by the numbers

TahoeGuy300

New Member
So, several hundred rides deep now into uber and I'd like to share a couple of thoughts. I still drive a cab and drive for uber on the side. Because I am an owner operator of my own taxicab and license my own company, I can say without a doubt, I make more driving my cab on a per mile and on a per hour basis than driving for uber.

How you ask? It's really quite simple: If I charge X, and uber charges X less 25%, then takes a 20% commission, and then there are virtually no tips, it easy to conclude that if I am able to stay equally busy doing both, then uber must generate lower overall gross hourly earnings and lower per mile earnings.

Yes, uber has a more efficient dispatching system which results in greater efficiencies on a per mile basis. Yes, you avoid the pesky cost of commercial insurance. Yes, no need for paid advertisement when working for uber. But even with those uber advantages, cab driving is still more profitable for me as an owner operator.

I use an identical car for uber as I do for my taxicab. Only three differences - the cab has signs, the uber does not, the cab has a full commercial insurance policy while the uber has a much cheaper regular auto insurance policy with a ride share rider, and the cab needs to be advertised online to get the phone to ring while the uber car just flips on an app. Every other expense is identical - fuel, maintenance, taxes, etc. (no medallion system where I live and licensing is only a couple of hundred bucks a year so those things don't even factor in).

I am on track to drive my cab 55,000 miles this year and generate $80k gross receipts (fares and tips). Doing uber on the side I am on track to drive 12,000 miles and generate 13k in gross receipts (fares and the occasional unicorn tips). This totals to 93k while driving 68,000 miles between the two vehicles.

Hypothetically, IF I was able to dump my cab and IF uber could generate the same number of rides to where I could drive an additional 55k in miles for them then how would I come out? I could expect to generate a total of 74k gross receipts driving 68,000 miles for uber IF THEY COULD GET ME THE SAME NUMBER OF RIDES. Now that's less than 93k, but not as bad as you'd think. Add in the following savings of the $6000 commercial insurance policy I'd no longer have to purchase and add in the $3000 I spend in online advertising that I'd no longer have to spend, and that $19k gap shrinks by 9k. That's pretty close to my combined earnings I'm currently tracking to generate in 2016, but still 10k shy.

But the biggest problem is not this hypothetical 10k loss in gross receipts, it's that uber CAN'T replace all my taxicab rides. I'm allowed to load as a cab in both directions to and from my local airport. With uber, I'd lose the ability to pick up. Drop offs are still okay. That's a huge loss. Also, a large percentage of my cab rides are street hails, another thing that uber can not replace in full. True, there would be additional dispatch during those times via uber when I'd normally be catching flags, but hails are easy and quick since the customer is already right there standing in front of you. Difficult for uber to match that kind of easy, highly profitable revenue.

But all that aside, putting all my eggs in one basket (uber) is a dangerous thing to do. We all know they love to deactivate at will and slash rates time and time again. To put it bluntly, I can't trust them to not do the same to me. Right now, I still control my own destiny. I can not fire or "deactivate" myself as a cab driver. It's my company so nobody can fire me. I control my rates, so no one can arbitrarily slash them without notice (there are no rate controls in my area, owners set their own rates). These two things keep me in my cab, and no matter how much uber may yell from the rooftops, "come drive for us and be your own boss" it's just a pile of crap. If uber drivers were their own bosses then no one could fire them and they'd be able to set their own rates. We all painfully know that's not the case.

So for now, I'll play it safe, keep driving a cab, and uber on the side as a hedge to make up for any lost revenue they peel off from me by them now being present in my market. I don't like uber as a company nor do I like having to drive for them, but I've learned to adapt to my situation and use uber to offset lost taxicab revenue. Is what it is, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
 
Last edited:

