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Uber Driver Tips: 23+ Creative Ways to Make More Money

As an Uber driver, it seems like you don’t have much control over your potential earnings. Since you get paid per ride, your income can change based on how many requests you receive in a day.

Yet, if you’re looking for a way to boost your income, there are a few proven Uber driver tips that can help you out.

Most rideshare drivers think the solution is to complete more trips in a shorter amount of time. However, that’s not always the winning ticket.

Sometimes, it’s best to work smarter, not harder. So, if you’re interested in learning a few tricks to help you maximize your profits, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll walk you through what the Uber platform is all about and how to increase your earnings. Plus, we’ll cover how to navigate the Uber ecosystem and how to build a repeat customer base.

Getting Started: Understanding the Uber Platform

Uber, the revolutionary ride-sharing service, has transformed the way people travel from one place to another. The platform connects riders with drivers and offers an efficient transportation solution.

As a rider, all you think about is finding a car to get you to your destination as fast as possible. Yet, from the driver’s perspective, the view is a bit different.

Drivers are constantly looking for ways to reduce their costs and boost their earnings.

In order to learn how to maximize your profits, you have to understand how the Uber driver payment structure works. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and strategically plan your driving efforts.

Uber Driver Payment Structure

Calculating your Uber driver income can be a little challenging. That’s because the ride-sharing business uses a dynamic pricing algorithm that changes rates depending on a few factors.

So, Uber drivers generate revenue through a combination of elements. The basic equation for driver pay looks something like this: “Base fare + trip supplement + promotions and incentives + tips.”

For starters, the base fare is a changing rate that shifts based on several variables. These include:

  • Distance of the trip
  • Traffic
  • Demand
  • Driver-to-rider ratio
  • Location and destination

As for the trip supplement, it’s an element that ensures rideshare drivers get compensated for any additional work they put in. For instance, if a driver had to cover extra distance to complete a trip, they’d make more money.

Moving on, Uber offers all sorts of promotions to incentivize drivers. Lastly, there’s a gratuity option on the Uber app.

So, if your performance as a driver is stellar, there’s a chance that a rider will leave you a generous tip.

Uber Features That Impact Earnings

Other than the basic equation for Uber pay, there are several factors that can impact your income.

For example, the ride-sharing service utilizes surge pricing. When there’s exceptionally high demand for Uber drivers, the trip rates will increase significantly.

That means, you can make more money per ride, even if you cover the same distance. This surge pricing usually occurs during peak times.

These include rush hours, weekends, holidays, and special events.

Other than that, you can claim a sign-up bonus as soon as you complete your first ride with Uber.

Our Top 17+ Ways to Make More Money While Driving for Uber

We’ve compiled our best Uber driver advice to help you make more money as an Uber driver in under 3 weeks. These expert secrets will save you from years of minimal profitability and help you to start making more money in less than a month.

Essential Tips for Increasing Earnings

  1. Strategic Scheduling
  2. Location Targeting
  3. Ride Optimization
  4. Customer Service Excellence
  5. Vehicle Choice and Upkeep

Top Tips From Drivers

  1. Leveraging Uber’s Incentives
  2. Financial Management for Uber Drivers
  3. Building a Repeat Customer Base

Understand Your Rideshare Business

  1. Stay in the City
  2. Driving During Events
  3. Navigate SURGE Pricing
  4. Use Multiple Rideshare Services

Optimize Operations

  1. Know When & Where To Drive
  2. iPhone Hookup
  3. Locate Restrooms
  4. Handle Difficult Passengers

Enhance the Rider Experience

  1. Offer Amenities
  2. Maintain High Ratings
  3. Improve Tip Odds

Financial Strategies

  1. Tax Deductions and Mileage Tracking
  2. Lower Your Insurance Costs
  3. Purchase Rideshare Insurance
  4. Hourly Guarantees
  5. Promote Uber

Save and Earn More

  1. Manage Your Expenses
  2. Drive Efficiently

Essential Tips for Increasing Earnings

Now that you understand how you get paid as an Uber driver, we can take a look at a few strategies to increase your profits.

