The sign up bonus hustle. It’s a familiar one two step for all of us rideshare drivers trying to make the most of our rideshare income.
If you’ve driven for Uber/Lyft before or currently drive, you know how it works. For those of you who aren’t drivers, it works like this:
Uber and Lyft give you referral codes to incentivize you to on board new drivers and passengers. The incentive is huge, and it’s double sided. The new driver gets a bonus after completing a minimum ride requirement (up to $1,000 – sometimes more) and the referring driver takes home around the same amount. It’s the same setup for passengers, just smaller amounts (usually a free ride or two for the passenger and $10 to $20 for the referring driver).
It’s how I monetize this website – check out our rideshare promotions page if you’re curious. It can be really lucrative, I’ll explain the why and the how behind it in this post.
Why Sign Up Bonuses Exist in the First Place
You may be wondering why Lyft and Uber pay out so much money for driver referrals and how they are able to sustain this. The answer is simple:
- Why. The turnover rate among rideshare drivers is huge, close to 50% a year. In order to meet demand for rides Lyft and Uber must use huge incentives to attract new drivers. It started as a means for these companies to expand as young startups – but it looks more and more like a way of life in the rideshare industry.
- How. These are private companies. They aren’t profitable, and they don’t have to be to attract investor money. They exist in a space that has revolutionized transportation and tech. For that reason alone private investors have thrown down billions, hence the large payroll for new driver bonuses.
How long will it last? Who knows. The sign up bonus hustle is about taking advantage of the opportunity that’s in front of us as long as it’s here. Don’t plan on footing the bill for your kids college tuition with referral bonuses. After all autonomous rideshare vehicles are already on the road, and Lyft plans on being fully autonomous by 2022.
Here’s one thing I do know, Lyft and Uber don’t take a commission out of referral bonuses. That’s around a 20% boost right there. They also offer huge sign up bonuses, reaching as much as $1,000 per driver. If you can find a system that works for you, you can get your hands on some serious earnings.
Strategies for Making Money With Referral Codes
There are quite a few angles that you can take to boost your referral income from Uber and Lyft. I’ve used a lot of these methods, I’ll start with the tactics that have been most profitable in my experience.
- Build a website. Blog about something rideshare related, and provide useful information to rideshare drivers. Use that platform to convert potential drivers to new drivers with your referral code. If your website ends up ranking well in Google for the right keywords, this could be a home run. I listed this method first because the target market for referrals via search engines is huge.
- Make instructional YouTube Videos. Once again, provide content that is useful to your viewers, then offer a promo code to prospective drivers. It won’t be as effective as a website, because very few people search for referral codes on YouTube. That said, YouTube is the second largest search engine, so there’s some room to run here.
- Utilize social media. Referral codes are extremely easy to share online, you can even make a link in your driver dashboard with both Uber and Lyft. Facebook, Twitter and even Google Plus are all great places to reach a ton of friends and acquaintances at the touch of a button. Make sure you don’t post your referral link on sharing websites that you don’t own (aka Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg, Craigslist). This type of activity can get you deactivated.
- Word of mouth. Talk to people you know, print out business cards, treat every conversation as an opportunity to convert a referral. Request a Lyft ride, then ask the driver is they drive for Uber as well. If not, convince them to maximize their earnings by driving for both (it’s a common strategy). Do the same when you take an Uber ride. Make sure that you don’t push passenger promo codes for the competing rideshare services while you are driving. Not only is this annoying for passengers, it could get you deactivated.
Regardless of which method you choose to promote referral codes/bonuses, at the end of the day it all comes down to your hustle. If you put in the time and effort you can definitely see a boost to your rideshare earnings, and it might just be more profitable than your time spent behind the wheel.