3 Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings When You Drive with Uber

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Uber has quickly become a popular gig for time-strapped workers. Here's how to take advantage of their new driver promo, along with 3 tips for boosting your earnings.

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Let’s cut to the chase: If you want to make extra money, driving with Uber is a legitimate option.

I know what you’re probably thinking…

Why in the world would I want to let complete strangers into my car and drive them all over town, while, at the same time, accumulate wear and tear on my vehicle? I know, I thought that too.

Sure, I gave a ton of rides (and talked to more drunk people than I really wanted to), but it was a nice gig for the weekend.

It’s definitely not for everyone, but from my experience, it’s a decent option if you are strapped for cash and looking for ways to make money in a relatively short time frame. Perhaps even more appealing than the pay is the flexibility that driving with Uber provides.

As a driver, you have no set schedule– whenever you have free time and want to give a few rides and make some cash, you turn on the app on your phone and wait for ride requests to come in.

3 Effective Ways to Increase Your Hourly Earnings with Uber

Your hourly earnings will vary widely based on where you live. The more rural you are, the less opportunity there will be to stay busy providing fares. Get too urban and you’ll be competing with dozens of other drivers. As with many things, the sweet spot is often right in the middle. Here are three other tips for maximizing your earnings.

Related: 9 Best Ways to Generate Passive Income with Your Car

1. Drive during peak hours only

I live in a college town. After my driver sign up process was finished and I was activated to drive, I posted up at my local Starbucks one afternoon and waited for rides to show up near me.

After getting only 1 ride over a 2 hour window, I knew I wasn’t going about this the right way. I turned off the app for a few hours and worked on other stuff for my website, and decided I would wait until later that night to try again.

*Cue in the first Friday night all the college students are back in town from summer*

Holy smokes, this was a game changer. Everyone was out having a great night out on the town, and that meant a steady flow of rides from 8:00 PM till about 2:30 AM, when I finally decided to call it quits.

2. Give your riders a great experience

I found that driving with Uber is just like any other service-based gig: if you give the rider a great experience and connect with them on a personal level, they will treat you well. When I went out of my way to make the rides enjoyable, the volume of tips I got went way up.

Some things I recommend for a great rider experience:

  • Have a spotless interior that also smells clean.
  • Especially late at night, I always offered up the AUX cord. This was a huge hit every time with the party-goers.
  • Get to know your riders! Make small talk.
  • Have water and/or snacks on board.
  • Bring a vomit bag (luckily I didn’t need this, but I’d rather be safe than sorry)
  • Drive safe and go the speed limit.

3. Use your time with riders to your advantage

Almost every rider likes to ask, “so what do you do outside of driving with Uber?” I don’t know why people like asking this, but they always do.

While I don’t really bother doing this when I’m driving at night, there is definitely value in networking with your riders during the day. As an entrepreneur, I like the idea of meeting people in the community and spreading the word about my business and what I do.

You never know who you’re going to meet and how you might be able to help them or they can help you. Keep all options open!! Use the intimate platform of ride sharing to your advantage.

Downsides of Driving with Uber

Although I definitely think the benefits of being an Uber driver-partner are worth it, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with this gig economy-type job.

Uber doesn’t pay you for gas or expenses

Between rides that cancel when you’re halfway there to pick them up, to stop and go downtown traffic, your gas bill can add up pretty quickly. This also means that you shouldn’t drive around between rides, because it quickly burns through gas (and you’re not making any money between rides).

Wear and tear on your car

When you have people getting in and out of your car consistently, your car is going to take a little bit of damage. For me, it wasn’t anything too terrible, but I can see how the wear and tear can add up.

It’s not a great long term option

At the end of the day, there aren’t really any growth opportunities with being an Uber driver-partner. And while giving people rides can be a good time, you need to make sure you prioritize actual resume-building opportunities and skills. Don’t let the earnings blind you. Think long term.

After my initial stint of driving with Uber, I’ve cut back a lot. Now I only drive on the occasional Saturday night because I’d rather stay focused on building my business.

So, in the end, I think Uber is a great option, as long as you recognize it for what it is. Give it a shot.

Jeff Proctor

Hi! I'm Jeff. A personal finance nerd and entrepreneur at heart, I'm here to bring you all the latest cool ways to make and save extra money. I've been quoted in several online publications, including Entrepreneur, NBC News, GoBankingRates, Student Loan Hero, Business.com, Credit Karma, The Simple Dollar, US News & World Report, Lifehacker, MSN Money, Moneyish, Zumper, IdeaMensch, Discover Bank, PrimeRates, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, Club Thrifty, Guru Focus, Rent Track, Fit Small Business, Coupon Chief, and more.


How awesome! I love Uber and use it often. Looks like you cracked the code to maximum financial gain with the service. 🙂

Cath @ This Mama Learns
Cath @ This Mama Learns

Hey Jeff,

Thanks for sharing your experience! I never thought about becoming a driver for Uber, but it seems like you can make a decent amount with it.

Was there any kind of vetting process you needed to go through to become a driver?

Hi Cath! Yes, there are some basic requirements has for all drivers:

-You must be at least 21 years old
-You must have access to a 4-door car that is year 2006 or newer in most cities
-You must have in-state auto insurance with your name on the policy
-Must have an in-state driver license, licensed in the US for at least one year
-You must have a social security number
-In-state plates with current registration (commercial plates are acceptable as well)
-Pass a background check and a driving record check

Pretty reasonable expectations!


In college I got a job for the campus police driving the big, giant van that picked up people from far parking lots. (Technically my job was listed as “escort,” lol.) This sounds like much less stress than driving a 20-person van/bus! Definitely filing this away for the future!


These are great tips! My husband drives for Uber and everyone loves that he offers the aux cord or Bluetooth connection. It’s all about the customer experience.


I know a couple of college guys who drive for Uber and they are making good money. We have used Uber and have never had any problems.

Tracie Nelson
Tracie Nelson

I wish I’d read this a few days ago. I just started driving for Uber this past Friday. I only made $30. I never got any tips but I was able to give out a few of my business cards. I’m going to try again this week and try not driving around so much looking for riders.


My husband was going to try driving for Uber but after reading all the reviews decided against it. With them reducing their fares it seemed as if the money wasn’t there as it once was. I am glad it worked out for you, though.


Awesome tips! I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time!

Give it a shot, Michelle! 🙂

Noel Lorenz
Noel Lorenz


This is really informative and timely. Thank you so much for sharing it! I’ve been interested in driving for Uber and your article hits on some key areas I was wondering about.


Thanks, Noel! I would definitely recommend trying it out! Nothing life changing, but it will help pay the bills, and then some. 🙂


I am a professional driver looking to make extra money. Have a 2008 Chevy Equinox with low miles. Great for a large group or even delivering packages. Would Uber consider eventually going the medical route? Transporting clients to appointments and doctors is a very helpful and rewarding perk not to mention profitable too.

I think Uber is in the process of actually trying to mitigate risk so going the medical route is probably not in the immediate future I would think. Whilst I agree there is definitely a market for that sort of stuff I think the general population of people merely looking to get from Point A to Point B is likely much larger (and higher volume).

I think its possible they may offer some sort of premium rate service for wheelchair transport/sit-and-wait type visits for medical appointments (but provide no medical care during transport) but I would surmise that would be pretty expensive if/when they ever do it.

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