A lot of people talk about the good old days of driving for Uber, and I totally get it. The fares were higher, and there’s a lot more drivers now than before.
When I first started driving in 2015 there were only two drivers in my city at a time.
I literally got half the business and lots of times I was the only driver that was available.
Now when I glance at the app I see 10-14 drivers available at any time and sometimes more.
Of course, there’s more customers than before too, but you definitely feel the effects of over-saturation on those slow days.
You can’t just turn the Uber app on anymore and expect to make loads of money.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a ton of money either.
I managed to do this driving into the New Year. While everybody was out celebrating and drinking, I hustled and took advantage of what Uber had to offer me. I made over a grand in 9 hours driving for Uber into the New Year.
I’ll admit, part of it was luck, but part of it was strategy too.
Below I’m going to explain how I made $1,026.02 in 9 hours driving for Uber.
But first, let me just say it now. These results aren’t typical. I’m not trying to create that illusion. However, I hear a lot of people say you can’t make money with Uber any more and that’s just completely wrong.
With a little bit of strategy and planning there is still a lot of earning potential. Not every market is profitable, but you have to test out Uber to determine that yourself.
How Are You Maximizing Your Profits Driving For Uber?
Before I explain how I averaged $114 an hour, let me emphasize a few things.
If you want to maximize your earnings, you need to work smart.
Like I said, you can’t just turn the app on and expect to make bank.
You need to ask yourself these questions:
- Where are all the hotspots in your city?
- Where do you get a lot of short rides?
- Where do you receive all the longer rides?
- What times does it surge, and on what days of the week?
- What Incentives is Uber offering(Boost, Hourly Guarantee, Power Driver Bonus)?
All of these questions and more are important for you to determine a strategy that would allow you to collect the most money in the shortest amount of time.
But you can’t just have a driving strategy either.
You need to review all the resources you have and take advantage of them.
Have you signed up any new uber drivers so you both get a bonus?
Free money for signing up people doesn’t last forever.
So why are you sitting on money instead of trying to collect the cash?
When you can come up with answers to questions like the ones above; Then you can come up with a smart strategy for maximizing your profits.
These are the types of questions I’ve asked myself to make the most money in a short amount of time and sometimes without even driving.
My Plan Driving Into The New Years
Because New Years Eve is the busiest day of the year for taxis and rideshare companies, Uber was offering a lot of incentives for driving during the holiday.
Part of my strategy was working during the times the incentives were available.
The first incentive was a Quest Bonus (Formally called Power Driver Bonus).
The bonus was active from 8 pm-midnight.
- 80% of requests accepted
- Trips must begin in San Fransisco Bay Area
- Complete 6 trips: Earn an extra $20
- Complete 10 Trips: Earn an extra $50
Rider and Driver cancellations, as well as destination trips didn’t count against the bonus.
I had four hours to earn an extra $50 on top of my fares. That’s an extra $5 a ride without any extra work.
The second incentive had the same requirements. This quest bonus was active from midnight- 4 am.
- Complete 8 trips: Earn an extra $50
- Complete 12 trips: Earn an extra $120
$120 for taking 12 trips is an extra $10 a ride.
I planned on driving the eight hours and collecting an extra $170 in bonuses providing I could complete the requirements within the time limit.
On top of the bonuses offered, I knew there would be high surge pricing because of the huge demand and Uber was also offering a 2x Boost in Oakland and Berkeley which was were I planned on driving.
San Francisco and San Jose also had high boost areas for the night too.
Between Boost, Surge pricing, and the quest bonuses mixed with a lot of business. I was expecting a pretty good night. $400-$500 range was what I was expecting to make, but possibly a little more.
7:09 PM – I pick up my First Uber Ride of the Night
I live in Pleasanton and always seem to get rides into the bigger cities. So my plan was to start driving around the area that I lived in until someone requested me to one of the bigger cities. I was hoping for Oakland, but I was Ok with going to SF and SJ.
My first ride was a short ride to the Bart station. Nothing special. I figured it might take a few trips to get pulled out of the area. This is why I started right after seven o’ clock.
After dropping off my first passenger, I received a second ride request pretty quickly. The request came from the Bart station where I just dropped off the previous passenger.
Now, this is where strategy comes into play when you are taking trips.
Bart trips are usually pretty short rides, which was what I expected when I accepted this request. But, once I found the passenger and started the trip I realized It would be a bad idea to complete the ride.
The passenger was heading towards Manteca. This was a 45 minute journey taking me out of the Bay area where all of the incentives for driving were.
I explained to the guy that I couldn’t drive that way and canceled the ride free of charge. He was understanding, but I’m sure a little annoyed.
I felt bad, but driving on a holiday means I want to maximize my time to make the most money. Especially on a holiday with increased business.
Had I accepted the ride I would have arrived East in Manteca shortly after eight o’ clock. Then I would have had to drive an empty car an hour back West towards Oakland to get where I wanted to be.
I would have made no money on the empty car, spent more gas money on the extra driving, and probably not have enough time to complete the quest bonus to earn the $50.
This is why you sometimes have to plan which rides you will take. I hate refusing ride requests, but it’s all about increasing your bottom line.
Refusing to take the ride to Manteca allowed me to earn more money in the end because I stayed in a more profitable area.
Not Every Strategy is Perfect
After skipping the Manteca ride, I eventually wound up in Oakland. I drove around the area and ended up completing 13 trips in three and a half hours snagging me the $50 bonus.
13 trips in three and a half hours provided me confidence that I would not have any issues receiving the $120 bonus either.
