New Driver in Durham/Chapel Hill

Ubersaurus Rex

New Member
Hello,

Thought i'd just throw a quick intro. Been driving here and there in the Durham/Chapel Hill area for a couple weeks on the side until my new job starts in a couple months. Trying to get Uber Select, the process has taken way longer than I thought it would.

I've given 28 rides so far and I've learned the following

1. Sure seems like I'm getting charge more than the 25% fee. I haven't really done a deep dive into this but a minimum fare of $5.80 and a payout of $3.00 is a bit closer to 50% from my point of view.
2. In 28 Trips I've earned a little under $200 but have incurred expenses and depreciation of over $350. I'm actually down over $150. As far as expenses I bought a little phone holder suction cup thing, some water, and some mints to hand out. The rest is depreciation deduction at $.54/mi. Since my end result was negative I didn't bother taking out any taxes.
3. My car qualifies for Uber select and i've done all the hoop jumping (25+ rides, maintained 5 star rating, car def qualifies) but they haven't upgraded me, or at least I have no way of knowing if I've been upgraded. I emailed for help and they've asked me to send more pics of my exterior and interior, which I did. I'm just waiting to hear back.
4. Once they upgrade me to Select I have no intention of going back to UberX. Not after crunching the numbers at least. Hoping that helps the numbers out better.
5. For the most part driving around people is boring.

I'm not really that upset by my numbers, not pleased either, but I figured I'd just try it out and see what happens. It's just a side thing for fun and I'm not really dependent on it so I can quit any time.

Which begs this question. I've read a few threads here and I see a lot of frustrated and upset drivers. So why don't you just quit? If it's your sole source of income and you can't gain employment elsewhere, that's fine. But for others, what keeps you driving every day? I could tell in my first week this wasn't a money-making endeavor. And this is not a hobby that will cure boredom, imo. idk. If I were as disgruntled as some of your posts suggest, I def wouldn't be doing this gig for long.


My best uber story so far:
Had to pick a guy up at the hospital in Chapel Hill. Former military dude, he just had surgery on his knee. He meets me out in the pickup lane when I arrive and as I get out to let him in, he asks a favor
"Hey I need you come in and say your Steve somebody and go talk to the doctors and sign me out of this place so I can go home." He pulls out a roll of bills and slips me a couple 20's.
So I pull up and help the guy out for a bit. The nurse makes me look over all his medication, instructions, how to operate his knee cooling machine, and then sign him out before we could leave. He ended up needing a ride to Raleigh so I got a decent fare out of it as well. One of the few sessions I actually made a profit.


Anyways, nice to meet you all and stay cool, it's been crazy hot this summer.
 

Stephen

Well-Known Member
1. Sure seems like I'm getting charge more than the 25% fee. I haven't really done a deep dive into this but a minimum fare of $5.80 and a payout of $3.00 is a bit closer to 50% from my point of view.
2. In 28 Trips I've earned a little under $200 but have incurred expenses and depreciation of over $350. I'm actually down over $150. As far as expenses I bought a little phone holder suction cup thing, some water, and some mints to hand out. The rest is depreciation deduction at $.54/mi. Since my end result was negative I didn't bother taking out any taxes.
3. My car qualifies for Uber select and i've done all the hoop jumping (25+ rides, maintained 5 star rating, car def qualifies) but they haven't upgraded me, or at least I have no way of knowing if I've been upgraded. I emailed for help and they've asked me to send more pics of my exterior and interior, which I did. I'm just waiting to hear back.
4. Once they upgrade me to Select I have no intention of going back to UberX. Not after crunching the numbers at least. Hoping that helps the numbers out better.
5. For the most part driving around people is boring.
  1. Uber takes $1.80 of each fare as "booking fee" or whatever they call it, then you get 75% of what's left. Mathematically, the higher your fare, the better your take, percentage-wise.
  2. Giving away free stuff? You're a nice guy! Also, a sucker!
  3. You have to complete like 500 rides or some such before you can become eligible for select.
  4. Good luck making it to select!
  5. It's only as fun as you make it.
No one has gotten rich driving Uber. You are selling the miles on your car. You are barely being paid for your time. If you enjoy it, keep doing it. It's more of a hobby than a job.
 

grayspinner

Well-Known Member
They aren't really letting people be select only anymore, so when you do get approved for select, you'll have to cancel all the X pings & then you'll get your hand slapped for that.

