rideshare is a numbers game, pure and simple. The more rides you give, the more you earn. Sure, there are lots of other things you can do to boost your trip earnings, such as referring other drivers to the platform, claiming driver earnings guarantees, driving for UberPOOL and Lyft Line, or driving during peak hours in order to get higher fares.
Ultimately, however, the best way to maximize your earnings is to have a consistent stream of ride requests with little to no downtime in between. Otherwise, you’re just sitting around burning gas and wasting your time.
In our experience, the best way to get more ride requests is to drive for both Uber and Lyft at the same time. If you have both apps open and activated, then your odds of getting a ride request are much greater. But how do you manage this process? Do Uber and Lyft even allow you to do this? Let’s take a closer look.
- Can You Work for Uber and Lyft at the Same Time?
- How to Drive for Uber and Lyft at the Same Time: The Details
Before we get into the logistics of how to drive for both TNCs simultaneously, we need to address a common misconception that many new drivers have: that Uber and Lyft won’t allow you to drive for both platforms at once. This isn’t true. Sure, neither company wants you to drive for their competitor, but there’s nothing they can legally do to stop you.
Remember: When you drive for rideshare or delivery apps, you’re an independent contractor, not an employee. This means that the companies cannot dictate when or how you work. If you were an employee, they could require you to work exclusively for them. Since they don’t want to pay the extra costs that come with having employees, however, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to prevent drivers from working for both platforms any time soon.
So go right ahead and work for as many rideshare and food delivery apps as you want. As long as juggling the simultaneous gigs doesn’t hurt the experience of your Lyft and Uber riders, you’re free to do as you like and embrace the free market to its fullest.
While you’re allowed to drive for both platforms at once, the logistics of doing so can put off some drivers from taking the plunge. Some think you need to have two phones or use a third-party tool such as Mystro app to manage the different apps. This isn’t necessary in our experience, however.
Having two phones will just distract you and your passengers. It can make your driving less safe, make you look less professional (for better or worse, having multiple phones is something many people associate with drug dealers), and also waste lots of money paying for two phones and phone plans. Save yourself the trouble and just use one phone. As long as you know a couple tricks, you’ll be able to manage it just fine.
When driving for both platforms, keep the following tips in mind to make things easier:
1. Get a Phone Mount
A phone mount is a must-have for all rideshare drivers (or anyone who’s going to use their phone while they drive). To start, a phone mount makes driving much safer. If you’re looking at directions while your phone is balanced on your knee or half-clutched in one hand against the steering wheel, you’re not going to be able to concentrate on the road.
Safety is a top priority for both Uber and Lyft, and distracted driving of this sort is also illegal. Do yourself and your passengers a favor and get the safety that comes with a phone mount.
Beyond the safety benefits, however, using a phone mount makes it much easier to monitor and switch between requests from the Uber and Lyft apps. All you have to do is take a quick glance and swipe/tap the request. Having your phone close at hand that way will make it much faster than if the phone is sitting in your passenger seat, lap, or cupholder.
2. Connect Your Phone to Bluetooth (or Install a Bluetooth System)
Along with a phone mount, Bluetooth is the other essential tool for staying safe while talking on your phone while driving. It makes it easier to respond to passenger calls, and it also allows you to use audio navigation instead of having to look at your phone while you drive. Again, this maximizes safety by keeping your eyes off your phone and on the road.
Furthermore, Bluetooth keeps you hands-free, which means that you won’t get pulled over for holding your phone up to your ear while driving, something that is illegal in many states. If your car has a Bluetooth system, then you can simply connect your phone to it. If not, try a Bluetooth headset or a Bluetooth receiver that you can power using your car (a good option for older vehicles without Bluetooth support).
3. Keep the Uber App Open in the Foreground
You’ll need to have both the Lyft and Uber apps open to use both at the same time. However, the Uber Partner app will take you out of driver mode automatically if you have it running in the background.
This is a subtle way for the company to keep you from driving with Lyft at the same time, but you can get around it by keeping the Lyft app open in the background instead (so that you can still receive Lyft ride requests). As long as you currently have the Uber Partner app open, you can receive and accept rides and requests.
4. Keep Your Phone Plugged In
Whether you’re using an Android or iOS device, running both of these apps at once uses a lot of battery. The last thing you want is for your phone to die while you’re receiving a ride request, so make sure to keep it plugged in to your charger at all times.
5. Have an Unlimited Data Plan
Along with using lots of battery, having both rideshare apps open at once will also use lots of data. The best strategy is to go with an unlimited data plan of your choice. Pick one that will be reliable in a variety of places, as losing service can cost you rides. For help choosing a data plan, consult our guide to the best cell phone plans for Uber drivers and Lyft drivers.
6. Log Out of One App While Giving a Ride on the Other
When you’re giving a ride in one app, you want to make sure you don’t get bombarded with ride requests from the other app. To avoid this, you’ll want to quickly remove yourself from driver mode in the app you’re not currently using once you’ve accepted a ride.
For instance, let’s say you get an Uber ride request. You should accept it, but right after doing that, you need to switch to the Lyft app and turn off driver mode. Otherwise, you could risk getting a ride request from Lyft while giving an Uber ride. You don’t want to have to decline the Lyft ride you can’t fulfill, as that can hurt your acceptance rate.
7. Use the Passenger Apps to Monitor Demand
The passenger apps can be valuable tools to help you see how many drivers are currently operating in a given area. You want to strike a balance between being in an area with enough drivers to indicate there’s demand but not being somewhere with so many drivers that you can’t get a request.
You’ll learn to strike this balance with experience, though you can also use some common sense to figure out which areas will have high demand. For instance, a district with lots of bars is a good place to be on a Friday or Saturday night, while the wealthy suburbs can be good places to hang out in the early mornings in order to get UberBLACK riders who are on their way to the airport.
8. Don’t Chase Surge and Prime Time Pricing
It can be tempting to use the surge indicators in the driver apps as a way to guide where you should move next. While a pattern of surging in a particular place that you’ve observed over time could mean it’s a good place to be, you shouldn’t waste your time chasing increased ride fares all over the city.
Surge pricing exists in order to balance the supply of drivers with the demand for rides. Therefore, what can often happen is that by the time you arrive at a nearby surge, the surge will have disappeared due to a large influx of drivers like you. It’s a better use of your time to hang around in places that will get you a consistent influx of rides. Otherwise, just stay put or drive to an area that you’re fairly sure will get you some business. Don’t drive around aimlessly hoping a ride will find you. That just wastes your time and gas.
Drive for Uber and Lyft to Boost Your Income
Driving for both Uber and Lyft at the same time is a different driving experience that can take some time to get used to, but it’s worth it due to the boost you can get in your overall income from a given period of rideshare driving. For more tips on how to boost your rideshare income, check out our 17 creative ways to make more money driving for Uber.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.