Unless you live in a cave you have probably heard of Uber and other services of its ilk. By way of introduction, at least for those less esoterically inclined, Uber is an Internet-based company that connects drivers with riders with mutually beneficial ridesharing agreements. Unlike the traditional taxi service, however, Uber allows its drivers to use their own cars and largely determine their own work schedules.
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Now there’s Uber, a way of not only summoning a private ride to wherever you want to go, but doing so without a smelly, impersonal taxi, often at nearly half the price. Better yet, Uber allows nearly anyone with a modicum of ambition and a car to begin their new career as a private driver.
Here is a screen shot of a Uber driving earning in 1 week. That will give you an idea, how much you can make, if you drive Uber full time.
Uber provides the connection between drivers and their riders, so instead of riders standing in the rain hailing taxis, riders use an app to request a ride. The app notifies available drivers in a given area so they can offer their services in return for cash.
The good news in this is that riders and drivers are seamlessly connected to arrange a buyer/seller relationship, and since taxis are cut out of the deal, costs are significantly less. This means a big win for both riders and drivers, each of which make money from the deal.
This doesn’t mean that Uber is doing all of this out of the goodness of its heart. On the contrary. Uber has implemented plans to generate at least $10 billion over the next few years, which might not be as unheard of as it might seem since the company’s growth from December 2012 to December 2013 has been reported as an astonishing 369 percent.
Making Money With Uber
It doesn’t take long hearing about growth like that before you get a lot of attention from those looking to get in on the ground floor of a good opportunity. Fortunately, it’s not all that hard to become a Uber driver. Generally, all you need is a smartphone and a post 2009 four-door car, although there are exceptions for those who have a older luxury car, such as a classic Mercedes. but if you’re planning on entering your old clunker as a 2014 Mercedes, you’re out of luck, since Uber does require some sort of inspection, by either a Uber representative or a local car shop.
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Uber also, of course, insists that drivers be both sane and free of criminal histories. This might be a pain for those applicants with a criminal history or a drunk driving conviction, but Uber does want to make sure that riders are not getting in the car with an unsafe driver or one with a criminal history.
Another part of ensuring the safety of everyone involved is the requirement that all drivers carry personal insurance. Uber does provide liability insurance up to $1 million and excess collision coverage with $1,000 deductible, all paid for out of a cut from each ride the driver performs.
Getting Rich with Uber
All of the press that Uber has gotten in the past few years has led to considerable confusion over the actual wages that drivers can earn for their work. In fact, initial statements published by the company held that drivers could make at least $90,000 a year working for Uber. First of all, it’s difficult to determine how they came up with those numbers, especially after the report was followed by several publications who sent reporters to work undercover for the company to get the real facts on their pay. Unfortunately, nobody ever seemed to come close to that figure, even in such tech savvy cities as New York and San Francisco. Instead, working reasonable hours, most drivers reported making between $12,000 and $41,000 per year.
Even Uber has backed off of the figures they initially reported as to the earnings of their drivers. According to company officials, a Uber driver in a city such as New York can earn about $25 per hour, which does not factor in the cost of fuel, insurance and other expenses. Some Uber drivers complain that with these costs, their average return is sometimes barely minimum wage. For some drivers, however, making $20 to $30 extra on a given night is great. On a good night, which isn’t too often–but it does happen–a Uber driver can make $500 a night.
How can a Uber driver go about making that kind of money? There’s a trick to it. First of all, you need to be willing to work a lot of hours, especially prime time hours, to make top money. This includes off-hours, holidays, and other prime times. This make it especially difficult to turn down the opportunity to take a fare and turn off the app. Sometimes, however, you simply run out of steam, which making it difficult.
Another important factor that has a lot of Uber drivers screaming foul is the rate cut recently announced by the company, but this still allows for lots of opportunities for drivers who want to earn an income, even part time.
The Long and Short of It
So, this leaves many wondering if Uber is the perfect job. Well, yes and no. There are literally no start up costs, which is a critical factor in many businesses. Also, how many businesses can you really get into where you can call your own hours, take time off without asking for permission, and still make decent money? On the bright side, if you are willing to work hard, able to perform when riders need you, and have a nice car, Uber might be the best deal anywhere. Give it a try. You have very little to lose.