Uber and Lyft are two major companies that promise great pay and a flexible schedule. Many people are already taking advantage of these perks, but others are a bit more hesitant to believe their claims.
Can you really choose when and where to work with Uber and Lyft?
Working as a driver on a rideshare app means that you are working freelance whenever and wherever you want. While this can vary based upon restrictions from each company or their policies, most often, drivers are able to pick and choose their hours and locations to work.
If you have been thinking it over, here are the facts that you need to know about how ridesharing works.
Table of Contents
Can I Drive Exactly WHEN I Want?
One of the main benefits of both Uber and Lyft is the ability to drive whenever it fits into your already-busy schedule.
Drivers can take advantage of a few free hours here and there to earn some extra cash.
While both platforms do allow you to make money on your own schedule, there are a few things you should keep in mind about when you choose to drive.
Many people love the idea of driving for one of these companies on their way home from the office.
It can be a fun way to earn a few dollars for a trip toward home that you were going to make anyway. The catch is that your rates will decrease as a result of the traffic you may encounter.
What many people do not realize is that these programs typically pay most handsomely per mile.
The per-mile rate is higher than the per-minute rate, so most drivers prefer to drive as far as possible in as short of a time as possible.
If you find yourself stuck in slow-moving traffic, Uber and Lyft will top-up your pay to give you a guaranteed rate (less their service fee) for your hourly time spent driving.
While this does ensure that you get your hard-earned money, the pay isn’t quite as lucrative as it is driving per mile without traffic.
You should also be reading our article which talks about Can Uber/Lyft Drivers Join Unions?
Can I Drive Exactly WHERE I Want?
Another significant benefit of the Uber and Lyft platforms is the ability to work where you want.
You can choose to drive around your neighborhood, the local shopping center, or even the downtown district. However, you may want to carefully consider where you park your car or drive around if you’re going to make a living with these programs.
The driver who is the closest to any particular passenger is typically assigned the job first.
This means that you need to position yourself somewhere where people are requesting rides.
Keep in mind that this might be different for every area, so you may have to experiment a bit to find those sweet spots.
Are There a Min or Max Hours Drivers are Required to Work?
Drivers are not required to work any sort of minimum hours.
Whether you want to work one hour a week or none at all, the decision is totally and entirely up to you.
Keep in mind that taking long spells off from driving may result in the deactivation of your account.
The maximum hours that a driver can work each day may vary based on where you live. For example, New York City does not allow more than ten hours of passenger time in any 24 hours.
The clock resets itself after you have spent at least eight consecutive hours offline. This ultimately means that you cannot exceed sixty hours per week.
Lyft generally requires that you must take a full six-hour break for every fourteen hours spent in driver mode, even if those fourteen hours are not consistent.
Uber only allows drivers to work for twelve hours each day. Both companies will comply with local laws and ordinances wherever these are different.
How Many Hours do Uber/Lyft Drivers Generally Work?
The majority of drivers who work for Uber and Lyft do not stick with these programs as their full-time jobs. Most drivers would consider their work as a driver to be extremely part-time.
In fact, approximately half of the available drivers work fifteen hours a week or less. It serves as a way to earn a little bit of additional money, but it may not be enough to make a full-time income.
There are many complaints from individuals who attempt to drive for either Uber or Lyft full-time. It can be difficult to get enough rides to make ends meet.
They spend many hours waiting for a ride to come through their platform. Meanwhile, they are not earning anything during this time.
As a result of this, many people prefer to keep Uber and Lyft as a secondary source of income.
They can use it to give themselves a little bit of extra cash, but they don’t have to worry too much if the rides simply aren’t available for a few hours.
How Do I know Which Places are More Profitable to Drive?
Unfortunately, there is no exact science to finding the most profitable places to drive.
It all comes down to knowing your city and making an educated guess about where people will be located when they request a ride.
Many drivers find a handful of hot spots throughout their town including:
- Tourist Locations
- Shopping Centers
- Busy Restaurants
- Airport Terminals
While this may seem great, you will likely encounter a lot of competition from other drivers. However, you are more likely to find people who need rides in these areas than you are sitting in the middle of the suburbs.
You will be placed in a line for who gets the next ride, and you could spend a great deal of time waiting.
You won’t be making much money from this sort of trip, so you should spend more time exploring other areas.
How does Uber/Lyft Decide Which Driver Gets the Ride?
Both platforms use your estimated time of arrival to determine which driver will ultimately get the ride. Their algorithm takes your current location into account and estimates how quickly you could pick someone up.
Essentially, the closest driver is the one who will get the ride most of the time.
There are exceptions to the rule. If a driver is in destination mode or if either person has ever rated the other with three stars or below.
If that is the case, then the ride may be assigned to another driver who is farther away.
What Information Do Rideshare Drivers Have Access To?
Drivers often want to know exactly who they are going to pick up before they arrive.
Unfortunately, most of that information is going to be kept private to prevent drivers from being picky about who they will and will not accept rides from.
They are given very basic information, including the rider rating, the type of vehicle they requested, and the pickup location.
Some parts of the country will limit this information even further, while others may give you more juicy details like the person’s first name.
In terms of the scope of work, drivers also have access to see whether this trip has been scheduled or not. This can be particularly helpful because scheduled trips are less likely to be canceled when you run a few minutes behind schedule.
The platforms also send you a notice that it is likely to be a long trip if this applies.
Can I Take Long Breaks from Driving When I Want?
The great thing about driving is that you can set your schedule and work when it is convenient for you. You can take a break for as long as you like, even if that means taking a few days to yourself.
If you take an extended break from driving, you may face the deactivation of your account. Typically, an extended break is considered to be any period lasting for roughly two months.
You can take just a single trip during this time to keep your account active.
During this period of inactivity, the platforms will send you messages warning you of your impending deactivation so that you will know when to expect it.
Are Full-Time Drivers Prioritized Over Part-Time Drivers?
No, the user experience tends to be prioritized above all else. The driver who can arrive at the user the fastest (under the right circumstances) tends to receive the job.
This can be a source of major frustration for those who are trying to make a full-time income from their ridesharing experience.
Keep in mind that full-time drivers may be available during times of the day that part-time drivers are busy at their full-time jobs.
During these hours, full-time drivers may see better incomes because they are the only ones available to do the job.
Driving for ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft offers a lot of advantages for the right person at the right time. You may have to experiment with finding the right time and place to drive to make the most income.
With the right tricks up your sleeve, it is possible to make great money on the side of your other full-time job using these programs.