Making money as an Uber driver is easy if you have a vehicle and the right documentation. But with drivers earning less than $14 per hour on average, driving alone is not sustainable.
With years of working as Uber drivers, we’ve learned the ins and outs of driving for Uber. Everything from SURGE pricing to bathroom breaks has the potential to make or break your profitability.
Finding ways to increase this steady supply of money, however, can be a bit challenging. But today we’re pulling back the curtain to show you how.
Our Top 17 Ways to Make More Money While Driving for Uber
We’ve compiled our best Uber driver advice to help you make more money as an Uber driver in under 3 weeks. These expert secrets will save you from years of minimal profitability and help you to start making more money in less than a month.
1. Give the Cargo Box a Try [Our Favorite]
Our first (and favorite) way to make extra money while rideshare driving is to take advantage of the Cargo Box.
Cargo Box is a container that rideshare drivers keep in their car that holds snacks and other cool items. Passengers are able to purchase items from the Cargo Box and drivers get a portion of the profits. And the best part: it is completely free for drivers.
The Cargo Box puts a new spin on providing passengers with extra goodies during their ride. But… instead of you fronting the cost of snacks or food in hopes of getting more tips, somebody else will front the cost. In short, you get the added benefit without spending your own money.
Sound too good to be true? When we first heard about the service, we thought so too. but after reviewing the service in detail, we found it’s completely legit.
Drivers earn $1 for every order, even orders for free items. On top of that, drivers earn 25% of every retail item. You can earn even more with sales bonuses and in-app tipping.
The service, on average, increases driver income by $100 per month, with the top 10% of Cargo drivers earn an average of $300/month. With such a simple and easy way to earn, you’d be foolish not to give it a try.
2. Master the Basics
Once you become a rideshare driver, you’ll learn that the drivers at the very top are doing much more than just picking up and dropping off passengers. If you’re looking to make more with Uber and Lyft, mastering the basics is an absolute “must”.
Knowing when and where to drive will help you maximize the fare amount during your rides. Taking into account things like acceptance rates, tips, and ratings will also help to improve earnings and efficiency.
Here’s a few topics I highly suggest every rideshare driver master:
- Take Advantage of SURGE, Prime Time, Boost, and Primezones
- Finding The Biggest Payout – Which Rideshare Service Pays The Most?
- How Acceptance Rates and Cancellations Impact Pickups
- Be Aware of, but Don’t Obsess Over Ratings
- The Perfect Car Setup for Every Ride [Video Walkthrough]
- Profiting With Sign-Up Bonuses
3. Reduce Your Driving
Uber drivers make money by driving passengers to their respective destinations. However, rideshare drivers don’t make money when they are driving alone. Avoid driving around while you are waiting for a ride request. The gas you spend during these low activity time frames can quickly eat up your profits.
So, the key here is to figure out the best times to drive. Figuring out that piece of the puzzle will help you become more efficient and maximize time spent behind the wheel. (Spoiler alert: the best times to drive are Monday and Friday mornings).
Instead of wasting gas, identify key locations that will allow you to park and wait with the engine off. Try to find areas that are well-lit, preferably where you can be seen, and keep the doors locked.
Keep an updated Excel sheet to monitor how much money you make while waiting in each location, as well as how many ride requests you receive. To take it one step further, break down this Excel sheet based on times of the day (morning, afternoon, early evening, late night) to further track your profits. Review this list every 2-3 months to identify your top performing locations.
4. Get the iPhone Hookup
Investing in the rideshare experience you provide passengers can be very profitable. Especially if you start offering passengers with a way to play their favorite tunes during the drive.
Invest in a car radio that has a way to plug in a smartphone, be it by an auxiliary cord or otherwise. Passengers that have the luxury of playing their jam on your car speakers are typically happier. Due to this, they are more likely to give a better tip and driver rating, which will help you to get more rides in the future.
