It’s no secret that drivers are complaining about UBER, and they have been for some time now. If you look at the statistics, you wouldn’t believe how many uber drivers are quitting year after year.
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.
Many UBER drivers are 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 Uber drivers are quitting 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 people that really make the business work—the drivers. Without drivers, UBER is going nowhere fast. But 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. So, it’s not a surprise to see that many Uber drivers are quitting.
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 seem to recognize the mistakes that were previously made. A critical piece of evidence is the fact that the company is trying to be more driver-centric. They started through the newly redesigned UBER driver app, which was developed with the input of hundreds of drivers. In addition, the company has started deactivating riders with low ratings. This has been a big help for drivers, as they won’t have to worry about dealing with difficult passengers anymore.
UBER seems to frequently forget that drivers are also customers of the larger company. While UBER does offer customer support for drivers, it is severely lacking. Often, emails are responded to on time, but they may not always 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 works. 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 learn how to become a successful Uber driver. So, from day one, you lack the support, you need to really make money. Unfortunately, some of us struggle. With no help from the company, many Uber drivers are quitting. This is also the reason some drivers take multiple gigs to make ends meet.
Fare Cuts is a Major Reason Uber Drivers are Quitting
It seems as though UBER just keeps cutting fares. Furthermore, Uber has changed its multiplier surge to flat rate surge. 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 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.
Uber Drivers Are Quitting Because of Its Rating System
Many Uber drivers complain about the rating system. Passengers can give poor ratings even when the driver hasn’t done anything wrong, and this hurts their ability to make money. Also, UBER doesn’t show drivers their reviews under 5 stars, so they have no way of knowing if they are making a big mistake that is costing them ratings and tips. Even the ability to dispute or remove just three to five ratings per month would be a vast improvement.
Transparency in the rating system is improving, but it still has a long way to go. And for many, that’s enough reason to leave.
So Why Stick Around or Sign Up as a First Time Driver?
In 2018, UBER did show drivers that it is making an effort. While UBER might not be putting the drivers first, they are starting to recognize that many Uber drivers are quitting and 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.
Four major reasons —that feel minor now— to Stick it Out
Uber Pro —it’s not great now, but…
As we mentioned before, UBER has shifted its focus —even if it is ever so slightly— back to the drivers. Why? Because they are beginning to realize how vital we can be. Uber Pro is a half-handed attempt at quelling the masses, but as it grows, it might become a major boon. Notice, the might.
I don’t want to claim that Uber Pro is going to be the silver bullet, but it is a step in the right direction. I’ve said this before about Uber Pro, it is up to the drivers and their feedback, whether or not this program fails or succeeds.
I am not an apologist for Uber or Lyft. Yes, better rates should be a focus, but for the time being, both companies are losing money hand over fist. If drivers want to be a part of building the company, they need to understand the company. Uber Pro is the most viable way that the company could reimburse or compensate the drivers, at this time. With that said, it just isn’t enough. But, if you hang on, it might be a killer benefits package.
As more Uber drivers are quitting, your ability to make money will rise.
If Uber Pro has upward potential, that might not be enough to keep you on the road. I get that. So what about the massive purge of drivers? I remember the exodus from Uber to Lyft when it hit the market.
I, for one, was fine to let other drivers bail. Why? Because it meant more demand and more money for me. As this second mass exodus continues, I have already noticed a rise in demand in my own market. It is a matter of supply and demand, many markets have become overly saturated by drivers, and bad ones at that. If you decide to stick it out, expect a significant rise in demand, which should convert to better earnings.
Uber is aggressively expanding
This is probably the most logical reason to stick with Uber for the time being. Companies that have their fingers in so many different honey pots often do well, just look at tech giant Google.
Even if many of the recent expansions are not driver-oriented or driver-centric, it speaks to the potential that Uber and its investors believe it has. What you need to understand in this case, Uber isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Their service is too popular and too convenient. Fares will increase as drivers continue to quit, and the drivers that stick around will be the first to reap the reward. Uber Eats alone has expanded its services and grown even faster than expected, and with the added success of Uber Freight, their growth seems stable.
I won’t lie, though. It is a fine line that Uber is playing. They could risk crossing the event horizon, the point of no return. Drivers, whether they like it or not, are their lifeblood. If they continue to turn a blind eye, they may not be able to entice drivers back to the platform.
Competition is steep, and Uber will need to come back to the pack with fares
Lyft continues to pay its drivers better, and as long as more and more ridesharing apps come online with promises of better fares, Uber will continue to lose market share. This is a good thing for Uber. However, they may have cut rates, but they did it at the right time. As they continue to scale their business, they will have the ability to raise fares when other rideshare competitors are struggling. Now, I am not an economist, so don’t expect this, but it is one big way that Uber could crush its competitors if they choose to do so.
We want to hear from you!
Let us know what you think. Why do you think so many Uber drivers are quitting? Are you thinking of doing so yourself? What was the final straw? Reach out to us. The more that drivers constructively converse about these topics, the better off we will be. Our ability to organize is what will make or break us.