As much as I love driving Uber, some nights you just have to quit while you are behind. When you get two deliveries in a row, one normal ride, and then you come across a wrecked car with no one in it which slows you down only to arrive at the next address where your passengers are being detained by the police, so you cancel the ride and calculate your earnings so far as $10 for nearly two hours (after gas), it might be time to go home. Thankfully, I ended up less than two miles from home. It could have been 20 miles!
I’m skipping town tomorrow. I need to stop staring at this place and see some people I love. Pray that the truck makes it!
Politics and religion. Two things they always say to avoid conversations about…. And yet over the past two days I have picked fights zealously on Facebook. Why do I exhaust myself so?
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Got back on the Uber (and Lyft, but does that count?) wagon today. I definitely missed it. People are fascinating to me, from the Hispanic man with very slurred speech telling his kids over and over that they should never drink and drive and instead get an Uber like him (“Si Papi” ::audible eyeroll:: ) to the giant leather clad men in the Latin American motorcycle club, to the party animals who had no idea why they were heading to the Beaches (“The Beaches suck!”) to the single dudes who say literally nothing, to the couples who talk about everything like there is no other person in the car. I missed them all. There were a few sputters but the truck behaved, providentially. It darn well should, I had to put a new brake line on it!
Driving gave me way too much time to think. So if I am not too ridiculously busy this week I may actually have some interesting posts. Keep checking back!
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Since my next few installments of this series are going to require some research I have decided to put them off until next year. Thankfully for you next year is next month…
For now, here are some miscellaneous tips that I may have missed in my first four:
In New Mexico, one can make up to 20% of their unemployment in other money before it affects your unemployment. As in, you can make up to $85 driving Uber before they reduce your $425 unemployment check.
Arizona deducts dollar for dollar. I don’t know about other states, check with your local office for information.
Uber and Lyft:
Get used to many many smells. Between the food you pick up for deliveries and the potheads who obviously don’t realize how much that stench sticks, you are going to smell many unusual and strong smells. You may want to keep an odor neutralizer around for the lingering ones.
Which brings me to my next point. If you should happen to be able to tell that your passenger is enebriated, drive extra carefully. You wouldn’t want them to create an extra long-lingering smell for you in your back seat. I have heard there is a substantial clean up fee that Uber will charge for this, but who wants the hassle to begin with?
It looks like they have finally added a feature like the one Lyft has which allows you to go online from any screen. But I haven’t been able to figure it out. So I would stick to the plan as outlined in my previous post.
Take a pen. Two pens if you can.
Wear a shirt with two pockets. One is to hold your wad of twenty ones (for change) and one is to put your tips. Pants pockets tend to get a bit more sweaty, particularly if you are running everywhere you go.
Which you should. Not only is it good exercise, it shaves off precious seconds.
Keep ten each of quarters, dimes, and nickels. And twenty pennies. This gives you plenty of change to give exact change. And if you dig enough your costumers often get impatient and say “nah, just keep it”.
Keep it in a coin purse. There is nothing more annoying than dealing with loose change at the metal detector in the courthouse or town hall. Which reminds me…
Any sharp objects, including can openers, should be left in your vehicle. A lot of security guards are jerks that won’t hold something for you even if they can watch you walk in, deliver, and walk out.
Don’t worry too much about non-tippers, eventually you figure out that most non-tippers are balanced out by good tippers. Two good tips can completely erase a non-tip. Besides, getting grumpy just makes you sloppy, and being sloppy is a great way to guarantee non-tips.
I hope these are helpful, keep checking back for more installments. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, please do.
And if you have any tips or suggestions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!
This is the best discovery I made yet. Both apps can be run at the same time and with a bit of savvy you can easily make good money with both of them.
Turn on your Lyft Driver Shortcut in your Lyft settings menu. Then open Uber. Go online with Uber, then drag the Lyft Driver Shortcut to the center of the screen to go online with Lyft. Then go back to the Uber map.
When you accept a ping for Uber, make sure you swipe that steering wheel to the center to go offline for Lyft.
It’s not as easy when getting a ping from Lyft. Accept the ping and then navigate back to the Uber app to go offline. This takes a bit of getting used to, but so far I have not had a ping from both at once, so the extra few seconds haven’t been much of an issue.
Drop off your passenger and turn back on whichever app you went off line with. It’s really that simple.
By doing this, I was able to increase my earnings by about 15%, which isn’t a lot, but every bit counts. My phone died last week and I had to borrow a phone and use only Uber this past Friday. A night that would usually net me $50 after gas ended up being a very slow night for less than $30. Running both apps keeps slow nights moving.
There are apps that automate the whole process, but from what I have read in reviews they are too buggy to be worth the price you pay for them. Plus you are already running several apps at once and of your phone is as finicky as mine it may end up costing you a few rides with screen freezes and other delays. So why risk it? It’s simple enough to do it manually and once you get the hang of it probably quicker than automation anyway.
