Updated: Apr 5, 2020
As of this writing, I’ve been in a professional driver for five years now. Added Uber (almost 5 years), Lyft (almost 5 years) and other ride sharing apps along the way to diversify my sources of revenue. I was an insurance underwriter, insurance broker, retail manager and business to business salesperson so customer service is in my blood.
I have completed almost 12,000 rides combined and here is what I’ve picked up along the way. Some of it is common sense, other bits from driving experience, hope it helps...
Jimmy’s List of Random Ride Share Knowledge, Suggestions and Anecdotes :
1. The Right Tools for the Trade
If you use one phone, try limiting your phone calls to texting. Certain carriers and certain parts of the country won’t allow a request to come in and if Wifi is not available you may limit your opportunities for passenger requests to come in. If this gig is full time, you may want to consider a second phone. One for your ride share apps and navigation, the other for personal use. Check for Uber and Lyft app updates twice a month. Check for your phone software updates monthly. An efficient phone makes for less app issues.
2. Double Up!
Maximizing your income is key. Work multiple apps (or several if available in your area) on your shift. If you’re signed up with Uber, sign up with Lyft. Keep all apps on until that first call comes in but don’t forget to turn the others off. It will take some practice.
3. Clean up and Gas Up
Clean your vehicle and fill the gas tank before starting your shift to be prepared for those long hauls. Always Keep Lysol wipes and Febreze in your car . Check the backseats every three to four rides (if possible). Hide air fresheners in your vehicle. Make sure the scent is not overpowering. Keep your attire comfortable, clean and generic. Your hygiene is important (Men, don’t pee in your car. Have a little class lol). Keep water, refreshments and snacks for yourself (hidden if you can).
4. Set Goals and Succeed
Create a daily financial goal you want to achieve. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your perception and attitude changes when you focus on your daily goal. Know your dollar per hour average, that’s developed with time. Do not rely on surge pricing and tips as part of your income. Those become relevant at the end of your shift, not before.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Every ride gets you closer to your goal. Follow the ebb and flow of the app(s). Don’t fight it.
You have three “bosses” to handle:
a. Your car, keep it well maintained.
b. Your passenger(s), you set the tone in your vehicle (for the most part).
c. Navigation, whether it’s an app or your passenger.
6. Call Ahead
Always call your next passenger if the pickup is too far from you. Cancel if the ride if it is not worth the trip. Remember, Uber and Lyft only use your personal phone number if someone leaves an item in your vehicle. All other times Uber and Lyft use random phone numbers to communicate with passengers. We lose contact with the passenger immediately after the ride is over. Passengers can reach drivers by phone (via the app) up to 24 hours after the completion of the ride.
7. Is it worth the wait?
As tempting as it may be, waiting in airport queues are generally a waste of time. Airport runs were much more lucrative when they allowed automatic rematch, but now I think most Airports have banned it and require you to wait in queue. Never wait for a passenger longer than necessary remember income maximization is the name of the game.
8. Navigation is Key
Do not use the navigation provided by the apps. Seasoned passenger equate that to inexperienced drivers. Waze is a great alternative to the provided app navigation plus it gives you warnings of potential obstacles on your path (i.e. accidents, police, potholes, etc...). Remember to put your phone on a cradle. Never on your lap or in your hands.
9. Be polite
Greet your passenger(s) by name and with a smile. Be polite, courteous and respectful. Always assist the elderly and those with luggage or groceries. Avoid the “my car, my rules or gtfo” mentality. More often than not, you will create more problems for yourself. Be the better person, stay quiet, then rate appropriately. Most rides rarely last more than twenty minutes any way so don’t fuel the fire. Passengers will argue while you drive, it’s human nature. Mind your business. You can never please everyone. Having a customer service attitude helps with tips and higher ratings.
There will always be haters. In other words, maintaining a 5.0 rating is a challenging task. Always report passengers for not complying with the apps terms of service. The app companies rarely give the driver the benefit of the doubt, but it's worth it to cover yourself.
10. Two Stop Shop
If a passenger has multiple stops, make sure they add it into the app and follow through accordingly. Unless you have a pressing engagement, don’t abandon your passenger(s). You are being compensated and relied upon to follow through. Ending the ride to chase another is pointless and unprofessional.
As drivers we must understand we are in business for ourselves and in business as in life there are multiple ways to get to the same destination. So while the advice I give has worked well for me, there might be some things that I might not have mentioned that work for you. No worries, we're all in this together so I encourage you to share your thoughts. With the tightening up of earnings constantly being handed down by Uber and Lyft the better off drivers will be if we all contribute to the driver knowledge base. Here's to high earnings and less stress!