But you are correct, there is no money in uberX.
 

Ubersaurus Rex

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Ya you're right, I just got this email and didn't realize this. Looks like my Uber days might be short lived, check out this message they sent me

"We understand that you would like your vehicle to be on uberSELECT class to increase your earnings, David. Thanks for sending your vehicle photos. No worries, upon further reviewing, I see that you've met all the requirements so I've gone ahead and updated your vehicle to uberSELECT class. However, you can still accept uberX trips because effective June 23, 2016, you can no longer accept uberSELECT trips only. This rule applies to all partners who were activated after November 22, 2015. Let us know if you have other questions or concerns. Have a good day. "


I don't want to have to constantly be denying UberX rides, Uber will def bug me about it. I'm just confused, though, can someone clarify me how this new change is better for Uber?

Even in the ruthless airlines if there are extra 1st class seats they don't bump economy class people up to them. You gotta pay for it. I'm not sure why Uber would have this policy.

1. Basically those that want to drive exclusively Uberselect are now deterred from being a driver at all.
2. Is this the same policy for UberXL?
3. Is this policy public? Do UberSelect riders know they can get the same higher quality ride for the cheaper UberX route?
4. What about the percentage fee differences? I thought I saw that UberSelect is 28% while UberX is 25%. Is this done automatically?

I'm having trouble seeing why Uber would do this. Only thought that comes to mind is they are having serious problems recruiting drivers and somehow think this would be better than increasing surges. In the short term this might tick up a bit, but in the long term you will really hurt willing drivers.

Oh well......I guess it was something I got to experience.
 

Dahkei

Well-Known Member
3. Is this policy public?
I don't think Uber makes any of these policy changes widespread public knowledge. I learn stuff like this from the forum. Didn't know about this til your post. Uber does what they want when they want and go by the moto "If you don't ask then we don't tell".

4. What about the percentage fee differences? I thought I saw that UberSelect is 28% while UberX is 25%. Is this done automatically?
Yes. Whatever your percentages are, Uber makes the adjustment automatically.

2. Is this the same policy for UberXL?
Good question. I know I wouldn't be running my SUV for .70 p/mi. But I wouldn't be surprised if that change has been made too. I know that there are many markets that don't have the option at all.
 

Bill Wirth

Well-Known Member
Ya you're right, I just got this email and didn't realize this. Looks like my Uber days might be short lived, check out this message they sent me

"We understand that you would like your vehicle to be on uberSELECT class to increase your earnings, David. Thanks for sending your vehicle photos. No worries, upon further reviewing, I see that you've met all the requirements so I've gone ahead and updated your vehicle to uberSELECT class. However, you can still accept uberX trips because effective June 23, 2016, you can no longer accept uberSELECT trips only. This rule applies to all partners who were activated after November 22, 2015. Let us know if you have other questions or concerns. Have a good day. "


I don't want to have to constantly be denying UberX rides, Uber will def bug me about it. I'm just confused, though, can someone clarify me how this new change is better for Uber?

Even in the ruthless airlines if there are extra 1st class seats they don't bump economy class people up to them. You gotta pay for it. I'm not sure why Uber would have this policy.

1. Basically those that want to drive exclusively Uberselect are now deterred from being a driver at all.
2. Is this the same policy for UberXL?
3. Is this policy public? Do UberSelect riders know they can get the same higher quality ride for the cheaper UberX route?
4. What about the percentage fee differences? I thought I saw that UberSelect is 28% while UberX is 25%. Is this done automatically?

I'm having trouble seeing why Uber would do this. Only thought that comes to mind is they are having serious problems recruiting drivers and somehow think this would be better than increasing surges. In the short term this might tick up a bit, but in the long term you will really hurt willing drivers.

Oh well......I guess it was something I got to experience.
Hey I think if you go on YouTube you may learn something about this from uber man that may help you?
 

Disgusted Driver

Well-Known Member
It doesn't really matter. There is so little select business because they've watered down the standards for select so much that there are many select cars available. I think people are expecting more than a Camry, Accord, Optima when they order select.

I was grandfathered in so I do Select Only, I sit home with the app on doing my thing and take the few Select calls I get a night, 3 is a busy night. Very rarely get a ping while I'm out unless it's a hopping Friday or Sat. night. These days I'm just making enough to make car payment and gas but that's ok, driving a lot fewer miles and spending much less time on this. If it ever cools off, might get back to my landscaping.
 

