Making Money the Millennial Way: Why Not Both?

So…. Uber…. or Lyft?

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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.

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Two apps, one screen.

How to:

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.

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This is what you’ll see, and both apps will be looking for passengers.

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.

Next up: Old fashioned pizza delivery.

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Making Money The Millennial Way: Lyft

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As I discussed previously, I’ve been doing Uber now for about 9 weeks. I’m super familiar with the app and its pros and cons, and I’ve had moderate success with making money with it.

What about its closest competitor, Lyft?

I was going to write a diatribe against it, because my first night with it was horrible, but after a few more nights I’ve moderated my view.

What it is:

Lyft is just like Uber, it’s a rideshare app that allows you to pick up and drop off passengers and make money doing it.

Getting Started:

Like Uber, Lyft has a long list of requirements for vehicle age and such, and these vary from place to place.

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.

General Experience:

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.

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Tap to arrive, then tap again to confirm you’ve really arrived.

 

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.

Lyft Rates

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.

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And I got a text message for every one of those….

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?

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5.92X+18.4166Y=6.82 is too much math!

General Tips:

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.

Bottom Line:

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 @ driptorchstudio@gmail.com or on my FB Page.

 

Making Money the Millennial Way: Uber

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Sorry for the week delay. Life is crazy, as usual. And I’m horribly undisciplined to boot.

Today’s money making scheme is Uber. I have been doing Uber the longest out of all of the schemes I wish to discuss. I’ve been doing Uber now for about 9 weeks, with weeks (and months) off here and there.

What it is:

Uber is a ridesharing app that allows you to play taxi driver with your own personal vehicle.

Getting started:

In order to drive for Uber you first must have a vehicle which meets basic specifications. These specifications vary from city to city, but the basic requirement is that it have four doors. The model year requirement varies dramatically, here in Jacksonville we qualified with a 2004, in Washington DC the year had to be 2007 or newer. When you sign up you will find a list for your local area.

You will also need proof of insurance, registration, and a picture of your license. Uber does the necessary background checks (mine took less than 24 hours) and then you can get on the road.

Oh yeah, and a smart phone. But you’re a Millennial, you don’t know of any other kind of phone.

General experience:

For an extrovert who loves to drive, Uber is a great experience. I don’t recommend that you apply if you don’t like people or get panicky while driving. You’re going to meet a lot of people in a lot of parts of town, some bad, some good.

The app itself is fairly smooth to run, just start it up and swipe “online” to start getting ride requests. When you do, you will hear a little jingle sound and the request will pop up on your screen. You’ve got 15 seconds to accept so think fast. The app will shown you where the person is after a second or two so you can make a more informed decision.

Once you accept the ride, click the “Navigate” button and your choice of navigation app will pop up with directions already programmed in. A bit of advice here: get Waze. Waze gives better directions (though you ought to be aware of long U-turns) than Google and will tell you where roadwork, police, and crashes are.

Navigate to your rider. Once you arrive the app tells them you are there and starts a two minute timer. This is one of the best features Uber has added this summer. After two minutes of waiting, you will start getting paid for your time. Your riders have an incentive to get out to you quickly which saves you time and gas. Keep in mind this clock only starts when you are close enough to the destination that Uber starts the timer. I’ve had people enter in an address just far enough away that it didn’t trip and then make me wait. Not sure if it is on purpose or not, but keep it in mind.

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What you see when you’re ready to start your trip.

When the rider gets in, greet them. This should seem obvious but I have heard horror stories of not-so-nice Uber drivers (they don’t last long). Swipe “Start trip” and again your navigation will pop up and tell you where to drop them off. Of course this is not foolproof, sometimes they want to go somewhere near what they put in, or what they put in was just a stop and they want to keep going. If the latter is true, make sure you turn off requests so that Uber doesn’t ping you for a new ride before you’ve dropped off your current one. The app will continue to charge until you hit the “End trip” button.

Navigate to your destination, the app will automatically pop up when you arrive with a “End trip” button. Drop the rider off and swipe the button, it’s pretty easy.

How Much Money Are We Talking Here?

In Jacksonville the current pay rates for drivers is $0.60 per mile and $0.08 per minute, so if you’re driving at 60 MPH you’re making $0.68 per min. From what I’ve read each city has a different pay schedule. There is a minimum guarantee of $3.19 per ride, so don’t worry about short rides, unless they are too short (I had a delivery across a parking lot that only spit out $2.68, after I drove six miles out of my way to pick it up).

