15 Tips for New Uber Drivers

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Hi, I’m Adrienne & I’m a 45yo wife & mom and I’ve been driving for Uber for six months in and around the Boston, MA area. It has been a great experience and I wanted to create a list of tips for new drivers or anyone thinking about driving. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful! Want to sign up right this second? Click on my referral link and get started! https://get.uber.com/drive/?invite_code=663n8

4/27/17 edit – I’m now 47 years old & have been driving for Uber on & off for 3 years!

1. Know there is a learning curve. 

As with any new job or activity, it can take a little time to master all the basics. With Uber this will not take long as the app is very easy to use and riders using Uber are great. I suggest going out the first few times when it is a bit slow just to get your feet wet. If you have any issues, contact Uber – their support team is very helpful. Also, let your riders know you are new! Riders are super nice, love Uber and the service Uber & it’s drivers provide. Just be patient, within a few times of going out you will be a pro!

2. Don’t chase the surge! 

On the Uber app you will see a map. The map shows you where you are. Any areas that are busy will be highlighted in orange or red. Red indicates that the area is very busy and ‘surging.’ In red areas the price for a ride will increase, meaning, the riders will be paying more for their ride (and then us drivers make more too!). It can be challenging when you are on one side of the city and there is a big surge on the other side of the city! If you head toward that surging area (as many drivers do), the surge price may go down or even disappear! I’ve driven towards a surge and as I reached the area, the surge changed and the area I had been started to surge! It is very frustrating. I try, as often as possible, to stay where I am until I get a ride. On occasion I WILL head towards a busier area if the area I am in is slow. But if I’m in the city or just a bit outside it, more often than not, I can wait a few minutes and a ride comes in. Chasing the surge can waste your time and your gas. Just use your best judgement and don’t chase all the time.

No need to chase the surge during this epic surge pricing party! Sometimes only one area is red with a 1.5x or more. As tempting as is is to rush to that area, I try to stay put, at least for a while!
No need to chase the surge during this surge extravaganza! There was surge pricing everywhere this morning! Sometimes only one area is red with a 1.2x or more. As tempting as is is to rush to that area, I try to stay put, at least for a while!

3. Keep it clean! 

You and your car that is! I don’t get overly dressed up but I try to look as clean & presentable as possible. That goes for my car as well. One of the best things about driving for Uber is that you are forced to keep your car clean! This is great especially for those of us with kids as the car can get painfully messy in an instant! I bring my car to the car wash at least once a week and then clean the inside as needed. I’ll bring it to the car wash for an interior cleaning after a busy week or when I don’t want to do it myself! Remember to keep your receipts for car cleaning as you may be able use it for tax purposes. And that brings me to the next tip…

4. Write-offs and taxes

As an Uber driver, you will receive a 1099 tax form at the end of each year. Uber does NOT take taxes out of your pay each week. It’s your responsibility to pay your own taxes as you are a ‘contractor’ with Uber. I highly recommend talking with a tax preparation specialist so that you can have as much information as possible. It’s important to track your mileage, keep receipts and maybe even pay quarterly taxes. A tax professional will be able to guide you in this manner.

5. Uber box

In my car I keep an Uber box. In it there are small water bottles, mints, candies, snack bars, hand sanitizer, tissues, lotion, band-aids, plastic bags, paper clips & elastic bands. Sounds a bit much? Maybe but riders LOVE the Uber box and are so very impressed with it. I drive a 2010 Honda CRV so there is plenty of room for it. I’ll just move it to the back if it is ever in the way. Riders are taking pictures of it, Instagraming it, Snap Chatting it and shouting ‘5 Stars for you!’ all the time. Depending on the size of your car, it may or may not work to have an ‘Uber box’ but consider what might work for you and your particular car. Can you have some waters available? Some mints or gum? A box of tissues? Whatever works try and do it, it’s a really nice touch.

Uber Box!
Uber Box!

4/27/17 edit – I know use the pouches in the back of the driver & passenger front seats for water and a small container of candies which fits nicely on my console. I have tissues in my glove box. I found I was moving the box often so I now do this instead. Especially now with Uber pool, more people are getting in and out of your car so the box can sometimes get in the way.

6. Stretch

If you’re going to be driving 20+ hours a week, that’s a lot of time sitting in your car. Your body may get stiff, sore & tight. Be sure to get out and stretch whenever you can. Take 5-10 minutes before & after (or during!) every shift to really stretch your body as much as possible! Especially the hips. Google or YouTube some yoga sequences for hips or special stretches for anyone who sits a lot. Your body (and therefore bank account) will thank you for it!

Yup, I'm that goofball on the side of the road stretching!
Yup, I’m that goofball on the side of the road stretching!

7. Be prepared

It’s getting busier and busier here in the Boston area so I’m finding it harder and harder to take breaks. So I’m always sure to have food and water with me so I’m not hungry and/or thirsty…and therefore cranky :D. I’ll pack a small meal or a snack or two to have with me. I always have my own water bottle or some kind of beverage but since I have the Uber box I’m always prepared in an emergency!

8. Take breaks

If you’re going to be out driving for long periods of time, as hard as it can be if it’s busy, do try and take some breaks. Get out of the car, move around, get some fresh air, go sit somewhere outside of the car to eat. Whatever you do will give you some energy and move energy that gets stuck from sitting so long around! So try to take a break every few hours if you can.