Ubersaurus Rex

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
yeah, that seems a problem if you are trying to differentiate your services but keep diluting the supply pool with lower-than-expected vehicles. Not saying camrys are bad cars but if customers are gonna pay double price it would be nice to get into a little bit higher end car, say audi, bmw, mercedes, lexus, etc. Also maybe have it include the water service, maybe mints or gum as well. You want the experience to be as differentiated as possible so customers really feel the difference and justify the increased pay.

I'm still trying to think of real business reasons why uber would forcibly combine Select and X pools together, though.

If there are too many Select cars on the road and not enough demand, they can always differentiate by increasing quality requirements of the car (model, age, color, etc.). If it's still too high of a supply, then lowering the payment is probably the next way to go, but then you have to think about customer responses, their demand curves, etc. The balancing act becomes much more challenging at that point. Maybe they didn't want to take it there.

Only thing I can think of is standard X demand is very high and they are desperate to get more drivers on the road for UberX, so they are funneling as many existing drivers as they can into UberX

And if the demand for Select is as sparse as you say it is (I've put in a request to Uber for access to daily demand data in the Triangle region both by time and location) then this could be a half-step move to eliminating UberSelect in the area all together.

Idk. IMO if you are going to offer multiple services, they have to be differentiated. This move seems like a short term bandaid, but an eventual long term problem. I wouldn't be surprised if they cut out UberSelect in the not too distant future. Or maybe restructure it completely to actually make it a differentiable product and not just a pointless pricey model with no improved service

I'd also be curious how closely Uber is looking into oil and gas futures and considering that into their pay model. Right now at $1.99/gal gas this is a very low price. What happens if we start to see $3+ gas again? They'll have to readjust or face losing drivers not on depreciation complaints but simply the inability to pay for fueling their vehicles. And that will come very fast.
 

Disgusted Driver

Well-Known Member
yeah, that seems a problem if you are trying to differentiate your services but keep diluting the supply pool with lower-than-expected vehicles. Not saying camrys are bad cars but if customers are gonna pay double price it would be nice to get into a little bit higher end car, say audi, bmw, mercedes, lexus, etc. Also maybe have it include the water service, maybe mints or gum as well. You want the experience to be as differentiated as possible so customers really feel the difference and justify the increased pay.

I'm still trying to think of real business reasons why uber would forcibly combine Select and X pools together, though.

If there are too many Select cars on the road and not enough demand, they can always differentiate by increasing quality requirements of the car (model, age, color, etc.). If it's still too high of a supply, then lowering the payment is probably the next way to go, but then you have to think about customer responses, their demand curves, etc. The balancing act becomes much more challenging at that point. Maybe they didn't want to take it there.

Only thing I can think of is standard X demand is very high and they are desperate to get more drivers on the road for UberX, so they are funneling as many existing drivers as they can into UberX

And if the demand for Select is as sparse as you say it is (I've put in a request to Uber for access to daily demand data in the Triangle region both by time and location) then this could be a half-step move to eliminating UberSelect in the area all together.

Idk. IMO if you are going to offer multiple services, they have to be differentiated. This move seems like a short term bandaid, but an eventual long term problem. I wouldn't be surprised if they cut out UberSelect in the not too distant future. Or maybe restructure it completely to actually make it a differentiable product and not just a pointless pricey model with no improved service

I'd also be curious how closely Uber is looking into oil and gas futures and considering that into their pay model. Right now at $1.99/gal gas this is a very low price. What happens if we start to see $3+ gas again? They'll have to readjust or face losing drivers not on depreciation complaints but simply the inability to pay for fueling their vehicles. And that will come very fast.
I'm guessing you haven't been driving that long. If you are able to get demand data out of Uber I'd be VERY surprised. It would be great to have that data to know where to go at what time but I think they consider that a proprietary secret.

While your logic makes perfect sense for a business that's in the taxi type business, Uber's goals and drivers are not aligned. They are interested in transportation as a utility to replace car ownership which means driving the price down as much as possible. They are not interested in how much a driver makes any more than they need to be, if supply dries up for example but they are clearly betting on eventually not needing drivers so we are expendable and they treat us as such.
 

Ubersaurus Rex

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Maybe they are taking advantage of a high enough churn rate that they can screw over drivers knowing that there are always new drivers coming on board. I call this the "South of the Border" Strategy. Nobody ever stops there twice.

