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

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Most people like to take a break to celebrate during the holiday season, and may not want to think so much about work. Yet like many other kinds of workers, including retailers, florists, bar and restaurant personnel, and others, drivers want to make the maximum by working during the holiday rush. There are more customers, bigger tips, and even bonuses and incentives offered by the gig driving companies.

So, as the holiday season approaches, you might ask, How can I make more money as a rideshare driver, or delivering food or packages? This blog post will answer that question, and give you ways to form a driving strategy that helps you make bank while the holiday cash is flowing freely. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Should you do rideshare or food, package, or grocery delivery during the holiday season?
  • Do gig drivers make extra on big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s?
  • How to make more money during the holidays
  • Gig driving strategy for the holiday season 

Should you do rideshare or food, package, or grocery delivery during the holiday season?

As always, the answer to this question depends on what you want. Gig drivers have the flexibility and freedom of choice when it comes to what kind of work they do and when they do it. But … knowing that the last few months of the calendar year are the busiest of all, we have to ask why you would not want to drive during the holiday season.

To help you sort things out in your own mind, here are some of the good and bad points about each type of driving gig during the season of the fierce hustle-bustle:

Rideshare 

  • There’s a lot more traffic, but also a great deal of business;
  • People come with more luggage, packages, and bags, and could tip you if you help them with it;
  • There will be more drunks, but also more surge pricing.

Food and grocery delivery

  • Restaurants and stores will be busy, but may also hire extra staff;
  • People cooking at home will want to have food to eat while they’re in prep mode, so you’ll be doubling up on lots of orders;
  • There will be plenty of extra demand for last-minute grocery deliveries, as well as lots of rushing.

Package delivery

  • Holiday gifting means boatloads of stuff to get around town, but it’s only fun if you don’t get overtaxed;
  • The seasonal spirit may inspire people to give you tips and other holiday treats, or disappoint you if they don’t;
  • Your company is likely to offer Santa-sized bonuses; we can’t think of a downside to that!

Do gig drivers make extra on big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s?

Almost always, the answer is “You bet!” Driving for Lyft or Uber during holidays and around them seems to pay off big time. The same can be said of delivering for Grubhub or DoorDash during holidays. You just have to pick your type of driving carefully to keep up with the rhythm of each festive celebration.

You can certainly expect business to boom in the run-up to the holidays, with airport traffic volume on the rise, and people out shopping, partying, and taking in the lights and sights. What you may not consider is how lucrative it often is to drive on certain holidays. Your willingness to do this will depend on your own plans and the holiday we’re talking about. Let’s cover the three big ones: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, for each type of driving.

Thanksgiving

Rideshare: First, let’s talk about the night before Thanksgiving. With friends and family landing from all over the place, and people getting into the spirit of the holiday, it’s known as one of the year’s biggest bar nights.

Now, about the Big Day. Sure, it’s an “at-home” kind of celebration, but it’s also a time for relatives to gather, often in another family member’s home. Because there will be alcohol served at many feasts, passengers rely on you to get them over the river and through the woods safely. There are opportunities to deliver family members without cars to Grandma’s, or ferry an angel such as a healthcare worker, or the clerk who drew the short straw at the local 24-hour bodega, to the job and back home again. 

Surge pricing is normally “on” since there are so few drivers willing to go out on the road after overstuffing themselves. This makes Lyft and Uber holiday pay a lot fatter, too.

Food Delivery: While not many people will be ordering regular restaurant fare, some might have their pre-cooked turkeys and fixings brought in from fine eateries and high-end grocery stores. Also, for you, the day before Thanksgiving should be big. Cooks won’t want to bother with Wednesday night nosh, and there will be more than a few out-of-town mouths arriving, in the hope of being fed before the next afternoon. 

They say Black Friday is another big day for food delivery, particularly in homes where relatives have absconded with the last of the leftovers. There are more than a few family members who are already sick of turkey and craving prepared meals, left abandoned by shoppers out slugging for deals. There’s plenty of traffic and a lot of hustle, but Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash holiday pay makes it worth shaking a tail feather!

