“Is it actually worth driving for Uber?”
I’ve been asked this question countless of times since I first wrote about my experiences as an Uber driver.
I shared with you my journey into becoming an Uber driver last summer. Today I wanted to help you to become the best driver possible so that you make money with Uber. This article is for those of you that read the original post and are now Uber drivers.
Are you ready to make money by driving for Uber? Do you want to become the best Uber driver in town?
The comments on the previous post about the legalities of driving for Uber, the moral issues, and money that you can make driving for Uber were better than the article itself. I ended up writing a book on becoming the best Uber driver. I also had to do a followup article.
What do we cover in here?
- Getting ready for your first ride.
- Dealing with problem clients.
- Tips for becoming the best Uber driver.
- The best strategies for making money.
Let’s get started!
Getting ready for your first ride…
It’s almost time for you to turn on your Uber app. Your car is ready and everything is clear. All that’s left is for you to actually start driving and making money.
Are you nervous? Are you a little intimidated?
That’s okay because it’s only natural to be skeptical about allowing strangers into your car. I was pretty nervous when I first turned on Uber. Scratch that. You never know who you’re going to get and where they’re going to want to go. It’s always completely random. You can try to predict a pattern but then you’ll get that one ride 30 minutes out of town during the day that throws everything off.
Before you go on your first ride, I want you to take three Uber rides as a passenger:
- One of these rides should be after a night of drinking.
- One ride on a busy night.
- One regular ride.
I want you to see what it feels like to be a passenger. You can’t become a great driver if you don’t know what the expectations of the passenger are. The good news is that you can enjoy your first ride for free if you’re new to Uber.
What do you do on this ride?
- See how long it takes for your request to get accepted.
- Make a note of all of the drivers on the road in the picture. That’s your competition. Those cars will be going after the same passengers as you.
- Watch how the driver handles the pickup.
- Note the setup in the car.
- See if the driver is comfortable.
- See if the driver knows the roads well.
- The vibe with driver.
- Watch how they drive.
- Pay attention to how they speak to you.
You need to experience Uber as a passenger first. Then you can worry about your first ride. I want you to make notes on your phone of what you enjoyed and what you didn’t care for. This will help you become a better Uber driver. I personally have had some exceptional rides in Uber cars. I was impressed by the professional setup and how well the driver understood the roads.
What do you do before your first trip as an Uber driver?
- Watch the instructional videos that Uber has created. I had a driver once who didn’t know how the app worked.
- Get your car cleaned and ready with a full tank of gas. Imagine yourself sitting in this car. Would you enjoy the ride?
- Scope out the local events to get a sense of what to expect (playoff games are a little intense).
- Buy a case of water. This costs a few bucks and will be a great treat for your riders.
- Try to map out some of the roads.
- Just go.
You don’t have to panic before your first ride. If your car is clean and you’re confident in your driving, you’re going to do well. If you’re not too familiar with the roads, then luckily there’s GPS. As a driver, knowing the roads isn’t so important these days since we all rely on GPS, but it helps if you can find your way around the city for your own good.
How do you deal with problem clients?
“Can I drink this in here?”
“Can we bring five people?”
“Change of plans! We want to go somewhere else. Can you wait?”
You’re going to encounter plenty of problem clients. This is just the reality of driving on busy nights and allowing strangers into your car. The problem clients will definitely make some of your nights more interesting.
Before we discuss problem clients, we have to look at one important question.
Who should you contact regarding an emergency?
There’s no direct emergency number for Uber that you can call when you’re freaking out about a client. They used to have one and for some reason they deleted it.
The general email is email@example.com. I’ve usually been able to reach someone through this email with a decent response time. You should also find your local Uber page to get the relevant information. I know that my email to contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact your local Uber office.
This page is helpful for my Canadian friends: http://www.driveuber.ca/contact/
That’s where I would start if the situation were indeed deemed an emergency.
My tips for dealing with problem clients…
Tip #1: Try to understand their perspective.
If you messed up by taking the wrong turn or not listening to GPS, then you have to understand why they would be frustrated. Instead of making a scene and arguing, try to see what’s happening. Then try to calm them down.
