I advocate that Uber drivers ought to consider themselves as an independent business entity focused on the bottom line in every aspect of driving.

Minimizing Costs while Maximizing Profit


Dear friends, Happy Memorial Day to all! As I finished my shift last night, I reflected on a conversation I had with a fellow driver "G" who I think approaches driving for Uber in a very inefficient way. Please let me explain, and suggest how it may help any other (particularly new) rideshare drivers reflect on their own working patterns. I aver that an Uber driver must consider his/her driving work to be first and foremost an independent business, rather than someone who lackadaisically drives for money.


Responsible Car Choices
2020-05-27-14-19-49 (1).jpg


For example, when "G" and I started driving a few years back (we started about the same time), he bought a new car, a 2015 Ford Taurus. It was a nice car with a lot of features, but one that had a mpg that I felt was rather lacking. I purchased a used red 2015 Toyota Prius (I knew my choice to be thrifty would directly impact my future earnings as I had less capital to depreciate). He paid a lot, while I paid a very reasonable used car price. I was very careful about the purchase and had it checked out thoroughly by my trusted mechanic prior to paying, who vouched for its impeccable quality.

I also recalled my Prius had an mpg rating of 53 city/50 highway. My friend's Taurus had a 22 city/32 highway. Miles per gallon your car gets directly impacts your earnings per hour... Fastforward a few years to the present, and he no longer has the Taurus. He did not maintain the car well, and one of his tires blew out on the expressway, and the car was totalled. I still have my Toyota Prius. Amazingly, I have had no major issues with my car, except for one time where the passenger rear window did not close from the driver's control switch, which was an easy fix. He reported to me on contrast that he had many expensive issues with his car, including getting his transmission completely changed when it failed. One must consider the quality of the car, the price they paid, the repair history of the model, the miles per gallon, if they drive in a way that "stresses" the car, etc. All these are very real costs, and impact directly one's profitability and whether one should really be driving or not.


Conscientious Driving
2020-05-27-14-00-33 (1).jpg


Consider the manner upon how you drive, how you maintain your car, what rides you choose, and things like how you spend money on food while out driving. When I drive, I accelerate and decelerate very smoothly and cautiously. Whenever I press the gas pedal and the times the brake pedal, I note to myself how I am literally spending money on fuel and brake pads. For example, when I am approaching a red light from a distance, I start tapping the brakes and often gently glide to the red light to conserve the duration of my brake pads.

My friend "G" however, is a rather aggressive driver, and told me he replaced his brake pads many times on the Ford Taurus. I've only replaced my brake pads once on my Toyota Prius, and had a friend replace them after I purchased the parts from Autozone. I even learned how to change the oil and things like the air filter etc.myself from watching YouTube tutorials. I feel an Uber driver should consider each and every dollar they spend, or not spend, with careful consideration. Even minor things like getting your car washed is important. I believe it is a good practice to have your car looking shiny and clean on the outside and inside, and I do the washes and cleaning by myself, while my friend "G" always does it by a full service car wash.


Maintain a Low Daily Budget
bag-2397763_1280.jpg


Also, I never go through a drive through for food but instead pack my lunch and dinner whenever I am going out for a long shift (usually on weekends). My friend ALWAYS tells me about how he went through a drive through and going out to new restaurants and ordering new food he craves. I admit I am jealous sometimes when I talk to him on the phone while driving, as he is telling me of some new restaurant he found where the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich or steak burrito had such good taste (while I am chomping down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). But, I tell myself that buying food at a restaurant impacts my earnings per hour (e.g. If you spend $12 for food on a 6 hour shift, you have earned $2 less per hour). Packing your food and drinks makes that cost minimal.

With respect to food, I calculated with him that he spends at least $20-$25 per day when he goes out driving, while I spend probably a dollar or two per day per shift (e.g. I buy my peanut butter, jelly and bread from a dollar store). For him, I estimate he spends nearly $500 per month more than I do paying for his food while driving. That is a very direct cost and can be seen as a reduction in your hourly earnings, which must be considered. He pays for sodas, I carry water bottles and premade juice in plastic containers. Please pack your food and drinks at home.


Don't Squander Profits
risk-4423433_1280.jpg


Going further as a case study, when he totaled his car in 2017, I urged him to use the insurance money carefully. He took my advice happily on getting a Toyota Prius, but he bought a brand new car, and got a SEVEN year payment plan! I could not understand this. I recall visiting him the day he got the car, and he was so excited. It was a beautiful shiny new blue Prius and had leather seats, and all the new features. But he reported he paid a total of $35,000 for the upgraded car, including taxes, "gap insurance", doc fees, and title. I really questioned his choice, because that car has to be depreciated over time, and I had to explain to him that it DIRECTLY goes against his monthly/hourly pay considerations.