SEAL Team 5

Well-Known Member
So, several hundred rides deep now into uber and I'd like to share a couple of thoughts. I still drive a cab and drive for uber on the side. Because I am an owner operator of my own taxicab and license my own company, I can say without a doubt, I make more driving my cab on a per mile and on a per hour basis than driving for uber. How you ask? It's really quite simple: If I charge X, and uber charges X less 25%, then takes a 20% commission, and then there are virtually no tips, it easy to conclude that if I am able to stay equally busy doing both, then uber must generate lower overall gross hourly earnings and lower per mile earnings. Yes, uber has a more efficient dispatching system which results in greater efficiencies on a per mile basis. Yes, you avoid the pesky cost of commercial insurance. Yes, no need for paid advertisement when working for uber. But even with those uber advantages, cab driving is still more profitable for me as an owner operator. I use an identical car for uber as I do for my taxicab. Only three differences - the cab has signs, the uber does not, the cab has a full commercial insurance policy while the uber has a much cheaper regular auto insurance policy with a ride share rider, and the cab needs to be advertised online to get the phone to ring while the uber car just flips on an app. Every other expense is identical - fuel, maintenance, taxes, etc. (no medallion system where I live and licensing is only a couple of hundred bucks a year so those things don't even factor in). I am on track to drive my cab 55,000 miles this year and generate $80k gross receipts (fares and tips). Doing uber on the side I am on track to drive 12,000 miles and generate 13k in gross receipts (fares and the occasional unicorn tips). This totals to 93k while driving 68,000 miles between the two vehicles. Hypothetically, IF I was able to dump my cab and IF uber could generate the same number of rides to where I could drive an additional 55k in miles for them then how would I come out? I could expect to generate a total of 74k gross receipts driving 68,000 miles for uber IF THEY COULD GET ME THE SAME NUMBER OF RIDES. Now that's less than 93k, but not as bad as you'd think. Add in the following savings of the $6000 commercial insurance policy I'd no longer have to purchase and add in the $3000 I spend in online advertising that I'd no longer have to spend, and that $19k gap shrinks by 9k. That's pretty close to my combined earnings I'm currently tracking to generate in 2016, but still 10k shy. But the biggest problem is not this hypothetical 10k loss in gross receipts, it's that uber CAN'T replace all my taxicab rides. I'm allowed to load as a cab in both directions to and from my local airport. With uber, I'd lose the ability to pick up. Drop offs are still okay. That's a huge loss. Also, a large percentage of my cab rides are street hails, another thing that uber can not replace in full. True, there would be additional dispatch during those times via uber when I'd normally be catching flags, but hails are easy and quick since the customer is already right there standing in front of you. Difficult for uber to match that kind of easy, highly profitable revenue. But all that aside, putting all my eggs in one basket (uber) is a dangerous thing to do. We all know they love to deactivate at will and slash rates time and time again. To put it bluntly, I can't trust them to not do the same to me. Right now, I still control my own destiny. I can not fire or "deactivate" myself as a cab driver. It's my company so nobody can fire me. I control my rates, so no one can arbitrarily slash them without notice (there are no rate controls in my area, owners set their own rates). These two things keep me in my cab, and no matter how much uber may yell from the rooftops, "come drive for us and be your own boss" it's just a pile of crap. If uber drivers were their own bosses then no one could fire them and they'd be able to set their own rates. We all painfully know that's not the case. So for now, I'll play it safe, keep driving a cab, and uber on the side as a hedge to make up for any lost revenue they peel off from me by them now being present in my market. I don't like uber as a company nor do I like having to drive for them, but I've learned to adapt to my situation and use uber to offset lost taxicab revenue. Is what it is, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
$13,000 gross in 12k miles. You either have zero dead miles or Uber X is still $1.80 a mile in your market?
 

Bill Collector

Well-Known Member
$13,000 gross in 12k miles. You either have zero dead miles or Uber X is still $1.80 a mile in your market?
Or OP is riding high on surge... Even with XL it is hard to maintain $1/mile in my market... Must have been zero dead miles like you guessed then.
 

Another Uber Driver

Well-Known Member
Moderator
I do similar to you: I am a taxicab owner-operator and I drive UberX. The cab is a 2015 Fusion Hybrid; the UberX car, 2014. I am in a big city in the East instead of in Silver Country in California. Still, I do find that as a rule, I do better in the cab than in the UberX car.

Uber has put out some pretty good incentives in this market, lately; for how long is anyone's guess. Congress is about to go for the Summer, which will kill the cab business until the college freshmen show up in August. At that point, Uber is the better option. We do have Uber Taxi here, which you do not have in California, except in San Francisco, which is a long way from the Silver Country.