If you mean driverless cars, well that's an entirely different ballgame and honestly many years away from being a reality. For one who's going to own the cars? Part of uber's business model that makes it so successful is the contracting. Not having to have us as employees or vehicles as assets. They would basically be forced to become asset managers on a very massive scale. I can't imagine how many cars they would need to own and maintain in order to get to this point. To pull this off Uber is at least 10 years away from even piloting this.

but i do agree with you, there's some other higher strategy that we aren't really seeing here and it's causing conflicting alignment. It's too bad. The nature of the business model is such a great fit. Seeing it now as an insider is quite disappointing. Like the first time you realize your parents aren't perfect and the world comes crashing down on you.


Also i am definitely expecting to be denied access to their data, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, right? Big data analytics is kinda my specialty (big part of my full time job) so it would be really useful to me.
 

grayspinner

Well-Known Member
Here's the problem with wanting Select to be luxury cars - the price does not support it.

$1.65/mile only seems like a lot because X is so damn cheap. It's really still very inexpensive. It's cheaper than the taxis & TREMENDOUSLY cheaper than the private car services in the area.

I tell pax that Select is newer, nicer cars & highly rated drivers and X is the budget level. I usually mention that we don't have uberBlack here and that black is about twice the price of select.

Pax who use select tell me that they choose it for various reasons:
- it was the closest or only available option
- they had a bad experience with X and decided not to risk X again, select is a sure thing when it comes to getting a driver who won't get lost and getting a clean, well running car.
- they want to extra leg room most select cars have
- they are expensing the ride so they pick the top option.

Select pax don't want water, but they do like mints & other hard candies. Mostly they want the guarantee of a clean, decent, roomy car with a driver who knows where they are going and will know when to hush & just drive. And Select pax that are picky about the car they get WILL cancel on the lower end vehicles.

There is still demand for select - we get a lot of business travelers who want it. However, the demand is not huge and drivers who run both X and Select are usually kept too busy with X to be available for the occasional Select request.
 

Ubersaurus Rex

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
Just wanted to briefly followup, Below is the response I got from the last email from Uber. For reference I'll also post my questions. They didn't answer the part about whether new UberXL drivers are also forced to take UberX fares. Also if you read the email reply from line every email I have received has been from a different user name. I'm guessing Uber keeps a massive foreign based support staff.

I don't really like how they try to tell me I'm earning more by taking both UberX and UberSelect drivers, when what I am focused on is profiting more. I agree they do not seem too concerned at all about driver costs, and I don't see why they ever would.

My Original Email,



"I see. I was not aware of this new policy. May I have further clarification on this?

1. Am I able to distinguish between UberX and UberSelect riders prior to accepting a fare?
2. Will I be penalized if I only accept UberSelect riders?
3. May I have access to UberSelect past demand data for the Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina area? Both by location and date/time?
4. Is this policy public? Are UberSelect riders aware that they can receive the same quality ride at a cheaper UberX price? I never saw this policy nor was informed of it when I signed up to be a driver.
5. My driver contract specifies different fee percentages for UberX and UberSelect. Will this be calculated automatically for me? Do I need to enter into a new contract?
6. Is this policy also the same with UberXL drivers? Are they also forced to accept UberX fares?

Sorry for the many questions, but I do not understand the benefit of this policy for both riders and for Uber corporate, or the reasoning behind this decision. And to be more specific, after keeping close track of my Uber revenue and expenses, I have actually taken a loss of over $150 in the 28 rides I've given at the UberX rate. Unless I can be exclusively UberSelect I am very sorry to say but I cannot sustain this negative return for any longer. Being an UberSelect driver was the ONLY way in which I am able to continue to drive for Uber. Is there someone I can speak with that could help me find a way in which I can still drive for Uber and not be negatively impacted by this policy?"


And here is the reply

"
Thanks for writing back about your concern, David. I’m happy to help you further!

Sorry to hear that you were not aware of the new policy. Please be informed that you are able to view if the trip is uberX or uberSELECT upon the requests.

Yes, your acceptance rate will be affected if you will decline uberX trips. As much as I would love to provide the data for the demand of uberSELECT, however, we do not have access to that information.

The riders are aware that if they requests uberSELECT trips they will be paying for a higher rates compare to uberX rates. Please note as well that we are implementing this so that you will earn more since uberSELECT trips have lower demand compare to uberX trips because of its costs.

