Holiday gig driving

Holiday gig driving: Your fun & festive guide to extra cash!


Will your driving gig bring you more cash during the holidays? In most cases, yes. Be prepared for even more hustle than usual, though. In this article about holiday gig driving, we’ll help you get through it, and even thrive, as we study the pros and cons of holiday gig driving and other considerations, including

  • How driving changes around the holidays.
  • Lyft driver pay vs. DoorDash driver pay: a look at earnings from popular apps
  • How to earn more Uber driver tips and DoorDash tips around the holidays.
  • Devising the best holiday gig driving strategy.

How driving changes around the holidays

The hustle-bustle of the holidays is hard to miss, even if you’re not a gig driver. But if you do rideshare, food delivery, or grocery and package delivery driving, the immense shifts in your workload and how almost impossible it becomes to get around are right in your face.

Here are some pros and cons of driving during the holiday season, for both rideshare and delivery:

Holiday driving prosHoliday driving cons
More passengers and orders/packagesTraffic jams
Generous tippingHurried people and short tempers
More hours of work availableHigher volume means greater time pressure for delivery drivers with scheduled blocks
Additional travelers at airports and transportation hubsHuge loads of heavy baggage filled with gifts and oversized items
Gigantic, profitable grocery orders, need for delivery and rideshare to and from stores and restaurantsPeople eating traditional meals at home, and not going out or placing delivery orders
More parties, rideshare passengers, and catering ordersMore drunk riders, large quantities of food to carry, people demanding faster service

While the upside of driving during the holidays is exciting, the undesirable underbelly can give any driver pause. Still, very few of us can afford to stop driving completely for the holiday period. That leaves us with the choice of either simply coping, or using the holiday momentum to make more money than ever!

It’s also important to consider your lifestyle when it comes to driving during the holidays. If you have a lot of family obligations, or if you simply want to join in on holiday fun, you’ll need to find a balance that allows you to have some fun, too. That means it’s more important than ever to have a handle on what kinds of gig work will pay you the most, while involving the least amount of time and effort. 

Lyft driver pay vs. DoorDash driver pay: a look at earnings from popular apps

There’s a bit of a difference between rideshare driving and food, grocery, or package delivery. It’s great that as a gig driver you can work for as few or as many apps as you like. At holiday time, you may want to switch things up. Say, for instance, you work for Amazon Flex, but you also realize there could be some issues once the gift giving time window closes. How much do Amazon Flex drivers make after that happens? Probably not a lot. Sure, there will be some returns and redeliveries, but it will probably be more difficult to get profitable schedule blocks at that point. Read more about Amazon Flex here.

The same might go for some grocery delivery gigs. Instacart shopper pay and Shipt shopper pay might be great on the run-up to those huge holiday feasts, but those surges won’t last forever. That’s when you might want to shift over to rideshare to get those New Year’s Eve party people home safely.

Before you make a decision about whether, or which, company you might want to switch to, let’s compare earnings across the board.

ServiceGross Earnings Per Work Hour (Median)Gross Earnings Per Trip (Median)Gross Earnings Per Work Hour (Median)Gross Earnings Per Trip (Median)
Amazon Flex$22.75N/A$22.88N/A
Uber Eats$13.83$9.70$13.45$9.37

Rideshare and Amazon Flex have the highest gross earnings per hour, to be sure, but consistency will depend a lot on where you drive. For instance, if traffic in your town ebbs and flows with the number of college students, the whole holiday period might be a bust. With final exams and trips back home, university campuses and their surrounding areas will be very quiet.

If, however, you live in a place where residents are likely to be at or near their homes for the holidays, there will be quite a bit of traffic, even between Christmas and New Year’s, and certainly for New Year’s Eve. By the way, that night might be one night to put that tarp over your back seat so the upholstery can survive virtually anything, but the surges and bonuses will probably be worth it. There’s sure to be plenty of work, in most cases, for rideshare drivers.

To learn more about what these companies offer, read this comparison of Uber vs. Lyft for rideshare, and check out this comprehensive guide for delivery drivers. This information will help, but there’s more to driving than basic pay and what it takes to do the job. Especially at holiday time, bonuses from the app companies and bigger than usual tips can really add to drivers’ income. 

How to earn more Uber driver tips and DoorDash tips around the holidays

Apps hand out more bonuses when business is brisk and there are not enough drivers or shoppers to cover the terrain. This might happen in the run-up to the holidays, or on the days when most people are not likely to be working because they want to commemorate the occasions.