Because it was a brand new car, he told me he pays over $500 per month on insurance (which includes rideshare considerations). When I did the calculations carefully with him, I regrettably informed him that he is extremely negative from a net cash flow and absolute earnings perspective (month per month, year by year) since inception. Since he racked up nearly 80,000 miles on the car since his purchase, he cannot expect to sell the car for anything close to Blue Book on a Toyota 2017 Prius model. I also suggested him to pay more towards his car to pay down the balance sooner, but he declined and said he enjoys having more cash in his pocket per month. I countered that in the long run this is an unprofitable thought process...

This manner of not carefully considering the choice/model of the car you choose to drive while doing Uber, the manner in which your drive, whether it is a new or used car, how much food and drink you spend, how you get it repaired, etc. is not limited to my friend. Over the years, I have heard of other cases where a driver would purchase a car which later proved lacking in the profitability department. One guy I recall (who was a passenger) reported to me that he bought a new Audi to drive UberSelect because he thought higher prices for the customer means more earnings for him (he was wrong).

Not only was he in debt for a massive purchase, but his oxygen sensor went out and the dealership did not cover that cost when he complained (thinking it may be covered since it was a new car). He could not drive anymore because he had no money set aside (hence his taking my Uber). German cars often must be serviced at the dealership, which charges an arm and a leg. This poor driver also sadly told me how since it has so many miles above the average, he cannot sell it to cover what he owes. Others I met while driving informed me they bought a new car from Uber's new car purchase program, and told me nightmare stories of how much money they lost (only to have the car repossessed later, and their credit crushed as a result). Don't go these routes please.

This brings me back to my friend, to whom I told the unfortunate truth. He basically worked for Uber for free, and if he stopped driving today, even worse he still owes more than $28,000 on the car, and he has zero savings. You can think of this case as a person who drove for Uber and paid for the "privilege" of driving around passengers I estimate a negative $9000 per year (for the years in question) because of debt, interest, depreciated assets, etc. This is worse than being a slave or a "paid for" servant in my opinion in terms of making money...


Negotiate Better Insurance Rates
Finance.png


There are endless other ways to maximize your profitability, including negotiating and seeing if your insurance company will give discounts. For example, my insurance company is Geico, and I called them and spent a lot of time finding new safe driver discounts. My credit score is very high, and they gave me a big discount on that. Call your insurance company, and ask if they will give a discount on good credit...and if your credit score is low, find out ways to increase your score. Also, ask them if they have a "safe driving" online class you can do for additional discounts. Furthermore, the representative I spoke to asked me what college I went to, and they gave me a good discount for that. If you went to a university, ask your car insurance company if your college/grad school is included in their list of institutions they give discounts to. Maybe ask them if they give a discount for veterans or government employees, or different organizations you are a part of (I say this because Geico and others consider everything). This is a part time gig for me, so I also spend time while driving passengers listening with my bluetooth to podcasts which give me education on my other gigs (like teaching physics, working shifts at my day job, trading financial securities, and so on). Make your driving Uber a time where you are constantly thinking of profits as a business operation.


Work For You
Joy.png


In conclusion, please do reflect and consider yourself as an ongoing business which needs to constantly operate efficiently and think of ways to maximize net profits. Because at the end of the day, that is what you are, a "company" trying to earn a profit. Uber doesn't care if you make money or not, they have an endless supply of new drivers to hit the road. Particularly during this pandemic and definitely after the lockdowns start to lift, I speculate it will be more important than ever to be mindful of your net income, and not just the numbers that you see on your Uber app. When I pointed all this to my friend "G" in a long conversation, there was a long silence at the end... then an unfortunate admission of abject grief and despair. Please be mindful, and May God Bless all of our current military and veterans each and everyday (and also all of us)!! 😍
 
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Comments

Being hired on with Uber may require less intelligence than needed to pass a normal job interview. Unfortunately, you actually have to have greater intelligence to succeed as an Uber driver than you would at most normal jobs. At most normal jobs, all you have to do is show up and you'll be ahead of where you started. Not so with Uber. It is apparently beyond the reasoning ability of many drivers to make choices that will result in long-term profitability.

I know a guy that is a casino manager. He has related to me stories where an employee is told he gets X number of hours of PTO per week... and these employees cannot do the basic math and come and ask him how many weeks it will take before they get enough hours to take a PTO day off. These same types of people sign up for Uber and they never do the math. Disaster. Unfortunately, even when you do everything right, Uber pays so little that few people who can do basic arithmetic will do this work. There is no wonder why so many people fail when it should be so easy to succeed.
 
