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Grand Rapids, MI

Discussion in 'People' started by Brady, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    Hi, guys. Brady from Grand Rapids, MI. Been driving for UberX for 7 weeks now, about half the time it's been available in our city. I'm averaging about $500/week. I primarily work late nights in our downtown area taking the post-bar crowd home.
     
    CindiC likes this.
  2. Bill Feit

    Bill Feit Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Oceanside (San Diego) California
    Driving:
    UberXL
    Welcome Brady--I was born and raised in Saginaw and my wife and two kids were born in Pontiac. Don't miss those Michigan winters (hope the rates go up for you when you are risking your butt on the ice and snow) but do miss my two Grandsons back in Temperence! GO BLUE!! (maybe next year???--Go Sparty for this year!)
     
  3. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    Thanks, Bill. I was born and raised in Saginaw too. Graduated from Swan Valley. I don't mind winter driving. There are less drivers overall on the road and likely more riders. I'm a Spartan alum.
     
  4. Bill Feit

    Bill Feit Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Oceanside (San Diego) California
    Driving:
    UberXL
    Small world huh? Go Spartans!! I graduated from Bridgeport Community many years ago! Went to Michigan Tech (talk about winter!!) and graduated from Wayne State.
     
    DieHard likes this.
  5. UberSonic

    UberSonic Active Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    Driving:
    UberX
    Welcome aboard! Sounds like the other Michigan markets are doing pretty good.
     

  6. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    I've heard complaints from drivers in Detroit, which has been on the market longer than the other cities, about too many drivers and cuts in fares -the same stuff we've read from drivers in other states. Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint and Kalamazoo just came online the end of July and are in that early growing process. The number of new drivers increases every week but is being met or exceeded by a corresponding increase in the number of new riders. My weekly earning have continued to increase week to week and I'm finding the fares coming quicker than when I first started seven weeks ago. Although that's also due to my own learning curve. I suspect that at some point the ridership increase will flatten out but the number of new drivers will continue to increase and we'll see more driver competition and reduced income. This seems to be happening in the larger cities. My understanding is that Lansing, Flint and Kalamazoo are behind Grand Rapids in growth. I've checked the rider app at various times of the day and there are always more drivers online in Grand Rapids. After midnight, there often is no Uber available in Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint while GR has 24/7 availability now even if it's just one or two drivers.
     
    CindiC likes this.
  7. UberSonic

    UberSonic Active Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    Driving:
    UberX
    Yeah, and the latest rate reduction put in last week was definitely no fun. A ride between Royal Oak and Detroit that used to pull in $40 or more in the spring is now less than $20. Give it time and the rest of Michigan will see the same. As to the availability of drivers, Detroit Metro sees much the same as you explained. After midnight, all the drivers are concentrated in Royal Oak and Downtown, with nearly no one in the outer suburbs. It can be rough on anyone in those suburbs, getting long pickups for short drop-offs. I just recently doubled up and am now doing Uber and Lyft, and that seems to be compensating a bit, increasing my fare per hour rate far more than any rate reduction. It's amazing how polarized the respective drivers can be, as well. Uber riders saying Lyft sucks, and Lyft riders saying Uber sucks.

    One of the most amazing things I saw in my weekly Summary today, though...
    You received 18 five-star reviews out of 19 rated trips in the past two weeks. We wanted to share what some of these riders had to say.
    "amazing. speaks English! "

    One rider was so amazed I spoke English, they felt it necessary to mention it in a comment. That's where Uber is forcing things with their constant rate drops. Lower quality drivers. My ratings have been constantly improving since the rate cuts, and I think part of it is an increase in sub-expectation drivers that are sticking around.
     
