A lot of people see Uber as an opportunity. It's not hard to get the job; you fill out the application on your phone, take a few pics of your car, enter your bank info, and in a few days you're out on the road driving. Better yet, if you don't have a car Uber will help you get one! But driving for Uber isn't like other jobs. This position requires you to be responsible for your own business. Unfortunately many drivers aren't prepared for what operating their own business entails. As a result a lot of drivers oversee the costs of driving. (For a detailed explanation on all costs see this post: http://uberpeople.net/xfa-blogs/uberhammer.5765/) By driving a new car for UberX, a driver takes on the biggest cost of owning a car - depreciation. It is a general consensus on this forum that driving a new car for UberX is a bad idea. It's bad business.
"On average a new car loses 11% of its value the moment you leave the lot" - Edmunds
So you get that new base model Prius. You were smart enough to not get any bells and whistles, and you declined all the add-on upsells. You think you are doing it right by getting a fuel efficient vehicle. When you drive for a living the most obvious cost is gas. So your new Prius... Let's say you get it for a purchase price of $22,000 - that's doing well at the dealership. According to Edmunds by the time you get home your car is only worth $19,580. You lost $2,420 in value on your 10 mile ride home. Ouch. $2,420 is a GOOD month of income driving UberX after Uber commissions and gas cost, even on your Prius. Imagine you opted for a more expensive car! A $25,000 purchase price and you are losing $2,750 by the time you pull into your driveway.
"Depreciation is the largest cost factor by far" - Consumer Reports
So let's say you do get the standard 5 year loan for your new Prius and that you are going to drive full-time for UberX. We will even assume that you drive for the 5 years as your full-time gig. It's safe to say that after 5 years of driving UberX full-time you are going to have 200k or more miles on it. That's TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND miles. Hmmm, in 2020 what's a Prius going to be worth with 200k miles on it? Prius sticker prices have remained constant over prior years - the MSRP of a 2010 Prius was almost identical to a 2015. Right now a 2010 Prius with 200k miles is valued on Kelly Blue Book at $6,440. Hopefully you didn't get any signifcant body damage and maintained it well, or it's going to be less. The $22,000 Prius purchase with taxes and registration cost you $24,500 out the door and has lost $18,060 in value in 5 years or $3,512 a year. That's $293 per month solely in depreciation. Let us not forget other costs of driving - gas, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and registration.
How many people are going to drive 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, for 5 years, on the UberX platform. Not many! So let's try a different scenario. With your decent credit you get the Prius at 8% APR and you put your last $2,000 of savings down on the car. You drive UberX on average 25 hours a week, and with your personal driving included you are only putting 22k miles a year on the car. So after 2 years you are done with Uber, you have learned everything about your city, and more about people and partying then you cared to know. It's 2017, and you find yourself with a lifestyle that no longer needs a car, or better yet you no longer need to have a car payment, and you want to sell your Prius. It has 44k miles on it. Kelly Blue Book says your Prius is worth $14,754. Those two years of driving cost you just short of $10,000 in depreciation alone. With $22,500 financed at 8% APR for 5 years your payment is $456.22. That's $10,950 you have paid off on the car. Hate to break it to you, but you are going to be LUCKY to be able to get out of the car without owing anything. That was only 22k miles a year. Imagine you were driving full-time for those two years and put on twice the mileage. Then you are stuck with the car, oweing more than it's value.
We are using the Prius as an example because it's regarded as one of the best bets for a new car purchase to drive UberX. There are a lot worse purchase choices you could make that have more significant depreciation, higher purchase prices, and worse gas mileage. But with gas prices down considerably from recent years it is worth considering regular sedans for UberX as well. Other sedans might get 60-70% of the gas mileage as the Prius but also come with a similar purchase price ratio.
