is popping up all over recently. With its convenience, friendly customer service and cheap prices - what's to lose? It keeps a lot of us safe when we go out drinking and gets people to work without relying on the pretty unreliable public transportation systems offered throughout our neighborhoods. Over a month ago, I decided to jump into the latest way to get from place to place by becoming an Uber driver myself! I do it full time and thought I'd share some tips for Uber success for both passengers and drivers.
For the Drivers:
Driving for Uber is amazing. It's really the closest I'm going to get to traveling for my job until I start my actual career after college. I never know where I'm going to end up and don't really need to keep a strict, set schedule. For the artist in me, that's the dream job. I meet interesting, new people everyday and discover new areas I never knew existed in my city. Constant change is comfortable for me, so I don't even feel like Uber is a job - I wake up and don't dread going to work. I couldn't ask for more then that, right?
If you're thinking about being an Uber driver full time, make sure it's right for you. It's a big commitment to make if you are going to completely rely on it to pay your bills. I work seven days a week & probably ten hours a day. If you don't think you can work that much, you may want to explore a different option for a job. Now don't worry too much, I typically make what I need to without having to work 7 days a week at 10 hours a day, but when it's not a busy season - such as winter - you may need to give up a few weeks of your life to make ends meet.
If you still feel like Uber is the right way to go - here are some ways to be a successful driver:
An Uber driver must keep a 4.6 or higher star rating. If you can't deliver exceptional customer service, Uber doesn't really offer warnings since you're your own boss. You WILL be terminated if you fall into the 4.59 or lower zone - so be ready to ask for 5 stars from your passengers and always be in a good mood. I'm a people person so that isn't that tough for me. If you feel weird (which I do sometimes) about asking for 5 star ratings, you can try some of these phrases to make it not seem as uncomfortable as you're making it out to be. Also, feel free to let your passengers know your rating is what allows you to keep your job and how strict the company is with maintaining excellent customer service. That usually makes even the most picky clients give you 5 stars, because normally they aren't aware how serious the rating is.
"I'll be giving you 5 stars so I expect the same favor in return!"
"If you have a second, I'd really appreciate 5 stars from you."
Those are the go to remarks I'll make about the ratings. I don't dwell on it too much so that I annoy the passenger, but I bring it up at the end of the ride as they are leaving just to put it in their brain to give me the 5 stars.
You aren't required to keep little necessities in your vehicle, but it helps out a lot with the high ratings. Here's a list of everything I keep in my car at all times that are nice luxuries people appreciate:
Vomit Bags (Unfortunately, yes keep these on hand)
Pens / Notebook
Public Transportation Schedules
Lighter / Flashlight
First Aid Kit
Phone Charger / AUX Cord (Mine lights up which is kind of fun for the passengers too)
When you're picking up a passenger, communicate with them if there is traffic holding you up or if you're just getting in your car through a text. I always let my customers know I received their request and I'm on my way. I keep a phrase copied in my phone so that all I need to do is paste it in a text. It's a nice gesture and is usually a good first impression.
Check the passenger's name before picking them up and make sure when you arrive at the destination that you are picking up the right person. There has been one time so far for me that was not the person who requested my Uber. I lost $30 and that could have been avoided by a simple, "Hi, you're Sally right?"
Open the door for your passengers if you have the time and it's the right area. In a downtown setting at midnight, it's not really necessary but maybe for an older couple at Sunday brunch in a parking lot? Opening the door is a wonderful and charming mannerism that shouldn't be forgotten. The same can be said for luggage. Personally, I don't put luggage in the trunk for passengers only because I'm a noodle and can't lift more then a piece of paper... -_-
I always keep Frank Sinatra playing in my car. Driving in silence can be awkward if you have a passenger that isn't talkative. It's not our job to pressure people to talk, so light and refreshing music can be a suave touch. You don't have to play Frank, obviously, but choose something that any generation can enjoy and keep it classy.
Unfortunately you need to think about emergency situations that may arise. Uber is safe to use, but there is always that 1% chance something odd may occur. I keep a knife, mace, and a flashlight with spikes at the bulb just in case a weirdo ever gets in my car and I need to defend myself.
Keep your car clean! Get it washed weekly and keep it vacuumed. A lot of passengers will give one less star for a dirty car on the outside or inside. It's a really simple thing to do and is just common courtesy.
For the Passengers:
If you're requesting a ride in a gated community, text the driver the pin / code to get into your complex. If you're at a mall, text your driver what store you're standing in front of. We aren't psychics and will end up calling you anyway for this information.
Do not call your driver within a few minutes of requesting a ride. I do not answer calls when I'm on a busy street or highway, as it's dangerous. Most information can be texted and can wait until I arrive at the destination. There really shouldn't be a reason to call the driver anyway - the app is simple enough to use.
When in the car, ask to use a charger or change the temperature - don't just do it. It's common courtesy to ask when you are in somebody else's vehicle, right?
If you have trash, throw it away in a trash can and don't throw it on the floor. I'm shocked I have to write this tip..but so many people just throw their garbage on my floor when I even have a trash can in my car!
Don't use the "Pin" feature to put in your address for pick up. I have never had a passenger correctly do this. It's not their fault, the Uber maps system isn't exactly perfect. To avoid any confusion, just type in the address manually in the app. It takes an extra couple of seconds and it's never incorrect, unless you don't know where you're at. :)
Please don't be offended if the driver doesn't know all of the ins and outs of the city. Uber takes drivers virtually anywhere within one hundred miles. It's impossible for us to know all of the events, back streets, ect of a small area. Stick to keeping all the info typed into the app!
Drivers do not expect a tip, but that doesn't mean it's not allowed. Tips are not calculated in the fares and they are always welcome. If a driver asks for a tip, I would not give them one because that's rude and I hear that a lot of drivers ask for tips. But if you feel your driver was outstanding and want to give them a couple of dollars, do it! ( I just wanted to put this out there because a large percentage of my passengers have asked about tipping. )
These are just some basic tips for drivers and passengers of the Uber world. It's essentially just remembering manners for one another. I love my job and encourage anyone who has a vehicle that qualifies to sign up! Even just for a part time gig for some extra cash, it's a lot of fun. You will never NOT have an uneventful shift. If you don't have a car, Uber even helps you finance a vehicle so you can get on the road. I think Uber is the future taxi and am excited to be a part of it. Comment below with a memory you'll never forget with Uber (or any other car service) and obviously remember to
This is a fairly old photo, (My baby is almost two years old already!) but be on the look out if you're in the San Diego area for me and my green machine, Yoshi! #jUber