The nice rideshare driver finishes last

Maintaining great ratings isn’t hard to do, and most drivers don’t seem to experience much trouble staying active.  Despite this, drivers do get deactivated by transportation network companies (TNCs) for falling below the required standards (i.e., having a rating below 4.6 for Lyft, and 4.5 for Uber).  This post isn’t geared to getting out of a falling rating rut.  Instead, I’m focusing on why the nice rideshare driver may have more of an advantage than their grumpy, cold, and/or aloof counterparts.  Let’s dig in!

A lot of emphasis is placed on driver ratings, because rideshare apps deactivate drivers with low ratings.  

Therefore it’s important to keep a high score if you’re a driver.  But what other benefits does having a good rating include?  In this post, I’ll be exploring the risk vs. reward of keeping your ratings up.  I’m specifically interested in why some drivers go “the extra mile” for five stars, and others are just doing the bare minimum to get by. And where you and I fall on that spectrum, which can help you learn more about yourself in the process.  Ultimately, does it pay to be a nice rideshare driver?

Being a nice rideshare driver could mean more money

The best part about working in the on-demand economy (in my opinion) is getting tipped for your service.  Sure is nice to be appreciated!  And nothing says, “I really appreciate what you just did for me” than getting a tip; however, this is not common in the course of day-to-day operations.  Especially because Uber insists that tipping is not necessary, and tips are already included in the fare calculations.  Even though they’re not.  

Therefore, to increase the probability of getting tipped the only thing you can really do is drive more!  More driving time means servicing more riders, improving the chance of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Tipper.  Plus, better navigation and driving performance won’t hurt the odds either.  But don’t be too nice.  

Passengers will think, “Okay, this guy’s willing to do anything for me.  He’ll be happy that I just leave him 5 stars.”  Believe me, that’s the mentality that these cheap-skates have!  Just be cool, and don’t forget to smile.  You have no idea how sad/pissed your resting face looks like (especially as we all inevitably get older).Being tipped helps you be nice rideshare driver.

Along these lines, over the summer I experimented with adding a tip-box right into my vehicle; however, I’ve found that I get more tips when it’s not visible.  Being a nice rideshare driver counts when somebody leaves something in your car.  Then, you will most likely get a tip for returning the item to them.  In this case, it probably helps if you were nice or at least neutral during your initial encounter.  That way the chances of getting a good tip are much higher.  

So the best thing to do is probably just using a sticker saying, “tips are appreciated” visible to the customer.  And being nice, but not overly catering to them.  

Disgruntled over your TNC’s app?  Use a different one.

For full-time rideshare drivers, not all apps are created equally when it comes to working (i.e., driving).   For example, when you come across those 4 star pax on the Uber platform (or lower), you might never want to drive him/her again.  How do you do this?  Start by giving them no more then 2 stars at the trip’s end.  Then, you have to contact Uber support and ask not to be paired with them again.  So remember their name!  Only after reaching out to them will they “un-pair” you permanently with that rider.

How is this process different across TNCs? The Lyft app only requires you to rate with 3 stars or fewer to be un-paired with that rider.  No follow up with support necessary.  Furthermore, there is no rating of pax at all with the Via app.  Which means that you would text Via operations directly following an incident with a pax.  I don’t want to get too sidetracked on the comparisons of these different TNCs.  But just know that some companies have your general happiness in mind, and others well, not so much.

Most drivers strive to be professionals in their own right.  Even going so far as donning a suit before hopping in their for-hire vehicle (FHV).  So, whether the TNC that you’re working with has a “caring” perspective towards their drivers, or not, is an important consideration.  In a sense, the key to getting more money is finding a company to work with that’s supportive of their workforce vs. not giving a hoot.  Plus, you might be more inclined to drive more frequently for a company that cares about you (which also means more mula).  

The downside of being a nice rideshare driver

Being nice rideshare driver could get you more tips from customers.  And different TNCs are more willing to work with their drivers, to improve their experience, than others.  But what are the downsides of being the nice rideshare driver?  Are there any?

For one, as I mentioned above, the old “nice guys finish last” adage has some truth behind it.  Every customer is going to view the service I provide differently. For example, some people are SUPER appreciative of a smooth, enjoyable trip home after a long day.  Others might just be thinking that anyone could step into my shoes, and fulfill my role if I’m not willing to do it.  In fact, one person actually said to me, “Can you take me there? Otherwise I’ll find somebody else.”  This was the trip in reference, which I consented to doing because it was pretty long.  <— Helps to know the destination beforehand, which can be accomplished by calling asking where they’re headed to.  Still, the attitude was not necessary.

Nice rideshare driver with unfriendly passenger.One final anecdote which might help you smile yourself comes from that female customer.  She thought her “old apartment on 2nd Avenue” was going to blow up, because of a construction noise just outside.

I had the day off and when I heard the Boom, I thought, ‘I had a good run’.  This was probably it, because I wasn’t going to get out of bed for anything [that day].

It’s one of those “had to be there” stories, I realize.  But we were both cracking up at the time.  Because I knew exactly how she felt, exhausted after so many consecutive days of work.  Anyway, after the long trip with good conversation you’d expect there to be a tip right? Nope.