Glassdoor is a website where you can review almost any and all employers, past and present. It’s a valuable tool for job searchers around the country, but did you know Glassdoor also allows reviews of Uber and Lyft by drivers? Today, senior RSG contributor John Ince shares a story about Glassdoor and offers you an opportunity to share your ratings based on Glassdoor’s reviewing system.
Rating the Uber/Lyft Driving Experience
Recently, I had a passenger who works for Glassdoor – the corporate/employer-rating company. We had an enlightening conversation in which he revealed something very much in character of the ongoing narrative about Uber.
According to the passenger, Uber received a flood of negative ratings from drivers awhile back. Uber was concerned about the effect of those dings on their corporate image and their recruiting efforts of new drivers.
Remember, Uber has a huge driver churn problem with half of all drivers giving up driving within 12 months. Uber also invests heavily in driver recruitment, which is why you probably see their ads all over the web and any smartphone social media apps you browse. These ads often promise, or “guarantee” bonuses of $250 – $1000.
With all this at stake, Uber contacted Glassdoor and asked to have those negative drivers’ ratings removed from Glassdoor’s website. Uber’s argument was that since drivers are contractors and not employees, they shouldn’t be included in an employee rating system.
This might seem strange to drivers who contact Uber seeking to have negative ratings from passengers removed from their records, because Uber’s standard response is something like, “We can’t do that.” Yet here they were asking Glassdoor to do exactly that. Essentially, Uber was attempting to censure unfavorable ratings from drivers who were displeased about their experience with the company.
When I heard this, I asked the obvious question, “Did Glassdoor remove the ratings?”
“No.” he said emphatically, “Glassdoor has strict policies against exactly what Uber was asking us to do. We refused.”
“Was that the end of it?” I asked.
“No, Uber persisted and eventually we agreed to create a separate category for contractors. So now you’ll see a note at the top of all these reviews indicating the reviewer is a driver contractor.”
“So the ratings remained, but Uber succeeded in extracting a concession.”
“Exactly,” he said.
Ratings are a sensitive subject with drivers. When you’re first on the road, the threat of a negative rating hangs over the entire experience, like a guillotine blade, because if you drop below 4.6, you’re deactivated.
Uber, to their credit, recently revised their policy as part of their 180 days of change. Now the app asks the passengers for an explanation if they rate drivers below 5 stars. If the reason is something the driver can’t control – like excessive fare or bad traffic – the rating is removed.
For me, this has made the experience more positive. In fact I don’t think I’ve gotten anything below five stars since it was instituted. But for a long time those rating were a constant source of tension. Nevertheless, there’s a certain audacity for Uber going to Glassdoor – through the back door – when their policy at the time prevented their own people from cutting any slack to drivers.
As a veteran of driver message boards, which include some pretty salty language, the Glassdoor ratings are pretty tame. They ask drivers to list both pros and cons so the reviews come across as more balanced. Overall, driver contractors have rated Uber 3.3 stars. You can read the driver reviews here.
Employees of Uber, on the other hand, gave Uber an overall rating of 4.2 stars. You can read the employee reviews here.
Sampling of the Comments from Uber Drivers
I worked at Uber as a contractor. You can make good money if you plan. But, they’ll cut you off for anything.
They could care less if you’re driving for them.
Wear and tear on your car and not enough cash coming in to compensate for wear and tear.
Misleading at peak times such as New Years Eve. Hinting at money to be made and then you can’t even come close.
They could care less of who you are in real life and only look at cold impersonal info .. no forgiveness
Horrible Driver Support
Company steals money from contractor by making them drive to pick up orders that have already been picked up or cancelled but the driver receives no compensation for travel,
Difficulty contacting anyone on the phone, no outline on what to do if issues occur such as a missing item,
Not enough pay unless it’s during peak hours, often issues with app, unsupportive of driver & passenger.
Need better driver support, actual care for your contractors, pay contractors more, offer benefits or discounts on insurance or car maintenance, etc.
Oh where to start. Uber used to be a lucrative side or main gig. Now, its only good if you’re 100% full time or only work holidays for side money. If this were 2+ years ago, my view would be completely different.
Oversaturation: This is the end goal of Uber. Everyone is a driver. The downside to this is, there are too many cooks in the kitchen at once.
Rating My Driver Experience
Never one to shy away from controversy, I hereby offer up my rating and review of my driver experience with Uber and Lyft. I used Glassdoor’s 10 criteria and applied them to driving for Uber and Lyft. (For those who have bought and read my book, Travels With Vanessa, you’ll see a few slight changes from that section in my book.)
1. Compensation/pay – ✭ ✭ – This is perhaps the greatest deception of the whole experience. Uber holds this out as a good paying job. For me, it hasn’t been, especially after you factor in gas, car maintenance, insurance and risks of getting at ticket or being in an accident.
Yes, sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes we have a good night or a good week, and make more than we expected. Yes, bonuses and surges and Quest can sweeten the pot. But remember this – Uber and Lyft have been disrupting a taxi business that was not profitable without artificially limiting drivers on the road through the medallion system. Now with drivers flooding the streets, it gets harder and harder to make good money at this gig.
2. Benefits – ✭ – This is the subject of the lawsuits in California courts. Presently there are no health care or medical benefits through this gig.
3. Job security – ✭ – If it were possible to rate no stars on this one I would. At any moment your job could dissappear because of a technical glitch or a false passenger accusation. Even if it’s not your fault – if the passenger complains vociferously, the company will always choose the least risky alternative, which is to deactivate the driver. You’re gone: no appeal, no questions asked – just gone.
4. Feeling Safe on the Job – ✭ – Driving for taxis is one of the least safe jobs ever… driving for Uber/Lyft is only marginally safer. A drunk doesn’t have to physically assault you to make you feel unsafe.
5. Balance work/life issues – ✭✭✭✭ – I might give five stars here except for one issue – if you want to make the most money you need to drive during surge periods, which are generally late nights and/or weekends. This often means you don’t get home until 3 a.m. and you wake up the next morning with that feeling.
6. Communication between employees and senior management – ✭ – Clearly the most de-humanizing aspect of the job. In 18 months of driving for Uber and Lyft, I have only had one personal interaction with an actual employee of the company – not counting passengers who work for the company. To the companies, you’re a number. You’re a means to improving their revenue rate. That’s all.
7. Respect – ✭✭✭✭ – Passengers are by and large respectful of drivers. It’s an exciting new opportunity to connect with a stranger and share stories. That’s the reward: the ability to have genuine human connections and get glimpses of peoples’ lives – rich, entertaining, enlightening stories that could fill an entire book series.
8. Excitement / Challenge – ✭✭✭✭✭ – It’s definitely challenging. Being a driver requires great resilience. You have to go with the punches, defuse potential conflicts, react on the spot to unexpected developments. You’ve got to balance identities. You’re a psychologist, an improvisor, a navigator, a coach, a friend and a surrogate parent – all rolled into one. Most of all, you’ve got to learn how to just let it go and move on to the next ride. Definitely exciting.
9. Recognition – ✭✭ – For a while there was a cachet to being a driver largely because Uber and Lyft were so much in the news. But let’s face it folks – driving a taxi is not considered one of the great careers.
10. Career Advancement Opportunities – ✭ – None … zero … zilch … absolutely no opportunity for career advancement.
✭ Overall Rating – 2.2 Stars
Your turn now! How would you rate your driving experience with Uber and/or Lyft?
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-John @ RSG