To be a truly successful rideshare driver, it helps to know what things to focus on - and what things you can let go of. But how do you know what those things are? A veteran rideshare driver shares the top tips all new drivers can’t miss!
Buckle has partnered with Harry Campbell, founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, to provide our Members with the very best tips, tricks, and news to help maximize their income as a rideshare and delivery driver.
As a driver on both the Uber and Lyft platforms with thousands of rides under my belt, as easy as rideshare driving may sound, there is a steep learning curve. What you put into your work is what you will get out of it.
In the gig economy, barriers to entry are low, and anyone who meets the baseline qualifications can start earning within a week in most cases.
Driving for Uber and Lyft may be something you decide to do on a whim or a friend may have recommended it to you. You may have jumped right into ridesharing without any prior experience or knowledge of what you were getting into.
To avoid making some of the classic mistakes many drivers make, keep reading for my top 6 tips to be successful.
Tip #1: Drive for both Uber and Lyft
Start by downloading the app for one of the platforms first. There may be decent bonuses for a new driver to sign-up these days since Uber and Lyft are experiencing driver shortages.
Pro-tip: Most people start with Uber since Uber is (typically) a busier platform in most cities. You can sign up for Uber here!
It is very important that you get on both platforms as soon as possible. The reason for that is one may offer you better bonuses than the other on a weekly basis. Don’t limit yourself to just one.
In many cities, Uber is the dominant app, but Lyft has been taking market share from Uber for the past few years. If you only use one platform, you're limiting your maximum earning potential.
Tip #2: The first of the three P’s: Patience
Even if you’ve been driving for many years for your personal needs, driving professionally requires its own skillset. Uber and Lyft throw you into driving quickly, so it may be helpful to keep things simple as you start to get the hang of rideshare driving.
Familiarize yourself with both apps by completing a bunch of rides on each. Don’t be afraid to let a passenger know that you’re new to the platform. They may be more forgiving of any mistakes you make and you could avoid getting rated poorly.
Drive at different times of the day and reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t. Do not accept every request Uber/Lyft sends your way. Both companies will tell you that the more you drive, the more you’ll make.
That was the case a few years ago, but not anymore. Be selective and only accept the requests that will be more profitable for you. Work smart, not hard! Quality over quantity!
Tip #3: The second of the three P’s: Position
This is something most new drivers—even veterans—fail at. They may not know their city well enough to position themselves correctly for the upcoming rush hour surge rides. Rideshare driving is not a 9-5 job. You must drive when and where there is demand.
I would highly suggest that you pay close attention and take plenty of screenshots during your shift to learn when and where to be. Study and memorize the surge patterns—they tend to repeat on a daily basis.
Tip #4: The third and final P: Planning
The best and highest-earning rideshare drivers have an outline of what they’re going to do in advance. Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of rideshare driving since you have the ability to set your own schedule.
It’s best if you are available to drive when and where there is demand. This will be morning/evening rush hour and all day on the weekends.
I must admit that if you can only drive between 10 AM and 2 PM before you pick the kids up from school, you will not make as much. For me, splitting shifts is the best way to drive.
Every city is different, so it’s important that you know your city extremely well. Taking the time to learn where and when to drive saves you both money and time in the long run.
Tip #5: Don’t chase the surge
The biggest mistake that drivers make is to chase surges. Chasing surge rides will lead to disappointment if there’s no strategy involved. The algorithms are fast and can play tricks on you with a lot of bait and switch.
Surge algorithms are dynamically changing every minute depending on passenger demand, so by the time you arrive at a surge zone, it may have disappeared.
This isn’t to say that surges aren’t good for making you more money. Trips with a surge are clearly more financially beneficial than driving without. However, instead of chasing them, you should plan ahead and position yourself in areas where surges are most likely to occur.
Tip #6: Find a mentor or a driver coach
When I first started this gig, I had two wonderful mentors who taught me the tricks of the trade right out of the gate, and because of them, I was able to earn at least 50% more than the average rideshare driver.
To have a coach or a mentor is also important for your state of mind. It is tough to drive day after day and make minimum wage or less. Lack of education, planning, and strategy is one of the main reasons for 80% of drivers to quit in less than a year.
Want to accelerate your rideshare driving skills? Check out Maximum Ridesharing Profits!
Even with the best advice and coaching, it still took me a while to learn enough about my city to be a proficient driver. The most important tip I can give someone is not to think about the ride they're on, but to think about what to do after the ride ends, since we already know the destination. Driving is like playing chess - employ a little strategy to see results!
While it may seem “easy” to turn on your Uber and Lyft and just “get out there and drive”, to be really successful at this gig, you’ll want to learn the ropes ahead of time. Learning more about your city, practicing the three P’s, and even getting a coach can mean the difference between frustration and low earnings vs. a calm demeanor and higher-than-average earnings.
Harry Campbell is a former Boeing Aerospace Engineer and founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, a blog, podcast and Youtube channel for ridehail drivers and other gig workers and author of, The Rideshare Guide. Over the years, Harry has covered the gig economy industry closely and talked to tens of thousands of drivers and gig workers about their experience on the road.