Are you a new driver for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft?
If you’re a new driver, you may have been incentivized by the new driver bonuses to sign up and earn cash fast.
However, rideshare driving is so much more than fast cash! It also comes with the benefit of making connections with people and helping them from all around the world on your time, whenever you decide… plus you can supplement your income.
Here are new driver tips, tricks, and mistakes to avoid for new rideshare drivers.
Things Every New Driver Needs to Know (So You Can Earn Your New Driver Bonus!)
You may not think of it very often, but rideshare driving demands the mastery of quite a few skills.
It benefits you to be…
- a trustworthy navigator and vehicle operator
- a hospitality and service industry savant
- a concierge and tour-guide for excited guests
- an accountant
- occasionally a janitor
- and always a multi-tasker
… just to name just a few roles. The odds of making mistakes, especially for a new driver, are pretty overwhelming.
With this in mind, here are some quick and dirty tips to help keep you productive and sane on the roads:
1. Plan your schedule, set your goals
Whether you drive as a part-time gig or full-time occupation, this is a job. Set a goal for the day, and more largely for the week, and then hold yourself to it.
The great freedom of the job is the flexibility afforded in scheduling. You can truly choose your own hours.
That said, many new drivers tend to have a flippant approach. They’ll drive for a few hours per day and then clock out before they’ve managed to compile a dutiful and full day’s log.
Instead, it might be better to use a results-driven method. Start your day and say, “I’m going to drive until I have completed 15 rides.” If you hold yourself to that mark each day, you’ll be able to consistently pull down the profits that further the path of your financial goals.
Similarly, setting these tasks each day make the fulfillment of Uber or Lyft’s weekly goals much more realistic.
Bonus tip: Learn to take advantage of Uber’s Boost zones and Lyft’s Guaranteed zones.
2. Make sure your phone is charged — and not a distraction
In this line of work, your smartphone, at least anecdotally, is equally as important as your car. Without it, you can’t accept rides — ergo, you can’t work and make money.
With apps running on your device the whole time you drive, it is absolutely necessary to invest in a car charger. If your car comes with USB ports, then you’re off and running, but be sure to have a cable you can depend on every day.
As a new driver, you need to remember that if your phone battery dies, so does your business. It’s also a good idea not to fiddle around under the seat searching for the cable with one hand, and driving a passenger around with the other. Have your equipment ready to go.
On that note, your rider will notice if you are messing with your phone a lot while driving. In fact, it may come back to bite you in your ratings and your tips.
Also remember, nothing will ruin your day, week, month, and year(s) quite like a car accident. You are operating a potentially life-threatening machine, which is why your first priority is to be as safe as possible.
Have your device ready to go with the apps you need open and functioning. If you need to adjust something, pull over to do so.
Bonus tip #2: Invest in a mount for your phone. Furthermore, it should be mounted somewhere you can easily see it without turning or angling your head.
3. The ride starts when the ride starts.
There are many first-hand stories you can find relayed online from other drivers, but the short version is:
A passenger requests a ride, you accept and drive to their location. Upon arriving, the passenger gives you a reason for being unable to leave yet, perhaps waiting for a friend.
You’ve already started the ride at this point, but now the passenger says they can’t leave on account of their friend. You inform the passenger that because the ride was started, they will be charged (though you don’t have the fare yet).
Now they’re upset. Furthermore, they’re about to get the chance to rate their experience. You can probably tell where this is going…
This story never ends well, and it almost always ends with low-ratings and frustrated feelings.
Get in the habit of starting the ride when passengers are inside and ready to go, as it may save you a few headaches down the road.
4. Avoid traffic jams (as much as you can)
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it will end up saving you money. Just remind yourself, “miles pay more than minutes.”
If you are sitting at a standstill in a busy downtown at rush hour, you’re making far less than you would be if you were covering mile after mile on the interstate.
Want to earn that new driver bonus? Keep those rides as short and sweet as possible! It’s unavoidable to find yourself in traffic, but if it begins eating into your profits, you may want to adjust your driving schedule as much as possible.
Bonus tip #3: The late-night bar crowd has the potential to start a ‘surge’ every weekend. If you’re keen on making some extra money and have a Friday evening with no plans, strike while the iron is hottest.
5. Be careful where you park your car
Whether your stopping to find yourself some food, delivering someone else’s food (a la Uber Eats), or even idling while you pick up a passenger — pay attention to where you park. Traffic tickets are a quick way to blow your freshly earned profits.
“No Stopping Anytime” means just that: no stopping anytime. While the chances are you’re going to be fine stopping for a few moments, it’s best practice to stay away from crosswalks, prohibited areas/signs, or impeding traffic in any way.
6. Breaking the law is not worth it
We touched on this in the last section, but it deserves its own paragraph, especially for the new driver who may be easily swayed.
Even if a passenger is howling over your shoulder to ‘go ahead and run the red,’ under no circumstances should you run a red light.
Tickets, violations, and worse, will quickly ruin your career as a ridesharing driver. Without even mentioning the loss of capital from paying fines, its best to avoid rule-breaking at all costs.
You can lose your job, your license, and if your violations are egregious enough, you can wind up under arrest for reckless endangerment.
So remember, the laws of traffic aren’t worth breaking — even if the passenger promises a better rating for it. That kind of behavior from riders is inexcusable, so don’t forget to rate your passengers too!
Good ratings will have you one step closer to earning your new driver bonus.
7. New Driver Bonus
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare apps change their new driver bonuses seasonally and based on location, so there is no one rule. Use OUR new driver invite codes to get the best possible payout. You’ll find them on the links here:
Do you have any advice that you would share with a new driver? Share your thoughts in the comments below!