Rideshare driving has its challenges, and the biggest, most important one is keeping earnings high. It’s hard to control all the many factors involved in the way drivers make money, especially with inflation taking a bite out of everyone’s wallet. Even those big company bonuses don’t always help when you have no idea how much more you’ll have to pay for gas, car maintenance, or energy to charge your EV.
Meanwhile, if you’re among the drivers just getting back on the road after the pandemic, you’ll have to hustle to get back up to speed. It’s a whole new world out there, but if you play it right, you can make the money you need to make a living, even with inflation and changing passenger patterns. Your first step is to get a handle on what aspects of your earning power you can control.
Fortunately, there are a few aspects of gig driver earnings that you can easily influence, and push your earnings skyward. The most flexible and powerful of these is tips. In this blog post, we’ll present some strategies to help you move your earnings upward with suggestions about how you can make more and get more tips. Here’s how we’ll cover the topic:
- Tips: how they factor into earnings
- Driving strategies: a road to better tips and bigger earnings
- Surefire tip getter: Play Octopus
- Get your tip-grabbing tentacles on your very own Play Octopus
Tips: how they factor into earnings
Not all rideshare customers are used to tipping their drivers. In the early days of gig driving, Lyft encouraged tipping, but Uber didn’t even offer riders an invitation or opportunity to give tips. Since then, that’s changed. Both Lyft and Uber make drivers eligible for tips. Still, when it comes to passenger behavior, evidence supports the timeworn adage: old habits die hard. In other words, drivers need to work hard at inspiring customers to give them tips.
When we leave a gratuity, say, in a restaurant, we usually plunk down at least 15% of the total. Other service providers, such as massage therapists, barbers, or hair stylists, might inspire most of us to tip around 20%. Sadly, when it comes to rideshare, drivers are not getting as much green. Anonymized data collected by Gridwise shows that tips from rideshare customers amount to just under 9% of driver earnings.
This is due in large part to the fact that not all passengers tip, and this discouraging piece of data could arise from a few factors. Companies are charging more to incentivize gig workers to come back to work and end the continuing driver shortage. Recently, they’ve added even more surcharges to cover higher gas prices. With the rising cost of rides, many customers may be more hesitant than ever to compensate drivers for all they do.
That’s why you need to work harder and put in lots of extra effort. Strive to give your passengers reasons to reach deeper into their pockets and come up with the tips you deserve.
Tip-worthy behavior for drivers begins with sending advance messages to your riders, telling them what direction you’re coming from, and while you’re at it, adding that while tips aren’t mandatory, you do appreciate them. Add to your coffers by being sensitive yet engaging with your customers, offering advice on how to have fun in your town and thanking them for riding with you.
They’re likely to pay you extra to carry shopping bags and luggage, or for offering kindly help with a stroller or wheelchair. If you’ve already mastered these tip-grabbing techniques, that’s fabulous. But there’s even more you can do to add to your basic earnings and get even more tips.
Driving strategies: a road to better tips and bigger earnings
Because tips are a percentage of your earnings, you need to make as much money as possible on every ride. While it’s nice to get those long, juicy airport runs and intercity trips, you can’t do them all the time. A solid driving strategy is essential if you want to give yourself a good running start toward a better income. This blog post on optimizing your rideshare driving strategy lists 5 ways you can improve your earnings in general.
We’ve established that if you want bigger tips, you’ll want to step up and be conscious of the way you interact with passengers and cater to them as much as possible. Before you can do that, though, you’ll have to know where to find passengers and how to spend as little time as possible riding around looking for them.
You need to be aware of where passengers are likely to be and at what times of day most of them will be looking for rides. You can conduct your own experiments, if you have the time, trying out different places and times of day to observe various traffic patterns. You can look at your company’s app for places where there might be high volume, but by the time you get to those surge zones, you could be out of luck.
Gridwise, the best mileage tracker app, provides solutions that put you right where the action is. Where to Drive gives you live data from fellow drivers on where the big money is in your area, while When to Drive clues you in on the times when funds are high in certain spots on your gig driving beat. Armed with this information, you can make the most of every minute you’re out there on the road.
Use Gridwise to track mileage and other expenses, too. Recording your financial transactions produces sizable returns at tax time. Those deductions add up and keep your tax bill to a minimum. As you can see, Gridwise is the best free mileage tracker app, and so much more.
Another part of a smart driving strategy is multi-apping, or moving from one service to another to take advantage of bonuses, including which company seems to attract the biggest tippers. Because Lyft has always had tips as part of the passenger routine, that might be a good place to start. There’s much to consider when it comes to driving for Uber vs. Lyft. This side-by-side comparison shows that Lyft lets drivers make more per ride overall, but that’s only part of the picture.
Much will depend on your area and how well each company has done at marketing their services to the public. Doing your own research by testing all your options is a really good way to see which company is going to bring home the most bucks for you.
No matter which company you drive for more often, you’re going to get more and bigger tips when you put together a positive rider experience.
Surefire tip getter: Play Octopus
If you want to create a rider experience your passengers will never forget, you need Play Octopus! Play Octopus is a F R E E (yes, that’s right) tablet that you mount onto your back seat. It’s designed specifically to entertain and fascinate your passengers. They can play free games, receive special offers from top brands, and because they see some short ads…YOU get paid for having Play Octopus in your car.
Play Octopus shares ad revenue with drivers, and that can add up to as much as $100 per month. Better yet, the tablet helps you to build relationships with your passengers. Playing the games opens them up, and while they’re playing they’ll start to talk to you. Before you know it, they can’t help but like you. Not surprisingly, when people like their drivers, they’re more likely to give them big tips. Whether they get the high score of the day playing their Uber game or not, you both win. They get to have fun on their ride, and you get more tips!
Even better, you get cash rewards every time your passengers play a game. As long as you log 100 trips per month, or drive while you’re online with your driving app for 40 or more hours per month with the Octopus tablet on board, you will get paid! Add on the extra tips you’ll get, and you’ve got an inflation-beating, conversation-starting, fun and engaging feature your passengers are sure to love.
You’ll also be pretty fond of the referral cash Play Octopus has to offer. Get a $25 bonus for every driver you turn on to this amazing way to earn more money and get bigger tips. Sweet, right? Before you start to tap your list of driver friends, though, you’d best get one of your own.
Get your tip-grabbing tentacles on your very own Play Octopus
No worries, you don’t have to dive into the deep blue sea to get your hands on one of these money-making machines. All you have to do to get your Octopus tablet is apply here.
Approval from the Octopus team will take about 3–5 days, but once you get the Octopus OK, your tablet will be mailed to you. Then, you simply mount it, let your passengers play with it, and start watching the money roll in. In case you’re wondering, the data plan you need for the tablet will be set up for you, and it too is free.
Great news for drivers that stopped driving due to the pandemic! Reapply for Octopus as soon as you’re ready to get back on the road! Getting into the post-pandemic groove can be challenging. Play Octopus is a must-have when you’re going back out there. Why not start with not just one, but eight, legs up? The Play Octopus tablet will instantly help you make more money and bring in bigger tips.
We can’t imagine how you could wait this long to get your own Octopus, the free tablet for Uber drivers, but in case you haven’t yet…