21 Uber and Lyft Driver Tips and Tricks for Success

21 Uber and Lyft Driver Tips and Tricks for Success

Technology has revolutionized how rideshare drivers interact with their customers. With the touch of a button, an unhappy rider can affect all your future trips, and an enthusiastic review can instantly make you the star driver. For this reason, it’s crucial to play your cards right. Ensure your customers enjoy the ride, and success will always be knocking at your door!

So, are there Uber and Lyft driver tips and tricks for success? Certainly. Your success as a driver depends on a multitude of factors. And if you’ve been in the game for some time, you’ve probably mastered the basics. But what sets you apart is giving the customer a unique experience that they won’t get from other Uber and Lyft drivers.

21 tips and tricks that can ensure your success as a rideshare driver include:

  1. Don’t wing it.
  2. Take the back seat.
  3. Think ahead.
  4. Test the waters with surge pricing and prime time.
  5. Your location is everything.
  6. Don’t miss out on referral and signup bonuses.
  7. Step your game up and get creative.
  8. Make the ride enjoyable.
  9. Recordkeeping is key.
  10. Resist the urge to drive aimlessly.
  11. Scout the competition.
  12. Stay alert and energized.
  13. Prioritize safety.
  14. You don’t have to own a car.
  15. Keep your car clean.
  16. Music is always a good idea.
  17. Be friendly.
  18. Know the local bathrooms.
  19. Don’t follow the crowd.
  20. Put in the hours.
  21. Find out your customer’s preferred route.

In such a competitive industry where every driver hopes to get good ratings and, hopefully, more clients, the drivers that go the extra mile are the ones that succeed. From logging miles to offering snacks to taking classes, there are plenty of tips you can use to succeed as an Uber or Lyft driver.

How to Succeed as an Uber or Lyft Driver

If you’re just starting in the Uber or Lyft business, you may feel like a fish out of water. From accepting requests at odd hours of the night to driving all sorts of personalities, it can be difficult trying to figure out how to cope.

Do you console the passenger who can’t stop rumbling about their ex and how terrible their love life is, or do you agree with everything they say? Is the silent client who barely says a word waiting for you to say something, or do they prefer the silence?

While no one can read minds, as an Uber or Lyft driver, you may have to learn a few tricks because the wrong move can easily cost you a good rating. But don’t fret. With these Uber and Lyft driver tips and tricks for success, you’ll soon be the one to beat.

1.   Don’t Wing It

Driving people around to different destinations, especially when you have a good understanding of the area, seems like a fairly easy job. Accept a request, get them to their destination, and earn your cash! Easy, right? Well, not if you want to have a successful career as an Uber or Lyft driver.

You see, when you’re just starting, things are not as simple as they seem. It may be hard to know where to start, where and how to pick up a rider, or even how to ensure your passengers enjoy the ride.

Therefore, if you’re considering starting a career as an Uber or Lyft driver, you should think about taking a class. The good news is you don’t have to go to a traditional brick and mortar institution.

There are several online classes you can take and gain the knowledge you seek. An excellent example is Maximum Ridesharing Profits. From teaching beginners how to start strong to coaching you on how to maximize your tax write-offs, and how to dominate Lyft and Uber, this course is perfect for anyone trying to succeed in the rideshare industry.

2.   Take the Back Seat

Most people who get into the Uber and Lyft driving business learn on the job. But if you want to start strong and maintain your track record, you can’t afford to learn from your mistakes because every mistake costs you in this industry.

When you’re starting, the best thing you can do before driving anyone is to try out the services yourself. Request an Uber or Lyft a few times and take notes on some of the things you like and don’t like about the quality of service you get.

These pointers will give you some insight into what you need to do and some things you should avoid. You can also go a step further and ask the different drivers about their experiences. Find out their experience driving in the city, challenges they have faced, and ask about the lessons they’ve learned in the business. The majority of them will be more than happy to share.

3.   Think Ahead

For most drivers, when they begin, insurance is probably the last thing on their mind. Don’t make this mistake. Anything can happen on the road, and you need to be sure you’re fully covered if something goes wrong.