In this section, we’ll cover many tips that can help you boost your earnings in no time.

1. Strategic Scheduling

Right off the bat, one of the best ways to increase your profit margins is to strategically plan when you pick up riders. Aligning your driving hours with peak demand periods is a surefire way to maximize your profits.

So, it’s a good idea to focus your driving efforts during rush hours or weekends. Besides that, keep an eye on local events and holidays, as these can also cause a surge in demand.

To make your life easier, it’s best to use the Uber scheduling feature to plan your shifts during these periods.  

2. Location Targeting

Even if you’re out during peak hours, you won’t make any money if there are no riders around for you to pick up. That’s why choosing the location is a crucial part of maximizing your earnings.

You want to pick an area with plenty of potential customers walking around. So, you may need to pay close attention to locations with busy nightlife, shopping districts, and airports.

3. Ride Optimization

Many Uber drivers think that the easiest way to maximize their profits is to accept every ride that comes their way. While this can help boost your profits, it’s not the most efficient way to increase your revenue.

That’s because accepting ride requests that are too far away from your starting location can hurt your bottom line. Doing so will lead to wasted time, energy, and, of course, gas.

Besides that, it’s best to use navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze to find the most efficient routes and minimize downtime between rides.

4. Customer Service Excellence

As we mentioned, riders can tip their drivers after a trip. This means customer service is incredibly important.

Make sure to create a pleasant and comfortable environment for your passengers. You can do that by keeping your car clean, being courteous, and offering amenities like mints or water.

Not only will that lead to increasing tip income, but it’ll also ensure that the rider leaves you a five-star rating.

5. Vehicle Choice and Upkeep

The type and condition of the vehicle you drive can have a major impact on your income. For instance, if you drive a simple, fuel-efficient car, chances are, you’ll make more money driving for UberX.

Yet, if you have a more high-end vehicle, like a BMW or Cadillac, UberXL or Uber Black may be better options. Using these services, you can ask for higher fares.

However, only a few car models and makes can apply for Black. So, be sure to check the Uber guidelines before you sign up.

Top Tips From Drivers

vector graphic showing an illustration of the Uber ride pass

1. Leveraging Uber’s Incentives

To increase your profits as an Uber driver, you have to learn how to leverage promotions. Luckily, there are countless incentives for you to capitalize on.

One of the most lucrative examples is Boost+. With this service, Uber will pay drivers an inflated amount for picking up passengers from specific areas.

Although, you’ll have to complete the trips in a strict time window to qualify for the bonus.

Aside from that, there’s the Quest promotion. This service will pay drivers a bonus for completing a certain number of trips within a specific period.

For instance, if you drive 30 riders to their destinations in three days, Uber will give you a $100 bonus.

Plus, the more delivery requests you complete, the higher your earning potential. So, driving 45 passengers in four days will earn you an extra $150.

2. Financial Management for Uber Drivers

If you’re trying to maximize your earnings as an Uber driver, you have to effectively manage your finances. Thankfully, there are a few tricks that can help you stay on top of your expenses.  

For starters, it’s good practice to track all your running costs. That includes:

  • Fuel expenses
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Insurance premiums

Keeping a record of these costs will help you create a budget for your income and expenses. That’ll make it easier for you to gauge how to reduce any losses and retain more of your hard-earned cash.

Besides that, it’s crucial that you save for taxes. As an Uber driver, you’re an independent contractor.

This means you’re responsible for paying your own taxes. For that reason, it’s a smart move to put aside a portion of your income every month.

That way, you won’t be caught off guard when tax season comes around.

3. Building a Repeat Customer Base

One of the most sustainable ways of improving your income as an Uber driver is building a repeat customer base. When a passenger has a positive experience with you, they’ll be more likely to request your services in the future.

Plus, they may even recommend you to their friends and family. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can try to boost customer loyalty.

