20 Uber and Lyft Driver Tricks to Help You Earn More on the Road

1. Keep your car in great condition

The best car for Uber or Lyft  is low-maintenance, fuel-efficient, and (of course) easy to drive. But no matter what model you’re taking out on the road, make sure it’s in good shape — inside and out.

Regular car washes will keep your vehicle looking sharp, so you make the right first impression on new riders. Meanwhile, a clean and funk-free interior will keep them happy once you’ve embarked.

To keep your cabin in tip-top shape, scan your car between rides leftover trash. It’s also a good idea to keep some Febreze on-hand, just in case the previous passenger left behind an odor.

Luckily, car washes, interior cleaning, and even that can of Febreze are all tax-deductible for rideshare drivers. So don’t skimp — your ratings just might depend on it

4. Give the task to the yes part of your brain

Vish says that the classic self-help book The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz gave him “a formula in life always–the formula of ‘yes man’ and ‘no man’.” As Vish explains, Schwartz argues that “the human brain is like a factory  with two foremen: one is a ‘no man’ and the other is a ‘yes man’ . . . If you give the job to the ‘no man,’ your own mind will start finding logic and reasons to prove how can’t you do this job.”

“You know debate competitions?” he asks me. The debater “who is speaking in favor looks quite right, and the person who’s speaking against also has valid logic, so at the time you feel both are correct.” In other words, we all have a choice as to which parts of our own brains we charge with executing certain tasks and tackling challenges. After reading Schwartz’s book, Vish says, “I started working on my ‘yes man.’ That’s what I do at Uber as well.”


9. Take advantage of referral bonuses

Both Uber and Lyft offer incentives for referring new drivers. So be sure to share your referral code with friends and family members — or anyone else who might want to take the plunge. Once a referral has completed a set number of rides, you’ll get your bonus.

Know someone who’s on the fence about joining? If you take them out to lunch to talk them through it, that counts as a business meal. so it's tax-deductible!


Haven’t gotten started as a rideshare driver yet? If you’re just reading this article to get ahead, we admire your dedication! In that case, try to grab a referral code from someone who’s already driving. That way, you’ll be eligible for certain sign-up rewards.

3. Take Advantage of the High Turnover

Unlike other industries, ridesharing driving has high turnover. Lyft and Uber Drivers listen to the politics around the rates offered and then deactivate the apps. On a good day ten will add on, but 100 will drop out, so you are okay.

12. Never Drive Aimlessly

Every mile you drive without a passenger in your car is an expense to you. You will be burning fuel, and your car will be undergoing wear and tear.

Always look for an area with a lot of traffic such as a mall and park as you wait for customer ride requests.

9. Offer Supplementary Items

To make the ride as comfortable and enjoyable for passengers as possible, offer supplementary items. Successful drivers have items like bottled water, snacks, gum, and chargers for mobile devices on hand. By offering these to riders, you can improve the likelihood of a high rating.

How Is Lyft Different From Uber?

There are some key differences between Uber and Lyft. Both operate in Canada and the United States but Uber's reach also expands into other cities around the world. The average cost is also different with Uber ranking lower than Lyft for an average trip.

17. Keep Your Car Clean

Keep ratings high by making sure your car is always clean for riders. This means you should regularly check to make sure your riders haven’t left anything behind, including trash or dirt carried by shoes. You may want to invest in having your car detailed before you begin driving in order to start out with your car in top shape.


Lyft launched as a service in 2012. It spawned from Zimride, a company founded by Logan Green and John Zimmer. Zimride, a peer-to-peer rideshare matchmaker for people looking to carpool long distances securely, was sold so the duo could focus on Lyft. Green is currently the chief executive officer (CEO) and Zimmer is the company’s president.

Operation and Services

Lyft's website shows the cities where the ride service operates in Canada and the United States, where it serves all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The company has a set minimum vehicle requirement, and the drivers must pass two background checks before approval with the company.

Automobiles must have four doors with a minimum of five seatbelts. The age and condition of the vehicle, among other requirements, vary by state.

The company offers several service classes, which vary by city.

  • Original Lyft provides rides in regular vehicles for up to three passengers.
  • Lyft XL provides rides in regular vehicles for up to five passengers.
  • Lyft Lux provides premium black car service in luxury vehicles.
  • Lyft Black is a premium black car service including luxury vehicles.
  • Lyft Black XL provides rides in a premium black SUV for up to five people.

The Cost of Lyft Services

According to a 2015 study from smartphone app SherpaShare, the average cost of a Lyft ride came in at $12.53. In 2021, though, prices seemed to jump dramatically, due to a pandemic-easing combination of pent-up demand and a shortage of drivers. In July 2021, Lyft’s average transaction value was $27, a 45% jump year-over-year.

The fee for service varies by city and the class or category of vehicle service chosen; for example, Lyft lists New York City ride costs as $1.48 per mile or $0.67 per minute for the basic Lyft service. Fees have a base charge for each ride and additional calculations for total miles traveled and the minutes of travel time. Also, prime-time service will increase the base price.

