Let's face it, starting out as a new rideshare driver can be incredibly intimidating. Just thinking about hitting "Go Online" for the first time is enough to make your palms sweat. Finding yourself in close-quarters with strangers takes some getting used to – especially when you only have a short period of time to make a good impression and earn that five-star rating.
The PEMCO team recently had the opportunity to talk with both seasoned and new Lyft drivers at the Portland hub during a recent driver appreciation event, and the professionals shared first-hand advice for the newest drivers on the block.
According to top-rated drivers, while offering water bottles, mints and other amenities to passengers often results in extra brownie points, the pros said that new rideshare drivers should first focus on mastering the basics. Lyft drivers said that as long as passengers feel safe and comfortable, a good rating can be accomplished without all of the extras. What good is a car disco ball if a passenger is late to their appointment? Here are a few tricks of the trade from veteran drivers on how to become a world-class rideshare driver:
Lyft drivers encourage new drivers to channel their inner Magellan by practicing alternative routes, learning the freeway system, and taking note of any traffic patterns to increase efficiency. Another way to maximize time behind the wheel is to drive when rides are in high demand, including the weekday morning commute, rush hour and weekend nights. These surges in ride demand result in higher ride prices (good for your wallet) and less down time between ride requests (also good for your wallet).
Use the driver community
Rideshare drivers recall feeling isolated when they first started driving. Seasoned drivers suggest turning to online communities for questions, concerns or rants that only other rideshare drivers would understand. Today, drivers have many outlets to connect, including over 150 Facebook groups nationwide, as well as blog and vlog communities like The Rideshare Guy, The Simple Driver and Gridwise. By leveraging the power of the crowd, drivers can learn at a quicker pace, pick up useful tips and have a better pulse for what is going on in their city.
Presentation is key
No one wants to get in a car and step in half-eaten takeout as they climb into the backseat. Pros say that no matter how great drivers perform on every other aspect of the ride, rider confidence can be jolted if a driver looks like they just rolled out of bed. Drivers should hold themselves to a high standard of cleanliness to give riders the comfort of knowing they're riding with a professional.
Riders come from all different backgrounds, with different tastes, attitudes and personalities, but they all have one thing in common: needing to safely get from point A to point B. When it comes down to it, Lyft drivers say success comes from making every trip as seamless and comfortable as possible. As new drivers practice and grow more comfortable with the rideshare driving gig, passengers will likely feel more comfortable, too.