  8. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    Lyft isn't in Grand Rapids yet but I've already signed up to be a driver for it. They've told me they'll be here in 2015. I intend on running both at the same time as well. I've looked into Lyft and while some things about it seem hokey, I also wish Uber would adopt some of their ideas. Pros and cons of both as we can read about on this forum. Until I looked it up just now, I had no idea Detroit's base fare was half of what Grand Rapids' is and that your per mile rate is 40 cents less. I assume that's to compete with Lyft which has even cheaper rates than Uber in Detroit. Unless a driver is working both at the same time and getting more frequent fares, I can't see why anyone would continue to do it at those rates. I don't blame Uber or Lyft for this though. It's simple market economics and both are far better options for riders, and for drivers too from what I hear, than our traditional taxi services-which have an awful reputation for being slow and rude.
     
  9. UberSonic

    UberSonic Active Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    Driving:
    UberX
    Yeah it's a race to the bottom between the two. How low can they take fares and still have drivers. As they fall the quality of the driver falls with it. I'm tending to like the Lyft system more, as they at least allow tips, which results in getting more tips than I do with UBer. But I still get the occasional one who feels generous.
     
  10. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    It will be interesting to see what happens with that race to the bottom. From talking to the traditional taxi drivers in Grand Rapids, they're saying that they're really beginning to feel the impact from Uber now and several have come up to me to ask how Uber works and how they can apply. With Lyft expected to be here by Summer 2015, the months beforehand are probably the golden time for Uber drivers before our rates drop to compete with Lyft like in Detroit. I imagine a year from now, one or more of the four taxi companies are going to be out of business and the others are going to be hurting. There have been too many complaints about the wait time to get a taxi and exceptionally poor customer service from them. Even now, Uber rates are 15%-20% cheaper than the taxis and we're much faster. I suspect that several years from now once the market sorts itself out either Uber or Lyft will out compete the other and the traditional taxis will either be gone or have to change the way they do business. The tales the taxi companies spread about Uber drivers not having background checks and Uber not being safe aren't working simply due to the increasing number of people taking Uber with positive results. In the end, I don't think Uber or Lyft will end up with lower quality drivers because those drivers likely are the ones who won't be able to make driving pay off. The drivers that will be left are going to be the smart ones who develop innovative strategies to make Uber work for them. Hunger and starvation are strong incentives for resourcefulness.
     
  11. Bill Feit

    Bill Feit Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Oceanside (San Diego) California
    Driving:
    UberXL
    You two guys have had a great interchange and I enjoyed reading about your markets and comments. What is your rates in each City? SD is base $2.10, .20/minute, 1.25/mile. FYI, Lyft and Sidecar tries to follow Uber. While we are at it what is your fuel cost? Seen an amazing drop here but Costco is still 3.03-3.24 a gallon and Costco is cheapest in whole county. Rates need to allow recovery of costs right?
     
  12. timmyolo

    timmyolo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    long island
    ok, welcome to the forum. sorry if this sounds like i am trying to burst your bubble, but...
    remember that driving for uber and lyft at the same time, while it seems to fill the void in lack of calls having just one app, is driving down your overall price for fares. Uber is trying so hard to price lyft out of the market, you end up doing all your fares for alot less. Keep that in mind, but on the other hand, Uber on (or Lyft on?) and may things go well for all you Buckeyes.
     
  13. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    Uber in Detroit has a $1.40 base fare, $.18/minute and $1.20/mile. Ann Arbor is the same as Detroit except a $1.30 base bare and $1.30/mile. Uber in the outstate Michigan cities (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint) has a base fare of $2.80, $.20/minute and $1.60/mile. Lyft competes with Uber in Detroit and Ann Arbor but not in the other four cities. That's the reason for the big price difference. Lyft is expected to be online in outstate Michigan by Summer 2015.
     
