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Basic Rideshare Strategy

Congratulations on becoming an Animo member and joining the on-demand economy! You've joined a new world where you can set your own hours, choose how you work, and earn more by making the right choices. It can feel daunting, but you're not alone. Animo Coach is here to provide you with the training and tools you need to succeed!

What you'll learn in this lesson:

1. New Driver Referral Bonuses - What They Are 2. The Driving For Volume Strategy 3. The Driving For Profit Strategy 4. Best Times To Drive

Let's get started!

Referral bonuses - what they are:

When you sign up to a TNC (industry speak for Lyft or Uber) using our referral codes, you will be eligible for a cash reward.

Tip: If you forgot to sign up using our referral code, you can still contact your TNC within the first 15 days of signing up to add the code. Email the Uber / Lyft support team.

This is the very first big earnings opportunity you get as a rideshare driver! All you have to do is complete X number of rides within your first Y days of being a driver, and you will automatically get a bonus of typically $500 or more!

How many rides you have to complete:

This varies depending on Lyft and Uber's current promotions, but are typically a few hundred dollars after 50--100 rides. These bonuses are based on when you first sign up, so your promotions may be different than what is above. The best way to figure this out is to directly reach out to Lyft or Uber to clarify with them.

How long these bonuses take to complete:

100 rides might sound like a lot, but it's shorter than you think! Depending on the time of day that you drive, you can expect to do between 1.5 and 3 rides per hour. That means it can take as little as 30 hours for you to earn your $500 bonus (or up to 60 hours if you're driving during a slower part of the day).

Tip: Breaking it down another way, that's only 2 to 3 rides per day during your first 30 days.

By hitting your bonus, your hourly rate for all those hours driving is effectively being increased by $8 to $16 an hour, on top of what you already made, which is a huge bump!

Now that we're clear on how important referral bonuses are, let's talk about the best strategy to ensure you hit your bonuses.

There are two main strategies we will go over in the next sections:

Driving for Volume (# of rides)

Driving for Profit ($ value of each ride)

To succeed as a rideshare driver, you have to understand both of these strategies because many Uber and Lyft promotions are based on hitting a minimum number of rides in order to get a guaranteed boost to your earnings.

This is the first strategy we will go over, as it is the most important strategy for hitting your referral bonus. If you look at the terms and conditions for the Lyft or Uber new driver referral bonus, you'll notice it's only based on the number of rides you do.

That means it doesn't matter how short the ride is...

...Or if you only drive someone half a block...

...The only thing that matters is how many rides you do.

So here is a list of some areas of the city where our top members report finding more short trips, on average:

Los Angeles

- Beverly Hills

- West Hollywood

- Area around University of Southern California

- Area around UCLA

Santa Barbara

- State Street

- Isla Vista

- Area around UCSB

As you drive, keep an eye out for where short rides tend to happen and make a mental map for yourself. And help us out and tell us about areas not on this list by emailing us at

Tip: Some people ask "Should I only turn my driver app on once I reach these areas?" The answer is typically "No, keep your app on at all times".

It's often most profitable to keep your app on no matter which area of the city you're in. But if you're short a few rides and you're nearby these areas, then it can make sense to drive over to that area to search for more rides.

More Money In Your Pocket:

Not only is this good for the new driver referral bonus, you'll also see weekly promotions based on rides that can help you boost your earnings such as:

  • Give 75 rides this week for a $500 bonus (previous Uber offer)

  • Give 30 rides this week for a $150 bonus (previous Uber offer)

  • Get a 20% boost to your earnings for 55 rides and 25 rides during prime hours (previous Lyft offer)

  • $30/hr guaranteed rates during certain hours if you average 2 rides/hr (previous Lyft and Uber offer for select drivers)

Bottom Line: When you need to hit a minimum # of rides for your bonuses, head to the areas listed above!

Once you've hit minimum trip requirements (or perhaps when you don't have a weekly promo), the best thing to do is make sure your rides are the most profitable. There's two ways to do this:

1. Optimize for Surge/Prime Time Rides

2. Optimize for Long Rides

Optimize for Surge/Primetime Rides

Primetime (Lyft) and Surge (Uber) can turn your $10 ride into $20, $30, or sometimes even $100. It's a great way to make money and drivers love it when it happens.

