Making Adjustments as a Rideshare Driver

Nothing Stays the Same

If you’ve been driving for any length of time, the one thing you’ve probably learned is that nothing stays the same.  You work so hard to find the perfect spot and one day you think you’ve found it.  It’s a spot that keeps you very busy.  You get long trips from this spot and you’re making pretty decent money.

So, you think you’ll re-arrange your schedule so you can be there every day at the same time.  And for about a week it works.  Everything goes great!  You’re loving you’re new ‘secret’ spot.  But, about a week later you get there and instead of getting a call right off the bat you find yourself going 20 minutes without any calls.

You start wondering what’s going on.  Did the people in this area suddenly stop using Uber?  Are they using Lyft?  Are they all on vacation!?  You can’t figure out what’s going on.  But on this day, you make half as much from the spot as you were making every day for the past two weeks.

No problem though, you figure it’s just a bad day.  You’ll head back out tomorrow.  Surely things will be back to normal tomorrow.  But no… it’s the same thing all over again.  And if you’re like most drivers who thought they found the perfect secret spot, you’ll probably waste another week or two going there again and again, trying to bring back the glory days – from two weeks ago!

But it never happens again.  About a week and a half later, you realize something fundamental has changed and you’re never going to be as busy there again as you were those first two wonderful weeks.

Your Secret Spot is No Longer a Secret

What has happened is that your secret got out.  And it may well be that another driver who discovered the same spot started talking to his friends and telling them he was making bank there.  Or worse, he may have gone online into one of the local groups or forums and mentioned it there.  Well, guess what happens when you do that?  All your friends start to show up!  And if you talk about your secret spot online, then a ton of new drivers are going to show up very shortly afterwards.  And it doesn’t take a lot of extra drivers to ruin a secret spot.

One thing taxi drivers seemed to have over Uber and Lyft drivers is they knew how to keep their mouths shut when they found a good spot!  They weren’t about to tell.  And they certainly didn’t go broadcast it all over the internet!

But today, drivers are so well-connected that if you breathe a word about your secret spot to anybody else, there’s a good chance 20 to 30 new drivers will show up there within a few days.

So, the trick is, you have to constantly adapt.  You have to make constant adjustments.

How to Adjust to Ever-Changing Driving Conditions

Adjusting to ever-changing conditions is easier said than done.  A lot goes into adjusting.  One thing that helps is to have a marketing mind.  A marketing mind is a mind that is so in touch with your community and its people that you just kind of know what people are going to be doing, where they’re going to be going and when.

This is much easier when you’re driving in a place where you’ve a native and you’ve lived all your life.  Drivers who are driving in cities where they grew up have a huge advantage over drivers who have only lived there a few years.

If you’re relatively new in town and still finding your way around, you will be at a distinct disadvantage over native drivers.

When you’re driving in your hometown, you went to school there, you grew up there, you got your first job there.  You know the people, you know their rhythms.  You know what the kids are doing because you grew up there and you did that.  On weekend nights, you won’t only know which suburbs people will be traveling from to go out, you’ll know specific neighborhoods and streets where people will be traveling from and giving you trips.

On weekday mornings it’s the same.  You’ll not only know which suburbs people will be most likely to take an Uber from to the airport or to the downtown business district, but you’ll know specific neighborhoods and streets in those suburbs where you’ll be most likely to get a trip.  It’s very difficult for non-natives to pick up on these things if they didn’t grow up there.  So you’ll have a real advantage.

You’ll know when school gets out and what areas there are schools where parents or students would be likely to use Uber or Lyft.  All of these things give you a leg up on your non-native fellow drivers.

If you aren’t a native, you have to do a lot of extra work to figure these things out and to truly understand your city.  And you need to really understand it.  Instead of knowing these things like they’re second nature as native drivers will, you’ll have to force feed information to yourself in order to figure them out.

Really Know Your City

And one good way to start is by studying the real estate trends in your city.  Go online and research and find out where the most expensive neighborhoods are.  These are areas where you’ll be more likely to get longer, more profitable trips.

You’ll also want to research and know the largest employers in your area.  Which companies hire the most people?  Which companies pay their people the best?  Which companies are likely to let their employees put an Uber or Lyft ride on their expense accounts?

In New York, there are drivers who have all this down to such a science that they know all the rules the big companies have for allowing their employees to take all expenses paid Uber and Lyft trips.

They learned that the large banks and investment houses allow employees to expense travel costs when they leave work after 9:00 p.m.  They also learned a lot of people at these banks do work past 9:00 p.m.  So, guess what happens?  Every weeknight right at 9:00 p.m. you’ll find a ton of Uber and Lyft cars parked outside of the largest bank headquarters.  And just like clockwork, between 9:00 and 10:00 almost all of them will have gotten trips.  And most of the trips are longer ones out to the nearby suburbs of New York City.

But to know all this, New York drivers had to first understand what the biggest and wealthiest industries were in their city.  Then, they had to learn something about the working culture of these companies.  They learned that investment bankers work insanely long hours.  And they learned their companies are very generous in paying for their transportation after a certain time each night.

These New York drivers had their ears to the ground and they listened.  They listened to their passengers.  When they pick up talkative passengers they’ll ask them a lot of questions about their work and their habits.  It’s not just so that they can feign interest in the passenger for a better rating or a tip.  But it’s because they really want to understand the working culture of their city so they can be better drivers and get a leg up on their competition.

Understand Travel In and Out of Your City

You’ll also want to understand travel patterns of people coming into and leaving your city.  Why do people travel to your city?  Is it mostly for business?  Or, is it mostly for pleasure?  Or, is it a mixture of both?  You need to know and understand that.

You’ll also want to study your airport(s).  Learn the flight patterns.  Know the busiest times.  Then, if you find yourself at the airport during a busy time you’ll know you should probably stay and wait for a ping because you probably won’t have to wait too long.  But if you don’t know your airport inside and out, you could miss out on those opportunities and lose a valuable airport trip.

The more you can know about every aspect of your city’s people and culture, the more easily you’ll be able to quickly adjust to ever-changing patterns of demand.

Rideshare Resources

Video Transcription:

Making Adjustments. We constantly have to make adjustments in this game. Listen, there are other smart drivers out there.

There are other people watching this course who are going to learn these tactics, and the reality is, you have to constantly shift. That’s the one thing that’s hard. These tactics won’t change, but the times and the ways you go about it will.

So, if there is a trend where a certain part of town is always surging at this time, and a lot of drivers aren’t going there, and you notice that and you’re like, “Man, this is my money spot, this is my sweet spot”.

It’s not going to happen. It’s not going to be like that forever unless it’s something obvious like an event, or a bar close.

There are going to be little pockets that are going to happen for a consistent time, but whenever there is a trend, there are people looking for the trends. And I want you to be a trend finder, and start looking for the next trend.

Don’t just chase, because what are you gonna have is people on Facebook, “What’s a good place to drive?” And someone’s like, “I’ve been killing it over here.” Boom, everyone goes there, no one is killing it anymore.

So you constantly have to make adjustments. This industry is constantly changing, drivers are getting smarter, more technology is coming out, you need to be smarter and stay ahead, so constantly make adjustments.

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