Whenever I tell people that I run a blog and a YouTube channel for Uber and Lyft drivers, the first thing that comes to their mind is, “How hard can it be to be a rideshare driver?” The answer that I have for them is that it’s not rocket science, but it’s also not quite as easy as it looks. It’s the ultimate combination of customer service, safe driving and navigation, and also running your own business. Those three things combine to make the job a little bit more challenging than you might think.
On today’s video, I’m actually going to be answering all of the top questions that we’re hearing from Uber and Lyft drivers.
Take a look at the video, then read the video transcription below if you prefer to read.
As you guys may know, I love reading your feedback. I love seeing your comments. I try to respond to every single comment that we get here on the YouTube channel, and if you’ve ever sent me an email, I hope that you got a response because we try very hard to respond to each and every single email that we get. I love hearing the feedback. I love seeing the questions so that I can go and do videos like this that are going to answer all of your top questions.
This is going to be a little bit of a longer episode, but we’re going to cover lots of questions, all the questions that drivers are asking us at this moment. What are we hearing from drivers? We curated this into a giant list of about 10-15 questions. If you want to hear the answers to questions, like how do I contact Uber and/or Lyft, how much money can drivers make with Uber and Lyft, how do I even beat the competition to make more money, what about predicting surge, to even more practical stuff, like what happens if I can’t find my passenger, will ignoring Uber pool and Lyft line rides get me deactivated, and which map app is the best for drivers, how can I improve my ratings?
Our Top Tips for Drivers:
We’re going to cover all these questions and more in today’s episode, and I do recommend that if you haven’t checked out our podcast, as I said, this episode is being simulcast. Without further adieu, let’s get started.
How do you contact Uber and Lyft?
The first question that I’d like to tackle is, how do I contact Uber and/or Lyft? For a while, this was actually the most popular question that we got on the blog, and we had an article, The Top Nine Ways to Contact Uber, and it got over a million page views on the blog, so it was definitely a popular article. What I would say now is that one of the best and fastest ways to get response from Uber is through your Uber Driver app. In order to contact Uber, you’ll want to open your app obviously, your Driver app, go to help, and then you can click on the top issue that you’re having, whether it’s payment, trips, advice, or something like that, and submit your question.
If you are having trouble reaching out through the Uber Driver app, let’s say you can’t remember your password and so you can’t submit a question through the app, then we also have a link on the website, which we’ll leave in the show notes. It’s TheRideshareGuy.com/UberInquiry, and that will actually take you to Uber’s website and allow you to leave a question there directly.
Uber’s also recently rolled out 24-hour phone support, so definitely make sure that you always check your Driver app. Each market has a little bit different phone number, so depending on the market that you’re in, you’ll actually have a different 24/7 support line, and you can go ahead and do that.
Uber also has a Critical Safety Response Line, and it’s only for emergencies. Obviously, if it’s something super serious, you would call 911 first, but if you get into an accident or something like that, you can call 1-800-285-6172. Like I said, a lot of this information will be in the show notes, so that’s definitely what I recommend.
Then for the more complex issues, we found that you probably want to go in person into one of Uber’s Greenlight Centers, and you can get support there.
Getting help with Lyft is actually pretty similar. You can get help from the app, going to the Help Center, and then, also, what we found is if you’re not getting a great response or if you are having some trouble, you can also always go to Twitter and find @AskLyft, and they tend to respond there quickly or on their Facebook page. Sometimes, I found, with Uber and Lyft, that you can get better responses there on social media or, sometimes, it’s just good to get a quick followup.
Lyft is also opening up what they call Lyft Hubs across the country, so you definitely want to check and see if you have a Lyft Hub available in your area. If not, you’ll have to resort to one of these online methods.
How much can drivers make with Uber and Lyft?
This is an easy, but also not so easy question. It’ll go into how much, when, and where you’re willing to drive, the surges, the bonuses, the tips that you’re getting, etc., but, in general, we surveyed 1,100 drivers in January of 2017, and they reported that they were making about $15-$20 an hour, depending on some of those factors listed above. We found that Lyft was a little bit higher. That was when Lyft had a tipping option. Now Uber has a tipping option, too, so I suspect that the amounts would be the same, but what we found is that there’s a ton of variability. The average might be $15-$20 an hour, but some drivers in San Francisco, for example, might easily be at $25-$30 an hour. Drivers in smaller markets might be at the lower end of the spectrum.
