How to Profit from Minimum-Fare Uber Rides

Any rideshare driver will tell you that minimum fare rides are undesirable. These small trips offer a low fare cost for passengers but a, at best, break-even income for drivers. At worst, you are paying for someone else to get a ride after you factor in business expenses like gas and insurance. Anyone who UberX drivers (as opposed to UberBlack or UberXL) know exactly what we are talking about.

Unless, of course, you know how to work the system.

That’s right. If you know how to capitalize on those short rides that only offer small payouts, you can enjoy completing them. Known as minimum-fare rides or base fare rides, these rides need a little bit more hustle and strategic thinking from Uber drivers.

But it’s possible to make these Uber rides work in your favor! We will show you how to make the most out of the smallest fares in the outline below.

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Make the Most of Your Uber Guarantees

There are plenty of promos, bonuses, and milestones available to drivers seeking to earn a bit more cash. Knowing what these exclusives are and how to get them is important.

Be on the lookout each month as they change by checking Uber’s website. Other than that, there are standard metrics set in place to reward drivers, such as the Uber hourly guarantee.


What is the Uber Hourly Guarantee?

Uber’s Hourly Guarantee is an amount that Uber guarantee to a driver if they complete a certain number of rides or maintain a certain acceptance rate.

If you complete a bunch of short rides within an hour, but earn less than the guaranteed amount, Uber will “top-out” your earnings for that time.

 

This is pretty awesome, especially if you’ve been completing a lot of short rides lately. Rest assured, if you make more than the guaranteed amount, your net earnings, tips and all, are yours to keep.

Let’s go over gross fares in more detail. There are certain fees included in the total fare, such as the Booking Fee, Service Fee, and the per mile and minute calculation.

Uber considers the gross fare to be the total amount paid by the passenger, minus the Booking Fee. As in, subtract the booking fee from the fare you earned, and if that amount does not meet the hourly guarantee, you qualify for the payment top-up.

Related: Hourly Guarantees and Other Uber Promotions

If you do get bumped up in pay, the new total amount will recalculate, meaning that the guaranteed hourly wage is subject to Uber’s Service Fee. Due to this, the original estimate given as Uber’s cut of the profits will likely increase. Even if it’s by a slight amount, we wanted to give you a heads up.

There are other guarantees offered by Uber too; yet, they vary by season and demand. If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest guarantees, check out the Promotions Hub.This resource lives within the Uber app, in the Promotions section. Here, you can see the date, time, and amount of each guarantee before it happens. Use this tool to plan out your work week and make the most of your time.

Hourly guarantees are prorated, which means you do not have to worry about committing to driving during a certain time frame to receive the wage. For example, let’s say that your hourly guarantee is $20. You drive around for a while and only get two short rides after thirty minutes. Total fare for these trips was $7.00 not including tips. Frustrated, you take the rest of the hour off. For the time span you worked, Uber prorates your payment behind the scenes. Since you worked half of an hour, you get half of the hourly, which is $10 instead of the original $7 AND you get to keep the tips. Learn more about the hourly guarantee from Uber here.


Hustle to Fit More Trips In

As we have mentioned, shorter trips with smaller fares sound rather terrible, unless you know how to make the most of it. One way to do this outside of completing Uber milestones is maximizing your tips. And the more rides you complete, the more chances you have for tips.

If you can fit a lot of trips in a short amount of time, you could earn more than enough to cover your business expense for the extra work.

Drivers that are living in a major city like NYC or Los Angeles should find this particularly easy to do. Especially considering that there is a high chance that you will be completing a variety of trips, including the shorter ones. If you are not in a big city and rides happen less often, we recommend testing the market by following these steps.


Identify Peak Rideshare Hours in Your Area

See how many short rides you can complete in an hour. Once you get into the groove, keep track of how many short trips you do in a day or for a week. Note the average pay you earn including tips.

Compare this estimate to the wage you receive in your routine. Having solid figures to reflect on will help you identify if it’s worth your time. Depending on your area, you may discover that a bunch of completed rides in an hour results in more tips than the longer rides.

