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How to Make More Money With Uber (10-50% More)

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Uber is probably one of my favorite side hustles I talk about.  And, it’s for a variety of reasons.

It’s easy to get started and a good driver can easily gross $20 per hour, sometimes much more if the cards are played right and you drive during the right times. However, if you drive aimlessly throughout the day, your hourly rate could be much less.

Seeing this is one of the largest side hustles in all of the world, I wanted to share some tips with you today as to how you can maximize your money with Uber.  They are simple to implement and can sometimes double your hourly rate if you go out at the right time to the right place.

Whether you’re an UberEATS driver and/or just an Uber driver, I can hope some of these tips can help maximize your earnings.  The last thing you want to do is turn on your app and start picking up strangers aimlessly.  This strategy won’t work.

No matter how often you drive, take a gander at the many tips below to help earn you more money the next time you turn on the Uber app.

How to Make More Money With Uber

NOTE:  How much you make will depend on your market.  I can’t stress it enough.  EVERY MARKET IS DIFFERENT.  You should be able to apply these tips in any market, but your results will vary from one driver to another.

Tips Aren’t Guaranteed, But You Can Increase Them

It was in the past when passengers couldn’t even tip you in the app.  That has since changed, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get one.

To increase your chances of landing a better tip than the average Uber driver, it’s simple.

Learn how to read people, simply meaning don’t be awkward.  If someone doesn’t want to talk, don’t push it.  Don’t bring up your political viewpoints.  No one wants to hear it.

Also, keep your car clean.  Nobody wants to step into a car that looks like it came out of a Hoarders episode.  You would be amazed as to how many Uber cars look like a dumpster or smell of cigarette smoke.

Dress nicely.  Like your car, you should look just as good.  Just avoid the cologne or perfume.

As long as you drive safely, you’re polite and help in any way possible, this can most definitely lead to more tips.  Think of how you would want to be treated if you were a passenger.

I know this may sound obvious, but there are way too many horror stories in regards to drivers talking loudly on a cellphone, playing annoying music or even smoking while driving.  Your horrible customer service could play a huge role in your hourly rate.

Watch Your Rating

This ties into the tip section, but I will create a section for an easier reading experience.

It has been said that Uber weighs your driver rating heavily when matching your passengers.  After all, they want to make money, so why would they send the lowest rated driver when, you, the highest rated driver is available?

It’s best to keep your stats up, which simply means being professional and applying the same tips mentioned above.  In doing so, not only will you get more tips, but it can help with your ratings, which may mean more rides.

Avoid the Herd in Some Cases

Oftentimes, drivers think it’s best to head to the stadium when a game gets out or when a bar lets out at two in the morning.  The same can be said about weekend nights.

Sure, while you can make money driving around these areas or at peak times, hundreds of other drivers may have the same thought process as you, leading to fewer rides in some cases.  You’re now competing with others.

Of course, this is geographically dependent, but you may find that driving in areas outside of the “in-demand” hot spot areas, it could lead to more rides due to the lack of drivers.

Stop Chasing the Surge

It can be tempting to chase the bright red colors on your map in hopes you will get three times the cash.  Well, this kind of ties into joining the herd!

As a ton of other drivers are doing so, you will often find that by the time you get there, the surge will disappear due to the drivers showing up in the same area, only leading to a basic fare. This is the reason Uber does this; to get more drivers.

If you want to chase the surge, however, consider turning your driver app off and the passenger app on.  In doing so, this can potentially keep the surge going until you get there as Uber often bases it on how many passengers are using the app to potentially book a ride.

Don’t Drive With No Goal in Mind

The last thing you will want to do is drive around with no goal in mind.   Driving to eventually pick up a ping will only waste gas and add unnecessary miles to your car.

Instead, the best place to sit tends to be in a central area, usually near a city center.  Expert drivers recommend avoiding the suburbs in some cases as there’s a good chance you will have to drive far to pick them up and who knows where they want to go.  It could be a mile up the road to the grocery store or you could get lucky in a 25-mile airport run.

In some cases, the driver may even cancel the ride if they find out that you’re too far from their location.

In this case, avoid the suburbs and stick to the popular city centers for quick pickups and drives.

