When most people think about on-demand driving services like Uber, Lyft and Via, they usually think about the comfort and convenience of the rider, not the driver. But now with roughly one million Americans working either as part-time or full-time on-demand drivers, there’s a new market to cater to: on-demand drivers.
While on-demand driving has been a welcomed new source of income, the riding experience for drivers has left much to be desired, which has created opportunity for entrepreneurs. Below are some startups that earn money from on-demand drivers by trying to make their jobs easier and more lucrative.
The Mystro app helps on-demand drivers earn more money and improves safety conditions for drivers by freeing their hands from using multiple apps and devices at the same time. Mystro founder, Herb Coakley, knows firsthand the challenges of on-demand drivers because he is an Uber and Lyft driver. (Even as the company’s CEO, he still drives a few hours a week). After on-demand driving for two years in Los Angeles, Coakley, who is also an ex-physicist and filmmaker, began thinking of ways to improve his own experience as a driver.
His top two frustrations were not being able to accept the most lucrative rides and the safety hazard created by constantly having to open and close the Uber and Lyft apps while driving. (According to CNN Tech, many drivers log into separate phones to increase their chances of receiving ride requests. And when drivers accept a ride from one app, they must then turn off the other app to avoid new requests from popping up.) This can translate to a lot of fumbling between devices and distraction from driving.
After a miracle encounter driving a Google employee and investor who loved Coakley’s idea so much he invested $100,000 to develop it, Mystro now has 10,000 users. The company was also part of this summer’s Y Combinator graduating class. So what does the Mystro app do? It solves both of Coakley’s primary challenges:
According to the company, it increases what drivers’ earn by 30%. How is that? By creating a pretty sophisticated app that seamlessly switches between the Uber and Lyft platforms and accepts only the best paying rides. For instance, Mystro can filter out less lucrative UberPOOL requests, rides that are more than 5 minutes away and ride requests from passengers with low ratings.
Since Mystro accesses both platforms at once and accepts optimal rides automatically, what results is a distraction-free experience where drivers can keeps their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
The Mystro app was free until earlier this summer when Coakley began charging drivers $11.95 monthly or $99.95 for the year, which includes expedited tech support. A free version of the app remains, which gives drivers access to Mystro for 10 trips each week. So far, the Mystro app only works on Android devices.
This service consolidates the earnings of on-demand drivers, who often drive for more than one employer. It also analyzes an individual’s earning data and tracks tax deductible expenses, like fuel, car washes and mobile phone bills. And a robust company blog informs drivers about everything from local traffic tips to Uber’s latest valuation and why it’s relevant for them.
By using historical and real time data, SherpaShare’s Compass App directs drivers to optimal pickup areas after dropping off a passenger.
Helps Uber drivers accept tips without cash or the need for passengers to enter in credit card information.
SherpaShare has a free trial period, but charges a membership fee for continued service.
“Earn Additional Revenue from Each Ride,” reads the homepage of Vugo, a Minneapolis-based company that’s trying to get ads in front of passengers. In exchange for paid membership, Vugo provides drivers with a tablet used for tipping drivers that also displays targeted ads. Drivers get a percentage of the ad revenue.
Any service that helps people make money is bound to do well. As the number of on-demand drivers continues to grow, it’s likely that we’ll see other companies servicing this market.