The best thing about ridesharing is that you can log in and make money anytime you want, especially in a city like Houston. There is always someone wanting to go somewhere. So how come today is “slow”?
I have long said that rideshare is 20% strategy and 80% luck. This number was originally based on what Uber used to keep (20%) and what drivers used to keep (80%). Even though that is not case anymore, rideshare being 20% strategy, 80% luck still holds true today since we can kind of guess where rides are coming from, but we can not guess how far they are going, or how much we will make.
On weekend evenings we can simply turn on the app and likely get a ride to town. From there the requests should keep coming in as long as you position yourself at a business that is open.
During the weekdays, especially on a day like Monday and Tuesday, we need to think a little bit harder, so strategy becomes even more important.
To develop a strategy ask yourself this:
Who needs a ride on the weekday? Doesn’t everyone have a car in Houston?
– Simple answer is no. Not everyone has a car. Tourists/Visitors (in Houston we have more business visitors than tourists, hint hint) and people who may not have a reliable car, or would rather simply commute to save on parking costs. (keep in mind, those who commute to save money are likely not going to be the ones who tip)
Now, with that out of the way, pull out a pen and paper and go ahead and brainstorm a list of places that has these folks.
Why don’t I just list them out here?
The biggest culprit of a slow day is others finding out about your hotspot. I see this all the time on Facebook. The one tipping other drivers off, comes back and complains the next day that it is busy. I can list out places here, but that will mean that every person who reads this post, will go to that same place. Honestly, even if 5 people read this post, if they told 1 friend each, now you have 10 people. Those 10, tell 1 person each, now you have 20 drivers that know about this spot, and it keeps going and going. Considering one of these places may spit out a few riders every rider, just a few people knowing can keep you from getting rides.
The biggest mistake
One of the biggest mistakes all drivers make (both new and “veteran” drivers) is getting into the same runt day in and day out. The problem is, not everyday is the same. You have to constantly evolve. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest reason is other drivers finding out about your hotspot. As hard as you may try to keep a hotspot secret, it is hard. It is a hotspot, so other riders are requesting and these drivers are discovering it. Not to mention, you have other drivers who drive by and notice, Hey, there is a group of drivers here, maybe I should wait here to. (how I found out my latest hotspot.) Of course, these other drivers maybe telling your secret to the world, so that does not help either. You need to develop a plan for every day of the week.
The Uber Rider App
If you open the rider app, you will notice car icons. At one point these were “ghost cars” but it now seems they are just delayed by 30 seconds or so. (I was able to catch up to a couple of them on the street.) Anyhow, open the rider app. If you notice a car (or maybe a few) cars not moving, chances are, this is a good area to wait in. I will travel there, find where they are supposed to be, and look around. This really works better in a non residential area though. Chances are you may see a group of people. (aka potential riders) or an event going on. If not that is okay to. Drivers typically do not wait for long in areas that will not give pings (unless you find them asleep). Eventually, you will get a ping. When you do, it is likely coming from the place the other drivers around you are targeting. From there, you can judge that hotspot better. I would keep this place spot in mind, but wherever you drop off at, try the same again. Open the rider app and look for a place with other drivers. At the very least, you know it is going to be a rather safe spot. We maybe competition but at the same time we look out for one another. If someone starts harassing you, or victimizing you, the other drivers will likely step in. (Unless they are victimizing you for being in their hotspot, which can happen.) If the other driver(s) start harassing you, you can always leave, but you know that is a really good hotspot.
Patience is critical on days like this. If you know you are in a good spot, stay there. Eventually someone will leave and will need a ride. It does suck when you are waiting for an hour and end up with a short ride, but the rides will flow again. Of course, there is always the airport. It maybe packed and a long wait, but you are guaranteed a ride there sooner or later. Patience is key. The airport is a fairly safe spot to nap at. If you leave your car on, in this heat, you will have to worry about overheating, but if you turn it off, your body may over heat. You may not notice if you fall into a deep sleep so be careful either way. But, I find napping helps pass the time at the airport.
At the airport or elsewhere, you can pull up a good movie, snacks, work on some school work, read a book, call your mom, whatever you do at home. Think of waits as a break and your time will pass by smoother. Use the slow time to your advantage, even if that means heading home and waiting for a ride there.
If you are having a hard time finding someone, you may want to log into UberEats, DoorDash or another delivery company. If no one is out and about, chances are they are staying at home. This is true, especially in inclement weather.
When it comes down to it though, you need to develop a plan for everyday of the week you work. If you take the appropriate time to plan, you will see more consistently busier days. Remember, each day is different. Just because something worked last Tuesday, does not mean it will work this Tuesday.
Pro Tip: Make sure your app is turned on and on loud. While this sounds obvious and like a joke, there have been times my app turned off due to a glitch, or maybe I was missing pings and didn’t hear it (eventually, both Uber and Lyft log out). Either way, check every so often your apps logged in, ready for trips.