With Uber, my schedule is quite fluid. I do have relatively standard days and hours I work, but each week (and even each day) is different. I may have different things going on in my life that will cause me to work more or less each day or week. I may or may not work on the weekends, and as of 2018 I hardly work on the weekends at all anymore. I really enjoy the flexibility and freedom of my schedule.
The same is possible for you. You literally get to pick when and how long you work each day and week. You can have a set schedule if you want, or you don’t have to. You can choose to work sporadically whenever you have free time and want to make extra money.
Whatever works best for you is the best way to go. That’s one of the most important things to keep in mind. Don’t go off of what time other people drive, or what strategy people say is the best. Do what works best for you, because all other people are telling you is what has worked best for them.
Decide what’s best for you based on the following factors:
(1) The time of day and days of the week you’re willing to work based on your existing schedule and your preferences
(2) How many hours you actually want to work each day or week (i.e. how many hours you actually want to be “online” and available to make money)
(3) How much money you want to make each day, week, and month
As long as you keep all 3 important factors in play when you decide your Uber schedule, you will always be happy.
In an effort to help you determine the best time and strategy for you, I am going to detail the popular strategies/schedules available below.
Morning Rush Hour
The morning rush hour is typically 6:30am – 9:30am in most cities. This is the time when most people are going to work. It’s also a time when it’s surging a lot in many different areas in the city (surging means you’ll get paid more to pick up in areas where the demand for drivers is high). So as you can imagine, this is a pretty popular time to drive. You have a guarantee that it will be a busy time, which always means you can make great money.
This is my preferred schedule and I love it. I make most of my money in the morning before the lunch hour arrives, but I may also work through the lunch rush as well to make even more.
The reason I like this schedule so much is because of the 3 factors I listed above. Since stepping away from my previous tech business, I had those hours available to work and just honestly prefer them with any work I’m doing full-time. I like to work in the mornings and early afternoons and be off as early as I can to have the rest of the day to myself.
I also like the fact that most days I work between 5-7 hours a day. Some days I work only 4-5 hours. Very rarely do I work more than 7 hours a day. Choosing that schedules helps me to keep these hours on a regular basis. This works very well for me.
With these hours, time of day, and days of the week, I’m able to make at least $100 a day, and many times more than that. I would say $120-$130 is my average per day (I’ve even made up to $200 a day many times). Again, this works very well for me. This also, again, is keeping those very important 3 factors in mind without having to neglect any of them. I’m not spending a lot of “wait time” waiting for my next ride. I get out there, make my money, and get on with my day and life.
This has been my experience with this schedule, but let’s look at the other popular schedules and strategies to see which one might work best for you.
Evening Rush Hour
I’m not sure how it is in your city, but in Washington, DC the evening rush hour traffic is much worse than the morning rush hour traffic. It’s just inevitable. For this reason, I’m usually already off by this time, or if I have to work a little late I try to get off as quickly as possible. The traffic slows things down so much that it takes too long to complete the ride you’re on and get to your next ride so you can continue to make money. This has been my experience, which is why I steer away from it. It’s not my favorite time to drive at all.
BUT, many drivers do drive during this time and make great money from it. This could be a great option for you if you already have a 9 to 5 and you want to make some extra money when you get off. You could very easily be taken far away from the downtown craziness when taking someone home to the suburbs. The suburbs can be a great place to make good money because the trips are typically longer than inner-city trips, which means you make more on each trip. So getting to know which suburbs and times of day are best can also be very beneficial to your chosen strategy.
Just keep in mind there are pros and cons to every schedule. You just have to determine which is best for you and which cons are worth it. Let’s move on to another strategy to continue helping you decide.
When I did work weekends more regularly, I would usually only work on Saturdays to give myself at least 1 day off, or if I had somewhere to be on a Saturday I’d work on Sunday. I would usually start out between 8-10am and work until 2-4pm.
Sometimes the weekends would be so busy that from the time I started until the time I finished it was back-to-back trips and surging all day. Weekends can definitely be like that no matter what area you’re in sometimes. Then other times it may be that the mornings are a little slower and it picks up in the afternoon. Either way, the weekends are always a good time to make great money.
And as you can imagine, the weekend evenings are popular times, specifically Friday and Saturday nights. Just be prepared for plenty of crazies and drunks, that’s their prime time. But you’ll also experience lots of surging as well. I’ve never driven those hours, so I don’t have any firsthand experience, but I do know there’s a lot of money to be made during those times if you’re willing.
Events can happen all times of the day or night, from sports events to concerts, marathons/races, festivals/parades, conventions, etc. For the weekends Uber actually sends out an email on Fridays with a list of the major events going on in the area along with street closures. It can be very helpful to check those. Otherwise, you can check your local news for details on events happening throughout the week.
So, obviously there’s going to be an influx of surging and overall busyness before an event starts and after it lets out. It can be a great strategy to try and plan your schedule based on this.
Personally, I don’t do too many events, even when there are concerts or big games at night. I’m not a big fan of driving at night, so I steer away from it. I have seen Uber give incentives to pick up at the end of late football games in the past offering things like bonus money for each pick up because the hours are so late at night. I’ve never taken the bait on those because it’s just not worth it to me to give up the time that I actually don’t want to be driving. But this could be just the incentive you need to make extra money on top of the surging prices you’ll get for the rides you do pick up. It could be a great money making strategy if you’re willing!