Edmunds provides another statistic that is helpful in understanding the cost of buying a new car to drive UberX. They publish a 5 year cost to own estimate for all new vehicles. In the estimate all the costs of owning a vehicle are included. Cost per mile; A figure showing how much it will cost per mile for the car, with an average of 15,000 miles driven a year for 5 years. The Prius comes in at .46 cents a mile. A baseline Honda Cr-V is .54 cents per mile. A Ford Fusion .57 cents a mile. The Prius ranks at the top of the list for cost per mile. These figures you will notice are similar to the IRS deduction of .575 cents per mile for busines. It's safe to say with a new car your costs of driving are going to be $1/mile for every paid mile. This is assumed by doubling the cost per mile, because for every paid mile you will have one that is not. In most cities you are LUCKY as a driver to take home over $1 per mile after Uber takes it's 20% commission. LA for instance is .90 cents per mile which is .72 cents to driver after Uber's cut. Most newer cars will cost an LA driver more than they make per mile. In LA there is no base fare, and the per minute rate is .18 cents. .18 cents a minute doesn't add up to much, even at 30 minutes of the hour with a passenger in the car it's only $5.40. Hopefully you didn't drive far with your new car with them or you lost some of that too. With a car cost so high and fares so low you are literally driving around in circles, borrowing equity from you car.
These examples show that as you pay the car payment, the maintenance, the repairs and drive your new car for UberX that when you decide to stop you will have no value in the car. Moreover depending on your car make and model and your mileage - you may have negative equity in the vehicle.
This graph from ConsumerReports.org shows that on averave the overall cost to own a car lessens with age.
Your cost can be reduced significantly by reducing the depreciation potential of the car you drive. UberX vehicle year requirement in most markets is 2005 or newer. In a lot of cities it has recently changed to 2001 or newer. It's important to take advantage of these older car options for this job. If your city allows 2001 and newer cars then a 2003 or 2004 is a perfect choice. These older cars can be had for $2,000-$3,000 or even less. Remember that's the same amount that you lose in value on the ride home from the dealership in your new Prius. Our veteran forum member UberComic has been touting his success driving UberX with a $800 Ford Taurus. This is how you can minimize your cost by minimizing your depreciation potential for your vehicle. Uber and Lyft promote their companies to drivers, often showing new cars and saying "make up to $35 per hour driving for us." What they don't advertise is that it's possible for you to drive for them and lose money too. If you want to drive for these companies and make money it is imperative that you minimize your car costs.
Do you have experience driving for Uber and a knack for writing? Join our blog team! E-mail us at email@example.com and we can discuss specifics.
In the past year UberX has lowered rates numerous times across the world. Now a ride averages less than half the cost of a taxi fare. Uber has mentioned in the past it’s next target of competing with bus prices through it’s fare splitting service UberPOOL. To start the year off, Uber has announced a significant rate cut in Nashville, TN. Notice to drivers was sent out yesterday, and rates are now effective today. Drivers argue these new prices are hardly profitable.
Previously the lowest per mile rate for UberX in the U.S. was in Chicago at $0.90 cents per mile. Now Nashville takes the cake, charging customers only $0.73 cents a mile. The driver, making 80% of that charge, will receive $.58 cents per mile. The last rate cut in Nashville occurred in August and the per mile rate went from $1.22 to $1.05. It seemed at the time to be in competition with Lyft who was offering $1.10 per mile fares. Lyft hasn’t reduced their fares since August, yet. Yellow Cab of Nashville charges $2.00 per mile and $18 an hour “waiting time”. At $0.14 cents a minute, Uber is charging the passenger $8.40 an hour of which the driver gets $6.72.
Uber Nashville Rates (1/6/2015)
Interestingly the per mile UberX driver take in Nashville is very similar to the IRS standard mileage deduction rate announced for 2015 - $.575 cents per mile. AAA has been publishing a “driving costs” study since 1950. This years research shows that an average sedan costs $.592 cents per gallon to operate. Furthermore, one must consider that the number of miles driven without a passenger/fare is statistically equal to or greater than those with. Minimally there are fareless miles enroute to a pickup, and additionally miles back into areas of demand, as well as to and from ones home. Add in the possibility of driving to a ping request and getting a non-paying cancellation.
