As much as I love driving Uber, some nights you just have to quit while you are behind. When you get two deliveries in a row, one normal ride, and then you come across a wrecked car with no one in it which slows you down only to arrive at the next address where your passengers are being detained by the police, so you cancel the ride and calculate your earnings so far as $10 for nearly two hours (after gas), it might be time to go home. Thankfully, I ended up less than two miles from home. It could have been 20 miles!
I’m skipping town tomorrow. I need to stop staring at this place and see some people I love. Pray that the truck makes it!
Politics and religion. Two things they always say to avoid conversations about…. And yet over the past two days I have picked fights zealously on Facebook. Why do I exhaust myself so?
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Got back on the Uber (and Lyft, but does that count?) wagon today. I definitely missed it. People are fascinating to me, from the Hispanic man with very slurred speech telling his kids over and over that they should never drink and drive and instead get an Uber like him (“Si Papi” ::audible eyeroll:: ) to the giant leather clad men in the Latin American motorcycle club, to the party animals who had no idea why they were heading to the Beaches (“The Beaches suck!”) to the single dudes who say literally nothing, to the couples who talk about everything like there is no other person in the car. I missed them all. There were a few sputters but the truck behaved, providentially. It darn well should, I had to put a new brake line on it!
Driving gave me way too much time to think. So if I am not too ridiculously busy this week I may actually have some interesting posts. Keep checking back!
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Since my next few installments of this series are going to require some research I have decided to put them off until next year. Thankfully for you next year is next month…
For now, here are some miscellaneous tips that I may have missed in my first four:
In New Mexico, one can make up to 20% of their unemployment in other money before it affects your unemployment. As in, you can make up to $85 driving Uber before they reduce your $425 unemployment check.
Arizona deducts dollar for dollar. I don’t know about other states, check with your local office for information.
Uber and Lyft:
Get used to many many smells. Between the food you pick up for deliveries and the potheads who obviously don’t realize how much that stench sticks, you are going to smell many unusual and strong smells. You may want to keep an odor neutralizer around for the lingering ones.
Which brings me to my next point. If you should happen to be able to tell that your passenger is enebriated, drive extra carefully. You wouldn’t want them to create an extra long-lingering smell for you in your back seat. I have heard there is a substantial clean up fee that Uber will charge for this, but who wants the hassle to begin with?
It looks like they have finally added a feature like the one Lyft has which allows you to go online from any screen. But I haven’t been able to figure it out. So I would stick to the plan as outlined in my previous post.
Take a pen. Two pens if you can.
Wear a shirt with two pockets. One is to hold your wad of twenty ones (for change) and one is to put your tips. Pants pockets tend to get a bit more sweaty, particularly if you are running everywhere you go.
Which you should. Not only is it good exercise, it shaves off precious seconds.
Keep ten each of quarters, dimes, and nickels. And twenty pennies. This gives you plenty of change to give exact change. And if you dig enough your costumers often get impatient and say “nah, just keep it”.
Keep it in a coin purse. There is nothing more annoying than dealing with loose change at the metal detector in the courthouse or town hall. Which reminds me…
Any sharp objects, including can openers, should be left in your vehicle. A lot of security guards are jerks that won’t hold something for you even if they can watch you walk in, deliver, and walk out.
Don’t worry too much about non-tippers, eventually you figure out that most non-tippers are balanced out by good tippers. Two good tips can completely erase a non-tip. Besides, getting grumpy just makes you sloppy, and being sloppy is a great way to guarantee non-tips.
I hope these are helpful, keep checking back for more installments. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, please do.
And if you have any tips or suggestions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!
This is the best discovery I made yet. Both apps can be run at the same time and with a bit of savvy you can easily make good money with both of them.
Turn on your Lyft Driver Shortcut in your Lyft settings menu. Then open Uber. Go online with Uber, then drag the Lyft Driver Shortcut to the center of the screen to go online with Lyft. Then go back to the Uber map.
When you accept a ping for Uber, make sure you swipe that steering wheel to the center to go offline for Lyft.
It’s not as easy when getting a ping from Lyft. Accept the ping and then navigate back to the Uber app to go offline. This takes a bit of getting used to, but so far I have not had a ping from both at once, so the extra few seconds haven’t been much of an issue.
Drop off your passenger and turn back on whichever app you went off line with. It’s really that simple.
