4 Secrets to Make You a Top-Earning Uber Driver

You may have seen them in the airport queue lot, or run into one randomly around town.  You know… those Uber drivers who make crazy amounts of money!

They love to brag about how they made $1,000 in one day, “one time a while back”!  Or, how they made $500 just yesterday.  You may think they’re exaggerating – and they may very well be.  But… there really are drivers who actually do make that kind of money.

Of course, now that Uber and Lyft have been around for almost a decade and have lowered their rates dramatically from where they originally were, what constitutes ‘a lot’ today – isn’t the same as what constituted ‘a lot’ a few years ago.  But, by our account, it’s still ‘a lot’!

Drivers Love to Talk – So Keep Them Talking!

First, let me tell you that if you happen to strike up a conversation with a driver who claims to make big money, my best advice is, keep talking to him.  And let him do most of the talking, and ask random questions that will reveal some of these methods.

Don’t just come out and ask, “how do you do it?” because chances are he probably doesn’t even really know.  And there’s a pretty good chance he’ll feel like you’re asking too much… you did just meet after all, it’s not like you’re best friends… yet!

But, ask him how he feels about various strategies.  For instance, you might say, “So, how do you feel about waiting at the airport if you don’t get an instant ping after drop off?”  After all, drivers love to talk about these things.

The point is, you don’t really care how he feels about it, you want to know if he does it.  Because if he does it, he’s probably making money at it.  And if he chooses to divulge more information other than simply whether he does it or not, just sit back and let him talk.  Because the more he talks, the more secrets he will inadvertently share with you.

Drivers love to exaggerate because it makes them feel good about their decision to become a driver.  If a driver is making claims that sound too good to be true, you’ll want him to eventually show you.  If you can get a driver to show you his Uber and Lyft apps’ earning pages, then you’ll have confirmation about whether or not he’s exaggerating or telling the truth.

Time is Money

If you do get a peek at his driver apps, be sure to try and catch a glimpse of the number of hours he was online as well.  It actually doesn’t mean much to see a total earnings figure if you don’t also see how long he had to be online to earn it.

A driver might well have made $300 yesterday, but the real question is, did he do it in five hours or 10 or 20?  If 10, that’s really good… $30 an hour.  But if it took him 20 hours to make $300, that’s just $15 an hour… not so good.  Plus he’s dead tired and won’t be able to work the next day!

The bottom line: While we are going to give you the secrets here to making the most it is possible to make driving for Uber and Lyft, the more you can learn from fellow local drivers, the better off you’ll be.

Because the secrets we’re going to share with you here can be used in conjunction with that local knowledge and when you put the two together, our secret tips plus local knowledge, you’ll have the most winning combination there is.

Now let’s dive into the good stuff.

Top Uber Earnings Secret #4

So, that’s secret #4!  Learn as much as you can about your local area from other drivers.

Nothing can suffice for local knowledge.  And nothing can suffice for having a good set of local strategies.  In fact, speaking of strategies, no one has better secrets than Sam Choi, the man behind Ridester’s free Driver Video Training Course.  In particular, check out these free videos for Sam’s best tips on driving strategies.

And here’s one that will show you how to map out your shift:

Top Uber Earnings Secret #3

Alright, now we’re going to get into the nitty gritty.  And keep in mind, this is for drivers who seriously want to make absolutely as much as they can with Uber and Lyft.

I said I would give you the secrets to earning as much as it is possible to earn and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  But, I didn’t promise you’d like it.  Or, that you’d even be able to do it.  This second secret may well be one that you won’t be able to do.  But it is an integral part of ‘the secrets’.

There are four secrets to top earnings altogether.  We’ve already shared one with you.  The next three however, go hand in hand.  If you can do two of them, but not all three, it won’t work as well.  You can still do well in your earnings if you can only do two of these, but you probably won’t be able to reach the very top earnings possible.

Remember, we are not sharing the top secrets of how to earn decent money with Uber.  And we’re not sharing the top secrets of how to earn good money with Uber.  We’re sharing the top secrets of earning the absolute best money with Uber.  And that won’t be possible for everybody to do – for a variety of reasons.