In the announcement of the rate cuts to drivers Uber says “This fare structure encourages ridership while having little to no impact on partner earnings.” However UberPeople.NET members noticed a discrepancy in Ubers craigslist advertisements. Their ad for January 4th (day before announced rate cut) promotes quite a different earnings potential as compared to their ad on January 5th. Moreover, these ads reflect a 33% decrease in earnings, as compared to the generalized 25% rate cut advertised to riders.
Uber Nashville Craigslist Ad (1/4/2015)
Uber Nashville Craigslist Ad (1/5/2015)
So how can a driver make a profit in Nashville?
1) An UberX driver needs to have the perfect car. A car that is easily maintained, but also doesn’t depreciate substantially. A car that gets good gas mileage, and of course meets Ubers requirements for age/doors/condition.
2) Surge fares; with higher demand Uber multiplies the price and effectively the drivers take increases in parallel.
3) The additional costs to the fare - Minimum Fare, Base fare, and Per Minute.
4) Some guarantee offers from Uber Nashville from which the drivers take is $12 an hour, or $16 an hour during prime hours. However to qualify for the guarantee a driver has to complete 1 trip in the hour, and there is never a guarantee of that. Uber guarantees historically are revoked within a few weeks, so get it while you can Nashville drivers!
Of good news, gas prices are down - according to GasBuddy.com national prices in the past 6 months have gone from $3.65 a gallon to $2.18 a gallon.
Will Ubers action in Nashville precipitate more rate cuts across the country, most drivers speculate yes.
Here is Ubers announcement: http://blog.uber.com/NashvilleXdrop25
And Here is the UberPeople.NET thread: http://uberpeople.net/forums/Pay/
Uber is the predominant rideshare company in the US. Uber is also becoming a household name around the world. On their web-site they boast being available in 45 countries. Looking at some of the larger international markets it is interesting to see the prices Uber charges. The spreadsheet below shows the prices for (B) UberBLACK, and (X) UberX, in US Dollars.
Rates from 9/28/14. Gas prices per gallon from Numbeo.com
Looking at the US rates (http://uberpeople.net/pages/Pricing/), the average UberX mile charge is $1.54, the average UberBLACK mile charge is $3.19. Where the lowest per mile charge in the US is in Chicago at $.90 cents a mile, in the Philipines (Manila) UberX only charges $.20 cents a mile. This is interesting to note, because the average gas price is actually higher in Manila ($4.44 a gallon) than in Chicago ($3.67 a gallon). In London UberBLACK and UberX prices seem to more accurately reflect the substantially higher gas prices, ($3.36 and $1.90 a mile respectively). In Delhi, India one has to wonder why someone would choose to take UberX over UberBLACK as the pricing is hardly any different.
One could surmise that Uber uses pricing and promotions internationally to get their service to be a household name. Different markets have different regulations to deal with as well as potentially different agreements and requiremnets with drivers. It is not clear what incentives these drivers have in some of these markets that make driving Uber a viable option. With gas prices noted, and fares as such, if the deal for driving UberX and UberBLACK is the same as in most of the US (80% of the fare of UberX and 72% of UberBLACK) then working in places like Delhi, Manila, Mexico City, and Moscow would appear to be an obvious profit loss.
We would love to hear more opinions and insight of drivers from around the world.
UberPeople.NET In The Media
UberPeople.NET has continued to grow in readership and membership. The forum strives to be a platform for rideshare drivers to express all of their opinions in this new and rapidly evolving marketplace. This new business has garnered heavy attention in the media. The resource the forum provides is being accessed by not only drivers, but all kinds of people interested in rideshare, including reporters.
With the growth of the forum, a newer member has arrived and quickly become the most prolific and applauded contributor. Even the growth can in part be attributed to his promoting UberPeople.NET across the web. @chi1cabby is out knocking on doors so to speak. He empathizes with the UberX drivers plight and is compelled to facilitate a discussion to help the cause. His comments on news articles have resulted in reporters using UberPeople.NET for research. The forum has been referenced in five articles around the web in the month of September. These references are posted below. Look out for a piece on the PBS NewsHour by Diane Lincoln coming soon.