A gorgeous view like this makes it easy to take a little break!
A gorgeous view like this makes it easy to take a little break!

9. Where’s the bathroom??

I now know the best places to go to the bathroom in and around Boston! This will take some time to figure out but within a few weeks you will know where to go. So begin to pay attention to where the grocery stores & coffee shops are! Where are the ones with the best & easiest parking? Where can you go without having to buy something? Gas stations, grocery stores, shopping malls and some coffee shops are the best to use. Take a mental note as you are driving around so you can know at any moment what is your best bet for a quick bathroom break!

10. Your rider is your biggest priority

Once you accept a ride and certainly once your rider is in your car, they are your priority. Not often, but sometimes, it can be difficult to find where your rider is (you can always call or text them, of course), sometimes you are driving your rider two places (occasionally riders will pick up a friend or drop someone off or even stop for an errand but know you keep making money during this time!), sometimes you are going further (or not as far!) as you would like. Your rider is your priority, so baring any emergencies or safety issues, remember you’re providing a service to them so try to go above and beyond as much as you can. It feels great to give good service and the riders really appreciate it.

Sometimes you even transport a pooch!
Sometimes you even transport a pooch!

11. Uber support

If you have any issues with the app, a rider or any questions, don’t hesitate to contact support. I have had great experiences with support and they’ve always gotten back to me promptly and I’ve gotten the response I needed. It feels as though Uber really wants the drivers to have a great experience and want to support them in any way they can. So again, do not hesitate to contact Uber with anything you need.

12. Perks!

There are lots of Uber perks. Once you start driving on a regular basis, you will begin to be eligible for rewards such as discounts on oil changes and car washes and even a driver fuel card. There’s specific criteria for each ‘perk’ and Uber will let you know what they are once you get started. I love all the perks especially the ‘Invite New Drivers’ perk where you get a referral link and can make lots of extra money signing up new drivers! This is mine if you are considering signing up: https://get.uber.com/drive/?invite_code=663n8. You’ll get your own code once you get started. It’s my favorite perk!

13. Take care of your car

We are very lucky to have a great mechanic in our neighborhood. As my mileage has increased, my need for oil changes has gone up. I know every time I bring it to him, he checks out everything, making sure I am good to go. Try to find a great mechanic in your area and if you can’t, be sure to keep up with oil changes and basic maintenance so little things do not become big things (and big expenses!).

14. Respect yourself

It can get exhausting driving long hours every day. Respect yourself by planning to take time off every week and getting the rest you need. So not only during your shift but during your week take breaks and days off. What is so great about driving for Uber is that you can turn on or off the app ANYTIME. So there is no need to push it. Your safety, your riders safety and the safety of others out there is of the utmost importance. Don’t drive if you are tired, sick or having the worst day of your life. You can make up for it another time. Respect your body, mind and soul and take the time you need.

15. Have fun! 

Honestly, this job is FUN!! I am meeting such great people. I’ve had some wonderful. moving & inspiring conversations. I am so grateful for the flexibility and that I can make money so easily for our family. So when you get in your car, have the intention of having a great time, providing a great service & meeting great people. What could be better?

Whether I'm driving, taking a break (like here at Lawn on the D) or anytime - I try to have as much fun as possible! Life is too short.
Whether I’m driving, taking a break (like here at Lawn on the D) or anytime – I try to have as much fun as possible! Life is too short not to!

Do you have any questions? Please feel free to ask below!

Want to start driving? Great! And why not. You’ll never know if it’s a good fit for you if you don’t give it a try! There is no obligation to continue if you ever decide it is not working out or you find another opportunity. Just go out once a week. Go out every Friday night. Work only days. Or nights! Head out while the kids are in school. Use it as a part time or full time job. Imagine what a few hundred dollars a week or a month (or even much more!) would do for you. Wouldn’t that make a huge difference? Save it, pay off some bills, pay down some loans, invest it or do whatever you need to do with it. It sure has been a life-saver for us!

If you found this list useful and want to sign up, here is my referral link.

THANK YOU!

https://get.uber.com/drive/?invite_code=663n8

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions ask below or check out my Drive for Uber page which has even lot more info.

Best and happy and safe driving!

Adrienne

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8 thoughts on “15 Tips for New Uber Drivers”

  1. Do you drive around the city waiting for a customer? Today is my first day and I just went online and haven’t left the house

    1. It depends. I try not to drive around as it wastes gas but occasionally if it is slow where I am, I will head to a busy area (indicated on the app as an orange or red area) or an area. that I know tends to be busy – South Boston, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge.
      Uber is running an incentive program right now so the hours That drivers are driving for the incentive tend to be slower. And sometimes it’s just a random slow time. Hope that helps! Good luck Craig!

  2. Great information. Tomorrow is my first day I’m experiencing a bit of anxiety but reading your tips , I do feel a lot better Thank you so much.

  3. Hey Adrienne, this is an awesome and helpful post! I am wondering what your data use is like through your average week (however many hours that may be).

    1. Hi Austin, Thanks for checking out my post. I am not sure about data usage, but I will tell you that I have never gone over the date amount for my coverage, which I think is pretty basic via AT&T. I hope that helps! Good luck!

  4. Thank you so much for all the inf☺️
    I just did my first week with a lot of fellings Iam a Mother of 3 boy and Iam excited and happy because I made some money. A lot of help for me what you wrote for us!
    Thank you.

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