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Being hired on with Uber may require less intelligence than needed to pass a normal job interview. Unfortunately, you actually have to have greater intelligence to succeed as an Uber driver than you would at most normal jobs. At most normal jobs, all you have to do is show up and you'll be ahead of where you started. Not so with Uber. It is apparently beyond the reasoning ability of many drivers to make choices that will result in long-term profitability.

I know a guy that is a casino manager. He has related to me stories where an employee is told he gets X number of hours of PTO per week... and these employees cannot do the basic math and come and ask him how many weeks it will take before they get enough hours to take a PTO day off. These same types of people sign up for Uber and they never do the math. Disaster. Unfortunately, even when you do everything right, Uber pays so little that few people who can do basic arithmetic will do this work. There is no wonder why so many people fail when it should be so easy to succeed.
Indeed Trafficat, I do agree. Your response is profound. Some people underestimate the necessary intellectual ability to make driving for Uber profitable. I have asked many passengers who were former Uber drivers why they stopped. Many told me their driving habits, and it surely surprised me. One guy said he would wake up at 9:00 am and drive for 2 hours, then drive all the way home to the suburbs and take a lunch, then log back on and drive til around 5 pm...and stop for the day. He took weekends off.

I thought to myself that if he starts so late at 9:00 am, everyone downtown is already at work, so there will be fewer requests. And if he stops working at 5 pm, then he will miss the surge of riders going home after they finish their office jobs. Furthermore, if he doesn't work weekends, then he will miss the bulk of potential weekly earnings.
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Do you really expect people to read all that jibber-jabba?
Lol, thanks for replying to my post. If you think my post is too long, then feel free to not read it. I'm only trying to help mostly new drivers. Please have a great day!! :smiles:
 
I agree it’s a business but I think you are going way too far, especially since it’s a just a part time thing for you. And I think you have a problem like my wife, She gets upset when she gives advice and the person, (usually me) doesn’t follow her advice to a tee.

I bet your friend heard you but decided to do it differently. As long as he is happy, let it go. At least that’s what I would do. You did your best and you can reserve the right to say “I told you so” but for now, I’d let it go

I can’t speak for your friend, but I do Uber so I can continue to enjoy the lifestyle I enjoyed before retirement and so I don’t have to eat peanut butter and jelly or drive a little car
 
I thought to myself that if he starts so late at 9:00 am, everyone downtown is already at work, so there will be fewer requests
my uber shift is around 10am-1pm; there are plenty of pings and I only drive in the suburbs. You have a crap ton airport pings for PM flights and others who have variable work shifts. Kinda an assumption there isn't any or many pings during this time.
 
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my uber shift is around 10am-1pm; there are plenty of pings and I only drive in the suburbs. You have a crap ton airport pings for PM flights and others who have variable work shifts. Kinda an assumption there isn't any or many pings during this time.
Interesting. Where I live in the north suburbs in Chicago, I spoke to other Uber drivers who reported it was pretty slow in the suburbs. But I don't know where you live and work.
 
I spoke to other Uber drivers who reported it was pretty slow in the suburbs
you spoke with drivers and accepted it as factual? Mistake number 1. Yeah, no doubt each market is a little different. You find out by doing.
Some of us PT avoid nights, weekends and 'events'. And specially rush hours. People in the 'burbs' need rides too, you know. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 
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G sounds like a good dude who lives...really lives his life. Life’s too short not to be a G
Perhaps you are right, to each his own... I just thought of something unrelated regarding my post which mainly focused on suggestions for newer Uber drivers. I recommend NOT offering an aux cord to passengers if asked. Especially to very drunk people. They will demand that you play their music as loud as your car volume can reach, and you will be very annoyed by the end of the trip.
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you spoke with drivers and accepted it as factual? Mistake number 1. Yeah, no doubt each market is a little different. You find out by doing.
Some of us PT avoid nights, weekends and 'events'. And specially rush hours. People in the 'burbs' need rides too, you know. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
Ok, agreed. I can't necessarily trust anecdotal reports. I humbly retract. Perhaps, especially in your area, suburban rides are plentiful. I have not tried myself so I cannot speak about it.
 
I tend to agree that in my market if you only worked from 9-11 and 1-5 and No weekends...you would miss out on most of the busy times where it's possible to maximize your profits... Some driver like @SHalester do this gig on a very PT basis and work hard to be sure his write off exceeds his income. And I respect that even though I do it differently and try to ride the surge train and hit the Busy times where I can make 2-3 as much. That's the great thing about Uber it's solely up to you how you do it... While I see your points some drivers truly don't care and will always do it their way.

tenor - 2020-03-02T151904.784.gif
 
Being hired on with Uber may require less intelligence than needed to pass a normal job interview. Unfortunately, you actually have to have greater intelligence to succeed as an Uber driver than you would at most normal jobs.
Ladies and gentlemen.......we have a winnah !!!!

