by Susan Paige
The number of Uber drivers is continuing to race upwards. It’s estimated that in 2019 there will be over 5 million drivers.
The average amount that Uber drivers make varies, but one thing is clear: people are taking jobs as Uber drivers as a side hustle and hoping to pocket some extra cash. But it’s not always easy, considering how the tips for Uber drivers fluctuates, and the pay is only about $14 per hour.
If you’re an Uber driver and wondering how you can up your pay, here are some handy tips.
1. Pamper Your Passengers
Passengers love being pampered, and sometimes that means going the extra mile (not literally, in this case!).
There are several ways you can go out of your way to please your customers. For example, make sure your radio station has a plug-in for a passenger to listen to their music or invest in a small container of snack or water bottles at no extra charge. These purchases are tax-deductible and could yield you higher tips.
Don’t forget to pack snacks and hydrate yourself as well, especially if you’re going to be driving for long periods. Doing so will avoid the temptation to use a drive-thru, and therefore saving you some money.
2. Find An Uber-Accounting Specialist
Since driving for Uber makes you an independent contractor, you’ll need to make sure your managing your finances well. Taxes for independent contractors can be high, and it’s not always clear how much you should save.
Finding an accountant that specializes in helping the self-employed is vital because they can guide you through the maze of paperwork and tax jargon, especially if you’re unfamiliar with filing taxes. Ask your accountant the best way to keep records so you’ll be prepared come tax time.
3. Maintain Your Car
Keeping up appearances is essential in any job, but when your job involves your vehicle, that’s even more important.
Make sure your car is clean and tidy, free from trash, debris, and dirt. Schedule regular maintenance check-ups to keep your vehicle in shape and avoid any potential problems that could occur when you’re out working.
4. Become a Better Driver
You’ve been driving for years, and you’re confident you know what you’re doing. But do you? Are there areas where you could improve?
When you invest in your skills to improve your driving skills, passengers take notice. They will feel safe and secure and most likely be willing to give higher tips.
5. Consider the Competition
Driving for Uber is one way to pocket more cash, but have you considered also driving for Lyft? There are many advantages to dipping your toe in both companies. These advantages can help you boost your income and possibly make better use of your time.
6. Manage Your Driving and Your Time Wisely
While waiting for passengers, it’s tempting to continue to drive around your city, but this is not to your advantage. The more time you spend driving, the more wear and tear you put on your vehicle. Not only that, but you’re guzzling gas and throwing your hard-earned money out the window.
There are a few ways to combat the waiting. First, use the Uber Passenger app to see where other drivers are and head in a different direction and wait. Doing so keeps you out of a saturated area, and you’re more likely to find work.
Try to avoid the suburbs if you can, because there’s a lack of passengers. Also, track your area and see if there’s a time when people are requesting a ride more heavily. Be available during these times, and you’ll avoid the waiting game.
7. Avoid or Anticipate Fare Surges
A fare surge is when prices increase when the demand for a ride is high. In this case, drivers can make more money. The downside is that several Uber drivers will flock to the location at once, making it challenging for everyone to work.
As an Uber driver, you have two options. You can avoid the fare surge altogether, especially if it’s farther away than you’d like. By the time you arrive, chances are no more passengers will be available because they’ve all found transportation.
Another way is to anticipate the fare surge. Find out which places tend to have a fare surge and park your car and wait. This way you’re available when the fare surge hits instead of racing to the location.
8. Invite People to Drive for Uber
Have friends who are looking for a side hustle? Why not suggest Uber?
Uber drivers have a referral code to pass on to friends or family. When that person signs up for Uber using their referral code, that driver earns a bonus.
9. Be Classy When Asking for Tips
At one point, Uber discouraged passengers from tipping their drivers but has since then retracted that policy. Uber drivers can now tip drivers. But blatantly asking for tips is uncomfortable for both the driver and the passenger.
There are ways to display that tips are appreciated, however. Small signs or a decal in your car are subtle ways to hint that tips are ok.
10. Plan Restroom Breaks
Driving doesn’t always give you a chance to head to the restroom when you have to go. The best thing to do is to locate the bathrooms that will be in your area and make a pit stop when you need to. Keep in mind that places in the city may pay for parking, so look for free parking spots and open restrooms.
Embrace These Tips for Uber Drivers
Driving for Uber can be a flexible and fun experience when you’re making more money. Hopefully, these tips for Uber drivers will allow you to earn more green and make the side hustle worth it.
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