How to Make More Money with Uber
Have you completed your requirements and done enough rides to collect your Uber sign-on bonus?
But now that that’s over, you’re probably wondering if there are other ways to increase your earnings and bring in some extra money.
Hourly rates for Uber drivers can be pretty low, especially for UberX drivers. So it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity you can to earn extra money when Uber offers it.
If you want to put more money in your pocket, keep reading for our 7 tips to how you can increase your earnings as an Uber driver.
- Schedule Around Surge
- Refer Friends
- Track and Reduce Expenses
- Drive for Uber and Lyft
- Go Above and Beyond
- Weekly Promotions
- Uber Eats
1. Schedule Driving Times Around Surge Pricing
Uber drivers all have one favorite word: SURGE.
When there are a lot of ride requests in a certain area and not enough drivers to support the high demand, Surge pricing kicks in. It’s Uber’s way of getting more drivers out on the road in that area.
During Surge, Uber assigns a multiplier to the price of the ride. It can be 2x, 4x, 5x, etc., which means that riders will pay more and drivers will earn more during Surge rides. We’ve seen Surge multipliers in the double digits on holidays!
Surges can happen at any time, and if you drive during a Surge, you’ll definitely make more money. But if you want to make the most of Surge pricing, you’ve got to know where the Surge is.
There’s no guarantee of a Surge, but there are some key times where Surges are much more likely to occur. On Friday and Saturday nights (especially late at night when the bars close) you’re sure to find lots of drunk people looking for a ride home. If you drive in a densely populated downtown area with a lot of bars or clubs, there’s a good chance you’ll see a late-night Surge.
Surges are also more likely to happen during morning and evening rush hours. In the hours from 6 to 9 am and from 5 to 7 pm, everyone either wants to get to work or get home. Drive during those hours and you might be able to catch a Surge.
Surge pricing also tends to occur when major events, like sporting events and concerts, let out. Know what events are happening in your city and position yourself in that area before the event ends. If you’re lucky, you’ll be one of the first drivers to catch the Surge and may be able to get multiple rides at the Surge multiplier.
It’s best for full-time rideshare drivers to plan their weekly schedules around these popular Surge times. Drive when it’s busy. Rest when it’s slow. Let your downtime be from after the bars close until the morning rush hour begins, then again between the morning and evening rushes. The point is to do as much driving as possible during the Surge.
2. Refer Friends
Uber is always looking for new drivers, so if you can get a few friends to sign up to drive, you can earn a referral bonus.
Uber drivers get a referral code – you can share that code with potential new drivers and earn some extra bucks.
The new driver will enter your referral code when they sign up. They’ll need to complete a certain amount of rides (usually something like 30 rides in 30 days). When that specified amount of rides is completed, both the new driver and the driver who referred them earn a bonus.
Anytime you talk to friends who think they may want to drive for Uber, let them know you have a referral code. It’s a win-win for both parties and a great way for both people to earn some extra cash. In most cases, if a friend was planning on signing up anyway, they’ll happily use your code.
If you really want to make the most of your referral code, you can print it on business cards. Leave the cards in your car for passengers to access. They just might pick one up if they’re thinking about driving for Uber themselves or have a friend who’s interested.
You can also list your referral code on your social media accounts. That way, it’s available for all to see. Just make sure you don’t pay to promote the post – that’s against Uber’s rules and terms.
3. Track and Reduce Expenses
Uber drivers are independent contractors, not actual employees of the company. And that means that you’re responsible for tracking and reporting all of your expenses at tax time, just like any other small business.
When it comes time to pay taxes, you’ll want to take the most deductions you possibly can in order to reduce your tax burden. The way to do that is to track expenses throughout the year.
As an independent contractor, you have to pay income taxes quarterly, not just annually in April. And to know how much you owe you have to know how much it costs to operate your business.
Typical expenses include gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and the mileage rate (for 2018 the standard mileage deduction is 54.5 cents per mile). Expenses can also include snacks for Uber passengers, bottled water, and any other things you provide to your riders.
To make your life easier, consider using an app like SherpaShare to help you track your expenses. It makes it much easier to identify expenses that can reduce your taxable income. The lower your taxable income is, the less you’ll owe the IRS.
4. Drive for Lyft at the Same Time
To make as much money as possible, you need to stay busy; the best way to do that is to diversify your income. Don’t rely on Uber alone to put money in your pocket. Instead, sign up for Lyft as well. Lots of people drive for both rideshare services at the same time because of increase ride opportunities.
When you’re driving for Uber and there aren’t any ride requests, you can log into the Lyft app and see if there are any Lyft ride requests nearby. You only make money when you have a rider in the car. By using both apps at the same time, you have a better chance of keeping your backseat full.
