Why Setting Availability (To Off) as an Uber Driver is Important

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As an Uber driver, you’ve got a lot to think about when you’re on the clock. You need to accept ride requests, locate, passengers, focus on safe driving, navigate traffic, and follow directions. And on a busy night, it can be a constant stream of people in and out of your car all going to different places around the city.

It can be overwhelming at times, and that is why it is important to sometimes turn off your availability. You should obviously do this at the end of every shift, but there are also times when changing your availability during the middle of a ride, or while on break is a good idea as well.


It’s an easy thing to overlook, especially if you’re driving for Uber and Lyft at the same time. Today we’re talking about the importance of setting your status to “unavailable” when you’re not accepting ride requests.

Check out the four main reasons why switching your availability to off can benefit you in ways you might not expect.

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Keep Surge Going

Smart Uber drivers know that there’s no point in chasing a surge. Doing so usually only ends up backfiring since you waste time trying to get to the surge area.

We’ve all seen it before, the Uber app sends a push notification when surge pricing goes into effect and drivers race to that area, only to realize that a lot of other drivers have done the same thing. And as soon as that happens, surge is over.

Every driver looks forward to that surge pricing, but chasing it isn’t the best way to get it. Preparing for it and planning for it is the ideal way to make that extra money. But how are you supposed to know when or where a surge might happen?

Before you start your shift, take a look at what big events are happening in your town. If you know a significant event is taking place in your city, it’s safe to assume there may be a surge in that area at some point. You can also expect surges during regular busy times, like Friday and Saturday nights.

There’s no point in chasing a surge from halfway across town, but if you’re nearby a surge zone when one hits, you will probably still be able to benefit from it. If it’s not too far out of your way, go for it. But if you’re miles and miles away you’ll only waste time (and gas money) getting there – and there’s no guarantee the surge pricing will still be in place when you arrive.

So how does this tie into turning your availability on and off?

When you pick up a surge passenger and have to drive out of the surge zone, toggle your availability to “off.” Some drivers say this helps them get back to the surge zone once they’ve completed their current surge trip.

By simply toggling your availability on and off, it can appear as though there are fewer drivers in the surge zone, which will keep the surge going if need be. And as long as you’re in the surge zone, you can benefit from the increased rates for a more extended period and put more money in your pocket.

Logging off also has the added benefit of reducing the temptation to drive. When you’re “off the clock” it can be tempting to check the app to see if surge is happening. Don’t do it. By the time you are in your car and close to the surge area, chances are the surge is already over.

Save Battery Life and Get More Tips

Running the Uber driver app can drain your phone battery fast. So anytime that you’re not accepting rides, log off of the Uber app.

You can’t accept a ride request when you’re already in the middle of another ride. So it’s best to log off or toggle “”Stop accepting new requests” during long rides and save your battery any time that you’re not accepting rides. When this feature is turned on, you won’t get additional pings. This is especially helpful when you are in heavy traffic because sometimes Uber starts sending you pings, expecting your ride to end shortly even though traffic is preventing that from happening.

Turning your availability off to save battery life is vital – especially if you have a habit of lending your phone charger to passengers. Providing passengers with amenities, like a phone charger, is a great way to earn more in tips. But lending them your charger means that you won’t be able to charge your phone during your trip.

Pro tip: Keep chargers for a range of devices (iPhone, micro-USB, and USB-3 should cover it) in your car at all times for your passengers.

It’s best to have a spare charger that you can provide to passengers, but if you don’t, toggling between on and off can save precious battery life. And on those days when you accidentally leave your charger at home, toggling on and off is essential.

Avoid Hurting Your Driver Rating

More and more drivers are attempting to drive for Uber and Lyft at the same time. It’s a great way to keep a steady flow of passengers in your car and increase your earnings.

But if you don’t know how to do it, you can accidentally sabotage your driver rating on both platforms.

The trick to driving for Uber and Lyft at the same time is to remember to turn your availability off for one as soon as you accept a ride request for the other.

The last thing you want is to have an Uber passenger in your car and a Lyft ride request come in. Sure, you don’t have to pay a cancellation fee for turning down the request. However, declining that request will hurt your acceptance rating.

Turning your availability off is key if you want to juggle between two or more gigs at the same time.

But when it’s busy, it’s an easy thing to forget. Try getting yourself in the habit of doing this routinely whenever you aren’t waiting for ride requests.

If you forget, it can end up hurting your rating and put you in bad standing as a driver for one or both of the services. It’s funny how so many drivers with low ratings don’t seem to understand why their ratings are low.

There are lots of little things that can make a difference in your rating. Check out this article to learn more about how you might be hurting your score without realizing it.

Keep a Healthy Work-Life Balance

When you work for yourself on your terms, it’s easy to want to work all the time. After all, the more you work, the more money you make.

Not having a set schedule is one of the best – and worst – parts about being your boss. As an Uber driver, you have the option when you want to drive and when you want to cash out on your earnings.

There’s no need to start working at 9 in the morning. Instead, you can start when you want and stop when you want. And that means you can maximize trip requests (and profits) by driving at the busiest times of the day.

Working 10+ hours a day can result in two things. One, you can easily get burned out. Two, you can exhaust yourself to the point where it’s no longer safe to drive. If you want to be productive, create some rules for yourself.

Force yourself to take an hour-long lunch break. Decide that you will finish your shift at a reasonable time or establish a time when you want to get home and go to sleep.

You can work in shifts and stop and start as often as you like.

Take advantage of that freedom by creating some realistic boundaries for yourself. By turning your availability off at a certain time every day (or at certain times throughout the day), you can create a healthy work-life balance.

Setting your Uber app to unavailable can help you resist the temptation of accepting a new ride request.

And it’s essential to keep those boundaries if you want to be productive every single day.

The two main reasons to turn off availability are battery life and work-life balance. It just so happens that those two things can also lead to increased tips and surge benefits.

Battery Life is especially important if you lend your charger to passengers (which is good, because lending your charger can lead to more tips).

By making yourself unavailable, you’ll save precious battery life and be able to ride for that much longer and make that much more money. If you are taking a break, or sitting in traffic, you know will take a while to get out of, or cleaning your car – log out of the partner app.

Get in the habit of turning your availability to off when it’s not so busy. When you make it part of your routine, it will be easier to remember to do.

And don’t forget that making yourself unavailable at times can also help you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.When you work for yourself and work on your own time, it can be easy to want to work all hours of the day or night. But setting your availability to “off” can help you resist the temptation of accepting a new ride. Enjoy that downtime and get some rest, so you feel rejuvenated for the next work day.


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