Mixed messages. Should I become an uber driver?

What is your income as a full-time (~40hr/wk) uber driver before expenses like tax, insurance, etc?

  • 40k+

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • 30-40k

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • 20-30k

    Votes: 8 66.7%

  • Total voters
    12
  • Poll closed .

rebuber

New Member
Hello, all.

So, I have been reading over this forum for a few days now. I have read a few blogs, seen a few videos, etc - doing my due diligence. Now, I would like to be an uber driver, lyft, chauffeur, etc because I think I would like it and I am a good salesman. However, after reading over this forum, it seems that a lot of you have extremely negative opinions about uber and this whole ride sharing business model in general.

I live in a fairly rich area (Mill Valley, California) and I also have enough resources to get a hold of a 2017 Mercedes E 300 so that I can participate in uber Black and Select as well as use the car as a chauffeur service for family friends. I will aim for 40hr/wk because I want to use this as a main source of income.

My current expenses:

$300/month rent

$150/month various insurances,

$200/month food

As you can see, I don't need to make a lot to break even and I plan on investing a fair share of my income into stocks if possible.

Anyway, my first instinct was to do the Prius thing and spam uberX for eight hours a day, but getting the luxury car will open up more opportunities for me outside of uber. I will get the commercial insurance, airport licence, etc, if I decide to go the luxury route.

So, my questions are:

1) Is uber Select and Black really worth it compared to just getting that cheap used Prius and spamming uberX rides? Of course, it is very important to take into account depreciation on the car which can be over 3k or more per year. There are also the extra maintenance costs associated with the vehicle, worse gas mileage, etc. My loan repayment for the car would be about $250-$350 btw. I feel that taking into account all of those extra costs is going to make it perhaps even more expensive to go with the uberSelect or Black route.

2) What are you really making per month? Tell me the details.

3) How much of your income comes from referrals?

4) I have seen a lot of people make calculations that say they are making less than minimum wage as an uber driver. Is this true or are these people just outliers?

Honestly, this whole thing reminds me of those energy drink pyramid schemes from 2008. :/
 

ACHUMA

Well-Known Member
Keep in mind this is the slow time of year and depending on your market call volume decreases.

So far today I've made $0 per hour...literally. So yeah, go for it. Your friends will be calling you Mr. Moneybags in no time!
 

ABC123DEF

Well-Known Member
An ideal time to jump in head-first would have been 2-3 years ago. Uber is a train wreck in its current state. I wouldn't recommend this foolishness to my worst enemy. It's a terrible waste of time, money, energy, and resources. If you want to hate people...just watch the current news. You don't need Uber to do that.
 

grams777

Well-Known Member
Author
Moderator
I'd work for someone else first before starting out on your own on Black. I did and it saved me a bunch of grief and expense. In my city you're lucky to get one black ride every two hours. I'd treat it like any business and get your feet wet under someone else's roof before branching out on your own. Even if it's another company as a limo or sedan driver.

I've never truly cleared minimum wage on UberX full time even with the higher rates years ago. I can only clear about $10 an hour on X or $15-20 an hour on XL/Select for up to 20 hours a week spread out here and there at the busiest times. And that's using about .30 per driven mile as costs not just gas.

I think the outliers are the ones who make more than minimum wage full time on UberX after true expense allocation (not including temporary incentives).

Uber Black is like a snack. You generally need your own clients for the bulk of your work. That can be harder to do than one thinks because the market is so crowded.

I'd probably not get a 2017. Go back at least a couple years but not too far back based on model year limits for Black.
 
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LAuberX

Well-Known Member
Moderator
3k per year? on a 2017 mbz it's more like $10-$12k per year! those things drop in value like a rock.

look at the price of a 2017 $60,000.00

now look at a 2012 with 200,000 miles on it $14,000

big drop, and you have high maintenance to go with the huge drop in value because of the miles you will put on it.

Commercial insurance? another $3 to $4 k, higher the first few years with no experience.

Uber, they promise "life changing money".... but is bankruptcy your goal?
 
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gofry

Well-Known Member
Not sure this original post is serious but here's a few things:
  • You didn't say how much the Mercedes would cost you
  • Adding a car payment to your expenses will mean that all of your Uber earnings (if any) will go to that
  • Being a good salesman won't help you driving for Uber
  • The SF area is saturated with drivers
  • You won't have any money left over to invest in stocks and you don't sound like the type that should
  • It is probable that you will earn minimum wage-type net pay (after Uber fees, gas, self employment tax, repairs)
  • Very, very few drivers make a full-time living, most successful drivers are part-timers with other jobs

If you want to try it, see if you can borrow a car for few weeks and then do the math.
 

Potsy

Well-Known Member
3k per year? on a 2017 mbz it's more like $10-$12k per year! those things drop in value like a rock.

look at the price of a 2017 $60,000.00

now look at a 2012 with 200,000 miles on it $14,000

big drop, and you have high maintenance to go with the huge drop in value because of the miles you will put on it.

Commercial insurance? another $3 to $4 k, higher the first few years with no experience.

Uber, they promise "life changing money".... but is bankruptcy your goal?
Mercedes is way too good a vehicle for uber black. If you insist on doing it get the cheapest possible car that uber will accept.
I've done uber black and quit. It's just not worth it.
 

Mountainsoloist

Well-Known Member
Hello, all.