As a driver you can’t freak out. You’re going to be in tense situations. There could be traffic, a plethora of red lights, or just annoying passengers. You can’t freak out on them. You need to stay calm. Try to take a step back from the situation to understand their perspective, they just want to get to their destination in peace and on time.
Tip #2: Diffuse the situation.
“I’m sorry for everything and I take full responsibility.”
I’ve made that statement a few times as a driver. When you’re in the wrong you have to take full responsibility. You have to diffuse the situation. If you’re a tense person then you might not be ready to start driving.
I’m a pretty calm dude. I take my anger out at the gym on the weights or the mats. When I get into confrontations in real life I always try to diffuse the situation. As a driver, it’s your job to keep the passengers safe and comfortable at all times. Never lose your cool. Calm everything down.
Tip #3: Make it better.
You have to clear the issue up if you caused it. I once took the wrong exit, so I stopped the clock early. Once you understand the situation and diffuse it, I want you to make things better.
If you’re in the wrong in life, you always have to take accountability to improve things. Driving is no different. Find a way to ensure that the customer leaves satisfied. You don’t want to read a negative review on social media about how awful Uber is.
What happens if the customer is wrong and they refuse to cooperate?
Tip #4: Ask them to leave/contact authorities.
If the issue escalates, then I advise you ask them to leave and/or contact the authorities. You don’t want to get yourself into any legal trouble here.
You’re not here to get into a street fight. You also don’t want them to flip the script on you because they can easily call the police after and claim that you harassed them. If you feel that the issue will intensify and go in a direction that you want to avoid, then get them out of your car. Contact the authorities if there are any damages at all.
Tip #5: Stay off the weekend nights for some time.
One Saturday night I got fed up so I told myself that I would stick to Sundays. I just didn’t want to deal with the smell and obnoxiousness. Don’t get me wrong, I can be obnoxious myself after a few drinks, I just don’t want to be the guy that has to deal with it.
If you don’t want to deal with drunks, try working during the week and day shifts on the weekend. There’s a surprising amount of folks that use Uber during the day to get around.
What were my biggest problem clients?
I’ve had the usual belligerent drunks.
These two young ladies were trying to convince me how they were poor and couldn’t afford the surge pricing. Yet they were insisting on driving around and making a few stops. They tried to get flirtatious but I wasn’t dumb enough to fall for their tricks. I had to spend the whole ride ignoring them as they complained about how they had no money. If you have no money, then stay at home or walk home!
The other issue is actually a common one on the weekends. People will want to drink and/or smoke in your car. This is pretty disrespectful, but once again, the passengers are likely intoxicated and feeling bold. Normally, you wouldn’t dare light a smoke in someone’s car or try to crack open a beer. In an altered state of mind, you don’t really care.
If you choose to work on weekends, holidays, or party nights, then please be prepared to handle these types of request. I let one person smoke in my car and I soon realized how foolish that was. I hate the smell of smoke.
I try to be polite when handling these requests. When someone tries to drink, I offer to wait until they finish. One young lady got upset with me because she couldn’t drink her beer in the car. I suggested that she chug the beer. Nope. So she threw it out and the whole ride was awkward.
You have to do what’s best for you. I don’t think you want the remnants of booze and smoke all over your car.
99% of the time you’re going to have some pretty cool passengers. You’ll end up discussing the history of your hometown, why it’s so cold in May, or how wild the party was. On the rare occasion that you run into a problem client, you’ll know how to handle them.
How do you become the best Uber driver?
“She gave me a horrible rating for no reason!”
This was the story of my weekend nights for a few weeks in a row. It was very frustrating to see that I was doing my best as a driver only to receive poor ratings.
My rating is currently at a respectable 4.81 (apparently a common rating for drivers). I would like it to be a perfect 5, but you know, that doesn’t always work out.
If you become a full-time driver then this will be your livelihood. The current standard for remaining in the system as a driver is a 4.6. If you fall below this you might get pulled from the system. You might be able to redeem yourself by paying for a course (more money spent!).
I don’t want you to get kicked out of Uber. I want you to become the best driver possible so that you can create a new income for yourself and never have to stress about going back to your old job if you decide to go full-time.
