Driving for a living may sound easy, but in many ways it’s not.
Every driver knows there are certain things you have to do if you really want to make money and rely on your driving business as a means of support.
In this post we’ll examine how important it is to set goals—and meet them on a regular basis—to keep your earnings sufficient and consistent. Here are the topics we’ll hit:
- Why goals work
- How to know what your goals should be
- How to set your goals
- How to work with the apps to optimize earnings
- How to meet your goals
- How to track your progress
If you follow these suggestions, and create a goal-driven system that works for you, you’ll definitely be in a position to stash the cash!
Why goals work for rideshare and delivery drivers
One of the things we all love about rideshare and delivery driving is the relative flexibility of our work hours. While there’s no doubt we need to drive a certain number of hours, and we need to make those hours count, we still have choices. We can weave our driving work around family and personal obligations, as well as other jobs, social events, and side gigs.
For most drivers, flexibility and a lack of pressure are big pluses. If you’re a driver who has an easy time creating structure in your life, and you have a lot of self-discipline, it’s easy to stay on track. If you don’t happen to fall into that category… well, you probably need to create regular driving habits that will work for you in more ways than one.
In either case, it will pay to set concrete goals for your rideshare and delivery driving. Here are some ways that goal-setting will work for you
- Incentive to “report to work.” When you know you want to make a certain amount of money on a given day, motivation to get out there and drive on schedule comes more naturally;
- Determination to stick with driving. There are times when you might think, “Can’t I go home now?” When you have goals, it’s easier to realize that being persistent will (in 99% of cases) pay off;
- Positive reinforcement. When you reach—or exceed—your goals, it makes you feel good! In this job, the only way you get a good review or a raise is when you see the results in how much there is to cash out at the end of the day.
How to know what your goals should be
Each rideshare and delivery driver’s business is unique and individual, so you’ll need to design goals that fit your specific needs. Start by asking yourself some questions:
- Why do I want to make money? Is it to pay your bills, or for something extra? Maybe you want to pay your bills and make money for extra items, like special occasions, credit card bills, college tuition, etc.
- How much money do I need to make? Be honest here. You don’t want to set a goal that’s too hard to reach, nor do you want one that isn’t going to meet your financial needs. Closely related to this category is …
- How much money will go to expenses? You’ll have to take some “definite” ones into consideration: taxes, fuel, depreciation on your car (including mileage), rental of your car (if you go that route), cleaning and sanitizing the car, etc.
- How much money do I want to make? You might want to make more money than you need to make—nothing wrong with that! Just make sure you have a reasonable idea of what that number is. If you set your mind on that goal, and use smart strategies to reach it, you can definitely expand your possibilities.
- Will rideshare and delivery driving be enough to meet my needs? This is where you take a realistic view of how much money you can make driving, what your expenses will be, and evaluate whether driving is going to be the best way for you to fill your financial needs.
How to set your goals
Now that you know what you want, you’ll need to investigate and see how rideshare and delivery driving can benefit you the most. Many people create goals by the day, week, or month. That can work, but an even better way is to have an overview of your month, and then set goals for each week. From there you can set goals for each day, and then you need to understand your performance goals. That means you’ve got more focus on your earnings per hour, earnings per mile, and trips per hour.
Let’s walk through an example:
Let’s say a driver wants to make $2,000 a month. Let’s add that this driver has a part-time job working about 15 hours a week, on Monday afternoons, Thursday mornings, and Friday nights.
The driver is going to have to work around those scheduled times. If s/he sets a goal of $500 per week, the goal of $2,000 per month is within reach.
First, though, the driver needs to understand how much s/he’s pulling in per hour. The best way to do this is to track driving and earning metrics. Does that sound like a lot of work? It isn’t, not at all! Gridwise does it all, incredibly well! Check out all the info Gridwise laid out for the driver in this example on the screen below.
Now the driver sees an hourly rate of $20.17 driving rideshare and/or delivery. This means it will take at least 25 hours’ work to meet the “ultimate” goal of $2,000 per month.
This driver’s goals, then, are:
- $2,000 a month
- $500 a week
- $20 an hour
Knowing this, the driver has more insight as to how to formulate an effective strategy and a reasonable schedule. Here’s the scenario:
- On Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, work four or five hours, depending on other obligations. Weekday evenings aren’t usually peak times, so start out driving in the daytime hours, maybe deliver for dinner, then try rideshare during early evenings.
- Saturdays are usually good for getting passengers, so work at least five hours on Saturdays, either days or evenings.
- Work the remaining five hours on Sunday or Tuesday, with one of those days off; or just split the time, depending on other obligations and passenger volume.
This driver was completely successful at hitting the $2000 per month goal through taking three steps:
- Setting goals
- Tracking metrics
- Meeting the earnings goals.
This example showed one way for putting a schedule together, but there are other possibilities too. It all depends on an individual’s financial and scheduling needs,
Now, what about you? Use Gridwise to track your metrics! It’s best to give yourself at least one week to see what earning patterns emerge. From there, you can set hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Paying attention to your patterns and earnings is really going to help, and so will these additional actions:
- Know your schedule. Be clear about what times you have available to drive. If you have other jobs or family responsibilities, factor them in so you know what hours can be dedicated to driving.
