Uber drivers are getting more and more creative on how to maximize their dollars from selling jewelry to their passengers while en route, to finding other ways to make the most out of their work days.
But have you ever considered what it’s REALLY like to drive with Uber? How can you make the most money possible? One Journalist, Emily Guendelsberger, went undercover in Philadelphia, and put together a nice inside edition of what it really is like behind the Uber wheel. During her month long occupation, she learned a thing or two and has put together a few tips to share that can help you make more money as an Uber driver-partner.
What happens during Training
Guendelsberger’s training for UberX (known as “the low-cost Uber”) consisted of a 13-minute training video that went over how to offer good service and receive five-star ratings from passengers. Some of the tips included opening the rear door for people, providing cold bottled water, and having extra phone chargers on hand for passengers to use. The video also emphasized the importance of looking professional, and even showed the star of the video selecting expensive ties to wear while driving people around town.
However, Guendelsberger found that these tips weren’t actually the best ways to cash in on the app. Here are a few strategies she recommends from her time on the job.
1. Keep Snacks and Water Handy
One of the hardest parts of driving Uber is being on the road for hours, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable. Guendelsberger highly advises to make sure you have energy boosting snacks and plenty water in your car — but not for passengers. She suggests keeping yourself well fed and hydrated while you’re working so you don’t have to waste time and money on fast-food.
2. Know the Local Bathrooms
Know your area! Keep an eye out for available restroom facilities in the areas where you usually drive. Guendelsberger greatly emphasized the need to find public bathrooms with free parking, which can be difficult to find in downtown areas. She found Whole Foods and suburban Starbucks to be some of her best bets in the Philadelphia area, with free parking and unlocked restrooms. Of course, every area will have different options, but make sure you know what’s around before you desperately need to use a restroom.
3. Ignore Uber’s Texts
Guendelsberger found that she made more money by ignoring Uber’s frequent text messages suggesting times and locations where demand for rides was likely to be high. Each message would encourage drivers to head to those areas, such as popular morning commute routes, busy bars on Saturday night, and the stadium when a Flyers game had just finished.
However, she found she actually made more money by ignoring these messages. When drivers flocked to an area recommended by one of these texts, Uber’s “surge pricing” — premium prices based on a lack of drivers in an area — would decrease, meaning those drivers would earn less for each ride.
4. Drive Up the Surge Fares
To take full advantage of surge fares, Guendelsberger recommends gaming the system a bit. She suggests logging out of the driver app before times you can anticipate surge fares, such as when the bars close. In Philly, she found 2 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. was a huge time for surge pricing as drinkers found their way home for the night.
She recommends logging out of the driver app around 1:50 a.m. or so, then waiting 15 minutes and logging back in to take advantage of surge fares.Logging out reduces the number of drivers in the area and drives up the fares. It also prevents you from getting a fare, at say, 1:55 a.m., and missing out on surge pricing.
5. Don’t Drive Around Endlessly
Driving around in circles in an attempt to get to an area where Uber will send you a “ping” to pick up a fare isn’t going to do much more than add wear and tear to your vehicle, Guendelsberger found.
She recommends sticking to a central area and avoiding the suburbs if possible. If you’re driving miles and miles to reach someone, there’s a good chance you’ll drive much further to meet them than you’ll wind up taking them, since you can’t tell where they want to go until you pick them up. This usually means drivers end up losing money on the fare. She also notes that if you’re driving a long way to pick someone up, they may get bored and cancel the ride or find another way to get to their destination.
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