The end of the year is typically the highest earning time for rideshare and delivery drivers. Here’s what to know about maximizing earnings during the holidays.
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.
Holidays are busy for everyone and rideshare and delivery drivers are no exception. Right now, we’re in the midst of the busiest months for rideshare and delivery drivers: October through early January.
What can rideshare drivers expect during these months? In addition to more airport requests, passengers are generally in better moods during this time of year, so you can also expect more tips than any other time of the year. So it sometimes pays to provide little extras and benefits to your passengers that help you stand out and encourage them to tip.
Use this article as a guide to bolster your earning potential this holiday season. And remember, that we typically see a big winter slump starting in January that lasts a few months where demand and often earnings will be down. So it’s important to make up for that downturn now when the getting is good!
It Begins in October
With October comes Halloween and that kicks off the holiday earning spectacular with a bang. Depending on when Halloween falls, you could earn high amounts covering the weekend before, the weekend after, and the night of Halloween. It’s really a free for all.
Keep in mind, holidays that center around drinking and partying mean you’ll be more likely to cart around drunk passengers who might get riled up and obnoxious. However, if you play your cards right, it could all be worth it when you check your bank account.
To give you a sense of what the top drivers can earn in the top markets, Rideshare Guy contributor Sergio Avedian earned $60 an hour during Halloween 2021!
Sergio’s market (Los Angeles) was lit up like a jack-o-lantern on Halloween weekend.
He was also offered great incentives to be on the road. Be sure to check your market to know which platforms are offering the best deals for boosting your earnings. Uber offered Sergio:
- 30 for $130 Quest (Done)
- 3 for $30 Consecutive Ride Bonuses most of the day and night (Done)
- Flat rate Surge (Out of 30 rides, 29 were on Surge)
- Usage of destination filter without limitations (Used all 6 in 3 days)
This allowed him to earn $60/hr per online hour.
Next up, November with Thanksgiving and Black Friday
In November, you’re likely to see an uptick in holiday parties. Both businesses and families host holiday parties throughout the months of November, December and January to work around schedules and other busy moments.
Deliveries are also on the upswing in some markets during these holidays, mainly centered around groceries and alcohol. Last-minute essentials paired with 1-hour delivery equals a steady stream of requests rolling through.
On Facebook, we heard from a veteran driver who earned $11,000 doing delivery in November 2021! That’s right, Aaron P. from Arizona averaged $2,200 per week (with 5 paydays) in November just doing deliveries.
Granted, Aaron may be an outlier, as he works 15 hours days, 7 days a week, but that’s only because he knows that now is the best time to work extra hard and take advantage of higher than average holiday earnings.
And for those who say these type of earnings are only possible in the big markets, Aaron shows that if you know what you’re doing and you put in the hours, you can achieve big earnings in smaller to medium markets too.
December: The Happiest Time of Year for Drivers
December is a special time of year. Not just because of the holidays, but because of the weather.
If you’re in a snowy state and feel confident in your snow driving abilities, hit the road when the snow starts to fly to get surges and steady ride requests. When the temperature dips, people’s cars have a tendency not to start and some people just do not feel comfortable driving in the snow. That’s your cue to get on the road and help them out. Obviously, there’s some more risk driving during the winter but you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with snow tires and/or 4 wheel/all-wheel drive if you live in a region with heavy snowfall.
On the flip side, December is also a busy travel time. People who live in snowy states are starting to look for an escape, so they head to the sunny states. You’ll keep busy in California, Florida and other sunny states thanks to the influx of visitors looking to soak up those rays (just look at Aaron in Arizona with his earnings!).
It’s important to think about the trends of travelers here too. If you live in a snowy state, there probably aren’t a ton of people visiting, but many folks will look to escape so you may want to set an early alarm and head out around 4 or 5 am for those lucrative and long airport rides. This is one of my favorite times to drive because there’s not a lot of other drivers on the road, not much traffic and the rides tend to be long and often to the airport.
What about the holidays themselves?
With online ordering and deliveries readily available to everyone from almost every store, you can expect to stay busy picking up presents, groceries, alcohol and other necessities throughout the month of December. It may also make sense to look for seasonal gig work since some companies will offer big bonuses to join and/or drive for them since they need to scale up supply during this time of year.
This also goes for the actual holidays themselves, including Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
For example, let’s say someone didn’t realize Aunt Marge was coming for a visit on Christmas Eve, and they will need to find a present for her, fast. That’s where delivery drivers come in handy. Also, now there’s not going to be enough rolls for dinner! Time to order groceries online.
Double bonus for you? Passengers and customers tend to be more generous with their tips around the holidays. If handing food off directly to a customer, be sure to smile and wish them happy holidays or try going that extra mile to boost your tip potential.
For example, on platforms like Uber Eats where the customer can adjust the tip after the delivery (they also set a tip when placing the order), you may want to write out a bunch of quick notes on simple stationery and include an inexpensive candy cane or two.
You can say something like, ‘Really appreciate your order and Happy Holidays! -Paula, your local Uber Eats courier’. And let the extra tips roll in :)
Rounding it Out with January and New Year’s
While people are ringing in the New Year, you could be raking in the big bucks. Parties galore happen on New Year’s Eve, giving you chances left and right to make money. Not only will you likely stay busy transporting people all night long, you could also catch people trying to find their way home or making their way back to their vehicles the next morning.
For New Year’s Eve, people tend to go all out. It’s a chance to start fresh. If you have a Select, Lux or Black vehicle, you might get more ride requests than ever before on NYE since obviously people want to have a great time on this night.
If you just have an X or XL vehicle, and you don’t drive on New Year’s Eve, make sure you do on New Year’s Day, starting early in the morning. You can keep busy for the better part of the day simply by driving people back to their vehicles or back to their homes. And of course, don’t forget the ‘walk of shame’ rides early in the morning after New Year’s Eve :)
Pro tip: Whenever you’re driving the morning after a big party holiday like New Year’s Eve, keep the music turned lower than you typically would. Chances are 90% of your passengers will be more than a little hungover and would appreciate a little quiet time.
No matter which of these months and holidays you drive during, make sure you get out and hustle. That January slump comes around each and every year, so make the most of the holidays so you can be covered when the slowdown begins.
What is your favorite holiday to drive on? What’s the most you’ve earned on a holiday? Let us know by emailing email@example.com!
Harry Campbell is a former Boeing Aerosapce 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.