After finishing securing the first bonus, with time to spare, I logged off the Uber app to set up for round two.
I was slightly outside the 2x Boost zone that started at midnight and wanted to position myself more central so I wouldn’t receive calls outside the zone.
The Boost zone guarantees me double the money for each fare I take. This is why sometimes it is smart to go offline during specific times of your shift.
Simultaneously, I also didn’t want to risk receiving a long ride request a few minutes before the clock strikes past midnight. I wanted to secure the full four hours for the next quest bonus.
I centered myself inside the Boost zone, Did the countdown until midnight, and then logged back onto the partner app. I didn’t expect a request right away since most people would be watching fireworks instead of requesting rides at this time.
About 15 minutes after midnight I received my first request. A little disappointing, but I ended up getting pulled out of the Boost zone right away. A $14 ride turned into a $28 ride with the Boost, and brought me to Walnut Creek.
The fare was good, but the location wasn’t where I wanted to plant myself for the night.
I thought about dashing back to Oakland to stay in the 2X Boost zone, but decided against it because The entire Bay area was lighting up with massive surge pricing.
I was in a zone with a 9.8x surge!
While there were people that actually requested rides on the high surge prices, I didn’t actually snag any request until the pricing went down to 3.6x. Still a good request, but took a lot longer than I was expecting for my second request.
This did make me a little nervous about completing the bonus. Nonetheless though, I was determined.
Once the massive surges dissipated, I started receiving requests more regularly like earlier in the day.
Closing In On The $120 Quest Bonus
Collecting the $120 honestly became tougher than expected.
For one, I had a lot of cancellations from riders. This slowed me down immensely and wasted valuable time. I received three or four cancellations.
The second obstacle thrown at me was somebody forgot their phone in my car. Silly me for being dumb and not double checking the backseat.
Luckily, I didn’t run too far from the house and managed to earn a $10 tip as a reward for returning the phone quickly.
Between these obstacles, I started becoming really nervous about reaching the bonus.
Was the $120 still obtainable?
It was 2:45 and I still needed four more rides before four o’ clock. The first group I picked up were hungry and wanted to stop at Wendy’s.
We ended up driving to Wendy’s and Taco Bell only to find out both were closed.
Thankfully, the passengers lived about a mile from the restaurants and the ride didn’t cost me too much time.
The second ride I picked up at 3:07 and was heading 25 minutes out to complete. In my mind, I said F**k I’m not going to hit the bonus at this rate.
Along the way the passenger wanted to stop at a gas station close to his house to grab a pack of cigarettes. I didn’t really want to because I was cutting time real short.
He offered tipping me, although I knew the bonus would be a better tip. Before we got to the gas station I came up with a brilliant idea.
I explained to the guy about the incentives Uber offers and said if he wanted to tip me why don’t we end the ride at the gas station and then request me as a driver again?
The ride would count as two trips and I would only need one more ride to complete the 12 trips for the $120 Quest bonus.
He agreed to my idea and liked the idea of tipping me. It made it a “cashless experience” for him and I was happy too.
We went through with the plan, I dropped him off, and then received my 12th and final trip of the night 25 minutes before four o’ clock, the deadline.
The final request ended up taking me out another 20 minutes, which means I probably wouldn’t have made the bonus without one of my passengers requesting me for a second time.
$600 Earned Without Actually Driving For Uber
Like I said earlier, you can’t just have a driving strategy.
You need to figure out other ways to maximize your time and money. One of those ways for me is through this blog. While I teach you guys about driving for Uber I earn money from referral bonuses.
As my night was finishing, Uber drivers that signed up with my referral code were completing their trip requirements.
I received two referral bonuses.
One was for $150, and the second bonus was for $450 (My referrals were rewarded similar bonuses too).
Many drivers are upset about others drivers referring new ones, but it’s all about taking advantage of the situation.
Why not earn a bonus from new drivers who are already planning on signing up for Uber anyways?
My Uber Earnings Broken Down
Not every market has a ton of incentives, and not every driver is making money from referral bonuses. While my income averaged $113 hourly, it’s a much smaller average without the bonuses and incentives.
In total, I made $1026.02 in 9 hours of driving.
When you minus the referral bonuses($600) I made $426.02 in 9 hours driving.
That’s an average pay of $47.34 an hour with only Uber’s incentives and rider fares included.
While a lot of markets have driver incentives there are still some that don’t receive anything.
Minus the quest bonuses ($170) and I end up making $256.02 for the night.
Divided by the 9 hours and without any bonuses or incentives I ended up averaging $28.45 an hour driving for Uber during the night.
$28.45 an hour is still a pretty good wage. While I know the hourly wage is reflected on a busy day of the year, you can see the difference between just making money off ride fares compared to earning money from incentives and bonuses too.
If you minus my expenses, I averaged I’d say around $23-$25 an hour.
P.S. I earned $10 in tips and the $150 bonus happened on January 1st which is why my $866.02 screenshot is $160 short.
It Doesn’t Have To Be a Holiday to Make Good Money With Uber
Uber isn’t an hourly job, and you need to remember that. Some days your income will average better than other days.
It takes some planning and strategy to earning a lot of money, but is totally obtainable on regular days too.
Ask yourself the questions I asked earlier. Pay attention to the calendar too. Concerts, sporting events, and anything else that will attract a lot of people to go out for the day are all days with high earning potential.
So even if you think Uber isn’t profitable, there are still profitable days.
How much did you make on New Years Eve? What was your best payday with Uber?