Welcome to this comprehensive driving companion for Uber drivers. If you are reading this, then you are already a driver or considering becoming one. In this handbook, we will go over the key issues and Uber app features and offer some insights into certain critical issues.
There are differences in certain cities, and these are discussed in the final section called General Issues, where NYC, LA, and London are discussed to show drivers how certain cities differ.
The Online Driver
Before you go online, and before you start to work out where and when to work, you should understand the Periods' principle of Uber ride-share driving. This is called the Periods Process, and it is how Uber splits up the work day for payment and insurance coverage. Periods are also how you plan and schedule your daily and weekly workloads.
Period 1: This is from the moment you start working until you accept your first request. It is also the period that immediately starts after period three finishes. Period 1 is a period where the driver has no request, is not driving with a passenger but is logged into the app waiting for requests. Period 1 has limited Uber insurance coverage and no income. If you use destination filter, then miles are deductible, if not, then miles are not tax deductible.
Period 2: This is the moment you accept a request until you arrive to pick up the passenger. It has some Uber insurance coverage but has no income. Miles are tax deductible.
Period 3: This is the moment you get to the pickup point to when you drop the passenger off. It has full Uber insurance coverage, and the trip is tax deductible. All fees, tolls, and fines are paid by the passenger unless they were deemed the driver's fault.
Where and when is it best to drive?
This is the classic question asked by every driver. We break it down here for your convenience:
When to drive
Knowing when to drive is key to success. Hitting traffic is not the worst issue, hitting traffic with no rides is. Going into lull areas and missing surges are terrible feelings and driving around large crowd functions at the wrong time is also a problem. Timing is a crucial issue and learning how to arrive is as essential as learning to drive.
One interesting issue with timing is what time of day to drive. If you are only working as a rideshare driver, then your hours are pretty much your own. You can decide to drive early morning or late-night hours as well as drive during rush/peak hours too. Working the so-called early morning quiet hours can be productive, sure there are fewer customers, but then there are even fewer drivers. You will also get those early airport runs, which can be lucrative since they occur daily.
Driving on weekends and holidays is also a good source of income if you are willing to be out and about on Christmas Eve or Halloween.
Driving late at night is a great time to catch all the bar crawlers and frat party goers, and by watching the social media and reading up on local activities, you can find out when a significant crowd event will occur.
Where to drive
Once you know when to drive, you will now need to learn where to drive. Sure, you know where the late-night watering holes are, you know where the major crowd events occur, and you know where the airport is located. However, sometimes knowing where an even is happening is not as good as knowing how to avoid the traffic and still get the fares. Finding alternative routes or places to park for pick-ups is as important as knowing where the pick-up might be before they ask for a pickup.
Study the maps and drive around just to learn where and how to get anywhere. Get lost driving around aimlessly noting small side roads and shortcuts through parking areas and gas stations. Sometimes you hit a hidden hot spot, a place that is so far out that no one ever thought to it, but once you arrive on the scene if you also have an Uber light too, you can attract some unusual attention.
Find out where all the distant pubs and bars are situated, it much better working in driver free zones, leaving your co-drivers to deal with highly populated watering holes.
Who to drive
While you might shy away from drunks, it pays if you come prepared. You will find loads of drunk passengers late at night around bars and pubs. Just be ready for some bumpy rides and be patient. They can prove to be a lucrative focus, a rideshare driver for drunks. Just make sure you have a lot of patience, a lot of towels and cleaning appliances and are not taking on any violent or abusive passenger.
Another group to try and consolidate are frequent flyers. Academicians, physicians, and business people. Try to find central points where you can advertise your services to increase your net passenger list with these travelers. The more airport runs you get, the less you will need to supplement income. Some drivers are known for only doing airport runs.
Bonuses and Guarantees
Once you signed up and got your sign-up bonus, you will need to maintain your lead with a guarantee. These are basic competitions; the more rides you get per hour, the more significant your income. Watch out for the various time-related bonuses, such as hot-spot bonuses and surges. They pay more but have their issues.
Hot Spots and Surges
Finding hot spots and predicting surges is a significant science these days. Most experienced rideshare drivers still haven't got the hang of this. However, once you know where a hot spot or surge will occur, make sure you are there when it happens. If you have to drive there, the probability is that it will have gone by the time you arrive. Don't chase a surge, and remember, there are lots of surge chasers, they end up getting tired especially at night, don't become one of them.
What is Map Shading?
When using the Uber app map, you will notice that some of the areas are shaded in different colors. These colors represent different customer saturation levels, which where demand is growing higher due to more requests and fewer drivers available. This enables drivers to see where the current pressure spots are building up into what is termed a "surge." Surges provide a higher fare rate, then are either can grow in various increments, such as x1.2, x1.5, x2. X2.2, x2.6 x3 etc.
Uber's new algorithm is using machine learning to manage supply and demand issues based on a mix of historical data and updated incoming information to control the supply and demand process.
Press the lightning bolt icon that is found at the top right corner of the map, and it will show you the current status of surge pricing. By zooming onto a specific shaded area, you will get the exact pricing for that area.
Note: Experienced drivers learn how to predict surges, this is done through continuous studying of surge patterns over time. Surges tend to occur in specific areas and during particular periods, so watch out and learn.
Another factor to remember, surges don't last for a long period, as more and more drivers either wait in surge areas too are driving close by when they start. Don't drive to a surge area if you are over ten minutes away. By the time you get them there, the chances are that the surge is over.
Driver Accompaniment Rule
Uber does not allow drivers to have an accompanying passenger in the car during work hours.
While Uber allows dash cams to record all rides, it is imperative that all drivers purchase and attach multiple systems so that the front and rear views are covered for insurance purposes, and the interior is covered from two angles to record all rides for driver security, legal and insurance purposes.
Drivers recording audio as well must notify the passenger of this since audio recording is illegal without the riders consent.
Notifying passengers of a dash cam is preferred even without audio, since it will make them act with more consideration, in the case of drunks and unruly passengers this can serve as a deterrent to unwanted behavior.
Using third-party apps and personal calls
Uber does not stop drivers from using any other apps when driving, such as Waze, Mystro, Google Maps, Raydar and more. If a driver turns on an app and switches to it during period 1, the Uber app will send a notification every 3 minutes to remind the driver to either go offline or switch the app back to Uber so the driver can answer requests.
Even when using other apps, the GPS system is still working, so Uber will know where and when you are at any moment, which is used to manage trip records for accurate fare estimation.
Drivers can make personal and receive personal calls, just make sure your hands are on the wheel and check to see what State rules apply to this issue.