It’s no secret that drivers are complaining about UBER, and they have been for some time now. Only about half of UBER drivers stick around after the honeymoon period and according to a 2017 report by The Information only 4% remain after a year. They get that sign-on bonus, the number of rides drops, their income plummets, and they disappear. UBER is not well known for doing things to retain drivers.
Yet there are many UBER drivers making big bucks and sticking it out for the long haul. What makes these drivers stand out from the rest? What is it that they are willing to put up with, or what is it about UBER that makes them think anything will ever change?
Let’s look first at the four biggest reasons drivers are leaving UBER in droves.
Passenger-centric Business Model
Many of the drivers feel that UBER spends too much time worrying about their passengers and not enough time worrying about the customers that really make the business work—the drivers. Without drivers, UBER is going nowhere fast. Yet historically they are much more focused on improving the passenger experience than the driver experience.
Many drivers feel as though they are mere slave labor. UBER doesn’t care about them, as far as they can see. And they have plenty of reason to think so if you look at the many situations that have come up over the last few years. UBER rarely backs up its drivers, and in fact has often taken away from drivers’ earnings.
However, you may have noticed that UBER is under new management. The previous CEO stepped down in January 2018, and the new CEO and other upper management seems to recognize the mistakes that were previously made. One important piece of evidence in the fact that the company is trying to be more driver-centric is the newly redesigned UBER driver app, which was developed with the input of hundreds of drivers.
UBER seems to frequently forget that drivers are also customers of the larger company. While UBER does offer customer support for drivers, it is seriously lacking. Often emails are responded to in a timely manner, but they may not resolve the issue. Frequently the reply emails are canned stock language that may not even apply to the situation.
Phoning customer support is also likely to get you nowhere. The customer support representatives seem to know very little about how UBER really works. Many drivers often wonder if these representatives have ever even used the service as a passenger if not a driver. The fact is, most haven’t. This lack of basic knowledge of how things work is a big problem when trying to get issues resolved.
Driver support is also lacking in the training department. While there are a few YouTube videos available from UBER to get you started, these really don’t give you all of the information you need to be successful. So, from day one you are lacking the support you need to really make money.
It seems as though UBER just keeps cutting fares. They try to say that everyone will benefit because drivers will get more rides if the fares are cheaper. However, most drivers will tell you that their income either didn’t change or it went down with the fare cuts. What’s worse is that the fare cuts are usually done without notice, without reason, and without really giving the drivers a chance to weigh in.
The last fare cuts were done in March 2017, and there doesn’t appear to be more fare cuts on the horizon. Some drivers complain that they don’t make as much money with Uber Pool or Surges as they feel they should, but drivers can opt out of those programs if they choose without hurting themselves.
Many Uber drivers complain about the ratings system. Passengers can give poor ratings even when the driver really hasn’t done anything wrong, and this hurts their ability to make money. In addition, UBER doesn’t show drivers their reviews under 5 stars, so drivers have no way of knowing if they are making a big mistake that is costing them ratings and tips. Transparency in the ratings system is improving, but it still has a long way to go.
So Why Stick Around or Sign Up as a First Time Driver?
In 2018 UBER really did show drivers that it is making an effort. While UBER might not be putting the drivers first, they are starting to recognize that driver retention is vitally important to their business model. The newly redesigned driver app, which was just released in August, is just one step in the right direction, but it’s a big step. Things are only going to get better from here, and the more rides and ratings you have under your belt when that happens, the more money you’ll make in the long run.
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What are some other reasons drivers are leaving the Uber hustle? Have you thought about no longer driving for Uber? Or are you on the other side of the fence and appreciate the income opportunities in the first place?
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