By doing this, I was able to increase my earnings by about 15%, which isn’t a lot, but every bit counts. My phone died last week and I had to borrow a phone and use only Uber this past Friday. A night that would usually net me $50 after gas ended up being a very slow night for less than $30. Running both apps keeps slow nights moving.
There are apps that automate the whole process, but from what I have read in reviews they are too buggy to be worth the price you pay for them. Plus you are already running several apps at once and of your phone is as finicky as mine it may end up costing you a few rides with screen freezes and other delays. So why risk it? It’s simple enough to do it manually and once you get the hang of it probably quicker than automation anyway.
You will need a smart phone, obviously, and the app downloaded to said smartphone.
You will also need pictures of proof of insurance, registration, and your driver’s license. Lyft will conduct a background check, which can take 24 hours to a few days, and will let you know when you can start driving.
First impression: eek. The app feels like a knockoff brand of Uber, not quite generic, but different enough that it makes you uneasy. Like Tab. Lyft is the Tab of ridesharing.
The process for signup is a bit more tedious than Uber, but still not difficult. What made me cringe at first was the clunkiness of the app. There’s no other way to describe it, the app is just more clunky feeling than Uber. Everything is a tap, not a swipe, which can be tricky for accident prone folks like me.
Picking up passengers is an especially clunky process compared to Uber. Instead of automatically alerting the passenger that you have arrived and starting a timer like Uber does, you have to manually tell them you have arrived (two taps, one to say you’ve arrived, another to confirm it, like you messed up the first time). This is a bit of a distraction, especially if the area was crowded with people or cars.
Unlike Uber’s two minutes, Lyft gives passengers five minutes to get to you. According to the countdown timer you do get paid for the wait. I have not found out if it cancels after the five minutes. Five minutes is an eternity when picking people up, especially in busy areas.
After picking up the passenger the app works exactly the same as Uber. Person gets in, you confirm the start of the trip, navigate to location, drop off person, end trip, rate passenger, get paid, everyone’s happy. This I liked. They will even find you the next passenger before you drop off your current one and add them to your navigation, just like Uber does, but unlike Uber, you don’t have to accept them, it’s all automatic.
One of the biggest things I noticed about Lyft: they love to send you text messages. When I first turned on the app, it sent me a text message telling me I was online, like I needed that. When someone canceled (more on that in a bit) Lyft would send you a text message. When you sign into Destination Mode, Lyft would send you a text message. It seemed like every few minutes I was getting another distracting text message telling me something the app could have easily told me itself.
How Much Money Are We Talking Here?
The Lyft rates can be a bit confusing. There is no breakdown in the app of per mile or per minute rates. Passengers can see how much they pay here, but I can’t personally find how this translates to drivers. I know for a fact I am not getting $4.25 as my minimum fare.
The only night I exclusively did Lyft was so filled with cancellations that it is impossible to tell you a good night from a bad. From what I can tell though, when the app runs smoothly the amount you make is comparable to Uber.
The rates are not spelled out as clearly on the trip pages. You just get a breakdown of “Ride Payments” and “Lyft Fees” and while it does spell out time and distance, who wants to do the algebra required to figure out exactly what each mile and minute pay?
These are all pretty much the same as the Uber tips. Don’t drive around, watch your gas, and chat up your passengers.
I do think it may be good to chase “Power Zones” in Lyft. From what I can tell, they aren’t calculated the same way as Uber’s “surges” and don’t go away just because more drivers go into them.
Be prepared to turn around a lot. It seems Lyft likes to pair you up with a passenger, then pair you up with a different passenger once it determines someone else is closer to the original passenger. This may mean turning around at the next exit or making a quick u-turn on a residential street.
Be prepared to go the long haul. Uber on average sends me 4 miles to a passenger. Lyft has sent me 20 miles once, and 8-10 quite frequently. Sometimes these people are only going 2 miles down the road and for 10 miles of driving I only make $3.19. This may seem like a lot, but with my gas guzzler I end up only keeping 1.48 of that after gas. Depending on lights that trip could take 20 minutes total, giving me only $4.44/hr.
I hate to make this a comparison blog, but I honestly like Uber better. The only way to make Lyft better is to do both at the same time, which is what I will talk about in my next installment.
But. Still. Go get the app, go through the process, and start driving it as a filler when Uber is slow.
And again, hit me up for a referral code @ firstname.lastname@example.org or on my FB Page.