Still, as you state, the cabs have not disappeared. To be sure, some have taken a bruising, but, here, at least, convenience is more frequently the ruling factor over price point. Thus, the cabs do hang on. I suspect that this is one reason that Uber does offer taxis here.

As do you, I use the UberX car as an alternative. There are a number of us here who do just that: drive both, choosing which one renders the greatest advantage at the time.
 

TahoeGuy300

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
$13,000 gross in 12k miles. You either have zero dead miles or Uber X is still $1.80 a mile in your market?
Yes. Current rates are $1.85 per mile and $0.45 per minute, which means the customer is paying $2.20 to $2.75 per mile combined depending on if the trip is around town or all highway After UBERs commission, I get paid around 2.25 a mile. Once you factor in unloaded miles, my average drops down to $1.09 per mile gross in my pocket for every mile. It's okay. Not great, just okay. I still average $1.46 gross driving my cab, and have total freedom, although some higher expenses as noted in my first post.

I really don't understand why hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country get up and go to work for a buck a mile ( that's before even factoring in UBERs comission, or unloaded miles). Once you do that, it's like $0.60 a mile, which makes it like kind of working for free, or damn near close to it. It really makes no sense to me. I find it hard to believe that American society is that ignorant to not be able to do some simple math. The numbers of this business of driving people around for money hasn't really changed much, so how can uber have such a huge price advantage over cabs? Really those savings for consumers are coming from you the driver through under market pay. If you leased a cab in the past, and now drive for uber, you are now a business owner, entitled to higher pay than a cabbie who leases, not lower pay. Dude, you own the car!

Stop for a moment and think like this. If you are running your own business, shouldn't you be paying yourself not only as a driver, but also as a business owner? Which is to say, you need to be paying yourself $10 to $15 an hour (net) as a driver wage, and paying yourself an additional 20% of gross receipts as a profit for your business. So in my mind, anyone who is working for uber for less than an hourly gross of $30 to $45 per hour is really selling themselves short. Your NET should be $20 to $25 an hour. You are a business owner aren't you? Why aren't you paying yourself like one? Have some dignity man and stop selling yourself short. (thats not pointed at you specifically , that's for the legions of uber drivers out there).
 

Another Uber Driver

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Once you do that, it's like $0.60 a mile, which makes it like kind of working for free, or damn near close to it.

I find it hard to believe that American society is that ignorant to not be able to do some simple math.
Sixty cents the mile is 1979 cab rates.

You may not have seen it so much in Silver Country, but here, in both the Big City and its suburbs, some of these newcomer cab drivers used to give cut rate flat rates for certain of the more profitable trips. These were characters desperate for money; any money. It took them time to learn that not only were they hurting their fellow drivers but also they were hurting themselves.

The mentality of some of these TNC drivers is similar.
 

MiddleClassedOut

Well-Known Member
You can't deny the appeal of Uber as a stopgap between jobs, as supplemental income, or its appeal to non-English speaking immigrants who can't get jobs. That's the problem. To these groups, any income is ok. People figure it out eventually, that's why turnover is so high.

You can see why the taxi medallion system was created. Right now we have a situation analogous to early 20th century America when cabs were totally unregulated and anyone with a horse & buggy could do it, thus fares were ridiculously low. I bet adjusting for inflation Uber rates are similar to what they were then.

Only full-time rideshare drivers can make this change happen...Organize, don't fight for higher rates yet, just fight for limiting the number of cars. Rates will follow. Just take pictures of your bar areas on Saturday nights and send them to city council members, seriously. The congestion from rideshare cars alone is causing problems in cities.
 

