Uber Premium began on August 20th

On June 26th, Uber announced it would be discontinuing both Uber Black and Select from the service options within the app. On August 20th, Uber launched Uber Premium as the sole elevated option for riders. 

*Previously posted on Aug 6th 

Tomorrow: What to look for when buying a mask?:

Uber expands where drivers can set their own pricing

In California, rideshare companies are having to adjust to AB-5 legislation that basically said drivers were employees and not independent contractors. Uber pushed back by rolling out driver led pricing last January. This was initially a test that was designed to show that drivers are not employees but independant contractors. It was rolled out in a few select cities like Palms Springs, Santa Barbara and a few others. 

On July 9th, Uber announced it will be rolling out this new pricing model throughout the State of California. The push is to ensure that drivers remain independent contractors and Uber can continue to keep its gig worker business model. 

More and more states are looking at their own version of AB5. It will be interesting to see if both Uber and Lyft try to come out in front of any legislation in other states before anything further passes. 

*Previously posted on July 21st

Tomorrow: A new paint job versus a vinyl covering for your car?

What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare

Everyone is talking about dash cameras for their cars, especially rideshare drivers. It is a great way to protect yourself by proving you were not at fault in an accident, proof for Uber or Lyft of an unruly rider who chose not to wear a mask or is acting inappropriately, evidence of your actions if you were pulled over by the police and so much more.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to buying a dashcam, so what are some of the features that you may want to have?

Price – DashCam models can start out at $50. and move on up to more than $400,. but some of the features you may want as a rideshare drive can be found in the $200 range. 

Easy installation – No one wants to read a book or need a computer science degree in order to install your camera in your car and the app on your phone.

Video quality – 720p is pretty standard but you might want to consider 1080p which would allow you to zoom in on a face or license plate. Some models in the upper price range are now offering 4k but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Parking Mode – We all have to leave our cars unattended from time to time. This mode will automatically start recording the moment it senses a vibration.

Dual Cameras – You also want a model that has a camera facing forward to record any kind of traffic incidents you may encounter and one that is rear facing to catch the activities of an unruly rider. 

Wireless streaming  – This is a nice to have feature because it allows you to view footage from your camera without having to remove a memory card. 

Dash cams can be found at many of the big box stores or online. For this kind of purchase I like Costco because of their excellent return policy, and they never charge a restocking fee! However, they do require you to pay a membership fee.

*Previously posted on July20th

Tomorrow: Uber starts letting drivers set their own price

Lyft Essential Deliveries Service

Yesterday, we talked about Uber’s latest delivery service, UberRush. They are not the only rideshare company getting into the delivery game. Back in April, 2020, Lyft also announced a new delivery service called Essential Deliveries.  

This new pilot program is aimed at government agencies, local non-profits, businesses and healthcare organizations and making deliveries of meals, groceries, life-sustaining medical supplies, hygiene products and home necessities to those in need, according to the Lyft Blog.

Currently, this service is being offered in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, and Seattle. There is talk of expanding the service to non-profit organizations for deliveries from food banks, senior meals programs and even the Girl Scouts delivering their cookies. It will be interesting to see how this project moves forward. 

*Previously posted on July17th

Tomorrow: How to choose a good wine

Uber Connect

Back on April 20th, Uber announced a new delivery service called Uber Connect. It’s for people looking for a same-day local delivery service. It could be a great solution during Covid-19 because deliveries can be made safely without any contact.

According to CNET, this new service is only available in Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa Bay and Washington, DC in the US. No word yet if there are plans on expanding to other parts of the country. This is yet another effort from Uber to diversify their business as rideshare has taken a dramatic drop in revenue. 

Now, Uber has tried this in the past under a different name, UberRush. This was a service only available in San Francisco and New York City. It was initially set up to delivery packages of 30lbs or less. Much of their core interest came from business to business deliveries. Uber shuttered the doors on UberRush at the end of June, 2018 according to TechCrunch. No specific reason was given for the shutdown but one can assume that the demand just wasn’t there to make it profitable.

It will be interesting to see if Uber Connect takes off in light of current the current pandemic and the need for social distancing.

*Previously posted on July16th

Tomorrow: Lyft Essential Deliveries Service

What’s in your trunk can affect your star rating

We all know that keeping the inside of your car clean and clear of clutter has a positive impact on your star rating. However, the trunk of the car is often overlooked!

I recently took an Uber and was carrying a few bags with me after some grocery shopping. The driver popped the trunk for me to place everything inside. When I saw the condition of his trunk, I was immediately uncomfortable. Rumbling in the trunk was what looked like a dirty infant car seat, a roll of paper towels that had come unrolled, a couple of used face masks stuffed in the corner, and dusty and dirty trunk mat. I reluctantly placed my bags back there after tying them closed.

First impressions matter! The inside of the car itself was clean but for the entire trip I kept thinking about my groceries and how I was going to have to immediately wash everything as soon as I got home. 

We’ve all been busy dealing with the effects of Covid-19.  You may have decided to go back to driving and did a full cleanup of the inside of your car but don’t forget about your trunk! The star ratings game can be a tough one. I nicely told him about his mess in his trunk and that I was a driver too and was only trying to help him. He took the feedback well. I did give him 5 stars and a tip but some riders will not be so understanding!

*Previously posted on June 5th

Tomorrow: The importance of a daily routine

Is it worth it to turn your car into a moving billboard?

Even though the picture chosen for this blog is of a car on a billboard, many drivers are choosing to add advertising to their rideshare cars — in essence turning their cars into billboards. With money tight for everyone, this could put some extra dollars in your pocket.