Or, to put it another way using their own stats, only 4% of Uber driver's who get hired meet that classification after one year..
 
Dear friends, Happy Memorial Day to all! As I finished my shift last night, I reflected on a conversation I had with a fellow driver "G" who I think approaches driving for Uber in a very inefficient way. Please let me explain, and suggest how it may help any other (particularly new) rideshare drivers reflect on their own working patterns. I aver that an Uber driver must consider his/her driving work to be first and foremost an independent business, rather than someone who lackadaisically drives for money.

For example, when "G" and I started driving a few years back (we started about the same time), he bought a new car, a 2015 Ford Taurus. It was a nice car with a lot of features, but one that had a mpg that I felt was rather lacking. I purchased a used red 2015 Toyota Prius (I knew my choice to be thrifty would directly impact my future earnings as I had less capital to depreciate). He paid a lot, while I paid a very reasonable used car price. I was very careful about the purchase and had it checked out thoroughly by my trusted mechanic prior to paying, who vouched for its impeccable quality.

I also recalled my Prius had an mpg rating of 53 city/50 highway. My friend's Taurus had a 22 city/32 highway. Miles per gallon your car gets directly impacts your earnings per hour... Fastforward a few years to the present, and he no longer has the Taurus. He did not maintain the car well, and one of his tires blew out on the expressway, and the car was totalled. I still have my Toyota Prius. Amazingly, I have had no major issues with my car, except for one time where the passenger rear window did not close from the driver's control switch, which was an easy fix. He reported to me on contrast that he had many expensive issues with his car, including getting his transmission completely changed when it failed. One must consider the quality of the car, the price they paid, the repair history of the model, the miles per gallon, if they drive in a way that "stresses" the car, etc. All these are very real costs, and impact directly one's profitability and whether one should really be driving or not.

Consider the manner upon how you drive, how you maintain your car, what rides you choose, and things like how you spend money on food while out driving. When I drive, I accelerate and decelerate very smoothly and cautiously. Whenever I press the gas pedal and the times the brake pedal, I note to myself how I am literally spending money on fuel and brake pads. For example, when I am approaching a red light from a distance, I start tapping the brakes and often gently glide to the red light to conserve the duration of my brake pads.

My friend "G" however, is a rather aggressive driver, and told me he replaced his brake pads many times on the Ford Taurus. I've only replaced my brake pads once on my Toyota Prius, and had a friend replace them after I purchased the parts from Autozone. I even learned how to change the oil and things like the air filter etc.myself from watching YouTube tutorials. I feel an Uber driver should consider each and every dollar they spend, or not spend, with careful consideration. Even minor things like getting your car washed is important. I believe it is a good practice to have your car looking shiny and clean on the outside and inside, and I do the washes and cleaning by myself, while my friend "G" always does it by a full service car wash.

Also, I never go through a drive through for food but instead pack my lunch and dinner whenever I am going out for a long shift (usually on weekends). My friend ALWAYS tells me about how he went through a drive through and going out to new restaurants and ordering new food he craves. I admit I am jealous sometimes when I talk to him on the phone while driving, as he is telling me of some new restaurant he found where the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich or steak burrito had such good taste (while I am chomping down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). But, I tell myself that buying food at a restaurant impacts my earnings per hour (e.g. If you spend $12 for food on a 6 hour shift, you have earned $2 less per hour). Packing your food and drinks makes that cost minimal.

With respect to food, I calculated with him that he spends at least $20-$25 per day when he goes out driving, while I spend probably a dollar or two per day per shift (e.g. I buy my peanut butter, jelly and bread from a dollar store). For him, I estimate he spends nearly $500 per month more than I do paying for his food while driving. That is a very direct cost and can be seen as a reduction in your hourly earnings, which must be considered. He pays for sodas, I carry water bottles and premade juice in plastic containers. Please pack your food and drinks at home.

Going further as a case study, when he totaled his car in 2017, I urged him to use the insurance money carefully. He took my advice happily on getting a Toyota Prius, but he bought a brand new car, and got a SEVEN year payment plan! I could not understand this. I recall visiting him the day he got the car, and he was so excited. It was a beautiful shiny new blue Prius and had leather seats, and all the new features. But he reported he paid a total of $35,000 for the upgraded car, including taxes, "gap insurance", doc fees, and title. I really questioned his choice, because that car has to be depreciated over time, and I had to explain to him that it DIRECTLY goes against his monthly/hourly pay considerations.

