Should You Accept Long Uber Rides?

Is it good to accept a long Uber trip? It may seem like the answer is obviously “yes,” but this is actually a topic that I’ve been asked about a few times now, and we had a little discussion over in our video training course “Maximum Ridesharing Profits.” If you haven’t checked out that course, I definitely recommend giving it a shot, and we also added some case studies, which are really cool.

But when it comes to accepting long trips, is it really a no brainer? Check out my video about this, then read the transcript below.

You can earn more from long rides, but…

You could make a lot of money from one long trip, more than you would from  a bunch of short rides. But these days with lower rates it’s not so much of a no-brainer anymore. You can still make good money on long rides, but it’s almost like you don’t want them to be too long. And back in the day there were longer wait times between rides, so you would have more down time and higher rates, too. The combination of those two things made those long trips super profitable.

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These days things have changed. This industry in general is always changing so you need to adapt your strategies accordingly. Remember that as a driver, you always have the right to cancel a trip, end a trip early, or not accept a trip at all. You don’t want to like just drop someone off on the side of the freeway if they’re being a total jerk, but situations do come up and so you always have that right as an independent contractor and a driver for Uber. Now, if you’re like kicking out someone because of their race or ethnicity or handicap or anything like that, obviously you can’t do that.

Should you take that long ride? An evaluation

Let’s say that you get this request for a super long ride, around an hour plus or two hours.One thing that I usually consider is if it’s the beginning or end of my shift. If it’s the beginning or even the middle of your shift, it’s really not as big a deal to give a super long ride because you’ll go out to some new area, get rides out there, and spread out all the miles that you’re gonna have to drive back over a longer period of time.

Instead of having to drive an hour out and then drive an hour back, you drive out for an hour, drive around for four to five hours and then you drive for an hour back. So you are really able to spread those unpaid dead head miles out over a longer period of time. And, now you can set a destination filter toward home when it’s nearing the end of your shift.

If it’s the end of your shift though, that’s when you may want to consider actually canceling that trip, or rejecting it. If you legitimately have something to be back for or you need to get up early for your other job, I think a lot of passengers would understand, because most rides are in like that 10 to 20-minute range. So when you do get that random one at a really bad time, I think you always have that right to cancel a trip.

The thing that really matters is that just in general you need to consider your dead head miles. Dead head miles are miles driven without a passenger, basically unpaid time. Those miles are unpaid, and they cost you money.  There’s a cost to operate your vehicle.

Will you get a paid ride home?

And whenever you do a long trip you always have to think of the probability of getting a ride back home. Unfortunately, it’s usually pretty low. I know I’ve talked to some drivers who figured out a system where they know that if they’re hanging at a certain area, the good percentage or good chance that they’ll get a ride back headed toward their house. But not every driver lives in those natural traffic patterns. I’d say most drivers probably don’t. Whenever I’ve been out driving and I’m thinking, “Oh, I want to get one more ride headed in my direction home,” it never works and I always just end up either the same distance away or even further away. So it’s definitely a struggle.

Uber now has a destination filter. Lyft has a destination filter now too. But they don’t always work really well. But the idea of the filter is to match you with riders headed in the same direction. You may have to do several rides that only go in the general right direction, but it’s better than nothing.

Hopefully this helps you think about those long trips and understand the cost of operating and profitability in general. If you have any questions, definitely feel free to leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you guys soon.

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