Acceptance Rates and Cancellations

What is Your Acceptance Rate?

Your acceptance rate is the percentage of incoming passenger calls that you accept.  Uber and Lyft both consider maintaining a high acceptance rate (at least over 90%) crucial.  And indeed, you can see why!

If drivers, for the most part, didn’t accept calls – passengers would pretty quickly find new ways to get around.  High acceptance rates are the first step in Uber and Lyft being successful.  High acceptance rates by drivers are the first step in providing a service that will delight passengers.

In the past, Uber and Lyft both required drivers to maintain a certain acceptance rate, but ran into trouble when lawsuits were filed claiming that they were employers because they exercised so much control over the driver’s behavior.  The courts indicated that if Uber and Lyft forced drivers to accept nearly every call then that would indicate the drivers were indeed employees.  Something neither Uber nor Lyft wants to deal with.

Independent contractors, the courts reasoned, should have the independence to be able to accept or reject any job sent their way.  Indeed, traditionally companies were never able to force independent contractors to accept any work they offered.  That’s a big part of the reason why they’re called independent contractors!

Today, Uber and Lyft still keep track of your acceptance rate but by law they can in no way force you to accept more calls than you’re willing to accept.  Therefore, they also cannot penalize you for not accepting enough calls.

Times When You’ll Want to Keep Your Acceptance Rate High

Of course though, you know they’ve figured out ways to get around that.  For instance, they offer a wide variety of different types of bonuses and rewards, typically for completing a certain number of trips or driving a certain number of hours in a specific area.

A part of receiving these bonuses and rewards is the requirement that drivers acceptance rates must be at 90% or above.  They’re able to do this because it’s not a universal requirement.  It’s not a requirement that affects all drivers.  It’s only a requirement that affects drivers who choose to meet these standards in order to get a bonus or reward.

If you’re driving for a reward or bonus, then you’ll definitely want to keep your acceptance rate high – above 90% – during the bonus period.  Always keep that in mind and always check the specific requirements you have to meet to get a bonus or reward.  It varies from bonus to bonus but it will always include an acceptance rate requirement.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Accept a Trip

Sam recommends not accepting every trip.  In fact, he recommends being pretty choosy about which trips you accept!  The reason for this is a good one.

You really don’t want to pick up certain passengers.  For starters, you don’t want to pick up passengers who are too far away from you.  You might get a call for a passenger who is 20 minutes away.

But is it really worth it to drive that long to pick someone up who might only be going on a one mile trip where you’ll only make $3 bucks? Sure, there’s a chance this could be the big one – but it’s usually not!

The only time to accept a trip like that is when you’re basically desperate.  Meaning, you need to earn something and you’ve been sitting there for a long time without getting any calls.  If this is your first call in a while – then you might want to take it.

Another kind of trip you never want to accept is a trip from a low-rated passenger.  We can’t really give you a minimum rating because it varies from city to city.  Drivers in some cities tend to give more positive ratings than drivers in other cities.  So a 4.6 might be the minimum you’d want to accept if you’re in a city where drivers tend to give good ratings to passengers.  But in a city where the drivers are more liberal with their negative ratings, if you don’t accept anyone under 4.6 you might be missing some decent passengers.

In New York for instance, I have a soft cut-off at 4.2 stars.  And I have a hard cut off at anything below 4.0.  What that means is – New York drivers tend to be pretty negative in their ratings.  So you can get a 4.2 or 4.3 passenger who won’t be that bad.  Passengers rated 4.4 and 4.5 are actually pretty decent and that seems to be the average range for most New York passengers – 4.4 – 4.5.  If I said I’m not going to accept anyone with less than a 4.6 rating here, I’d pretty much be sitting around all day with nothing to do.  But in some cities a 4.5 might be bottom of the barrel.  So, that’s something you’ll have to figure out in your own city.

But a really important reason Sam recommends being very picky is for your own safety.  When you see a very low rated passenger, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage because you don’t know why they’ve been rated so low.  It’s good to know that they have and it’s definitely a warning sign that you should pass on their call.  But since you don’t know why they have such a low rating – you should be very cautious.  We know that if a passenger makes drivers feel like they’re in any kind of danger, that they will give them a very low rating.  So, you have to assume that the low rating could be because other drivers have perceived this particular passenger as a danger.  And it’s just not worth the risk of picking up a dangerous passenger.