You will need a smart phone, obviously, and the app downloaded to said smartphone.
You will also need pictures of proof of insurance, registration, and your driver’s license. Lyft will conduct a background check, which can take 24 hours to a few days, and will let you know when you can start driving.
First impression: eek. The app feels like a knockoff brand of Uber, not quite generic, but different enough that it makes you uneasy. Like Tab. Lyft is the Tab of ridesharing.
The process for signup is a bit more tedious than Uber, but still not difficult. What made me cringe at first was the clunkiness of the app. There’s no other way to describe it, the app is just more clunky feeling than Uber. Everything is a tap, not a swipe, which can be tricky for accident prone folks like me.
Picking up passengers is an especially clunky process compared to Uber. Instead of automatically alerting the passenger that you have arrived and starting a timer like Uber does, you have to manually tell them you have arrived (two taps, one to say you’ve arrived, another to confirm it, like you messed up the first time). This is a bit of a distraction, especially if the area was crowded with people or cars.
Unlike Uber’s two minutes, Lyft gives passengers five minutes to get to you. According to the countdown timer you do get paid for the wait. I have not found out if it cancels after the five minutes. Five minutes is an eternity when picking people up, especially in busy areas.
After picking up the passenger the app works exactly the same as Uber. Person gets in, you confirm the start of the trip, navigate to location, drop off person, end trip, rate passenger, get paid, everyone’s happy. This I liked. They will even find you the next passenger before you drop off your current one and add them to your navigation, just like Uber does, but unlike Uber, you don’t have to accept them, it’s all automatic.
One of the biggest things I noticed about Lyft: they love to send you text messages. When I first turned on the app, it sent me a text message telling me I was online, like I needed that. When someone canceled (more on that in a bit) Lyft would send you a text message. When you sign into Destination Mode, Lyft would send you a text message. It seemed like every few minutes I was getting another distracting text message telling me something the app could have easily told me itself.
How Much Money Are We Talking Here?
The Lyft rates can be a bit confusing. There is no breakdown in the app of per mile or per minute rates. Passengers can see how much they pay here, but I can’t personally find how this translates to drivers. I know for a fact I am not getting $4.25 as my minimum fare.
The only night I exclusively did Lyft was so filled with cancellations that it is impossible to tell you a good night from a bad. From what I can tell though, when the app runs smoothly the amount you make is comparable to Uber.
The rates are not spelled out as clearly on the trip pages. You just get a breakdown of “Ride Payments” and “Lyft Fees” and while it does spell out time and distance, who wants to do the algebra required to figure out exactly what each mile and minute pay?
These are all pretty much the same as the Uber tips. Don’t drive around, watch your gas, and chat up your passengers.
I do think it may be good to chase “Power Zones” in Lyft. From what I can tell, they aren’t calculated the same way as Uber’s “surges” and don’t go away just because more drivers go into them.
Be prepared to turn around a lot. It seems Lyft likes to pair you up with a passenger, then pair you up with a different passenger once it determines someone else is closer to the original passenger. This may mean turning around at the next exit or making a quick u-turn on a residential street.
Be prepared to go the long haul. Uber on average sends me 4 miles to a passenger. Lyft has sent me 20 miles once, and 8-10 quite frequently. Sometimes these people are only going 2 miles down the road and for 10 miles of driving I only make $3.19. This may seem like a lot, but with my gas guzzler I end up only keeping 1.48 of that after gas. Depending on lights that trip could take 20 minutes total, giving me only $4.44/hr.
I hate to make this a comparison blog, but I honestly like Uber better. The only way to make Lyft better is to do both at the same time, which is what I will talk about in my next installment.
But. Still. Go get the app, go through the process, and start driving it as a filler when Uber is slow.
And again, hit me up for a referral code @ email@example.com or on my FB Page.
Sorry for the week delay. Life is crazy, as usual. And I’m horribly undisciplined to boot.
Today’s money making scheme is Uber. I have been doing Uber the longest out of all of the schemes I wish to discuss. I’ve been doing Uber now for about 9 weeks, with weeks (and months) off here and there.
What it is:
Uber is a ridesharing app that allows you to play taxi driver with your own personal vehicle.
In order to drive for Uber you first must have a vehicle which meets basic specifications. These specifications vary from city to city, but the basic requirement is that it have four doors. The model year requirement varies dramatically, here in Jacksonville we qualified with a 2004, in Washington DC the year had to be 2007 or newer. When you sign up you will find a list for your local area.
You will also need proof of insurance, registration, and a picture of your license. Uber does the necessary background checks (mine took less than 24 hours) and then you can get on the road.
Oh yeah, and a smart phone. But you’re a Millennial, you don’t know of any other kind of phone.
For an extrovert who loves to drive, Uber is a great experience. I don’t recommend that you apply if you don’t like people or get panicky while driving. You’re going to meet a lot of people in a lot of parts of town, some bad, some good.