Then from there, it also depends when you drive. If you only are driving Friday/Saturday nights, you’re obviously going to be making a lot more money than someone who can only drive Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons when typically demand is at its lowest.
The other thing to keep in mind is these numbers are before expenses. You’re probably going to have to subtract at least a few dollars an hour depending on the type of car you drive. If you got a great deal on a used Prius and you don’t spend much on gas, then your expenses might only be $2-$3 an hour, but if you drive a big gas guzzling SUV that you didn’t get a great deal on, it might be higher.
The next logical question might be, all right, here’s how much I’m making, but how can I beat the competition and make more money? I think that one of the best strategies, for drivers, it’s really all about finding those times where passenger demand is high, and I think that that part is somewhat obviously, the Fridays and Saturday night bar runs. We know that that’s when drivers are out there, and that’s when passengers are out requesting, so we know passenger demand is one side, but you also want to think about, when is driver supply going to be low? When driver supply is low, that means there could be surge pricing, that means that you could also have a better chance at getting requests. I would think about it like that. That’s one way that you’re really going to want to be experimenting and finding those times where other drivers may not be willing to work.
How can you predict surge pricing, and stay busy?
If you watch my YouTube videos, one of our most popular videos, you’ll know that you never want to chase the surge. It’s a fool’s errand. A lot of drivers chase the surge, and that, in effect, brings down the surge, but one way you can take advantage of the surge is knowing, predicting, surge, knowing when it’s going to surge. The most obvious time might be at the end of a sporting event or at bar close when everyone is leaving and it’s surging. Obviously, that’s a time where you can go in and make some money.
I think that if you’re looking at those times where you can predict surge and you want to stay busy, I think that you definitely want to be thinking about, “Hey, what is my city like? What events are popular? What is going to cause a mismatch where either there’s a lot of riders requesting or there’s a lot of drivers not out and about?” I definitely think that that’s one thing that you can do, and then just in staying busy, in general. Obviously, delivery I think is a natural service to add for those lunchtime hours and even the Sundays sometimes when it’s slow, you really want to think about, “Hey, when is driving slow? What do other services look like,” and get that correlation so that at lunchtime, when it’s slow on Uber on a weekday, maybe you go do a couple post mates or a couple door dash deliveries and you can make more money that way.
Why do you need rideshare insurance?
Rideshare driving is actually divided into three periods. Just to give you a quick primer, period one is when you’re online and waiting for requests. Period two is when once you’ve accepted a request and you’re en route to pick up the passenger. Period three is when you’ve acquired that passenger, and you’re now driving to their destination. During periods two and three, Uber provides one million dollars of liability coverage, and they also provide collision coverage, but with a $1,000 deductible. If you’re with a passenger or en route to a passenger, you get into an accident, Uber will cover you liability-wise up to a million dollars, but for collision side, if you’re at fault, then you’ll need to go and pay that $1,000 deductible. If the other person’s at fault, you could potentially try and go through their insurance and they would cover the deductible just like a normal accident.
The problem here, as you might imagine, during period one, you don’t receive any collision coverage, and the liability limits are much lower than normal. Typically, they’re at the state minimum. That might be 50, 100,000, so one bad accident during that period one time, not only will you get no collision coverage from Uber and Lyft, if your car’s damaged, they’re not going to pay to repair it, but the liability aspect will also bring you up.
The thing that I want to point out is Uber and Lyft policies are nearly identical, but Lyft actually has $2,500 collision deductible, so during that period two and three, you would actually have to pay $2,500 out of pocket, which is quite expensive. Not a lot of people realize.