Download and Use the Passenger App

This one is conflicting, but I have found it to be very useful.

If you download the passenger app and turn it on, you can see all of the Uber drivers around you, giving you a good idea as to who you’re competing with.  If you see a ton of drivers nearby, you may want to re-consider your area, but if it’s you and maybe someone else, then your chances of getting a ping could increase.

I would recommend turning the passenger app on only if you’re having a hard time getting pings.  If you see a ton of drivers, it’s due to the competition, but if you don’t see many, then it may be slow.

Aside from checking out the drivers nearby, it’s also a great way to see if any surge fares are present for passengers as well.

Avoid UberEats if Driving Passengers

While you can make money delivering food with UberEats, you will make much more with Doordash or Grubhub if that’s your thing.  You can “multi-app” as they call it, but it’s definitely one of the poorer paying food delivery apps.  Check out get paid to drive post if interested in the many more options if you don’t want to tote around people.

A lot of people stick to the UberEats app as they don’t want to drive people, and that’s fine.  However, if you want to drive passengers, you will often make much more.  Plus, you don’t have to get out your car multiple times to pick up food and drop it off.

While I wouldn’t rule of UberEats, I would only use it if you can’t hop on the other food delivery apps at the time and/or Uber is slow at the moment.

Take Advantage of Incentives (if they make sense)

Every week, Uber offers incentives, known as Quests and Boosts, where you can earn $X for doing a certain number of trips.  Of course, not every city has this opportunity, but if it does, be sure to take advantage of them.

In many cases, Uber will offer these incentives if they know they won’t have enough drivers on the road.

When taking advantage, however, be sure to read the fine print to know what’s expected of you as well as when the promotion expires.

Cancel When the Timer Expires

There will be times when you arrive and the passenger is nowhere in sight.  In this case, Uber will start a 5-minute timer.

Once that time runs out, cancel the ride and move on.  Don’t sit there as you’re now wasting your time.  In doing so, Uber will pay you, sometimes as much as a minimum fare (sometimes more), so it’s a great way to earn cash just for sitting there.

Check with your city’s fare as they all vary, but in a best-case scenario, like I said, it will be as much as a minimum fare, usually around $3 to $4~.

Be at the Right Places at the Right Time

As stressed earlier, every market is different, but the more you drive, the more you can learn about your market, such as where you should be at the right time.

For example, when I drove, I found I had the most luck hanging out at airports on a Sunday night.   I also did quite well in the suburbs on a Monday morning when businessmen/women were looking for a ride to the airport.

You don’t have to chase the events, as mentioned prior, but rather, test out some times/areas and see what works.  You will find that there’s a pattern that happens weekly, but again, it’s dependent on your market.

While you may lose money and/or waste your time at first while researching, it could pay off huge dividends in the future when you find the right mix.

Drive When Nobody Else Is

This one can take some work on your end, but consider driving when no one else is to take advantage of the open roads.

In my research, it appears that 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. can be a sweet spot, where you can quite a bit with airport runs or a random run.  And, the best thing is that there’s almost no traffic on the road, no matter where you live.

Also, consider driving on an early Saturday or Sunday morning when Uber drivers were out until 3 a.m. the night before chasing bar fares.  Many times, drivers are too tired to wake up at 8 a.m. to start driving for the day.

Again, there’s no definite answer here, but I just wanted to throw out some ideas.

TIP: Consider driving on holidays as many drivers tend to take the day off to spend with families.

Learn How Airports Work

Again, it’s market dependent, but learn how your local airports work if you want to take advantage of them.

In my research, it’s important to know when your airports are in peak season as well as when arrivals are coming in.  There’s a huge correlation between the number of flights landing to getting a ride.

Since you’re put in a queue when you get to the airport, you won’t want to sit around forever, hence, it’s important to find a time when flights are coming in.  To do this, I recommend going to the airport’s official website and looking for the official flight chart.  Find out when a cluster of arrivals are coming in at once and try to be there at that time.  In some cases, you may find that arrivals are landing every few minutes, so this may not matter.

Nonetheless, airports can work, but you will want to know when it’s the best time to pick up as well as research.

