I’m a rugby pundit and Uber driver, when ever you have been doing something for a while there are always things you’d liked to have known when you started. Here are the lessons that I had to learn the hard way so hopefully you don’t have to.
If you’d like to watch rather than read, here’s my video or scroll past to read the “lessons”.
You Earn Whilst You’re Driving Passengers
This one is going to sound obvious but you only earn money when you are driving with passengers. That means gaps between trips is the real killer to your income, also sitting in traffic with passengers doesn’t earn much either and will hit your hourly rate. There are 3 things that will contribute to your gaps:
Getting Your First Trip
I live in an area with quite a bit of social housing. People don’t take taxis or order Uber round by me so getting somewhere for that first trip is important to get the ball rolling. Most of the time where people take trips to is also where people take trips from, maybe not always at the same time of day but generally. This means it can be easy to get on a roll and pick-up trip after trip without much down time.
How To Get Back To The Centre Of Town
This might not apply to all cities but in Auckland not all drivers are allowed to pickup from the airport. I’m not allowed to, in one sense a trip to the airport is good as it’s one of the largest fares I can get. The problem is that I have to drive back into town for my next fare which is a long trip and means a gap. So finding where you can get trips back into town from for these common “out of town” locations can be a real help.
Knowing Your “Meat & 2 Veg” Locations
If you don’t get a trip straight after dropping off then you want to know where you are likely to be able to get a trip quickly. This will obviously change throughout the day. In Auckland I’ve found that lots of people go between the CBD and Parnell during office hours and so if I’m nearby these are places I’ll head towards after a drop-off.
Stars and Badges Don’t Matter
I’m a 5 star driver but that doesn’t mean much to me. You’ll hear on YouTube videos people claiming to be in the x% top drivers for their city via their star rating. To quote a rap song “it’s about the money dummy.” Stars don’t increase your income as Uber choose the closest driver to pick-up (or at least that’s what they say). Clearly if you get a bunch of 1 star ratings then they will kick you off the app but as long as you aren’t upsetting passengers it doesn’t matter.
The same applies to badges, I’ve been given the “Excellent Service” and “Great Conversation” badges so far. It’s nice but it would be even nicer to have a tip along with that but Uber doesn’t have that functionality yet. At the end of the day we are driving for money to pay the bills, it’s good to make the world a better place along the way but that’s not why I’m driving.
Go to the toilet and have a full tank of petrol before you start your shift. Act professional, just because you are your own boss doesn’t mean you mistakes won’t cost you. I’ve been caught out having to turn down a trip because I had fill-up with fuel. It took me 20-30 minutes to get the next trip. Especially if you’re not in the centre of town being unprepared can lose you cash.
Knockoff On Time
If you set yourself a time to finish then stick to it. Tired driving is dangerous and I have found every time I take 1 more trip or try to catch a surge I just get taken further from home. Suddenly I’m going to bed an hour later than planned and when you have to get up in the morning to take the kids to school, those missed hours of sleep hurt.
Trips Towards A Destination Rarely Works
Following on from knowing when to knock-off, I’ve found that trying to get trips towards a destination rarely works. Maybe that’s because I live in a poorer area of town I don’t know. But also when I have tried to Uber to a rugby game I’ve not got a trip. Give it a go but when it’s time to knockoff just get home, even if it means jumping on the motorway/highway where you know you won’t get a fare.
Don’t Chase Surges
Surges can come and go quickly so by the time you get there it’s gone. You’re normally travelling away from where you want to be. Also it’s a waste of fuel and time as you head towards where other drivers are heading. I’ve also been in a surge area and not got a trip so it’s no guarantee of a trip.
Those are the lessons I’ve learnt, if you have any that you’d like to add please comment below.
Become An Uber Driver
If you would like to become an Uber driver please use my referral code paulb47554ue and it could make us both a little more cash. Uber does change it’s referral program from time to time so check the terms when you sign-up.