Going back to the period one is that you want to keep in mind that, hey, if I get into an accident during period one, you want to be covered. Uber and Lyft don’t provide much coverage or anything at all during period one, and your personal insurer actually, if you tell them that you’re a rideshare driver, they’re not going to cover you during that period either, so that’s where you’re really at risk, and that’s where rideshare insurance can come into play because rideshare insurance is a small addendum and, honestly, I’m telling you guys, it’s really not that expensive in states where there’s multiple options. We’re hearing from drivers they’re paying $5, $10, $12 more a month. Sometimes it’s more. Sometimes it might be $50-$60 a month, and that’s significant, but, for the most part, it’s pretty small amounts more.
It’s just the hassle of getting a quote and switching and finding an agent, and we’ve got you covered. We’ve got an insurance marketplace on our website, which we’ll leave a link to, and you can go there, drop down menu, select your state, and then you’ll see all the recommended agents and the different options since, if you live in one state, maybe you have Geico available, but in another, it’s only State Farm and Farmer’s. We’ll be able to help you out there, and you guys can get your rideshare insurance covered.
What’s the best vehicle for drivers?
Along the lines of rideshare insurance, let’s now talk about what’s the best vehicle for rideshare drivers. This is a really popular question, but, as you might imagine, there’s no one right answer. Choosing the best vehicle for rideshare driver depends on many factors, including things like gas mileage, price, and also just comfort and style. There’s a reason why the most popular car is a Toyota Prius for rideshare drivers. We surveyed our audience. We see that overwhelmingly the most popular car is a Toyota Prius because, as a full-time driver or even a part-time driver, you will put a lot of miles on your car. An average full-time driver will put 1,000 miles a week on their car, and that means your number one immediate expense is going to be gas. Hence, why there are so many Prius or Prii, however you say the plural of Prius.
The second thing that you want to consider is the price. If you have to pay more to get a hybrid, is it going to be worth that difference, the amount that you’re going to save in gas? Obviously, this depends on your personal situations, too.
Then the thing that I would like to consider, because I’m big, I’m tall, I’m 6’3″, and I can’t fit in some tiny, little car, so I also want to think about the comfort and the style. I don’t need a luxury vehicle or anything, but I want to be comfortable. If I’m going to be sitting in the car for eight hours, I want a car that’s comfy, that I enjoy driving, and that I like, so I definitely think that if you’re using this vehicle for rideshare and personal use, just consider that. Maybe you have a family. You want to make sure that you’re not getting a car, you’re not thinking about your car only for your Uber use if you’re also using it for other uses, like transporting your kids around. Definitely make sure that you consider that.
The big thing, too, with your vehicle is you always want to be tracking your miles. We’ve talked about a lot of the popular mileage tracking apps. Stride Drive is a great one, QuickBooks Self-Employed. Definitely make sure that you check that out. Stride Drive right now is actually on android and iOS, and it’s free. I think that if you’re not tracking your miles yet, that’s a no-brainer app to download.
What’s the best phone for drivers?
Much like the question about the best vehicle for rideshare drivers, the best phone for rideshare drivers also depends a lot on our preferences, the affordability, the platform, etc. The main difference here though is the android versus iPhone. That’s the big thing. A lot of drivers have this … Some people prefer android. I’m on android. I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S8+. Others, obviously, are using iPhones or other androids. I’m not going to say you should have one over the other. I personally prefer android. It’s really a matter of personal preference. I think, at this point, the smartphones are very similar.
One app that we’re really highly recommending right now is called Mystro, and it essentially automates your Uber and Lyft driving, so if you’re doing multiple apps, it’ll automatically log you on to both Uber and Lyft, automatically accept requests for you, and then you log you off the other app. Once that ride is done, it logs you back on to both apps. It takes away that whole manual process. It’s only available for android right now, so that might be one vote for an android, but that’s my feelings there.
I really just would recommend that after your car, your phone is really one of your most important tools, so it makes a lot of sense. Phones are expensive, and you want to invest in a first or a second generation phone. If you’re tight on budget, maybe you go for a second generation phone so you get the Galaxy S7 instead of the S8, and it should work, no problem with the Uber apps, and it might still be a little expensive, but you’re going to be using your phone a lot as a rideshare driver. It’s almost as important as your car, so definitely keep that in mind.
