The corona virus has affected many parts of our daily lives. Many people are sheltering in place and eliminating travel anywhere besides work and grocery stores. The lack of travel is hitting the travel industry and restaurant industry. Hotels and restaurants are furloughing their staffs. Schools are closed and most people are working from home. Daycare centers are starting to close also, which is forcing many parents to stay at home with their children. Many drivers have noticed that there is no traffic at all anywhere with very few people walking around in the streets.
It is easy to see why there is little demand for Uber and Lyft. Uber reported that they have seen up to a 70% reduction of rides in cities hit hardest by the corona virus. Some uber drivers and lyft drivers have stopped driving altogether while other drivers have seen a drop in trips and earnings. Lyft has also stopped hiring additional drivers due to lack of demand. Uber and Lyft also has suspended shared rides on both platforms as to limit the spread of corona virus and to increase the number of trips for drivers. There will be additional drops in trips and revenue for drivers as more cities and states have more restrictions on travel.
What Can I Do Now?
There have been many drivers who are filing for unemployment due to not working their regular W2 day jobs. In most states, only people who have get a W2 for their taxes can file for unemployment. Some of the unemployed during the corona virus outbreak will try to use Lyft and Uber to earn some money, but with very few available trips, they are also having a hard time getting any money. You can see the below articles on how Uber drivers and Lyft drivers can drive while earning unemployment:
- Unemployement Benefits in 50 States While Working Part Time
- Can Uber and Lyft Drivers Collect Unemployement
Banks have been very proactive in the corona virus crisis and offering deferments on many loans. Call up your loan servicer and bank and ask them for deferments. Many banks are offering up to three months deferment on payments so take them up on it. It doesn’t reduce your overall debt but it will give you up to three months to figure it all out.
If you are renting our apartment, landlords may not be as friendly in offering deferments on rent. Some states have suspended eviction hearings until the crisis is over, so look up what your state is offering in terms of rent relief. Contact them now if you think you will have trouble paying rent.
You should also finish filing your taxes. Most Lyft and Uber drivers will get a refund due to significant deductions of miles and expenses relating to rideshare. This can give you a small boost in saving to navigate the next few months. If you are unsure about how to file your taxes, see my below online course on Rideshare Taxes:
Many Lyft and Uber drivers have been looking for other types of work and have moderate success with it. Some have looked into deliveries while others are applying for full time jobs at brick and mortar stores.
Can I Do Something Else?
Rideshare drivers who do Uber can switch to deliveries. Uber drivers can turn on Uber Eats. I have spoken to a few drivers and Uber Eats has been doing ok lately. There are more orders but many more drivers. It is better than driving people around because you are not interacting with that many people other than restaurant workers and it may limit your exposure to the corona virus.
Postmates delivery drivers and Doordash delivery drivers have noted about the same demand during the corona virus restrictions. Some drivers noted that it was very busy while others have complained that it is slow. Overall, I believe it highly depends on where you are and what time you work. At this time, try signing up for all delivery services and see which one is better for you.
Instacart is the one service that I have seen an increase of orders during the corona virus crisis due to everyone trying to stock up on toilet paper and food. There are a lot of orders on the application so you can choose the best ones to deliver. Note that some orders can’t be fulfilled at all because everything on the list is out of stock at the stores. Instacart shoppers need to contact support to remove these batches from your queue and wait times are extremely long, so shoppers can’t work for an hour or two.
If you sign up with Instacart with the below link, you may be eligible for a bonus up to $2000 in some areas after finishing 30 batches:
Sign up for Instacart and get up to a $2000 bonus after 30 batches
If you are unsure on how to be an on demand delivery driver, check out my indepth course on the various delivery services (Postmates, Doordash, Instacart, Amazon Flex, Uber Eats):
How to Deliver for Postmates, Doordash, Instacart, Amazon, and Uber Eats
While Amazon is hiring up to 100,000 workers during the corona virus outbreak, these positions are mainly in their warehouses (both traditional 1-2 day Prime packages and Prime Now 2-hour delivery Warehouses) and in-store shopper (Whole Foods, Petsmart, etc). Amazon Flex delivery drivers are noting that there aren’t many available blocks since this corona virus has brought back in a lot of drivers who normally wouldn’t work for Amazon and also a shortage of warehouse workers. If you want to work for Amazon, I recommend applying for an Amazon warehouse position. They pay hourly (less than delivery drivers) but you don’t have to drive around delivering packages and warehouse employees are eligible for benefits. They are also paying an extra $2 per hour across the board until the end of April. Below is the link to sign up for an Amazon Warehouse position:
Costco, Target, Walmart, and various supermarkets are all hiring to keep up with the retail demand. Costco is probably the best company on this list to work for as they treat their employees well and they pay the most. They claim that you can start working after one day of orientation. Also, Costco has an amazing food court. I am unsure about the long-term job security of these additional positions, but I foresee that they will increase staffing levels for the next six months. Even though most people will stop hoarding supplies within the next week or two, there will be increase demand due to many smaller stores closing.
How Uber Drivers and Lyft Drivers Navigate the Corona Virus
Here is my list of things to do now:
- File for unemployment. If it gets rejected, call the unemployment office and see if they can include 1099 workers.
- Ask for deferments on your loans (likely) or deferment on rent from your landlord (unlikely).
- File your taxes to get your refund. The tax deadline was just extended to July 15th but you should get your money as early as possible.
- Look at working Uber Eats, Postmates, Doordash, Instacart (Instacart signup bonus up to $2000)
- Apply for a full time job at Costco, Amazon warehouse, Walmart, Target, Grocery Stores
- New Uber Drivers will get up to a $800 bonus after signing up: Sign up for Uber.
- New Lyft Drivers will get up to $800 if you sign up here using this link.