While Uber and Lyft do have insurance for drivers, you need to check with your insurance provider to ensure you have the right coverage.  This way, in the event of an accident, you know you are protected and the proper steps to take to minimize the income loss.

It’s also a good idea to consider insurance companies that provide insurance that’s tailored specifically to rideshare drivers. A perfect example is Geico. But make sure you compare several options so that you walk away with the best deal.

4.   Test the Waters With Surge Pricing and Prime Time

Surge pricing (Uber) and Prime Time (Lyft) refer to the times when the demand for rides increases so much that the supply of drivers is lower than the need for rides.  When this happens, more often than not, the price of the trip goes up. As a result, you stand a chance to make more money as a driver during these peak times.

However, different drivers have varying experiences with this. Some feel that Surge and Prime Time waste a driver’s time because there are so many drivers responding to requests that it makes it hard to get a ride. 

Other drivers believe it’s best to take advantage of surge pricing and Prime Time, especially if you know the area well because it allows you to make more money.

Our take? The best way to find out if surge pricing and Prime Time are worth it is to try it out. Do it a couple of times and weigh the pros and cons. If you don’t see the need to participate, don’t. But if it’s making you way more money, don’t hold back.

5.   Your Location is Everything

One of the struggles most new Uber and Lyft drivers face is trying to decide where to wait for ride requests. Some people choose to go to the suburbs where there are fewer rideshare drivers to reduce the competition, and others have no plan whatsoever.

The best approach is to stay in the city. While there’s a good bit of competition because there are several drivers, there are also many more riders looking for rides. Instead of waiting hours for a ride request in the suburbs, increase your chances by being where individuals are always in need of a ride?

If you don’t drive in a big city, an alternative would be to stay in a crowded area as opposed to an area where there are very few people.

6.   Don’t Miss Out on Referral and Signup Bonuses

Both Uber and Lyft offer bonuses to new drivers. If you apply through a referral by another driver, you both get a bonus. So, if you’re thinking of joining either Lyft or Uber, this will boost your starting income.  Then once you start driving for either (or both) companies, you can earn additional bonus income by referring other new driver applicants.

You can send your referral code to friends and relatives, and every time someone joins the platform, you make some extra cash.  However, before you do, make sure you read up on all the specifics and understand what it means for all parties.

7.   Step Your Game Up and Get Creative

Like most businesses, rideshare drivers sometimes have a slow day or week. You may show up for work the entire day only to get very few ride requests. When this happens, you shouldn’t throw in the towel. Remember, you may have to think outside the box and do something different to succeed as an Uber or Lyft driver.

The fastest way to deal with slow days or weeks is to drive for both Uber and Lyft. By doing so, you increase your chances of getting rides, and you can create a more steady income.  However, to succeed at this, you may need to be a bit creative to juggle both apps with ease.

Some drivers choose to use two phones while others prefer having the apps on one phone. But if you’re serious about getting the most out of both platforms, you need tips that work. Rideshare Apps shares some incredible tips we believe would help you understand how to make the most of both Uber and Lyft.

8.   Make the Ride Enjoyable

Chances are you’ve taken a taxi to different destinations a couple of times. This experience gives you an advantage.  You know exactly how it feels to be a passenger, which means you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Take the time to think about some of the things that would make a ride more comfortable and enjoyable for you and try giving the same experience to your riders.

One example is having an extra charger in your car for the rider who happens to be running out of power. They’ll appreciate the chance to charge their phone before they get to their destination.

For the drivers who are not so much into chit-chat, you can benefit from keeping magazines and newspapers in your car. When the rider gets comfortable, and you’re ready to go, offer them something to distract them, and you’re good to go.

Successful drivers also offer items like water, snacks, or gum. A rider who has been commuting all day and has had nothing to eat would surely appreciate this gesture. And guess what? Most drivers don’t do it.  So this small extra effort will instantly make you stand out, and it will show in your ratings.

9.   Record Keeping is Key

Contrary to popular belief, being an Uber or Lyft driver is not just about impressing your riders and improving your rating. While these things are essential, there are other equally important things you must do behind the scenes to succeed in this business.