Because it was a brand new car, he told me he pays over $500 per month on insurance (which includes rideshare considerations). When I did the calculations carefully with him, I regrettably informed him that he is extremely negative from a net cash flow and absolute earnings perspective (month per month, year by year) since inception. Since he racked up nearly 80,000 miles on the car since his purchase, he cannot expect to sell the car for anything close to Blue Book on a Toyota 2017 Prius model. I also suggested him to pay more towards his car to pay down the balance sooner, but he declined and said he enjoys having more cash in his pocket per month. I countered that in the long run this is an unprofitable thought process...

This manner of not carefully considering the choice/model of the car you choose to drive while doing Uber, the manner in which your drive, whether it is a new or used car, how much food and drink you spend, how you get it repaired, etc. is not limited to my friend. Over the years, I have heard of other cases where a driver would purchase a car which later proved lacking in the profitability department. One guy I recall (who was a passenger) reported to me that he bought a new Audi to drive UberSelect because he thought higher prices for the customer means more earnings for him (he was wrong).

Not only was he in debt for a massive purchase, but his oxygen sensor went out and the dealership did not cover that cost when he complained (thinking it may be covered since it was a new car). He could not drive anymore because he had no money set aside (hence his taking my Uber). German cars often must be serviced at the dealership, which charges an arm and a leg. This poor driver also sadly told me how since it has so many miles above the average, he cannot sell it to cover what he owes. Others I met while driving informed me they bought a new car from Uber's new car purchase program, and told me nightmare stories of how much money they lost (only to have the car repossessed later, and their credit crushed as a result). Don't go these routes please.

This brings me back to my friend, to whom I told the unfortunate truth. He basically worked for Uber for free, and if he stopped driving today, even worse he still owes more than $28,000 on the car, and he has zero savings. You can think of this case as a person who drove for Uber and paid for the "privilege" of driving around passengers I estimate a negative $9000 per year (for the years in question) because of debt, interest, depreciated assets, etc. This is worse than being a slave or a "paid for" servant in my opinion in terms of making money...

There are endless other ways to maximize your profitability, including negotiating and seeing if your insurance company will give discounts. For example, my insurance company is Geico, and I called them and spent a lot of time finding new safe driver discounts. My credit score is very high, and they gave me a big discount on that. Call your insurance company, and ask if they will give a discount on good credit...and if your credit score is low, find out ways to increase your score. Also, ask them if they have a "safe driving" online class you can do for additional discounts. Furthermore, the representative I spoke to asked me what college I went to, and they gave me a good discount for that. If you went to a university, ask your car insurance company if your college/grad school is included in their list of institutions they give discounts to. Maybe ask them if they give a discount for veterans or government employees, or different organizations you are a part of (I say this because Geico and others consider everything). This is a part time gig for me, so I also spend time while driving passengers listening with my bluetooth to podcasts which give me education on my other gigs (like teaching physics, working shifts at my day job, trading financial securities, and so on). Make your driving Uber a time where you are constantly thinking of profits as a business operation.

In conclusion, please do reflect and consider yourself as an ongoing business which needs to constantly operate efficiently and think of ways to maximize net profits. Because at the end of the day, that is what you are, a "company" trying to earn a profit. Uber doesn't care if you make money or not, they have an endless supply of new drivers to hit the road. Particularly during this pandemic and definitely after the lockdowns start to lift, I speculate it will be more important than ever to be mindful of your net income, and not just the numbers that you see on your Uber app. When I pointed all this to my friend "G" in a long conversation, there was a long silence at the end... then an unfortunate admission of abject grief and despair. Please be mindful, and May God Bless all of our current military and veterans today (and also all of us)!! 😍
Fail. Prius brake pads last much longer than conventional vehicles. This point in your argument about cost of maintenance Is moot.
 
I appreciate your post.
I was having trouble last year with too much time on my hands.
talking with my brother, he said "you gotta find something else to do to occupy your time.
OK, I say, like what? Knitting or crochet?

I come up with a brilliant idea!
I was (and am still) working full time for decent money, but time off was negative.
I needed a new car, as my last one had been taken by the man.

I thought, buy a car and drive for uber. (genius right?)
Did research from May - July.
Watch YouTube videos to edumacate myself.
Looked into the FINANCIAL aspects of driving.

About a year before, I had downloaded a virtual checkbook ledger (Simple Checkbook Ledger, awsome!)
Had personal account, bill account, saving account and would move money between them, although only one balance from check acct.

So in July, decide to get car (chose a Toyota Corolla, 32K miles about 15k) avg now = 33 mpg. (Love it!)
Started driving u/l before and after work and days off , about 25 hours.
Began making money.

With my checkbook ledger app, Created a main account (all money deposited into same checking account as personal.
Main account "Driveshare" all money starts here.
Created 4 sub accounts.
*"DS Maintenance"
*"DS Taxes"
*"DS Vacation"
*"DS DNT"
*"DS Principal"

Beautiful , I sad to myself.
Keep in mind, money was a secondary reason for driving u/l. Time was main concern, although i needed to pay for car.

