The allure of additional income, the convenience of a flexible work schedule—becoming a rideshare driver has its appeal.
But being a successful driver isn’t just about transporting passengers, it’s also about giving them a fully satisfying ride. At the end of each trip, riders will have the opportunity to rate their experiences—and those ratings can influence your take-home pay. (Just getting started? Here’s everything you need to know about being a rideshare driver.)
While you might be concerned about other logistics when it comes to starting to drive for a rideshare, don’t ignore the importance of your driver rating. Getting rated is how all rideshares work—for passengers and drivers. The goal of the rating system is to create a level of accountability. For drivers, higher scores matter—you risk deactivation if your ratings dip below a certain point, explains Harry Campbell, CEO and founder of TheRideshareGuy.com. You’ll also lose opportunities to drive with companies that enlist drivers with specific ratings, such as Juno, which seeks a 4.7 or higher. Customers with high ratings are more likely to be picked up, and in some cases, get access to highly rated drivers if they maintain their good standing.
Besides ensuring rider safety and keeping your car clean, here are six things you can do to score a higher rating—and happier customers.
Be Discerning About Passengers
“If it’s busy out, I’ll ignore passengers with a rating of 4.6 or lower,” explains Campbell, who is also a rideshare driver. “You don’t know exactly why passengers are low rated but in my experience, it’s for a good reason.” Avoid starting the ride until the passenger is in the car—riders may be put off by early initiation as it starts the charging process.
Over-Explain Pickup Location
If you’re unable to find your rider when you arrive, call them immediately. This shows that you’re invested in their experience. “I like to give three points of reference to riders, like: ‘I’m in the blue SUV with my flashers on, and next to the McDonald’s,’ for example,” Campbell says.
Set the Tone Immediately
#Goodvibes isn’t just a hashtag, it’s a way of life—and something your customers expect. But 27% of online mentions about rideshare companies involve customers feeling scared during their ride. As the driver, it’s your job to create a sense of both safety and positivity. Before you pick up your first passenger, make sure your car’s maintenance and insurance plan are up-to-date. Greet your passenger right away and offer them a bottle of water. “As long as a driver is polite and my life is not in danger due to his/her driving, I will give the driver a 4 or 5,” says New York–based rideshare user Andrew Edelson.
Sign up for Traffic Alerts
Poor navigation skills are one of the most commonly reported customer issues. Avoid this poor-rating trap by familiarizing yourself with the driving area and using navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze. Confirm routes with riders and pay attention to their directions, Campbell suggests. “A missed turn can cause a rider to be late or pay more, and passengers can take it out on their driver with a low rating.”
“All drivers should get a phone mount in order to stay safe on the road and comply with local laws,” Campbell says. Stock your car with a few mini water bottles and charging cords—a hydrated rider with a charged phone is a happy rider.
Play by the Carpool Rules
UberPool and Lyft Line can be tricky—it’s like having two (or more!) bosses, explains Campbell. Be clear with potential clients about how this ride may include multiple passengers. And follow the app rules. Know exactly how long you should wait for a rider (two minutes, for example) so you don’t have one rude passenger impacting another’s experience.