And some of these things may be very difficult for a lot of drivers to do.  But that’s okay.  Not everyone has to be a top earner to be happy!  And not everyone needs to be a top earner to have more than enough.  But, if you do aspire to be a top earner – these are the secrets you’ll have to know.  These are the things you’ll have to do.

With that said, Secret #3 is that you need to drive in a large city.

That’s because large cities have the most going on and they’re large enough to always be busy.  They also offer all of Uber’s services including uberX, uberXL, uberBLACK and uberSUV.  And that’s going to be important if you want to be a top earner, as you’ll see in a minute.

If you don’t live in a large city, it’s okay as long as you live close enough to one that you can get to it.

And when I say large city, I’m talking about New York, L.A. and Chicago.  Those are the three largest cities in the nation and they are where you can make the absolute most.

There are second-tier cities where you can still do very well though.  Cities like San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Miami and Seattle.  Those cities have a lot of wealth and while they’re not as large as the top three, they still have enough going on that drivers can make plenty of money.

Top Uber Earnings Secret #2

The #2 secret to top earnings is that, you have to drive full time.  And when I say full time, I don’t mean 40 hours a week.  I mean more like, 60-70 hours a week.  All the top earners in the nation spend their every waking minute on the road.

In fact, many of them sleep on the road as well.  They’ll take cat naps during non-busy times so they can get right back on the road the minute things pickup.

Top earning Uber and Lyft drivers will drive the early morning shift, beginning at 4:00 a.m. and going to 10:00 a.m.  Then, they’ll take a break for a couple of hours and get back on the road by 1:00 p.m.  The super top earners will get a quick bite to eat and steal a fast nap during that time.

In the early afternoon, they’ll get going again.  They know beginning at 4:00 p.m. there is going to be work coming out of big companies with employees traveling home or to a bar for some after work drinks.  They don’t want to miss that.

Nor, do they want to miss the late-night shift, picking people up at bars between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.  That’s a really busy time toward the end of the week and top earners wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Nor, would they miss the early morning airport trips, which is why they’re back at it as early as 4:00 a.m.

Yes, it takes serious discipline and hard work to be a top Uber earner.  Most drivers can’t do it.  In fact, most drivers don’t even want to do it!  They have no desire or need to call themselves a top earner.  And that’s absolutely fine!  There is certainly more to life than spending 70-80 hours a week on the road just so you can earn the maximum possible income from Uber.

But if you’re one of those few people who does want to be at the absolute top – this is what you’re going to have to do.

Top Uber Earnings Secret #1

Drum roll please!  If you truly want to be at the top of the stack when it comes to Uber and Lyft earnings, you will never do it if you drive an uberX vehicle.

That’s why our Top Secret to the highest earnings is….

you must drive a luxury SUV.  In my opinion, that is the only way you’ll ever make it to the top.

Why do we say that?  First, because the prices for SUV rides are the highest prices Uber has for any service (except for uberLUX, but that’s only available in a few selected markets).

But it’s not only that uberSUV pays the highest rates, there’s one other key factor as to why having the luxury SUV will get you better earnings than any other vehicle.  And that is because the luxury SUV can take ALL trips.  SUV drivers can do uberX trips, they can do uberXL, they can do uberSELECT and they can do uberBLACK.

In other words, as an uberSUV driver, you have ultimate flexibility and you can use all kinds of strategies that aren’t available to lower classes of vehicles.

For instance, let’s say an SUV driver gets an early-morning call for uberBLACK (the second-highest paying vehicle in most Uber cities) for a trip to the airport.  When he gets to the airport, if he selects SUV only, indicating that he’s only willing to accept an SUV trip out of the airport, he will be waiting a very long time… several hours probably, for a trip.

If he is willing to go down one level and also accept uberBLACK calls, he’ll still wait a long time, again usually several hours.

But, if he also includes uberXL and is willing to take an XL trip out of the airport – he’ll get out of there really fast.  He won’t make nearly as much on the way back as he did on the way there, but he’ll still make about 1.5x more than an uberX driver would make.

