Everyone starts driving for their own unique reasons.
Some people want to escape their mundane corporate jobs and try something new for awhile. Many people are starting their own businesses or following their passion and need extra side income. Some even just want an opportunity to talk to and meet new people.
Everyone has their own “why”, and for Sean, a rideshare driver out of Northern Virginia, his “why” was the little one that he has on the way.
You see, Sean is a full-time student, with a part-time job and a baby on the way. Oh, and he occasionally makes the trek down to Virginia Beach to do odd jobs around the house for his elderly parents.
So not only is Sean a busy guy, but he’s also a guy that could use some extra cash. Therein lies Sean’s “why”, his reason for becoming a driver and using his spare time to earn instead of relaxing. However, being a rideshare driver wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when he decided to find a way to make some extra cash.
“I told my wife that I really wanted to make some extra cash that we can use for the baby, but I needed something extremely flexible. That’s when she brought up Uber, I didn’t exactly jump at the idea initially” says Sean. “But when I started to dig in and do some research, that’s when I realized how great this could be for us.”
That initial research that Sean did which helped convince him that he should be a rideshare driver, also helped him become a highly profitable rideshare driver almost immediately. That’s because we know how easy it is to become a rideshare driver, it only takes a car, a clean background and a bit of will power. However, becoming a highly profitable rideshare driver isn’t easy, and tends to take a lot of time.
According to a Stanford study from earlier this year, it takes approximately 1500 trips to become a “good” rideshare driver.
Well, Sean didn’t have that type of time, so he took matters into his own hands and built a strategy that nearly eliminated his ramp up time and helped him make a great hourly wage after being a driver for just a few days. In this blog post, we’re going to look at what Sean did before he became a driver and in his first few days and weeks as a driver that helped him ramp up so quickly.
Have a Strategy From Day 1
One of the biggest and most common mistakes that new rideshare drivers make is starting to drive without a strategy. Too many new drivers expect to be able to turn on their app and get tons of pings wherever they are. Nope. It’s not 2012 anymore.
Passenger demand is out there, but it’s not just waiting for you, you have to go get it.
Sean did hours of research before he even signed up to become a rideshare driver, so he already knew that he couldn’t just drive anywhere. He had to be strategic.
That’s why he built a strategy that consists of the following:
- Driving late nights AWAY from bars
- Using destination filters to get back to popular areas
- Driving past airports at peak hours
“I knew that I could drive the bar scene in D.C. and Northern Virginia, but that would mean drunk people and traffic. Two things I want to avoid,” said Sean. “That’s why I focus on more suburban areas, and a few other hot spots not downtown.”
Instead of relying on the bar scene, Sean focuses on areas like the MGM casino in D.C. and the National Harbor which is a restaurant district close to D.C. By understanding where those areas were before he started driving, Sean was able to use these hotspots as starting points and points that he could always gravitate back towards if he needs to find a passenger.
Sean also quickly realized that just because he started in a certain area, that doesn’t mean he’s going to stay there.
“I would frequently start near National Harbor but could be brought all the way out to a suburb pretty easily,” said Sean.
This can make for a tough decision for many drivers. Do you stay in the suburbs and hope for a ride, or do you head back to a downtown area? Well, instead of having to make a blind choice, Sean uses Gridwise to help him understand what events are going on immediately around him or in his surrounding areas so he knows if there will be demand around him soon.
If there is demand coming, he can afford to wait a few minutes for a ping, if it looks like there will be greater demand downtown or even at an airport, he can place a destination filter toward that area and start making his way there.
Sean can also use Gridwise to understand when there will be a peak in airport passengers, so a little trick he learned was to always strategically drive past the airport during a peak time.
“It isn’t supposed to work this way, but sometimes if I’m just driving near an airport I’ll get a ping from the airport. It’s always a lucrative ride, so I try and get lucky every once and awhile.”
Track Miles and Performance
Mileage deductions are crucial for rideshare drivers, and if you’re just using what Uber and Lyft are giving you, then you’re likely missing out on a ton of miles that you should be tracking, as these TNC’s don’t report on miles that you are driving to get to your main driving area and miles that you are driving from when you start, to when you go home.
Sean understood this, which is why he tracked his mileage from day one. So when tax season comes, he will feel confident that he has maximized his tax deduction.
With Gridwise, drivers can automatically track their mileage and time driven, along with other stats like earnings, and number of trips.
Maximize Your Bonus Opportunities
One of the most important things that every driver needs to do when they start driving is maximize your initial bonus. Every TNC will have a lucrative bonus opportunity that they are advertising for your specific area. Before you enter just any bonus code into your sign up form, check to make sure you’re getting the largest bonus possible as they can change monthly.
Also, don’t take on too many bonuses at once, especially if they are timed. If you only have one month to do 1,000 rides on Uber for a $1,000 bonus and one month to do 1,000 rides on Via for a $1,000 bonus, it might be difficult for you to hit both of those goals. So stagger when you start up on a TNC to be sure you have time for all of your bonuses.
Remember your Why
Driving rideshare is a customer facing job, which means it isn’t always going to be easy. However, if you’re smart and stay focused on your why, whether it be a kid on the way, a business you’re trying to start, or just a desire to meet new people, you can have a great time being a profitable driver in no time.