Advice to Uber Drivers About the "Decline" Button

Updated on May 30, 2019
Terence Jefferies profile image

Terence drives with Uber when he doesn't have other things to do, and tries to improve his take-home.

If you have ever done any Uber driving you will know that not every trip is equal.

When I first started driving, I would rapidly and nervously accept every order that was sent my way, because I wanted to try take advantage of my online time as much as possible. However, after a few evenings and afternoons out, feeling a little disappointed by my mileage versus my gross take-home figures, I decided I needed to make some sort of change to improve my take-home.

The biggest problem when it comes to your end-of-night profit is what I'm calling "dead journey time." This is the time and mileage it takes you to get from your point of call to the rider/restaurant before the trip starts. Guess what: you don't get paid for this part. As a contractor, you need to decide before you accept a call whether or not it is worth the hit you're going to be taking to get to the rider or restaurant. That's your responsibility. If it's not worth it, you need to decline that call.

You need to decide before you accept a call whether or not it is worth the hit you're going to be taking to get to the rider or restaurant.

When I first started declining calls I experienced an almost sinking feeling of guilt. I told myself, "I'm not busy right now, I can do that, even though I won't make very much from the trip." But this thinking is a fallacy that you need to snap out of right now!

Remember: You are a contractor! One of the perks of that position is you get to pick and choose your clients, if a client is too far away, decline that call and wait for a better opportunity; one will always come up.

Does Uber Penalise You for Your Driver Confirmation Rate?

One of the other questions I see a lot online surrounds "driver confirmation rate" - if you have already started driving for Uber you will know that your dashboard reports a driver confirmation rate. This represents the percentage of work offers you accept Vs decline.

There is a lot of debate online as to whether or not this figure influences the jobs Uber sends your way, and as far as I can tell, it does not.

At time of writing, my driver confirmation rate stands at 50%. I actually declined half of the opportunities I was given this week, because either I was en route to end my shift and wanted one last run on the way back, or the pickup location was just too far away. My requests have not declined and I haven't been penalised.

My belief is that Uber presents us with this figure each week to allow us to reflect on our earnings. If you have noticed a drop in both confirmation rate and gross income, maybe you should consider accepting requests from a little further away, or not declining requests simply because you want your third latte of the day (got to do something to stay awake).

If you have noticed a drop in both confirmation rate and gross income, maybe you should consider accepting requests from a little further away.

Make a Rule of Thumb for the "Decline" Button

You can and should be making sensible decisions when deciding whether or not to accept an Uber work request. My rule of thumb is that orders over 5-7 minutes away need to be declined unless in exceptional circumstances (e.g., I accepted one the other day because it was in my old neighborhood).

Figure out what rule works for you, because these numbers won't work for every situation or every city. Work out the maximum dead journey time you are willing to accept and stick to it!

Happy driving!

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    © 2019 Terence

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