I started driving for Uber & Lyft because, I was looking for extra income while my kids were in school. I also wanted a side hustle that would give me the freedom to be available when my kids needed me (e.g., doctors appointments, field trips, etc.) Driving for Uber & Lyft – my 1st week in Houston + tips proved to be the answer.
Until you learn the ropes it will seem intimidating, but so are most things you start without experience (eg., a family, a relationship, etc.)
I’m here to share my very first week with you and some quick tips to get you up and going fast.
By fast, I mean within one day.
Let me also say, I drive in Houston; the information below can be applied any where.
What you will need to start driving for Uber & Lyft Immediately
Both require the same documents and everything can be done on your smart phone, unless you are wanting to drive BLACK for Uber.
- You must be 21 (23 in some cities) and have three years of driving experience.
- Your vehicle should be 10-15 years old. Note: you can rent an Uber/Lyft to drive; your driving schedule will not have the same freedoms. For example, you can not pick up rides at the airport, etc.
Proof of Insurance (with proof of ride sharing)
Vehicle Registration (blue sticker)
Drivers Photo (take in app)
Proof of Insurance
Vehicle Registration (blue sticker)
Drivers Photo (take in app)
Driving for Uber & Lyft in Houston: APPS
Yes, you can use both apps at the same time.
Because Uber is less strict when it comes to drive time, so I usually open Lyft last. It is the same as opening any app, just log on and select the categories you want to work. For example, UberXL and or Uber Eats.
It is appropriate to close the app if you receive a ride request. If you decide not to and miss a ride request it will count against your metrics (e.g., acceptance rate, etc).
When a notification for a ride comes across (and you decide to take it), simply close the other app until the ride is over.
OPTIONAL ITEMS FOR YOUR CAR
I put the items below that I started with in my car and have received great feedback.
Aside from the items below, get some headphones if you use a voice prompted navigation system, so your rider doesn’t have to listen along.
I stocked my organizer at the dollar store and Krogers grocery store (10 for $10 deals). The most poplar items have been: breath mints, water and chapstick.
Driving for Uber & Lyft: HOUSTON
Driving for Uber & Lyft – My 1st Week in Houston + Tips in this section covers Houston specifically with Houston TNC/airport permit information.
RUN BOTH APPS AT ONCE
You can run both apps at the same time.
You just have to be quick. It is merely a matter of shutting one app off in a timely manner when you get another ride.
I have got two rides at one time, but usually chose Uber because of the metric penalties; if the Lyft ride is longer/better I will take the hit from Uber.
A SIDE NOTE: Lyft has glitched on me at the IAH airport queue. I went from 9 to 76. Waiting at the airport can be time consuming; you are not burning gas or racking up miles on your car.
For UberXL and up you can wait for hours for one ride, so test the apps out. Your cell phone provider matters.
NAVIGATION APP FAVORITES
You can use Waze as your navigation choice in your app. If you open Uber you can click on the compass arrow it will open the route in Waze. This way you can see your trip and the amount of time it will take you to get there, along with potential problems.
Both ride share apps have been burned me more than once (e.g., missed turns/construction, etc.), so I do not recommend them.
TIP: if you are using bluetooth headphones and having trouble hearing voice prompts, simply turn the volume up while the voice command is talking and this should solve the problem.
So, what should you mark as favorites?
You will never be more aware of bathrooms in your life besides when you start driving.
In your navigation app save some favorite some places to go! This can be hotels, restaurants or your favorite convenient store by the airport.
Driving for Uber & Lyft – My 1st Week in Houston + Tips <– remember places to go on the go!
POPULAR AREAS TO GET A RIDE
This could be a parking area in the Gallaria, a hotel downtown where you can hit the restroom too, the museum district, etc.
Driving for Uber & Lyft – My 1st Week in Houston + Tips <– ask other drivers or join a local Facebook page to get feedback on good areas.
FIND YOUR WAY OUT FAVORITES
Favorite a few central places in the city to navigate out of an unfamiliar drop-off. For example, if you are in a residential area by the Galleria, navigate to Westheimer and Post Oak.
Driving for Uber & Lyft – My 1st Week in Houston + Tips <– know key areas in town to help you quickly navigate from a drop off to a familiar area.
Working Inter Continental Airport (IAH)
Get a TNC permit, which is required and can be obtained for free online. The permit is for Hobby and IAH.
GO TO: https://www.mygovernmentonline.org/
WHAT YOU NEED
- Proof of insurance,
- registration (not a picture of the sticker, but the receipt) and
- your drivers license.
TNC STICKER PICKUP
When I applied they had stopped sending out emails to pick up the sticker. The wait was at 6-8 weeks.
If you do receive an email, go to the window at the opposite side of the staging entrance. Present your drivers license to the attendant.
