How To Be A Five-Star Uber Driver
All Uber drivers and most Uber users know that star ratings can have a big impact on drivers and riders alike. For rideshare drivers, it’s ideal to have an average rating of over 4.6.
A report from Drive to Be Free states that the average rating for Uber drivers in the US and UK is 4.8 stars. Of course, all drivers want to hit that high score. The closer you nudge towards 5.0, the more riders you’re likely to have and therefore more fares and tips for you! You’re also more likely to make it onto riders’ favourite driver lists, which means riders will seek you out specifically when making a trip.
So how do you reach the five-star rating – and stay there? We’ve gathered the best tips and advice from drivers, riders and industry sources to create this all-you-need-to-know guide.
1. Offer a smooth ride
As a driver, you want your rider to experience as smooth a ride as possible. This means avoiding basic errors like jumping on and off the brakes to jolt passengers, speeding, weaving lanes, not wearing a face mask and otherwise breaking the law. There are some other things to consider to make the ride a comfortable experience for your passengers, like braking with plenty of time and not commenting on the driving of others while in the presence of passengers. If a rider senses any panic or anger on your part while on the road, they’re much more likely to watch the road nervously than relax!
Riders are also more likely to reward you with five stars if you…
Pick-up and drop-off seamlessly
Uber riders love when their pick-up and drop-off is easy and timely. In fact, Uber lists being on time as one of the most important tips to becoming a five-star rated driver. Make it simple for the rider to find you. Don’t leave them searching. If the pick-up point is unclear, or there’s nowhere legal to stop, call the rider to tell them where you’ll be. Also, if the rider is on the other side of a busy street, make a U-turn to make their vehicle entry safer. For the drop-off, ask the rider if there’s anything you should know about the destination – such as security – and check your GPS isn’t taking you to the backdoor of the destination instead of the front.
Know your way around
GPS on your phone has taken the hassle out of finding many places, but no system is perfect. Over-reliance on your GPS can be a problem, as you wouldn’t want to re-route for no obvious advantage or ignore diversion signs only to end up in traffic. Invest some time in learning your area of operation and find the fastest routes to all the popular destinations – airports, train stations, hospitals and shops.
If you must use it, keep your GPS on mute
No one likes the sound of a sat-nav or GPS voice, especially when they’re a passenger trying to relax or even get on with some work. Put your GPS on mute and follow the on-screen map and visual signals. (Seehere for advice on the best GPS to use for Uber).
Ask your rider for their preferred route
Before Uber, taxi drivers would sometimes take a longer route to increase their fare. This is more rare these days, but it doesn’t mean riders are unaware of it. Riders can get suspicious that a driver is taking a long route to increase the fare, so put them at ease by asking if they have a preferred route to the destination. If not, let them know in advance which way you’re going to go. This will reassure your rider that you’re doing your best to take the most efficient course from A to B.
2. Deliver a pleasant rider experience
A rider’s overall trip experience ultimately decides what rating they give their drivers. Ensuring every ride is clean, safe and pleasant is the simplest way to a first-class ranking.
Prevent the spread by being COVID-safe
Make sure you’re adhering to your city’s guidelines around social distancing and hygiene. Uber has put mandatory rules in place to allow drivers and riders to remain safe, requiring drivers to wear a face covering whilst driving, as well as regularly using hand sanitiser. Drivers must also clean their car after every trip using antibacterial/sanitising wipes or spray, focusing on areas that riders may have touched, like seat belts or car doors and handles. It’s also advisable to keep the car well ventilated. Take a look at our blog on the best way to keep air flowing through your vehicle while transporting passengers here.
Have a positive attitude
A bad attitude is a major reason that riders give drivers low star-ratings. Rudeness, road-rage and lack of care and consideration are among some of the issues riders have raised when giving drivers low ratings. Of all the things a driver can do to make their passengers happy, this is the easiest. Be friendly, introduce yourself and be polite – this goes a long way, even if the journey has some unforeseen issues.
Check for left behind items
It’s worth a quick scan of your vehicle every time a rider exits your car. Have they left anything behind? Making sure riders have all their property with them is an easy way to earn a five-star rating. If a passenger does leave something behind, try to reunite them with their property – the Uber app has a process for this.
Music and temperature
No rider will appreciate a boiling hot or freezing cold car. Ask your rider if the vehicle is warm or cool enough before you set off. The same goes for music: ask them if they have any music preferences, or if they want to listen to the news or maybe listen to nothing at all.
Stay off the phone
Riders say that listening to a driver take or make calls can be uncomfortable. It’s easy to feel like you’re an inconvenience to a driver if their car is set up to suit their tastes and they’re making personal calls. Unless it’s a real emergency, stay off the phone until you’re alone.
Let them start the conversation
Some riders want to chat, but many don’t. You’re not obligated to have a conversation with your passengers, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them how their day is going. If they want to talk, then fine, but keep your opinions to yourself and avoid tough topics like politics and religion. Neither of you want a heated debate!
