All platforms like to remind their drivers that a low acceptance rate is bad for business. But, does your Uber acceptance rate matter?
Are high acceptance rates actually required? Do acceptance rates really affect drivers?
Keep reading for RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook’s response to these questions and more.
Ubers New Math for Acceptance Rate
In a recent Forbes article discussing Ubers “new math”, one of the things mentioned was how Uber possibly selects not just how much they charge customers, but even how they choose the drivers that get the rides.
One concern we heard from this is that many drivers fear their acceptance rate may be too low, and Uber may deactivate them.
Though it’s true these companies make a big deal of your acceptance rate, constantly telling you when it’s low, and to get it up for added benefits, for the most part, as a driver, your acceptance rate does not matter.
Why Acceptance Rates Matter To Companies & Customers
For companies, your acceptance rate matters a lot.
This is why they try incentivizing you to keep the acceptance rate high by giving you rewards, more upfront information on requests, or direct customer service contact.
Customers even care about your acceptance rate, though they may not realize it at first.
When a customer puts an order in for delivery or a ride, they want to get that service as fast as possible. And the company wants the driver to be there as fast as possible, too.
This leads to happy customers and more orders going out because things are being done faster.
Why Your Acceptance Rate Doesn’t Really Matter
As a driver, your ultimate goal is to make as much money as possible. To accomplish that goal, the acceptance rate is not what matters.
If you get 100 requests that make $5 each, you’ve made $500, but if it takes you 45 hours to earn that, you’ve just made $11.12 an hour.
If however, you make $10 per order and do 50 orders, you also make $500 but do it in half the time making you $22.24 an hour.
You will not get $10 per request if you accept every order. Most likely you won’t get $10 per request if you accept half of the orders.
My highest acceptance rate is Uber Eats, and it’s 26%. My income, though, has gone way up since I started accepting less.
It used to be between $15 and $18 an hour, and now I make between $18 and $25 an hour. Anything less than $20 an hour I consider to be a bad day.
Cherry-picking your rides may seem scary at first because of how much pressure these companies put on you, but they do it for them. You have to continue to do what makes sense for you.
Why Your Acceptance Rate Could Matter
In the past, Uber would deactivate you if your acceptance rate got too low. After a lawsuit and policy change, though, that’s no longer the case.
However, that doesn’t mean that you get nothing for having a high acceptance rate.
First, Uber, Lyft, and other companies offer bonuses for doing so many rides and having a high acceptance rate.
If my rate was 70% or higher, I would qualify for Uber Pro, and I’d get things like discounts at 7-11, help with health insurance, vehicle discounts, and a lot of other things. Some of the benefits may be worth it to you, enough to decrease your pay to increase the benefits.
For most, the benefits are not worth the decrease in pay. Most of the benefits that the companies offer you can find on your own anyway, or with the added income, the discount doesn’t balance out anyway.
Make Customers Happy
Another reason you may consider increasing your acceptance rate is that it does make customers happy, and happier customers tip more. I’ve not seen enough of a benefit on this myself, but maybe it’s different in your market.
Find out why this driver accepts 99% of his ride requests:
No Constant App Reminders
Finally, it’s far less frustrating to have a higher acceptance rate than to have a low one. The apps won’t constantly remind you that your rate is low, but also you aren’t getting request after request and denying them.
Sometimes you deny so many requests that you start to feel you should just accept one that’s almost decent just so you have something to do.
Every time I do this, I regret it. It’s never worth it and always decreases my per-hour and per-mile earnings.
Is 100% Acceptance Rate, 0% Cancellation Rate Possible?
So, is there a driver who has a 100% Acceptance Rate (AR) and 0% Cancellation Rate (CR) on the Uber platform within the US?
Well, the internet is full of fakes, full of complainers regarding the gig economy but not this gentleman, Donnie from Biloxi, Mississippi who is able to drive in multiple neighboring states.
Initially, I was skeptical, until he sent me this screenshot:
In order to have this lustrous record, Donnie has his Auto Accept toggled on his Uber app. That is the only way to achieve this since one may miss a ping or two due to the short duration of the request screen, about 8-10 seconds.
He reminds me of the famous infomercial tagline, “Just Set It and Forget It.”
Just because he accepts every request, does not make Donnie your typical ant, he is smart like a fox.
He works the casino strip in Biloxi with a surgeon’s precision and his tips are nothing short of remarkable.
“I also receive about $400 or $500 in cash tips every week because it’s a great Mississippi casino market. We are surrounded by casinos especially which consist of the Golden Nugget, the Palace, Harrahs, the Hard Rock, Beaurivage, and one directly across the bridge, which is called the Scarlet. Pearl and Treasure Bay are down Highway 90. Yes, I also get ripped in casino chips which I have to go cash in once a week. Some people are crazy when they win a jackpot they actually have given me a $100 bill.”
Granted, Donnie is in a special market but we always say that each city is different, the key is for the driver to figure out how to work it.
Maximize their earnings by giving great service and having a great attitude. He is not your typical Uber/Lyft driver, I definitely think he is made for this gig.
Here are some screenshots of Donnie’s trips, he tries to stick to XL rides mostly but since he does not turn down any requests, he does his share of Uber X trips as well.
He has figured out the rhythm of his city, he has definitely excelled as an Uber driver.
Do Your Own Math
If you’ve been a driver that accepts every ride out of fear of being deactivated, losing benefits, or making less money, now is the time to sit down and do your own math to see if it’s actually worth it to continue to drive this way.
Take a week and drive only accepting requests that meet your minimum per mile amount and see if your income goes up or not.
If your acceptance rate gets too low you can always go back to accepting every ride and with enough time you’ll make it back to your 100% acceptance rate.
But, I think once you try it, you’ll realize how much more you make, how much you were losing before, and you’ll keep your acceptance rate lower.
Takeaway for Drivers
While your acceptance rate is somewhat important, it’s not necessarily vital to have a high acceptance rate to keep your job.
It’s up to you to weigh the perks of a high acceptance rate versus the earnings you make by being more choosy.
This can even differ from market to market, so if you haven’t given being picky a shot, try it out for a week or two and compare it to your average earnings when you accept all or most requests.
Keep in mind that your acceptance rate is different from your cancellation rate. All in all, play around with your options and weigh the pros and cons and how they affect your earnings.