So, I started driving for Uber again. I forgot how much fun it was!
I first drove for Uber back at the tail end of 2013 and very beginning of 2014. You see, gigs are always a little bit slow in the first couple months of the year so I was looking to make a little extra dough and also just for something to do — I like to stay busy. Uber, at the time, was pushing really hard for new drivers (it was right before the new year and they were looking for drivers for New Year’s Eve) and I decided to explore. It looked like it would be a pretty fun way to make a little cash, so I signed up and went through the process.
If you’re just looking for how to Sign Up for Uber and Cash in a Referral Bonus, click that link instead!
Anyway, I had a blast driving for Uber for a couple months. I would sign in after work and drive for a couple hours a couple days a week, and — occasionally — do the Friday or Saturday night runs. At the end of February, however, gigs were starting to pick up and I found myself with less time for Uber. Having a full-time job in addition to gigging left little time for personal time and relationships, let alone an extra job driving for Uber. So, I stopped doing the Uber thing and let myself get deactivated from their system.
Fast-forward to April of 2015 and I quit my day job at the music publisher to focus full-time on being a musician and entrepreneur (you already knew that, though, didn’t you?). As I’ve mentioned before, I like to keep busy and I like to do a lot of different things, so picking back up with Uber was a logical step. As entrepreneurs, or solopreneurs, we all know we need to diversify our income streams — no longer do you get a job, work there for 25 years, get a gold watch, and retire. The new way is having a lot of little careers that add up to make a living.
What’s it like driving for Uber (again)?
I’m actually really enjoying driving for Uber again. I do believe there have been some drops in fares since I first did it, but my car gets great mileage so it’s still a good way to make some money. Truthfully, I think I’m enjoying it more than I did during my first stint — since my schedule is much more flexible now, I can drive at different times (maybe I’m stuck on something at home or having trouble with a project and need to clear my head) and also pick and choose some more opportune times of the day to maximize profits against time spent logged in. I’ve gone into driving for Uber much more methodically this time around.
For instance, I probably won’t do any driving for Uber on a Tuesday or Wednesday night like I often did the first time (unless there’s a baseball game or some other event), but I will drive on a Monday morning. You see, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are a little slow compared to other nights of the week, so my time is better spent working on the computer or practicing. Monday mornings, however, there is a lot of business traffic to the airport. My first time around, I wouldn’t have been able to do this because I had the day job. Now, I can utilize my time more efficiently for maximum profits and zero in on those lucrative times.
Another good thing I’ve started doing when driving for Uber is setting an income goal for myself before logging in. Before, I would just sign in willy-nilly and sign out when I felt like it. Now, I set a goal for myself with each shift and usually sign out once I’ve hit that. I’ve found that it’s easier to meet a goal when you have one (duh) and I can move on to other work once I’ve met it.
Some things I learned in my first week back driving for Uber
While I may have gotten into the swing of things slightly quicker than someone who was brand new to driving for Uber, there was still a small learning curve. The driver app has been updated (I believe several times) since I used it, so it took a handful of trips to get used to it. I can comfortably say, though, after a week of being back, I feel like a total pro.
Some screw-ups driving for Uber
When you’re new (or returning after a year and a half hiatus) to anything, you’re bound to make mistakes. Here are a couple that I made during my first week back driving for Uber. If you’re thinking about becoming an Uber driver or are new to it, know that mistakes happen and you’re not alone!
1. I didn’t start a trip on time
I picked up this nice young man from the UK at Sea World and we were having a bit of a hard time finding each other in the pick-up area of the parking lot. We were on the phone (hands-free, of course!) and finally connected. When he got in, I swore I slid the button to start the trip, but I must have hit the Navigate button again. We started to leave the lot and head to his destination, but the navigation kept telling me to go back to the pick-up area. I was super confused, but we carried on our conversation, got briefly lost leaving the parking lot (is it just me, or is it confusing over there???), then headed to his hotel. Finally, about 3/4 of the way there, I realized what had happened. Doh! I started the trip and we laughed about the whole thing. It was embarrassing, but what are you going to do?
Now, you may be saying, “But, PJ, aren’t there fare adjustments?” Why yes, yes there are. The thing is, I felt guilty for getting us a little bit lost and he was such a cool dude that I figured it was ok to eat the cost of the first few minutes of the trip. Coincidentally, a couple days later Uber updated the app to make it easier to help with late/missed start times. That would have made everything a lot easier! You live and you learn, though.
2. I took a longer route than necessary
That same day, I picked up a girl in a neighborhood right where I used to teach guitar lessons and where some good friends of mine live. When I first started working and hanging out in that neighborhood, there was a route that I would take home that made the most sense for the neighborhood I lived in at the time. Now, even though there’s an easier/quicker way to get from there to my current neighborhood, I still go on autopilot every time I make the trip.
Well, I picked up this girl and she was heading to my neighborhood. I went on autopilot and took my route, even though the navigation was showing me the easier way. I didn’t realize what I was doing until halfway through! Again, we were having a good conversation and it just didn’t dawn on me.
I told her what I was doing and that I would adjust the fare. She didn’t care at all (and we actually probably made it more quickly because of traffic), but I took care of it nonetheless. I want to make sure every passenger feels like they were treated fairly and had a good experience. If you’re thinking of driving for Uber, you should do the same — it’s the best way to ensure good ratings and stay in the system.
What did I learn from these screw ups?
Well, I learned how to deal with mistakes — both on the passenger front (being open and honest) and on the technical front (working with Uber). Moreover, I re-experienced how fun it can be driving for Uber! There are certainly times when you get a passenger or a group of passengers who just aren’t into making small talk. That’s perfectly fine! More often than not, however, people are excited to talk and you get to meet someone new and have a good conversation. While I haven’t experienced this quite yet as a driver, I’ve heard that it can even be a good way to network. I’ll let you know if and when that happens.
Do you want to try driving for Uber?
Awesome! As you can tell, I think it’s a fun way to spend time, earn a little extra money, and chat with people. If you use my code, 9v3kys, when signing up, we’ll each earn a little something extra after you are accepted and complete some trips (usually between 20 and 75, depending on the market). This Uber driver referral bonus comes in super handy and is a nice little bump in your income.
You can also Apply Here. Thank you, in advance, for using my code! It’s a win-win for both of us.
Check out my in-depth article on how to Sign up for Uber and Cash in a Referral Bonus.
Even if you’re not interested in driving for Uber, you can still use my code to get $20 off your first ride. This is only if you haven’t taken a ride before, of course, so hopefully some of you reading this are interested in giving it a shot! Again, I get a small bonus if you use my Uber referral code (it costs you nothing extra), so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Here’s my code once again: 9v3kys.