ChortlingCrison

Well-Known Member
So, several hundred rides deep now into uber and I'd like to share a couple of thoughts. I still drive a cab and drive for uber on the side. Because I am an owner operator of my own taxicab and license my own company, I can say without a doubt, I make more driving my cab on a per mile and on a per hour basis than driving for uber. How you ask? It's really quite simple: If I charge X, and uber charges X less 25%, then takes a 20% commission, and then there are virtually no tips, it easy to conclude that if I am able to stay equally busy doing both, then uber must generate lower overall gross hourly earnings and lower per mile earnings. Yes, uber has a more efficient dispatching system which results in greater efficiencies on a per mile basis. Yes, you avoid the pesky cost of commercial insurance. Yes, no need for paid advertisement when working for uber. But even with those uber advantages, cab driving is still more profitable for me as an owner operator. I use an identical car for uber as I do for my taxicab. Only three differences - the cab has signs, the uber does not, the cab has a full commercial insurance policy while the uber has a much cheaper regular auto insurance policy with a ride share rider, and the cab needs to be advertised online to get the phone to ring while the uber car just flips on an app. Every other expense is identical - fuel, maintenance, taxes, etc. (no medallion system where I live and licensing is only a couple of hundred bucks a year so those things don't even factor in). I am on track to drive my cab 55,000 miles this year and generate $80k gross receipts (fares and tips). Doing uber on the side I am on track to drive 12,000 miles and generate 13k in gross receipts (fares and the occasional unicorn tips). This totals to 93k while driving 68,000 miles between the two vehicles. Hypothetically, IF I was able to dump my cab and IF uber could generate the same number of rides to where I could drive an additional 55k in miles for them then how would I come out? I could expect to generate a total of 74k gross receipts driving 68,000 miles for uber IF THEY COULD GET ME THE SAME NUMBER OF RIDES. Now that's less than 93k, but not as bad as you'd think. Add in the following savings of the $6000 commercial insurance policy I'd no longer have to purchase and add in the $3000 I spend in online advertising that I'd no longer have to spend, and that $19k gap shrinks by 9k. That's pretty close to my combined earnings I'm currently tracking to generate in 2016, but still 10k shy. But the biggest problem is not this hypothetical 10k loss in gross receipts, it's that uber CAN'T replace all my taxicab rides. I'm allowed to load as a cab in both directions to and from my local airport. With uber, I'd lose the ability to pick up. Drop offs are still okay. That's a huge loss. Also, a large percentage of my cab rides are street hails, another thing that uber can not replace in full. True, there would be additional dispatch during those times via uber when I'd normally be catching flags, but hails are easy and quick since the customer is already right there standing in front of you. Difficult for uber to match that kind of easy, highly profitable revenue. But all that aside, putting all my eggs in one basket (uber) is a dangerous thing to do. We all know they love to deactivate at will and slash rates time and time again. To put it bluntly, I can't trust them to not do the same to me. Right now, I still control my own destiny. I can not fire or "deactivate" myself as a cab driver. It's my company so nobody can fire me. I control my rates, so no one can arbitrarily slash them without notice (there are no rate controls in my area, owners set their own rates). These two things keep me in my cab, and no matter how much uber may yell from the rooftops, "come drive for us and be your own boss" it's just a pile of crap. If uber drivers were their own bosses then no one could fire them and they'd be able to set their own rates. We all painfully know that's not the case. So for now, I'll play it safe, keep driving a cab, and uber on the side as a hedge to make up for any lost revenue they peel off from me by them now being present in my market. I don't like uber as a company nor do I like having to drive for them, but I've learned to adapt to my situation and use uber to offset lost taxicab revenue. Is what it is, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
I didn't quite get what you were saying. Can you explain this again?
 

TahoeGuy300

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
Now that you've edited it, separating the paragraphs, I understand it completely.
Yes. I took the first responders advice and went back and edited into paragraphs. I have no problem with constructive criticism. I took his message to heart and edited my original post so it would be easier to read and digest.
 

N0tU8er

New Member
So, several hundred rides deep now into uber and I'd like to share a couple of thoughts. I still drive a cab and drive for uber on the side. Because I am an owner operator of my own taxicab and license my own company, I can say without a doubt, I make more driving my cab on a per mile and on a per hour basis than driving for uber.

How you ask? It's really quite simple: If I charge X, and uber charges X less 25%, then takes a 20% commission, and then there are virtually no tips, it easy to conclude that if I am able to stay equally busy doing both, then uber must generate lower overall gross hourly earnings and lower per mile earnings.

Yes, uber has a more efficient dispatching system which results in greater efficiencies on a per mile basis. Yes, you avoid the pesky cost of commercial insurance. Yes, no need for paid advertisement when working for uber. But even with those uber advantages, cab driving is still more profitable for me as an owner operator.

