The Best Times to Drive for Uber and Lyft
One of the best parts of driving for Uber and/or Lyft is the flexible hours. The fact that you can work whenever you want. Right? Well, hold on… not so fast!
Yes, technically, you can work whenever you want. However, if you want to make actual money while you’re doing it – you’re going to have to work when there is demand. In fact, not only will have to work when there’s demand you’ll also have to work where the demand is.
So, in the end, if you want to maximize your income from driving, not only will your hours not be totally flexible, neither is the location of your work.
In this series of videos, Sam Choi will explore the ins and outs of where and when you should drive.
It’s Flexible. But How Flexible is it?
Most people are attracted to rideshare driving because of the flexibility – but if you don’t drive when and where the demand is, you could be sitting around hour after hour waiting for your first trip!
Uber and Lyft cities all have many things in common. But they also have their unique aspects that make them different from every other city. If you want to be the most successful you can be, the real trick is knowing your city.
We can give you general principles to go by, but no one can give specific advice for your city except other drivers who have a lot of experience working there. There is really only one thing that will help you more than anything else – and that is to have an innate sense of your city, its rhythms and its personality.
It helps to have to have a bit of marketing sense, which means you understand the people of your city, you understand what they do, when they come and go and the types of things they love to do.
Let me give you an example that will help explain better what I mean by having a marketing sense and understanding the rhythms of your city. I’ll use my town, New York City, as an example, because it’s the one I’m most familiar with.
In New York, they do something that I don’t think is too common in a lot of other cities. They love to go out on Thursday nights. Thursday is a big party night. It rivals Fridays in other cities. Friday nights tend to cool down a little and then Saturdays pickup again.
If you understand that particular rhythm – it will have a big effect on your driving strategies. If your goal is to drive on busy party nights and you think those must be Friday and Saturday – then you’re going to miss out on Thursday which is bigger than Friday! You’ll head out on Friday night and wonder why things seemed a little slow.
Another interesting rhythm about New York is that in the summer – forget the weekends altogether. Almost everyone and their brother leaves town. The Thursday night bar scene will be the biggest of the week, but Friday and Saturday will be almost completely dead – because everyone will be in the Hamptons or other Long Island beaches.
So, you really have to have an intimate knowledge of your city and its people and their habits.
Different City Rhythms Mean Different Strategies
To give two more rather extreme examples, think about a resort town and a large city that’s a busy regional center. The resort town is going to differ from the regional city in so many ways.
For one, it will have a high season and a low season. Understanding that alone will put you light years ahead of drivers who don’t understand it. The high season of course will be the busiest. But the high season will probably only be three or four months long. But during the high season, you can expect the hotels, airports and tourist attractions to be your primary sources of business.
During the low season, those drivers who really know their resort town well, will know and understand the locals. They’ll know what they like to do and where they like to go. They’ll understand their work and travel habits. They’ll know what time most people go to work in the mornings and what time they leave work in the afternoons. They’ll know which nights they like to go out and which nights they stay home. They’ll know if there are people from some distance outside the resort town that like to come in at night for various entertainment options.
One problem for drivers in a lot of resort cities though is that they almost completely shut down after the season is over! In those cases you’ll have to know which nearby cities and towns can function as backups during the low season.
In a larger city that functions as a regional center, it’s a whole different animal. Regional cities don’t really have a high and low season. They will be steadier throughout the year. Things may slow down in the summer a bit as many of its residents take vacations but overall, they’ll be pretty stable throughout the year. Regional cities also draw people from fairly long distances away who live in the suburbs but come in to work every day.
In the mornings you’ll want to position yourself out in the suburbs where they live and get some long trips bringing them in to work. In the afternoons you’ll want to be in the, usually, downtown central business district to pick them up from work and take them back home out in the suburbs. Or, they may be going out for dinner and drinks in the city and you’ll be able to pick them up later in the evening from the bars and restaurants and take them back to their homes in the suburbs.
The better you know your city and its people the more you’ll know what you need to know about its rhythms and comings and goings. And the more you know about those, the more successful you’ll be in your Ubering and Lyfting!
Sam Guides You through the Principles that Lead to Driving Success
Sam will guide you through different scenarios in this series of videos. He’ll touch on things like which days are best to drive, whether you should drive in the mornings or evenings, whether you should drive on the weekends. Other questions like should you drive in traffic or during rush hour will also be addressed.
But remember, the main thing is this. If you want to be a top 1% earning driver, your schedule will be a lot less flexible than you’ve been told. It is true that you can work whenever you like, but to be a top earner, the number of hours in a week when you can maximize your earnings are a lot fewer than any of us would like. But there are still a lot of hours that you can work and they are spread out pretty nicely throughout the week and over the weekends too. You can work early mornings or afternoons or late evenings. You can also work over the weekends. So in that respect it’s still more flexible than a traditional job. But there are limits to the flexibility if you want to be a top earner.
One problem that flexible hours brings, though, is that you may find yourself thinking that you can put off your driving until a little later. Maybe you had planned to drive the morning rush and you had meant to get up early and be on the road by 6:00 a.m. But, you slept late because you were really tired. You told yourself, no problem, you’ll just start driving when you get a couple of more hours of sleep. So by the time you get out on the road it’s past 9:00 a.m. and there just aren’t that many trips. You missed the morning rush hour and it’s not going to get seriously busy again until around 4:00 p.m. By believing that you could work anytime you like, you’ve missed out on the day’s best earnings!
So, it is good to know upfront that while the hours of this job are far more flexible than a regular job, they’re not wholly flexible if you want to maximize earnings. It’s best to be disciplined and know what hours you need to be on the road – and then stick to your plan.
What are the best times to drive? Now, obviously, you can’t drive 24/7, and so you need to pick, but if you could pick, what would be the best times?
And, you know what?
The best times are when people need rides, and being where they are, so the best three times are Friday and Saturday nights, Monday and Friday mornings, and Saturday and Sunday mornings.
[These are] generally the best times, and I’m going to teach you in these next few videos about them.
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