3 more apps every rideshare driver should have on their phone – part 2

Today’s blog is part 2 of 2 on what apps every rideshare drive should have on their phone. 

Pretty much everyone has Google Maps on their phone as it is a rideshare basic for all of us.  However, another great GPS app is Waze. Both of these apps are free but one of the big differences is the route the Waze app chooses to get you to your destination. With Google Maps you are more likely to see yourself using a predictable route using freeways/highways and side streets. With Waze your route might take you off the beaten path. I like to say that Waze will take you ways you never thought of going. (I love a good dad joke.)

Waze also provides you with a lot more detail on traffic, car crashes, road construction and other problems on the road. This is also the reason why I prefer Google Maps because there is sometimes too much information popping up on your phone screen and it can be distracting. Both are effective at getting you to your destination quickly. Give them both a try so you can determine which one works best for you.

It is not only important to know how to get around your city or town – you also need to know how to get around your finances. Quickbooks is the financial app must-have for us drivers. We are running our own businesses and we need to have an app to track mileage costs and expenses, and something to help us with quarterly tax preparation. This app can do all of that and more. The cost is around $10.00 per month and is worth every penny. It is best to have it loaded on both your laptop and on your phone so you can make the most of the features it provides. (If you are looking to track your mileage, we recommend MileIQ; Stride is another popular option.)

The apps we’ve recommended so far have you well on your way to both geographic and financial organization, but how do you prepare for unexpected car problems? Many of you may already be AAA members, but there are other options that are now available if you are not a AAA member. For example, Honk offers 24/7 roadside assistance by connecting you to local services, with help arriving in 15-30 minutes. They will help you out with common break-down problems, like a flat tire or a dead battery – or a towing service, if needed.

*Previous posted on July 7th

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

3 apps every rideshare driver should have on their phone – part 1

Apps on our phones have really changed so much of what we do in our lives. This also holds true for us rideshare drivers. Simply having an app with GPS has truly been a game changer. But beyond a GPS app, what other apps should we have on our phones that will help us be successful while driving around our cities and towns?

One of the must have apps is Mystro* and unfortunately is only available on Android. If you are an iPhone user, there is a work around – by tethering your IPhone to a second android phone. Mystro allows users to seamlessly look for rides on both Uber and Postmates platforms at the same time. You can accept trips hands-free and filter out certain kinds of trips like UberPool (currently suspended due to Covid-19). The app also allows you to filter trips by tier type. For instance, if you only want to accept Uber XL trips from the Uber app, you can do that. It is a great app to have but it is not free. You can either pay a small fee per ride, pay by the month or pay up front for a year. The choice is yours, but this app will quickly pay for itself because it will help to keep you busy making more money.

Because you are going to be busy, you will need to purchase more gas. GasBuddy allows you to find the nearest gas station to you when you are running low. And the app is free! If you need directions, it will map out directions using GPS. Now, if you don’t mind driving a little further, GasBuddy will also help you find the gas station with the cheapest price. Their price tracker is constantly being updated and I have found the app to be pretty accurate.

Just because you are at a gas station doesn’t mean their restrooms are in service.  All too often when you need to “go” you are faced with an “Out of Order” sign hanging on the facility’s door. Having the Flush App on your phone will quickly find you a place to “go.” This free app uses crowdsourcing to locate which restrooms are open, so it is pretty up to date. You can even search for restrooms with internet connections. Given that so many of your regular go-to places are likely closed right now, using this app is exactly what we need during times like these. 

*Please note the endorsement of these apps was made without any form of compensation.

*Previously posted on July 6th

Tomorrow: 3 more apps every rideshare driver should have on their phone!

Help for rideshare and delivery drivers from a GPS app called Beans

GPS has played a major role in the growth of rideshare and food delivery and frankly, we would be lost without it. One problem I have is that my GPS can get me to someone’s building but not tell me where in their complex their unit is? With so many people working from home, making a food delivery to their unit’s door can be a real challenge and can eat up a lot of time.

The Beans App may be the solution for finding a unit’s location quickly and easily. The app provides an overview of the building’s layout, and shows you what floor the unit is on and where the unit can be found. The app also lets you know if there is free parking nearby, making deliveries or waiting for a rider a lot easier. 

This app is available on both from both the App Store and Google Play and it is fairly well rated with a 4.1 star rating. The app has few glitches but their team of developers are quick to resolve issues once aware.  If you are up for one more app on your phone to help with rideshare and deliveries, this one would be a great choice!