Any passenger changes to a ride, once it is underway, will affect the total price. Customers pay through the company's smartphone app.

Lyft App and Amp

Lyft originally identified its vehicles with furry pink mustaches on the front (called carstashes) but it now uses a more subtle system called the Amp. The Amp is a small module that sits on the driver’s dashboard and lights up in a particular color. Waiting passengers get notification of the Amp color in the Lyft app, which is especially helpful when getting a ride after dark or when leaving a venue where everyone is using a rideshare app to get home.

All Lyft vehicles have stickers displaying the Lyft logo in the front and rear windshields. Retiring its mustaches may have been a move toward adopting a more professional look in order to compete with Uber.

The Lyft app gives the passenger an estimated total cost for a ride at booking. In some cities, the app can show the exact price of the door-to-door service.

Lyft and Food Delivery

Lyft entered into the food delivery game. Its major fast-food partner is Taco Bell. In July 2017, the company tested a new feature called Taco Mode, which allowed a user in Lyft transit, to press a button on their app and direct the driver to the nearest Taco Bell. Interestingly, the service was only available between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Taco Mode was expected to roll out to all devices in 2018, but many drivers and customers expressed disapproval, both because of issues like messiness in vehicles, as well as a general concern about the company’s focus on driver satisfaction.

Lyft Driver Environment

Lyft riders can tip their drivers through the app at the time of destination payment or up to 72 hours after the ride is completed. Drivers keep 100% of their tips. Lyft passengers can also split the cost of a ride with fellow passengers through the app, as long as they do so during the ride—not after.

Lyft has managed to avoid many of the controversies faced by rival Uber. Perhaps this is partially due to the company's smaller size and limited operation sphere. However, in 2017, a New York labor group accused Lyft of wage theft. A story in The Washington Post reported that drivers claimed the service was cheating them on their fare by deducting money for driver's trips on interstate highways.

2. Deliver a pleasant rider experience

A rider’s overall trip experience ultimately decides what rating they give their drivers. Ensuring every ride is clean, safe and pleasant is the simplest way to a first-class ranking.

Prevent the spread by being COVID-safe

Make sure you’re adhering to your city’s guidelines around social distancing and hygiene. Uber has put

Have a positive attitude

A bad attitude is a major reason that riders give drivers low star-ratings. Rudeness, road-rage and lack of care and consideration are among some of the issues riders have raised when giving drivers low ratings. Of all the things a driver can do to make their passengers happy, this is the easiest. Be friendly, introduce yourself and be polite – this goes a long way, even if the journey has some unforeseen issues.

Check for left behind items

It’s worth a quick scan of your vehicle every time a rider exits your car. Have they left anything behind? Making sure riders have all their property with them is an easy way to earn a five-star rating. If a passenger does leave something behind, try to reunite them with their property – the Uber app has a process for this.

Music and temperature

No rider will appreciate a boiling hot or freezing cold car. Ask your rider if the vehicle is warm or cool enough before you set off. The same goes for music: ask them if they have any music preferences, or if they want to listen to the news or maybe listen to nothing at all.

Stay off the phone

Riders say that listening to a driver take or make calls can be uncomfortable. It’s easy to feel like you’re an inconvenience to a driver if their car is set up to suit their tastes and they’re making personal calls. Unless it’s a real emergency, stay off the phone until you’re alone.

Let them start the conversation

Some riders want to chat, but many don’t. You’re not obligated to have a conversation with your passengers, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them how their day is going. If they want to talk, then fine, but keep your opinions to yourself and avoid tough topics like politics and religion. Neither of you want a heated debate!

Keep it a no-smoking car

Uber has a no-smoking rule for passengers, but for drivers, it’s up to you. However, a car that smells like an ashtray is unpleasant to every rider, even those who smoke. Resist the urge to smoke inside your vehicle and consider a car air freshener to keep your vehicle smelling fresh.

3. Track and Reduce Expenses

Uber drivers are independent contractors, not actual employees of the company. And that means that you’re responsible for tracking and reporting all of your expenses at tax time, just like any other small business.

When it comes time to pay taxes, you’ll want to take the most deductions you possibly can in order to reduce your tax burden. The way to do that is to track expenses throughout the year.

As an independent contractor, you have to pay income taxes quarterly, not just annually in April. And to know how much you owe you have to know how much it costs to operate your business.

Typical expenses include gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and the mileage rate (for 2018 the standard mileage deduction is 54.5 cents per mile). Expenses can also include snacks for Uber passengers, bottled water, and any other things you provide to your riders.

To make your life easier, consider using an app like SherpaShare to help you track your expenses. It makes it much easier to identify expenses that can reduce your taxable income. The lower your taxable income is, the less you’ll owe the IRS.

