There are two reasons good drivers don't have more customers.
they are afraid of growing too fast and, therefore, don't try
they don't know how to win them.
This post is for the latter group.
In general, customers willing to spend big-bucks on transportation have 3 main concerns:
"If I schedule with this driver, will he show up?"
"What if I call and he's not available for me?"
"What if I need a ride on short-notice, late at night, or just a very small trip in-town?"
In today's market, if you want to earn high-end clients without competing on price, you have to address these customer concerns. Let's go through them in order.
Concern #1:"If I schedule with this driver, will he show up?"
When you meet a prospect through, lets say, a rideshare app, they have certain needs. They NEED to be on time for their flight, for example. The first barrier to earning their business, then, is to convince them that you are going to be MORE RELIABLE than their current method of transportation. Your main obstacle is that companies like Uber and Lyft have branded ALL drivers as part-time or gig drivers; especially drivers that are found on their platform. You have to overcome that. You have to demonstrate that this is not a side-hustle for you, but it is your career. When you position yourself as a CAREER PROFESSIONAL in the mind of the customer, they will be more likely to give you that chance next time, even if it costs a little more. How do you do this?
Dress nice, keep a clean vehicle
There's no point to wearing nice clothes if you are driving for Uber or Lyft. Doing so doesn't earn you more money or repeat customers, and can be uncomfortable if you spend hours per day in a car. But if you want to break free of dependence on ridesharing, you have to look like you don't need them. Dress nice, keep a clean vehicle, and demonstrate that you are a cut-above the others.
Get business cards.
Not the cheap ones. Get quality cards, with a quality logo and some thickness to them. A driver willing to invest in their business cards is perceived to be serious about their career.
Have "the talk."
During the course of a ride, you will likely enter small-talk with the customer. When they ask how long you've been driving, or how long you've been driving with Uber/Lyft, make sure to say "this is just a side-deal for me. I'm actually a full time driver for a living with a decent book of business." Even if this is not true yet, it goes a long way to answering the question "Will he show up if I schedule with him directly?" It means you're motivated and this is important to you, which lends credence to the idea that you are a professional.
Follow Through/ Prove it!
When the customer does call you, they will have concerns about their decision. To alleviate those concerns, be sure to send CONFIRMATION messages. The night before a scheduled pickup, text "I will see you in the morning at 5am" to confirm their reservation. Next, do it again the morning of. Say, "I am on my way" about 30 minutes before pick-up. Finally, BE EARLY. If the pick-up is at 5am, be there at 4:40am in the driveway. Nothing says you're a professional like accounting for the possibility of traffic. When you arrive early it says you were aware of the possibility that something out of the ordinary could delay you (like an accident), and you didn't want that delay to make your customer late.
Concern #2:"What if I call and he's not available for me?
So the customer thinks your a professional (for good reason, I hope). But are you just a one-man show? What if they need a ride at the same time as another customer?
It's easy to handle this concern during "the talk" (#3 above). Rather than just saying "I'm actually a full-time driver," also say, "and I work in a network with 10 other drivers. So, if I'm not free, I can set you up with someone I trust who will take care of you."
If you don't have a network of other drivers to back you up, you can get help from the Bluecar Network Directory at www.mybluecar.com/network. The purpose of the directory is so that you can confidently handle concerns #1 and #2 in the course of casual conversation.
In general, customers won't voice these concerns. But, through years of research, observation, and experience, we've been able to identify that these concerns underlay every high-end customer. So if you don't want to compete on price and want to build a book of scheduled clientele, become exceptional at overcoming these first two concerns, and become consistent at proving your worth by following through with your claims.
Concern #3: "What if I need a ride on short notice, late at night, or just a very small trip in-town?"
Something very special about high-end customers is that they are respectful of human life, family time, personal time, and work-life balance. This can be a problem for drivers like us. It means if the customer needs an unscheduled ride (i.e., they're leaving in 20 minutes and didn't have a chance to call you), they probably aren't going to call you. It's not because they don't want to give you their business. Rather, it's because they are afraid of disrupting your personal time. They have no way of knowing if you're working, or having dinner with the family. So they just don't risk the call. The same is true for late-night calls that could wake you up if you're not already out. And the same is also true for very short trips. They don't want you to come from 30 minutes away just to take them a mile down the road. So, even if you are just one block over, they'll give their business to a rideshare service to avoid the social awkwardness of that phone call.
Overcoming this 3rd concern is the entire purpose of the Bluecar Mobile App. It gives customers a way to check your real-time availability and response time 24 hours a day. If you are asleep and offline, you won't show up. But if you are awake and available at 2am, the customer knows it's okay to request you for service; which is what they really want.
This adds a 3rd dimension to your small-talk. Now, your conversation can go like this:
Customer: "How long have you been driving for Uber/Lyft?
Concern #1: "I just do this part-time. I'm actually a full-time driver professionally with a pretty decent book of clients.
Concern #2: "I drive in a network of about 10 other drivers. So even if I'm already booked, my customers only need one phone number.
Concern #3: "In fact, we have our own mobile app, too. Bluecar. So, even when my customers forget to schedule, or need a ride last-minute or late at night, they can check for me on Bluecar. If I'm free, the app lets them select me directly. And if I'm not, they can get one of my associates. So, no matter what, we take care of our people. Can I send you a download link?
With the Bluecar app, and the Bluecar Network Directory, you can now handle all three concerns flawlessly, even if this is your first day as a professional driver.