Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies can turn anyone with a driver’s license into an entrepreneur. Driving for money is a great side hustle for college students and anyone else who needs extra money.
Of the rideshare companies, Uber is the largest. As of 2018, Uber is a $70 billion company that employs 2 million drivers! According to money.cnn.com, 750,000 of those drivers are making money in the USA. The chance to choose working hours and shake off “the boss” make this is a dream career for many people.
Even if you work for a rideshare company, you are still responsible for your own profits. Not all Uber drivers are created equally, and while Uber has some guidelines, you will need to go the extra mile for your customers if you’re going to make real money.
1. Dress Appropriately
While no one at Uber is going to tell you what to wear, no one is going to get in a car with you if you look like a bum. This is not the time to wear leggings as pants or cut off shorts with a tank top. It’s not about fashion—it’s about sending the right image to your customers, and the image you want to portray is that you’re serious about your Uber gig.
Gentlemen, try wearing khakis and a polo shirt. You can also wear a button-up shirt. You don’t need to dress in a suit and tie, but do wear a shirt with a collar. Make sure you’re well-groomed, too. Save and comb your hair at the very least.
Ladies, business-casual is always trickier for us. You can sport the khakis with a polo or button-up shirt like the guys, but you can also throw on a skirt or casual dress. The idea is to look professional, and not in the “escort” sort of way.
2. Clean Your Car
If you are going to make money driving people around, you have to have a clean car. This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the reports we’ve read online about dirty Uber cars. Ick.
The outside of your car should be clean, and the inside should be cleaner. Vacuum out your car after each job. You can find nice portable vacuums that plug into your car’s cigarette lighter, or you can use your home stick vac. I clean out my cars with the Dyson stick vac, and while it’s the best thing ever, it’s also pricey.
Make sure your car smells good, but avoid perfume air fresheners of any sort. A lot of people have allergies. Instead, work on making your car smell clean. Wipe down the inside of doors and your dashboard with interior detailing wipes. Wash your floor mats once a week or so. Become an expert at car detailing.
3. Offer Extras
The Uber drivers who make the most money offer their customers something that other drivers don’t. Sometimes it’s as simple as candy. Other times, it’s a full-scale party van.
4. Be Friendly and Helpful Your Customers
If you’re helpful, people will leave you good tips and good reviews. Think about your customers’ needs and how you might help them. If you drive in a high-tourist area, print out a list of “can’t miss” attractions or local restaurants that deliver to hotel rooms. Keep a stack of the free coupon books in your car, too.
If you pick someone up at the airport, offer to help them with their luggage. Make sure your trunk is always clean and ready.
If you pick up a group of ladies, always get out of the car and open the car doors for them. Don’t flirt, gentlemen. This is about being courteous, not picking up a date.
Make polite conversation, unless your customer seems like he/she doesn’t want to talk. Always verify where they want to go, too—just in case. For example, we took an Uber to the Orlando airport awhile back to pick up a rental car. If our driver didn’t know we were going to the rental car pick up, she could have dropped us anywhere at the airport and we might have walked miles before finding the rental car office. Communication is important!
5. Set Reasonable Hours and Take Breaks
Any freelancer knows the importance of set work hours. But, this is even more important for Uber drivers. As you earn based on fares, there’s a temptation to work ridiculous hours. The trouble is, when you’re on the road, working too long can lead to fatigue. And, if that happens, you’re a risk to yourself and others.
You’re even at risk of coming under fire from attorneys like those found at www.ubercaraccidentlaw.com if you cause an accident. That would spell the end of your side-hustle, as well as big legal trouble for you. Even if no accident occurs, overworking could lead to burnout, and issues such as stress and anxiety. So, it’s crucial you draw lines. Anything over 9-hours per day is probably pushing the limit.
It may even be that your issues with time fall the other way. While some overwork, other freelancers struggle to motivate themselves at all. While money should be enough to get you out of bed, it isn’t always the case. Having set hours that you’re committed to working should help motivate you to reach your financial goals.