Driver AdviceRatings

What Can I Do To Improve My Driver Ratings?

By January 12, 2015February 11th, 20208 Comments


    Ratings is a fun topic for me because I feel like my experience as a passenger has played a huge part in why I’m such a good driver.  I still maintain a 4.9 driver rating with Uber and a 5.0 on Lyft despite driving primarily during ‘the party hours’, holidays and special events.

    Similarly, I think my experience as a driver is also what makes this site so valuable.  Since I’m a driver, I’m able to empathize with a lot of the problems and situations you guys face on a daily basis.  It would be very difficult for me to talk all about what it’s like to juggle two apps on a Saturday night and how to make the most money driving if I wasn’t out there doing it myself.


    Clearly, there is a big disconnect between Uber/Lyft and their drivers since no one at HQ are drivers themselves.  That’s why you hear people at Uber say things like lower prices means more rides and more money for drivers!  Uh it doesn’t work that way dudes 🙂

    I don’t really blame the employees though.  Imagine working 40-60 hours a week at Uber and then going out and driving.  That seems like the last thing I would want to do.  In fact, I face a similar situation every day since I’m putting so much work into this site right now.  At the end of 4-5 hours of writing and reading about rideshare, I’d rather stay home and watch TV than go out and drive.  But I have to remind myself that putting myself in the driver’s shoes is what makes my articles and podcasts so valuable.  That same principle applies to drivers and taking rides as a passenger.

    Take A Ride As A Passenger

    This is probably the easiest thing to do to improve your ratings, so I recommend you do it ASAP and keep doing it from time to time.  Think of it as an investment and maybe even ask your CPA if you can write it off as business research.  I know I will be.

    Related Article: Top 6 Tax Deductions For Rideshare Drivers

    The reason why it’s so valuable to take a ride as a passenger from time to time is that you’ll be able to learn from highly rated drivers and you’ll also be able to learn from the low rated ones too.  Here are some things to watch out for during your ride:

    • How do they greet you?
    • Do they ask for directions or use GPS even if they know where they’re going?
    • Do they seem like they generally care for your well-being?
    • If they make a mistake or a wrong turn, do they let you know?
    • What do they do that you don’t do and vice versa?

    At its core, being a rideshare driver seems like a pretty easy gig.  You pick someone up, talk to them a little bit and drop them off at their destination.  But a lot of what causes low ratings are the subtle things, the things you don’t even think about.  Every driver knows to be nice, courteous and so forth so it’s often the little things that you don’t even realize you’re doing that are causing your low ratings.  And since Uber does a horrible job providing feedback, it’s up to you to figure it all out.

    Uber and Sidecar are still giving away free rides nationwide but Lyft is only giving out free rides in select cities (most major markets).  If you’d like to use my code to sign up, you can get your free rides here:

    Navigation, Navigation, Navigation

    The number one complaint from riders that give low ratings usually has something to do with navigation.  I know most of you think you are awesome navigators but I’d say less than half are really superb at this aspect of driving.  Here is a list of things that you should take care of immediately if your ratings are suffering (and it may even be a good idea to do them if they’re not).