Anyway, my first instinct was to do the Prius thing and spam uberX for eight hours a day, but getting the luxury car will open up more opportunities for me outside of uber. I will get the commercial insurance, airport licence, etc, if I decide to go the luxury route.

Honestly, this whole thing reminds me of those energy drink pyramid schemes from 2008. :/
Bottom line up front, I don't recommend that you join Uber at all in your situation. Uber is not a reliable way to make money anymore. Your energy drink comparison is spot on. Many drivers are driving at a loss and a few have figured out how to make a decent income from it. At best, Uber is a short term hustle, even for the top earning drivers.

1) Is uber Select and Black really worth it compared to just getting that cheap used Prius and spamming uberX rides? Of course, it is very important to take into account depreciation on the car which can be over 3k or more per year. There are also the extra maintenance costs associated with the vehicle, worse gas mileage, etc. My loan repayment for the car would be about $250-$350 btw. I feel that taking into account all of those extra costs is going to make it perhaps even more expensive to go with the uberSelect or Black route.
If you decide to do it anyway, a seven seat luxury SUV will give you the most options and I would recommend that over the Prius. Whatever you do, please don't borrow money to buy a car for Uber.

2) What are you really making per month? Tell me the details.
After the last rate cut I was making about $650 per week before expenses. Then my car started running rough. I had to do about $1100 worth of work to get back on the road. The next day I got a flat tire which I had to replace.

In the early days of Uber I could make $1500 per week driving 60 hours. After the first rate cut that dropped to $1100.

3) How much of your income comes from referrals?
I haven't made any money this way.

4) I have seen a lot of people make calculations that say they are making less than minimum wage as an uber driver. Is this true or are these people just outliers?
The calculations are correct in most mature Uber markets. The SoCal incentives have been a major improvement but the outliers are still the drivers who make good money. The confusion comes from the fact that it paid really well when it first came out. I made $80 an hour easily during peak times when they first hit my market. The rate cuts don't actually mean more money for drivers. In reality they drastically reduced driver incomes. At this point driving is comparable to a minimum wage job or worse.
 

ABC123DEF

Well-Known Member
It's worse...all the sitting...the waiting....the sitting....the waiting....then you get that minimum fare...and sit and wait for an hour or more....and sit...and wait. I hope this company crashes and burns.
 

Oscar Levant

Well-Known Member
Hello, all.

So, I have been reading over this forum for a few days now. I have read a few blogs, seen a few videos, etc - doing my due diligence. Now, I would like to be an uber driver, lyft, chauffeur, etc because I think I would like it and I am a good salesman. However, after reading over this forum, it seems that a lot of you have extremely negative opinions about uber and this whole ride sharing business model in general.

I live in a fairly rich area (Mill Valley, California) and I also have enough resources to get a hold of a 2017 Mercedes E 300 so that I can participate in uber Black and Select as well as use the car as a chauffeur service for family friends. I will aim for 40hr/wk because I want to use this as a main source of income.

My current expenses:

$300/month rent

$150/month various insurances,

$200/month food

As you can see, I don't need to make a lot to break even and I plan on investing a fair share of my income into stocks if possible.

Anyway, my first instinct was to do the Prius thing and spam uberX for eight hours a day, but getting the luxury car will open up more opportunities for me outside of uber. I will get the commercial insurance, airport licence, etc, if I decide to go the luxury route.

So, my questions are:

1) Is uber Select and Black really worth it compared to just getting that cheap used Prius and spamming uberX rides? Of course, it is very important to take into account depreciation on the car which can be over 3k or more per year. There are also the extra maintenance costs associated with the vehicle, worse gas mileage, etc. My loan repayment for the car would be about $250-$350 btw. I feel that taking into account all of those extra costs is going to make it perhaps even more expensive to go with the uberSelect or Black route.

2) What are you really making per month? Tell me the details.

3) How much of your income comes from referrals?

4) I have seen a lot of people make calculations that say they are making less than minimum wage as an uber driver. Is this true or are these people just outliers?

Honestly, this whole thing reminds me of those energy drink pyramid schemes from 2008. :/
There is only one class of people to ask: the select/black drivers in your city --because every city is so radically different there's no way to tell based on the answers by anyone other than that particular crowd . for example if you were in San Diego I would say go with SUV with a TCP license etcetera, but I don't know about your city it might be completely different. San Diego is a big convention town with many nice hotels which is great for the black / SUV / select business . So I drive SUV / black in San Diego and it is worth it but I, like you, have very low expenses I own my home no mortgage etcetera. The fact that you are , as well , puts you in a very good spot so you could probably do alright if there is sufficient business and the only way to know that is to ask the people that are doing it in your area. If it's not a big city they might be tight-lipped about it so I don't know. Also, historically speaking, 40 hours a week is probably not enough to live on but I only work 45 hours a week and I do make a living and I lease my car so my expenses are higher, you probably will do better if there is enough business in your area and you own the car.
 
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simpsonsverytall

Well-Known Member
Uber is a hard working job. It's best part time, or for those hard workers with limited opportunities, who would like to get on their feet and have better opportunities.

You are a good salesman, you have good connections (if you can 'get a hold of' the car you mention), you live in a great location, why don't you work hand in hand with someone running a driving service that brokers private transportation deals?
 

The Mollusk

Well-Known Member
They're lying to you. You'll make life changing money. When fares go down , earnings go up. There's no need to tip, and if a pax tried to tip you should decline it. If they insist, take it! You've earned it!
 
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