Advertising can be placed on the inside or outside of your vehicle. Let first start with inside:

Octopus is a tablet device that is installed on the back of the front seat headrest. It allows riders to play a trivia game while riding in the car. The questions are broken up advertising interludes which riders must watch in order to move on to the next question. Drivers can make up to $100.00 per month and which could be great for  drivers who do a lot of weekend work once Covid-19 is under control.

If you want to add advertising to the outside of your vehicle, Firefly is the biggest and most popular company offering an external billboard that is attached to the roof of your car. They are currently looking for rideshare drivers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Austin and Miami. They are an app based company and they are currently offering up to $300.00 per month to drivers. They will install the LED sign to your car making things hassle free. Before you decide to sign-up you do need to consider that you will no longer be able to take your car through the car wash. If you wash your car yourself, this might be a great choice for you.

Wrapify is similar to Firefly in that they are app based and their advertising is exterior. The major difference is they wrap your car, covering its exterior with advertising typically for a single product or company. You have likely seen something similar on busses used for public transit. Based on your driving habits you could earn between $200.00 to $400.00 per month. However, you do not want to do this if your car is coming up for a rideshare inspection as it will likely fail.  

Each of the above have certain requirements to participate so be sure to read all of the fine print. There are other options available, make sure you do your homework before making any decisions.

Tomorrow: What’s in your trunk can affect your star rating

3 more apps every rideshare driver should have on their phone – part 2

Today’s blog is part 2 of 2 on what apps every rideshare drive should have on their phone. 

Pretty much everyone has Google Maps on their phone as it is a rideshare basic for all of us.  However, another great GPS app is Waze. Both of these apps are free but one of the big differences is the route the Waze app chooses to get you to your destination. With Google Maps you are more likely to see yourself using a predictable route using freeways/highways and side streets. With Waze your route might take you off the beaten path. I like to say that Waze will take you ways you never thought of going. (I love a good dad joke.)

Waze also provides you with a lot more detail on traffic, car crashes, road construction and other problems on the road. This is also the reason why I prefer Google Maps because there is sometimes too much information popping up on your phone screen and it can be distracting. Both are effective at getting you to your destination quickly. Give them both a try so you can determine which one works best for you.

It is not only important to know how to get around your city or town – you also need to know how to get around your finances. Quickbooks is the financial app must-have for us drivers. We are running our own businesses and we need to have an app to track mileage costs and expenses, and something to help us with quarterly tax preparation. This app can do all of that and more. The cost is around $10.00 per month and is worth every penny. It is best to have it loaded on both your laptop and on your phone so you can make the most of the features it provides. (If you are looking to track your mileage, we recommend MileIQ; Stride is another popular option.)

The apps we’ve recommended so far have you well on your way to both geographic and financial organization, but how do you prepare for unexpected car problems? Many of you may already be AAA members, but there are other options that are now available if you are not a AAA member. For example, Honk offers 24/7 roadside assistance by connecting you to local services, with help arriving in 15-30 minutes. They will help you out with common break-down problems, like a flat tire or a dead battery – or a towing service, if needed.

*Previous posted on July 7th

Tomorrow: Is it worth it to turn your car into a moving billboard?

3 apps every rideshare driver should have on their phone – part 1

Apps on our phones have really changed so much of what we do in our lives. This also holds true for us rideshare drivers. Simply having an app with GPS has truly been a game changer. But beyond a GPS app, what other apps should we have on our phones that will help us be successful while driving around our cities and towns?

One of the must have apps is Mystro* and unfortunately is only available on Android. If you are an iPhone user, there is a work around – by tethering your IPhone to a second android phone. Mystro allows users to seamlessly look for rides on both Uber and Postmates platforms at the same time. You can accept trips hands-free and filter out certain kinds of trips like UberPool (currently suspended due to Covid-19). The app also allows you to filter trips by tier type. For instance, if you only want to accept Uber XL trips from the Uber app, you can do that. It is a great app to have but it is not free. You can either pay a small fee per ride, pay by the month or pay up front for a year. The choice is yours, but this app will quickly pay for itself because it will help to keep you busy making more money.

Because you are going to be busy, you will need to purchase more gas. GasBuddy allows you to find the nearest gas station to you when you are running low. And the app is free! If you need directions, it will map out directions using GPS. Now, if you don’t mind driving a little further, GasBuddy will also help you find the gas station with the cheapest price. Their price tracker is constantly being updated and I have found the app to be pretty accurate.

Just because you are at a gas station doesn’t mean their restrooms are in service.  All too often when you need to “go” you are faced with an “Out of Order” sign hanging on the facility’s door. Having the Flush App on your phone will quickly find you a place to “go.” This free app uses crowdsourcing to locate which restrooms are open, so it is pretty up to date. You can even search for restrooms with internet connections. Given that so many of your regular go-to places are likely closed right now, using this app is exactly what we need during times like these. 

*Please note the endorsement of these apps was made without any form of compensation.

*Previously posted on July 6th

Tomorrow: 3 more apps every rideshare driver should have on their phone!

Help for rideshare and delivery drivers from a GPS app called Beans

GPS has played a major role in the growth of rideshare and food delivery and frankly, we would be lost without it. One problem I have is that my GPS can get me to someone’s building but not tell me where in their complex their unit is? With so many people working from home, making a food delivery to their unit’s door can be a real challenge and can eat up a lot of time.

The Beans App may be the solution for finding a unit’s location quickly and easily. The app provides an overview of the building’s layout, and shows you what floor the unit is on and where the unit can be found. The app also lets you know if there is free parking nearby, making deliveries or waiting for a rider a lot easier. 

This app is available on both from both the App Store and Google Play and it is fairly well rated with a 4.1 star rating. The app has few glitches but their team of developers are quick to resolve issues once aware.  If you are up for one more app on your phone to help with rideshare and deliveries, this one would be a great choice!

Tomorrow: Are you getting enough tips?