How to make more money by using Waze Navigation


Well-Known Member
How to make more money by using Waze Navigation

I know the thread title sounds kind of sketchy, but hear me out...

Using Waze doesn't require alot of brain power. Even a first time user should have no problem figuring it out. You need to give it a fair trial though. Try using it for a week before you decide if you like it or not and I'll bet you will not switch back. This works whether you are on Uber or Lyft and you can make more money with Waze in 3 different ways. I'll cover each part in some detail.
  1. Route Selection
  2. Congestion Avoidance
  3. Home/Work/Favorites


Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
Route Selection

I consider this the #1 way to make more money with Waze. Both Uber and Lyft pay drivers by the mile and minute. Sometimes you may have a passenger that requests you to take a specific route, but in my experience, 9 times out of 10, the passenger has no preference on the route. By selecting your route you are effectively deciding how much you want to get paid for each trip.

Use this Routes screen to see several possible routes to your destination.


On most trips you will have several options to reach your destination.

Forget about Min-Fare rides. If yout trip is going to be less than 2.5 miles or so, you are best to take the shortest route. You'll earn more through the Min-Fare suppliment this way. Taking a longer route on a Min-Fare trip only hurts you.

Lets assume it's something more than a min-fare. Let's take a made-up trip as an example. I'll use my market's rates of $1 per mile and $0.15 per minute and assume an Uber/Lyft commission of 25%:
  • You pick up your passenger and Start Trip
  • Uber/Lyft pops open Waze with the destination address already set
  • Waze shows you the fastest/shortest route to the destination, 4.5 miles, 14 minutes
  • You click the Routes button and you see this:
    • Route 1: 4.5 miles, 14 minutes
    • Route 2: 9.0 miles, 15 minutes
    • Route 3: 6.5 miles, 20 minutes
Lets pause here for a second. At this point you can tell how much you can earn from this trip.

Route 1 (the default route). This is probably the same route you would get with Google Maps, or Uber Navigation. Almost all GPS's let you choose whether you want to take the shortest distance or shortest time. Usually the shortest distance is also the shortest time, but not always.

Route 1
Entry Fee: $1
Mileage (4.5 miles): $4.50
Time (14 minutes): $2.10
Total "passenger fare": $7.60
Uber/Lyft commission: $1.90
Driver Earnings: $5.70

Route 2
Entry Fee: $1
Mileage (9.0 miles): $9.00
Time (15 minutes): $2.25
Total "passenger fare": $12.25
Uber/Lyft commission: $3.06
Driver Earnings: $9.19

So what does this tell us? If you want to maximize your earnings on every trip, you want to take the "Longest Reasonable Route". I decide whether or not a route is reasonable if it's within 1 to 3 minutes of the default (shortest) route. Anything beyond this and you risk getting reported for bad navigation. As long as you get your passengers to their destination pretty close to their internal expectations, you should be fine.

In our example above, since Route 2 is only 1 minute longer than Route 1, and offers a signifigant "mileage bonus", Route 2 is the clear winner here.

But how does Waze play a role here? Well, Waze will calculate these optional routes very quickly right after you start the trip. You can see this text clearly even on a small-screen phone, and you can quickly decide which route looks the most profitable, and select it quickly and discreetly without passengers really even noticing.

You definitely don't want to be spending alot of time squinting at the maps trying to figure out where you are going. Waze lets you do all this in about 3 seconds. Time matters, and impressions count. If the passenger sees you fiddling alot with the GPS before the trip starts they'll probably get suspicious. Waze eliminates that by putting this routes in big clear font, with giant buttons that you can't miss. Once a route is selected, the new directions come up instantly, and you're on your way. I've found the voice directions in Waze are much less "annoying" than other apps, and many voices are available to choose from. Passengers are much less likely to report you for bad navigation if they know you're just following the GPS instructions right?

So using route selection, in this case helped us earn 61% more on this trip. An extra $3.49 actually. Imagine doing this on every trip? I estimate I make atleast an extra $50 per shift using this trick alone.