First up, you have to provide a comfortable ride experience to your passengers. Make sure your riders feel at ease as soon as they enter your vehicle.

To do that, you can engage in small talk or offer them control over the radio. Besides that, don’t forget to ask the passenger about their preferred car environment.

Do they like the windows rolled down, or is the ride more pleasant with the air conditioning on?

These simple gestures will do wonders for your approval ratings.

Other than that, you have to find a way to make your Uber rides memorable. You can do that by being attentive to the rider’s needs.

4. Navigating the Uber Ecosystem

Most people think of Uber as just a ride-sharing company. Yet, the business has plenty of other services to offer.

As a driver, exploring these services can diversify your income streams and expand your earning potential.

screen showing all the different uber ride services available on the app

A great example of that is Uber Eats. This service allows people to order food from neighboring restaurants and cafes and use Uber drivers as delivery personnel.

While this job can be a little demanding, Uber Eats drivers earn good money.

Besides that, there are several other services you can join. That includes Uber Freights where you haul cargo from one location to another.

However, you’ll need a truck to sign up for this service.

Other than that, there’s Uber for Business, Pooling and Shared Rides, and Uber Green.

Understand Your Rideshare Business

To thrive in the rideshare business, mastering the essentials is a necessity.

1. Stay in the City

Urban areas typically have more rider opportunities than suburbs. As you move away from the city center, rider pickups tend to decrease. While cities can be congested, it’s best to stay within city limits rather than venturing into the suburbs.

As you get to know your preferred waiting spots, the surge in riders will justify the effort.

2. Driving During Events

Events offer a prime opportunity for rideshare drivers to boost earnings. SURGE pricing and hourly guarantees are commonly tied to events. In fact, some drivers prioritize event days so much they take time off their primary jobs to capitalize on the influx of riders.

Depending on your location, events might encompass professional and college sports, conventions, trade shows, concerts, music festivals, marathons, parades, and political rallies, among others.

Uber assists drivers by sending weekly emails highlighting upcoming city events. It’s worth noting, though, that not all events have the same pull.

While a concert might last a night, a music festival can span several weekends, attracting visitors who stay longer in the city. This not only increases ride opportunities but also lets drivers promote other services, like both Uber and Lyft, to out-of-town passengers.

Consider the duration and demand of an event before adjusting your schedule. While it might not be worth taking time off for a single-day event, multi-day events with guaranteed hours from Uber could warrant some days off.

Some drivers even travel to cities with major events, renting accommodation to maximize their earnings over the event duration.

3. Navigate SURGE Pricing

Maximizing SURGE periods can greatly enhance your Uber earnings.

SURGE pricing kicks in during high-demand times, allowing drivers to earn more due to increased rates riders are willing to pay, especially in traffic-heavy hours. While it’s tempting, avoid chasing volatile SURGE zones; instead, familiarize yourself with regular SURGE hotspots in your city.

Remember, SURGE pricing aims to balance the supply of drivers with high passenger demand. It entices drivers to areas with more requests and may even motivate them to drive longer than planned.

For instance, Uber might offer 1.4x the usual rate in West Beverly Hills and 1.2x in East Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. Areas in light yellow, like parts of Hollywood, indicate rising demand, potentially signaling an imminent SURGE.

However, chasing a SURGE can often be counterproductive. You might head towards a high SURGE area, only to find the rate drops by the time you arrive, and the place you left now has a SURGE.

The key is to learn where regular SURGEs occur and position yourself there.

Even if the price isn’t surging, those areas often have frequent ride requests. And if you’re having a slow day, it’s okay to gravitate towards a SURGE zone, but be wary—the SURGE might end by the time you reach.

Lastly, note that SURGE maps aren’t real-time; they update approximately every minute. This might result in discrepancies between the map’s indicated rate and the rate you receive, so always double-check your waybill after a ride.