Will you get deactivated for ignoring Uber POOL and Lyft Line requests?
Getting over to the nuts and bolts of the driving, I want to start answering some questions about situations that happen when you’re driving. The first one is, will ignoring Uber pool or Lyft line rides get me deactivated? The reason why we get this question so often is because not a lot of drivers like Uber pool, not a lot of drivers like Lyft line, and the reason for that is that the pay is about the same or sometimes less, yet, you’re doing more of the work. Pick-ups and drop-offs are the most stressful part about being an Uber and Lyft driver, and if you’re having to do double on every single ride and now you have two people that get to rate you at the end of every single ride, you can imagine that it’s a little bit more of a hassle factor, so you should get financially rewarded for that. As of now, not quite.
Uber and Lyft are testing some increased payouts, so hopefully they’ll expand those in the future, but, for the most part, drivers aren’t big fans of these services. We surveyed Uber drivers in Los Angeles, and they actually reported 75% of them were dissatisfied with their Uber pool experience, so I think that sums it up right there for you, but the nice thing is that ignoring these Uber pool or Lyft line rides will not get you deactivated. You can ignore as many rides as you want. If you ignore two to three requests in a row, you may get put in timeout by Uber because they don’t like that, but at the same time, you’re probably not every single ride that’s going to be coming in, so you really don’t need to worry about your acceptance rate unless you’re going for a bonus or you’re in some type of incentive program that requires … Let’s say it requires an 80% acceptance rate. At that point, you probably want to be careful and just make sure that if you are ignoring Uber pool rides that you don’t go over that limit.
Mystro is another good option. You can actually ignore Uber pool rides with that. Otherwise, when you see them come in, you can ignore, and one little trick, too, that drivers have been using is if they happen to accept an Uber pool ride, you always have the option of stopping new trip requests from coming in. You can actually prevent further Uber pool or Uber pool riders from coming on.
What happens if you can’t find your passengers?
There are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to find your passenger, whether it’s a busy or crowded event, maybe they placed their pin in the wrong place, but the first thing that you want to do is make sure you’re in a safe location. You don’t want to be double-parked. You don’t want to be in a fire lane where you can get a ticket or anything like that. If you can’t quickly find your passenger, you probably shouldn’t be driving around. Pull over somewhere where it’s safe, and then try to figure out, look at your map, try to figure out where your passenger is. Obviously, it’s a good time at that point to call them.
One thing that I found is that it pays to be proactive. If you see that you’re going to be picking up in a busy bar area and you know that it’s 2:30 AM, you know there’s going to be a lot of people walking around, before you get to that destination, maybe you call your rider and explain the situation, say, “Hey, I know it’s going to be busy. Here’s what my car looks like. Look for me. Meet me on the corner of X and 6th Street,” or whatever it might be. I think that being proactive can definitely help. If it’s too late and you’re already there having trouble finding your passenger, I like to use a few identifying features. I’ll say, “Hey, I’m by the McDonald’s. I’m right underneath the arches. I’m in a blue SUV with my flashers on.” Now I’ve given them three things to look out for. They look for the McDonald’s. They find me. They see this blue car and they see the flashers on. If you still can’t find them, you can always ask, call them, and ask them describe their area.
At a certain point, it may not be worth it if you really can’t connect with them and it’s busy and you can find another rider, but that’s definitely one thing that you should take a look at.
Can you advertise for other businesses in your car?
What we’re seeing with some lately is that there are actually some companies that are now starting to help drivers with this. We just reviewed a company called Kargo that actually sends drivers a box, and in this box is a bathroom attendant on wheels is how I describe it. They’ve got everything from Pringles and candy to charging cables and condoms, and these items, some of these items are actually free and you’ll get paid to hand them out, and some of these items passengers can actually purchase over text message. It’s a pretty cool service. I guess what I would say is I probably wouldn’t try to establish a lot of these relationships on my own if you’re looking to do that, but if you have a business, on the podcast, before, we’ve interviewed Reninger, and he was doing something very similar, but his wife owned a bakery and so it was easy to bring that up and talk about these delicious baked goods and then slip a business card to his wife’s bakery.