5. Locate Nearby Restrooms
At some point during your shift, you will need to stop for a bathroom break. This mandatory task can become rather expensive if you end up driving around in an area that is heavily congested.
Map out easily accessible bathrooms in your driving area to prevent this massive time suck. Doing so will reduce the amount of gas wasted on finding an open parking spot, which in turn will help you make more money.
6. Manage Snack Attacks
Hunger will eventually strike during your shifts. Although it can be tempting to pick up snacks at a local gas station, avoid doing so. Overpriced food items and large sodas will inevitably reduce the amount of money you are able to earn each day. The best way to prevent this is to bring pre-made snacks from home. Try to bring healthy snacks that do not have an odor and are non-perishable.
7. Improve Tip Odds
Until July of 2017, Uber encouraged riders not to tip drivers. Uber has since changed their stance on this issue. Now, Uber passengers are allowed to tip. Unfortunately, many Uber riders aren’t aware of it.
There are many ways to help you let your passengers know about the reversal of this rule. However, directly asking passengers to leave you a tip is the fastest way to make your passengers feel uncomfortable and leave you a negative rating.
Don’t believe me? Watch this:
So how do you go about encouraging tips?
One of the best ways to do this is to add a decal or sign to your vehicle referencing the topic. Many sources online offer a ton of choices. If you do not want to pay an arm and a leg to let your passengers know about tipping, print out our free Uber tip sign.
8. Invest in Water
Offering a complimentary bottle of water is one of the easiest ways to make your passengers feel comfortable during the ride. Providing this essential item can increase tipping and rating averages for an Uber driver.
The investment in water is minimal. Quenching the thirst of 24 different passengers is on average about $5. Your tiny investment in a 24-pack of bottled water can easily push your profits to new previously unattainable levels. Plus, it’s tax deductible!
9. Purchase Rideshare Insurance
The only thing worse than ending up in a car accident is ending up in a car accident that won’t be covered by your insurance. If this happens to you, that means you’ll be without a car, meaning you won’t be able to earn money while your car gets fixed.
In exchange for a small monthly increase in premiums, anyone or thing involved in an accident will be properly covered. This can protect you from devastating lawsuits or bankruptcy.
While your personal car insurance plan is sufficient for off-hours, most insurance providers charge additional fees to cover you while you are driving for Uber. Rideshare insurance provides the coverage that you need to stay on the road and out of financial ruin if an unfortunate event occurs.
10. Prepare a Backup
The occasional flat tire, dead battery or other mechanical failures can leave you with no source of income for days at a time. To reduce the amount of downtime you experience, find a backup vehicle to drive.
Try to find a friend or relative that is willing to let you borrow their car. Offer them a flat fee or work out another agreement. Once you find a backup vehicle, be sure to have it approved by Uber and registered to your account before it is actually necessary to use it.
11. Invite Your Friends
Do you have friends that are looking for ways to make extra income? Invite them to drive for Uber!
Share your unique Uber driver invite code with your friends to help them earn a side income and other bonuses. Sharing the rideshare love can also help you make a nice sum of money as well.
You earn a referral bonus each time your driver invite code is used. This means that you can earn money without driving by helping others make some extra cash. Keep in mind that the referral bonus for Uber varies from state-to-state, but don’t let that stop you from raking in the dough.
12. Keep Your Stats Up
Uber weighs your driver rating very heavily when matching you with passengers. As a result, it’s important for drivers to keep their stats up. Dressing similarly to you passengers, being professional, and providing an excellent rideshare experience are all great ways to improve ratings.
Unfortunately, a less-than-perfect ride experience can result in a low star rating. Strong car odors, reckless driving, or a dirty vehicle can all result in passengers giving you less than a five-star rating.
Take the time to get constructive feedback from a friend or relative by driving them around. Doing so may help you discover any rideshare issues you may be overlooking.
13. Avoid the Suburbs
Opportunities to pick up riders decrease as you get further from the heart of the city. Avoid the suburbs as much as possible and spend more time within city limits.