4. Use Multiple Rideshare Services

To maximize ride requests, diversify by joining platforms like Lyft, especially if it’s more favored in your area than Uber. In many U.S. regions, Lyft dominates. If you’re in such an area, consider using our Lyft referral code. Not only will it grant you a signup bonus, but it also offers an avenue to boost your driver earnings promptly.

You can also drive for both at the same time, drastically reducing downtime and greatly increasing earnings.

Optimize Operations

1. Know When & Where To Drive

To maximize earnings as an Uber driver, it’s crucial to know when and where to wait for ride requests.

Driving aimlessly while waiting consumes fuel, reducing profits. Instead, determine the optimal times to drive, like Monday and Friday mornings, and find strategic locations to park and wait, ensuring safety.

Consider maintaining a spreadsheet to record earnings and ride requests by location and time of day. Regularly reviewing this data will highlight your most profitable spots, streamlining your strategy and boosting income.

The Best Times to Drive With Uber

According to our personal experience, these are the best times to drive with Uber:

Early Morning
  1. Hotels: Ideal for passengers heading to the airport.
  2. Large Apartment Complexes: A goldmine for passengers commuting to work. Some complexes house thousands, and you might find clusters of these buildings in one vicinity.
  3. Colleges/Universities: Always bustling with students needing rides, especially during academic seasons.
Afternoons (3-6 PM)

Office Complexes

As the workday concludes, many seek rides home. Tech hubs are especially fruitful; tech employees frequently opt for Uber. Plus, short-term contract workers might choose rideshares over buying cars.


Residential Areas

As folks gear up for a night out, stay near apartment complexes, high-rise condos, and even universities.

Late Night

Entertainment Hubs

As the night matures, focus on dining and entertainment spots like restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. By the time they wind down, patrons need rides home – a perfect opportunity to boost your earnings.

Remember, each ride holds potential. By understanding patterns and leveraging tools, you can truly optimize your rideshare earnings.

2. iPhone Hookup

Letting passengers play their music can enhance their rideshare experience, potentially leading to higher tips and ratings. By upgrading to a car radio compatible with smartphones, either through an auxiliary cord or another means, you can offer riders this personal touch.

A happier passenger often means a better tip and improved driver rating, setting you up for future success.

3. Locate Restrooms

Efficiently planning your bathroom breaks can maximize your availability during busy hours. Instead of aimlessly searching for a restroom in congested areas, pre-map accessible bathrooms in your driving zone. This not only saves time but also reduces unnecessary gas expenses, ultimately boosting your earnings.

4. Handle Difficult Passengers

Managing difficult customers is crucial for maintaining your reputation and sanity.

In any service industry, including ridesharing, you’ll encounter challenging passengers. Stay composed and don’t take their behavior personally. While rides are temporary, your reactions can have lasting impressions.

To navigate these situations, familiarize yourself with potential customer behaviors and equip yourself with strategies to handle them gracefully. Being proactive in your approach will help you maintain a positive rating.

Enhance the Rider Experience

1. Offer Amenities

Enhance your passengers’ experience by offering small gestures like complimentary water or letting them choose the music. A small investment in a 24-pack of water, costing around $5, can significantly boost tips and ratings.

Not only does this gesture make passengers feel valued, but it’s also tax deductible, making it a win-win for your service and earnings.

2. Maintain High Ratings

To secure more ride requests, maintaining a high rating is essential. Your Uber driver rating plays a significant role in connecting you with passengers. Enhancing your appearance to align with your passengers, exhibiting professionalism, and ensuring a top-notch ride experience can all boost your ratings.

However, factors like overpowering car odors, unsafe driving, or an unclean vehicle can lead to lower ratings. It’s beneficial to have a friend or family member evaluate your service by taking a ride with you. Their feedback could reveal unnoticed issues, helping you enhance your service quality.

3. Improve Tip Odds

Promote tipping subtly to enhance your earnings without making passengers uncomfortable. While Uber previously discouraged tipping, they’ve since revised their stance, although many riders remain unaware.

