How to Be a 5-Star Uber Driver

I have maintained a 5-star Uber driver rating after more than 500 trips with Uber, and I am here to tell you how I did it and why it’s important.

Some people might think the rating system is arbitrary, but it really does matter. It can be the deciding factor in benefits for Uber Pro and above.

If you look at the pictures below, you will see my ratings. For both Lyft and Uber, it is a solid 5.0 and for Uber Eats, I fall within the 98% satisfaction bracket.

uber, uber eats and lyft driver ratings
Max's Uber, Uber Eats and Lyft Driver Ratings

About Me and My 5-Star Uber Driver Rating

When I first began driving for Uber it was a bumpy start. There were nights I thought the money wasn’t worth the trouble.

As I struggled, I grew accustomed to how to drive and keep the customer happy. We all know that it can be extremely difficult at times.

Getting 500 trips with 5-star ratings is extremely challenging and newcomers, don’t worry about perfection!

If you are just beginning or want to find ways to ratchet up your rating I am here to show you how you can easily accomplish and maintain a rating of 4.85 or higher and why meeting the minimum requirements is important.

I frequently drive Uber Comfort and for me to qualify I not only need a good car, but I must maintain a 4.85-star rating or above, as well as complete 250 trips.

Doing Uber Comfort rides has allowed me the opportunity for more money. Individuals who take Uber Comfort tend to tip significantly more and the rides offer a greater amount per mileage and per minute.

Aside from that, there are Uber rewards that are worthwhile! The screenshot below shows how the gasoline discount has benefited me for the past several months.

Max's gas savings

Those 6 months resulted in $36.06 in savings on gasoline. (Lyft has a similar rewards program, although most of the article is going to focus on Uber)

5 Ways to Be a 5-Star Uber Driver

Here are five great ways to become a 5-Star Uber Driver:

  1. Have Proper Signage on Your Car
  2. Make Your Passengers Feel Secure
  3. Dress the Role and Act Professional
  4. Drive Carefully
  5. Leave the Ride with a Good Impression

1. Have Proper Signage on Your Car

When I first began driving for Uber and Lyft, I did not have a sign in my car that identified me as an Uber or Lyft Driver.

It took two incidents to teach me why having light-up signs in a vehicle is essential:

  • The first incident occurred at an airport. I had just switched from delivery to rideshare, and I rolled down my window as a lady caught the make and model of my car. I told her, “Hi, my name is Max, and I am with Lyft. Is your name Samantha?” She said “Yes, but I thought I ordered an Uber.” To which I replied, “My bad, I work for both, sorry about that!” After this bad introduction, the customer was a little rattled. She was from out of town and at an airport being picked up by me and I didn’t even get the right name of my company.
  • The second incident happened occurred at Walmart. I pulled up to the parking lot and I waited for two or three minutes. I texted the individual and that’s when I noticed a few people standing on the side of the store, holding their bags. I thought, maybe they didn’t recognize my car and I decided I should ask them if they are waiting on an Uber. That’s 100% wrong thinking but I hadn’t come to that realization yet. I asked two women if they needed an Uber, I then realized, from their viewpoint, I could be absolutely anybody and could be up to no good.

There was a solution! I bought two signs, one says Uber and because there are so many Uber signs on the road, I bought an additional green sign that has the words ridesharing on it. This assured me that I could text the rider the details of my car, and they could find me with ease.

Max's uber and rideshare signs

2. Make Your Passengers Feel Secure

I picked up an 83-year-old woman a few weeks back. When she came out of her house using a walker, I brought my car up to her so she wouldn’t have to struggle to get to the vehicle.

She asked my name and I replied, “Max,” and I was very cheerful.

On the ride to the hospital where she was going for dialysis, she shared with me that she always asks the name of the driver before she gets in the car, and on one occasion the individual remarked, “What business is it of yours?” She told me that she couldn’t get back in the house fast enough, it really upset her.

My point is that customers want to be reassured they are safe, and they want the common courtesy that the driver would expect if they were in the same situation. Because I can empathize, I understand how vital safety is to most riders.

3. Dress the Role and Act Professional

If you look like you just rolled out of bed, it might have a negative impact. Dress the part. It doesn’t mean you need a sports coat, but pajamas are a clear indicator that you don’t take your job seriously. Customers take this into consideration.

To further help illustrate my point: when you bring a rider to their destination, the rating will often be compared to all the other times that individual takes an Uber. That means you need to be at least as good as the average driver.

Ask the customer how they are doing and when they reciprocate, always smile, and say something positive. Trust me there are days when I don’t want to smile, there are times when I am tired, and I don’t want to make conversation.