Keep it a no-smoking car
Uber has a no-smoking rule for passengers, but for drivers, it’s up to you. However, a car that smells like an ashtray is unpleasant to every rider, even those who smoke. Resist the urge to smoke inside your vehicle and consider a car air freshener to keep your vehicle smelling fresh.
3. Offer some in-car extras
Your passengers know they’re not riding in a limo, but offering considerate extras will make them feel special. There are some simple, low-cost extras that you can buy in bulk to make each rider’s experience convenient and pleasant. The most popular requests are:
Riders have said that they love when their Uber driver has a spare USB cable for charging devices, or an extra AUX cable so they can listen to their own music. Consider buying a multi-function cable with differing connectors to cater to all kinds of riders and prevent a cable tangle!
Tissues & wet wipes
Travel packs of paper tissues can come in handy for all sorts of reasons, from the rider suffering from hayfever to spilling their drink. Moist towelettes to clean hands and surfaces are a top-rated choice too.
Antibacterial wipes and gel
Riders will feel reassured during coronavirus if their driver provides antibacterial products to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. It also indicates that the driver takes cleanliness seriously.
With mask-wearing being made compulsory, always have some disposable masks available for riders. This way you can cater to any riders, including those who have forgotten to bring face covering.
4. Keep a clean car
A clean car, both inside and out, is very important to riders. Keep your vehicle spotless with regular washing, vacuuming and polishing of windows and glossy surfaces. Remove fingerprints, footprints, hair and other fibres – riders know that many people have been in the car, but no one wants to be reminded!
Keep it clean outside
Once every two weeks, or more often in heavy weather, treat your vehicle to a full foam wash. To go above and beyond, you can pay extra for waxing and paint protection, black the tyre-walls and apply a water-repellent coating to windows to reduce rain smear.
Keep it clean inside
Your car’s interior gets a lot more rider scrutiny than the exterior, so this area deserves attention, especially when adhering to social distancing and sanitary laws around COVID. Follow the tips below to keep your car’s inside as shiny as its outside:
- Use air freshener. Riders will appreciate a fresh smell. Invest in a freshener that slots into a dash air vent for an unobtrusive look.
- Buy a cup holder liner. This is more for you than your riders, but who wants a sticky film on the bottom of their cup or on their hand? Line your cup holders with a liner from an auto-store – or you could even use silicone cupcake liners that you can buy in the supermarket bakery aisle!
- Use carpet cleaner for seat stains. Using a 50/50 cleaner/water mix is great for removing stains from cloth seats. This basic solution makes the dirtiest seats look like new again.
- Use a foam paint brush for the air vents. A foam brush that you can buy at a hardware store is ideal for cleaning the gunk out of your air vents. Do this in front and back. If necessary, trim the foam head of the brush with a craft knife to make it fit inside the slots of the vent. For tough dust, use a can of compressed air – the type that you’d usually use to clean a computer keyboard. One puff of high-pressure air can blow the stickiest grit away.
- Put fabric floor mats in the washing machine. Give your floor mats a blast of spray stain-remover (the sort you use on clothes) and then put them in the washing machine on a cold cycle to restore their fluffed and clean look. (Don’t be tempted to tumble dry them, though).
- Use a Swiffer brush on surface dust. Plastic surfaces like the dash and console show every speck of dust, but they’re what riders always see. Keep a Swiffer brush in your glove box to give them a wipe. You can also keep a lint roller handy for a quick seat clean in between rides.
5. Go the extra mile
No, we don’t mean drive them a mile past their destination! But small gestures can have a big impact on a rider and create positive memories, which leads to good ratings for you. Some above-and-beyond tips include:
If you’re taking your rider to a destination that you know is difficult for arrivals, suggest some alternative drop-off spots that make it more convenient for your passenger.
Don’t leave your rider stranded
If you arrive at the destination, but it’s not what the rider was expecting, don’t leave them to solve the problem on their own. Keep them in the car until you’ve found the best place for them to exit. You charge by time and distance anyway, so not only does this make your rider happy, it makes you extra money.
Grab your rider’s luggage
While we’re living through the coronavirus this is not advisable, but be aware that ordinarily it’s appreciated by passengers if you assist them when they have a large bag or several bags to put in your vehicle.
Keep your rider dry
It’s a good idea to keep a large umbrella in the vehicle, so you can shield your riders from the rain when they exit your car (at a safe distance of course).
Look out for disabled people
Riders who use walking frames, canes and wheelchairs are the most vulnerable of all. Get them as close to their destination as you can, even if that means turning into their driveway. Ask if they need assistance and, unless they say they don’t need or want help, assume they do.
At INSHUR, we believe getting insurance shouldn’t be a hassle and should never stop you from getting on the road and earning. Get your Private Hire insurance for Uber Drivers or TLC insurance with us today.