There’s always opportunities like that if you’re really looking to hustle. If you’re looking to advertise for a local business or something like that, you’ll still have to network and see which one of those opportunities exist. I think that for the typical driver, this is probably going to be a little bit out of their scope. It’s probably a little bit too much work, but if you’re really looking out there to hustle, there are lots of these networking opportunities, lots of these advertising opportunities, so keep an eye for yourself personally, but also see which companies, like Kargo, for example, that are out there. This probably isn’t going to make you rich overnight, but it might mean a 20-30% boost in your income.
What can you do if a passenger asks you to do something that you don’t want to do?
Sometimes, there’s cases where it’s legal stuff, like in a service animal. Let’s say a passenger wants to bring a service animal into your car. That’s actually against the law to refuse that rider. It doesn’t matter if you’re allergic. It doesn’t matter if you like dogs. It doesn’t matter. If that’s a service animal, you actually have to take that rider. That being said, there are times where a passenger may ask you to go through a drive-through or help you load their luggage. Obviously, a lot of these situations are very different, but, at the same time, they’re all very related because, if you don’t have time or let’s say there’s some reason where you have a bad back, you can’t help load luggage, it’s really just more about explaining that situation. I’m not going to say, “No, I can’t do that” or, “No, you can’t do that.” You have to put yourself in their shoes and really diffuse the situation.
When a passenger tries to come into my car with a beer, I don’t say, “Hey, you can’t bring that into my car.” I say, “Hey, do you have one of those for me because if you’re going to bring that in here, I need one, too.” Of course, kind of a bad joke, and they might laugh and they probably won’t laugh because it’s not a very good joke, but then you’ve diffused the situation, say, “Hey, you know what? I can wait till you finish that beer, but I can’t drive until that beer is gone,” or you can say … That’s a good way to diffuse the situation. When those situations come up, you just want to be smart about it, and that’s how I’ll handle something like that.
Do you have to give rides to minors, or infants without car seats?
There’s all these questions around basically anyone 18 and under. I would never take a baby … Obviously, a baby’s going to be with a parent I would hope. Hopefully, babies aren’t requesting rides. If you get someone that comes into your car with an infant, like a one or a two or a three-year old I guess is still an infant, I would not recommend doing that ride, and personally I would not do that ride just because there’s a lot of liability if you get into an accident or if they drop the baby. I don’t know what could go wrong, but a lot could go wrong with someone holding a baby, and that’s just pretty irresponsible, in general. I probably don’t want someone like that in my car. This is a big liability issue.
What’s probably a lot more common though is that you’re going to start seeing requests from minors. These are going to be anyone, high school kids, middle school kids, whatever. In select cities, Uber has actually rolled out Uber Teen. I know they’re piloting this in Phoenix and Cleveland and a couple cities where drivers actually it is okay, but in California, for example, it’s actually a CPUC, which is the California Public Utilities Commission, it’s a rule that you’re not allowed to transport minors. This obviously, it gets a little confusing and a little bit of a gray area because according to Uber’s Terms of Service, drivers and riders that are under 18 basically aren’t allowed to use their service, but how many times have you gotten up to a rider, and you’re not necessarily looking at their ID, it may be dark, and a minor could easily slip in.
I think the best protection though is having a dash cam in this type of situation just in case because you really don’t know what could go wrong with a minor in your car. If you’re the type of person, you see them and you’re going to check their ID and not let them ride, great, but, at the same time, it’s tough because you’re wasting time and gas and money to go get them and you can report it to Uber and who knows if they’re going to actually deactivate this passenger or pay you a cancellation fee or whatever it might be, but, again, it’s just thinking about it. What is the worst thing that could happen, and what are the odds of something happening? I want to just make sure I’m protected.
Personally, I use a dash cam because there have been rides where I’ve been driving, and then I realize these kids are high schoolers and, at that point, I’m not going … It might be more of a liability risk to kick them out on the side of some dark street than it is to drop them off at their destination, so you really have to use common sense here.
Which map app is the best for drivers?