So far, awesome. (Now only doing uber eats, better than u/l, for sure)

So since day one, I cash out app on Wednesday and Sunday nights.
From the getgo,
%20 to DS Maintenance.
%5 to Taxes, Vacation, DNT and Principal. (each)
That is %45 of total. Make 100, I am now left with $55.
Gas (initially had been projected at %25, but is more like %12 overall, specially with current prices,
but lets say %15 (including all travel, all personal travel as well.)
Now I am netting <> %42 on all income.
That pays for car and insurance.
Oil changes about every 5 weeks, come out of DS Maintenance, with lots saved for future (Tires, any other fu which may occur)

Now my time problem is solved and I got a free car.
So far, lovin it!

Thanks for your intelligent post. :smiles:
 
and try to ride the surge train and hit the Busy times
yeah, I avoid those. too much work. I did that already in CAREER. This ain't a career anybody aims for. They might fall into it, for this or that reason, but it ain't a career. Careers you WORK at. I retired from work, paid my dues. RS for me isn't work. One could only have 2 brain cells that rarely spark and they would be able to do RS. :o-o:
 
young kim. you write nice storys. but alot you say to me is bullshit. what do you earn a week , and what do you really keep per week...
i have done 6 years 2 years black suv mpg 14. pay $3500 a week . nissan car. with xl suv . dodge van 3 years 15 mpg city $2k a week gross, before virus . over 20,000 rides.
whats some of your #'s to make us have more creditability
 
Dear friends, Happy Memorial Day to all! As I finished my shift last night, I reflected on a conversation I had with a fellow driver "G" who I think approaches driving for Uber in a very inefficient way. Please let me explain, and suggest how it may help any other (particularly new) rideshare drivers reflect on their own working patterns. I aver that an Uber driver must consider his/her driving work to be first and foremost an independent business, rather than someone who lackadaisically drives for money.

For example, when "G" and I started driving a few years back (we started about the same time), he bought a new car, a 2015 Ford Taurus. It was a nice car with a lot of features, but one that had a mpg that I felt was rather lacking. I purchased a used red 2015 Toyota Prius (I knew my choice to be thrifty would directly impact my future earnings as I had less capital to depreciate). He paid a lot, while I paid a very reasonable used car price. I was very careful about the purchase and had it checked out thoroughly by my trusted mechanic prior to paying, who vouched for its impeccable quality.

I also recalled my Prius had an mpg rating of 53 city/50 highway. My friend's Taurus had a 22 city/32 highway. Miles per gallon your car gets directly impacts your earnings per hour... Fastforward a few years to the present, and he no longer has the Taurus. He did not maintain the car well, and one of his tires blew out on the expressway, and the car was totalled. I still have my Toyota Prius. Amazingly, I have had no major issues with my car, except for one time where the passenger rear window did not close from the driver's control switch, which was an easy fix. He reported to me on contrast that he had many expensive issues with his car, including getting his transmission completely changed when it failed. One must consider the quality of the car, the price they paid, the repair history of the model, the miles per gallon, if they drive in a way that "stresses" the car, etc. All these are very real costs, and impact directly one's profitability and whether one should really be driving or not.

Consider the manner upon how you drive, how you maintain your car, what rides you choose, and things like how you spend money on food while out driving. When I drive, I accelerate and decelerate very smoothly and cautiously. Whenever I press the gas pedal and the times the brake pedal, I note to myself how I am literally spending money on fuel and brake pads. For example, when I am approaching a red light from a distance, I start tapping the brakes and often gently glide to the red light to conserve the duration of my brake pads.

My friend "G" however, is a rather aggressive driver, and told me he replaced his brake pads many times on the Ford Taurus. I've only replaced my brake pads once on my Toyota Prius, and had a friend replace them after I purchased the parts from Autozone. I even learned how to change the oil and things like the air filter etc.myself from watching YouTube tutorials. I feel an Uber driver should consider each and every dollar they spend, or not spend, with careful consideration. Even minor things like getting your car washed is important. I believe it is a good practice to have your car looking shiny and clean on the outside and inside, and I do the washes and cleaning by myself, while my friend "G" always does it by a full service car wash.

Also, I never go through a drive through for food but instead pack my lunch and dinner whenever I am going out for a long shift (usually on weekends). My friend ALWAYS tells me about how he went through a drive through and going out to new restaurants and ordering new food he craves. I admit I am jealous sometimes when I talk to him on the phone while driving, as he is telling me of some new restaurant he found where the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich or steak burrito had such good taste (while I am chomping down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). But, I tell myself that buying food at a restaurant impacts my earnings per hour (e.g. If you spend $12 for food on a 6 hour shift, you have earned $2 less per hour). Packing your food and drinks makes that cost minimal.

