Everyone has to start somewhere. Within the ridesharing economy, anyone who meets the baseline qualifications can start earning money through driving. Additionally, driving for Uber, Lyft, or any other transportation network company (TNC) can be something you decide to do on a whim. You may have jumped right into the ridesharing business without any prior experience or true knowledge of what you were getting into. There isn’t an in-depth orientation; there isn’t any real training. You could easily start this new job and suddenly be bogged down; as rookie mistakes can cause you to earn less-than-spectacular reviews or below par earnings. Just the same, there are lessons you can learn ahead of time that would make your life as a driver that much easier. If you’d like to avoid making some of the classic mistakes that rookie drivers make, let’s go ahead and talk about 5 tips/tricks to get you started as a new rideshare driver.
Recognize that, even if you’ve been driving for many years, driving professionally is its own skill. You’re thrown into the fire quickly, so it may be helpful to keep things simple as you start to get the hang of rideshare driving.
Learn your best practices for driving by completing a bunch of drives. Do not be afraid to let a passenger know that you’re new to the practice; they’re more likely to be forgiving of any mistakes you might make. Understand that, depending on when you choose to drive, customers could be either drunk enough to puke or tired enough to spill coffee all over the back seat. You’ll know, after your first few drives, what to keep with you as you move around. Drive often and reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t.
Don’t Chase Surges
The biggest rookie mistake that drivers make is to chase down surges. Although it may seem like a better idea in the short run because of the higher multipliers, chasing down surge prices will lead to disappointment if there’s no strategy involved. When you sporadically chase surges, it’s possible that the multiplier will disappear as you arrive. TNC surge algorithms are dynamically changing each minute, so chasing multipliers one-by-one isn’t going to help you earn money.
This isn’t to say that surges aren’t good for making you money; they’re clearly more worthwhile financially than driving without surges. However, instead of chasing them, you should plan ahead and position yourself in areas where surges are likely to occur during a given time frame. This strategy maximizes your time by putting you in the right place at the right time.
Plan Out Your Drives
The best rideshare drivers have an outline of what they’re doing in advance. One of the most eye-catching benefits of rideshare driving is having the ability to set your own schedule. It’s best to know when your best and worst times to drive are so that you can plan around anything else you have going on in your life.
Some people plan just a few hours in advance. Every city is different, so it’s important that you know when traffic is heavy and when surge prices are at their peaks.
Others take the time to plan a bit further ahead. Platforms like our own Gridwise centralize the information you need to be a successful driver into one location, with useful information like road conditions, airport demand, and event information. Taking the time to know where and when you’ll be driving saves you both money and time in the long run.
Join Driver Communities
Drivers who communicate with one another usually have the upper hand over a driver who is isolated from other drivers. By leveraging the power of the crowd, you can learn at a quicker pace and have a better pulse for what is going on in the city.
Join Facebook groups and other online communities. There are over 150 driver groups nationwide on Facebook, including both US groups and city-specific groups. Text groups in apps like whats app and groupme can also prove useful to new and veteran rideshare drivers alike. Walkie Talkie apps like zello and voxer work well to actively put drivers in contact with one another in real time. Online forums such as uber people are a great place to seek answers to most of your rideshare questions. You should also engage with some blogs and vlogs, including the rideshare guy, the simple driver and our very own blog at Gridwise.
Invest in Your Phone
Your phone is your one-stop shop for everything rideshare. In fact, outside of the face-to-face, you get with your customers inside of the car, every other interaction you’re a part of during your drives is connected to your phone.
Everything that has to do with your phone has to be set up optimally for driving. First off, ensure that your phone is reliable. It’s part of your job to have a communication channel open, so poor equipment can result in issues that you really can’t afford to have happen. Your drives become considerably easier if you have a phone mount for your dashboard or your windshield. You have full visibility of what’s happening on the road, on the GPS and on your driver resources. Invest in a phone charger; a dead phone battery is a nightmare when you’re in the middle of a pickup. Have everything you need to drive successfully at the ready.
Keep Your Vehicle as Clean as Possible
A clean car goes a long way. Riders expect the vehicle they ping to be basically pristine, or at least close to. Hold yourself to a certain standard of cleanliness when handling your rideshare vehicle. Don’t roll out of bed and into your vehicle looking like a mess. Give your riders the comfort of knowing that they’re working with a professional. If there’s trash left on your floor, pick it up as soon as you have the time and throw it away.
Keep the interior of your car spotless. That means wiping down the door interiors and windows (outside and inside) as well as vacuuming the seats and floors. Get regular car washes to keep the exterior of your vehicle presentable. During the winter months, when city streets are covered in snow and salt, riders may be more forgiving of a slightly dirty exterior. Don’t let that make you lazy, though! Have your vehicle’s cleanliness be a priority during the hours when you’re driving.
Have any more tips? Talk to us in the comments section!