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Advice For New Drivers

Discussion in 'New Jersey' started by SibeRescueBrian, Aug 27, 2016.

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  1. SibeRescueBrian

    SibeRescueBrian Moderator

    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Driving:
    UberX
    Since new drivers and/or members to this forum usually have the same questions, this thread is where you can find answers.

    The first thing you should know is the law that regulates Uber and Lyft in this state. You can read it here: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/A4000/3695_R1a.HTM and discuss the details of it here: https://uberpeople.net/threads/christie-signs-the-bill.140552/

    The second thing you should know is that Uber lies. Don't trust them. Their communications are written in a way to be confusing.

    The third thing is that Uber/Lyft are NOT meant to be full time jobs. Most drivers make it work as supplementary income or as a short term stop-gap measure between more traditional jobs. It is never a good idea to finance or buy a new car for the express purpose of doing rideshare.

    With that having been said, here is the collected wisdom and experience of drivers who have been doing this for quite a while.

    • Don't even think about driving until you've purchased an insurance policy that covers commercial driving. Right now Farmer's (https://www.farmers.com/rideshare/) and Allstate Insurance (https://www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/ride-for-hire.aspx) are the only companies in NJ that offers a hybrid policy. Your personal insurance company is going to drop you if they learn you're driving for Uber. And the Uber contingent liability policy has a $1000 deductible before (and/or if) they cover your medical claim or your property claim in the event you are involved in an at-fault accident.

    • Start a written log that includes date, start mileage, stop mileage, total miles driven (or use an app like MileIQ or Stride Drive). It's vital for taxes, and everyone should understand their tax liability. What Uber gives you won't include all your miles driven, so you can only deduct a fraction of what you're entitled to deduct.

    • Dual channel dashcam. Don't ask why. Just get one and install it.

    • If you drive the late night bar crowd, make sure you have barf bags. If someone pukes and/or loses control of bodily functions, take plenty of pictures, upload them to Uber, and INSIST on a proper cleaning fee.

    • Use the rider app to scan the locations of other drivers.

    • You can't be fired for accepting tips. If someone offers you a tip, take it and say thank you. If you turn down a tip you're screwing it up for other drivers because you're reinforcing the false idea that Uber drivers can't take tips.

    • Never EVER chase the surge! It will vanish by the time you get there. It's best to keep your app off until you see the area you're in start to surge. For best results, once it hits 2.0 or higher, then you can go online.

    • Never pick up a pax with a rating lower than 4.7.

    • Never respond to a ping more than 10 minutes away. (Yes, it might be a decent fare, but the odds are against you.)

    • If you're traveling, never respond to a ping behind you.

    • When you arrive at pickup location and pax is not present, DO NOT call or text the pax (unless you drive Lyft, then at least one attempt at contact must be made). Start a stop watch and cancel at 5:01 and move on. A pax who lacks the basic courtesy of being ready when you arrive is likely not a pax you want in your car in the first place. After all, the pax called YOU.

    • For the love of God, NEVER hand out gum, candy, mints, water, etc. to your passengers. There is no upside, it costs you money, and it creates more mess for you to clean up.

    • If a pax leaves something behind in your car. DO NOT make the effort to return it (unless you want to drop it off at the nearest police station or Uber office). If you follow Uber's rules it'll actually cost you money and time to return it. If the pax needs it back, he/she will track you down through Uber. To protect yourself from false accusations of theft, make sure you get a receipt for any lost item you drop off. It doesn't matter what the item is - wallet, phone, eyeglasses, event tickets, clothing, jewelry, etc. Of course, the easiest thing to do is check your back seat after dropping off each pax.

    • ABC - Always Be Compensated. You're an independent contractor. Don't do anything without being paid.

    • Dress clean, comfortable, and presentable. Good grooming habits are strongly encouraged.

    • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Safety comes before everything else. If you drive every day, you are exposed to the unknown.

    • Always double check that you have the right passenger. Either ask them their name, or have them confirm your name. Do not ask "Are you Joe, Mike, Lisa, etc."

    • Void or cancel the trip if the account holder doesn't sent you an authorization in writing by text from their authorized cell to do a ride for another person(s) that is not the account holder.

    • Never take more passengers than you have available seat belts. If they insist, recommend they either request a second X or order an XL

    • On a similar note, NEVER take a small child without a car seat, even on a short trip. The risk is too great. Also, never drive underage riders (less than 18). This is Uber policy, although as is typical of them, they don't make this clear.

