Ratings are arguably one of the most important things an Uber or Lyft driver needs to worry about. Maintaining a good rating not only puts you in good standing with your riders by giving them a stellar first impression, but it saves you from worrying about a performance critique and even disciplinary actions based on poor ratings. It may change based on your market, but suffering too low of a rating (usually below a 4.6) can even lead to either Uber or Lyft deactivating you as a driver!
It’s pretty obvious, then, why you should always strive to keep your rating as high as possible. Getting a five star rating with every ride is doubly important to part-time drivers, if only because it can be so challenging to recover from one botched ride. Uber averages up to your past five hundred rides to determine your rating, while Lyft is considerably more forgiving by averaging only your past one hundred rides. However, this also means that a bad rating on Lyft has more effect on your overall rating in the short term.
The threat of a sudden dip in rating can cause a lot of stress in drivers. There’s some relief in the fact that your riders are also subject to the rating system – and can be marked down for being rude, messy, or aggressive. This can help you avoid potentially bad situations, and most drivers will be wary about accepting rides from any passenger with a rating below 4.7. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can gauge on passenger rating alone, and you may find yourself dealing with some unexpected bumps in the road.
The good news? There are plenty of little ways to prepare ahead of time, all but guaranteeing your five stars no matter the sort of passenger you’re faced with!
Know Your Area
One of the most critical things that will affect your rating as an Uber or Lyft driver is how efficiently you can transport your passenger to their destination. We’ve all experienced hiccups in our GPS that have led us down wildly out-of-the-way streets due to faulty navigation and programming. The worst possible time for that to happen is while you have a passenger in your backseat who’s not only being charged for your mistakes but could potentially be running late thanks to your roundabout driving. Not knowing where you’re going, or taking forever to get there, is one of the easiest ways to earn yourself a bad rating as an Uber or Lyft driver,
Do your best to learn your area and maybe even explore back roads to find convenient short-cuts you can use to handle things like traffic or detours. Your passengers will appreciate your ability to quickly and seamlessly get them where they need to go. By far, knowing your way around is the easiest way to get rated five stars on most trips.
Perfect the Pick-Up
Both Uber and Lyft have a pretty clear standard for how you’re meant to pick up your passengers. You’ll have to be curbside and outside the flow of traffic to ensure the person’s safety. That sounds like common sense and easy enough, but it can be pretty challenging if you’re driving on city streets, in a busy downtown area, or anywhere else with a tight gridlock. If you know you’re going to be picking up passengers in a place where it may be tough to get directly curbside, communicate with your rider and arrange a spot that works for both of you. They’ll appreciate your going the extra mile to pick them up safely and easily.
Another tricky part of pick-ups can be unfamiliar shopping malls and apartment complexes. Just like above, it’s always wise to reach out to your passenger and ask them where they’d like to be picked up. That’ll save you a lot of hassle in circling around, trying to nail down exactly where their pin is on the map. More often than not, you can agree to a certain shop front or landmark, or have your passenger meet you near the main office of their apartment complex.
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This is a no-brainer, but is sometimes overlooked by busy drivers trying to multitask their app while navigating traffic. Always greet your passenger with a smile and assess if there’s any way you can help them get comfortable in your car. Do they need help loading bags into the trunk? Do they need help installing a car seat? Do they have a walker or any other form of disability that may need help when loading and unloading from the car?
Passengers will always feel grateful if you go above and beyond. Taking a few moments of your time to treat them like a person and not another transaction will absolutely reflect in your ratings. Striking up casual conversation with those who are interested in it, and making an overall effort to be friendly, will almost always get you the rating you’re after.
Take Care of Your Car
No passenger is going to appreciate a dirty car. It’s up to you to regularly wash your car so that your riders are comfortable. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to leave time in your schedule every week or so to swing by the car wash, or, at the very least, vacuum your car mats and upholstery. Depending on your area, there are many self-service car washes that offer a discounted monthly membership. Given how often you’ll be cleaning your car, you can save yourself a lot of money by signing up for a program like that!
Invest in a good air freshener like Ozium and keep some papers towels on hand, just in case you need to clean up a sudden spill. Your glove box makes a good catch-all for a package of Lysol wipes or a can of air freshener, should you need them. Believe me, they’re a life-saver when someone spills their food or beverage, or happens to get sick in your backseat. Your next passenger will definitely appreciate not getting into a messy (or stinky!) car.