How do you become the best Uber driver?
- Have your GPS ready to go.
- Know the roads.
- Know what’s going on in the city (special events and concerts).
- Be polite, but don’t get annoying.
- Have water available.
- Keep a charger in your car. A driver with a charger is a life saver.
- Ensure your car is clean and smells good.
- Ensure that you smell good (but don’t overdo the cologne).
- Don’t ask for tips.
- Have some snacks (mints).
Some of these tips may seem like common sense but they aren’t so common. I’ve seen many complaints on social media about cars that were filthy, drivers that yapped too much, and drivers who didn’t know the roads.
My worst experience as a passenger was when I got into a car and the driver didn’t even know how to use the Uber app. I had to show him how to use the GPS. It was also a pretty dangerous ride. The gentleman clearly wasn’t ready to be working as a driver, he had his cell phone in his hand and was confused as to how the process worked. He clearly didn’t even bother watching the introductory videos.
Let’s go over a couple of common questions about driving for Uber…
Should you make small talk with passengers?
It’s okay to make small talk. Apply common sense logic here. If there’s a young couple holding hands, don’t start talking about the traffic. Don’t talk at all. Let them enjoy the ride. They don’t care about you. If the person is clearly bored and looking to chat, then engage them. If you find yourself rambling, then stop, ask them if they have a preferred radio station and let the tunes take over.
What’s the deal with flirting?
You have to remember that Uber has all of your information. You have to watch what you do. You don’t want to cross any boundaries and end up on the news. In the GTA area, a guy ended up on the news because he allegedly took advantage of an intoxicated passenger. I wasn’t there so I don’t know what happened. He could have legitimately taken advantage of her or maybe she invited him or maybe he just crossed the line. Either way, I don’t want you to end up on the news because that’s the last thing that you ever want to happen to you.
I don’t care how charming you think you are. Don’t cross the line with flirting. I usually downplay the flirting that comes from passengers. I either brush it off or change the topic because I don’t want to give Uber or myself a poor reputation.
If you have any additional questions then you can check out this page:
You’re not alone. Ridesharing may be a new technology, but you’re not the first driver out there. I’m here for you. I want you to make money on the side.
What are the best strategies for making money?
“Are you on the road tonight?”
A buddy asked me this one Saturday night. I had to tell him that I took the night off. It’s not that I was slacking or that I don’t like money. I was going to run an experiment by driving on a Sunday all day.
There are two strategies for making more money with ride sharing.
1. You have to take advantage of surge pricing.
What’s surge pricing all about?
Here’s how Uber Help explains surge pricing to passengers:
“Uber rates increase to ensure reliability when demand cannot be met by the number of drivers on the road.
Our goal is to be as reliable as possible in connecting you with a driver whenever you need one. At times of high demand, the number of drivers we can connect you with becomes limited. As a result, prices increase to encourage more drivers to become available. We take notifying you of the current pricing seriously. To that end, you’ll see a notification screen in your app whenever there is surge pricing.
You’ll have to accept those higher rates before we connect you to a driver.”
How do you take advantage of surge pricing?
You get on the road when Uber notifies you of surge pricing or you drive towards the hot spots if you’re already on the road.
After a few weeks you’ll figure out the usual patterns. Uber kicks into surge pricing when the clubs close because everyone’s stressing for a ride home.
Uber also sends alerts via text message. This is so damn distracting. I always find myself feeling the temptation to hit the road after receiving a text from Uber about surge pricing.
2. You have to figure out where the volume is.
I know that on a Friday night I can easily take someone from the suburbs to downtown and then spend a few hours picking up surge pricing passengers in the downtown core where all of the parties are happening.
You really just need to test out Uber for a week in your community to get a feel for the situation. You should also ask passengers about their experiences. I found out that there was a lady who drove Uber full-time by waking up early every morning and hitting the road for 5am. That’s personally a bit too extreme for me. For her, it was a new source of income.
If you’ve never tried Uber yet, then take your first ride for free. You can sign up right now to claim your free $100 or read my previous article on driving for Uber. The last article had some insightful comments. I would love to hear from those with experience as rideshare drivers. Is it worth driving for Uber? How do you become the best driver?