Your First Uber or Lyft Pickup


What to Expect During Your First Pickup

When you get your first ping or hail, on Lyft you’ll see the passenger’s name and their rating.  On Uber you’ll just see their rating.  You’ll also see how long it will take to get to their pickup location.  Uber will soon start showing you how many miles it is to their pickup as well.  But for now, both apps will show you the amount of time it will take.  So, with that information, it’s up to you whether to accept or decline the call.

Here’s what you should consider when deciding whether or not to accept the call:

  • How long will it take you to get to their pickup location?
  • Is their passenger rating too low?

Generally, Uber and Lyft will only send you trips that will take usually between 5-15 minutes to get to.  A lot of drivers won’t accept anything that takes more than 10 minutes.  That’s because anything longer than that – you’re really starting to eat into the hour and your hourly earnings average can really plummet.  Drivers have been burned by driving 15-20 minutes to pick a passenger up only to find out the passenger is just going around the block and the driver ends up making only $3.  Not worth it for half an hour’s worth of work.

So, keep in mind you want to balance the amount of time it will take to get to the passenger with the typical length of trip you can expect that passenger to take.  However, when you’re just starting out – you won’t have any idea about any of that.  The best way to figure it all out is to accept all calls – until you get a good feel for it.

However, the one thing you as a new driver should definitely be cognizant of is your passenger’s rating.  You should take note of that when the call comes in.  I have an absolute rule that if a passenger is rated 3.9 or lower – I will not accept that call – no matter what.  However, even passengers rated in the low 4s – like 4.0 – 4.4 can be pretty bad.  So when you’re first starting out, I would recommend not accepting any passenger with a rating less than 4.5.  That way you can get a good feel for the people in your area and keep yourself safe at the same time.

The Adventure:  You’ll Have No Idea Where Your Passenger is Going – Until They’re in the Car!

On neither service will you have any idea where the passenger is going.  So, this adds to the adventure of driving!  You won’t know until the passenger is already in the car and you’ve started the trip on the app.  Only then will either app, Uber or Lyft, finally tell you where you’re going.

This can cause problems though sometimes for drivers.  Maybe you only have an hour left to drive and you’re betting on taking two more trips – because you believe they’ll be short ones.  But you never know!  The first trip could end up taking you an hour out of town.  And that could mess up whatever you had planned for after you finished driving.

Sam rightly points out that if you’re a control freak – this may not be the best kind of work for you!  You really are at the passenger’s mercy.  My rule of thumb is – once you turn the driver app on – you have to be willing to go wherever your passengers want you to take them.   When you get to the point in your day when you’re no longer willing to go anywhere – you can either turn on the destination filter to get trips in the direction you are willing to go in.  Or, you should just turn the app off altogether.

If I have plans at a certain time, or, perhaps I have a private client who has asked me to pick him up at 3:00 p.m.  Well, I have to shut off Uber and Lyft at a bear minimum of an hour and a half before I have to pick my client up.  I usually try to shut them off at least two hours before.  That’s because what if I get a trip that begins two hours before I’m supposed to pick my client up and the trip takes me an hour in the opposite direction?  That will take me a full two hours to get back to my private client.  And that’s cutting it just a little too close.

You really never know how long or how far your next trip is going to take you.  In my experience, where I drive, trips typically don’t go more than an hour.  The average trip is just 15-20 minutes.  But you can pretty frequently get an hour-long trip.  Every once in a blue moon you’ll get a trip that takes more than an hour.  But the hour-long trips are frequent enough that I have to consider getting one a real possibility.  So, when I do need to be somewhere by a certain time, I always try to shut the apps off at least two hours ahead of time.

The way I see it is if I can’t commit to driving for the next two hours – I shouldn’t go online in the first place.  You should always set aside at least two hours of time before you head out to drive.

Why Did You Get that Ping?

In the past, you would get the ping solely on the basis of being the closest driver to the passenger.  However, today Uber is also taking into consideration driver ratings when they send a call out.  So, if you’re sitting in a group of cars that all have lower ratings than you and you’re a little farther from the passenger than they are – you will most likely get the call.  And of course, on the other hand, if one those drivers has a higher rating than you – he’ll get the call.

This is actually a great thing Uber has done.  Because not only does it reward the hardest working and best drivers for doing such a great job – it also keeps the quality of service up by making sure all the most highly rated drivers get sent on trips before the lower rated drivers do.  This results in a better passenger experience.  And the happier passengers are with Uber the more they’ll continue to use it.


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This is one area where Uber actually has a competitive advantage over Lyft right now.  That could change at any time as it wouldn’t be too difficult for Lyft to change their algorithms to match this – but for now the advantage is in Uber’s court.

But always keep this in mind whenever you feel like slacking off or talking back to a rude passenger.  If they give you a lower rating because you were rude to them – even if you think they deserved it – it can be very costly to you in the future in the form of lost trips.


Video Transcription:

Okay, so you were accepted, you’re driving, and you got your first pickup and you’re freaking out. Your phone is lighting up, and if it’s with Lyft, it shows you the name, it’s Brad, and it’s ringing.

Or, for Uber, it just shows you their rating and where they’re at. So let’s just be real clear. When you get…the jargon is paint, you know, we’re hailed.

When you get hailed, the computer is hailing you because they think you’re the closest. And with Uber, and maybe Lyft will follow, they’re not only factoring who’s closer but also ratings.

They want to match high-rated passengers with high rated drivers. Okay? That’s how it’s working right now.

Now, when they…when you see that ring because this is something a lot of new drivers don’t realize, you don’t know where they’re going. Okay?

That is the mystery and that’s the kind of high that you can get. Where are we going next? It’s literally an adventure.

So, if you’re a control freak, this may not work well for you because you are at the mercy of where they’re going. You can always cancel but you can’t cancel too much or without getting penalized.

So your app’s going off and it’ll tell you where they’re at, how many minutes it will take to get there, and then they’ll tell you their rating. And then with that, you can accept it or forget it. Okay? We’ll talk about that in another video.

But let’s just say yes, you click it, it will immediately link to your GPS and show you how to get there and it’ll start that trajectory. So you head over to pick up your passenger.

Once you meet them, they get in your car, you basically click, “Picked up.” Well, first when you arrive you have to say, “Arrived,” so they know and then their app will ring or vibrate and tell them that you’ve arrived.

And [in] the future courses I’ll even show you how I even [go] above and beyond that so that they know I’m coming, and they know who I am and know that I’m friendly. Once they hop in your car, you click, “Accept,” and then it’ll immediately show you where they’re going.

And then you can immediately link to your GPS and it’ll take you there. So, that’s it. That’s your first pickup. You take them there, you drop them off. When they get off, you click “Done,” and then it’s over.

And then you can rate them and they’ll rate you. They don’t have to rate you but they’ll probably rate you, especially with Lyft. Uber, a lot fewer people rate and then you’re done.

And then your app will be on automatically and you can immediately start getting other rides. Or, you can turn it off. And if you’re new I’d recommend turning it off, drive a little bit to the side, pull over, and breathe.

And just think about how did it go? What could you have done differently? What went well? What can you celebrate? And when you’re ready, turn it back on.


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