Take Advantage of the Destination Filter

If you’re calling it quits for the night, don’t just head home.  Instead, turn on your destination filter in the case someone needs a ride near your home.

If you’re going to be driving, you might as well pick up someone along the way to earn some cash, right?  As long as those wheels are turning, cash should be made.

You can learn more about the destination filter via the Uber FAQ.

Check out UberPeople to Gather Local Tips

UberPeople is the internet’s largest Uber message board.

The thing I like about this message board is that you can check out your local city and see what drivers are saying.  While you don’t have to post, it’s a great way to see what others are doing as many often share their tips.  Just scroll down on the website and look for “US Cities.”  From there, you can find your specific area.

For example, in my city, I have found many tips, such as conferences to be at as well as the hotels they are going to.  I found out a lot.

Depending on where you live, there could be multiple posts a day or maybe a few a week.  Again, it’s market dependent.  I can’t stress this enough!

Turn on Other Apps When It’s Slow

Uber isn’t the only game in town as there are many other ways to earn money from your phone.

If you’re not getting any pings or you know when it’s going to be slow, consider delivering food, groceries or even performing handywork to make money and pass the time until Uber picks back up again.

In combining other apps, this can greatly increase your hourly rate.

TIP: Multi-app with Lyft.  When you get a hit with one, turn off the other.  Lyft works in a similar way, so most of these tips can still work.

Track Your Mileage

Don’t forget that you will be able to write off your mileage, which means huge savings come tax time.

Whether you want to use an app or just jot down the miles on paper, it’s so important that you do so as it can save you a ton.

For more information, talk with an accountant or refer to tax guides online for more information.

Drive the Right Car

This one is kind of obvious, but hey, like all of my guides, I try to include every tip, no matter how obvious it may be.

If you plan on driving your Ford F-150 that gets less than 20 MPG, you’re going to have a hard time seeing a ton of profit in comparison to someone who’s driving around a used Toyota Prius averaging 50+ MPG.

And, while it may be tempting to chase the Uber XL, which allows you to take more passengers, many experts, including myself, found that less than 10% of your rides will be XL requests.  This means that, even though you will get paid more for the XL rides, you will still make less than someone driving a simple four-door car.

Add Services for Even More Cash

Since it’s your car and you’re considered an independent contractor, you get to add services as you see fit.

Some, such as Octopus, Wrapify and Steereo, are all options to consider that can earn you cash on the side as you tote around customers.

For example, Wrapify will pay you to advertise on your car. I talked about this very company in my get paid to wrap your car post.

There are quite a few

Pitch Your Business

If you own a business of sorts, consider pitching it to your passengers in a way to maybe gain a new customer/client.  And, no, I’m not talking a pyramid scheme, either.  It needs to be something honest and legit.

For instance, if you’re a massage therapist, consider offering a business card with a coupon code on it.  That way, you can track if your marketing efforts are working.

As long as you do it in a natural way and don’t come off as a pushy salesman, it’s a great way to pad your Uber earnings for the evening.

Invite People to Drive

And as my last way to make money with Uber, consider referring your friends and family using your special referral link.

Depending on where you live, this could be as much as $1,000, sometimes even more.  However, it isn’t as easy as signing them up and earning it.  In most cases, they will have to drive a certain number of times before you even see it.

If you know of anyone who wants to make money on the side, then referring could be something to consider.  You will be able to find your special referral link inside your app.

Final Thoughts

If you’re smart and learn about your market, you can definitely increase your hourly rate, sometimes as much as 50%.

Again, I can’t stress it enough that learning your market is essential.  Figure out which times, areas as well as events work in your favor.  It can take some time at first, but I promise it pays off in the future.  Even if you don’t want to go through the trouble of testing, customer service and a clean car can yield wonderful results in tips as well.

Remember, every market is different.  I think you get the point by now, right?

In the end, these were the tips I found to work for me when I was an Uber driver.  I don’t do it as much anymore since I like delivering food, but I feel they could work for you.

If you drive Uber, let me know your money hacks.

How do you make more money?

Anything you want to add?

As always, you’re more than welcome to sound off in the comments below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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