One of them is maintaining accurate records for your taxes.  Remember, you’re a self-employed individual who has to pay taxes. And you can’t do that without proper documentation.

To ensure you’re adequately prepared for the tax season, keep all your receipts, track your miles, and track your earnings, so you know how much taxes you will owe.  Luckily, you don’t have to do everything manually. There are many incredible mileage tracking apps for Lyft and Uber that can ease the load for you.

10. Resist the Urge to Drive Aimlessly

Sitting in your car doing nothing while you wait for ride requests isn’t fun. You can quickly get bored. However, even when this happens, you need to resist the urge to drive around aimlessly. Unless you’re driving a customer, you’ll just be wasting fuel, which is counterproductive when your goal is to make money.

The best approach is to find a location that works for you and park as you wait for requests. You can distract yourself with good music, catch up on a podcast, or watch a few cat videos on YouTube.

11.   Scout the Competition

While staying in a city where you’re more likely to get a ton of requests is a good idea, you need to strategize. If you’re in an area where ten other drivers are also eagerly waiting for a ride request, chances are you won’t get one as fast as you hope.

A quick way to analyze the situation you’re dealing with is to use the Uber or Lyft passenger app. The passenger app is a great asset for an Uber or Lyft driver because it tells you how many other drivers are in the area around you.

If the competition is too high, drive to another less crowded area to improve your chances of making money. Just don’t drive too far because you’ll end up using too much fuel, which cuts against your earnings.

12. Stay Alert and Energized

As a new driver, you may be eager to make as much money as possible. And more money translates to more driving.  When you signup as an Uber or Lyft driver, you’re taking responsibility for other people’s safety, and you should take that seriously.

As a driver, you need to be energized and alert at all times. Therefore, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and eat. If you don’t do these things, your job will only be harder and less safe for your riders.

When you first start, it’s a good idea to create a driving schedule. Know when you’ll start driving and when you’ll call it a day and schedule breaks and mealtimes during your day. This way, you’re not overworking yourself. However, it may take some practice before you know what works for you. So, don’t be afraid to tweak some things as you go along.

13. Prioritize Safety

Whether you’re driving for Uber or Lyft, safety should be your top priority – not just safety for the rider, but for you as well. There are several ways you can ensure the safety of everyone involved.

These include:

  • Be cautious about where you pick up riders.
  • Report drivers who exhibit inappropriate behavior.
  • Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle.
  • Make sure you keep your car maintained.
  • Use a phone mount to avoid being distracted.
  • Ensure everyone has their seatbelt on before you start driving.
  • Don’t be afraid to cancel rides if needed.
  • Choose your time wisely.
  • Have a plan for worst-case scenarios.
  • Get your friends in on your safety by letting them know where you are at all times.

14. You Don’t Have to Own a Car

If you’ve been putting your dream of driving for Uber or Lyft on hold because you don’t own a car, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. You can simply rent or lease a vehicle and begin your career immediately.

In fact, you may be better off renting or leasing a vehicle as opposed to using your own car, especially if it’s very old. An old car is more likely to breakdown while you’re providing services and will require too much maintenance.

Leasing or renting allows you to choose the kind of car you get to use for your rideshare business.  You can select a vehicle that fits your budget or enables you to meet requirements for the category of rideshare service you want to offer.

15. Keep Your Car Clean

It doesn’t matter how friendly and engaging you are if your car is dirty or has a weird smell.  That is probably the only thing the rider will remember.

As a driver, your job is to ensure the rider not only gets to their destination safe and sound but that they’re comfortable during their ride, and a clean car is one way to do it.

After a ride, make sure you collect any trash the previous rider may have left and clean out any dirt they may have been dragged in with their shoes. It may seem like additional work, but ignoring it may easily earn you a low rating.

If possible, wash your car before you begin driving. This way, everything is spotless, and you don’t have to do much throughout the day.  Depending on your schedule, it may be a better option to clean your car at the end of the day so you won’t have to do it in the morning.

16. Music is Always a Good Idea

Another way to keep your riders entertained is to have good music. However, don’t just go for your favorite music. Have a variety of genres available because everyone isn’t going to love the same music. Before you begin the ride, ask them what type of music they like and play it for them.