    • With Uber Pool after a 2 minute wait, cancel with no changes to destination. Since they ordered it, this is not your problem. They want a change, they'll have to re-order a ride

    • Obey all traffic laws. - Speed limits are a must. Sometimes, on highways, you have to go with the traffic flow to stay safe. Keep a distance from the car ahead of you to give yourself a chance to survive, no matter what happens.

    • Don't drop off or pick up by police or taxi stands.

    • Know your operational costs, and make sure you have enough money set aside for regular as well as unexpected maintenance. Try to keep your dead miles to a minimum to keep these costs down.

    • WetherTech or Husky floormats are highly recommended. The ones that come with your car can't handle all the wear and tear of full time driving. Seat covers are encouraged for the same reasons.

    • Find a car wash with a subscription service and use it

    • Use the best synthetic oil you can afford along with high mileage filter. You can easily go 10,000 miles between changes.

    • Remember you are driving in one day what most take a week to drive. Keep an eye on your fluids, air pressure, look for leaks, AAA plus subscription with the 100 mile coverage is recommended in case you're far from home.

    • You can't be deactivated for acceptance rate but can be deactivated for high cancellation rate.

    • Be wary of Uber promotions and always read the FINE PRINT! If in doubt ask the forum.

    • Never(never!) use you hands to hold your phone.

    If you receive a request for an unusually long trip, keep in mind that there are restrictions. Uber won't cap the max payment, but will cut off a trip after 4 hours. Lyft has $300 max in NJ, and you can read more here: https://www.lyft.com/cities/new-jersey-nj


    Here are some guidelines for cancelling:
    1) if they have a low rating (say under 4.5) hold them to that five minutes.
    2) if the rider contacts you, you can be more flexible, but don't give them more than 10 minutes unless you KNOW it's a ride that's worthwhile.
    3) if you cancel on someone, don't accept the request of they send out another ping, let it go to someone else. Otherwise you may expose your rating.
    4) Cancelling a surge ride: this is dangerous. You don't want to wait too long to cancel on a surge because you might miss on the rest of the surge. But you also don't want to lose the surge ride you're locked in to. If a surge is over 2x and they do not contact you, they have a max of seven minutes. If they do contact you, be more flexible.

    Child Seats:

    New Jersey State Law says that all kids need a car seat if the child is under 8 years old or under 57 inches (4 feet, 9 inches) tall. If you are ticketed, this is a ticket that YOU will be responsible for and will probably have some major questions asked of you from your insurance company.

    For the most part, I don't raise a fuss if the child is "in the neighborhood" of these requirements and doesn't have a seat. These aren't the parents you need to worry about.

    However, there are many parents who will attempt to ride with a child under the age of five, some of them even with infants. This is completely unacceptable.

    Some common excuses:
    1) "another uber driver let me do it." Doesn't matter. That other driver is not me, and I don't want kids unsecured in the car.
    2) "I could do it in a taxi" although this is allowable in a taxi, an Uber is not a taxi, and there are different rules and laws that affect us.
    3) "we are only going a short distance." So you want to make me liable and put your kid's safety at risk for less than $10? GTFO.

    You cancel on the passenger with the reason of "other". If you drove more than five minutes to pickup and DID NOT get a cancellation fee, email the uber office to get one, explaining they had an child with no car seat.

    IF A PARENT DOES HAVE A SEAT: they are the ones who should install it. You can show them where to anchors are on your car, but they install. If they have an issue with this, cancel. It's pure liability. Hopefully, if the parent is thoughtful enough to have a seat, they are thoughtful enough to install it on their own.

    Also be cognizant of different car seats, and how a "booster" for older kids differs Than a standard car seat for kids under 5.

    Keep in mind that there is no substitute for experience. There are going to be things you'll only learn by doing. Anyone with additional tips and advice is encouraged to contribute to this thread.

    If you need an answer to something that's not covered here, use the search function (upper right hand corner) of this forum to find it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    Grahamcracker, bobby_NJ, eaj and 52 others like this.
  2. atthehop

    atthehop

    Location:
    NJ
    Great write up, now to get all those who are not on this forum to read it.
     
  3. njshore

    njshore

    Location:
    new jersey
    Very informative, nice work!
     
  4. Great summary but you forgot never drive underage riders (less than 18).

    This is uber policy although as is typical of them they don't make this clear.
     