I have driven during some of the big marches in DC that happen during the daytime (i.e. the Women’s March in January of 2017 and the March For Our Lives Rally in March of 2018). I’ve found that driving people to the event before it starts is generally easier than getting down into the masses of people, traffic, and main road closures when a huge event of hundreds of thousands of people lets out. The traffic can be horrible then, even though the surges can be great.
So again, it’s always about what works best for you, based on your schedule, preferences, hours worked, and money you want to make.
Now, this strategy is a bit controversial because there are definite benefits to going to the airport to get rides, but some of the strategies used are interesting, to say the least.
In most, if not all, of the major cities there will likely be an airport waiting lot for Uber/Lyft/Limo drivers to wait for riders who have just landed at the airport. When you go to the airport waiting lot, Uber puts you into a queue, where it’s basically “first one in, first one out”.
When you get within a certain vicinity of the airport, you’ll see an airplane symbol that you can click on to show you how many drivers are in the queue at that time. There can be any number of drivers in the queue, from 1 – 20 or even over 100 drivers waiting for riders. That means, if you were to go to the airport lot at that time, there would be however many cars in front of you before you’d get a ride.
I’m always baffled when I see large numbers of drivers in the airport lot. Yet it never fails, every day there is always a large number at some point throughout the day. I don’t know many people in regular circumstances who would opt to get in a line where there are already 100 people or more in it.
And the reality is, just because there are 100 cars in front of you doesn’t mean that the first one is leaving immediately and the second one is leaving right after. You never know when a plane lands and an influx of riders start requesting rides. You could be sitting in that lot waiting for 30 minutes to an hour when there are only 15 cars in front of you.
I personally don’t even go into the waiting lot unless there are 15 drivers or less. And most times it’s really 10 or less. I just don’t find it valuable for my time to sit in a lot with a bunch of other drivers “online” surrounding me, when I could leave that lot and get a rider almost immediately depending on the time of day and the surrounding location of the airport. (And speaking of “online”, it basically means you’re open to receiving requests. When you open your Uber Driver app and push the button to go “online” that means you’re available to receive rider requests.)
Now even though my strategy is to only go in the lot when there’s a low number of drivers in front of me, like I mentioned before, I have experienced wait times up to 30-40 minutes because the queue number kept dropping slowly. It can be tricky when that happens because even though the queue numbers are dropping and you’re getting closer and closer to #1, it can still take a really long time to get there.
Naturally, when you see that number dropping you want to stay (because sometimes the queue number can drop really fast), but when the numbers are dropping slowly and you see how long you’ve been waiting it can feel like a waste of time. My wait limit is 30-40 minutes. No matter what number I am in the queue, if it’s consistently moving slowly and I’ve been waiting too long, I’m out and on my way to a popular area to get a ride quickly.
Here’s why so many drivers like airport rides… On top of the fact that it’s a guaranteed place to get a ride (instead of driving around looking for rides), many times you can get long rides from the airport. The reality is, the airports aren’t always conveniently located to every destination a traveler could be going when they land, but they still need a ride nonetheless. That’s where drivers get to benefit. The longer the ride is, the more you make.
Some drivers feel it’s a good strategy to bank on those airport rides so they can make great money each ride. The thing is, you can never dictate what type of ride you’ll get. Sometimes people are simply going 5-10 minutes away from the airport. Sometimes they are going 30-40 minutes or even an hour or more away. You never know, and there’s no (legal) way to know before the rider gets in your car. So you’re always taking a chance. That’s the flaw I see in banking on a strategy that has no real guarantee.
The other strategy I’ve heard of is that some drivers do airport rides only. Now, this truly boggles my mind. I’m not entirely sure on how they work this, but just from hearing it I would assume they wait in the airport lot for however long, hoping for that inevitably long ride. They finally get that ride and drop off the rider, whether it was a long or short ride. They would then either go “offline” and head straight back to the airport (and if that was a long ride, they’d have a long ride back to the airport making nothing), or they could stay “online” and set a destination to the airport in hopes of making some money on the way back.
In my opinion, the prolonged wait time and time “offline” in an effort to get back to the airport and inevitably wait again are the cons in these strategies that I’m not on board with. Yet, I’ve heard of several drivers doing these things and they wouldn’t do them if they didn’t find some value and benefit in them. For those reasons, they could be worth looking into.
Concepts like these are again where you’ll have to decide how many hours you actually want to be “online” waiting versus actively making money while “online”. The airport strategies are some of the most important to really weigh what’s best for you, your time, your preferences, and your money. Try out different strategies to see what works best. And you could even ask other drivers while you’re in the lot what their strategies are to get more information on how it works for them and see if it’s really worth it.
Late Nights/Early Mornings
Driving during the late nights and early morning hours is another popular strategy. I’ve heard of guys making $200 – $400 a night working late nights and getting off around
Just keep in mind that working those hours you’ll definitely need to keep your safety
I once had a driver (when I actually took an Uber to the airport) who said he drove from
Just know that this schedule along with all the others mentioned here
Share Your Thoughts in the Comments Below:
What questions do you have about the different popular schedules for driving Uber?
If you’re thinking of driving Uber, which schedule would you prefer and why?
If you’re already driving Uber, what’s your preferred schedule and what are your favorite parts about it?