Blog shared from businessinsider.comThe secret to a high rating — and more tips — is having a clean car, offering a good phone charger, and driving safe.
After hundreds of rides, I have maintained an almost-perfect five-star rating. I'm a 4.99 on both Uber and Lyft. I honestly don't do anything too special.
My car is clean. This is of the utmost importance. And being clean does not mean having to shampoo and vacuum your interior every single day. You want no visible dirt, no stains, and no hair or lint on the seats. A quick shake of the car mats before each shift can work wonders.
People like a good air freshener. The key word here being "good." Those little pine-tree-shaped ones swinging from the rearview mirror releasing an overbearing, nauseating smell do not count. Those should not even be considered air fresheners. Pay a couple of dollars extra for a decent one.
The number of times I hear "Your car smells amazing!" is incredible. And I like the smell too. If you're going to be stuck in your car for a long time, you may as well make it smell nice.
Another tip: People love phone chargers. I found a 5-foot-long phone-charging cable with all three major phone adapters for iPhones and Android phones. It was cheap and it works great. People comment on almost every ride how amazing it is.
One more thing: I drive safely. Nobody likes an unsafe or speeding driver. Studies even show that speeding doesn't really get you there any faster. This is not to say that I drive slow. A good rule of thumb is to drive like your grandmother is in your car holding a hot cup of coffee, but she's in a hurry. Accelerate decently, brake safely, and drive defensively.
Doing these things doesn't take much effort. Everyone loves a clean car, a fully charged phone, and a safe driver.
People are always fascinated when they ask the farthest I've driven. And the next question is always, "How did you get back home?" Because, theoretically, you could take multiple rides with each ride taking you farther and farther from home.
Sure, a 60-mile trip one way might pay great, but what about the 60 miles back? You could just drive the 60 miles back home, unpaid, which is what some drivers refer to as "dead mileage." Or use "Destination Mode" on Uber or "Filtered Rides" on Lyft.
I wonder how many "dead" miles I put on my vehicle before I really took advantage of these valuable features.
I'll often set these up when I am getting ready to stop driving for the night, about an hour before I want to be done. If I'm 20 miles away, instead of taking the highway, I'll take a main road. I will almost always get at least one or two rides, and those rides are always toward my path home, if not right near my end location.
It doesn't have to be on homebound rides either. You can set them for anywhere. One day I had to go to an 8 a.m. training for my main job at a building 20 miles away. So I woke up a little earlier, set the destination mode, and I arrived 15 minutes early for the training but made $18 on the way. I set it when I left and made $14 on the way home. That is $32 extra I earned for just driving when I had to drive anyways.
Learn how to use these modes for your advantage to make sure you are always getting paid.Uber Pool and Lyft Shared rides don't pay you as much as you think, and are hardly worth it for the driver.
Uber Pool and Lyft Shared rides sound great in theory. You pick people up along your route, drop people off, and pick more people up. Someone is almost always in your car, and therefore you're always getting paid. The way these carpool rides are advertised toward drivers makes it sound like we're getting paid a lot extra per passenger.
So imagine my surprise when I accepted my first shared ride, picked up two people, drove for 34 minutes and 24 seconds, completed the ride, and earned just $9.41. I checked the earnings-breakdown page on the Lyft app and found that the company was paid $7.26 for the ride. Huh?
I did a few more of these rides for both companies before I decided I'm not going to accept them anymore. While they're great for the customer, shared rides often end up hurting the driver, while the companies end up keeping most of the extra profit.
On top of that, carpool rides can also be a headache for drivers. A lot of passengers are either misinformed about carpool rides or choose not to follow the conduct rules of each company, causing extreme frustration for me as a driver and other passengers.
Some passengers want to be picked where they are, instead of walking to the designated pickup location. Some try to bring large luggage or tons of grocery bags that take up other seats. Some want to be dropped off right in front of their drop-off location, even though the app is telling me to drop them off at an express location a couple hundred feet away. Some are very rude to other passengers, and some even get very upset because they're going to be late to their location because I am driving seemingly out of their way for other passengers.
One lady cursed at me because I, the driver, caused her to be late to pick up her car from the shop "because I picked up too many other people," and she swore she was going to give me a bad review. Thankfully, she did not.
I finally said to myself, this is not worth the extra headache dealing with all of these upset people for hardly any extra money. I now very rarely accept shared or pool rides.At first I thought I would like driving for Lyft more, but it turns out I enjoy driving for Uber more.
When I first signed up to start driving, I thought I would prefer Lyft over Uber. Lyft markets itself as a platform that is better and fairer to its drivers. The company seems more fun than Uber, with its bright logo and trendy website. Uber seemed more corporate and formal.
But, as I've written before, it turns out I like driving for Uber better. A lot better.
This isn't to say driving for Lyft is bad. It's like me saying I like vanilla ice cream over chocolate. I like both, but vanilla is just superior, for me.
Uber is more popular in my area, which means more money for me. The Uber app works better for drivers — for example, it has a dark mode and doesn't blind me at night. Uber doesn't pressure me to accept rides I don't want to accept, while I get several notifications and messages from Lyft if I decline rides. And, most important, Uber pays me more money when it's very busy. Who doesn't like more money?
I am very grateful for both platforms giving me the opportunity to drive for them and earn money. And I know there are plenty of other drivers who prefer Lyft. But for me Uber is the better platform for drivers, and it's not even close.Driving around strangers and meeting new people is, surprisingly, very fun and rewarding.
A lot scares me in life, but nothing scared me quite like having small talk with a stranger. The thought was absolutely terrifying. I would have honestly preferred running from a demonic monster in a horror movie than discussing the rainy weather with a complete stranger.
But that was months ago. Now? I can talk to anyone about anything.
If you get in my car and you pop some headphones in, or your body language says that you clearly don't want to talk, great! I will get you to your destination safely and not force a conversation. Some people love when their driver is silent the whole time.
But if you want to get in and talk about zoo animals? The upcoming hurricane season? Places to eat? Football? Yes, I too wonder what causes a rhinoceros to have such a large horn. Yeah, I really hope we don't get any major hurricanes this year. That restaurant is great! I know, the Saints should have gone to the Super Bowl!
Practice makes perfect, and I am now great at making small talk.
I love meeting new people. I love hearing their backgrounds, their stories, and their dreams. Some make me laugh, and some make me want to cry. Some become your best friend for 15 minutes. Some are so rude, you just can't wait until they get out of your car, but those make the nice people seem all the better.
I enjoy being a character in their story, even if I am there only briefly as they're going to work, visiting a friend, or just enjoying a vacation. Often I am one of the first locals that someone from another state or another country meets after they leave the airport, and I like to give them a good impression of my city.
I also enjoy driving most drunk people home safely. I enjoy their often hilarious stories, and I like to think that I am doing a great service by driving, so they aren't tempted to get behind the wheel while under the influence.
I thought I would hate driving strangers. But as it turns out, I absolutely love it.