COVID-19 sure has made a mess of things.
For drivers, the bulk of the chaos we’ve endured involves the way the gig economy landscape was turned over on its head. It’s no longer a no-brainer to go out and make money doing rideshare only. People aren’t back in restaurants and bars just yet, and those ball games and huge concert events that generated tons of riders are still a long ways off.
At Gridwise, we want to help you create a set of circumstances where you can work and make the kind of money you (and we!) know you deserve.
In this new and strange world, we have to put something straight and right up front. If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to find more than one way to bring in the money.
The good news is, once you do that, you can make as much or more than you did before COVID caused the economy to hit the skids.
With your monetary health in mind, we put together this post to give you ideas to help you put together, and build, a hybrid driving gig of your own – one that’s perfect for your lifestyle and excellent for your financial stability. Here’s what we’ll cover.
- How rideshare & delivery have changed since COVID-19
- The solution: Hybrid driving gigs – earning from more than one platform
- How you can track and analyze your earnings
- Finding the “best” times to drive
- Know what you’re doing around airports
- Find new “hives” of activity for riders
- Surges: a gift they probably won’t keep giving
- Collect more tips: add that extra garnish to inspire customer generosity
How rideshare & delivery have changed since COVID-19
Before you can figure out how to make the most of the changes that have taken place, let’s take a closer look at them.
People are working from home, they’re doing their shopping online, they aren’t really yet going to movies or plays in droves, and the bars are operating at limited capacity. Rideshare business is picking up, but it’s different than it was before. There aren’t as many people out there, and you won’t find them in all the “usual” places.
What’s more, there are many indications that things might stay this way, at least to some degree, even after the last speck of virus has been eradicated from planet earth. People will continue to work from home, mainly because they (and their companies) have discovered that they can!
Also, companies are reluctant to send people back to the office while they’ll have to invest in tons of new office fixtures and enforce new policies to foster social distancing. There’s also the possibility that there could be a recurrence of the virus, and workers would have to go back home again.
The cost of moving delicate office equipment and highly protected data is high, and the idea of doing it twice is downright daunting to corporate CFOs, to say the least. Ultimately, some of them might even begin to think how nice it would be to no longer be on the line for that expensive office space.
For rush hour drivers, there is no rush anymore. Sure, there are some workers who have to report to offices or other facilities, but that 9-5 crowd is more than a little sparse these days. Happy hour is off the table right now, too, since people are no longer at work to hang after work.
Recreation has taken an even bigger hit, as bars and restaurants can only slowly come back to operating at full capacity. Summer fun – as in amusement parks, outdoor festivals, concerts, and even swimming pools will only be open with limited operations, or not even open at all this summer.
Yup. it’s a summer bummer!
For delivery, though, all of this is a good thing! They say people are getting spoiled, and now even have come to expect, to get everything they want delivered to their doors. Because there’s so much new business, the delivery apps have been trying to entice new drivers to work for them.
Should you convert to being only a delivery driver? That’s probably not such a great idea. While you might do fabulous business while people are still staying at home, things could change as the economy opens up more, later in the year.
Also, while there’s been this tremendous surge in delivery volume, the companies are struggling to make a profit. One day soon, they’ll have to cut their expenses, and one of them might be the bonuses and perks they’re offering drivers at the moment.
So…if you can’t depend on rideshare OR delivery for a sole source of income, what options are left?
The solution: The hybrid driving gig – earning from more than one platform
Seeing how the world has changed, those of us who depend on the gig economy are going to have to go through a transformation of our own. That might mean working across the available platforms.
Even if the morning rush hour rideshare customers stay at home forever, there will be companies (like Amazon and Uber) looking for drivers like you to do early morning deliveries from retailers to customers and also between work colleagues and friends.
Later in the day, you might find the happy hour crowd waiting like a bunch of hungry birds for your food deliveries! Then, a little later, after the dinner calls die down, you can switch to rideshare to ferry people back and forth to visit one another’s apartments or homes…or even to the bars and back.
You get the idea, and trust us when we say the opportunities are out there. In fact, we’ve already put together blog posts that give you inside information on the various rideshare and delivery companies, their platforms, new services, and their successes.
Remember: There is nothing stopping you from driving for as many platforms as you want. There is no cost to download the apps, and as long as you are approved, you’re free to move freely from one to the other whenever you wish!
How you can track and analyze your earnings
As you try all the different platforms, you’ll want to know how you’re doing on each one. Trying to keep track of them individually could get confusing, unless you’re really good at setting up your own spreadsheets and crunching numbers. But wait! You’re not? Don’t worry. You don’t have to do that!
The Gridwise app lets you use as many services as you want. Then, it’ll track ALL your earnings,, and mileage too! Once you do that, you can arrange the data and see it all on one screen.
