“Follow the Alcohol” to Maximize Uber Driver Earnings

Women drinking cocktails

Making a ton of cash as a rideshare driver is possible if you are willing the legwork.

Planning your schedule around high volume times is a big part of that. Finding the best times to driver for Uber can be complicated. You will need to identify when is the best time to drive and when is the best time to rest.

Every city is different and busy times will vary. And to make it even more complicated, busy times can change from month to month. So it is an ongoing process if you truly want to optimize your dicing schedule.

But one thing is constant.


If you know when and where people will be drinking alcohol, you are well on your way to crafting the perfect rideshare schedule.

But remember, your safety is the top priority. Not everyone wants to drive around drunk people all night. But for the people who are willing to put with the late nights and intoxicated drivers, big profits are almost guaranteed.

This article will explain what drivers should always “follow the alcohol.” We will also discuss how you can best plan your night and rake in the most money.

Why Alcohol = Money for Uber & Lyft Drivers

Where there is alcohol, there is a need for sober drivers.

It’s no secret. Drinking and driving is bad. It puts the driver, passengers, everyone else on the road, and even pedestrians at risk. If you are going to drinking, you need to have a plan on how you are going to get home. This means walking, talking public transportation, or finding a designated driver.

Thanks to rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, a designated driver is only a few taps on your phone away.

Some studies suggest that Uber has reduced the amount of drunk driving in areas where it is available. And while not everyone can agree if Uber is making an impact, there is one thing we can all agree on: having an easy way to get a ride home is great news.

For drinkers, this is excellent news because it provides a safe way home. For entrepreneurial Uber drivers, this is great news because it presents an amazing money making opportunity.

Lots of Drunk People Means Surge Pricing

Since so many people are using ride-hailing services to get home after a night of drinking, it means there is a high demand for rides during certain times.

And we all know what high demand means when it comes to Uber. Surge pricing.

Taking advantage of surge pricing is one of the easiest ways to increase driver earnings. Sure, you can focus on catching surge rides during morning rush hour or during major events. But these times can be variable, and surge pricing is inconsistent.

But there is one time that surge pricing is almost guaranteed: Friday and Saturday nights, especially close to bar closing time.

Why? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find out. Friday and Saturday night is the night that most people go out drinking.

Now that you understand why drunk people are good for business, let’s discuss how you can capitalize on it.

Pinpoint Popular Bars and Restaurants

The first step in planning your driving schedule is to learn about the popular bars and restaurants in your area.

Experience is probably the best way to learn about popular watering holes in your town. After you drive for Uber for a couple of months, you’ll instantly know where to be on what nights.

But you can also learn about areas by paying attention to the Food & Drink sections in your local newspaper. Check for openings and reviews of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Word of mouth is also an easy way to pick up on what’s happening. For instance, if you hear a passenger talking about a big party that will be getting out at 4 am, it might be worth it to drive a little later than usual.

Hearing about events through word of mouth gives you a leg up on the competition. So instead of chasing a surge fair across the city, you can position yourself properly to get in and out of a surge area quickly.

Learn The Drinking Schedule of Your City

Now that you know where people are drinking. It’s time to find out when people are drinking.

As we already mentioned, Friday and Saturday nights are almost always busy. But you can make even more money if you can find times outside of the ordinary with a lot of drunk people.

This is why we suggest learning when popular destinations are busy.


Because ever bar scene is different. Many bars will have daily specials that make them extremely popular. For instance, you might find that on Wednesday night there is a drink special from 9-10 at a popular bar on the north end of town. Thursday night there is a popular drink special from 5-7.

Also, you should know the bar close times in your city. These vary from state to state and city to city, so we can’t give much advice here.

Knowing when and where these popular specials are going on will help you plan your week.

Always Plan For Events

We talk about events a lot at Ridester, and for good reason. Events are some of the most lucrative times to drive. Why? Because people like to drink at events!

Always stay up-to-date on all the local events going on in your area and plan your work schedule around them. Pay particularly close attention to events where people are likely to be drinking. Concerts (unless they are kids concerts), sporting events, and festivals are pretty safe bets.

Once you have identified the drinking schedule of your city and any outliers like events. Plan your week accordingly.

We can’t stress this enough: it is just as important to schedule your downtime as it is to schedule your driving time. Doing so will allow you to allocated appropriate times for rest. This will help you avoid burnout. It will also help you plan your budget since you’ll know exactly how long you will drive each week.

Equip Your Vehicle For Drunk Passengers

The final step in making money with intoxicated Uber and Lyft passengers is equipping your vehicle.

Having a glowing Uber or Lyft sign is a great start. Sometimes it can be hard to find intoxicated people. The streets are busy; it’s dark; they’re drunk. Make it a little easier for your passengers to find them by clearly marking your vehicle as an Uber.

Drunk people also like to eat. So having snacks and bottles of water on hand is a great way to make your passengers happy. This is great because happy passengers often mean tipping passengers. You can also consider something like Cargo, so you don’t have to supply to treats.

Sick passengers are an unfortunate side effect of drunken passengers. Avoid the mess by having a trashcan (that doubles as a puke bucket) in your backseat.

Consider additional measurements like pepper spray. This could keep you safe if an intoxicated passenger gets aggressive or attempts some sort of sexual assault. If this does happen, also taken the appropriate action and contact a police officer.

Every location is different and unique. Peak drive times will vary based on where you drive. One of the best methods you can use to figure out when and where you should be at during the week is by “following the alcohol.”

This requires drivers to map out popular locations where people are likely to order an Uber to avoid drinking and driving.

In general, drivers can expect busy times on Friday and Saturday night. But knowing about the events in your area, along with popular drink specials, can give you a huge leg up on the competition.

Although the schedule you organize is working this week, it may not once the seasons’ change. Even so, some places seem to stay pretty busy throughout the year. Keeping an eye on these changes will help you adapt to the best times to drive change over time.

By staying in tune with the pulse of your city, drivers can keep themselves in line with the busiest and thus the best times to drive.

Although this may take some time to figure out, once you can identify the optimal time frames in your area, you will likely start to notice surge pricing popping up.

Being in position for surge pricing is a great way to make loads of cash before anyone else arrives.

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