Instead of directly asking for tips, which can be off-putting, consider placing a discreet sign or decal in your car that references tipping. You can find a variety of options online, or for a cost-effective approach, use our complimentary Uber tip sign template.

Financial Strategies

1. Tax Deductions and Mileage Tracking

Maximize your Uber earnings by leveraging tax deductions and mileage tracking. Tax season can be daunting, especially for independent contractors like rideshare drivers.

Navigating the intricate tax filing process and handling out-of-pocket tax payments add to the stress. However, there’s a silver lining: tax deductions tailored for Uber drivers.

These deductions encompass any operational expense incurred while working. Most drivers favor the standard mileage deduction, which assigns a rate per mile to cover most costs.

To qualify, drivers must maintain a record of annual miles driven.

Another option is the actual expense deduction, requiring drivers to itemize every expense. This category includes:

  • Car payments
  • Operating costs
  • Financing
  • Licensing, registration, and title fees
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Mobile devices and associated costs

Moreover, purchases made to enhance the passenger experience, like buying bottled water for riders, are deductible.

Many drivers overlook the nuances of rideshare taxes, missing out on crucial deductions and write-offs. These deductions can significantly amplify your earnings.

For instance, mileage tracking can equate to savings of around 54 cents for every mile. Dive deeper into this topic with our comprehensive guide on Uber driver earnings.

2. Lower Your Insurance Costs

Rideshare insurance is a non-negotiable for drivers. Ask seasoned drivers about their must-haves before hitting the road, and “rideshare insurance” will undoubtedly top the list. Despite its importance, this insurance often comes with a hefty price tag.

So, what’s a cost-effective workaround?

Reassessing your personal insurance might be the key. Instead of splurging on premiums with industry giants like Geico, Allstate, or Progressive, consider alternative insurers such as Metromile.

Metromile offers a unique pricing structure: drivers pay a minimal base fee plus a few cents per mile driven. This approach could lead to significant savings without compromising on essential features like rental reimbursement, emergency roadside assistance, and low deductibles.

Even if you’re without a rideshare insurance policy, it’s worth getting a quote from Metromile. After all, who doesn’t like keeping more cash in their pocket?

3. Purchase Rideshare Insurance

Accidents can be devastating, but lacking adequate insurance coverage during one can be financially catastrophic.

Imagine facing an accident, only to realize your insurance doesn’t cover the damage. Suddenly, you’re carless, income-less, and facing potential repair expenses. A minor increase in monthly premiums can shield you from such a nightmare, ensuring that all parties and properties involved are secured.

Your everyday car insurance might suffice for personal use, but it often falls short when you’re on the clock with ridesharing services like Uber. Rideshare insurance fills this gap, safeguarding your livelihood against unforeseen mishaps.

Investing in comprehensive rideshare insurance means protecting your in

4. Hourly Guarantees

Uber’s hourly guarantees serve as a financial buffer, ensuring drivers earn consistently even during uncertain times.

So, what’s the catch?

When Uber anticipates high passenger demand – maybe due to a sports event, college fest, or bar closing times, especially on holiday weekends – they roll out these guarantees to motivate their top drivers to be available.

The idea is simple: If passengers face long wait times, they might switch loyalties. Uber wants to prevent that.

uber guarantee

An example? If there’s a guarantee of $25 per hour for 2 hours, and you only earn $40 from rides in that period, Uber will pitch in the additional $10, ensuring you receive the promised $50.

But, to be eligible for these guarantees, you’ll have to adhere to certain criteria:

  1. Opt-in: Simply receiving a notification isn’t enough. You must actively opt-in to avail the guarantee.
  2. Maintain Standards: You should have at least a 90% acceptance rate and a 4.7-star rating during the guaranteed period.
  3. Stay Active: Complete a minimum of 4 rides within the stipulated 2-hour window and stay in driver mode for at least 108 out of the 120 minutes.
  4. Regional Restrictions: Some guarantees may be location-specific. For instance, if Uber predicts high demand in a city’s downtown, driving in the suburbs might not qualify for that guarantee.
  5. Weekly Variations: The nature and amount of guarantees can change weekly. Hence, always stay updated!

