Driving an Uber in a Big City vs a Small Town, Which Is Better?

Bigger cities mean more customers while smaller town means fewer customers, right? Wrong! According to some Uber drivers who have tried both, driving in a smaller town could be more productive and profitable in the long run.

For a rideshare driver, bigger cities mean more customers, but also more competition from other ridesharing drivers. Drivers also cited reasons such as parking and traffic for preferring smaller towns over large cities.

“Every night that I wanted to work, I had to deadhead to the city centre, then do the same on the way home. Using data I compiled in the first half of 2017, I averaged about 14 rides per day that I worked, at a net profit of $9/hour.” One Uber driver, who said he preferred smaller towns over big cities, wrote on The Rideshare Guy.

He also added that while he knew the big city well enough, he still had a difficult time finding and knowing some neighbourhoods.

[pullquote align=”normal”]“Traffic in the city is INSANE. No joke, the people who live there know that it’s bad, For example, when rideshare driving,  if you are dispatched to a ride and the estimated pickup time is 5 minutes, it will easily take you 10-15 minutes. It’s this way normally, even without an event going on. With an event occurring, as you can imagine, it’s much worse. So because of this, many riders are already unhappy by the time you get to them”[/pullquote]

Bigger Cities Becoming Oversaturated

While many Uber drivers appreciated that bigger cities had more customers and certain times of the week when they were more likely to get rides, there was also the problem of oversaturation since there were many Uber drivers who were looking to take advantage of the most popular nights.

While driving in a smaller town, the same ridesharing drivers said that they knew the place well and were able to make recommendations to passengers about local businesses and thus earn goodwill and better tips. Drivers also said they got longer rides many times since people travelled to nearby big cities and the airport.  Also, while driving in a smaller town meant a lot less competition, there were even fewer customers.

Challenges Driving Uber in Smaller Towns

Getting people educated about ridesharing services was a task that new Uber drivers in small towns said was still tricky. People didn’t understand how the services worked or how to avail them sometimes. Similarly, some drivers also said they also had to do some ‘marketing’ in terms of getting the word out about Uber in their small town.

While whether to drive in a metropolis, big city, smaller city or small town is still your choice, don’t give up on a location just because it is small. Also, remember the best times to find potential customers are usually during commute times. Typically 6 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 8 pm on the weekdays are good. On weekends, Friday and Saturday evenings and nights are the best times to get customers.

 

Photo: MarkWarner/Flickr