With respect to food, I calculated with him that he spends at least $20-$25 per day when he goes out driving, while I spend probably a dollar or two per day per shift (e.g. I buy my peanut butter, jelly and bread from a dollar store). For him, I estimate he spends nearly $500 per month more than I do paying for his food while driving. That is a very direct cost and can be seen as a reduction in your hourly earnings, which must be considered. He pays for sodas, I carry water bottles and premade juice in plastic containers. Please pack your food and drinks at home.

Going further as a case study, when he totaled his car in 2017, I urged him to use the insurance money carefully. He took my advice happily on getting a Toyota Prius, but he bought a brand new car, and got a SEVEN year payment plan! I could not understand this. I recall visiting him the day he got the car, and he was so excited. It was a beautiful shiny new blue Prius and had leather seats, and all the new features. But he reported he paid a total of $35,000 for the upgraded car, including taxes, "gap insurance", doc fees, and title. I really questioned his choice, because that car has to be depreciated over time, and I had to explain to him that it DIRECTLY goes against his monthly/hourly pay considerations.

Because it was a brand new car, he told me he pays over $500 per month on insurance (which includes rideshare considerations). When I did the calculations carefully with him, I regrettably informed him that he is extremely negative from a net cash flow and absolute earnings perspective (month per month, year by year) since inception. Since he racked up nearly 80,000 miles on the car since his purchase, he cannot expect to sell the car for anything close to Blue Book on a Toyota 2017 Prius model. I also suggested him to pay more towards his car to pay down the balance sooner, but he declined and said he enjoys having more cash in his pocket per month. I countered that in the long run this is an unprofitable thought process...

This manner of not carefully considering the choice/model of the car you choose to drive while doing Uber, the manner in which your drive, whether it is a new or used car, how much food and drink you spend, how you get it repaired, etc. is not limited to my friend. Over the years, I have heard of other cases where a driver would purchase a car which later proved lacking in the profitability department. One guy I recall (who was a passenger) reported to me that he bought a new Audi to drive UberSelect because he thought higher prices for the customer means more earnings for him (he was wrong).

Not only was he in debt for a massive purchase, but his oxygen sensor went out and the dealership did not cover that cost when he complained (thinking it may be covered since it was a new car). He could not drive anymore because he had no money set aside (hence his taking my Uber). German cars often must be serviced at the dealership, which charges an arm and a leg. This poor driver also sadly told me how since it has so many miles above the average, he cannot sell it to cover what he owes. Others I met while driving informed me they bought a new car from Uber's new car purchase program, and told me nightmare stories of how much money they lost (only to have the car repossessed later, and their credit crushed as a result). Don't go these routes please.

This brings me back to my friend, to whom I told the unfortunate truth. He basically worked for Uber for free, and if he stopped driving today, even worse he still owes more than $28,000 on the car, and he has zero savings. You can think of this case as a person who drove for Uber and paid for the "privilege" of driving around passengers I estimate a negative $9000 per year (for the years in question) because of debt, interest, depreciated assets, etc. This is worse than being a slave or a "paid for" servant in my opinion in terms of making money...

There are endless other ways to maximize your profitability, including negotiating and seeing if your insurance company will give discounts. For example, my insurance company is Geico, and I called them and spent a lot of time finding new safe driver discounts. My credit score is very high, and they gave me a big discount on that. Call your insurance company, and ask if they will give a discount on good credit...and if your credit score is low, find out ways to increase your score. Also, ask them if they have a "safe driving" online class you can do for additional discounts. Furthermore, the representative I spoke to asked me what college I went to, and they gave me a good discount for that. If you went to a university, ask your car insurance company if your college/grad school is included in their list of institutions they give discounts to. Maybe ask them if they give a discount for veterans or government employees, or different organizations you are a part of (I say this because Geico and others consider everything). This is a part time gig for me, so I also spend time while driving passengers listening with my bluetooth to podcasts which give me education on my other gigs (like teaching physics, working shifts at my day job, trading financial securities, and so on). Make your driving Uber a time where you are constantly thinking of profits as a business operation.

In conclusion, please do reflect and consider yourself as an ongoing business which needs to constantly operate efficiently and think of ways to maximize net profits. Because at the end of the day, that is what you are, a "company" trying to earn a profit. Uber doesn't care if you make money or not, they have an endless supply of new drivers to hit the road. Particularly during this pandemic and definitely after the lockdowns start to lift, I speculate it will be more important than ever to be mindful of your net income, and not just the numbers that you see on your Uber app. When I pointed all this to my friend "G" in a long conversation, there was a long silence at the end... then an unfortunate admission of abject grief and despair. Please be mindful, and May God Bless all of our current military and veterans today (and also all of us)!! 😍

G'day from Australia.