If you’re an existing Uber driver signing up for Lyft and doing Lyft rides for the first time, don’t forget to take advantage of the Lyft driver bonus. Similar to Uber, you can enjoy a sign-on bonus and other perks as a new driver for Lyft.
5. Go Above and Beyond
If you can put some tips in your pocket, you can seriously increase your earnings, and the way to earn tips is to go above and beyond for each and every customer. This is also the best way to five-star ratings.
Have snacks and water available in your car at all times. Offering your passengers something as simple as a bottle of water is a great way to win them over – and a great way to earn a tip.
Buying snacks and water on your own will cost you (this would be considered a business expense). But if you use a service like Cargo, you can get free goodies. Cargo will send you free snacks and offer your customers both free and paid items during their ride.
Have phone chargers ready. Passengers who are low on battery life will definitely appreciate it. By having chargers for Apple and Android phones on hand, your customers will be much more likely to give you a tip.
Make sure your car is clean. No one wants to ride around in a dirty car or a vehicle that smells like musty smoke. Keep your car smoke-free. Use an air freshener that smells fresh and clean. DO NOT spray heavy cologne or overdo it with the Febreeze.
If you’re having trouble locating a passenger, communicate with them. When you can’t find your rider, call or text them to determine their location. Just make sure you use a hands-free device so you don’t get stopped by a cop for texting and driving.
This goes without saying, but if you want to earn a tip, you better be friendly. Be polite. Engage in conversation but know your limits. Some passengers like to talk. Others don’t.
In some cases, you’ll want to chat through the ride, other times it’s best to keep quiet until the drop-off point.
6. Check for Weekly Promotions
Sign-up bonuses aren’t the only way to earn extra cash with Uber. They often have weekly bonuses for drivers who meet a certain set of criteria.
There are two main forms of weekly promotions: Quests and Boosts.
Uber Quest is the company’s way of gamifying your driving experience. A typical quest requires that you complete X amount of rides in X amount of time. Finish the required amount of rides in the given time frame and you can enjoy a nice bonus. This is just one more way that Uber incentivizes drivers to push harder and complete more rides in a given city or at a certain time of day.
Another popular promotion is the Uber Boost. It’s different from Surge pricing, but similar in concept. If you work during busy hours in featured areas, you can earn a boost that’s 2x or more than the typical fare. Surge pricing supersedes boost pricing, so if the Surge is higher, you’ll earn the Surge fare.
It can be difficult to take advantage of Uber Quest and Uber Boost for part-time drivers, but if you really need the extra income, it is well worth it.
7. Drive for Uber Eats When There are no Rides
As we mentioned earlier, diversifying your income by working through other delivery and driver apps is a great way to increase your hourly earnings. And if you’re already driving for Uber, then it’s a natural transition to also drive for Uber Eats.
For current Uber drivers, signing up for Uber Eats is extremely easy. The driver requirements and vehicle requirements are the same – so if you qualify to work for one service, you can work for the other.
The two different platforms operate on different apps, so you’ll need to download both on your phone and switch back and forth between the two.
When you don’t have any ride requests coming through, switch over to the Uber Eats app and see if there are delivery requests instead. If you work in the middle of the day, this can really help you increase your earnings.
During lunchtime hours, most people are at work and don’t need rides. They’re much more likely to be ordering meals for delivery. Plus, with office and business deliveries, you might be able to grab a few larger orders. The more expensive the order, the more money you’ll make.
The hourly rates for Uber drivers can be pretty low – especially UberX drivers working for the lowest level of the service.
But that doesn’t mean that ridesharing can’t be lucrative. You can actually make good money, well above minimum wage, if you are strategic about your shifts.
Do most of your driving in central areas during Surge pricing. Work during morning and evening rush hours. Drive late on Friday and Saturday nights when the bars are closing. And know what’s going in your city so you can take advantage of big events such as football games and concerts.
Share your referral code with potential new drivers. Once they complete a certain amount of rides, you’ll earn a bonus. And you can continue to earn bonuses for every new driver you recruit.
Use an app like SherpaShare to track and reduce expenses. At tax time, this will make it extremely easy to maximize your deductions and reduce your tax payments.
Driver for Lyft or Uber Eats at the same time. When Uber is slow, have one or two other apps you can switch back and forth between to keep you busy on the road.
Take advantage of weekly promotions with quests and boosts. You can earn extra money per ride or earn a bonus at the end of your shift if you complete a certain amount of rides within a certain time frame.
And most of all, go above and beyond for your customers. The easiest way to put more money in your pocket is to bring in great tips!