Don’t discount riders who say they will tip in the app!

You’ve just completed a trip and the rider says to you as they’re leaving, “Thank you, I’ll tip you in the app”. You turn your head, roll your eyes and give them 1 star. 

When it comes to earning tips from riders, many of us have been jaded. Tips that were promised by riders never appear in our accounts. No one can debate that the way you feel isn’t justified but are you jumping the gun?

When you complete a trip, a driver is prompted to rate the rider before moving on.  Riders rarely order a second Uber right away and thus are not prompted to rate you or give you a tip right away. In fact, it may be several days or longer before you receive their rating or a tip. Some riders aways tip, some never tip and others only tip when they feel you did really did a good job. The way you rate your rider should be based on how they conducted themselves in your car over the entire trip and not on what they said at the end of the trip. Neither riders nor drivers want to receive a 1 star rating especially if it wasn’t justified. Be patient, that tip may still be coming!

Friday: What roadside assistance program are you using?

Drivers are responsible for checking IDs when delivering alcohol

In some states like California, UberEats drivers are temporarily permitted to deliver alcohol with their food delivery orders. Adding beer, wine or mixed drinks brings added revenue to struggling restaurants and brings increased demand for delivery. If this option is available in your state, you do have to opt-in for this kind of delivery. However, this also means drivers are responsible for checking ids and more!

The Washington Post had an article back in April that went over some of the perils drivers face when accepting these deliveries. One of the most shocking is restaurants including alcoholic drinks in orders even though it was illegal in their state.

In the Golden State, authorities are taking action. California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is conducting sting operations and fining drivers for not checking ids at the door. These fines can range from $250 – $1000, ouch! The best way for drivers to protect themselves is to follow all of the steps listed on the Uber Help page on delivering alcohol.

Lastly, remember that these orders can not sit upfront with you because of open container laws and must be kept in your trunk.

Wednesday: Don’t discount riders who say they will tip in the app!

Some interesting information on UberEats for drivers

We all know that user demand for rideshare is way down. According to QZ.com, demand in the second quarter of 2020 was down 75%. 

With such a sharp decline, many of us have turned to food delivery options like DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, and others. In October, Business of Apps posted an article claiming UberEsts has now passed Uber Rides in revenue. 

For drivers, the move to delivery is easy to understand given the increased demand as well as limiting one’s exposure to Covid-19. But what can we expect to earn and how can I tell which one has the best boosts?

Money – Quora.com claims Uber drivers make more money as UberEats drivers only get a set amount per delivery. Whereas, Uber drivers earn more per mile. So when you are being pinged for a delivery, it is best to only accept those coming from restaurants that are closest to you.

Finding the best boosts – Signing up with a different account for Uber Rides and UberEats can be the secret to increasing your income. If you run separate accounts, you can sign-in to each one and shop each app for the best boosts for different times a day. Shopping the apps is a great way for you to raise your income and use your time more efficiently.

In the gig economy, we all have to work smarter not harder to be successful. 

Friday: Dealing with vomit, are you prepared?

Uber Premium began on August 20th

On June 26th, Uber announced it would be discontinuing both Uber Black and Select from the service options within the app. On August 20th, Uber launched Uber Premium as the sole elevated option for riders. 

*Previously posted on Aug 6th 

Tomorrow: What to look for when buying a mask?:

Uber expands where drivers can set their own pricing

In California, rideshare companies are having to adjust to AB-5 legislation that basically said drivers were employees and not independent contractors. Uber pushed back by rolling out driver led pricing last January. This was initially a test that was designed to show that drivers are not employees but independant contractors. It was rolled out in a few select cities like Palms Springs, Santa Barbara and a few others. 

On July 9th, Uber announced it will be rolling out this new pricing model throughout the State of California. The push is to ensure that drivers remain independent contractors and Uber can continue to keep its gig worker business model. 

More and more states are looking at their own version of AB5. It will be interesting to see if both Uber and Lyft try to come out in front of any legislation in other states before anything further passes. 

*Previously posted on July 21st

Tomorrow: A new paint job versus a vinyl covering for your car?

What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare

Everyone is talking about dash cameras for their cars, especially rideshare drivers. It is a great way to protect yourself by proving you were not at fault in an accident, proof for Uber or Lyft of an unruly rider who chose not to wear a mask or is acting inappropriately, evidence of your actions if you were pulled over by the police and so much more.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to buying a dashcam, so what are some of the features that you may want to have?

Price – DashCam models can start out at $50. and move on up to more than $400,. but some of the features you may want as a rideshare drive can be found in the $200 range. 

Easy installation – No one wants to read a book or need a computer science degree in order to install your camera in your car and the app on your phone.

Video quality – 720p is pretty standard but you might want to consider 1080p which would allow you to zoom in on a face or license plate. Some models in the upper price range are now offering 4k but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Parking Mode – We all have to leave our cars unattended from time to time. This mode will automatically start recording the moment it senses a vibration.