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5. Go Above and Beyond

If you can put some tips in your pocket, you can seriously increase your earnings, and the way to earn tips is to go above and beyond for each and every customer. This is also the best way to five-star ratings.

Have snacks and water available in your car at all times. Offering your passengers something as simple as a bottle of water is a great way to win them over – and a great way to earn a tip.

Buying snacks and water on your own will cost you (this would be considered a business expense). But if you use a service like Cargo, you can get free goodies. Cargo will send you free snacks and offer your customers both free and paid items during their ride.

Have phone chargers ready. Passengers who are low on battery life will definitely appreciate it. By having chargers for Apple and Android phones on hand, your customers will be much more likely to give you a tip.

Make sure your car is clean. No one wants to ride around in a dirty car or a vehicle that smells like musty smoke. Keep your car smoke-free. Use an air freshener that smells fresh and clean. DO NOT spray heavy cologne or overdo it with the Febreeze.

If you’re having trouble locating a passenger, communicate with them. When you can’t find your rider, call or text them to determine their location. Just make sure you use a hands-free device so you don’t get stopped by a cop for texting and driving.

This goes without saying, but if you want to earn a tip, you better be friendly. Be polite. Engage in conversation but know your limits. Some passengers like to talk. Others don’t.

In some cases, you’ll want to chat through the ride, other times it’s best to keep quiet until the drop-off point.

3 Strategies to Make More Money with Uber

If you just get in your car tomorrow and give your first ride without any thought or planning, you won’t make as much money as if you just read a few simple tips.

#1 – Earn BIG Bucks with Tips

One of the great perks of being an Uber driver is the ability to earn tips.  A recent study showed Uber drivers earn hundreds of millions in tips per year and the average person who tips gives $3 per ride

In an interview with the Penny Hoarder, Mary England from Baltimore, MD, explained how she was able to earn up to $30 per hour driving for Uber.  A lot of it has to do with tips.

4. Keep a clean car

A clean car, both inside and out, is very important to riders. Keep your vehicle spotless with regular washing, vacuuming and polishing of windows and glossy surfaces. Remove fingerprints, footprints, hair and other fibres – riders know that many people have been in the car, but no one wants to be reminded! 

Keep it clean outside

Once every two weeks, or more often in heavy weather, treat your vehicle to a full foam wash. To go above and beyond, you can pay extra for waxing and paint protection, black the tyre-walls and apply a water-repellent coating to windows to reduce rain smear.

Keep it clean inside

Your car’s interior gets a lot more rider scrutiny than the exterior, so this area deserves attention, especially when adhering to social distancing and sanitary laws around COVID. Follow the tips below to keep your car’s inside as shiny as its outside:

  1. Use air freshener. Riders will appreciate a fresh smell. Invest in a freshener that slots into a dash air vent for an unobtrusive look.
  2. Buy a cup holder liner. This is more for you than your riders, but who wants a sticky film on the bottom of their cup or on their hand? Line your cup holders with a liner from an auto-store – or you could even use silicone cupcake liners that you can buy in the supermarket bakery aisle!
  3. Use carpet cleaner for seat stains. Using a 50/50 cleaner/water mix is great for removing stains from cloth seats. This basic solution makes the dirtiest seats look like new again.
  4. Use a foam paint brush for the air vents. A foam brush that you can buy at a hardware store is ideal for cleaning the gunk out of your air vents. Do this in front and back. If necessary, trim the foam head of the brush with a craft knife to make it fit inside the slots of the vent. For tough dust, use a can of compressed air – the type that you’d usually use to clean a computer keyboard. One puff of high-pressure air can blow the stickiest grit away.
  5. Put fabric floor mats in the washing machine. Give your floor mats a blast of spray stain-remover (the sort you use on clothes) and then put them in the washing machine on a cold cycle to restore their fluffed and clean look. (Don’t be tempted to tumble dry them, though).
  6. Use a Swiffer brush on surface dust. Plastic surfaces like the dash and console show every speck of dust, but they’re what riders always see. Keep a Swiffer brush in your glove box to give them a wipe. You can also keep a lint roller handy for a quick seat clean in between rides.

7. Know your customer spectrum (and who falls outside of it)

I asked Vish how he deals with drunk customers on busy Friday and Saturday nights. He surprised me by saying he doesn’t serve them. Drunk customers aren’t his target market. As soon as he lands one, he heads home. It’s a signal he’s serving folks outside of his customer spectrum and his day is done. (In fact, Vish also benches himself whenever he’s having an off day because he says driving is too risky–a judgment call that takes real self-awareness, especially in the gig economy, where there’s no direct boss to manage your performance.)

“The most important thing in your life is to enjoy what you’re doing,” Vish adds, and for him, it’s as simple as that. Driving an Uber wasn’t his first choice, and it isn’t what he intends to do indefinitely, but he’s doing more than just making the most of it.

He’s enjoying what he’s doing–and creating an unbelievably positive experience for everyone he interacts with in the process.