Uber is releasing a new way to reward drivers with increased earnings and discounts on everything from gas to college tuition. This new program is called Uber Pro, and today, senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur breaks down how this new program works and how it will help drivers earn more.
I count myself among the thousands of driver who feel undervalued, under-appreciated and underpaid. While Uber and Lyft have paid lip service to appreciation of their drivers, very little has changed in how much we are paid or how much we are recognized.
Recently, I sat in on a presentation in which Uber unveiled their new Uber Pro program in an effort to remedy many of the issues and complaints rideshare drivers experience.
Watch: Jay Breaks Down How Uber Pro Works
Uber Acknowledges Drivers’ Concerns
Uber listed as the top three driver concerns:
1. Being Recognized
We as drivers often feel like chattel. We work tirelessly driving passengers from point A to point B. Our driving experience is gamified so that Uber and Lyft can get the most out of us as possible.
For those of us who have driven for many years, racking up thousands of trips and a high rating, we are treated just like the new guys, often getting less desirable bonuses due to our allegiance.
2. Earn More Money
Wouldn’t it be great if we all worked on a level playing field, and those of us who performed better than average were paid a little bit more? Every sales organization has rewards for top performers in the form of cash and prizes. With Uber and Lyft, there has never been any incentive to perform at an elite level, other than to make more money by working more hours.
3. Off-Road Ambitions
According to Uber, over 50% of drivers are entrepreneurs who are not only driving but also working on their next big venture.
Uber asked themselves the question: Is it possible for us to support our entrepreneurial-minded drivers so that they can drive and also move forward in the pursuit of their long-term goals and visions?
Another Concern – How To Reduce Churn
This is certainly at the front and center of both Uber and Lyft’s business plans. According to a Stanford study, 68% of Uber drivers quit within 6 months. This means Uber and Lyft must constantly be looking for and enticing new drivers with expensive incentives.
If either company can solve this problem and keep more of their experienced drivers beyond the six-month mark, stability and profitability will be increased. Now let’s look at what Uber Pro is offering the driver and ask ourselves the question: Will Uber Pro keep more drivers driving for Uber and engender newfound loyalty?
Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have
Understanding Uber Pro – The Basics
Uber Pro is a program to reward drivers who perform at a high level. Drivers will be divided among four categories based on driving activity and performance. Those categories are:
- Partner (The Starting Level)
- Diamond (The Highest Level)
Each category is achieved based on a point system. To unlock rewards, drivers need to maintain a 4.85 star rating and a low cancellation rate. Drivers earn points during fixed 3-month periods, and the points they earn in one period go toward unlocking status (and more rewards) in the next. Drivers earn points on every trip they complete with Uber.
For example, this ride contributes 3 points.
Uber will also provide drivers with status updates:
So we can see here in this example that 1,500 points are required to achieve the highest level of Diamond. Required points at each level will vary by market.
What Do Drivers Get from Uber Pro?
What is in it for the drivers? Can drivers make more money? Can drivers save money on expenses? What other goodies are included? This chart shows you what you can earn based on your achieved category:
Let’s break this down to dollars and cents. Let’s say you are a full-time driver. You drive for 40 hours a week and earn $1,500 per week. How would this new program impact you?
Let’s assume you are at the highest level, the Diamond level. We can now add 6% to your earnings. That would be an extra $90 in your pocket each week. Over one year (50 weeks), that is an extra $4,500. Thank you, Uber!
Let’s say you spend $20 per day, or $100 per week on gas. The gas savings of 5% is $5 per week, or $250 per year. It’s not a great deal of savings, but it is still a savings. It’s important to note that this gas savings applies to any gas you purchase, at any gas station, using your Uber Debit Card.
You can often find similar discounts with a gas credit card, which is a good idea if you do a lot of driving.
A Few Extra Perks from Uber Pro
As you look at the rewards sheet above, you will notice that the top two levels, Platinum and Diamond, will be given valuable information upon accepting a ride. You will be told the length and direction of the ride. I consider this to be a huge improvement in Uber’s program.
If I am focusing on short rides during rush hour, I can very easily cancel a long ride that takes me out of the downtown area. This was never available before. This puts quite a bit of control back in the hands of the driver.
Uber also guarantees faster airport pickups for Platinum and Diamond drivers, which will also increase the profitability and earnings per hour of those designated drivers. Platinum and Diamond drivers will skip the line entirely to get priority pick ups. This is another excellent incentive.
The Arizona State University (ASU) Connection
If you maintain the Platinum or Diamond level, you will be entitled to free online courses at ASU. This benefit can help you or a member of your family earn a college degree while you are driving.
This is quite an opportunity for drivers: free education from an accredited university. Uber is excited about this new offering. I think they are on to something here. I believe this will not only allow drivers to further their own education, or that of a family member, but it will also engender tremendous loyalty towards Uber for providing the opportunity.
Walk Before They Run
Uber will be trying out this program in a few select markets. This will be an opportunity to try it out, work out the bugs, and tweak it as necessary. If you are not in one of the trial markets, sit tight as Uber expects to roll this out nationally very soon:
Uber Pro will be live for 100% of drivers in Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago and Phoenix to start. The other cities, Denver, Orlando and Tampa, and the state of New Jersey will be at 50% to start. If you are one of the 50% of drivers chosen in Denver, Orlando, Tampa or New Jersey, you will be notified via the app.
Eligible drivers can learn about Uber Pro, see available rewards, and track progress toward their goals directly in the rewards section of the redesigned driver app.
Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have
Summary of Uber Pro
Good for Uber for talking to drivers and listening to their feedback. With Uber Pro, drivers who drive often and well will be rewarded with better pay and a nice collection of ancillary benefits, none the least of which is time and direction notification on rides.
If you have been an Uber driver, this gives you even more reason to stick with Uber. If you are like me, a Lyft driver, then this new offering provides an opportunity to reevaluate my driving options and make an educated decision. Uber has certainly made it a close race. For that, we can all be grateful.
Readers, what do you think of Uber Pro? Will it benefit you?
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-Jay @ RSG
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