If you’re here, you’re probably already an Uber driver and you want to learn how to make money with Uber.
Driving for Uber is one of the best side gigs or even full-time hustle available when you have a car and a pristine driving record.
The way you’re paid by Uber is flexible in that you aren’t paid an hourly wage. There are ways to increase your Uber revenue so that you’re earning four or even five figures a month.
Today, we look at how to make more money with Uber, as well as the pros and cons to being an Uber driver so you can judge for yourself if this is hustle is for you.
12 Tricks for Uber Drivers to Make More Money
Here are a few tricks for Uber drivers that you can utilize to maximize the amount of money you can make in the shortest time possible.
1. Drive the right car.
What makes a car the right car to drive with Uber is one that balances your driving skills, fuel efficiency, maintenance needs, and your income goals.
For instance, you can make more money driving a larger car because you’ll be eligible for both UberX and UberXL, but if you can’t drive a larger car comfortably, it may not be worth it.
2. Always keep water and snacks in the backseat.
Nothing feels better than getting inside of an Uber car and finding a few snacks and water.
It shows the passengers that you care about their comfort and increases your chance of getting a larger tip and a good review.
Don’t just place it in the backseat haphazardly, though; invest in a car seat organizer so everything is neatly arranged on the back of your seat.
3. Don’t follow the herd.
A few weeks in and you’ll already know about the “recommended times” and the “recommended locations” where the demand is high.
Whether that’s a busy Saturday night or a certain morning route, it’s always better to completely ignore those.
You’ll be dealing with high competition since all Uber drivers in the area will tend to flock to those recommended locations at those recommended times.
You’re more likely to actually get a request where there is a lack of drivers.
4. Log out of the Uber Driver App before a surge.
Learn about the general surge times and log out of the app 15 minutes before.
Let’s say you know that 5 p.m is a huge time for surge pricing as everyone is leaving work.
Log out of the app 15 minutes before since that reduces the number of drivers, hence increasing the surge fare. Plus, you won’t get a request right before the surge pricing kicks in, so you won’t be missing out on the higher fares.
5. Stay in one place when you’re waiting for a request.
It’s tempting to drive around the city when you’re in between rides, hoping to increase the chances that you’re pinged for a ride.
Unless you’re doing it to familiarize yourself with an unknown area, it’s a bad idea.
You waste gas, you wear out your car, and it’s unlikely that the one or two pickups you get to make will be worth it.
A better strategy is to find a safe place to park (not idle) and wait for a while. Ideally, it’s near a high-traffic area where there are riders.
6. Watch the Uber Passenger App as well.
This is one of the most important Uber tricks for drivers.
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You need to understand your local market, and to do that, I recommend downloading the Passenger App.
You’ll be able to know how many Uber drivers are near you and make a strategy around it.
For example: if people are leaving a concert, all drivers may be in the same place by the main entrance.
Instead, go to the other entrance where you’re more likely to get a request instantly.
7. Follow the alcohol.
Friday and Saturday nights, along with major holidays, are definitely the best days to make the most money with Uber.
Surge pricing usually lines up with bar closing times.
However, remember that you do have to deal with inebriated passengers, and there is always the risk of someone getting sick in your car.
8. Be ready for the mess that comes from following the alcohol.
If you’re going to deal with drunk passengers, you need to be ready.
Puke-proof your interiors (Scotchgard your cloth covers or just change to vinyl covers), have proper barf bags (the ones with a plastic ring to hold on to) within easy reach, and keep an emergency cleaning kit complete with rubber gloves, soapy water, and a portable vacuum for “accidents.”
Uber does charge a cleaning fee to passengers who make messes, so you get back at least some of the cost of your emergency puke kit and to actually deep clean the mess.
Remember to document and take pictures of all messes first before you clean them up, though.
Lastly, air fresheners are your best friend; have a few of them handy.
9. Dress and act professionally.
Always dress in clean and nice clothes, and put a lot of effort into being polite and respectful to the passengers.
Making a good impression goes a long way toward high ratings and even possibly a tip.
10. Stay updated on weekly incentives.
Gamifying ridesharing can be a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. But we’re not going to pooh-pooh a chance to get extra money from Uber.
Not every city offers these incentives, but when you see chances to boost your earnings (for example, “Do X trips and get an extra $Y”), do your best to take advantage of them.
11. Sell useful stuff to your passengers.
You might have heard about the “Uberpreneur” a few years back who made more than $250k a year selling jewelry as he was driving his Uber.
It’s not for everyone, though.
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Riders book Uber to go someplace, not to go through a sales pitch.
However, if you’re careful to sell goods that your passengers might need, you just might be able to earn a few extra dollars a day.
For instance, display folding umbrellas or rain ponchos for those days when there’s unexpected rain. Or offer portable power banks for those who forgot to charge their phones.
12. Make even more money by incorporating other apps with Uber.
Instead of just making money with Uber as a driver, you can capitalize on being an Uber driver by downloading these apps.
- Vugo. This is a company that will pay you to set up a tablet in your car and display ads in the backseat.
