I get a lot of questions about the technical side of being a rideshare driver but today I’m going to talk about providing the ultimate experience. At its most basic level, being a driver really only requires two things: a smart phone and a car. But once you delve a little further and start enjoying it as much as I do, it feels good to provide your passengers with that extraordinary level of service.
When I first started driving for Lyft, I was big on giving out water, gum, mints, candy and pretty much everything else under the sun. But the only problem with that type of generosity is that you are constantly spending money to replace those items once they are consumed. It’s not a ton of money but when you’re trying to drive efficiently and maximize your earnings per hour, those extras can hamper that goal.
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I also found that once I stopped giving out those extras, my tips stayed at about the same level and my rating remained stellar. To me, it is apparent that riders cherish the experience a lot more than the freebies. You can provide a great experience without bribing your passengers with candy.
Figuring Out What Passengers Want
Using that knowledge, I set out to figure out what do passengers want in a driver? Luckily, I’m a big Uber/Lyft user myself so I already had some insight into what makes a memorable rideshare experience. Today I’m going to share with you some of the items I keep in my car at all times that will help add to the overall awesome rideshare experience.
You might not think that some of these items will make much of a difference, but from a rider’s perspective, something as simple as an AUX cord can change the entire experience. If you haven’t already taken a ride as a passenger, I recommend that you do so ASAP and you’ll be able to learn more than I could ever teach you.
The neat thing about all these items is that even though I use a lot of them during my personal driving time, I’ll be able to deduct them on my taxes since they’re technically a business expense.
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1. AUX Cord – 2 Pack for $5 on Amazon
I already mentioned it but if you drive during the party hours, this should be the first thing on your list! Not only is it super cheap, but passengers love being able to play their own music. If your partying days are long behind you, trust me when I say that AUX cords are key to having a great time. People have very different tastes in music and by handing over the controls, you can really make the experience that much better for your passenger.
And if you have a newer car with built-in Bluetooth you should still get an AUX cord since pairing new devices is always a hassle. Most passengers that want to play their own music are going to be intoxicated and impatient so don’t be cheap, get an AUX cord. I actually use a cheap tape cassette adapter to play music off my passengers’ phones.
1b. Charging Cords
This one should be pretty self-explanatory so I won’t say too much but for that occasional passenger who just needs a little juice, charging cords can really come in handy. I carry an Android and iPhone 4 charger, sorry iPhone 5 users 🙂
2. Bluetooth FM Transmitter – $37 on Amazon
If your car doesn’t have an AUX outlet, this is probably your next best bet. I actually bought one of these for myself a year ago and I love it. You have to spend a little bit of time at the start finding a station that works well in your area but after that you’re set. I can take phone calls, listen to music, get driving directions and more via this device. And if you love listening to loud music like I do, it even sounds great at very high amplitudes.
3. Trunk Caddy – $24 on Amazon
My wife actually got me this for Christmas last year (I’m weird) and I love it. I’m pretty spontaneous so I always have a bunch of random things in my car: a change of clothes, basketball shoes, snorkeling gear, yoga mats, etc. I also have a pretty big trunk since I drive an SUV but this caddy fits nicely in the corner so I can still do things like airport runs, transport groceries or whatever else needs to be done. The last thing you want to do is open up your trunk for a passenger and have it be a mess. This is a good way to stay organized and look professional at all times.
4. Vomit Bags – 50 Cents a Piece
This is something that I invested in when I first started driving because if you drive enough late nights, it’s pretty much bound to happen at least once. I get e-mails all the time asking me about what to do when someone throws up in your car and my advice is to take the proactive approach. Buy vomit bags ahead of time and let all your late night passengers know you’ve got them covered just in case! If anything, it will be a good conversation starter since the passenger will probably ask if your car has ever been thrown up in before.
The last thing that I make sure to have on hand at all times are my Uber and Lyft referral cards. Now technically you’re not supposed to be promoting competitors when you’re driving for Lyft or Uber but I know plenty of people who do it and make good money doing so. If anything though, make sure you have a few cards on hand so that if people in the car haven’t signed up yet, they can do so with your code. And if you ever get a new passenger, you can actually still give them a free first ride code (even if you’ve already accepted the ride) but it will have to be someone else’s code, yours won’t work. I like to give them my wife’s code 🙂
You can learn more about my ultimate passenger referral strategy here.
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So what do you guys think of my rideshare survival kit? Is there anything I left out or do you think providing extras like this aren’t necessary?
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-The Rideshare Guy