We’re excited to kick off our new blog series, taking you on a shotgun ride with a PCO driver. And what better way to start than by introducing long-time Splend member Tiago, an experienced professional who has learned over the years what it takes to be successful on the road in London.
Last time we caught up with Tiago, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to gain some insight into his routine and learn a thing or two about what makes his strategy work so well for him.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Tiago’s mantra also revolves around flexibility – the main principle that’s also guided Splend from the beginning. The same way we design our services to suit the needs of our drivers, Tiago believes that his adaptability is what makes him an outstanding driver.
“In this job, you need to be clever. With the change to the Congestion Charge and the impact of COVID-19, you need to adapt your driving strategy to be successful”
He says it’s crucial to sign up with all the on-demand apps you can, since they appeal to various demographics. The apps offer rider specials to stimulate demand at different times, and after a while, you’ll know when it’s best to go online with each app.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiago was earning around £1,000 for six days of work, even up to £1,100 on a good week. As of early September, his earnings had dropped to £800-900 for six days of driving. “The money is there, but at the moment you have to work a little bit harder until we’re back to normal.”
Tiago was kind enough to explain how he juggles his favourite rideshare apps during a workday, and even what percentage of his time he drives for each.
In Tiago’s experience, Uber is the most popular with tourists since everyone knows and trusts the brand. Whenever he’s around airports or train stations he switches to Uber
During the pandemic he’s turned his attention to the other apps, but once things go back to normal and more tourists return, he’s likely to drive more with Uber, closer to 50% of his time.
When it came to Ola, Tiago mentioned this app has continued to become busier and busier in recent times, and he’s looking forward to seeing Ola gain more users in London. Given the app’s Indian roots, Ola is particularly popular among the subcontinental communities.
Free Now (formerly Kapten) offers customers extra choice: they can book taxis as well as private hire cars from within the same app. Tiago has found that this allows for a steady, reliable demand for rides.
Tiago has been driving less with Bolt since the pandemic broke out, because of the reduced interest from riders. However, even though the demand is less predictable than it used to be, Tiago hopes that it will recover once the economy stabilises, and encourages everyone to sign up regardless.
Tiago claims there’s no significant difference in fare pricing that would be worth changing your routine for, however on-demand apps tend to be busier from than normal from Friday through Sunday.
He mentioned that Tuesday and Wednesday are the quietest, and therefore the best days to take a break.
Once you build up a portfolio of clients with rideshare platforms, Tiago says it’s just a matter of time until people start approaching you with private job opportunities.
Tiago works for a minicab company that organises trips to and from the airport where he can earn another £100-£200 a day, supplementing his income from on-demand driving. He also completed a private driving job to Cornwall over summer, taking a family there for a vacation.
We asked Tiago whether he has any other financial tips for fellow drivers. He recently introduced his uncle to Splend through the referral program, which has earned him £100 off the weekly fee for his Kia Niro, and his uncle was also happy to get a £29 discount on his joining fee.
Although he focuses most of his attention on ridesharing these days, he sees parcel and food delivery apps as great alternatives for when rideshare demand is low.
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