- Look at your market. Where do you live? Your location will have everything to do with who you’ll get as customers and the times of day they’ll call for you. If you live in or close to a city, learn that city’s rhythms. If you’re in the suburbs or the country, take note of the areas where the most riders might be.
- Learn about high passenger volume times. You can do this by observing traffic in your locale, but that’s not so easy. You won’t always know when someone is using rideshare, and food deliveries can also be hard to spot. A much more effective way is to monitor traffic volumes that are shown on your app. High-volume times show up as surge patterns at different times of day. They will vary, but there are usually certain times that are consistently busy.
- Know how patterns change. Stay savvy to what’s going on with events in your city, and pay attention to weather. Requests for rides and deliveries go way up when the weather gets unpleasant.
- Know when to quit. Sometimes you’ll go out and there won’t be ONE PING for a long period of time. There’s no need to keep wasting fuel and getting frustrated. Run some errands, visit with a friend, and try going out again later.
And…in case you forgot…
- Track your metrics! Gridwise will do all the calculations for you. Just set the app up to track each shift, and you’ll get a full picture of your activity, and the dollar amounts you’re earning by the month, week, day, and hour. You’ll find more details in the section below that says: “How to track your progress.”
How to work with the apps to optimize earnings
Both rideshare and delivery apps have “premiums,” “quests,” “surges,” and other incentives that pay you extra for performing certain feats. For instance, you might get a push notification from your Postmates app telling you there’s a $3 premium on deliveries on a given day between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Rideshare driving apps will often add on significant bonuses to give drivers the incentive to stay out there making money. You might get paid an extra $50 or $60, for instance, for completing 40 trips over a four-day period. Or, if you make three consecutive trips in a high-traffic zone, you could make $7, $8, or even $10 extra each time you do.
You’ll also want to keep your driver ratings high. This is achieved by providing great service to the passengers you pick up and the deliveries you make, but that’s not always enough. Your rating with your company can sometimes be based on what percentage of requests you accept, and how many you cancel.
If your rates in these categories are high, you won’t be sent as many pings by the app. To avoid this, make sure you go offline when you’re not paying attention to the app, such as when you take a break or stop to make a phone call. Also, if you do cancel a trip or delivery, make sure you note the reason. Sometimes it won’t count against you, like if you have car trouble or if you can’t find the passenger.
The other thing you should know is the premiums we mentioned often take place at peak customer times. If you have a job that requires you to work on Friday and Saturday nights, you may miss out on some of these. You can still benefit from similar rewards for making a certain number of trips, though, if you’re willing to hustle the rest of the time.
How to meet your goals
To meet your goals, you mainly have to follow the steps we’ve outlined for you, but there are a few more things to think about.
- Be committed. Driving isn’t for everybody, but many people find it to be a fun and profitable way to work. Try very hard to make a schedule and stick to it.
- Be flexible. You may not always be able to drive at peak times, or you might decide at the spur of the moment to go out because you see it IS a peak time. It isn’t always a good idea to chase those surges, but if your app’s colors change to indicate there’s a lot of business around, it’s probably accurate.
- Stay safe! Be watchful of weather conditions and other perils that may make it dangerous to drive. You might miss your goal for the day, but you’ll live to see many more.
- Treat driving like a business—because it is. Driving won’t make money for you if you just dabble in it. You have to be aware of your expenses, make sure you’re making enough to offset them, and track your metrics so you know at any given time what your profits look like.
How to track your progress
Now that you know how to keep yourself honest and motivated, by setting your goals and tracking your metrics, you may need some extra information about where you can get the data that lets you track your daily earnings and expenses.
The driving and delivery apps offer some help, by listing your daily and weekly earnings, showing how long you spent with the app on, and adding up your mileage so you can deduct it at tax time. But they are not focused on making it simple for you (to say the least).
Also, if you’re working on more than one platform, like maybe Uber, Lyft, and Grubhub, you’d have to tally up all the mileage from each app, AND record the earnings. Visions of an unwieldy spreadsheet that you can never keep up with come to mind. <shudder>
So how can you simplify the process of tracking your business and maximize your earning potential? Use Gridwise! Once you download the app, it will prompt you each time you go out by asking “Are you on a shift?” If you tap “Yes,” the app opens and you can start tracking.
Now, here’s the really great part. As long as Gridwise is tracking your mileage and time, you don’t have to worry about adding any of that up. At the end of your shift, you tell Gridwise to stop tracking. Then, you enter your earnings for all the apps you worked with during that shift, and Gridwise tallies them up for you!
But wait—there’s more. Gridwise analyzes your earnings, showing how much you made per hour, and even how your earnings compare with other drivers in your area. You can also see how much you make on each app, which will tell you how you can best spend your time.
The mileage from each of your shifts will be tallied up and placed in a tax deduction report you can use when it’s time to file your income taxes.
Note: As an independent contractor, it often pays to make quarterly tax payments. Talk to an accounting professional for the details, and let Gridwise help you compile the stats you’ll need.
Gridwise can also help you by showing you where the passengers are—at airports and events—and by offering helpful deals for drivers, access to our chatty blog, and direct links to J and Brandon’s inspiring podcast.
Do YOU have more ideas about setting and making driving and delivery goals? We’d love to hear them—and so would the rest of the Gridwise community. Send us a comment and get the party started!