The app itself is fairly smooth to run, just start it up and swipe “online” to start getting ride requests. When you do, you will hear a little jingle sound and the request will pop up on your screen. You’ve got 15 seconds to accept so think fast. The app will shown you where the person is after a second or two so you can make a more informed decision.
Once you accept the ride, click the “Navigate” button and your choice of navigation app will pop up with directions already programmed in. A bit of advice here: get Waze. Waze gives better directions (though you ought to be aware of long U-turns) than Google and will tell you where roadwork, police, and crashes are.
Navigate to your rider. Once you arrive the app tells them you are there and starts a two minute timer. This is one of the best features Uber has added this summer. After two minutes of waiting, you will start getting paid for your time. Your riders have an incentive to get out to you quickly which saves you time and gas. Keep in mind this clock only starts when you are close enough to the destination that Uber starts the timer. I’ve had people enter in an address just far enough away that it didn’t trip and then make me wait. Not sure if it is on purpose or not, but keep it in mind.
When the rider gets in, greet them. This should seem obvious but I have heard horror stories of not-so-nice Uber drivers (they don’t last long). Swipe “Start trip” and again your navigation will pop up and tell you where to drop them off. Of course this is not foolproof, sometimes they want to go somewhere near what they put in, or what they put in was just a stop and they want to keep going. If the latter is true, make sure you turn off requests so that Uber doesn’t ping you for a new ride before you’ve dropped off your current one. The app will continue to charge until you hit the “End trip” button.
Navigate to your destination, the app will automatically pop up when you arrive with a “End trip” button. Drop the rider off and swipe the button, it’s pretty easy.
How Much Money Are We Talking Here?
In Jacksonville the current pay rates for drivers is $0.60 per mile and $0.08 per minute, so if you’re driving at 60 MPH you’re making $0.68 per min. From what I’ve read each city has a different pay schedule. There is a minimum guarantee of $3.19 per ride, so don’t worry about short rides, unless they are too short (I had a delivery across a parking lot that only spit out $2.68, after I drove six miles out of my way to pick it up).
On a good night I can make over $100 before subtracting gas. On bad nights it’s usually in the $35-50 range before taking out gas. Mind you that’s only about 4-6 hours of driving, so after gas my pay is usually $8-15 per hour. If I wasn’t driving a gas guzzler (Ford Expedition) this would be more.
The best nights are busy nights when there are a load of events going on in town, like football games, concerts, or three day weekends.
I have driven mornings as well, and typically the tips are better, but the trips are fewer and the traffic is worse. This is why I stick to nights, drunk people LOVE Uber.
You’ll see a lot of these elsewhere on pages about working for Uber but I’ll reinforce the ones I’ve found particularly true:
Don’t chase the surges, unless they are particularly close they generally will disappear before you get there. It’s Uber’s way of making sure they have enough drivers distributed around town, so the map is usually a minute or two behind to ensure that enough drivers are in the area.
Park, don’t drive around. I typically start my night by getting gas, turning on the app, driving about a block to the nearest shopping center, parking, and turning off the truck. On an average night I won’t have to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a ping. When you drop someone off, park nearby and wait, unless the app has already found you someone else. I only move if I’ve sat more than 20 minutes. You will learn the best parts of town for rides and the worst. Thankfully those can only be a mile or two apart.
Keep an eye on your gas. I heard a horror story from one of my passengers about a driver that ran out of gas and had the nerve to ask him to push her car off the busy road while she got a gallon of gas. She then had the nerve to tell him she was going to stop for more gas before taking him on to his destination. Don’t be that driver.
Chat it up! Always greet people when they get in, always let them talk if they want to, or not talk at all if they want to, and always wish them a good night. Good customer service goes a long way towards a good tip or a five star rating. I’ve even had good conversations gloss over the fact I missed a turn or hit my brakes a little hard. People are forgiving if you make them feel important to you.
Don’t do delivery if you don’t have to. Sign up for it, and keep it as a possibility (you can turn it off in the app) for slow nights or when you want a stretch break, but don’t do it if you are getting passengers. A typical delivery takes 20-45 minutes from the time you accept it to the time you are able to drop it off. In this time I usually can pick up a passenger or two and make almost twice as much money (and they tip, unlike delivery people). I’m hoping Uber works out the bugs but until then delivery is just staying in back-up status.
Take the shortest time route. Even if you can save a passenger $2 by driving 4 fewer miles, they don’t notice a shorter distance as much as the longer time. Time is money to most people, even if they are technically paying more.
If someone mentions tipping, don’t expect a tip. I don’t know what it is about psychology, but I’ve noticed the only people that consistently don’t tip are the ones who mention that they will.
I love Uber. I could write so much more about the experience and about tips and tricks, but that would probably cause you all to drop off my site forever.
If you have the vehicle, and you love people, go, get the app, go through the process, and start driving as soon as possible!
Oh, and before you do, message me for a referral code @ firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Facebook page. I’m pretty sure there is some sort of reward for the both of us if you do.