How to Survive the Winter Uber Slump
The winter holiday season is in full swing with Thanksgiving tomorrow (or today or yesterday, depending on when you are reading this). That means many people will be going home to spend time with family, which usually means less people going out. Less people going out means less rides. Las Vegas seems to be the rare exception to this rule as I am hearing a lot of people going to Vegas for Thanksgiving.
As we roll past Thanksgiving, it is official Christmas season and there may be a good week or two after Thanksgiving of rideshare before people go on vacation or home for Christmas. Usually college students are home or on vacation, which drags down demand overall during this time on Uber and Lyft.
New Years Eve is the one bright spot during this holiday season, but it can be a total hit or miss. In Boston, surge didn’t really turn on until much later, around 1-2am, nothing nearly as bad as NYE 2013-14.
Demand usually don’t pick up until mid January when most people are back from vacation and college students are back in school. It is still generally less demand until Valentines day and St Patricks Day. The demand for rideshare usually builds during these winter months until April-May when the weather gets nicer. In Boston with all the snow, demand was through the roof and there was surge pricing almost nonstop for a few weeks. This was a rare incident, but shows that it is possible to be very busy during the winter.
How can you survive this slump?
- Hopefully you driven during the “peak season” between Labor day and Halloween and pocketed enough extra cash so you don’t have to drive during the “down season”
- Handing out passenger referral cards – despite it being cold out there, it is a good time to street team on the weekends to give out passenger referral cards, especially near Christmas related activities like tree light ceremonies, Christmas decorations or store displays (like NYC). You can even try it at an indoor mall, but it would most likely be met with mall security so beware.
- Being more selective about when to drive – always look at the passenger apps to see what the demand is. With lower overall demand, it is all about maximizing the earnings when you are out there driving, which means you would want to pick the busiest times to drive.
- Watch for holiday travel plans – today is the busiest day of the year at the airports, so today could be a very lucrative day with trips to the airport. The same with Christmas. Watch for these holidays and try to predict travel patterns in your city. A few airport trip could make your week.
- When to know when to stop driving – there are definitely some really slow days during the next few months and you need to know whether it is a slow day/night or if you are in the wrong location. Sometimes you get lucky breaks and stay busy even during a slow day. You just need to know when to call it quits and try another day. The best way to find out is to talk to other drivers in your city. The most popular option is Facebook groups. There is usually a few in every city to connect drivers.
- Trying out delivery – There is a rise in on-demand delivery services this year like Instacart and now could be a good time to start to diversify your income. According to Ryder from Sherpa, they usually see a relationship between rideshare and delivery. When one goes down, the other goes up. I am not sure what the delivery demand is like during the holidays but it is worth a try. It could either be very busy or very slow for deliveries, given the holiday season.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you get a few extra dollars for the holiday season. Do you have a plan for the winter? Feel free to chime in the comments below!Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course!