Bear in mind, you will need to know when the best times to drive are in your local area. For more information on when those time frames are, check out this Ridester article. Another useful tool is the fare estimator, which shows you the ride cost based on current Uber prices and the Uber service you choose. If you’re contemplating heading out, use the fare estimator to see if a trip will be worth your while.


Get Out of the City

On the other side of the trip duration is the length of rides. These minimum-fare journeys require drivers to go out of there way to transport a passenger.

When this occurs, Uber usually tries to ensure that the total fare is worth the driver’s time, even if the passenger does not tip.

Due to this, drivers should consider venturing out to the suburbs for a few trips now and then if they live in a big city. Chances are, the trips will be a bit longer, which means the ride will be more expensive than what you might find in a city.

How many requests you receive depends on where you are. To find the sweet spot for earning the most per ride, test out different areas. See which areas are popping, avoid those that are a bit dull, and record your findings along the way.

This will help you plan out your work week year round. Plus, you can explore new places!


Leverage Snack-Vending Services

Maximizing your hourly wages should be one of your top goals. There are ways to earn extra dough on top of the techniques we have mentioned already.

If you can handle the task of letting a product sell itself, there is a business that would like to help you out.

Dubbed the Cargo Box, this company prides itself on enhancing your rideshare business, without costing you money. The catch? A bit of paperwork and the task of carrying around a clear container filled with delicious snacks and cool tech items.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Do not worry, Cargo Box is legit. After you order one online, they confirm your rideshare driver status and mail you the container and treats. These items range from snacks to tech gear and anything else a passenger may desire.

Once you load up the Cargo Box and find a suitable place to display it in your vehicle, you’re ready to earn. Passengers will likely be eyeing the contents of the box and want to know more. They just have to download the app to buy or access the free products.

The best part? You get paid. Each time an item is sold you get a part of the sales. When you need to refill the container, Cargo Box is on it. They ship new products to you, and all you have to do is refill the container.

A passenger using Cargo in an Uber

To learn more about the entire process from start to finish, check this page out.

Keep in mind, the worst possible thing you can do after getting a Cargo Box is forcing it onto your passengers. Drivers who opt to get a Cargo Box should avoid bringing up the container more than once.

If the passenger references the item, that is all well and good, but forcing them to look at the box will most likely backfire. Let them discover the treats inside the Cargo Box and guide them to the checkout if they ask. If the passenger isn’t showing interest in the items, drop it.

Being too pushy with the product can backfire and leave you with a poor rating and no tip.

This no-brainer way to make money will help you gain an extra stack of cash each month without much effort at all. Plus, the Cargo Box itself can generate an excellent conversation. Or it could lead to the passenger buying or trying a free product.


Provide the Best Experience Possible

Speaking of earning tips through delightful interactions, people love to make happy memories. If you can provide your rider with a memorable, positive experience, they are likely to give you extra tips and leave a great rating.

Outright asking for a tip is not something we advise you do.

Since you shouldn’t just ask for a tip, it is vital for you to let your professionalism shine throughout the journey. Being professional means being polite and respectful to your passengers. Having a smile on your face works too.

For other best practices that increase your odds of getting tipped go here. To review solid advice about driving for Uber, read this guide.


There are plenty of opportunities to earn extra cash as a rideshare driver. Knowing how to get this money is half the battle. The other half is implementing the techniques.

First, learn more about your area.

Identify whether you can maximize your hourly rate by packing in a bunch of short rides. More than likely you can take advantage of the hourly guarantee and rake in a lot of tips at the same time.

Be sure to review long rides too. See if you can earn more money with these types of trips or if you end up breaking even profit wise. Your results will vary based on your location.

Due to this, it may be worthwhile to venture out into surrounding areas, if there is a big event going on there for example.

Another critical factor is time. Optimizing your schedule to fit in as many ride requests as possible will help you reach your profit goals, even if you have to hustle a bit harder.



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