You also have more deductible miles at tax time (54.5 cents per mile). For some drivers this may not make any difference, but for others, especially those with other incomes, this will save you money at tax time too.

Route 1 (4.5 miles) = $2.45
Route 2 (9.0 miles) = $4.90

If route 2 was say, 19 minutes instead, I would probably stick with Route 1, as route 2 would take noticably more time ( > 30% more ).

Ok, now on to trick #2!

Congestion Avoidance

This one doesn't need as in-depth of an explaination as the routing stuff, but it still plays a critical role in earnings.

In brief, Waze's advanced automatic traffic avoidance functions give real-time road conditions everywhere. It doesn't really matter what causes the delay. If traffic isn't flowing normally, Waze figures this out and if it can find a detour around the traffic that results in a time savings, it will automatically re-route you accordingly.

If you're navigating to the pickup, you will arrive sooner (making for happy passengers), and if you're on a trip, you can tell your passengers you are taking a "short-cut" to avoid the traffic jam reported ahead. The detour will probably be some extra mileage for you too, but more importantly, it can help you avoid a huge jam and save you lots of time.

If you, like many folks, like to figure out your hourly earnings, well... The more trips you can do per hour, the more money you earned in that hour. By avoiding traffic at all times, you open yourself up to do more trips per hour, meaning increased hourly earnings!

It's hard for me to say how much extra money this trick earns for me, but it's probably atleast $15-20 each night.


and finally, trick #3!


I know this isn't entirely unique to Waze, but the fact that it's included does bring some nice benefits. If you're like me, you have favorite places to go to pickup rides. Maybe it's a spot that surges frequently, or a gas station that you like to use, or the car wash. No matter what it is, you can save an address as a favorite. 2 favorites are given extra visibility, Work, and Home. It makes it so with a single click on the menu you start navigating to that destination.


Now this one may not directly earn you any extra money, but it could indirectly. Lets take another hypothetical scenario where I have my Work address set as a gas station in the frequently busy "surge-zone".

Let's say I just dropped off a passenger in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I used GPS to get you in there, but now I'm not sure how to get out. Easy, just click "Work", and I get instant directions back to the surge area! This will help you get back to the surge zone faster, and spend less time being lost, less time between rides, and you can avoid traffic on your way back too! All this should add in to the more-rides-per-hour idea.

I also have favorites set for other places, like the place that I have a car wash subscription with. If I had to take a passenger down a dirt road and the car is muddy, after I drop off the passenger, I can just click Favorites -> Car Wash, and I get instant directions to the car wash from their place, where I might not normally know the fastest route to the car wash from there. Also helps me avoid traffic on the way to the car wash.

At the end of the night, no matter where I am, I know it's just 1 click away to hit the Home button, and Waze will take me right home. It's a conveinence thing more than anything, but time is money. This saves you time, there for this makes you more efficient and you can make more money!


Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
And some closing random thoughts;

I use Waze almost 100% of the time that I'm in the car, even if I know where I'm going. Having realtime updates about road conditions, jams, accidents, police activity, hazards is worth it, even if I'm not currently navigating. Think of it more like a situational awareness system.

When I say "passenger fare", this is sort of the old passenger fare. Passengers pay an upfront estimate now so this fare total, so it really is not relative to what the passenger pays any more anyway, and the passengers don't pay more when you take a longer route.

Using routes that are grossly too long and take signifigantly longer than the best route will probably get you penalized for bad navigation. Use judgement when picking your route and don't take any rediculous routes.

I did find that Waze performance on my Droid phone wasn't as great as it was on my iPhone, however the droid phone I was testing with was a much cheaper phone and to be honest, even the Uber App, and Google Maps felt really laggy on that droid too.