Tomorrow: Are you getting enough tips?

3 tips on dealing with customer service at both Uber and Lyft

Almost everyone has a horror story of dealing with the customer service department of a big corporation. All too often we feel like we are not being heard. The person responding to your issue on phone or via email just doesn’t get it. It can be so frustrating!

Your feeling of frustration could very well be valid but are you giving that representative all of the information they need in the most effective way? When it comes to getting what you want, being an effective communicator is truly key!

Teamsters TNC has a list of 10 tips for dealing with Lyft’s customer services. From the list I have chosen my top 3 tips that we as customer all need to remember, regardless of who we are contacting to resolve our issue:

  1. Be Courteous and Polite While Interacting With Your Representative – You may have been on the phone for what felt like forever but keep that to yourself. Expressing your anger at the beginning of any conversation is not a good strategy. You want the customer service representative to want to help you. The site says you should consider, “the person on the other end is a human being and they are just doing their job. Customer support agents are bound by their company’s rules, so things are not up to them. Taking the time to get to know your customer service rep’s name (at the very least) can help ensure that things progress more favorably and with greater ease. When on the line (or typing), showing a basic degree of politeness can make for a more pleasant interaction for both you and the representative.”
  2. State Your Problem Clearly and Exclude Extraneous Info – When we are frustrated we often ramble on about details that do not effectively communicate the problem. This applies whether we are communicating our issue(s) over the phone or in an email. An effective tool is to use bullet points in an email or when using the phone. Write your bullet points out so your message is clear.
  3. Try to Use Proper Formatting, Grammar, and Punctuation – When composing an email, using proper grammar will help communicate your issue effectively. This site suggests that, “Your writing does not have to be perfect, as customer support agents are trained to interpret messages that have been written on mobile or in a hasty fashion. Taking the time to ensure that your email is written correctly can help make things more clear for your customer service rep and speed up your issue resolution.”

As with so many things in life, in order to get what you want you have to know how to ask for it! And remember that it is not just what you say but how you say it!

*Previously posted on 9/10/2020

Tomorrow: 5 things I wish I knew before becoming a rideshare driver.

3 super cool gadgets for your car!

Between apps and gadgets there is always something new that has people talking. Who doesn’t love something that makes our lives easy? Travel Awayor Amazon has a wide range of new gadgets for your car that are all pretty cool. I’ve chosen the top 3 that I believe every rideshare driver would love.

Handpresso Auto Hybrid Coffee Maker – Coffee makes the world go round and this is especially true for drivers. According to the site, “Designed for car use, this coffee maker plugs into the cigarette lighter, delivering a perfect barista-quality espresso in just 2 minutes. The product is compact enough to fit in the cup holder and works with both ESE pods and ground coffee.” As we all know, coffee isn’t cheap and neither is this gadget, cost – $199.00.

AutoXscape Life-Saving Tool – We are concerned about safety and this device can give anyone who drives peace of mind. “Made of military-grade aluminum, this emergency 3-in-1 car tool serves as a window breaker, seatbelt cutter, and emergency flashlight – all of which can be vital in desperate situations.” Cost – $49.99. This gadget would easily fit in your glove box for quick access.

Alexa-Enabled Roav VIVA Car Charger – Many new cars come with voice activated smart devices but yours may not. That however doesn’t mean you have to go without. According to Travel Away, “The first Alexa-enabled car charger, this dual-port USB device plugs into your cigarette lighter, juicing your stuff while also offering access to over 25,000 Alexa skills. In addition to voice-controlled navigation, hands-free calling, and music streaming, it also offers you the opportunity to remotely control smart devices in your home.” Cost – $28.80

Things aren’t easy right now but having anyone or all 3 can make your life just a little bit better!

Tomorrow: The top 10 things every car owner should know!

What campaigns has Uber and Lyft made donations to?

s rideshare drivers, we give a huge percentage of the money we earn to the rideshare platform we operate under. That money is spent in many ways including on political candidates and political parties. 

This blog post is not about picking political sides and we are not going to tell you where to cast your vote. However, it is interesting to follow the money trail of both Uber and Lyft and see where they spend their political dollars.