But here's the #1 mistake to avoid: Don't chase the surge on the map!

Optimizing for Long Rides:

The other way to get profitable rides is to get longer rides. When you have a passenger in your car, you're making money for every minute and for every mile traveled.

A few good places to look for longer rides are:

Los Angeles

1. The LAX airport (which requires you to display an LAX permit to be allowed to do pick ups- you can get this by emailing or contacting Lyft)

2. Santa Monica - lots of tourists traveling to landmarks, hotels, etc.

3. Downtown Los Angeles - business travel, airport runs, and more

4. Universal Studios

5. Major concert and event venues (The Hollywood Bowl, Rose Bowl, The Forum in Inglewood)- and as a bonus these areas often surge like crazy after a big event lets out!

Santa Barbara

1. The Santa Barbara Airport

2. State Street - located in downtown Santa Barbara, lots of tourists traveling to landmarks, hotels, etc.

3. Major concert and event venues (Santa Barbara Bowl)

4. Isla Vista - mainly students traveling to restaurants, parties, and the beach

Over time you'll find other areas that seem to have more "long rides". Make a mental map of this and adjust your strategy accordingly. Also please let us know about any of these areas by emailing us at

Bottom Line: Plan to be in areas that offer long rides if you want long rides. If you drop someone off near an area that might provide long rides, make your way closer to that area to maximize your chances of getting the ride! And be aware of major events in your city so you can prepare to be there for the demand after the event lets out.

Now--a little quiz to make sure you got all the knowledge.

Which driving strategy is the best?

A. Driving for Volume

B. Driving for Profit

C. Both

Answer: C. Neither is the best, you need both

How does the Driving for Volume strategy work?

A. You take any ping in any area of the city

B. You go to areas of the city where more short rides tend to happen

C. You go to the airport to look for long rides

D. You go to the beaches to pick up tourists

Answer: B. You go to areas of the city where more short rides tend to happen

How does the Driving for Profit strategy work?

A. You optimize for surge and long rides by placing yourself in areas that typically have more long rides or surge (before it happens)

B. You make more money by asking passengers for tips at the end of each ride

C. You start driving towards surge areas that are 20 minutes away when you see them

Answer: A. You optimize for surge and long rides by placing yourself in areas that typically have more long rides or surge (before it happens)

Which areas typically produce more short rides?

A. Santa Monica

B. Downtown Los Angeles

C. Beverly Hills

D. West Hollywood

E. LAX Airport



H. Universal Studios

Answer: Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, UCLA, and USC

Which areas typically produce more long rides?

A. Downtown Los Angeles B. Beverly Hills C. West Hollywood D. LAX Airport E. UCLA F. USC G. Universal Studios

Answer: A. Downtown Los Angeles, LAX Airport, and Universal Studios

If you got all of the answers correct, you're on your way to earning more!

Now that we've talked about driving strategies, let's talk about when to drive.

And if you can't drive during all of these hours - don't worry!

Finding the best hours is also about figuring out what works for you and your schedule.

Weekdays (Monday to Friday)

1. Early mornings (4AM to 11AM)

2. Late evenings (8PM to 3AM)

These times are great for avoiding heavy traffic. Both Lyft and Uber pay you more for miles traveled than for time spent in your car.

However, if your only availability is to drive during the day then you can still make those hours work. Using a navigation app like Waze will help you find side streets and learn how to skirt around traffic.

Weekends (Saturday and Sunday)

7AM to 4:30AM -- During the weekends, you have a lot of flexibility on when you'd like to drive.

A few things to keep in mind:

Demand may vary depending on what times you drive and in which areas of the city. Not all early morning / late night hours are busy in all parts of Los Angeles, so keep a mental map of days and areas you go so you start to notice patterns.

When driving in the late night blocks, you'll often be pulled towards bar/nightclub areas. When driving in the early morning blocks, you are likely to find more airport runs.

These blocks of time are NOT the only good times. Lyft and Uber regularly offer guaranteed hourly rate promotions that take place during the weekday daytimes, and if you get that offer of $25 - $35/hr guaranteed, then you should definitely work those hours if you can! It's a great way to boost your pay.

We hope you found this lesson useful! Let us know if you have any other tips by emailing us at

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