- Wrapify. They are a company that will pay you to wrap your car in a commercial ad. Just be wary as there are a lot of car wrap scams that exist out there. Stick with legit, proven companies like Wrapify.
- GetUpside. Save up to 25¢ per gallon of gas with this cash back app
- Stride. Track your mileage and expenses with this app so you can maximize your tax deductions come tax season.
- Waze. Uber’s in-app navigation can fail you. Waze is much more accurate and can get you to your destination quicker and safer, which are all good things if you’re looking for good ratings, good tips, and to squeeze in as many rides as you can in a day.
Pros of Making Money with Uber
If you’re new to driving for Uber or trying to decide if it’s worth it, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons so you can end up making an informed decision.
I’ll lay everything out and help you decide if it’s worth it.
1. You have a flexible schedule.
Possibly the biggest advantage of making money with Uber is that you can work as much or as little as you want.
You can dictate your schedule around important occasions and holidays.
Need to work late at night? Do it.
Take a whole month off because you just need some “me time”?
Yup, go for it.
Have a friend’s baby shower all the way across the state? You guessed it…Do it!
2. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs.
If you’re an entrepreneur who’s in the process of starting or funding their own business, then Uber is a great way to make that extra money you need to fund your business.
Usually, entrepreneurs go for part-time jobs but those often come with strict schedules, and, well, a boss.
Which brings me to the next point…
3. You are your own boss.
Driving with Uber, there’s no one telling you what to do, how to do it, or when to do it.
If you thrive in an independent work environment and don’t like being constantly supervised or micromanaged, then you’d like driving with Uber!
4. Only skill required: driving well.
You don’t need to be a great writer, a crafty person, some Bitcoin guru, or even have special skills at all to be able to make money with Uber.
Driving well (read: driving safely, not driving fast) is enough.
You don’t even need any equipment but your phone and your car.
There’s a very low barrier of entry to the job in general (all you need is a car, a license, and no criminal background).
5. You get to meet new people.
This one can be a pro or a con, depending on whether you like people.
If you’re an extrovert, then you will love the fact that you get to meet all types of people.
Maybe you’ll get to learn a thing or two from them.
Most side hustles don’t give you the opportunity to interact socially.
6. You get to explore your city and beyond.
A lot of freelancers who work from home or remotely complain about the sudden monotonous routine that they find themselves in after a while.
They are sick of working from the same place every day.
When you make money with Uber, you’ll actually get to see new places and neighborhoods you’ve never even heard about.
7. Learn while working.
Yes, you can listen to music or news while driving, but why not use this time to listen to podcasts?
You can use the time you work and make money to master another subject.
8. Take advantage of the surge.
Let’s be honest: this definitely sucks for the rider.
For you, though, it’s definitely quite freaking cool.
If you are in an area or a time that often has surge pricing, you can make up to double the money (or even more) for the same amount of work.
Although it’s not smart to always be chasing the surge pricing (you’ll get to know why in a minute), it’s still a major advantage.
Cons of Making Money with Uber
The benefits are enticing, but there are some drawbacks to being an Uber driver, too.
1. You have to do your taxes.
Having to do your own taxes is dreadful.
But since you’re considered an independent contractor, you’ll have to calculate your own taxes and pay your own expenses.
2. You subject your car to hard use.
The biggest enemy of your car is wear and tear.
The number of miles will increase, you’ll need to maintain your car religiously, and repairs will be more frequent.
The expenses add up and will take a considerable chunk off your earnings.
3. You subject yourself to some risk.
You’d probably think twice before picking up a hitchhiker, right?
Well, picking up an Uber passenger is a slightly more sophisticated (and paid) version.
It’s not to say that driving with Uber is dangerous, but driving strangers around to places that you may be unfamiliar with does sound a little risky.
4. Customers may leave unfair ratings.
You can do everything to improve customer experience, but in the end, you can’t control how you’re rated by your passengers.
But if you have a low rating, you’re less likely to be pinged when someone needs a ride.
Moreover, if your average rating falls below a 4.6-star rating average, your account is flagged and Uber will consider whether or not to kick you out of the platform.
5. It’s a sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re making money with Uber as a side hustle, then you won’t have to really worry about this, since you have plenty of hours left in a day to make up for the lack of activity when you’re driving.
But if you’re taking up Uber as more of a long-term, full-time business, this can affect your health.
6. There’s little to no growth potential.
As I’ve mentioned, you do get to explore your city and learn new things from interacting with all sorts of people.
But in terms of a career ladder, it’s a dead-end, quite frankly.
Your income can increase from year to year, but there are no promotions or any higher level you can get up to.
Start Making More Money With Uber!
Hopefully, you’ve weighed the pros and cons of becoming an Uber driver and decided to go for it.
Whether you’re trying to earn more money to pay off debt, fund a business, save for a holiday, or build a nest egg, every cent of extra income matters.
Are you currently driving for Uber? Did I miss any hacks to increase your Uber income? Tell me in the comments so I can add those to the list!