Waze will pop up paid content advertising for certain advertisers, like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, when you are driving near one, so they hope you will stop. I wish there was a paid version to remove the Ads, but it seems there is not. So this is really the only annoyance I have with Waze. They're not that intrusive, and you can swipe them out of the way pretty quickly. I probably get like 4 ads in an 8 hour shift. I tolerate them for all the extra money it makes me.

Waze also has a "Taxi" mode where it will give you the right approach to drop off passengers. This makes dropoffs 10x easier. Though probably doesn't earn extra money. Also if you know some other drivers around, you can add them as friends and be able to see their location on the map if you want.

Screenshots were found on google image search.

I hope some folks find benefit from this article, it took a while to write. I do not work for Waze, and am not paid by them in any way, I'm just a happy user.

What triggered the writing of this thread, was seeing a post on facebook asking people what's the best navigation. Of course there were people recommending every different thing, but it was very hard to get across WHY one is better than another.

In my opinion, for ridesharing, there is no better navigation than Waze.

Comments and Feedback Welcome!


Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
Waze tend to take unusual routes/street than daily life, which lead to angry pax and low ratings
It's "unusual" routes is its best feature... It takes you around traffic, accidents etc. I've never had a problem explaining it to passengers.

"Hey Mr. Passenger, it looks like theres _______ ahead and the GPS is routing us around it"
"Thanks Mr. Driver, sounds good. 5 stars."


Active Member
It seems to be taking advantage of the passenger. That aside, I've tried using Waze several times and found it to be weird and hard to use. Maybe I've just used Google maps for too long.


Well-Known Member
Waze is great during rush hour when it has heaps of crowdsourced user data to parse and it generally does find the fastest route. Outside of rush hour when traffic flows normally there really is no need for Waze and i find that it tends to get extremely creative with routing, as if it were trying hard to justify using it.


Well-Known Member
This was a great review of Waze. I do have issues with it but I drive in an area where during the summer there are huge traffic jams and I have used Waze to get around them. You make a good point about the upfront pricing and what's the difference to the pax if it's a few miles longer but only less the 5 min's arrival time. If you don't mind I would like to cross post this thread to the NJ forum.


Active Member
The only real difference in this scenario is $12.25 - $7.60, so if PAX don't mind paying an extra $4.65 for the same ride then go for it!


Well-Known Member
The only real difference in this scenario is $12.25 - $7.60, so if PAX don't mind paying an extra $4.65 for the same ride then go for it!
I might be wrong but I think the point is the new up front pricing uber is now using. It charges the pax for the longest rides but feeds the driver nav the shortest. So as long as the time is close it does not cost the pax extra. You get paid for the miles driven


Active Member
Ok, I don't think we have that here but that does make sense. In the example it listed to two different amounts that the rider was charged, but I can certainly get on board with screwing Uber!


Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17
When I say "passenger fare", this is sort of the old passenger fare. Passengers pay an upfront estimate now so this fare total, so it really is not relative to what the passenger pays any more anyway, and the passengers don't pay more when you take a longer route.


Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
If Uber catches you doing this, you risk deactivation, especially if you frequently get paid more than they initially quoted the passenger.
I'm not sure about that. I've been doing it for almost 3 months now, without any problem. Also, when I took a ride as a passenger one time I sent a ticket about the route and Uber's almost exact words to me was that Uber allows the drivers and passengers to decide whichever route is best for them and it will not affect the upfront price. Uber also quotes the passengers the upfront price based on the longest reasonable route, ie: if there's 2 ways to get from A to B in 10 minutes, whichever one is longer is the one that gets used to calculate the upfront pricing, but in the driver app, the Uber navigation shows the driver the shortest route. This helps Uber keep a larger percentage of the fare. Even on the longest reasonable route Uber still takes their 25% from whatever you earn, plus that booking fee... so they're not losing money anyway even if your route is like 30% longer.


Active Member
That's true to a point, like you alluded to they pay us on what we drive not what they make. But that said once I had a pax put in wrong address and long story short I took a poor route. And Uber docked my pay over it. So you have to be careful.