That’ll give you a picture of which of the apps are making the most money for you, so you can plan your days and nights based on the best ways to keep on cashing in!
All you have to do is open Gridwise, turn on the tracking feature, and drive, deliver, and do what you need to do out there. Then, when you finish your day’s work, you can enter your earnings for each individual app, and Gridwise will do all the fancy – and easy to read – graphics for you. You can give it a try right now – download it here.
Finding the “best” times to drive
There’s really no way anyone can tell you what the most profitable times to drive and deliver will be for you. For one thing, you’ll want to set your own hours. You might have other gigs, or the need to care for children or other family members. Driving might have to be worked around those scheduling constraints.
For another, where you live is going to play a major part in what your hybrid gig life will look like. If you’re in a city, there will be rhythms to traffic and certain hours that are nowhere near as active as they once were.
If you’re in the suburbs or the country, the delivery business might be quite brisk during the week, and then die off on weekends. Or, it could be the reverse! You’ll have to run your own experiment.
Be patient and observant. Sure, people aren’t going to baseball games anymore, but they are playing golf and tennis, and some other sports too! Sometimes they need a “Lyft” from home to the court, course, or playing field and back again.
Know what you’re doing around airports
In case you well-seasoned drivers are offended, we’re not insinuating you don’t know what you’re doing – but things are different than they used to be. While it might have paid to start your work day sitting in the airport queue before, now that people aren’t flying very many places, you might be stuck there all day.
Gridwise always has one finger on the pulse of airport traffic, so use the airport tab to see what the daily passenger volume looks like. That way, you won’t be waiting for passengers that may never ping you! You can check on the status of the queues, too.
Find new “hives” of activity for riders
As society has gone through the COVID-19 lockdowns, much has changed, to be sure. Some “old” passenger-rich venues are closed or on different schedules, while new and different activities have become possible. Passengers tell us bars at 50% capacity are beginning to hop a lot earlier. Revelers come out at around 8 or 9 rather than 10 or 12, to make sure they get in.
Outside of the bar scene, other areas have taken on more importance in the daily lives of riders. Here are a few.
- Trail heads
- Open green spaces in cities
- Restaurants with outdoor dining
- Large bars where 50% capacity will be a large crowd of people
- Universities (some researchers are being welcomed back for summer)
Surges: a gift that probably won’t keep giving
In many areas, the rideshare and delivery companies are offering premiums to drivers. This has a lot to do with trying to get people to come back out to work. To make it enticing enough for drivers to give up collecting unemployment (plus the $600 a week supplement), the companies are placing big surges on rideshare and delivery prices, at all hours of the day and night.
The customers aren’t too happy about this, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ride with you or request a delivery. They almost expect to pay a premium, because they realize a lot of drivers haven’t come back to work yet.
The companies aren’t happy at all about this, and they probably won’t be offering them for much longer. Have you ever heard that old saying, “Make hay while the sun shines?” It applies here. Watch the various apps for surges and bonuses. Some (especially Postmates and Grubhub) will send you push notifications. Use this info to figure out who you’ll work for on a given day.
Collect more tips: add that extra garnish to inspire customer generosity
As your earnings pile up (and you track them with Gridwise!), you might notice something else that’s different from times past. In this crazy environment, customers and passengers are tipping more!
Maybe it’s because they have to wait longer for you to get there, and have time to think about how much you’re sacrificing to be out there working. Whatever the reason, we can’t help but like it!
If you want this new and wildly appealing trend to continue, stay at the top of your game. Go that extra mile to offer extras, from opening doors and trunks (so they don’t have to touch yet another strange surface), to engaging them in conversation at the level where they feel comfortable, even while you talk through a mask.
For delivery, always honor their wishes. Maybe a busy mom wants contact-free delivery to the front porch, while Grandpa needs you to bring it to his apartment door. A knock on the door or a ring on the bell is always appreciated by people who are awaiting package deliveries. Leave a little note in the app, too – the personal touch can often bring out the best in people.
Also – follow all the guidelines for sanitization and social distancing. When you run a “tight ship,” showing your care and concern for your riders and customers, they’re far more likely to see how much you deserve that little something extra from them.
Adaptability = success
Sure, the rideshare and delivery world has been turned upside down, and you’re going to have to think beyond what was “normal” several months ago. That’s easy for you, though! As a gig economy worker, you’re used to blazing your own path. The point is to be adaptable, and use the resources available to you.
Those include rideshare apps, delivery apps, and other businesses that are cropping up to serve the new situation that’s been created by the coronavirus situation. Lucky for you, there’s lots of help…from Gridwise! Download the app to get everything you need to keep track of your earnings and record your mileage for optimizing your tax deductions.