I use an identical car for uber as I do for my taxicab. Only three differences - the cab has signs, the uber does not, the cab has a full commercial insurance policy while the uber has a much cheaper regular auto insurance policy with a ride share rider, and the cab needs to be advertised online to get the phone to ring while the uber car just flips on an app. Every other expense is identical - fuel, maintenance, taxes, etc. (no medallion system where I live and licensing is only a couple of hundred bucks a year so those things don't even factor in).

I am on track to drive my cab 55,000 miles this year and generate $80k gross receipts (fares and tips). Doing uber on the side I am on track to drive 12,000 miles and generate 13k in gross receipts (fares and the occasional unicorn tips). This totals to 93k while driving 68,000 miles between the two vehicles.

Hypothetically, IF I was able to dump my cab and IF uber could generate the same number of rides to where I could drive an additional 55k in miles for them then how would I come out? I could expect to generate a total of 74k gross receipts driving 68,000 miles for uber IF THEY COULD GET ME THE SAME NUMBER OF RIDES. Now that's less than 93k, but not as bad as you'd think. Add in the following savings of the $6000 commercial insurance policy I'd no longer have to purchase and add in the $3000 I spend in online advertising that I'd no longer have to spend, and that $19k gap shrinks by 9k. That's pretty close to my combined earnings I'm currently tracking to generate in 2016, but still 10k shy.

But the biggest problem is not this hypothetical 10k loss in gross receipts, it's that uber CAN'T replace all my taxicab rides. I'm allowed to load as a cab in both directions to and from my local airport. With uber, I'd lose the ability to pick up. Drop offs are still okay. That's a huge loss. Also, a large percentage of my cab rides are street hails, another thing that uber can not replace in full. True, there would be additional dispatch during those times via uber when I'd normally be catching flags, but hails are easy and quick since the customer is already right there standing in front of you. Difficult for uber to match that kind of easy, highly profitable revenue.

But all that aside, putting all my eggs in one basket (uber) is a dangerous thing to do. We all know they love to deactivate at will and slash rates time and time again. To put it bluntly, I can't trust them to not do the same to me. Right now, I still control my own destiny. I can not fire or "deactivate" myself as a cab driver. It's my company so nobody can fire me. I control my rates, so no one can arbitrarily slash them without notice (there are no rate controls in my area, owners set their own rates). These two things keep me in my cab, and no matter how much uber may yell from the rooftops, "come drive for us and be your own boss" it's just a pile of crap. If uber drivers were their own bosses then no one could fire them and they'd be able to set their own rates. We all painfully know that's not the case.

So for now, I'll play it safe, keep driving a cab, and uber on the side as a hedge to make up for any lost revenue they peel off from me by them now being present in my market. I don't like uber as a company nor do I like having to drive for them, but I've learned to adapt to my situation and use uber to offset lost taxicab revenue. Is what it is, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
perfect analysis.. it is race to bottom game, if you look at it the business model UBER/Lyft is a typical "Ponzi Scheme" or "MLM", Multilevel Marketing..as more UBER/Lyft driver enroll the "Gerber (Uber and Lyft) drivers will be running around the ferris wheel" not realizing they got suckeded in to this.
 

TahoeGuy300

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
perfect analysis.. it is race to bottom game, if you look at it the business model UBER/Lyft is a typical "Ponzi Scheme" or "MLM", Multilevel Marketing..as more UBER/Lyft driver enroll the "Gerber (Uber and Lyft) drivers will be running around the ferris wheel" not realizing they got suckeded in to this.
Yes, it truly is a race the to the bottom, and all drivers suffer because of it - TNC drivers, limo drivers, executive car drivers, and taxicab drivers. Many people drink the cool aid and think somehow uber is revolutionizing the world, when in reality, at the end of the day, uber just has a cool app that's made dispatching a car more efficient and easier to get, but the rest of the business of driving people around for money is pretty much still the same. You've basically got a dude driving a car. That car will always cost X to operate per mile, and that dude driving it will always want to get paid X per hour. There is nothing that all the technology in world can do revolutionize away these old world principles.
 
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