Making $1000 a week driving for Uber and Lyft sounds like a lofty goal, but you can do it. You’ll have to do some hustling, but with the right tools, tips and tricks, you could be stashing that kind of cash every week in very little time.
This post will give you the coaching, tools, and ideas you need to take your rideshare earnings to the next level. Here’s a brief overview on how to do just that:
- Develop a money-making business strategy
- Optimize your driving strategy
- Have merch on hand for higher tips
- Earn passive income
Develop a money-making business strategy
Rideshare driving can be a lot of fun. But if you want to make $1000 a week (or more), you have to look at it as a business… your business. That means taking things seriously, including accounting for your expenses (and minimizing them), plus making sure you learn about tax breaks and other advantages.
So, what is your business strategy? If you don’t have one already, here’s what you’ll want to consider:
Know the rules of self-employment. As a driver for Uber, Lyft, or any rideshare or delivery app, you are an independent contractor. If you haven’t seen the news, Prop 22 was declared unconstitutional for drivers towards the end of August of this year. As an independent contractor, this means you’re responsible for your own tax obligations, insurance, accounting, and knowing the ins and outs of this employment classification.
Learning about self-employment is fairly straightforward, and it pays to know what’s involved because you will want to understand how this affects your employment status, and how you can take advantage of it. This article on the CareerOneStop website explains the basics.
Define the nature of your business. Will you only be driving for rideshare, or do you intend to add to your gig driving portfolio? (More on that later in this article.) You’ll need to decide if you want to add money-making extras to your rideshare business, and take measures to ensure you’re covering all the basics, such as sales tax and licensing.
Get to know your market. Become familiar with your market area. For example, which rideshare company is most popular in your area? Where will you get more rides? What kinds of activities are going on in your area and when? What hours are you available to drive?
Gridwise will be launching a new feature very soon called “Where to Drive” to help you determine the best, most profitable places to drive to maximize your earnings and optimize your time out on the road.
Cut your costs
Rather than paying a dollar or two per bottle of water, and two or three bucks for a pack of cookies, bring your own beverages and snacks from home. This will also save you the time spent looking for places to buy stuff and going in and out of stores.
While you’re at it, make an effort to cut the cost of gas, maintenance, and more. Look for deals and discounts for drivers, and you’ll find them almost everywhere. The first and best place to look is in the perks tab located in the Gridwise app. Get cheaper fuel, breaks on oil changes, and discounted phone plans.
Track your expenses and income. Once you get the hang of paying attention to tax deductions, you’ll begin to see the importance of tracking your mileage and other expenses. You have the option of using the standard mileage deduction or deducting all your expenses. Your best choice depends on your own driving situation.
For instance, if you log a large number of rideshare miles, the standard deduction will work for you. If the trips you make are more local, you’ll be better off logging all your car-related expenses. When tax time comes and you’re filling out forms, you can decide which method is best for you.
Here is an article with more information about tax deductions for drivers. And remember: when you use Gridwise to track your earnings and expenses, all the accounting you need to do for your driving gig gets super-easy!
Key takeaway: If you expect to successfully make money as a rideshare driver, you must view your gig as your business, and treat it accordingly.
Optimize your driving strategy
Making $1000 a week with Uber and Lyft will mean you need to put together a winning driving strategy. You will want to get the most money in the shortest amount of time, of course, so how can you go about that?
Schedule wisely. First, take a long, honest look at your schedule. Can you really drive the late-night shift and keep up with family life or another gig or obligation? Has late-night reclaimed its place as the highest earning shift? It might have, but driving nightwalkers around might not be for you. If that’s the case, find slots of time that do work for you, and then choose which will be the most profitable.
You can figure out the best schedule for you with our When to Drive feature. With this feature at your disposal, you can decide the best times to drive and when you should start and end your work day. When you can create a schedule that optimizes your driving time, almost every day is going to be a good day.