Uber Pay Cuts - Drivers Speak
It’s little different across in LA: one contributor to UberPeople.net was similarly unimpressed. “I’ve been driving for Uber since December, and this is the third pay cut I’ve seen … Driving at the new rates is a nightmare. One $4 fare after another, and with each of them, I’m just thinking, ‘This should be $6-7, and just last week, it was.’ It adds up or, more properly, really doesn’t, very fast”
She concludes “I honestly don’t believe that Uber cares” but realises that getting together with other drivers is well-nigh impossible: “In my eight months with Uber, I’ve met maybe three other Uber drivers in person, and those were all by chance”. Plus many drivers are scared to do anything for fear of not being able to find work elsewhere. They become prisoners of the app.
Frustrated Uber Drivers Take To The Streets To Protest Shrinking Fares
Ubers Drivers Say They Don’t Get Any Tip Money From All Inclusive Fares — And They’re Furious
In a thread called “I thought we didn’t tip on Uber, how do we do that?” on the driver forum UberPeople, an Uber customer asked drivers for guidelines on Uber’s tipping policy. The drivers who responded had similar things to say.
"Unless you use UberTaxi, there’s no tip. UberX drivers aren’t receiving any tips. They’re not required. However if you insist, we will gladly accept it," a driver named Chicago-Uber said. Another driver, whose username is LAuberX, added, "Tipping waiters is not ‘required.’ Play on words, not funny Uber."
Despite riders thinking a tip is included in their fare, these drivers make it clear that it’s not.
Another driver on the forum, TrafficSlayer, said:
"The fares are the fares, we do not get any ‘bonus money’ from Uber. When you pay your fare, Uber takes their $1 ‘safe rides fee’ off the top, then takes an additional 20%, the rest is given to the drivers.
$4 min. fare - $1 safe ride fee - 20% = $2.40 to your driver total. Out of this the driver must pay for gas and all other expenses. Uber takes 40%.
$10 fare - $1 safe rides fee - 20% = $7.20 to your driver. Uber takes 28%.
There is no tip ‘included’ in the fare. In fact, the smaller the fare is, the less of it the driver actually gets. If you take a short ride, things to consider are the following:
What is the driver’s ETA from the time of your request?
How long did your drive take?
Did you make your driver wait for you, or were you waiting for him?
These are important because we live in a world where we expect to be paid for our time. If a driver only gets minimum fares, he is not even making minimum wage when you figure out his hourly rate, especially after you deduct expenses. Even a small $2 tip will give a significant boost to your driver’s hourly earnings and will be greatly appreciated.”
Uber continues to screw its “partners,” now by forcing Uber Black drivers to accept UberX fares
Uber Now Taking Its Biggest UberX Commission Ever — 25 Percent
Member @chi1cabby quoted for screenshot
The new rideshare business can be very isolating for the drivers, especially Uber. While Lyft and Sidecar have Facebook groups and forums for drivers to communicate - Uber does not. Where Lyft and Sidecar have occasional meetups for drivers - Uber does not. In any job there are situations that arise that need to be addressed, where an employee/partner needs to contact the dispatching/office. From day to day questions about driving, to suggestions and complaints about how the business operates, communication in any business is essential to successful operations. Interchange between the drivers and all three of the major platforms is restricted primarily to e-mail. This isolation between fellow drivers, and from the drivers to the office, is at the heart of the conflict in a rideshare drivers mind. In an attempt to bridge this gap of communication, drivers around the world are trying to organize their voice and be heard.
With a lack of physical offices, and no driver support phone line, communication is limited to e-mail correspondence. A poll on UberPeople.NET reveals that the average response time for an e-mail inquiry from a driver to Uber, is between 2 and 7 days. Imagine any career where your only method of communication with the "boss" is limited to e-mail, and that you have to wait a minimum of 48 hours for a response. If that response isn't adequate information for you, it will be another 48 hours minimum for another interaction. Imagine that in some instances those 48 hours stretch into over 100 hours of time between corresondence. In addition, the volume of this business makes for a good deal of automated driver support responses. One driver, e-mailing an unknown person at the support office, and waiting for days for a reply, sometimes a form response, produces a feeling of minimal self-worth to the company. Because there is no physical space where the work takes place other than the drivers car, connection between drivers is also very limited. So there are two natural things that are occurring; 1) Drivers are trying to unite in various ways to have their voice heard by the company. 2) Drivers are communicating with each other through outlets like UberPeople.NET, Facebook, and Reddit.
