The next time you call for an Uber or Lyft, are you taking your A+ professional presence along for the ride? You never know who knows whom—your driver may be the son or daughter of one of your biggest clients, and what would they think if you started barking directions? Your professional presence is always being evaluated, and not just by your passenger ratings! So learn how much to tip, what to do when you get in and out of the car, and more hints to help you polish your professional presence and earn a 5-star rating the next time you book a ride:
- Make pickup easy. You wouldn’t make a taxi or airport shuttle wait for you, so be ready to go when you request your ride. If you’re not ready to go, recent changes at Uber mean you’ll be charged by the minute when a driver waits more than two minutes for you. And if you decide you don’t need that driver after all, you have just two minutes to cancel before incurring a fee (Lyft gives you five minutes). If you’re in a hard-to-find spot, such as a tucked-away street, help your driver out by calling or texting first.
- Hop in! …well, after you verify you’re getting in the right car (because Uber theft is bad for professional presence), especially at busy venues like bars and airports. Try, “Hi, I’m Liz. Are you Jake?” When you do hop in, the rear seat diagonal from the driver is usually your best bet. If you’d prefer to sit up front, check with your driver first.
- Let your driver navigate. GPS is very good these days! But it isn’t perfect, so go easy on your driver for bungling a direction, and never ask them to speed or drive unsafely. If you’d like your driver to take a different route, share this with them up front instead of giving directions as you go.
- Offer a tip. Both Uber and Lyft now have options to tip drivers through their apps, and as a gracious passenger, you’d do well to tip for a drive well done! Depending on service, 15–20 percent of the fare is appropriate. Tipping won’t impact your passenger rating, as drivers rate you before learning if you left a tip, but it will garner appreciation.
- Don’t leave a mess (or a stench)! Remember you’re a guest in the driver’s personal vehicle, and you’re probably not their only fare that night. Help your driver maintain a great rating by keeping their car clean. Don’t smoke just before your ride, but do brush off your shoes before stepping in, save snacks for after the ride, and pick up any trash you may have dropped, such as gum wrappers, ticket stubs, or water bottles. And don’t smoke or spill! Not only can sloppiness hurt your passenger rating, it can prevent your driver from picking up another fare until they’ve cleaned your mess—sometimes professionally.
- Listen to tunes. If you’d like to listen to your own music on the drive, ask! Some drivers even have cables for passengers to play their music or charge their phones.
- Say thank you. It’s so easy and it leaves a positive impression!
If you ever wonder what Uber and Lyft drivers think of your passenger etiquette, you can find out! Lyft passengers can ask their driver to pull up and share their rating. Uber passengers can access their rating from the app’s Account Settings and Ratings menu. I’ve heard anything above a 4.8 is good. With an A+ professional presence, you can work your way up to 5 stars!