Experienced Uber drivers recommend that new drivers identify rider needs and trends in the regions they intend to work.
Knowing exactly when (and where) Uber drivers are most in demand and being able to follow these trends and patterns is a crucial part of securing and keeping your business consistent and profitable.
This article takes a look at the best times to make money driving for Uber: when, where, and most importantly, how to be flexible, intuitive, and creative with your Uber schedule.
Do Uber Drivers Make More At Night?
Uber drivers agree that the evening rush hour (weeknights between 4 and up to 7pm) can bring a lot of work, and during surge pricing intervals, better pay.
Night time work, rather than afternoon/evening shifts, depends on the day of the week. In this case, Friday and Saturday nights remain consistently busy.
Therefore, during the week, it’s best to work to take the morning and evening rush hours with a break in the middle. Then on the weekend, identify the busiest places (as well as times) because on the weekends, travelers can be looking for transport all day long.
When Is The Best Time For Uber Drivers?
The answer varies according to the type of region you are driving (rural or city, for example), how much you’re prepared to drive, how far you’re prepared to go, and how well you predict and follow peaks in Uber demand.
This means you have to be able to identify these peaks. Typically, the demand for Uber drivers increases twice each workday: in the morning (between 7 and 9am) and in the afternoons (4 – 6.30pm) when everyone is trying to go home again.
Also typical are the peaks in demand which correspond with urban nightlife (5pm to 5am) and the sudden surges in demand after major events, when thousands of potential riders are searching for an Uber home. And lastly, Sundays are always busy for Uber drivers, as people plan afternoons (or whole days) out.
Uber surge pricing, or rush hour pricing, occurs when demand for rides is at its most frantic. And it occurs because Uber takes real-time conditions into account before providing riders with a guaranteed price. So, during a surge, riders have to pay more.
Uber drivers generally agree that these morning, afternoon, and night life shifts are the most lucrative, with Mondays as the lowest day in demand all round. It’s advisable to develop the habit of accepting as many trips as possible during peak time and taking breaks when demand is low.
This means being prepared to work on weekends and Friday and Saturday nights, even though these are not preferred work times for most people.
Drivers also need to be able to identify fluctuations in demand caused by short term pressures (such as weather), and long term cycles, such as the changing seasons, end of year celebrations, festivities, holidays, warmer weather, and so on.
Becoming familiar with ride demand trends in your area means you can schedule your services for when they are most needed, and then take a break when requests decrease (such as in January when end of year celebrations are mostly over).
Where Is The Best Place For Uber Drivers?
Again, it’s not really about identifying where to be, but rather to know where your traffic wants to go. This means knowing where the riders are, where they want to go, and minimizing waiting time between trips.
Experienced drivers avoid long trips, especially those which head out of the city, and where it’s unlikely the driver will be bringing anybody back again. Those miles travelled for the return trip are known as ‘empty miles’.
However, other drivers, recognizing a rural location with no services, or a seasonal zone (such as a snow zone) with very few drivers, have set themselves up exclusively for these areas. Some drivers have even invested in equipment (ski racks) and safety gear (snow tires), giving them an edge over other drivers.
Is The Best Time To Drive Uber On Weekends?
Working Friday and Saturday nights seems to be the best way for drivers to make money. And drivers who pull up outside the busiest pubs and clubs on Saturday nights get more fares and bigger fares.
However, drivers also warn that the late night travelers can also be the most difficult to deal with.
Another trick for making money from Uber is to just be willing to stick around. About half of all Uber drivers will give up within the first six months. However, the higher the number of weeks a driver works on the platform the more money they make.
This is because it takes drivers time and commitment to learn Uber’s algorithm patterns, the geography of their city or location, traffic and road conditions, the habits and demands of riders, and where drivers should lurk in order to win the best fares.
Experienced drivers say that Uber success does not come from luck or guesswork: it comes from persistence, focus, and the willingness to commit to a long term before giving up or moving on.
It’s vital for Uber drivers to maximize their schedules for the most pay they can make.
This is especially so since Uber drivers lose a percentage of their work to Uber, and must also fund their own fuel, insurance, cleaning, repair, registration, and general upkeep costs.
Thus, drivers need to put in the preparation work needed to ensure a lucrative work schedule, in other words, to locate patterns of rider needs and follow them.
Fortunately, there are consistent high peaks in demand for Uber drivers – these are early mornings and late afternoons on weekdays, Friday and Saturday nights in city areas, and generally, all day Sundays, especially when the weather is good.
Likewise, the demand for Uber rides follows broader but equally consistent seasonal patterns.
This means that drivers should schedule their availability through summer, or in winter in places with high numbers of seasonal tourists.