It doesn’t make sense to go out at a certain hour when there are too few rides to make it worth your while. There can be surges and bonuses offered during times you wouldn’t expect, such as after-school hours and when hospital and factory shifts turn over.
If those work for you, that’s great! Don’t restrict yourself to preconceived notions about rideshare being hot only at night. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the day, as you see when you study trends in the Gridwise app. You may have to drive a few more hours each week, but if you’re disciplined, you can still be very successful.
Even though you have flexible hours as a driver, you’ll have to be disciplined and consistent about working enough hours. After you can get an idea of how much you’ll make while driving different shifts, set up a schedule and stick to it.
Remember, even if you don’t feel like working when the weather is less than perfect, you’ll miss out if you don’t go out. Passengers are more plentiful when it’s raining, snowing, or even too hot to walk. You have heat, windshield wipers, and air conditioning in your car. You’ll be fine, and better yet… you’ll be making money.
Once you get used to gig driving and come to know the basic rhythms of the rideshare game in your town, go to the next level. You can read about several special driving strategies in this Gridwise post.
And here’s a strategy we bet you never thought about – look at the passenger side of the app. Logging in as though you’re going to call for a ride will show you how many cars are around, and how many requests are out there. Then, you can go to the areas where the most requests are likely to be.
Know before you go.
Traffic patterns, crowd densities, road restrictions, and other variables will depend on conditions where you live, and they can change every day. A parade, for instance, could turn a trip to take your passenger to the grocery store into an all-around-the-town odyssey. Hint: You may or may not see surge pay for that.
Keep your eyes and ears on local news, weather, and traffic reports in general, and always check Gridwise for information about airport traffic, road closures, weather, and more.
Go with the flow.
To make the most money in the least amount of time, you’ll need to be flexible… and sometimes clever. For instance, if you know there will be a surge when the bars close at 4:00 a.m., and it’s 3:50 a.m., log off the app. When you log back on at 4:00 a.m., the surge pricing will kick in more quickly because you’ll be “fresh” with the app.
Also, be open to changing your schedule, and working more when there’s money to be made. Weather is one big factor in building the volume of passengers, as we’ve mentioned. You might also watch for fluctuations due to holiday celebrations, from Mother’s Day brunch to Fourth of July Fireworks and Thanksgiving dinners.
Know your limits.
When passenger volume is up, driving conditions can become more intense. And, even with surge pricing, suffering through a traffic jam to get to a passenger who’s waiting for you after a ballgame might not be worth it.
If you don’t do well in crowds, or if you know your tolerance for traffic jams is not very high, you’ll want to avoid high-volume situations. You might have better luck lurking in quieter neighborhoods, and make several short trips there, rather than spending half your driving time wasting time and gas in a huge crowd.
Stick to driving for one company at a time.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but in a world where both Uber and Lyft offer bonuses and other benefits based on how many trips you log with their apps, it makes sense. The rewards programs of both companies are based on your “loyalty,” so you wouldn’t want to split your rides up and never make progress with either app.
Even the time it takes to get a ride is determined in part by your status with your company. So, sticking with one is probably going to pay off for you. If you need help, check out this Gridwise blog post for more information about the pros and cons of Uber and Lyft.
Set goals and stick to them.
To make $1000 or more per week with Uber and Lyft, you’ll need to gauge how long, and when, you can work so you can achieve your goal. The best way to do that is to track your earnings, pay attention to when you earned the most, and watch for patterns. Gridwise graphs such as these will help you see when your driving business is bringing in the most dough.
Consider food delivery.
If you drive for Uber, you automatically qualify to deliver for Uber Eats. If you don’t have much rideshare business, or you just want some variety, you can always switch off rideshare and go on Uber Eats duty for a while.
Changing over to Uber Eats (if you’re already on Uber) will NOT affect your status with the company. Deliveries will count just like rides, and you’ll continue to rack up points for your Uber Pro levels.
Lyft plans to incorporate more delivery into its business in 2021, so Lyft drivers might soon have similar options.