However, there is nothing to be gained from negativity as an Uber driver. If you feel that way, try to get through your ride and clock out. The fact is, you will have to interact with some customers to remain highly rated. Some customers view the conversational aspect of the ride, as part of the experience, and they will be hard on drivers who do not converse. This job entails being a people person.

Before you begin the trip ask if they are ready. Also inform them that they can always ask you to turn the air up or down, based on their preference. By beginning the ride in this nature, you paint a positive light of yourself as somebody who is attentive, and good at the job.

I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m going to say it again, the customer is always right. It doesn’t matter if you’re hot and you want the air conditioner on. You are not the individual paying for the ride. If the customer wants the air off, then turn the air off. I’m not saying you won’t have disagreements, but it’s important that you do not let them bubble up to the surface.

4. Drive Carefully

Drive very carefully. You will likely be in areas (at times) with large populations. The last thing you want is an accident with a customer inside the car, and the second to last thing you want is to scare the customer.

Most passengers will go beyond rating you poorly if you drive in a way they conceive as reckless. You might be surprised, but regarding most safety issues, individuals will follow up with a call to Uber.

When I am driving in the rain and I have passengers in the vehicle I always get in the right lane, and when the rain starts really pouring, I will hit the emergency lights so that other vehicles can spot my car through the rain.

It is not necessary to pull over in most cases, but when vision is reduced, turning that on for the 30 seconds or 1-minute duration of the intense rainfall helps protect your vehicle, and reassures the passenger they are safe.

If you are driving throughout large or unfamiliar territory, be aware of school zones. Sometimes those can sneak up on you. Be on the lookout for any signs advising cautionary speeds around schools.

If a customer notices you disobeying basic traffic rules, I would think it very likely they will rate you poorly.

5. Leave the Ride with a Good Impression

When the trip ends and they get out of the car, tell them that you hope they enjoyed the ride and that they have a great day. Never let the customer get out of the car without wishing them farewell.

What you are in fact doing is ending the ride on a positive note and leaving the customer with a positive impression of the ride. It isn’t the fact that all rides must go well. It’s the fact that they just can’t go bad.

If you are pleasant and courteous, you are in fact deserving of a positive response when the customer rates you. The moments that a customer is going to usually remember the most are when they first get in the car and out of the car, aside from conversation.

Regardless, wishing a customer farewell, asking them to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything, and saying goodbye reflects well on drivers.

Keep in mind, they are about to have the chance to tip you. Wouldn’t you want to leave them on the brightest note?

BONUS TIP: What Not to Discuss with Passengers

In my opinion, it is best to not bring up politics or controversial issues in conversation with the passenger (this includes religious beliefs.)

I had one lady tell me that on one occasion in an Uber, the driver was listening to far-right conservative radio. This woman expressed how it made her feel uncomfortable, and at the end of the ride, your star rating will be affected by such a choice.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be a great conversationalist. If you are attentive and try to satisfy the customer’s needs, it will be reflected in your rating. If you fail to do so on a regular basis and your rating keeps falling, you will eventually have to worry about having your account deactivated.

I have found that riders who are unhappy go a step beyond rating you poorly on most occasions where dissatisfaction is strong. They will attempt to contact Uber management to relay their dissatisfaction.

Uber does a fantastic job of weeding out bad drivers quickly. Don’t be a weed!

My Fight to Have a One-Star Review Removed

After initially writing this article, I received my first one-star review in over 500 rides, dropping my rating to 4.99.

I have spent a lot of time trying to think of how I got that 1 star.

Max's 1 star rating

I go over the top with everybody, but sometimes, life isn’t fair. Surely, I thought to myself, Uber is, I was in for a surprise.

When I contacted Uber, I was given the run around that it would be reviewed by management and hopefully removed within 6 hours. Even after that phone call, I didn’t believe for one moment they would remove the 1-star rating that quickly.

And they didn’t, I had to call back.

When I called back, I was told the previous agent was wrong. Now, if the previous agent was wrong, what confidence is there that this agent was right?! I had no more and no less reason to believe the second individual.

I pursued and opened a ticket after the phone call was over. (The help section will let you reopen tickets that were not resolved on many occasions.)

Instead of readdressing my issue to the Uber employees, I typed a request that I wanted a call from management. They actually called me, and the woman was very friendly!

She informed me that the system is set up in a way that nobody in Uber or its management had access to or even the sheer ability to alter ratings, even if they wanted to.

She reviewed my account and there were messages sent over text before I picked up each customer that day and those texts painted me in a good light.

Regardless, it looks like I will have to do 500 more perfect handoffs before I am back to a perfect 5.0.