CareDriver success tips
Written by Karen Sampson
We’ve gone straight to the source — the dedicated HopSkipDrive CareDriver community — to gather together some CareDriver success tips that can help to ensure all ride experiences are positive and rewarding.
Read on to get advice from experienced CareDrivers across the country so you can become the best CareDriver you can be.
Prioritize safety, always
We know you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Safety is always rule number one at HopSkipDrive. Ensuring the safety and well-being of Riders will always be your most important responsibility as a CareDriver.
Our success as a company is directly tied to the reputation, trust and loyalty we work hard to build with the schools, government agencies, nonprofits and parents who utilize the HopSkipDrive platform. And we, in turn, entrust the CareDriver community to help us fulfill our mission by taking safety as seriously as we do.
Our 2021 Safety Report shows that CareDrivers are doing just that. More than 7 million miles — and 400,000 safe rides — were driven by HopSkipDrive CareDrivers in 2021. And 100% of those rides ended without a critical safety incident. That’s a safety record CareDrivers can be proud of.
“By focusing on providing a safe ride for my Riders, being a CareDriver has helped me follow the rules of the road more carefully,” says Los Angeles-based CareDriver Mishelle Sharp (shown left). “This is due to the realization that I am transporting precious cargo but also by not wanting to get a ticket or have an accident, which could affect my ability to assist so many children and families.”
Be on time
The parents/caregivers, families and organizations that use the HopSkipDrive platform rely on us to follow through on our commitment to get Riders where they need to be. And they expect us to do so not only safely but also on time. We aim to simplify transportation logistics for schools and busy parents, so showing up on time for a ride is absolutely essential for CareDriver success.
By demonstrating you are a responsible and reliable CareDriver, you will also foster a vital sense of trust with those who are depending on you to help them with their transportation needs.
Says one HopSkipDrive CareDriver: “I love it every time a Rider says I am the best CareDriver ever because I always make them feel safe and comfortable, and also because I’m always on time.”
Another reason to be on time: Late arrival to the pickup location can result in the ride being removed and claimed by another CareDriver who is nearby.
One of the best ways to build a connection with another person is to actively listen to what they have to say. Being an empathic listener is especially important for those who work or interact with children on a regular basis. Children tend to respond well when they feel seen and understood.
“Be willing to listen to Riders when they like to share stories,” says CareDriver Charles Hanes, who drives in the Boulder, Colorado, area.
As a CareDriver, you can use your listening skills to create a sense of security for the kids you drive. This, in turn, can help you forge a genuine connection with your Riders — and gain a greater sense of fulfillment as a CareDriver.
“For me, the biggest thing I’ve learned is how to be a good listener. This is something anyone can learn — how to ask the right questions and then having some degree of discernment in terms of where to go from there,” says Seattle-based CareDriver Apollos Cassian (pictured left). Sometimes, the youth I pick up have some sort of trauma they’re dealing with. And that can create unique challenges. It’s really about listening, and figuring out what you can do.”
Keep helpful items on hand
You know what they say: You can never be too prepared. Thinking ahead by anticipating the needs of both you and your Riders can certainly make things easier if/when those needs arise.
Says one CareDriver who drives in the Phoenix, Arizona, market: “I always have hand wipes, hand sanitizer, two seat boosters, hand lotion, lip balm and a pair of sunglasses in my car.”
Some other helpful items CareDrivers report keeping on hand to help ensure a positive ride experience for everyone include:
- Books and magazines
- Cell phone charger
- Lysol spray
- A mileage notebook
- A first-aid kit
- An umbrella
- A car vacuum
Patience is a trait that is never wasted, and it can certainly come in handy — and help you find success as a CareDriver — in a number of different ways.
First and foremost, patience does wonders in any situation involving children where calmness and acceptance are needed. “It helps to remember to always be patient with everyone,” says one CareDriver, “because you don’t always know their situation.”
Patience can also be an asset when dealing with the chaos of a school parking lot. “Be patient,” says Marilyn De La Peña Cruz , who is a CareDriver in the San Francisco Bay Area. “There is waiting time involved in picking up and dropping off. And you have to make sure you hand them off to the next responsible party.”
And then, of course, there’s the unavoidable complication that every driver dreads: traffic. “Driving requires a lot of patience in the Phoenix area,” says CareDriver Tamara Rosas (shown left), “but there is a sense of pride that comes from getting these kids around safely.”
Focus on the positive
As a CareDriver, you can play an important role in the lives of the kids you drive. All children — but especially kids with special needs or those who may be experiencing instability in their lives due to homelessness or foster care placement — benefit from starting the school day off on the right foot. By making an effort to always display a positive attitude, you can make a real impact on your Riders.
As noted by one CareDriver, positivity can serve as a beacon of hope and reinforcement for children who are facing difficulties. “One of the most surprising things I’ve learned from my Riders is that even in some of the most dire situations, most of these kids still do their best to remain positive.”
“I think sometimes people don’t focus on all the things these kids can do,” says Seattle-area CareDriver Pearl Scarbrough. “They focus on all the things that are a problem with them. And when you focus on the things that they’re good at, it makes a big difference.”
When it comes to CareDriver success, this tip is relevant in more ways than one. It’s always, of course, necessary to pay careful attention to the road — and the other vehicles nearby that you are sharing it with. “Never take your eyes off the road and surroundings,” advises Seattle CareDriver Thomas Barnhart. “Always incorporate methods of defensive driving.”
But keeping a close eye on your Rider is also important when it comes to gauging their mood and being aware of any potential issues. “Be present in the moment to read your Riders,” suggests Houston CareDriver Cory Harget (pictured left), “to make sure you can give them what they need.”
Enjoy the ride
Many people love the experience of being a HopSkipDrive CareDriver. As one CareDriver put it: “What could ever be better than the joy and happiness of children?”
CareDrivers often report they gain an innate sense of gratification from the CareDriver experience. And one of the best things you can do to ensure CareDriver success is to allow yourself to enjoy it. Bay Area CareDriver Ferol-Jeanne Hooper Brown agrees. “Wear your orange shirt, smile and enjoy yourself,” she advises.
Says another CareDriver who is grateful for the opportunity to be a positive part of her Riders’ lives: “If I’m going to do something, I like to find joy in it. And from the very first day, when I met my very first Rider, I thought, ‘Oh, this brings me joy.’”
Read more helpful reminders to ensure safe and successful rides as a CareDriver here.