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9 Uber Strategies for Boosting Your Earnings as a Driver Partner

Being an Uber driver isn't a straightforward way to make money, especially considering the high cost of gasoline and the increasing cost of cars. To earn a decent income as an Uber driver, one needs to strategize their working hours and manage their time effectively. Additionally, it is much easier to make more money in a bustling city than in the suburbs or a small town.

While some drivers have been able to earn a fortune as Uber drivers by selling goods to their passengers, the average salary for an Uber driver in the United States is just over $29,000 a year, as per Indeed. It's worth noting that Uber is just a side job for some drivers.

However, if you're looking to make the most money possible as an Uber driver, you may want to take some tips from journalist Emily Guendelsberger. She went undercover as an Uber driver in Philadelphia for a month and shared her experiences in Philadelphia's (now defunct) City Paper.

Guendelsberger's stint as an Uber driver yielded valuable insights that can benefit fellow Uber driver-partners looking to increase their earnings. By adopting these strategies, you can improve your chances of making more money as an Uber driver.Uber's Tips for Becoming a Successful Driver Partner

Uber's Tips for Becoming a Successful Driver Partner

Guendelsberger's UberX training involved a concise 13-minute video that covered the basics of providing quality service and receiving five-star ratings from passengers. The video offered tips such as opening the rear door for passengers, providing cold bottled water, and keeping extra phone chargers on hand for their convenience. Additionally, the video emphasized the significance of maintaining a professional appearance, and even showcased the video's star selecting expensive ties to wear while driving passengers around town.

Despite the valuable insights in the training video, Guendelsberger discovered other methods to increase her earnings as an Uber driver. Here are some of the strategies she recommends based on her experience as a driver-partner. We have also added a few tips of our own at the end to further boost your earnings.

9 Proven Strategies for Increasing Your Income as an Uber Driver-Partner

1. Offering Refreshments: A Simple Way to Enhance Your Uber Service and Boost Tips

Long hours on the road can take a toll on your comfort and well-being, which is why it's crucial to have all the essentials at hand. Guendelsberger recommends keeping a supply of snacks and water in your car, not just for your passengers but for yourself as well. By doing so, you can stay well-nourished and hydrated throughout your shift, eliminating the need for expensive and time-consuming takeout options.

2. Finding Public Restrooms: A Must-Know Tip for Uber Drivers on the Go

As an Uber driver, it's important to be mindful of restroom facilities in the areas where you typically drive. Guendelsberger stresses the significance of locating public restrooms with free parking, especially in busy downtown areas where parking can be a challenge. During her time as a driver in Philadelphia, she found that Whole Foods and suburban Starbucks were reliable options with free parking and unlocked restrooms.

To avoid any stressful and uncomfortable situations, it's advisable to research and identify available restroom options in advance. While the options may vary depending on your location, having a good understanding of what's available can save you time and frustration on the road.

3. Avoiding the Crowd: How to Optimize Your Uber Route and Minimize Traffic

Guendelsberger discovered that avoiding the recommended times and locations where demand for rides was usually high, such as popular morning commute routes, busy Saturday night bars, and the local arena after a professional hockey game, actually helped her make more money. Contrary to popular belief, when drivers flock to these areas, Uber's surge pricing decreases due to a surplus of drivers, resulting in reduced earnings for each ride.

4. Maximizing Your Earnings: How to Make the Most of Surge Pricing on Uber

As an Uber driver, taking advantage of surge pricing can significantly boost your earnings. One strategy to do so is by "gaming the system," according to veteran driver and author Emily Guendelsberger. Her recommendation is to log out of the driver app before anticipated surge times, such as when the bars close or during major events.

In her experience driving in Philadelphia, Guendelsberger found that surge pricing was particularly high between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. when party-goers were looking for a ride home. To maximize earnings during this time, she suggests logging out of the app around 1:50 a.m., waiting for 15 minutes, and then logging back in to take advantage of the surge pricing.