I appreciate the effort you put into your post. The basic premise that Uber drivers are in effect an ongoing business is valid. People should remember this rather than try to imagine themselves as mistreated employees.

I have some major criticisms - mostly about what I consider your flawed & incomplete perspective. You failed to consider that everyone's circumstances are different, and a lot of what you wrote is a bit too self-congratulatory for my liking. In addition, I feel sorry for your friend "G". Seems to me you didn't put much effort into the useful advice you gave, then came to gloat when he was as you say in "grief and despair". Looks to me like G needs better friends!

So firstly, your background story of how you & G bought cars - yeah good comparison, but what about those drivers who already had a car before driving Uber? Let's say someone has a Subaru Legacy (like me) and then starts driving Uber. There is no valid business case to sell the Legacy and eat all the depreciation loss, in order to replace it with a more efficient car. You can spin the numbers any way you want and it won't work. The most efficient car for Uber is the one you already own.

As the driver of a fuel-guzzling car, I have found that my own time & space methods and strategies count for much more than any fuel efficiency. Simple example: The Prius driver who works 40 hours from 9-5 on weekdays, will earn only half as much as I do working the same number of hours, spread over peak times.

Drive-thru vs packed lunch: This is not a business choice, it's a personal lifestyle choice. G likes his Philly cheese steak, you like your brussel sprouts. Why you spent 2 long paragraphs on this topic is a mystery to me.

Maintenance: of course it's a no-brainer that cars should be maintained. The story of G's tyre blowing out has little to do with maintenance as this could happen to anyone even with new tyres. The other story of the O2 sensor - I call a big fat BS on this because any new car is under warranty. Please don't try to explain that O2 sensors aren't covered under warranty in the US!

New vs used vs big vs small vs whatever car: With a quick google search I found that in the USA, you enjoy a very generous US$0.58 per mile tax deduction, with apparently no limit on miles. This simple fact means that any full time Uber driver in the US with caveman-level accounting skills will not pay any tax. Part time drivers will also work at a tax net loss and might be able to get a big tax return from their primary income. You also have the option to switch to the actual costs method if that suits your case better. All this heavily offsets your bug bears depreciation, loan repayments etc.

Overall, while your premise of running a business is sound, the rest of what you wrote shows that your understanding of business accounting is very limited. Also:
This is a part time gig for me, so I also spend time while driving passengers listening with my bluetooth to podcasts which give me education on my other gigs (like teaching physics, working shifts at my day job, trading financial securities, and so on).
Oh Dear God... I pity your poor riders whom you torment with your podcasts. Also, gotta love your throwaway "this is a part time gig for me" comment, gotta tell the lowly plebs that this job doesn't really matter to you, for you are destined for great things... Let's not forget that you bought a car specifically to do this, Mr future physicist/financial securities trader - :o-o:

The best and most concise response to everything you wrote was this one:

Only thing I mindful of is positive cash flow and a tax net loss (or as close as I can get). Everything else is just way too much work. Just saying.
Yes,yes, and yes. Monetise your time, monetise the cost of ownership of your vehicle, deduct everything and pay no tax. Gaze on your bank balance and enjoy driving a real car, one that doesn't resemble a door stop.
 
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(e.g. I buy my peanut butter, jelly and bread from a dollar store).
Happy M day to you too. But now that you have dispensed all that good advice to your friend, it is time for you to soak up some advice yourself. Young Kim, it's ok to buy you clothes at Ross or Walmart. It's ok to get your hair cut at Supercuts. It's ok to get your baggies, plastic containers, aluminum foil and damn near everything else they stock at the dollar store.

Except food. Dollar Store peanutbutter & jelly sandwiches? Hold the phone Young Kim. You should apply the same smart Uber driving principles you have engineered directly to the food you eat. In other words, it's not just about filling your stomach today! You're in it for the long haul. Would you put crap gas in your Ubercar? Certainly not. Why put crap food in your biological machine?

Young Kim, it's time to start treating your body like a business. Treat it with the care you treat your ridesharing gig. Because unlike your Ubercar, you can't trade in your body when it's all worn out and blowing smoke out the tailpipe (well actually you can trade in your body for a new one when you die and are reborn, but that's a little too metaphysical for these pages).

Young Kim, think about this advice. We want you to be around when you are Old Kim and writing these dense, long-winded dissertations (I had to break for dinner before finishing this one). But we like your posts. Very positive and high-minded. And what forum can't benefit from those attributes?

Live long and prosper Young Kim.
 
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