If you’re still using the Uber Navigation, you probably haven’t watched many of my videos because passengers don’t like the Uber Navigation. I don’t like the Uber Navigation. It really just is not one of the best options, and I think that you really want to be using Google Maps or Waze, and we’ve got an article and a couple videos about which option is better. I don’t know that one is necessarily better than the other, but I do think that you should be using Google Maps or Waze. Personally, I like Google Maps just because it’s simple, it’s easy to use. I know Waze has a lot of extra features and extra things that you can turn on or turn off and they give you more notifications. Personally, I don’t really use a lot of that. Some people do, but I would say for the most part, those are the two best mapping apps that I’ve found.
How can you improve your driver ratings?
Ratings are obviously an important topic. The most important number that you need to keep in mind when it comes to ratings is 4.6 because that’s about the cutoff. It’s plus or minus a little, depending on the city, but, for the most part, you want to be above 4.6 and hopefully 4.7 or even 4.8 just because if you fall below 4.6, you can actually be deactivated as an Uber or Lyft driver.
The number one complaint that we hear from riders and that Uber has released data on this, and number one complaint from riders when it comes to why they’re giving drivers low ratings actually has to do with navigation, safe driving. Going back to that Google Maps and Waze example, a lot of passengers don’t like when drivers are not missing turns or not paying attention or just unsafe driving, in general. I would really focus on that navigation. Practice getting good at your GPS. That might sound a little silly, but you should know when the Google Maps or Waze says, “Turn left in 450 feet,” you shouldn’t really have to stare at your phone. You should know in your head, “Okay, I’m going 30 miles an hour, 400 feet is going to be in about five to seven seconds.” That’s what I mean when I say, “Practice.” I know it sounds a little bit silly, but it’s actually super important.
That good navigation, using a map app, becoming familiar with your city I think is also really important because let’s say your GPS is broken or sometimes you pick up a passenger, and the mapping hasn’t quite realized where you are because the GPS isn’t super accurate and maybe you don’t know whether you should turn left or turn right onto this big street. If you go right, you might be taking them two or three minutes out of their way when really you should go left, but you don’t know because the GPS isn’t quite registering yet.
Here’s where you want to be able to ask them, “Hey, which direction are you headed? Are you headed north, east, south, west, or which side of town are you headed? What landmark? Are you headed to a big bar or a big restaurant?” If they’re going to some obscure address, you can’t do a lot about that, but let’s say they say, “I’m headed to the beach.” You need to know where you are. You shouldn’t have to rely on GPS to know the beach is left. The beach is that way. The beach is west. That’s a pretty easy example, but that’s just thinking. You want to use the GPS and navigation. It should be an aid, but you also don’t want to completely rely on it. You really want to be thinking about, “Hey, how can I get this passenger to their destination as quickly, but also as safely as possible?”
If I’m going to take a shortcut, I should probably ask that passenger or probably let them know. If I miss a turn, I probably shouldn’t try to hide it because sometimes passengers are watching on their own phones back there and they’re not completely oblivious even though they may seem because they’ve got their head down in their phone.
Then also just reading your passenger. Not every passenger is going to want to chat. Not every passenger is going to want to talk. If they come in and put their headphones on, probably a good sign that you don’t want to talk to them. If they’re staring at their phone the whole time, probably don’t want to talk to them. I like using icebreakers, simple stuff like, “Hey, how was your day,” or after a minute or two, I might ask, “Hey, how’s the air conditioning? Would you like it up or down,” and see how they react. If they start talking, great. If not, no worries. I’ll be out there. I’ll be on my day.
Hopefully you guys learned a lot from all of these questions. These are all the top questions that drivers are actually asking us right now. I think that it’s pretty useful information. If you guys want to go ahead and learn more from our videos, we release new videos on every single Tuesday and Thursday. If you guys like this video, feel free to give us a thumbs up. Subscribe to our channel or leave a comment below. With that being said, stay safe out there and take care.
Ready to Maximize Your Ridesharing Profits?
Maximum Ridesharing Profits is The Rideshare Guy's online video course. Enroll to learn how rideshare veterans earn more, spend less, and treat rideshare driving like a real business.