Driving Into A Decent Uber Rating (Drivers, Note)

You want a high Uber rating as an driver? Great! So does everyone. But people have always wondered what goes behind that 5.0, and it can be summed up in two words: be professional.

But how?

Before we get started, it’s important to remember what Uber is (in practice, at least): it’s definitely not a taxi. To use industry jargon, consider Uber as a crowdsourced chauffering service marketed as a budget-friendly ridesharing alternative to existing transportation options.

Wait, what?

Simply said, Uber guarantees a comfortable ride for passengers from any point to any point within a budget. That’s its edge over other forms of transport: it’s not picky on destinations (unlike taxis), nor does it ply specific routes (unlike most modes of public transport). Of course, budgets get thrown out the window when surge comes into account, but for most discussions, this definition will suffice.

It’s important to keep this definition in mind all the time as an Uber driver. The commitment that you deliver is not just the promise of a safe trip, but one of comfort and luxury (to a certain degree), no questions asked.

So, how can you make the most of this? Here are some tips – some obvious, others less so. (Fair disclosure: I don’t work for Uber, but I do patronize it a lot.)

  • Be respectful and courteous.
  • Thank riders whenever you find it appropriate in an honest manner.

  • Open doors for them whenever possible, and be the first to offer any amenities that you are providing for the trip (such as wipes, candy, water, or battery charge).

  • Always check in with the rider on their degree of comfort and be aware of their needs.

  • Always ensure a smooth, hassle-free ride whenever possible.

  • Avoid smoking in the vehicle to minimize loss of cool air between trips.

    2) Be fair and firm, both to the rider and to yourself.

  • Avoid driving under the influence or while lacking sleep.

  • Maintain a clean, cool unit (especially with our weather), and politely ask the riders help in keeping it clean.

  • Be knowledgeable with Uber’s policies and general road knowledge.

  • Do not accept a ride if it goes against Uber’s policies (including exceeding passenger maximums).

  • Report misuse of student/PWD/elderly discounts whenever discovered to Uber support as early as possible.

  • Take the time to get a feel of traffic in general – overreliance on Waze, Google Maps and similar applications may prove disastrous during system issues.

  • Know the ins and outs of the app, including (but not limited to) destination changes and support escalation, among others.

  • Always strive to accept new ride assignments within the 15-25 second window that Uber provides to ensure consistent acceptance rates.

  • Drop the rider at their destination. Should this not be possible, make sure that the rider is the one to indicate the dropoff point, and not you.

    3) Be prepared to be proactive and practice good CYA (Cover Your Ass).

  • Document everything, both inside and outside the vehicle.

  • If there are issues encountered during a trip, always report them to Uber at the earliest possibility with supporting evidence (images, video, cleaning receipts, etc.).

  • Be prepared to explain to the rider in simple, meaningful terms what they can and cannot do. Always take the lead – that’s what’s expected of you as a driver.

  • Always have documentation prepared, especially in cases of emergencies or accidents.

And now, some frequently asked questions:

My riders like to be cheap – Cheapskates will abound. Always expect people to take the less costly option whenever they can. Just remind them gently but firmly that they get what they pay for should complaints arise, and report them whenever necessary (especially for Student/Senior Citizen payment issues). Remember that the opposite exists as well: if someone spends at least Php 300 on a trip, they will probably have high expectations of what will happen and how they will be treated. Very high.

My rider was an asshole/puked/grabbed things in the car – Shit happens. That’s life. Document everything, get receipts, and always check if you can have it reimbursed by Uber.

I have lousy incentives – While there is no clear proof on what affects incentives beyond anecdotal evidence, it is generally a good idea to have a high rating, good acceptance rates and a consistent track record of trips. Whenever possible, always fulfill trips & incentives with as high a rating as possible and minimum turnaround.

I keep getting lousy riders – Check your rating. Uber will always assign you to the closest rider request whose rating is either equal or higher than yours, within reason (before taking request balancing and any other items into account). If you want to be extreme, you can mitigate this a bit by cancelling trips, but keep in mind that this will affect your acceptance rate. It can be argued that it’s better in the long run to stick it out with low-rated riders and make the best possible impression.

I need more trips – Stay aware of events such as conventions, concerts, etc., Be prepared to drive to any place covered by Uber, no matter how unpopular. Check on areas of interest such as call centers, hospitals, condos, airports, hotels, etc.

I don’t like long trips/low fares/inconvenient trips/irritating riders and want to avoid them for the rest of my life – Let me be honest with you: if this is how you feel about things, don’t drive for Uber. Just save yourself the hassle. There will be long trips (at least once a week, on average), there will be times when fares are low (barring circumstances), and there will be inconvenient riders. That’s how the story goes.

Getting a high rating is hard – yes, which is why you need to maximize your trips. You cannot afford to have a badly-rated trip at all. Check out the math of Uber ratings in a future article. And don’t beg for 5-star ratings. Just don’t.

I want to get tips – Remember two things: The Philippines does not have a tipping culture, and the act of tipping depends greatly on both the rider’s generosity and ability to pay. If the rider does not believe that you deserve a tip, no matter what you think, you’re not getting one. Period.

Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg – but it should get you started in your trek to a great Uber rating. Good luck!

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