when approaching this from a money-making perspective. As a continuation of our "Things You Need to Think About Before Jumping Onto The Uber Wagon" article we published in January 2020, we have compiled the following ten steps to help you make a splash in the industry.
1. Take a Class
That’s right – there is a class for that. Want to learn how to maximize the profits you make in the rideshare business? The Rideshare Guy can teach you in this online class, “Maximum Ridesharing Profits.” The professional course offers expert training, explanations for rideshare A to Z, and beginner through advanced strategies. Unfortunately, at this time, you will have to sign up for the waitlist to join the class when it reopens.
There are five reasons that 68% of all drivers quit within six months of joining Lyft or Uber. Many of these drivers don’t make it because they:
Treat it as if it were any other job
Take any ride that pops up on their app
Ignore the opportunities for great customer service
Don’t treat ridesharing like the business it is and could be for them
They have no flexibility or Plan B
In a class like this, you learn what it takes to succeed in the rideshare industry by professionals who have made their living in the same way.
2. Keep Good Records
Even though you align yourself with a company like Uber or Lyft, for all intents and purposes, you are a self-employed entity. What this means is that every receipt will become important. You may consider keeping good records of:
- Receipts (gas, maintenance, etc.)
- Tracking your miles
- Anything that you can use to write off for the sake of the business
You will want to have all of this in your records when you speak with a certified accountant during the tax season. They may recommend changing the way you handle your taxes, often quarterly instead of yearly.
3. Pay Attention to Insurance Coverage
Your rideshare company of choice will have an insurance policy that kicks in when you are accepting rides, on your way to pick up a rider, and when you are driving them in your vehicle. You are also required to have insurance coverage on your vehicle as well. Since rideshare is something newer, insurance companies are just beginning to offer their clients coverages that include rideshare coverage.
Companies like Geico have begun offering coverages for those who do ridesharing. The coverage covers all forms of rideshare platform and replaces the driver’s original insurance coverage. It covers the driver whether they are actively accepting riders or not. For more information, check out this article from Geico
4. Maintain Vehicle Safety
Vehicle safety is not just making sure the engine runs or the brakes work. We have heard many stories about a lit-up Check Engine light from rideshare passengers. Perhaps it's just a faulty light, or maybe it's time to bring your car to the mechanics - and a portable OBD-II diagnostics scanner is tool that comes in handy in these situations. You don't need a professional-grade scanner, a simple one like the ThinkOBD 100 or the ThinkDiag will do. They are affordable, portable, doesn't take up much space (the ThinkDiag dongle fits right in your pocket), but has the ability to tell you if it's something you can fix on the spot or if it needs to be looked at by the professionals.
And vehicle safety doesn’t just refer to making sure that you’re mechanically safe. Nowadays, the number one concern on everyone' mind is the coronavirus, and we can’t deny that the pandemic hasn’t changed how we all handle things like rideshare, even going to the grocery store takes some consideration. The precautions you have to take also extend to those who are future fares for you as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines for every rideshare, taxi, and driver-for-hire need to know when driving during the pandemic. The guidelines allow for rideshare to be safe and for the passengers to have that protection, as well.
Other areas that a driver needs to ensure safety include:
- Following CDC provisions for the pandemic
- Maintaining regular vehicle maintenance
- Having a first-aid kit on hand
- Using a phone mount to operate the app
- Practicing caution at pick-up and drop-off for themselves and their riders
- Reporting any inappropriate riders to the company or police, if necessary
Safety in the rideshare industry is not just about the passenger but also the driver.
5. Consider Making Yourself Available to Other Rideshare Apps
Uber and Lyft are not the only rideshare apps in existence. The pandemic has even increased the need for delivery drivers, considering many places are still working toward being open to the public in limited capacities. Even with these limited seating arrangements, people would rather pick up food or have it delivered. Establishments that did not offer delivery have begun offering it to stay in business.
Look at the top four food delivery services in the United States. Each of these saw their revenue rise by $3 billion in the second and third quarters of 2020 because of the shelter-in-place orders across the nation. Uber Eats was the number one food delivery application, followed by Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates. Just because you are a driver for Uber or Lyft doesn’t mean you can’t also take up a food delivery app. Go where the demand is high!
6. Take Advantage of Surge and Prime Time Pricing
Surge (Uber) and Prime Time (Lyft) pricing occur during the times when demand for drivers is high, but there is less driver availability across the board. This time can either be a blessing or a curse for a driver – depending on the outcome.