In essence, Uber’s hourly guarantees offer a lucrative opportunity for drivers to boost their income, particularly during peak demand periods. So, if you’re keen on optimizing your earnings, these guarantees are definitely worth a shot.

Maximize Your Earnings with Uber’s Referral System

Looking for an easy way to earn extra, even without driving? Dive into Uber’s referral system!

Got Friends Needing Extra Cash?

If you know folks mulling over side hustles, steer them towards Uber driving. When you share your unique Uber driver invite code with them, not only do they get an opportunity to earn, but you also receive a tidy referral bonus each time your code is redeemed.

Boost Your Income Without Driving

Along with the driver invite code, you’re also endowed with a rider invite code. Consider dispersing this code through business cards, blogs, or online platforms.

Every time a new rider uses your code, a referral bonus finds its way to you. The more you spread the word, the more you earn. Plus, a surge in riders within your vicinity can translate to more ride requests for you.

Widen Your Network, Widen Your Earnings

By actively promoting both your driver and rider codes, you not only boost your passive income but also contribute to the growth of the rideshare community. This symbiotic system allows you and the people you refer to benefit financially.

Do remember, referral bonuses might differ based on geographic locations, but that’s just a minor hiccup. Share, refer, and watch your earnings climb!

Fuel Your Earnings: Smart Snacking and Gas Saving Tips for Uber Drivers

Manage Your Expenses

During long shifts, hunger pangs are inevitable, prompting many to succumb to the allure of gas station snacks. However, these items not only come with a hefty price tag but can also chip away at your daily profits.

To combat this, it’s advisable to come prepared. Packing odor-free, non-perishable, and nutritious snacks from home is a practical approach to keep hunger at bay and maintain your earnings.

Another significant expense for Uber drivers is gasoline. By being smart about this, you can see a notable increase in your take-home amount.

An invaluable tool for this is the GasBuddy app, which provides a rundown of gas prices in your area. The prices can be sorted based on distance, price, and even the type of fuel, whether it’s economy, mid-grade, or premium.

Furthermore, Uber rewards its top drivers with an exclusive Fuel Card that presents the opportunity for fuel savings. It’s worth checking if you qualify for this perk.

Drive Efficiently

Beyond these tools, there are some hands-on strategies to adopt.

For one, cultivating a driving style that emphasizes soft acceleration, maintaining a consistent speed, and appropriately using cruise control can be more fuel-efficient.

It’s also essential to be mindful of engine idling, which can guzzle up fuel unnecessarily, especially if it’s just for playing music or maintaining cabin temperature.

Lastly, it’s beneficial to adopt a more strategic approach while waiting for rides. Instead of aimlessly driving around, choose to park in areas with high demand, minimizing fuel wastage and increasing the likelihood of getting a ride request.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes a Successful Uber Driver?

If you’re trying to boost your success as an Uber driver, there are a few tips you can try out. For starters, you need to ensure your passengers are comfortable at all times. So, maintain a courteous and friendly demeanor throughout your trips.

Aside from that, be sure to make pick-up and drop-off as seamless as possible. It’s crucial that you arrive at the designated location on time and deliver your passenger to their destination promptly.

What Percentage Do Uber Drivers Get?

Typically, Uber drivers will keep about 75% of the fare price for any given ride. Yet, after taking fuel costs and other expenses into account, the number drops down to around 72.5%.

Wrapping Up

As an Uber driver, it’s crucial you find ways to boost your profits and reduce your expenses. Thankfully, there are countless Uber driver tips that can help you do that.

For instance, strategic scheduling and location targeting are paramount. Make sure to focus your driving efforts in areas with plenty of riders during peak hours.

Finally, be sure to optimize your rides and provide exceptional customer service to your passengers.

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