It’s also a good idea to keep an auxiliary cord in your car so that the rider has the option of connecting to their phone. This way, you won’t have to worry about whether or not they’re enjoying the music.

Also, there are cases where a rider may prefer silence. So make sure you ask if they’d like to listen to some music or not. If they don’t want to, respect their decision. The customer comes first!

17. Be Friendly

No one wants to ride in a car with a grumpy person, especially when they are paying for it. Your interaction with the rider is one of the things that influence the ratings they give you. You need to ensure your passenger is enjoying the ride and that they’re comfortable.

Ask if the temperature is ok if they need a window opened, or anything that shows you’re genuinely interested in giving them an exceptional experience. In cases where you have chatty passengers, it’s best to play along. Answer their questions and engage them, even if it’s the last thing you want to do.

Apart from improving your ratings, interacting with your riders will also give you different experiences and make your day more enjoyable. So, don’t overthink it!

18. Know the Local Bathrooms

When you’re driving someone a long distance, they’ll probably want to take a bathroom break at some point during the ride. You don’t want to be the driver that stops and asks the rider to go in the bushes (Seriously, don’t do it!).

Scope the area you frequently drive for available restroom facilities. It’s best to identify facilities with a parking area for your convenience. However, these may be difficult to find in downtown areas.

Places like Starbucks and Whole Foods are always a handy place to go for a bathroom break. They have a parking area, and, in most cases, their facilities are not locked. Not to mention, you can find them in downtown areas as well in the suburbs.

Every place is different, so make sure you check the area out before someone desperately needs to use the bathroom.

19. Don’t Follow the Crowd

When you’re new to rideshare, everyone will have some tips on how to make more money.  Standard advice among Uber and Lyft drivers is to take advantage of specific times and places when the demand for drivers is high.

Experienced drivers will tell you to be on high alert on Saturday evenings, in the morning, and during the evening commute, and some rave about Surge and Prime Time pricing. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you can increase your earnings on Uber and Lyft exponentially.

Sometimes, because everyone is using the same strategy, you’ll find that the competition is too high, and you’ll end up making less than you expected. In such situations, you may want to take a different approach.

Instead of joining everyone in the high traffic areas, go to a less popular area where rides are still in demand, but the competition is less stiff. With this approach, you’re in a better position to make a good income.

20.   Put in the Hours

The best thing about being an Uber or Lyft driver is that you get to choose your hours. You can drive as much or as little as you want. If you’re going to succeed and make more money on the platform, you need to drive more.

However, driving more doesn’t mean driving for hours without taking a break. You can be smart about it. For instance, instead of driving for many hours for five days a week, you can do it throughout the week but only do it for a few hours during the weekend.

This way, you’re still reaching your target hours without exhausting yourself too much.

21. Find Our Your Customer’s Preferred Route

As a driver, it’s easy to assume that you get to choose which route you take, and the rider won’t mind. But in some cases, they might. One customer may prefer the scenic route, and another may want you to avoid the interstate.

So, before you begin the journey, ask what they prefer. If they don’t have any preference, you can offer them options and tell them what makes each route unique. When you do this, you seem more invested in their experience, and the rider feels like they’re getting value for their money. The result? A good rating and more success in your driving career!

Make Every Ride Count

Becoming a successful Uber or Lyft driver is pretty straightforward – be ready to go the extra mile and do things differently, and the rewards will keep coming your way. Also, always be on the lookout for different ways to make your rider’s experience enjoyable.

While you’re at it, look for different opportunities to make cash on the go. For instance, you can consider joining food delivery apps when things are slow on your rideshare apps. There’s really no limit because you are the boss. Make the rules and make them count!

Dan Ferrantelli

I'm Dan Ferrantelli. I discovered rideshare through my wife and daughter who used the service a full year before I decided to try it. Now I am a part-time Uber & Lyft driver and love sharing my experiences with others. I'm also an entrepreneur who has developed several businesses and I have a passion to write! I hope you enjoy the articles I post. Kind feedback is always welcome.

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