In Seattle, with the help of the local teamsters, drivers founded the App-Based Drivers' Assosication (ABDA) in May. Shortly after the teamsters became involved in Los Angeles as well.
Seattle - http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2014/05/teamsters-organize-uber-drivers-in.html
Los Angeles - http://www.teamsters117.org/los_angeles_uber_drivers_follow_seattle_organizing_model
The question is though, what is one or two cities representation in a business of nearly 150. If one thing can be seen from these attempts so far it's that; change takes time. Getting a critical mass across the world is inherently difficult.
One of the bigger attempts to organize has been the UberX facebook group. Ramzi (AKA The Dude) has created the group that now has over 1k likes. UberX Facebook membership is concentrated in San Fran, but has likes from drivers around the world. The group has organized protests outside Ubers office in SF. Although not much has seemed to change as a result of the protest, Uber has acknowledged the protests and offered additional meetings and feedback methods for drivers.
Ramzi and SF drivers protest outisde Uber
The UberX facebook group has also evolved into The Drivers Network (http://driversnetwork.org). This site, created about two months ago,
asks the visitor to "join us". The site allows any transportation provider to join - Uber, Lyft, Taxi, etc. Drivers input their name, e-mail, phone number, and zip code. Then to be verified; a driver needs to upload a screenshot of their driving platform screen. A member of UberPeople.NET thought to test this verification system. They created a Gmail account, took a Lyft drivers screen, and imported Travis Kalanicks (Uber CEO) photo into the screenshot. Then they changed the attributes of the screen to match the created e-mail, and used a fake phone number. The graphic didn't even contain the required name that Lyft displays over the photo, or the standard replaced green photo background. Yet sure enough a few days later the account was "verified". This experiment really seems to minimalize The Drivers Network into a simple mailing list. Once you are verified, there is no additional content to the web-site itself. Being a member merely results in a welcome e-mail and additional weekly e-mails from the sites administrator "The Dude" (Ramzi).
Falsified Lyft driver screenshot including Uber CEO photo approved for 'The Driver Network' verification
The disdain for the company is glaringly obvious throughout UberX Facebook and in The Driver Networks mailings. However it is a bit marginalized by a confused political message, typos, and a ranting train of thought. "The Dude" propels his griping viewpoints onto the group and mailing list, and drivers cheer. The objectives are from the heart but scattered and without order.
From The Drivers Network e-mail
The rich keep getting richer and drives keep getting exploited. Drivers (cab, uberx, black car etc.) it's time we come together. Drivers we must stop allowing these tech companies, cab companies and wealthy investors the ability to exploit us. The technology used to create TNC's (Uber, Lyft etc.) is borrowed technology. We can take the power back and turn the tables but we must first come together as one voice one united group.
The opposing viewpoint is simple and silently embraced by Uber, if you don't wan to do the job, someone else will. Perhaps there is an underlying theme that relates to the bigger issue of a "wealth gap".
While all of the attempts for drivers to organize and unite have good intentions, they clearly have a lack of direction, organization, and most importantly success. Uber is a business of nearly 150 cities, and upwards of 200,000 drivers worldwide. 200 drivers protesting at the headquarters, and being greeted with donuts and coffee, has a negligible affect. A "verified" e-mail list of drivers, of ANY transportation service, is questionable in it's directive. What is obvious though, is there is an effort of the people to advocate for change. If there is one thing congruent in this advocacy, it's that rideshare providers aren't only drivers - they are People!
UberPeople.NET is an independently created lunchroom style forum, where anyone can anonymously come and share their opinion and experience ridesharing. There is no leader, and the organization is a simple categorical web-site to facilitate productive discussion.
"Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people." - David Sarnoff, Pioneer of American Commercial Radio and TV
The two major players in rideshare in 2014 are Uber and Lyft. Let us consider the differences in these two companies as both a driver, and a passenger.