Check out what’s happening on your app for any bonuses and incentives the company you’re with might offer. Use Where to Drive and When to Drive from Gridwise to focus on the areas and times that will be most profitable.

Tipping is something most customers will be way more generous with when the holidays come. Maybe they’ll appreciate your willingness to drive Grandpa home from a big Hanukkah party, or how diligently you shopped for all the right ingredients for a weekend of cookie baking.

When you choose which app to work for over the holidays, it will help to know what the average tips might be like. This table shows 2022 tipping figures for some popular apps.

ServiceTip Earnings per HourTip Earnings per Hour
Uber Eats$6.51$6.69

Obviously, tipping is one key to how to make money with Grubhub. That average hourly tipping figure is higher than most rideshare drivers’ basic earnings per hour. As for the question of how much do Instacart shoppers make on bonus and tips, the answer’s not so exciting. Let’s hope people would dole out a bit more around the holidays, but it looks like Instacart shoppers will need to bank on big orders to make their money. Uber Eats driver pay can get a boost from tipping, though, as long as drivers make plenty of trips. 

On the rideshare side, Uber and Lyft drivers seem to earn about the same level of tips hourly, but Uber drivers get bigger bonuses. Holiday incentives might result in both companies paying more than they do the rest of the year. Drivers hope that will happen, anyway.

How can drivers make sure it does? It’s a matter of doing what you do all year, but a little more than usual. Especially where the weather isn’t all that welcoming, customers appreciate rideshare and delivery services even more around the holidays. They realize you could be at home lighting candles or singing around the tree, rather than taking care of their needs. Look at this article about how rideshare drivers can earn more tips, and study this post to find out how to make more money with DoorDash and other delivery apps.

Devising the best holiday gig driving strategy

Remember that the “best” strategy is actually the one that benefits you the most. If your priority is to make more money, that’s one way to build your holiday driving routine. If you want to enjoy as many celebrations as you can with your own family and friends, you’ll want to take that into consideration. Here are some things you’ll want to do to put together the delivery, Lyft, and Uber driver strategy that keeps you jolly and well compensated as the holiday season peaks.

work-life balance: Are you actually available to drive at times when people are celebrating? Do you have family obligations on the last night of Hanukkah or on Christmas Eve? Will your beloved ever forgive you for eschewing your New Year’s Eve date because you want to break the “How much do Lyft drivers make a week?” record?Before you put together your strategy, look at your life and how much of it you’re willing to give up to make a few extra bucks.

where the parties are: You want to make the most money possible while saving as much time as you can, right? That’s why it’s good to know what’s being celebrated, and where and when revelers will need rideshare and delivery driving services. Use Gridwise to find out when the holiday shows let out or what’s going on at the airport. Research places of worship, private clubs, and banquet halls where holiday parties might happen. Gridwise will tell you how to avoid heavy traffic—and if the weather decides to answer the pleas of those who sing, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

bonus offerings: The companies you drive for know that you might need incentives to go out to drive and deliver at this time of the year. That’s why they offer a lot of extra bonuses and incentives. Check the apps you know, and search around for other apps that you may be able to sign up with on short notice. You might just find a hefty sign-on bonus that helps pay for the hotel room you hope to rent for interfering in-laws.

strategic insight: Patterns change during the holiday season. There may not be as many drivers around as usual, or there could be more out than ever, hoping to take advantage of holiday bonuses. You need to know what’s happening for real drivers in your driving area, and Gridwise has the inside info. Use Where to Drive and When to Drive to get driver data that reflects exactly what’s going in your area.

earnings information: Some of the best Lyft and Uber driver advice available involves tracking your earnings. The same goes for delivery drivers. You can set goals and find out immediately how well you’re doing by syncing your driving apps to Gridwise. Your stats will be calculated, compiled, and presented to you in easy-to-read graphs that spell out your performance. You can also look at earnings figures from the past and determine right away if it’s worth driving over the holidays, and how much more you’re making.

minding your business: Remember to take advantage of the ability to deduct those extra expenses you might run into, including snacks and treats you offer passengers, festive clothing to wear when you’re delivering, or lights to trick out your ride to suit the season. Gridwise helps you track all your expenses, and your mileage, too. We all know what’s coming not too long after the year’s end—tax preparation time! Make sure you have your records straight with all the great features you get from Gridwise.

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