How the Flexibility an SUV Gives You Changes Everything

So, let’s look at how that plays out.  Let’s say he made $100 taking his passenger to the airport.  And let’s say when he gets a trip out of the airport he’ll be taking that passenger back to the same location where his first passenger was picked up from – so if he got a BLACK car trip, he’d make another $100.  Or if it were an X trip, he’d make $25.

If he insists on either getting a BLACK or SUV trip, he may not get a trip for 3 hours.  So now, the $100 he made in 45 minutes on the trip to the airport, is now giving him an average of roughly $25 an hour ($100 for 3 hours and 45 minutes of working time).

If he was willing to take an uberX trip out of the airport, he might have to wait an hour and half before getting a trip because there are a lot of other uberX drivers ahead of him.

With an uberX trip he’d only earn $25 and he had a total work time of 3 hours.  That’s 45 minutes for the trip to the airport, an hour and a half wait time at the airport and another 45 minutes to get the second passenger to his destination from the airport.

Now he’s earned $125 in three hours which gives him an average hourly earnings of $41.67.  That’s not bad, right?  Most guys would love to consistently make nearly $42 an hour!  But… that’s not what a top earning guy would make in this scenario.

A top earner would do this.  He would set the app to accept SUV trips, Black trips and XL trips.  And here’s what would happen.

He would get an XL trip out in about an hour.  That’s because there are a lot fewer XL cars than X cars and XL demand is pretty high at the airports.  So, he would save a half hour on his wait time compared to an X trip.  And he’ll earn more too.

Instead of the $25 he would earn on an X trip, he’ll earn $38 on an XL trip.  So now, he’ll make $135 in two and a half hours.  As opposed to $125 in three hours if he took an uberX trip.

Here’s how all that comes out.

uberX Return from Airport: $125 for three total hours of work time = 41.67 per hour

uberXL Return from Airport:  $138 for 2.5 total hours of work time = $55 per hour

Do you see how nicely that works?  By having the SUV, he had the flexibility of accepting XL trips.  If he had only a Black car, he could only accept Black or X calls.  So, the Black car driver would have had to come back with a low paying X trip.  But the SUV driver can get a one and a half times better paying job out on XL making his earnings per hour skyrocket.

It’s amazing what a difference that extra half hour of wait time makes to your hourly earnings figure.

If this same driver had total work time of 3 hours with the XL trip at $38 for the trip, he would have averaged $46 per hour.

There is no other way he could have hit the $55 per hour figure unless he had an SUV.  So, no other kind of driver could have made this very high hourly average – except an SUV driver.

This is also why we said that in order to be a top top income earner with Uber you have to work in a large city.  A lot of second-tier Uber cities don’t even have the luxury SUV level or even the Black car level.  So, in order to achieve the highest earnings possible with Uber, you really do need to be in a place where you can work in one of these larger cities that has all of the Uber services.

Even if You Can’t Meet All of These Requirements You Can Still Do Better

Like I say, not every driver will be able to follow all the Top Secrets for highest earnings.  There are lots of reasons why that’s the case.  A lot of guys are married and simply don’t want to spend that much time away from their families.  So, being at the top of the earnings heap isn’t even their goal.  Their goal is to earn a decent living and to have a good family life.  And that’s a great goal.  Nothing wrong with that at all.

But even if you can’t live up to all of these recommendations 100%, the closer you can get to each of them the better you’ll do.

For instance, maybe you’re driving uberX and you’d love to drive for uberSUV, but you simply can’t afford an SUV right now.  Well, in that case, see if you can get an XL vehicle.

Check this out.  In our scenario above, if the driver had only an XL vehicle, he would have averaged $30 an hour over 2.5 hours of total work time.  If he had only an X vehicle, he would have only averaged $17 an hour!  That’s a HUGE difference!

Our XL driver would not have done nearly as well as the $55 an hour SUV driver.  But, he would have done almost twice as well as an X driver.

So, the closer you can get to these four secrets, even if you can’t get all the way there, the closer you can get, the better you’ll do.