Many drivers try to take advantage of the surge and prime time driving, making themselves available, often flooding the availability. When there is a flooding of availability, it can be hard to get a rider during those peak hours. Using these hours is not an exact science and not every driver will benefit from playing the lottery with it. Expect trial and error to occur if you are playing with your hours of availability. Don’t count on surge and prime time hours for making your fortune, though, and not everyone benefits from using them.
Keep an eye on the patterns of driver need versus availability in your area. Using the data can help you determine when you will have the best luck with riders.
7. Location Does Matter
Part of a good marketing strategy for driving with a rideshare company relies on looking at your location. If you don’t have riders, you don’t have a demand to drive. No demand equals no revenue. Here is how you should look at the two scenarios:
Scenario 1: You live in the city and drive for a rideshare company within the city. Depending on the size of the city, you may have plenty of people seeking a rideshare service. Still, you may also be competing with other drivers. You may make more sticking to a smaller area than if you offer longer trips.
Scenario 2: You choose to cater to those who live in rural or subdivision areas. Marketing on the lack of service in these areas may make it easier to make a profit. Looking to these areas, if there is a higher demand, it may allow rideshare drivers to strum up quite the client base.
A good rule of thumb for a rideshare driver is that the bigger the city, the higher the demand is for drivers. Even with that in mind, the areas that get ignored could be just as profitable.
8. Offer Supplementary Items
If you want to stand out to customers, offering them things that will make their ride more enjoyable (or memorable) often results in good reviews and more riders. You can get on the good side of your riders by offering them complimentary items like:
- Access to a phone charger
- Bottles of water
- Snacks, candy, or gum
- Provide extended safety features
- Anything else that you can think of that would make a ride more enjoyable
There are many different ways that you can increase the safety features that you offer your riders. One of the best ways is by taking advantage of dash cams, at the very least, dash cams that offer front and interior coverage - you do want to capture the road ahead and the activity inside the cabin. But what if you want more coverage? After all, rear-end collisions account for a large portion of all traffic accidents? Luckily, our 3-Channel Rideshare Bundles offer the complete coverage and protection you need. Plus, each of the BlackboxMyCar Rideshare Bundles come with free signage that you can use in your rideshare vehicle to reassure your passengers that the dash cam is there for their protection, too. Learn more about how you can benefit from dash cams.
Having this type of security can make you and your rider feel more secure about the drive ahead. This feature is not something that everyone offers as a supplementary service to their fares.
9. Clean Car and Good Tunes
When someone requests a ride from you on a rideshare app, they expect a certain professionalism. If you come to pick them up and they have to move the trash to sit on the seat, you likely won’t get a good rating. To maintain a professional feel to your car and your business, you need to make sure you are keeping your area clean – in this case, your car. You may even want to have it professionally detailed from time to time, or at least initially to ensure that you start with a clean car to maintain.
I’m sure you can attest to the fact that there is a struggle for the radio, even when you aren’t running a rideshare business. To make things better for your business, allowing your rider to pick the music is probably in your best interest. You can do this by asking them if there is something they prefer to listen to or offer them the AUX cord to plug their phone into. Remember, you don’t have to like their music. You just have to keep your opinion to yourself and make their ride the best experience ever.
10. Be Friendly
If you find that working in a business that requires you to take people places is more of a hassle than it is a pleasure, you probably should find a new business venture. A little bit of kindness and enthusiasm can go a long way when you are in the car with someone. Your customer could be going through a number of different things, and just a smile or good gesture from you could change the path of their day. If you have a poor attitude every time you flip on your availability, you probably should just stay home. Even with a mask on, you can still smile and brighten the day of someone (even if they are grumpy).
Why Rideshare as a Business Takes Time
Nobody wakes up and is instantly good at working in the rideshare industry. Like any skill, it is something that has to be worked on, and with time it becomes developed. You can’t just give up when it gets tough. If you were opening a small business in a brick and mortar location, you wouldn’t just abandon ship the first time it got tough. If you want to make an empire from your car, you have to have the same initiative.
When you follow the ten steps above, you can begin to build your client base – a happy client base. This happy client base will then recommend you to their friends, and so on. The larger your client base, the more likely you are to profit from a rideshare business. Don’t forget to take advantage of the rideshare bundles by making an investment in your rideshare business.