  14. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    That's the fluid nature of free markets. Lyft is going to expand where Lyft believes it will make money. They'll do what they need to do to attract a required number of drivers to adequately serve their riders. If an Uber driver doesn't drive for Lyft when it moves to his market, someone else will. The Uber driver can partially make up for the competition by becoming one of them and running both apps side by side. There are costs and benefits to being an independent contractor. One of the benefits is that a driver doesn't owe Uber any exclusive loyalty. I've heard there are taxi drivers in some cities running Uber, Lyft and Sidecar at the same time with their regular taxi dispatch process. Independent contractors can't control the market. We can only adapt to make it work the best for ourselves or get out. That's why complaining about Uber, protest days, talk of strikes, etc. is all futile.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  15. cleaningman

    cleaningman Member

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Driving:
    UberX
    UberSonic: As of a couple months ago, Lyft was operating as donation only in the Ann Arbor market - is Lyft operating that way in the Detroit market or are Lyft passengers required to pay the exact fare for their trip?
     
  16. cleaningman

    cleaningman Member

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Driving:
    UberX
    How many hours a week do you drive?
     
  17. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    I've only been online 7.5 weeks. At this point, while I have rides almost every day of the week, I actively drive 24 hours/week, primarily from 7 pm to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays where I'm sitting in my car waiting on fares. But within the past two weeks, I've found that I can add another $200 per week while keeping the app open in my home when I'm available to run out for a ride. The nature of my day jobs allow me to do this. My strategy for finding rides is different than it was a month ago and I'm sure will continue to change over the months ahead.

    I can't imagine attempting to make a living by driving for Uber full time. It would take much of the fun out of it. It's a great additional job for someone in my situation who works from home, only wants to Uber in the evenings and/or weekends, or is a retiree or student. What I discovered early on is that my main cost isn't time, it's wasted gas. My driving strategy is evolving to increase my net compensation after expenses. The Uber Earning Calculator on this forum has been helpful in the regard. I've also discovered the offering amenities like bottled water and candy, not expected of an UberX driver, end up making me a lot more than they cost through increased tips.
     
  18. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    Yesterday, I was talking to another new Grand Rapids driver who is a retiree and primarily drives days. He was complaining that he often sits in his car and waits an hour or more between fares and he's frustrated with the huge amount of time he's wasting in his retirement. I suggested he quit sitting in his car during the day wasting time. It's an easy answer to his problem but he wasn't able to see it on his own. Uber is a very simple business for someone to get into as a independent contractor since the company provides so much structure and does most of the marketing. Because of this, it attracts some drivers who look for other people to give them answers rather than developing their own. These people will not be successful drivers in the long term. Anyone who's ever tried their hand in a profession like real estate or growing a small business can appreciate what I'm talking about. Those are both far less forgiving than Uber with its guaranteed paycheck every week.
     
  19. Realityshark

    Realityshark Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Area 51
    Have you told your insurance company that you drive for Uber? Have you thought about what would happen if you got into an accident and the passenger got injured. I drive just as you do and have started becoming very concerned about the liability. I myself just hope for the best and have employed the don't ask don't tell philosophy, but it's starting to weigh on my mind.
     
    scrurbscrud likes this.
  20. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids & Chicago
    Driving:
    UberX
    My personal insurance rate is based on the miles I drive, not who my passengers are, because along with Uber I also use my vehicle for my main job. My insurance company cares whether I'm driving 12k miles/year or 36k miles/year but it doesn't care whether my passengers are my friends, co-workers or Uber riders since the coverage is the same for all passengers. I've read conflicting claims about whether Uber's commercial policy serves as the primary policy while I'm on a ride. But my insurance company doesn't subtract those miles from my total miles driven anyway. Michigan is unique in that our auto insurance no-fault law provides unlimited lifetime coverage for medical expenses which result from auto accidents. The MCCA reimburses auto no-fault insurance companies for each Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical claim paid in excess of a set amount. Currently that amount is $530,000. That means that the insurance company pays the entire claim, but is reimbursed by the MCCA for medical costs over $530,000. Automobile policy holders pay both a premium based on their coverage as well as a fee that funds the MCCA.
     

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