Grocery Delivery: Most likely, you’ll be totally spent by the time Thursday rolls around, but you never know … someone could forget to bring the cranberry sauce or burn the green bean casserole. Many grocery stores remain open for at least part of the day, and you could scarf up some last-minute orders with big tippers on the other end.

Package Delivery: Outside of rare requests from those whose sourdough bread was ordered from San Francisco, or have lobster bisque flown in on ice from Maine, this won’t be a big package delivery day. Switch apps and opt for rideshare instead.

Christmas

Rideshare: You’d think this would be similar to Thanksgiving, but it usually works out to be much quieter. While there could be some church service attendees in need of a ride, that may only be due to nasty weather. Most people will make their own way to Christmas celebrations, and there will be far fewer restaurants and bars open for business. As with Thanksgiving, there will be healthcare and other types of workers who need rides to their places of employment, and there may be a few surges. But all in all, demand is likely to be less so this probably won’t be your biggest day.

Food Delivery: Most homes are full of comestibles of all descriptions. Many are feeding on cookies and candies alone. This would be a good time to take the day off, or look to package delivery or rideshare if you want to work a little.

Grocery Delivery: With few exceptions, stores will be closed for the day. However, on Christmas Eve, there could be a lot of business. People will be preparing holiday meals and will probably be even more burned out than you are from shopping, driving, and loading up the car. So, they’re likely to tip you well for giving them a break.

Package Delivery: While you’ll probably get enough of being Santa by the time the big day rolls around, the people who depend on you might not. There are some Christmas Day deliveries available if you’re interested in picking them up. There could be quite a few last-minute deliveries of toys, jewels, and packages for Grandma that make it just in time, so you may not be done muttering “Ho ho ho!” just yet. 

New Year’s

Rideshare: Every rideshare driver knows there’s much to love about this holiday. People will be out partying on New Year’s Eve and will want you to do the driving. Business might start at earlier hours than you’d expect because party venues often ask guests to arrive long before midnight. Just after 2022 gets its warm welcome from your town, you’ll be in demand in a big way – and there’s sure to be a humongous surge on, too.

What’s more, on New Year’s Day the average reveler will need you to get them back to the spot where they left it, or they might be after a hair of the dog at a sports bar, where there will be boatloads of college bowl games ready for watching.

Food Delivery: This holiday could be rather rich for you. Lots of people party at home, and many invite over more friends than they’re willing to cook for. And that’s where you come in. If you’re eligible for large or catering orders, New Year’s Eve could be a big night.

New Year’s Day could also be bountiful, as you deliver nachos, sandwiches, pizza, burritos, and more to those too glued to the football on TV to dream of spending more than a minute in the kitchen.

Grocery Delivery: New Year’s Eve could be another one of those days when people are so sick of going out that they get you to bring in the snacks and sandwiches they’ll be serving to welcome the new year. If you deliver liquor, a day like this one could bring you into bonanza territory. And then there’s tipping, which could be off the charts.

Don’t sell New Year’s Day short. You could be very busy delivering goods to people who are having family gatherings, restocking their dry goods, or sending you for celery, fruit, and protein powder as they resolve to shut off the holiday binge cycle.

Package Delivery: By this stage of the holiday game, you won’t be nearly as busy as before. Even on New Year’s Eve, you might have very light volume, or perhaps be delivering goodies people ordered with gift cards over the last week or so. If you want to hustle, there will be some money to be had, but it’s unlikely to be anything like a month before. New Year’s Day will probably be quiet, too. Shift to rideshare or grocery delivery if you want to spend the New Year’s holiday working. 

If you’re going to work when you’d rather be eating, drinking, and making merry, the cash had better be worth it. Let’s look now at some ways to capitalize on working through the festive time of year.

How to make more money during the holidays

To create the kind of holiday cash flow you’ve been dreaming about, there are ways beyond simply doing what you do for the apps you drive for. As mentioned, the companies will offer surges, bonuses, and quests that give you the incentive to put yourself to work. There are some other ways to rake in cash as well.

Holiday bonuses

In 2020, both Instacart and Amazon offered their drivers bonuses for working at least 20 hours during the month of December. See what your company is offering this year, and if you can, capitalize on all they have to offer.