Drivers may find this to be a bit challenging to maintain, given how congested cities can be. However, as you become more familiar with your mapped out waiting areas, the increase in riders will make the effort worthwhile.
14. Prepare for Taxes
Tax season can be a very trying time for rideshare drivers and other independent contractors. The tax filing process is complex. On top of this, contractors are responsible for paying their own taxes out of pocket. Fortunately, Uber drivers can use this employment status to their benefit by taking advantage of tax deductions.
Typically, these deductions cover any business expense that drivers have to spend in order to work. On average, the best option for drivers is the standard mileage deduction. This tax deduction gives drivers a rate per mile that covers most of the driver’s expenses. To use the standard mileage deduction, drivers will need to keep track of the miles driven for the entire year.
There is another option for those who want to keep an itemized list of all of their expenses. This is called an actual expense deduction. Anything vehicle or rideshare related falls under this category. Here are few examples of items that can be deducted:
- Car payments
- Vehicle operating expenses
- Vehicle financing
- License, registration, and title expenses
- Mobile phone, charger, and payments
Regardless of whether you file under standard or actual, items that are purchased in order to improve the rideshare experience can also be deducted from your taxes. For example, the 24-pack of bottled water you bought to provide customers with complimentary water is considered a work expense, which is tax deductible.
15. Navigating SURGE Pricing
Another great way to make more money is by making the most of SURGE periods. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase Uber earnings, especially in times of high demand.
Driving during peak periods enables you to make much more money than you would during normal hours. This is primarily due to the fact that Uber riders are willing to pay more money when traffic is heavy.
Finding a way to balance between getting passengers and dealing with the heavily congested areas can be very profitable for an Uber driver.
To take advantage of SURGE, be aware of when and where the price hike occurs. Try to plan your route accordingly to increase the likelihood of catching a SURGE peak. Remember, SURGE maps are not updated in real time. There is a slight delay of a few minutes that may disrupt your mapped out plan.
16. Encourage Others To Ride
In addition to the driver invite code, Uber operators also receive a rider invite code. Drivers can distribute this code on business cards, online forums, or blogs to effortlessly generate money. When a rider uses an invite code the owner of that code will receive a referral bonus.
On top of being a great way to make passive income, inviting new riders also increases the total number of passengers in your area, which will improve your chances to earn more money.
17. Take Online Courses
Having trouble improving your rideshare service? Looking to get ahead in the rideshare industry? Check out our rideshare training courses!
Each lesson provides insightful tips and tricks that will help you improve your rideshare service. Whether you are looking for a way to take the guesswork out of when to drive or want to learn how to fluidly navigate through SURGE, we have a course just for you.
18. Duel Wield Rideshare Services
Uber may be popular, but in some areas, it may not be the go-to app for riders. There are plenty of areas across the United States where Lyft is more popular.
If you are living in one of these areas and want to maximize the chances of getting a ride request, use our Lyft referral code. This code will provide you with a signup bonus as well as a way to quickly increase your income as a driver.
19. Dealing with Difficult Passengers
Anyone who has ever worked in customer service will tell you some customers cannot be satisfied. Whether they are having a bad day, or are just a bad person, some riders may try to take out their frustrations on you.
Be prepared for such events. Try not to take it personally and do your best to keep a clear, cool head. Remember, the ride is temporary but your actions will permanently reflect who you are.
Nevertheless, to endure such a challenging task when it presents itself, here are some additional insights about how to handle difficult passengers.
Start by preparing yourself for the various types of difficult passengers that you will inevitably face. Understanding what to expect and how to professionally handle each situation can help you maintain a high rating.
Rideshare drivers are able to maximize their profits in a variety of different ways. Identifying the best ways to improve your rideshare business will take time and dedication.
If you’re serious about earning more money within the next three weeks, try applying a combination of these Uber driver strategies and share your feedback in the comments below.