Dual Cameras – You also want a model that has a camera facing forward to record any kind of traffic incidents you may encounter and one that is rear facing to catch the activities of an unruly rider. 

Wireless streaming  – This is a nice to have feature because it allows you to view footage from your camera without having to remove a memory card. 

Dash cams can be found at many of the big box stores or online. For this kind of purchase I like Costco because of their excellent return policy, and they never charge a restocking fee! However, they do require you to pay a membership fee.

*Previously posted on July20th

Tomorrow: Uber starts letting drivers set their own price

Lyft Essential Deliveries Service

Yesterday, we talked about Uber’s latest delivery service, UberRush. They are not the only rideshare company getting into the delivery game. Back in April, 2020, Lyft also announced a new delivery service called Essential Deliveries.  

This new pilot program is aimed at government agencies, local non-profits, businesses and healthcare organizations and making deliveries of meals, groceries, life-sustaining medical supplies, hygiene products and home necessities to those in need, according to the Lyft Blog.

Currently, this service is being offered in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, and Seattle. There is talk of expanding the service to non-profit organizations for deliveries from food banks, senior meals programs and even the Girl Scouts delivering their cookies. It will be interesting to see how this project moves forward. 

*Previously posted on July17th

Tomorrow: How to choose a good wine

Uber Connect

Back on April 20th, Uber announced a new delivery service called Uber Connect. It’s for people looking for a same-day local delivery service. It could be a great solution during Covid-19 because deliveries can be made safely without any contact.

According to CNET, this new service is only available in Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa Bay and Washington, DC in the US. No word yet if there are plans on expanding to other parts of the country. This is yet another effort from Uber to diversify their business as rideshare has taken a dramatic drop in revenue. 

Now, Uber has tried this in the past under a different name, UberRush. This was a service only available in San Francisco and New York City. It was initially set up to delivery packages of 30lbs or less. Much of their core interest came from business to business deliveries. Uber shuttered the doors on UberRush at the end of June, 2018 according to TechCrunch. No specific reason was given for the shutdown but one can assume that the demand just wasn’t there to make it profitable.

It will be interesting to see if Uber Connect takes off in light of current the current pandemic and the need for social distancing.

*Previously posted on July16th

Tomorrow: Lyft Essential Deliveries Service

What’s in your trunk can affect your star rating

We all know that keeping the inside of your car clean and clear of clutter has a positive impact on your star rating. However, the trunk of the car is often overlooked!

I recently took an Uber and was carrying a few bags with me after some grocery shopping. The driver popped the trunk for me to place everything inside. When I saw the condition of his trunk, I was immediately uncomfortable. Rumbling in the trunk was what looked like a dirty infant car seat, a roll of paper towels that had come unrolled, a couple of used face masks stuffed in the corner, and dusty and dirty trunk mat. I reluctantly placed my bags back there after tying them closed.

First impressions matter! The inside of the car itself was clean but for the entire trip I kept thinking about my groceries and how I was going to have to immediately wash everything as soon as I got home. 

We’ve all been busy dealing with the effects of Covid-19.  You may have decided to go back to driving and did a full cleanup of the inside of your car but don’t forget about your trunk! The star ratings game can be a tough one. I nicely told him about his mess in his trunk and that I was a driver too and was only trying to help him. He took the feedback well. I did give him 5 stars and a tip but some riders will not be so understanding!

*Previously posted on June 5th

Tomorrow: The importance of a daily routine

Is it worth it to turn your car into a moving billboard?

Even though the picture chosen for this blog is of a car on a billboard, many drivers are choosing to add advertising to their rideshare cars — in essence turning their cars into billboards. With money tight for everyone, this could put some extra dollars in your pocket.

Advertising can be placed on the inside or outside of your vehicle. Let first start with inside:

Octopus is a tablet device that is installed on the back of the front seat headrest. It allows riders to play a trivia game while riding in the car. The questions are broken up advertising interludes which riders must watch in order to move on to the next question. Drivers can make up to $100.00 per month and which could be great for  drivers who do a lot of weekend work once Covid-19 is under control.

If you want to add advertising to the outside of your vehicle, Firefly is the biggest and most popular company offering an external billboard that is attached to the roof of your car. They are currently looking for rideshare drivers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Austin and Miami. They are an app based company and they are currently offering up to $300.00 per month to drivers. They will install the LED sign to your car making things hassle free. Before you decide to sign-up you do need to consider that you will no longer be able to take your car through the car wash. If you wash your car yourself, this might be a great choice for you.

Wrapify is similar to Firefly in that they are app based and their advertising is exterior. The major difference is they wrap your car, covering its exterior with advertising typically for a single product or company. You have likely seen something similar on busses used for public transit. Based on your driving habits you could earn between $200.00 to $400.00 per month. However, you do not want to do this if your car is coming up for a rideshare inspection as it will likely fail.  

Each of the above have certain requirements to participate so be sure to read all of the fine print. There are other options available, make sure you do your homework before making any decisions.

Tomorrow: What’s in your trunk can affect your star rating