Company promotions

Trust us. If you’ve figured out that there’s more money to be made during the holiday season, the same concept hasn’t been lost on the companies you work for. Some have even used the holiday theme to showcase their plans for expansion. Uber Eats’ Holiday Shop, which shows customers how Uber Eats can bring the holidays to their doors, is just one example. Keep on top of your companies’ offers, see who’s going to give you more opportunities to earn, and choose to work with the most promising app for the duration.

Referral programs

The last few months of the year are a time when most of your friends could use extra money, so they’ll be ripe for the picking. Don’t forget: When you refer a new driver, and they fulfill your company’s required level of business, you both get paid extra. That can be pretty sweet.

The right app

With all this talk of work, hustle, and making as much money as possible, it’s easy to forget how important it is to get the right work/life balance going, particularly when family together time is so precious. Gridwise can help you maximize your earnings while you stay on the road for as little time as possible. This story from a Gridwise driver shows you all the things this powerful app does to earn its place as the Ultimate Rideshare and Delivery Assistant:

Feeling more festive already? Good! Let’s start looking at more ways to devise a happy holiday strategy.

Gig driving strategy for the holiday season 

How to make more as a rideshare driver 

For rideshare drivers, earning more money requires being on top of what’s going on in your area at any given time. For example, when do local universities send students home for winter break? That will be a big travel day. When will there be activities in your town like parades, light-up nights, or other celebrations? Check for special holiday programs at concert halls and big arenas, too. 

While shopping is a big deal during the holiday season, we all know how much is being done online these days. With that in mind, taking people to and from stores probably won’t be a big moneymaker for you. You’ll probably make far more cruising around restaurants and bars for people gathering for special occasions and celebrations.

How to make more as a food delivery driver

Know your market and be willing to be flexible. For instance, since most people aren’t likely to be ordering pizzas on Thanksgiving night, you might want to wait until Friday or Saturday to drive toward the trattoria of your choice. Also, check out the restaurants in your area and find out if and when they’ll be open on certain holidays.

If you know about restaurants that are open on holidays and ready to pump out those orders, by all means, cruise on by. Don’t count on as many fast-food orders as usual, but there might be some. Many people just don’t like holiday fare, or maybe Grandma’s cooking doesn’t taste quite as good as it used to. Also, there will be people who are stuck working in hospitals, nursing homes, police precincts, and fire stations. They’ll appreciate your willingness to make getting some food easier for them.

How to make more as a grocery delivery driver

Grocery delivery drivers have to anticipate the times when people will need them most. By and large, your business will take place before and after the big holidays. But, if you have some stores open nearby, and you know people will have a need for deliveries, you could find some business. Make sure you’re aware of how to get a bonus from your company, and if you can, do what it takes to get that extra dough.

How to make more as a package delivery driver

At this time of year, package delivery drivers won’t have to try too hard. In fact, you’ll probably be swamped. This is where referral programs and company bonuses come in. They’ll be starving for more people like you, so you’re almost sure to make some money by referring friends. Like grocery delivery drivers, keep on top of what it takes to qualify for holiday bonus money, and make sure you get your hands on it.

How to make more money by mixing gigs

With so much variability, yet so much business out there, the holidays are a time when it’s smarter than ever to mix your money-making gigs. Deliver prepared food up until a few days before Thanksgiving, then cash in on the grocery delivery tips. Or, deliver packages until the last of the contents of Santa’s sleigh are dumped out, then switch to rideshare to get the New Year’s surge going on for you.

For any apps you don’t drive for yet, sign up early. That way, you won’t have to watch the Thanksgiving airport rush pass you by while waiting for your background check with Lyft or Uber to clear.

The greatest thing about gig work is the flexibility you have to move from one gig to the next. You can keep your cash flow going, and put extra fun and variety into your life, too.  

Best of all, you can count on Gridwise to help you …

  • Track all your earnings and expenses
  • Learn Where to Drive and When to Drive
  • Be on top of airport traffic
  • Know where and when events are happenings
  • Get traffic updates
  • Receive discounts with Gridwise Gas, and more!

This year, don’t let the holiday cash cow get away from you.

Download Gridwise now!

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