On a good night I can make over $100 before subtracting gas. On bad nights it’s usually in the $35-50 range before taking out gas. Mind you that’s only about 4-6 hours of driving, so after gas my pay is usually $8-15 per hour. If I wasn’t driving a gas guzzler (Ford Expedition) this would be more.

The best nights are busy nights when there are a load of events going on in town, like football games, concerts, or three day weekends.

I have driven mornings as well, and typically the tips are better, but the trips are fewer and the traffic is worse. This is why I stick to nights, drunk people LOVE Uber.

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During the Florida/Georgia Game Weekend

General Tips:

You’ll see a lot of these elsewhere on pages about working for Uber but I’ll reinforce the ones I’ve found particularly true:

Don’t chase the surges, unless they are particularly close they generally will disappear before you get there. It’s Uber’s way of making sure they have enough drivers distributed around town, so the map is usually a minute or two behind to ensure that enough drivers are in the area.

Park, don’t drive around. I typically start my night by getting gas, turning on the app, driving about a block to the nearest shopping center, parking, and turning off the truck. On an average night I won’t have to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a ping. When you drop someone off, park nearby and wait, unless the app has already found you someone else. I only move if I’ve sat more than 20 minutes. You will learn the best parts of town for rides and the worst. Thankfully those can only be a mile or two apart.

Keep an eye on your gas. I heard a horror story from one of my passengers about a driver that ran out of gas and had the nerve to ask him to push her car off the busy road while she got a gallon of gas. She then had the nerve to tell him she was going to stop for more gas before taking him on to his destination. Don’t be that driver.

Chat it up! Always greet people when they get in, always let them talk if they want to, or not talk at all if they want to, and always wish them a good night. Good customer service goes a long way towards a good tip or a five star rating. I’ve even had good conversations gloss over the fact I missed a turn or hit my brakes a little hard. People are forgiving if you make them feel important to you.

Don’t do delivery if you don’t have to. Sign up for it, and keep it as a possibility (you can turn it off in the app) for slow nights or when you want a stretch break, but don’t do it if you are getting passengers. A typical delivery takes 20-45 minutes from the time you accept it to the time you are able to drop it off. In this time I usually can pick up a passenger or two and make almost twice as much money (and they tip, unlike delivery people). I’m hoping Uber works out the bugs but until then delivery is just staying in back-up status.

Take the shortest time route. Even if you can save a passenger $2 by driving 4 fewer miles, they don’t notice a shorter distance as much as the longer time. Time is money to most people, even if they are technically paying more.

If someone mentions tipping, don’t expect a tip. I don’t know what it is about psychology, but I’ve noticed the only people that consistently don’t tip are the ones who mention that they will.

Bottom Line:

I love Uber. I could write so much more about the experience and about tips and tricks, but that would probably cause you all to drop off my site forever.

If you have the vehicle, and you love people, go, get the app, go through the process, and start driving as soon as possible!

Oh, and before you do, message me for a referral code @ driptorchstudio@gmail.com or through my Facebook page. I’m pretty sure there is some sort of reward for the both of us if you do.

Making Money the Millennial Way (First in a Series)

I know what you are thinking, here is yet another in a million blogs telling you how to make money. And next he’s going to tell me about how this isn’t like the others.

Well, you are correct, on both counts. This is yet another blog out of a million about making money. And I am going to tell you it is different.

“How so?” You ask, incredulous.

Well, instead of telling you I made $1000 from my blog, then telling you all I had to do was give a guy who read my blog a Lyft referral code, and all he had to do was drive fifty trips in 30 days, I’m going to discuss various options for making money these days.

I’m going to give you a low down on all options from blogging to Uber (and yes, maybe even Lyft) to good old fashioned pizza delivery and product sales. I might throw in a yard sale as well, just to cover my bases.

All of these will be things that I or my wife have tried, or are in the process of trying. We are still collecting data and forming our opinions of the various options we have chosen. Therefore this is going to be a series spread out over awhile, so keep checking back, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.

It’s a zTrap!

Ever hear of something too good to be true? Everyone has. More often than not, if it seems too good to be true, it is.