Believe me!  I’ve had it happen.  I accepted a call one time from a passenger with a rating in the 3s and he was terrible.  Scary, creepy, all the things you don’t want to see in a stranger who’s sitting in the backseat of your car!

Remember, safety is paramount, and a low passenger rating always has the potential of indicating an unsafe passenger.  So just turn these calls down.

How are Cancellation Rates Treated Differently by Uber and Lyft than Acceptance Rates?

Uber and Lyft both treat cancellation rates very differently than acceptance rates.  They can and will deactivate you if your cancellation rate drops too low.  They will send you at least one warning, however.

A trip counts as cancelled if you cancel it at any time after you’ve accepted it.  This makes for a very bad passenger experience so it’s not good for the overall reputation of Uber and Lyft.  However, I will say that the only times I’ve cancelled a trip it was always for a very good reason.  And it was always the passenger’s fault.  So, there are a variety of reasons why you will need to cancel a trip – but if you stick to just those reasons, you shouldn’t have a problem with your cancellation rate going to high.  Those reasons don’t occur all that often.

You’ll know it when it happens – when you’ve run into a reason where you really have to cancel a trip.  As long as you don’t cancel trips on a whim or simply because you changed your mind – you should be fine on this.

By the way, if you do get a warning that your cancellation rate is too high – DO NOT CANCEL ANYMORE TRIPS FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER!  If you cancel one more trip after that – it may be just enough to cause Uber or Lyft to permanently deactivate you.  Uber is famous for only giving one warning.  So heed that warning and whatever it is they’re telling you not to do – don’t do it for a long while.


Video Transcription:

Okay, something really, really important for you to understand that a lot of people forget is understanding acceptance rates and cancellations.

Okay. Acceptance rate is the rate in which you accept passengers when you get pinged. Now, this is not people you’ve accepted.

This is people you have the option to accept. So, your phone is going off. You’re seeing the flashing, and you can say yes or no. Okay?

So, let’s say you only pick one person out of 10 people, and that will be your acceptance rate. Okay? Acceptance rates are totally whatever. Okay?

You can pick zero people. Now, if you keep saying no to people, they will eventually log you off, and then you can just log back in. Okay? But that doesn’t hurt you at all.

You will not get penalized. You may get an email that says, “Hey, having a bad acceptance rate is bad for our company.

You should take more people.” Or, “Hey, if you’re not ready to take people, just don’t turn on your app.”

Now, I highly encourage lower acceptance rates or lower than average, because I think it’s important to vet who you are driving and who you should pick. Now, that’s for other future advance videos, but, so that’s acceptance rates.

Don’t worry about it. The only time it really matters is if you’re looking for a Power Driver bonus or there’s some sort of quest that requires a 90% acceptance rate. Okay?

That’s when you really have to care about that. Okay? There’s a lot of ethics that some people care about of, “Hey, if you don’t have high acceptance rates, then it’s going to be bad for passengers, their experience, and so forth.”

I say that’s probably true, but, at the end of the day, you have to care about being efficient. And if you’re getting a ping that’s 30 minutes away, that happens, that is really bad for your bottom line if you go pick them up, and they give you a one-mile ride, and get paid $3.70.

That’s terrible for you, and ultimately, you’ll quit, which is bad for the company. So, in another way, you are loving the company by loving yourself. Okay? Just think about it that way. Okay.

Cancellation rates, let’s say you picked up somebody, and you said, “Yes.” So, you haven’t picked them up. You said, “Yes,” you accepted, and you’re on your way, and you cancel.

Now that passenger has just been told, “Your driver has canceled on you.” That’s something that you should do sometimes, but you should rarely do it, because of that, that’s really bad.

That’s really bad because now the passenger saw you, they know that you’re coming, and then you’re canceling on them. A lot of things can come through their mind, and that is not good for the company. So, avoid cancellations as much as you can, but sometimes you have to.

Oftentimes, the only times that I mainly do it is if I did it on accident, because I was switching apps, and it just happened to click at the same time. Or maybe because there’s some other opportunity that just came up that is too good to pass.

So, other than that, don’t worry about acceptance rates, but worry about your cancellation rate, because if you have too many cancellation rates, you can get deactivated.

You’ll get warned, and then you’ll be deactivated. So, that is acceptance rates and cancellations.

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