Please note that you don't need to enter into another contract. Please note as well that the Service fee for UberX and uberSELECT is indeed different.

Your account is set up to automatically receive uberX requests in addition to UberSELECT requests. This allows for all UberSELECT partners to increase the number of trip requests they receive.

uberX is the most popular option for rider requests and demand for the product is growing rapidly. We have looked into partner earnings and have found that partners make **more** money when they are busiest the majority of the time they are logged into the Uber Partner app. By also receiving uberX requests, you can drive more and earn more.

If you would like to talk to our team, I suggest that you attend our session/meeting in your city. Our office hours change on a weekly basis, so look out for our text messages alerting you to check out the most up to date office hours schedule and locations on raleighuberpartners

Please note, you will need a password to access the Onboarding and Phone Tech sections of the site, be sure to check your texts from the Raleigh-Durham team so that you have the most up to date information.

If you have any questions, let me know and I'll be happy to help!

Additionally, to know more about Uber please visit our website Be safe always!"
 

rocksteady

Well-Known Member
Maybe they are taking advantage of a high enough churn rate that they can screw over drivers knowing that there are always new drivers coming on board. I call this the "South of the Border" Strategy. Nobody ever stops there twice.

If you mean driverless cars, well that's an entirely different ballgame and honestly many years away from being a reality. For one who's going to own the cars? Part of uber's business model that makes it so successful is the contracting. Not having to have us as employees or vehicles as assets. They would basically be forced to become asset managers on a very massive scale. I can't imagine how many cars they would need to own and maintain in order to get to this point. To pull this off Uber is at least 10 years away from even piloting this.

but i do agree with you, there's some other higher strategy that we aren't really seeing here and it's causing conflicting alignment. It's too bad. The nature of the business model is such a great fit. Seeing it now as an insider is quite disappointing. Like the first time you realize your parents aren't perfect and the world comes crashing down on you.


Also i am definitely expecting to be denied access to their data, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, right? Big data analytics is kinda my specialty (big part of my full time job) so it would be really useful to me.
I think you give Uber too much credit. Do this long enough and you might decide like I have that they lack a very basic sense of business. To me it seems like whatever their ultimate goal is, it's not profit--not currently at least.

They think they can just keep hiring their way out of any problems. Their ideal driver is dumb enough to drive their recent model car for around minimum wage, but their is a finite supply of that cross section. Dumb yet capable is a misnomer. More and more, passengers are complaining about the quality of cars and drivers. I try and delicately explain if I can that is what happens with bargain basement rates.

Another huge issue that I think shows how inept Uber is would be the lack of efficiency in their service. So much of my time is wasted waiting after arrival and pickup addresses being wrong. It's like uber doesn't understand the obvious point all drivers get--time is money. There are simple rider app fixes that could greatly help.

It's dumbfounding.
 

Disgusted Driver

Well-Known Member
I think you give Uber too much credit. Do this long enough and you might decide like I have that they lack a very basic sense of business. To me it seems like whatever their ultimate goal is, it's not profit--not currently at least.

They think they can just keep hiring their way out of any problems. Their ideal driver is dumb enough to drive their recent model car for around minimum wage, but their is a finite supply of that cross section. Dumb yet capable is a misnomer. More and more, passengers are complaining about the quality of cars and drivers. I try and delicately explain if I can that is what happens with bargain basement rates.

Another huge issue that I think shows how inept Uber is would be the lack of efficiency in their service. So much of my time is wasted waiting after arrival and pickup addresses being wrong. It's like uber doesn't understand the obvious point all drivers get--time is money. There are simple rider app fixes that could greatly help.

It's dumbfounding.
You bring up a good point, there's no doubt that efficiency could be addressed, there should be 2-3 minutes that can be cut off each call on average if done better. That would give you another $5-10 dollars a night assuming demand was there. Doesn't sound like a lot but it would add up.

I think however that in general, Ubejr is brilliant, evil brilliance to be sure but brilliant nonetheless. They have convinced hundreds of thousands of people to drive strangers around for less than $1.00 a mile. Even when they make surges harder to come by, even when they raise their booking fee and don't share it with drivers. Still, they sign up new people. Should they run out of drivers, simple, raise rates. Drivers will come flocking back in droves, forgetting how they were previously abused.
 
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