Are you nervous about getting started with Uber or Lyft?

If you’re a new driver, or if you haven’t done a trip yet, this post is for you. Are you nervous about getting started with Uber or Lyft? This is one thing that I hear from a lot of new drivers, and frankly it’s also something that I felt when I first started driving with Uber and Lyft.

Watch my video about getting over early nerves, and read the transcript below if you’d like.

Feeling nervous? It’s normal

If you’re feeling nervous, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. It’s important to do your research. You want to do your due diligence, make sure that you’re well prepared. Eventually you got to go out there and do that first trip. But what can you do in the meantime to prepare, and what can you do to ease the tension? I’ve got a few tips for you and I’ve got some advice based on dealing with lots of new drivers, my own experience.

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Take a ride as a passenger

The first thing you may have seen is a video I’ve recorded in the past, and it’s my number one piece of advice for new drivers: Take a ride as a passenger. Uber and Lyft give you free first rides so that’s sort of a no-brainer. You’ll get to do the ride for free, but more importantly you’ll get to see how it works from the passenger side and there’s not a lot of pressure on you to do anything. A driver will come to your house, pick you up. See what the driver does when you get into the car and how they swipe to start the trip.

Notice everything that they’re doing to make sure that this trip goes as smoothly as possible. It’s a great way to learn. Of course you also have someone in person who you can maybe ask a few questions. “Hey I’m thinking about driving for Uber. What do you think about X, Y and Z?”

Take ONE first ride

So from there let’s say you’re getting ready. You’re starting, you’re ready to drive. The other thing I’d recommended when you’re just getting started is to just do one ride. Your first time out just do one trip and then stop. You can log on at home, do a trip and then come right back home. Might not be the most efficient use of your time or you probably won’t make a lot of money either. But I think that’s a really good way and that’s actually what I did my first time out.

When I first started driving for Lyft I signed on and I was pretty nervous. I did one trip. Took a guy from the library to the grocery store or something like that. It was five minutes probably made a minimum fare. Didn’t make much money but it was really nice because there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure. I was nervous. I would think, “Oh what do I do now?” Even though I’d watched videos and I’d sort of read all the training material or whatever was available and talked to other drivers still when you’re in the heat of the moment, right, it’s obviously a lot different.

I would do that one ride, and if you’re feeling good that day go ahead and do a second ride. If not, sign off the app and go home. That’s a really good way to sort of dip your toes into driving. You don’t want to start on New Year’s Eve or another busy night. Ease into it is my advice there.

Your first shifts should be during the day

I also have just some general tips that I think will really help. One thing that I found is driving during the days only especially when you’re just getting started is a nice starting point because it’s less busy. You don’t have to deal with drunk people. You don’t have to deal with anyone potentially vomiting on your car. Start during the day when it’s light out not as busy on a weekday for example.

Know your city’s top destinations

And then the other thing just to make sure you’re going to be a really great driver when you start, study things like your city’s top landmarks. What I found as a driver is that there’s a whole bunch of random destinations people want to go but you end up going to a lot of the same places. Or you end up going to a lot of the same areas where all of the bars are, where all the restaurants are, where this big mall is, where a really popular bar is, or things like airports and conferences centers.

You want to understand your city’s top landmarks because then you have a better sense of where people are going. When someone says, “Hey I’m going to Jim’s Fish ‘N Chips,” if that’s a super popular place in your city you may not even need GPS. You can still use it but then that eliminates one problem right there and you know the fastest way to get there and you can worry about just providing a safe and enjoyable ride. So I think understanding your city’s top landmarks is definitely helpful and sort of along those lines it’s also really understanding the basic geography of your city.

You don’t need to be an expert and know where every single restaurant and bar is but know the basics. Here in Los Angeles understand that the 405 freeway runs north and south and that might be sort of an obvious one. 10 runs east to west. Obviously in the U.S. I believe even freeways usually run east to west. Odd freeways usually run north to south so like I said 405 is north to south and 10 freeway is east to west. If you’re in downtown LA and a passenger wants to go to Santa Monica you need to know that that’s going west. Things like that.

You want to make it so that driving and navigation are not your primary focus because a lot of passengers the reason they give low ratings often have to do with navigation and poor driving. Getting comfortable with your GPS and navigation is super important.

Ignore Pool and Line rides because when you’re first getting started as a driver you have enough to deal with. Maybe you just ignore UberPool completely because it adds a lot of complexity.

Find ways to keep things simple for yourself

Reduce the complexity and ease into things. You’re not in a rush. Keep that advice in mind. The last thing I’ll say is that personally I think a lot of drivers should sign up with Lyft first. They tend to be a little less busy, and when you’re first starting that is a good thing. Eventually every driver should be doing at least Uber and Lyft. I think we surveyed our audience, 75% of our drivers are doing at least two services or more. So eventually you’ll add on more and sort of leverage multiple services but when you’re just getting started I think Lyft is a great option.

Passengers are a little more friendly if you’re a new driver, so don’t be afraid to tell your passengers that you’re a new driver. You’re not trying to hide the fact. They’re not expecting a professional chauffer. They’re expecting someone personable who can get them safely and efficiently to their destination.

If you guys have any questions about getting started or if you have a tip for a new driver, feel free to leave a comment below. Take care!

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