6 Ways to Make Extra Money Driving for Uber and Lyft

Brett Helling

Owner at Ridester
Brett is the owner of Ridester.com, a resource that helps rideshare drivers work smarter to increase income and ratings. As a former driver, he is on a mission to teach new drivers to avoid mistakes he learned the hard way as one of the first drivers in his city.

Latest posts by Brett Helling (see all)

You might be driving a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft for your main income, or your side hustle. But as long as you’re depending on driving to bring in money, you might as well be making those miles work harder for you. Believe it or not, there are more ways beyond driving that enable you as a contract worker to increase your earnings.

As a driver, you can do a lot of creative and innovative tricks to bring home money, without having to sacrifice the time it takes to drive. In the last few years, several startups have appeared with the express purpose of helping drivers earn more on top of their driving income. Plus, if you’re an enterprising driver, you can come up with a few great ideas on your own.

Here are six ways that you can earn a little more with your car.

1. Turn your car into a vending machine with Cargo.

If your passengers are hungry, feed them! Cargo is an attractive snack box filled with candy, snacks, breath mints, and more. Some of the products are free, and some your passengers will need to buy.

When a passenger sees something they like, they go to cargo.menu on their phone, type in the code number of their particular driver’s box. They then select whatever products they want and enter their payment or contact information so they can check out with the driver. Cargo then pays the driver a fee for each product. Drivers even get paid for the free products.

Since Cargo has a variety of revenue streams that make it profitable for them, drivers reap the benefits. Many of the companies that partner with Cargo pay to have their products placed in inside them—after all, captive audiences are great exposure for startup companies and well-known brands alike. A Cargo box can help you provide 5-star service and earn up to $300 more per month.

2. Get paid to place advertisements with Vugo.

Advertisers are always looking for ways to get products in front of eyeballs. And who better to advertise to than passengers looking for something to stare at as they ride around in a car.

Vugo has the ambitious goal of eventually making all rideshare trips free in shared, self-driving cars. They say they’ll do this by “monetizing data and creating relevant and contextual in-car experiences sponsored by brands, resulting in an overall increase in trip revenue for fleet operators.” Basically, they’ll sponsor rides with ads.

For now, though, Vugo wants to pay drivers to set up a tablet that will display ads in their cars. Although they’re still rolling out, you’ll want to get these guys on your radar if you’re interested. The company estimates that drivers can earn about $100-$200 extra per month with the ad displaying tablets.

You’ll want to note that in Lyft’s policy they mention that third-party advertisers aren’t banned, but that they could make “passengers feel uncomfortable or pressured” and “may negatively affect your driver rating and likelihood of earning tips.”

3. Turn your car into a billboard with Wrapify.

Wrapify is another ad-sponsored opportunity. Although initially, they wouldn’t work with Uber and Lyft drivers, Wrapify is now on board to work with rideshare companies.

Wrapify will pay you to wrap your car in a skin bearing a commercial ad. Wrapify will only pay a few bucks a day based on mileage, but if you’re looking for easy additional income, this is a great option. Once your car is wrapped, you’ll earn an extra $100-$200 per month.

Again, advertising for a third-party while driving for a rideshare service is still a murky, gray area for most rideshare users. But in light of the need for Uber and Lyft to keep a divide between drivers as contractors instead of employees, these companies are taking a more hands-off approach on directing drivers how to run their businesses. All states and cities in the United States have different laws, so make sure you check your local regulations so that you aren’t accidentally in violation of the terms of your employment.

A few drivers we know are trying this now—and we haven’t heard anything about passenger complaints. After all, passengers understand that vehicles are a source of income for drivers.

4. Become a semi-private driver with Uzurv.

Uzurv (pronounced “U-Zurv”) gives riders an easy way to request their favorite drivers. Not only does this reward drivers for doing a great job, it also allows drivers to rely on semi-private, consistent clients.

With Uber and Lyft constantly adding more drivers than they need, anything drivers can do to get repeat business from riders who were satisfied with their service will help their bottom line. This can mean less downtime and hopefully better trips.

The problem with drivers trying to get private clients on their own is that you may not be available to drive every time a client needs you. Uzurv solves that problem because riders will have a pool of other drivers they have “favorited” on Uzurv’s system they can also call in case you’re not available.

And, sure, you won’t be their only driver, but they won’t be your only rider either. You may miss a trip with one client one day but will pick up another trip with another rider instead. The unique thing about Uzurv is drivers can work on the Uzurv platform or choose to conduct business through Uber and Lyft—so there’s no reason drivers shouldn’t sign up.

5. Increase your driver and passenger referrals.

Both Uber and Lyft pay a pretty penny when drivers refer new drivers or passengers to their platform. These rideshare companies pay the best money for new drivers, and an existing driver can earn anywhere from $25 to $500 for each driver they refer.

A smart way to ensure you get your bonus is to print business cards with your referral code on them and start handing them out to anyone and everyone you know who might be a good candidate to drive. You could even hand out cards to some of your passengers if they’re interested in pursuing their own rideshare driving career.

But don’t stop there. Get creative with your referral efforts, and the money will likely follow. We’ve seen entire street teams formed to hand out cards to public spaces, and advertisements printed on fake parking tickets. The sky’s the limit—and you could end up with a lot of extra cash as a reward.

6. Improve your odds of getting tips.

Here’s something you can do without any outside help! Ridester’s Sam Choi shares great ideas for getting more tips in his video training course. Sam notes that Uber passengers aren’t prompted to tip until they leave a rating for the driver. So, a very smart yet subtle way Sam suggests for drivers to get more tips is this: Ask your passenger shortly before the end of the trip if they could do a small favor for you. When they say yes, tell them you’d really appreciate it after the trip ends if they could go into the app and give “an honest” rating for your service.

That’s it. By asking for an “honest” rating, you’re telling them that you’re not asking for any special favors, just their honest feedback. Most people will not only not mind this approach, but will also appreciate it. And after they leave a rating, they’ll be presented with the “Would you like to leave a tip?” screen!

Most passengers don’t rate often, so this is a great way to increase the number of people who will see the screen and get the opportunity to tip you, too.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brett Helling

Owner at Ridester
Brett is the owner of Ridester.com, a resource that helps rideshare drivers work smarter to increase income and ratings. As a former driver, he is on a mission to teach new drivers to avoid mistakes he learned the hard way as one of the first drivers in his city.

Latest posts by Brett Helling (see all)

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