If you work as a rideshare driver for Uber, Lyft, or one of the other companies out there, you probably know that the trick to maximizing your profits while on the road is, along with being a good driver and accepting a lot of rides, finding a way to minimize your per-mile expenses while on the clock. In other words, you’re going to have to spend money on things like gas, water and snacks for your riders, and maintaining the vehicle you use. This article aims to quickly go over some tips and things to keep in mind to help you cut down on your driving expenses so you can maximize the profits you make per mile!
You know how the saying goes: the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. While we certainly hope death is never part of your career as a rideshare driver, taxes most certainly should be. Many drivers don’t know or simply don’t put in the effort to find out about and/or file taxes properly when they work as a driver. For example, mileage tracking and reporting alone can save drivers up to 54 cents per mile come tax season! In fact, as a driver you can write off everything you use to drive, which includes everything extra you need to provide your riders with an exceptional experience. That’s right, all the snacks, drinks, extra chargers, extra car washes and interior cleans, and everything else you need to spend money on to provide a perfect rideshare experience are all work expenses you can be compensated for! With that in mind, don’t hesitate to spend a few extra bucks and go that extra mile to provide your riders with a great experience, as it may lead to more tips, rides, and positive ratings (read: more money).
Another way to make more money easily in a single shift is to simply take advantage of any special offers, events, or guaranteed pay days. Every once and awhile, top-rated drivers that opt-in to the program may get notifications of guaranteed pay days, usually around big events or major surge times around holidays, where you can be guaranteed to make a fixed rate for a few hours while you work. Rates vary but are frequently in the $20-$30/hour range for a shift that may last 3-4 hours. Besides having a high rating and choosing to be a part of the program, requirements typically require you work a certain amount of hours leading up to the guaranteed pay days, you maintain a high ride acceptance rate (typically 90% or higher), accept a certain number of rides in the week leading up to the event, etc.
Aside from guaranteed pay days, there are sometimes other offers and incentives for drivers to get on the road. Uber, Lyft, or whoever else you drive for may give more money on days they know will be busy, or there may even be incentives to drive on days where most drivers don’t want to work (bad weather, events that leave riders overly wet, dirty, or intoxicated, etc.). Even without promotions, simply knowing when there are big events like concerts, festivals, sporting events, etc. and making sure you’re around to get riders there and back can certainly pay off quickly.
Piggybacking off of making sure you’re at events that need drivers, using both the driver and passenger app together can give you a major edge over your competition. The apps both share different information with the user, and some of the information exclusive to the passenger app could be extremely useful to you. For example, passenger apps commonly will show the user all the nearby drivers. As a driver, you could use this information to see where the majority of drivers are waiting for a given event and strategically place yourself elsewhere, cutting down competition. In fact, some drivers have even reported working at sporting events and not getting any rides, only to open the passenger app and realize that nearly every driver at the event was waiting at that same entrance. As soon as they drove around to the other side of the stadium, they had a stream of potential rides come in and no nearby competition to steal them away.
Similar to knowing how to work a popular event is understanding how to navigate and take advantage of Surge times and areas. Obviously, driving in Surge areas/times is an easy way to boost how much you make per ride, but there’s plenty of competition among drivers to pick up those lucrative trips. A sad reality for many newer or unexperienced drivers is driving across town to get a piece of a Surge period, only to arrive late and miss out on all the rides and waste your gas. You can avoid costly mistakes like this by really getting to know the areas you work in and preparing ahead of time; If you know certain days/times are Surge periods in one area, make sure you get in the area early and park in a convenient location so you can quickly start picking up riders once the Surge starts. If you aren’t in the location on time, only make the trip if you have a rider so that you don’t completely waste your time if you do end up missing the Surge.
Whether you’re driving during a Surge or not, minimizing your dead miles is crucial to increasing your per-mile profits. In case you don’t know, cutting down dead miles means you shouldn’t just drive around aimlessly between riders. You’re just costing yourself money by burning gas and could potentially take yourself further away from customers. Your best bet between rides if you don’t have another trip lined up is to choose a convenient spot nearby to park and wait. You want to make sure you’re not wasting time and gas getting to this spot, and make sure you shut the car off when you get there. A/C is nice but sitting in idle is an easy way to quickly burn through a tank of gas. A similar tip goes for your own personal care (i.e. bathroom breaks, food, and drinks); Researching places you can stop for restrooms that are close to your common working areas can cut down on dead miles when nature calls between riders, and packing yourself some water and quick, healthy snacks can save a lot of time and money when you start getting hungry on the road.
Our final tip for increasing your value to riders is providing them with accessories and refreshments while they ride with you. Make sure you have a stereo system that allows them to hook up their own music, or at least have access to enough variety that you can play whatever they may want to hear. You can greatly increase your chances of getting tips by providing free water, snacks, and charging cables, or you can opt for nicer varieties and sell them to your riders for extra profits. Consider looking into Cargo Box, an in-vehicle mini-store that offers riders the option to purchase refreshments at no cost to the driver. You’ll make a little extra money and add value to your vehicle without having to pay for the supplies up front!
Play for Every Team
Finally, if things are just painfully slow and nothing you’re doing is helping you pick up riders in a particular night, give yourself more options by working for the competition. By being a driver for multiple companies at once, like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Postmates, can give you alternate income options if one particular company is slow in a given night. Further, by driving for both food delivery and rideshare companies, you can see more steady income as opposed to just working for one or the other. Think about it, if it’s a slow night for rideshare and not a lot of people are going out, there’s probably going to be an increase in people ordering food delivery to their house. If you can clock out of a rideshare app and clock in as a delivery driver, you can still make money all night instead of sitting around waiting for riders.
Overall, by reducing how many dead miles you drive, planning ahead to take advantage of busy time, and making yourself available through different mediums you can easily boost the amount of profits you see every mile you drive as a rideshare driver. If you want to further reduce your expenses and increase your profits, make sure you stay on top of regular vehicle repairs and preventative maintenance. If you want to save on the parts and services you need to keep your car running, shop at Holbrook Auto Parts for the best prices on auto parts around Detroit!
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