Such is the case it seems for a company I was told about last night. While making my rounds for Uber I was told by a rider that there was this great new ride sharing company in Jacksonville. She said this company is just like Uber, but unlike Uber where you bring your own vehicle, this company provides you with a car that you keep 24/7. On top of that, they provide you with insurance and pay all maintenance on the vehicle. And the most enticing thing: you keep 100% of the fares.

This definitely sounded wayyyy to good to be true. So of course I went home and looked it up. Sure enough, their website had a handy comparison chart demonstrating that, unlike their competition, they provide insurance and maintenance.

The other differences between the two are pretty vague.

Uber has just started providing 24/7 driver assistance so that point is moot.

Keeping 100% of “Your” fares seems to be word play to me. There is no way a company could survive without income while providing insurance and maintenance (and vehicles?). They must be taking some portion of the charges to the costumer, which is exactly what Uber does. I assume what is “yours” to keep is determined by the company.

Build repeat clientele? Honestly? Meh. My zTrip informant also described an Uber driver who basically drove a school bus route every day. She picked up the same kids every morning and took them to school. Then she picked them up in the afternoon. You don’t need a parent company to help you build repeat costumers, you just have to be in the same place at the same time every day. Where there is a will there is a way.

Still intrigued, mostly because I was thinking they might actually provide a vehicle (nothing on the site to confirm nor deny it), I decided to sign up. All I had to do was fill out a small form, then I was taken to a “Thank you” page which said they would be in contact. This was definitely different from Uber, which in the initial sign-up phase asked about my vehicle type as well as information like driver’s license number.

With Uber, I signed up and was driving less than 48 hours later. zTrip is already feeling like it will take a lot longer. If I recall correctly, the lady last night said she had to go in for an interview. That sounds suspiciously like an employee gig and not an independent contractor gig like Uber or Lyft.

So after signing up I decided to do some research (I know, typical me, wait until after to read the fine print). It appears zTrip is really just a re-brand of Yellow Taxi.  This made me recoil. I don’t like clever cover ups which just change the name of an old crappy service.

Have you ever heard anyone say “Man, I had this great taxi driver the other day, really nice person, and they were so cheap!”? No one ever hears that. I hear it all the time about Uber drivers though. Not to say we are perfect (as a driver I hear horror stories) but we do seem to be better on average.

After a bit more searching I found this page:

Ignoring the typo, this page is ambiguous. It doesn’t say you do get a car, but it doesn’t say you don’t.  The best I can figure is they offer specials on leasing vehicles, but you don’t get to pick exactly what you want, just what they want you to want. Judging by the cars in the first picture above, there is branding involved.

I’m all for competition. I’d rather taxi companies offer a better service at a better price than go whine to legislators. Before re-branding they attempted to have the draconian laws the local government puts on them enforced on the new rideshare companies. Taxi companies in other cities have been more successful at this.

Why don’t they instead fight to have those laws relaxed? Why must they use government to stifle the market? Obviously people like the other companies, otherwise they wouldn’t be so successful. Do taxi companies care about the consumer?

I applaud ZTrip for at least trying to be more like it’s successful rivals. I hope the competition drives the pay up for all of us drivers (and the fares down for the consumer) as the companies fight it out for customers. I just don’t know if I want to be stuck as an employee with a branded car, I’m not ready to give up my freedom as an independent contractor.

I awai

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The Adventure….Doesn’t Begin

Today was supposed to mark the beginning of our adventure to New Mexico. Of course, thanks to a snafu by the car dealer, our title has not been sent from VA to NM. So we are stuck in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future.

Which is fine.

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How I really feel

We are way behind on packing and cleaning, and it gives me time to do my new favorite pastime: driving Uber.

For a total of four nights now, I’ve driven around town and picked up people from all walks of life. Some are chatty, some are eerily quiet, most are somewhere in between. Some are drunk, some are just trying to get to or from work. I feel a bit like I am playing GTA in real life, picking up random people in random places and dropping them off in other random places, then watching the money counter scroll upwards. For an extrovert like me, this has been a pretty cool job.

I’m glad to have a little job to do, it distracts from the craziness of trying to get this show on the road. As if I didn’t have enough anxiety already, add a deadline and a really long drive and I’m getting crazy not being on the road. I made it to Arizona in three days last year. If it comes down to it, I can probably make NM in two…

I’ll keep you posted.