There is perception. Look at any Uber advertisement; you will see a sleak, suave, new age, hipster type. The car pictured will be the closest thing possible to a Tesla. When you see Lyft being promoted, it's pink mustaches, balloons, and guy/girl next door type. You feel like perhaps you are at a family party where the kids are running and jumping over the sprinkler. The car looks like a soccer-mom mobile. Although these two companies have distinct images, they compete directly with each other - sometimes viciously.
Uber has been offering a promotion for Lyft drivers to try the Uber platform. If you are a current Lyft driver, and you signup to drive for Uber, you will get a $500 bonus once completing your first ride. If you happen to be a Lyft mentor, a driver more established in the Lyft community, the bonus is doubled to $1,000. In addition, the Uber driver who refers the Lyft driver gets the same $500/$1000 bonus. Lyft responded by placing trucks with advertisements in SF that made the same $500 offer to try their platform.
The result; a lot of drivers are opting to use both platforms. A driver can have both platforms running, get a ping for one, and shut down the other until after the drop-off. By "doubling down" a driver doubles their chances of getting a ride request. That means more fares, and less time waiting for a request.
Some drivers around the web have made observations of the difference in passengers. Lyft riders are more apt to sit in the front seat and be more conversational. There is a fine line between the expectation of conversation in the car from both the driver, and the passengers perspective. It is more frequent that groups of Lyft riders will include the driver in communication, whereas an Uber driver might seem to be sitting on another planet in the driver seat. Of course these are generalizations and trends, and Uber passengers can be engaging with drivers as well.
The fist bumps and the pink mustaches (Lyft). A lot of drivers and even passengers are not keen on the mustache. For drivers, the attention can be dangerous with both authorities, and disgruntled cab drivers on the road. Some passengers also don't feel comfortable rolling up to the hip party in town with a furry stache on the grill of their ride. Interestingly though, reports around the country say that although Lyft is expanding rapidly, the number of staches being seen around town is diminishing. More and more drivers are opting not to use the mustache when driving for Lyft. Breaking this barrier has more Uber drivers willing to try Lyft, knowing that they don't have to be so easily identified as doing so. In fact, now when you drive for Lyft, they don't even send you the stache until you complete 30 rides.
A lot of passengers when asked, what they like better about Uber then Lyft, will say the "professional" feel. Uber has generally higher requirements for a drivers vehicle to be accepted onto the platform. Where the age of a Lyft car can be 2001 or newer - Uber is 2006 or newer. This can contribute to the more professional feel of riding in Uber: newer = cleaner = suave! Some passengers don't want to be bothered with the more usual conversation of a Lyft ride. Some drivers describe the Uber passengers as more condescending.
One glaring difference between the two rideshare companies is Lyfts feature at the end of the ride to allow the passenger to tip. While Uber controversially states 'tips are included', Lyft provides a simple button option to reward a driver for good service. Another financial incentive for driving Lyft right now is that they have forgone taking comission. Lyft doesn't take any commission from tips, but right now they aren't taking any commission from the fare whatsoever. Lyft is even adding a $1 spring bonus on every ride for the driver, a bit of an extra tip from Lyft themselves.
Another point of difference seems to be the conversion of taxi drivers to Ubers platform but not so much Lyft. Whether Lyft has some requirements that make it harder for the average taxi driver to join is unclear. Perhaps it is the threat of the stache that keeps them away. It has been in the news recently that some Uber drivers backgrounds were a bit sketchy. Lyft even came out this past week and said an Uber driver couldn't pass their background check.
It is worth considering when you are adding 20,000 drivers a month like Uber, a few bad apples are bound to slip through the cracks. Hard facts on Ubers background check policy hasn't been clearly made available.
Best bet for a driver, if they can, drive both UberX and Lyft. See which one they prefer, and for those looking to up their earning potential - double down!
For passengers, its a personal choice. Go with all the free offers and referral incentives you can. If you want to ride around with your newly appointed friend, and with a feel of community, then go for Lyft. If you see yourself in the backseat being chauffeured to your destination, perhaps Uber is more for you. The truth of the safety of the two services has yet to be compared enough thus far.