Ask for tips.
Does this make you squirm? Don’t let it, because it isn’t cheesy in the least. You’re running a business and you want to make money. Many customers don’t remember that they’re allowed to tip you, but you can remind them. The most subtle way is to have some sort of tip jar in your back seat.
You’ll only want to leave a little bit of cash in there at any given time, of course, but those few bills floating around in the jar will inspire more passengers to cough up a little extra for a great driver like you. Even if they don’t have cash on them, the presence of the tip jar will remind them they can tip you through the app. You will be more than happy to tell them how, right?
If you’re not game for the tip jar, what about a sign? This one is understated, but very effective. It provides information, lets people know you have a phone charger for them to use, asks for a good rating… and tips. Here is an example:
Remember that one of the best ways to guarantee you’ll get lots of tips and five star ratings is to be courteous, careful, and efficient. That’s really all most reasonable passengers want from their drivers.
Key takeaway: Think of every possible way you can make money and SAVE money, and your income will take off like a rocket.
Have merch on hand for higher tips
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could earn the same mark-ups you have to pay for a bag of chips at the convenience store? Well, that’s totally possible. You can sell all kinds of items (with a fair markup) right from your car.
Who doesn’t want to avoid those nuisance requests like, “Can we stop so I can buy a snack from the corner bodega? I’ll be right back…” Just pull out your stash of merch and munchies, let them buy what they need, and keep your driving gig moving along.
Here are some ideas for items you can sell to your customers:
- Disposable phone chargers (to keep them juiced even after they leave your vehicle)
- Candy bars
- Chewing gum
- Rain ponchos
- Small umbrellas
- Clear bags (for large events)
- Energy boosters
As a reseller, you’ll have to check with your state department of revenue and inquire about how to handle sales tax.
Key takeaway: If you’re resourceful, you can make more than a few extra dollars selling items customers need right from your car.
Earn passive income
There’s nothing better than passive income to bump up your earnings to $1000 per week and more. There are a few ways to put in very little effort and come out with a nice stash of cash.
You’ve undoubtedly noticed offers from both Uber and Lyft to pay you for referring new drivers. Companies are frantically trying to recruit drivers, and those referral fees are going through the roof.
Drivers can get a referral link to send to friends and acquaintances who might want to take up the rideshare driving gig in a serious way. All you have to do is make sure you get your link in range of the right eyes. Here are some suggestions:
- Email or text your link with a “Hey, how are you doing?” message.
- Put your link on your website, even if it involves a totally different kind of business.
- Carry business cards with your link on them, and hand them out liberally.
- Post your link on your social media.
As with all sales pitches, make sure to tell people they can pass it on to a friend or family member who might be into it. It can’t hurt you, and every time a new driver signs up with your link and completes the required number of rides, your virtual cash register goes “ka-ching!”
Some companies make ads specifically for drivers to carry on and in their vehicles. On the outside, they’re in the form of car wraps and rooftop ads. Companies such as Wrapify pay car owners up to $450 a month (depending on wrap type and campaign structure) to display their ads on drivers’ cars.
On the inside of your car, you can get video games with ads, and news and information programming to keep your backseat travelers occupied. Improve your riders’ experience and sign up with Play Octopus to receive a free gaming tablet. You can receive cash rewards of up to $100 per month for driving activity and passenger game play!
You will need to check regulations, both with your local governing body and with Uber and Lyft. In most cases, though, these ads offer ways to bring in money with almost no effort on your part.
Make $1000 per week with Uber and Lyft – and track it all with Gridwise!
We can’t guarantee you’ll make $1000 per week, of course. But we’re willing to bet that if you use the ideas, strategies, and options in this article, you’ll be well on your way. Be sure to use Gridwise for tracking your mileage and recording all your expenses, too. Throughout this post, we’ve told you about all the features Gridwise offers, but in case you haven’t done it yet, download the Gridwise app now!