How to Save Money on Uber
Updated September 30, 2021

Drive with Uber

Side Hustles

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Ever since I got into a pretty bad car accident a few months ago, we’ve been a 1-car household.  So I’ve been taking Uber every single weekday — and I’m loving it!

And I’m not alone!

The fact of the matter is that there are more riders on the road than ever.  What this means for you, side hustler, is that driving is a great opportunity — and you can earn money on your schedule.

The Gig Economy is Alive and Well.

Last month Fortune Magazine did an article on how a side hustle like Uber could add $1 million to your nest egg.  It sounds pretty unbelievable, but they actually ran the numbers, and it’s pretty crazy what an extra few hundred dollars a month can do over time.

Let’s say you make an extra $400 a month on the side with Uber, and you put all of that money into a tax-deferred retirement account invested in low-cost index funds.  And let’s say you do this for 10 years and then stop hustling altogether.  And let’s say you don’t touch all that side hustle money in your retirement account for 30 years.

In 30 years, that account will have grown to over $1.2 million, assuming the market’s future performance is anything like its past performance.

Granted, not all of us have the luxury of being able to sock away all of our side hustle money into a retirement plan.  But this example still goes to show that an extra few bucks here and an extra few bucks there, over time, can add up to quite a lot.  That’s the beauty of time and compounding.

So if you’re anything like me, you’re curious as to how you can get a piece of the Uber pie. Read on.

Tips From Us on How to Drive with Uber

Signing up to drive with Uber is easy since Uber has a streamlined platform that makes it super simple for you to get your listing up and running as quickly as possible.

But it’s not just about signing up and hitting the road; you want to increase your potential to earn on the app.  Here are some tips:

1. Cleanliness.

Cleanliness is obviously extremely important to riders when they ride in a stranger’s car.  Also, keep in mind that your riders give you a star-rating between 1-5 stars at the end of their trips, and the expectation is that every ride will be a 5-star experience.  I for one am not afraid to give drivers 4 or even 3 stars if their car is a mess.

2. Respect for riders.

Respecting your riders really just comes down to common sense and considering their perspective.  For example, most riders will appreciate it if you limit your time taking personal calls while giving rides, and avoid playing loud music unless you have made sure that they are OK with it.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes riders simply don’t want to chat.  As an Uber rider, I can tell you that one of the most annoying things a driver can do is insist on talking to me when I’m clearly not interested because I’m exhausted after a 16-hour day during tax season or because I am working on my laptop in the back seat.

3. Punctuality.

Sometimes arriving a bit later than expected are due to factors that you cannot control, but riders always appreciate it when you do your best to arrive at their location as quickly as possible.

4. Safety.

Several new studies have shown that driving while sleepy can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk.  When they are tired, many drivers choose to either go home and rest or pull over to a well-lit area and take a nap.

5. Bathrooms.

Uber partners will tell you that driving offers much more freedom than spending all day in an office, but one slight drawback of driving is that you don’t have the luxury of having a restroom close at hand.  As you drive around, you may want to make a mental note of places where you can stop in to use the restroom.  Gas stations, grocery stores, malls, train stations, and sometimes coffee shops are decent bets when it comes to finding a place to relieve yourself.

6. Goodies.

As an Uber rider, it’s always nice to be offered gum or water.  Although I typically don’t take these items, the gesture is very much appreciated.

7. Stretching.

If you’ve ever driven in a car for an extended period of time, you know that you can get stiff after a while.  But it’s amazing what a few stretches can do to refresh you!  Although certain parts such as your shoulders, back, or butt may feel sorer than others, be sure to stretch your whole body from head to toe because it’s all connected!

8. High-traffic areas yield more opportunities.

The highest-traffic areas will yield the greatest number of riders and therefore the greatest amount of earnings for you, so you should gravitate toward them.  For example, here in Los Angeles, drivers who live in the suburbs tend to congregate in the Downtown or Hollywood areas where riders are plentiful.  If you find a free parking lot at a place like a busy shopping center, office building, or train station, you can wait for your app to notify you of your next rider, and you won’t need to use any extra gas.

9. Consider being an Uber rider.

Perhaps the best way to know how to be a great Uber driver-partner is to have a few experiences as an Uber rider.

Questions, Anyone?

Here are the questions we’ve heard the most from new Uber driver-partners.  If you have any questions that we haven’t addressed here, be sure to ask them in the comment section at the bottom of this article!

1. I don’t have a car.  Can I still drive with Uber?

Yes!  Uber’s Vehicle Solutions program offers rentals and partnerships to help you get a car and start driving.

2. How and when do I receive payment?

You are paid weekly via direct deposit to your bank account.  Uber’s week begins on Monday at 4:00 AM and ends the following Monday at 3:59 AM.  You are paid on Thursdays for the previous week’s rides.

3. How much will I make per ride?

This depends on several factors, including your geographical location, how long the ride took to complete, how many miles the ride was, and what time of day the ride occurred.  The Uber app calculates the fare after the trip has ended.  During high-demand times, fares may increase.  These increases in fares due to high demand are known as “surges.”

4. What if a rider damages or makes a mess in my car?

This doesn’t happen often as most riders are very respectful, but in the rare event that a rider does damage or makes a mess in your car, you can contact Uber’s support team for assistance.

5. Can riders tip me?

Yes!  Just recently Uber added a tipping function to its Rider App.  This is all the more incentive to provide spectacular service to your riders!

6. Can I set my own schedule?

Yes!  How much or how little you drive is up to you.  Obviously the more you drive, the more you earn, but you set your own hours, and they are completely flexible.

7. Can a friend or family member ride with me while I drive?

No.  For safety reasons, friends and family members of Uber driver-partners are not permitted to ride along in their vehicles while they are online.

8. May I place a video camera in my car while I drive?

Yes.  You may install and use a video camera in your car for safety reasons, but your city or state may require that you disclose this to riders and obtain their consent.  Be sure to check your city or state requirements.

9. Can I choose what GPS / navigation app I use?

Yes.  Although the Uber app has built-in GPS capacity, you may certainly use other navigation apps.


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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