Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Optimizing your income, part of Starting Your Career in the On-Demand Economy.
- As we discussed earlier, the amount of income you generate from an on-demand job is highly dependent on the amount of time you can put into it. That said, there are still some things you can do to maximize your earnings. A few dollars saved here and there can start to add up. When it comes to driving for companies like Uber or Lyft, here are a couple of ways you can save some money. The biggest one I've learned is to not drive around aimlessly between fares. Early on, it's tempting to cruise around the busiest areas, hoping you'll get a ping telling you someone needs a ride, but realize that other drivers are often doing that too, and you're just going to be burning gas the entire time.
Instead, find a safe place to park in the vicinity, leave the driver app on, and just wait for a ping from a rider to come in. If you can actually turn your car off while you're waiting, all the better. I suggest bringing along a book or a tablet device to pass the time. And if you're in an area that's heavily traveled by other drivers, you might have a difficult time picking up fares on all but the busiest nights. One thing you can try is to use the corresponding rider app on your phone, which will show you where other drivers currently are. You can use this information to scope out an area with fewer drivers, increasing the chance of picking up a rider.
Obviously, fuel is going to be the most common expense for drivers, so any way you can find to save a few cents here and there can start to add up. Check with the gas stations you frequent, and consider applying for one of their credit cards. Be sure to look for the types that offer points or rewards, and which, preferably, don't come with an annual fee. There are also many credit cards out there that offer cash back or extra points for fuel purchases, so you don't have to limit yourself to just a single gas station chain. If you have a warehouse club near you, like a Costco, a Sam's Club, a BJ's, or the like, consider purchasing a membership.
Gas is usually cheaper at these clubs, and you'll also be able to buy items in bulk, like bottled water, cleaning supplies, snacks, and so on. Warehouse clubs are also great for home renters, so if you're an Airbnb host, you can save money by purchasing supplies for your guests, and to maintain your property. Also, learn about the area in which you are driving. You may think you know your town or city pretty well, but I guarantee that after a few rides, you'll learn about parts of your town you never knew existed, but knowing about your town also means learning where and when the peak times to drive are. Now, usually, you'll get emails and updates from Uber and Lyft letting you know where the hotspots are, but that also sends all the other drivers to those locations.
Try thinking creatively. Check the local entertainment calendars to see when concerts and sporting events are in town, and go there when the events are letting out. Check the arrival times at your local airport, and park yourself in the cell phone lot at times when you know flights are landing. The more you know about what's going on in your area, the better you'll be able to pick up fares. When it comes to saving money and optimizing your income while renting your house or apartment, a lot of these tips are going to be the same tips anyone should be using to save money, regardless of whether they're renting out their home. This includes things like making sure you have your heating and cooling system serviced and tuned up.
This can improve its efficiency, which is important, especially when you have guests and they have control of your thermostat. Yes, you can leave a note asking them not to take it above or below a certain temperature, but having an efficiently running unit can still be a money saver regardless. Along those lines, consider turning down your water heater. If you turn on the hot water in, say, your bathroom, and you can't hold your hand under it for more than a couple of seconds, you probably have it set too high and are wasting energy. If you know how to make the adjustment, try reducing the temperature a bit. This also reduces the risk of your guests accidentally scalding themselves.
And it's worth mentioning again, but consider joining a warehouse club, where you'll be able to buy supplies, snacks, and other bulk items at lower prices. That can be especially good for things like napkins, paper towels, and other disposable items that you'll need a lot of. Lastly, you can always be improving your listing. Be descriptive and personable with the description of your place, the amenities you provide, and the local area. Take better pictures of your property, so guests can really see what it's like. The more info you can provide, the better, and the more accurate your listing, the better the chance you'll get guests who are great fits for your property.
OK, so, there you have a couple of tips for squeezing a little bit more out of each trip and reservation. If you're looking for more ideas, try Googling phrases like, "how to save money around the house," and "how to save money while driving," and you'll turn up a wealth of suggestions that can be applied to on-demand work. They might not seem like that big of a deal on their own, but combined together over time, the savings can start to add up.
Garrick Chow explains the basic structures of the on-demand economy and the skills and characteristics of successful on-demanders, so you can determine if on-demand work is the right fit for you. Then learn about the time commitment and expectations around pay, what the employer provides, and what one can expect from clients. Garrick then discusses tools to keep you organized, including how to best track income and expenses.
Finally, the course offers tips and tricks and a case study based on the author's firsthand experience as an Uber driver.
- Preparing to work on demand
- Managing expectations from on-demand clients
- Tracking expenses and mileage
- Optimizing your income
- Getting support online
- Case study: Becoming an Uber driver
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 05/26/2017. What changed?
A: A new video was added that explains how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for on-demand work.