According to Open Secrets, Uber has given more than 480K to the Democratic Party and nearly 120k to the Republican Party. The breakdown for Lyft isn’t quite as clear but they have spent more than 700k in political donations. It is important to note that this money came from the employees as well as the company itself

Knowing where your money is being spent may not affect which platform you choose to drive under but it may give you second thoughts next time you decide to drive!

Tomorrow: What new sports were added to the now delayed 2020 Olympic Games

Some rideshare companies you may not have heard of

Obviously, we all have heard of both Uber and Lyft but are these the only players? There have been companies like Juno, who have tried and failed to find a place in the market – but that doesn’t mean you need to stick with Uber or Lyft as the only options.

SpotOn has been around for a few years with service in the 5 boroughs of New York City. They are going after riders who wish to ride with their pets or even have their pet transported to a vet or grooming appointment on their own. Their rides are typically scheduled in advance so as a driver, you have the ability to plan your day around your assigned rides. They offer driver pay higher than both Uber and Lyft and have plans for expansion to other cities in the US.

HopSkipDrive is another rideshare company that has been around since 2015. They offer service in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Colorado, Washington, D.C. and they too have plans for further expansion. They provide parents with a safe way to transport their children by themselves. All rides are scheduled by the parent and all drivers go through an extensive vetting process for safety. HopSkip Drive has partnered with many schools districts and counties to provide a safe alternative transportation for kids.

Wingz has also been around for several years and operates in 16 metropolitan areas throughout the US. They offer scheduled flat rate riders as well as delivery and errand trips for the customers. Users have the ability to select a favorite driver or errand person creating an advantage for both their customers and drivers alike. Drivers may find their cancellation policy very attractive as the driver receives the full fare if the scheduled ride is canceled with less than a two hour notice!

If you are looking for an alternative rideshare company, you do have choices and there are new ones popping up all the time.

Tomorrow: What are the top 3 collectables in the US?

AB5 in California and what it really means

According to Investopedia “California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) extends employee classification status to gig workers. Companies must use a three-pronged test to prove workers are independent contractors, not employees. AB5 is designed to regulate companies that hire gig workers in large numbers, such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.”

Both Uber and Lyft have been rigorously fighting the implementation of this lawn because it  classifies gig workers as employees. Workers would be entitled to a minimum wage, expense reimbursements, employee benefits, rest breaks, and the other benefits afforded to employees under California state law. In that sense, the bill creates a level playing field between those working in the gig economy and those hired as regular employees.

However, gig workers like rideshare drivers would be expected to adhere to a new set of standards regarding how they perform their work. A major appeal of being a driver for a rideshare or a delivery company is the ability to choose when and when and where you would like to work. This flexibility would not be possible under this ruling.  

Both Uber and Lyft received a reprieve from the law’s implementation on August 20th. The BBC reports that “The court has ordered Uber and Lyft to both submit their plans for hiring employees by early September, and oral arguments in the case are set for mid-October.”

The final results of this ruling will impact the rideshare industry for years to come beginning in California with other states to follow!

Tomorrow: Lyft is providing sneeze guards for drivers

Benefits for gig workers

Working in the gig economy means you do not have a boss hanging over your shoulder and you have a tremendous amount of freedom. You work whenever you want which is typically what draws people to rideshare and food delivery to name a few. However, you do give up a lot especially when it comes to benefits!  

Recently, I discovered a new company that is offering help to gig workers for a monthly charge. The company is called Kover and I have no affiliation with them but I do find that what they offer could be helpful to many. Their quoting system is based on your data that comes directly from Uber, Lyft, Amazon Flex, Instacart, Postmates, Shipt, and others. Their services include things like sick leave, health insurance, help with deactivation, record keeping, and more. One of the most interesting benefits is income replacement if you are temporarily deactivated from an app. All in all, I believe it is worth your time to check them out!

Tomorrow: Are you following these steps when wearing a mask?

Uber Premium begins 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 will launch Uber Premium as the sole elevated option for riders. 

For riders it will make their choice simple. Furthermore, the additional wait time of up to 10 minutes will remain.

What this change means for drivers is unclear. The big question is the rates: Will drivers be paid based on Uber Black or Select rates? Does it mean more drivers will now be able to drive as Uber Premium drivers? And lastly, will Uber be changing what vehicles will qualify? There are a lot of questions to be revealed over the coming weeks.

Be sure to check back in for the answers. 

Tomorrow: What to look for when buying a mask?