TIP: I went to the window with my DL about 10 days after I applied and got it.
The airports have a designated area around them for Uber and Lyft. So, you are not placed into the queue for a ride until you enter the designated staging area.
Every area has a designated staging area.
IAH staging area: Will Clayton before the RAMADA.
Hobby: has signs to get you to their staging area.
You will receive ride requests and the app will tell you where to go to pick up your rider once you work your way to the front of the queue.
TIP: You pass over a ride twice before Uber will move you to the back of the line, Lyft will not.
If you leave the queue you will lose your place in line.
Driving for Uber & Lyft – My 1st Week in Houston + Tips <– Look for the lanes marked with a green TNC (Transportation Network Company) sign to pick up your rider. You may receive a fine otherwise.
Driving for Uber & Lyft in Houston: UBER APP
There are many options in the app to customize.
UBER RIDE PREFERENCE
This is about which rides you want to give. This means, you can modify your Driving Options (e.g., Deliveries, UberX and UberXL) by scrolling right or left to see and select all options available to you.
TIP: If you get hung up the Uber app will ask you to rate a customer before allowing you to move on to the next ride.
GETTING PAID BY UBER
You can cash out the same day using their Cash Out option.
Both have weekly deposit options as well; whatever you cash out will not go toward the weekly deposit.
TIP: Their debit card offers a lot of incentives and works for online banking (GoBank).
To use Waze, click on your picture, select Account, and App Settings. Under Navigation, select Waze. You can change other account details there too.
I do NOT recommend the Uber or Lyft Navigation. They are usually not up-to-date with construction or road changes.
UBER DESTINATION SETTINGS
Setting a TO or FROM a destination is a feature you should be using.
Let’s say you get started for the day and plan to go to the airport.
- Open your Uber app. Select the magnifying glass (search) button.
- Enter the airport you want and wait for a ride to come in.
- I typically do not wait over 35 minutes in one area.
- If there is a trip request in your area that is headed toward your direction you will get that trip before someone without it.
- You can use the destination feature heading home or to an appointment. My favorite feature for sure; Uber limits this to twice a day.
Driving for Uber & Lyft in Houston: LYFT APP
Same old technology, just different places to find it. Uber and Lyft have similar features; this section will cover Lyft.
LYFT RIDE PREFERENCE
Lyft ride preferences are more like buckets. The categories can overlap.
Say you use the X bucket with the XL ride option, you will get an X ride first most times.
If you are able to use the next bucket up that has XL also, but no X, you will likely get the XL before a select ride because, of supply and demand.
Tip: Lyft is easier to sign up to be a Black driver.
GETTING PAID BY LYFT
Add your Payment Info under your picture as well. Then click the “$” at the bottom and select “Get Paid“.
Also, under your picture select Settings and turn on High Earnings Alert. Lyft will send you alerts around games, like when the Texans played the Colts, and other events like the Rodeo and so on.
To use Waze, click on your picture, select Navigation, and select Navigation, Waze. I activate Auto-switch to navigation. You are set.
Some people like it; I do not recommend using their navigation because, the roads are rarely as current as Waze..
UBER DESTINATION SETTINGS
Set a Destination and be paired with a ride along your route. This feature is great for getting some where on time without losing drive time.
For example, if you are headed home, set the destination to your home address and Lyft will try to pair you with a ride by your expected arrival time.
TIP: You can use this feature twice a day with Uber.
Driving for Uber & Lyft in Houston: TIPS
I hope all of this information has be helpful! As far as tips go, you can expect something different for any hours you drive and if you are:
- Working surges (busy times, which will be detected on the map in red),
- events like the Rodeo, or
- when points are a higher value in Uber.
- And note the time it will take to reach surges before wasting your time.
OPTOMIZE DRIVE TIME:
- My biggest tip would be, just get out there and try it. Uber and Lyft are very flexible and you can set your own hours.
- Set favorites in your navigation system and head that way to pick up rides or find a central place to commute out of a drop off.
- Drive toward the “heart” of the city for rides.
- Wait in hotel areas (and not just around check out time).
- Wait at airports – your drop-offs can lead to your next ride.
- .Turn on your apps at home. You may likely get a ride request to a “busy area.”
- Wait for rides by car dealerships. This works great around lunch time. People drop off their cars for service and need a ride home/back to work.
- Test areas by your home. Maybe they are all $5 rides; check how far you are driving and if it is worth going to a new area.
- Keep all of your receipts for taxes. This includes food, car washes, gas and maintenances.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
And it’s all small stuff.
You are going to meet a lot of fun and interesting people. I have not ran into a jerk yet and I’m always surprised by who tips me!
You are dealing with a lot: people and driving. The first week and some days after, will be emotionally taxing. You will get home and realize how tired to you are!
Most of all, trust yourself and have fun!
Happy Driving 🙂