  5. Square- someone talk about square plz- best way to sign up? is it good idea? (keeping it cashless)
     
    SibeRescueBrian likes this.
  6. NJWanderer

    NJWanderer

    Location:
    NorthJersey
    Driving:
    UberX
    I wish I could have read it before I started. Short, informative and precise. Excellent job!
     
  7. I agree, had I had access to this my noob days would have been much easier and profitable. This is what this forum is all about, no sarcasm WOW refreshing! Great Job everyone that helped!
     
  8. On a side note, this way of making extra money (notice I didn't say making a living even though some are able to make decent money doing this the majority won't) changes everyday as UBER does what it does. I learn something new everyday I turn the app on. Key thing is be safe and use common sense. I refer to this forum daily for the most recent goings on.
     
  9. SibeRescueBrian

    SibeRescueBrian Moderator

    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Driving:
    UberX
    Thank you. That's why comments are welcome. I know there's much more that can be added here.
     
    jonnyplastic likes this.
  10. SibeRescueBrian

    SibeRescueBrian Moderator

    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Driving:
    UberX
    I added your post to the main bullet points. That's an important one. Thanks again for the assist!
     
    jonnyplastic and circle1 like this.
  11. Undermensch

    Undermensch

    Location:
    Down the Shore, NJ
    Driving:
    UberXL
    Regarding the car seats... I'd have them install it, but you can't withhold all useful information and think you'd be absolved of responsibility in an accident.

    For example: many people don't know that when installing a car seat with a seatbelt (for example, on an infant carrier that doesn't have the base, thus no ability to use LATCH) that you need to pull the seatbelt out all the way until the ratchet mechanism locks, then pull the belt tight on the carrier to take up all the slack and smush it into the seat cushion.

    I've had people miss that exact step. I let them know to do that. I don't want some kid dying out of my mistaken thoughts about how to deflect liability.
     
  12. Undermensch

    Undermensch

    Location:
    Down the Shore, NJ
    Driving:
    UberXL
    I'd suggest changing the "Uber is illegal in NJ" line to say it's "not legal". It's not really addressed by current laws but the courts are throwing their weight around and claiming that taxi laws apply to ride sharing. That's not the same as "illegal"... it's just not specifically legal and they can sometimes make the fines stick. In addition, most people see "illegal" and think "criminal"... it's not a criminal offense (not a misdemeanor nor a felony), if I'm not mistaken.
     
  13. Caspita

    Caspita

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Excellent post! I was reading between rides and concidentialy got a 9 mins ping. When arriving there was this lady with 4 kids (2 under 4) and no car seats of course. She stared goign on me like there was no tomorrow LOL! Sorry lady but my Uber-friends told me no to be stupid!
     
  14. njctuberx

    njctuberx

    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    Driving:
    UberX
    Honesty, I would say unregulated.
     
    Fostel, pharmboy, Hoy and 2 others like this.
  15. SibeRescueBrian

    SibeRescueBrian Moderator

    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Driving:
    UberX
    Good call! Noted and edited. Thanks!
     
    jonnyplastic, Hoy and Undermensch like this.
  16. SibeRescueBrian

    SibeRescueBrian Moderator

    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Driving:
    UberX
    Thank you. I included that in the edited sentence.
     
    jonnyplastic, Hoy and njctuberx like this.
  17. I agree with saying unregulated. There's no law on the books that says you CAN do it, but the law that says you can't do it is a very old law. The technology evolved faster than the legislation.
     
    Alex12, njctuberx and SibeRescueBrian like this.
  18. Great thread Brian but one thing. Negotiations of a fee to return an item is a no no.

    This could be technically considered extortion. Even if it's 5 bucks. accepting any monetary compensation for the return of their rightful property is bad.

    I rather just drop it at a police station or tell the pax "well ill be driving around (Hoboken or this shore town tonight)... let me know where to meet you" and don't go out of your way to meet them!

    It has to be on your time, on their time! They were stupid enough to leave their phone or whatever the item is!
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
    SibeRescueBrian likes this.
  19. Also, the piece about tipping is kind of buried. I think it would be the third biggest point because it directly affects other drivers.
     
  20. I agree with this. Just drop it at the police station and be done with it. Easiest solution. If someone leaves something in my car, I'm not going to harass them for more money, it's generally a ****ty thing to do.
     
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