UberPeople.Net tip for drivers: Triple down your earnings by accidentally leaving the competitors promo card in the backseat when giving rides. Exposing users to the competition and putting a few more bucks or credit in your pockets.
June 2nd, 2014
Last week an article published in The Washington Post reported that Uber claims the following as median earnings
"working at least 40 hours a week in New York City is $90,766 a year. In San Francisco, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week is $74,191."
Let's have a look at the true earnings of an Uber driver, based off of reports here at the Uber drivers forum - UberPeople.NET, and other sources around the web. When we look at wages for a contracting position, like driving UberX, the cost of operating the vehicle is paramount. A layman might think, "hey you have a hybrid - it's only $5 in gas for 50 miles - that's only 10 cents a mile." However there are other vehicle costs to be considered:
According to consumer reports
"The Prius topped Consumer Reports' Best New-Car Value analysis, released today, which ranks more than 200 vehicles on performance, reliability and costs. A low estimated five-year cost of 47 cents per mile pushed the Prius to the top of the list.".
A LOW estimated cost per mile! According to UberPeople.NET's spreadsheet of Uber prices throughout the 58 Uber markets in The United States (http://uberpeople.net/index.php?pages/Pricing/) - the average per mile charge for an UberX is $1.57. After Uber takes their 20% cut that leaves $1.25 per mile for the driver. It is in the estimation from the reports on this forum that the car will put on as many miles or more without a passenger as with one. Not only will a driver have to put on miles enroute to pickup a passenger, but often a driver will need to manuever throughout the city to increase chances of receiving a new request for a ride.
With an average gross earning of $1.25 per mile, and an average car cost of 92 cents (47 x 2 miles driven for 1 earned). That leaves the driver with $.32 cents per mile. Suddenly the $1.57 national average Uber cost per mile doesn't seem so glamorous.
A report today in PCMAG (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2458816,00.asp) states that Uber reports the driver working 40 hours a week will drive approximately 40,000 miles in the year. Luckily when putting that many miles on the car, the cost isn't quite 47 cents a mile. But it's safe to assume that car costs for a full-time driver can be upwards of $10k a year. If you are going to put 40k miles, even on a prius, it's going to cost $4k in gas alone.
Uber sends out a weekly report to it's drivers that includes some statistics of the local market. One interesting statistic is the "Top Drivers Earnings Per Hour". For the week ending 6/1/14 in NYC, Uberx TOP DRIVERS earned $41/hour. That's gross fares before commission. $41/hour at 80% is $32.80/hour an hour before any costs. $32.80 an hour at 40 hours a week, even 52 weeks a year, is $68,224 annually. Wait a second! $90,766 at 52 weeks a year, 40 hours is $43/hour. Are they not including their own 20% cut in the costs?! The report from Uber to The Washington Post was "median drivers", but these smaller figures are actually the "top drivers".
Uber NYC is a unique market where drivers comply with city regulations and are required to have special licensing even to drive Uber (more cost). That isn't the case yet in most cities across the US. As a result, pricing for UberX NYC is over double other major markets.
Market - Minute / Mile / Minimum
Chicago - $0.24 / $1.00 / $4.20
New York - $0.75 / $3.00 / $12.00
San Francisco - $0.30 / $1.50 / $6.00
So take our figure of TOP DRIVERS earning $68k a year in NYC BEFORE costs. One can surmise that in other major markets, TOP UberX drivers earn half or less of the $68k a year BEFORE costs.
While the flexibility of driving for Uber is hard to beat. We find that on the forum the average take home pay of an UberX driver is between $10-$15 an hour depending mostly on what shifts the driver is willing to work, what market they are in, and what kind of car they drive.
Check out our 'money' section for real reports from drivers themselves.
P.S. Some drivers opt for commercial auto policies, as their personal insurance will not cover them when they drive their car for UberX. Cost estimates for these policies are $400-$500 a month. Currently there is a grey area as to what and when Ubers commercial insurance will cover in the case of an accident.
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