    • Have your phone dash-mounted: Not only is this safer, but it also lets the passenger see that you’re following the GPS and not just making up some route in your head.  I like the Kenu Airframe or if you have a phablet like me, the Kenu Airframe +
    • Use Google Maps or Waze: I can’t tell you how many Uber drivers still use the stock navigation app that is an absolute POS!  I prefer Google Maps since it now integrates traffic information from Waze and the screen isn’t as cluttered.  You can set either one as your default navigation app by going into the app’s settings on Android phones.
    • Practice using your navigation: Your number one priority should be safety and navigation but you may find yourself conversing with passengers during a ride.  Navigation should be second nature to you so when you hear “Turn left in 800 ft.” you should know exactly how far 800 ft is without having to look at your screen.
    • Turn off your sound: Passengers really don’t need to hear the turn by turn directions over your music so if you are a real Magellan-like navigator, consider muting the directions.  Alternatively, you can also put a bluetooth piece in your left ear so that it’s hidden to the passengers but you still get audio from the turn by turn directions while music is playing on the radio.
    • Show city knowledge: Even though a lot of drivers are part-timers it can still pay huge dividends if you really know your way around town.  Memorize the top 10 landmarks in your city so that if a passenger gives you that destination, you can be on your way without hesitation.  I also like to use the trick that Rez shared in Episode 5 of the podcast (23:30)
    • Use your GPS: Once the ride starts, it’s difficult to enter any information into your GPS so make sure that if you have any doubt as to the destination, that you enter it in beforehand.  Even if I know where I’m going, I’ll still enter in the destination if it’s over 5-10 mins away for the traffic features.  And make sure you let your passenger know why you’re entering it.  I usually say something like: “Cool I know exactly where that is but I’m going to enter it just in case there’s traffic”.

    Invest In Your Business

    Now that you’re a business owner, you really need to think about investing in your business.  I think way too many drivers are too short-sighted when it comes to spending money on products and services that can help their business.

    My buddy Rez at R3Z solutions runs deactivated driver trainings for Uber markets across the country and he tells me that drivers in his markets will always wait until it’s too late to take his trainings.  He offers online training for active drivers, but most of his business comes from drivers who get deactivated and have to take his course to be considered again by Uber.

    No one is willing to invest until it’s too late and of course the deactivated driver training is a lot more expensive than the active driver training.  I provide a ton of content on this site for free but it will take some time to review it all and go through everything.  If you’d like to do a one on one consultation with me to improve your ratings, please contact me.  This is a new service that I’ve started offering in order to help drivers get their ratings up ASAP.

    (We’ll also have an extensive module about ratings in our new video course for drivers:

    Ratings Won’t Go Up Overnight

    The last thing to consider is that if you are a low rated driver, change isn’t going to happen overnight.  You need to employ all of these tactics and be patient since Uber calculates your rating based on your last 500 trips while Lyft calculates your rating based on your past 100 trips.

    So you can get your rating up pretty fast with Lyft, but let’s look at a real life example of what it would take to get your Uber rating up:

    Let’s say you’re a 4.6 rated driver on Uber and you have 500 trips under your belt.  If you get all 5 star ratings on your next 100 rides, what do you think your rating will increase to? (Assuming an even distribution of ratings over your last 500 rides)

    Your new rating will be 4.68.  It’s pretty tough to get 100 5 star rides so you can imagine it will probably take a couple hundred rides just to move your rating from 4.6 to 4.7.

    I’ve been getting lots of questions and e-mails about low ratings lately and unfortunately Uber and Lyft do not make it easy to know what’s bringing you down.  I know some drivers still get a weekly summary with feedback and comments from Uber but I’ve actually never received that summary.  So in my 9 months of driving, I’ve never seen a single comment or feedback from one of my riders.  With that lack of feedback, how are drivers supposed to know what they’re doing wrong?

    So if you’re in that position and you have no idea what you’re doing wrong, I’m here to help.  Here are the steps you should take if you want to improve your ratings and the order you should do them:

    1. Take a ride as a passenger
    2. Listen to my podcast with Rez
    3. Read all of my articles on ratings
    4. Sign up for our video course e-mail list (should be live in a month or so)
    5. One on one coaching with me

    A lot of people think investing in your business requires money but the bulk of your investment will likely be time.  It takes time to really get good at something and you’ll have to practice over and over until you have it perfected.  If you want to spend money that’s fine too but at the end of the day you are the one who’s going to need to actually go out and employ everything that you learn.  Nobody is going to be able to magically increase your ratings, it’s going to come down to the work you put in and how you execute what you’ve learned.

    What do you think is the best way low-rated drivers can increase their ratings?  Do you think anyone can be a 5 star driver if they put in enough work?


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    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.