Behind the Scenes at YoGov: Part II
Every year, millions of people take their road test in the US, which is the final step to getting a driver’s license. At YoGov, we've built a network of independent drivers to help accomplish just that: Getting a US driver's license. While we haven't replaced family members or close friends who've long been the pillars of road test assistance, we have helped provide a new option for people. Here we dive deeper into this service, called our road test concierge. We take a look at who uses this service and who the independent drivers are that make this an attractive option in over 25 US states and counting.
People in search of a car and driver for their road test
Two years ago, a Berkeley student, Raj, asked us for help with his road test. Raj didn't have a car (and rental cars aren't allowed) so we offered to help. We picked him up, gave him some test tips, he took his test, then we dropped him back off on campus. It was simple and he was grateful for our help. We quickly learned that many other people are in the same exact boat as Raj: without a car or without access to friends or family members who have a car. Even those who are able to get a car, then need to find someone who's willing to spend half the day with them at the DMV - which can be a big ask! This was an aha moment for us and so the YoGov Road Test Concierge service was born.
In our early road test concierge days, we helped primarily international students and workers. It turns out that these are the folks who are most likely in a catch-22 situation: They can't use a rental car, and they don't want to ask a brand-new coworker they barely know to spend a half day with them at the DMV. It also turned out that in most cases these folks already had driver's licenses from another country, but they just needed access to a car and driver for their road test.
After our small start in the Bay area, in the past year, our service has expanded across the country with a growing network of concierges now in 25 states. Even parents are deciding this is a more convenient option for them and their kids. Parents would call in and book for their son or daughter and tell us that they were often more stressed and nervous than their kids when it came to driving - so they decided to leave it to our concierges. Kids appreciated it too. No back seat driving from the parents; just a friendly YoGov concierge with patience and empathy. And the best part? These concierges know how to guide someone through the road test process, from handling the paperwork to navigating the DMV building or test site, to the pre-test safety check examiners conduct.
Who decides to become a road test concierge and, more importantly, why?
According to a Forbes article in 2018, 1/3 of the U.S. workforce is made up of freelancers and this number continues to grow. Over the past decade, so-called "gig work" has been one of the fastest growing segments of freelancer work. Technology and innovation are bringing opportunities that weren't possible before, with Uber and Lyft driving being two well-known examples.
We're now in the next wave of gig work, however, where freelancers want more growth in their opportunities. Lucky for us, having more meaningful connections with people is one of the things freelancers value. Helping someone take (and hopefully pass) their road test over the course of a few hours is a major life moment and a memorable experience for everyone involved. We bet everyone can remember who they were with when they passed their road test.
After having the first few concierges join us in the Bay Area, where we initially launched, word spread fast. Our first batch of drivers, aka concierges, were folks who'd driven for Uber or Lyft, had amazing ratings and reviews, and most importantly, empathy, patience, and a friendly disposition.
This last part was incredibly important for us early on, since people look to us as an alternative to a friend or family, we naturally need to be caring and understanding. Secondly, everyone is nervous when taking a road test. Even people who've been driving for 30 years in another country are still nervous. Our concierges understand that and give the clients tips and encouragement to help give them the confidence they need to do their best.
The network of active concierges is now in the hundreds across the U.S., in over 40 markets and 25 states and we're incredibly proud of this group. So, why has this interested so many concierges? Simply put, helping someone achieve a major life milestone - a driver's license - is a great feeling! Just like teachers, mentors, and advisors who feel pride when they help people achieve milestones, our road test concierges feel a similar pride.
A closer look: Meet two passionate YoGov Concierges
From time to time, we also like showcasing our concierges because they are amazing people making a huge impact on people's lives. Two of these, Terece and Leo, are original YoGov concierges and both in the Bay Area. Both have helped hundreds of people take their road test.
Terece found out about YoGov's road test concierge service through a friend and fellow rideshare driver for the company Wingz. From the beginning, it was clear she would be one of YoGov's top concierges, and she's even gone out of her way to make helpful videos to help current and future clients. In fact, one of her road test videos has nearly half a million views. Did you know road test videos were so popular?
“I love helping others, getting to know people and being able to be a part of their journey. On the way to the road test, I give them a complete overview of what they can expect. I try to calm their fears and build a rapport with them, which is really important in helping them feel at ease before their test.” -Terece
Leo, with hundreds of appointments under his belt, also goes above and beyond to help clients and has done helpful road test videos too. In fact, being a YoGov road test concierge helped Leo discover the world of driving and how important having a good instructor is for people. Last year, he became a certified driving instructor and now spends part of his time working for an official driving school. Without YoGov he wouldn't have discovered the "wonderful world of driving".
Leo also has had a few clients who’ve come to him after failing their first or second time and recalls how wonderful it feels when they finally do pass:
“She was on her third and last try. Fortunately, she re-booked with me and we were able to pass on her third try! I remember this very vividly because she was like oh my god I’m in my 30s and this is my first license I ever got and she literally started crying and then she gave me a big hug. … From that point on, I thought - wow - this is a pretty rewarding thing we do – helping people get their license.” -Leo
An expanding opportunity: Concierges are now helping people with even more government services
Helping someone get their driver's license is not the only government-related service people regularly need help with. In fact, our mission at YoGov has always been to give people easier access to all government services. Many government services are still painful, confusing, or frustrating to deal with alone - and not necessarily to any fault of the government themselves. Learning anything the first time can be difficult. The good news? Once you renew a passport, change your name, visit a social security office, or apply for a visa, the process becomes infinitely easier. Enter our concierge network - people who've done all of these before and are eager to help you out!
Currently, we are also helping people with door-to-door passport renewals, DMV line waiting, with many more coming soon. It's the in-person concierge service that many people desire, to help make a stressful and time-consuming situation easier.
YoGov for Good: What’s next?
In our next post, we’ll dive into some of the mission-driven organizations we're helping, including the Center for Employment Opportunity, the largest re-entry employment provider in the country. Often the biggest barriers for those looking for a new beginning is getting their driver's license...
In the meantime, we would love to hear your stories, ideas, and comments! You can email our team at YoGovForGood@yogov.org.
If you found this post helpful or inspiring, feel free to share! If you or someone you know would be an excellent government services concierge candidate, apply here. Or if you don't have your driver's license yet, maybe take our concierge service for a spin.