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I have been driving for Uber for over a year now. It is one of my favorite side hustles as it offers the ultimate freedom of schedule, and over the course of that year I’ve learned some Uber driver secrets.
If I hustle it is possible to earn $1,000 a month working part-time (mostly on the weekends), which goes a long way towards our get out of debt plan.
Along the way I have learned a few tips, some the hard way!
The Uber Driver Rating System
Uber uses a rating system for drivers and passengers, but the driver rating system is something to pay close attention to if you become an Uber driver. Drop too low and you will find yourself sidelined.
So how do drivers earn a 5-star rating from passengers?
Well, it is not an exact science, and there are always cases where someone is just having a bad day and takes it out on your rating. But for the most part you are in control of your rating.
8 Uber Driver Secrets for Earning a Five-Star Rating
1. Arrive to the pickup location as soon as possible after accepting the ride. Do not delay, stop off for gas, run in the store, etc. The longer it takes you to arrive to your pickup location the lower your rating will be.
“Who wants to request an Uber for a romantic date night and have some guy pick them up in jean shorts and a wife beater?”
2. Do not be overly chatty if the passenger doesn’t want to talk. Learn how to gauge how talkative your passenger feels and act accordingly.
If you keep pressing them when they don’t want to speak it will be reflected in your rating.
3. Drive safely. Seems obvious, I know, but I’ve taken Uber rides where drivers blew stop signs, raced cars to get on the interstate, and slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting a stopped car in front of them because they were distracted by looking at a phone in their lap (please use a solid cell phone mount).
4. Offer some basic amenities. I provide passengers a phone charger (one cord for Android; one for iPhone). I also offer some hard candy – peppermints, lollipops, etc. It is not necessary to offer anything more.
I used to offer cold water bottles, too, but passengers rarely took one so I stopped.
5. Take the most efficient route to your destination. One of the knocks against cab drivers was that they often take an out-of-the-way route to increase the meter. Don’t do that. One of the easiest Uber driver secrets to implement is to simply follow navigation or the rider’s instructions for the more efficient route.
Use navigation and if in doubt ask the passenger if it is faster to take X street or Y street. They will appreciate the fact you care about getting there faster.
6. Start and End the trip in your app correctly. Do not start the trip until all passengers are in the car. Be sure to end the trip as soon as you can safely do so upon reaching your destination.
If you make a wrong turn, end the trip at that point and tell the passenger you have ended the trip so they are not charged because of your error.
7. Help passengers with bags or luggage. If you show up at your pickup location and the passenger is standing there with three pieces of luggage, don’t just pop the trunk and stay put. Get out, greet them and load the luggage in the back.
Do the same at your destination and you will likely earn 5 stars for your excellent customer service.
8. Wear decent clothes. Think business casual. Who wants to request an Uber for a romantic date night and have some guy pick them up in jean shorts and a wife beater?
Remember, you are providing an experience to your passengers. Make it memorable for the right reasons.
Again, there are no guarantees you will earn a five-star rating. Some people are jerks and will rate you low because they are jerks.
However, over time, these undeserved bad reviews will do little to affect your overall rating.
Keep hustling. Keep providing great customer service and implementing these Uber driver secrets and your driver rating will take care of itself.
If you are interested in driving for Uber as a side hustle, I highly recommend checking out Uber’s requirements and signing up.
Uber is currently offering up to $1,000 in new-driver signup bonuses based on your location.