By logging out of the app, the number of drivers in the area is reduced, driving up the fares for those still logged in. This strategy also helps prevent missing out on surge pricing by avoiding getting a fare just before the surge kicks in. Keep in mind that while gaming the system can be effective, it's important to be aware of any potential negative consequences and follow Uber's terms of service.

5. Use Your Time Wisely and Strategically

Driving around aimlessly to find passengers is not only unproductive but also damages your vehicle, according to Guendelsberger. She recommends focusing on a central area and avoiding the suburbs whenever possible. When you travel long distances to reach a passenger, the fare you earn may not cover your expenses, as you never know where the passenger wants to go until you pick them up. This often leads to drivers losing money on long-distance fares. Additionally, passengers may get bored or frustrated waiting for you and cancel their ride or choose a different mode of transportation. It's best to avoid driving around endlessly and instead stay in a central area to maximize your earnings.

6. Be Cautious When Chasing Surge Fares, but Consider This Hack

As an Uber driver, you may have heard that surge pricing is a great way to earn more money. However, according to Guendelsberger's experience, racing to an area with surge pricing is not always the best option. The surge period might be over by the time you arrive, and other drivers may also be competing for the same fares.

But don't lose hope just yet. Guendelsberger has a helpful tip for those wanting to capitalize on surge pricing. She suggests logging out of the driver app and logging into the passenger app until you reach the surge area. Then, log out of the passenger app and back into the driver app.

This technique works because Uber calculates surge fares based on the ratio of passengers with the app open to drivers in a specific area at a given time. By logging into the passenger app, you appear to be a passenger looking for a ride, which can increase the likelihood of being pinged for a surge fare. Once you reach the surge area, switch back to the driver app and wait for the requests to roll in.

7. How to Trick the System with the Uber Passenger App

As an Uber driver, it's important to know all the tips and tricks to maximize your earnings. One such trick is to use the Uber passenger app to your advantage. The passenger app has features that are not available on the driver app, such as the ability to see where other drivers are located. By checking this information, you can avoid areas with a lot of competition and instead focus on areas where you are more likely to get ride requests.

For instance, Guendelsberger found herself at a stadium after a game and had difficulty receiving ride requests. However, she quickly resolved the issue by logging into the passenger app and identifying an area with fewer drivers. By driving to that area, she received a ride request almost immediately.

Moreover, the passenger app provides more up-to-date information on surge fares compared to the driver app. Guendelsberger found that the driver app had a delay of a few minutes, which could cause drivers to miss out on surge pricing. By using the passenger app, you can stay on top of surge pricing and take advantage of these higher fares when they occur.

8. Maintain High Ratings to Succeed as an Uber Driver

In the Uber system, passengers rate drivers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars after each ride. These ratings are a crucial component of the driver's overall performance evaluation, and consistently low ratings can result in deactivation from the platform.

To maintain a high rating, it's essential to take some basic steps. First, be friendly and professional with your passengers. Greet them warmly, ask how their day is going, and offer to help with their luggage if needed. Also, make sure to drive safely and obey traffic laws. Finally, keeping your vehicle clean is crucial. A tidy and well-maintained car can make a significant impression on passengers and lead to positive ratings.

9. Don't Forget to Track Your Mileage for Tax Deductions

As a rideshare driver for companies like Uber or Lyft, it's important to keep track of your mileage for tax purposes. By doing so, you can take advantage of the tax deduction known as the standard mileage rate.

Properly tracking your mileage is crucial if you want to take advantage of the tax deduction available to Uber and Lyft drivers. For the 2023 tax year, the standard mileage rate for business use is 65.5 cents per mile, which can result in significant savings when deducted from your income at tax time. To ensure you don't miss out on this deduction, it's essential to keep precise records of the number of miles you drive for Uber throughout the year. So make sure to keep track of your mileage accurately and take full advantage of this deduction.

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