Being an Uber driver – is it really worth it?

Being an Uber driver – is it really worth it?

What Uber says will happen:

  • Make up to £900 in fares a week
  • No dispatcher. No favouritism. No politics.
  • Drive where you want, when you want and set your own schedule
  • Weekly payments into your bank account
  • Pick who you pick up in advance.
  • Start quickly, 4 minutes to sign up

Sign up to drive on this link

How much can I make?

UberX: £2.50 base, £0.15 per minute, £1.25 per mile, £5 minimum
UberExec: £4 base, £0.30 per minute, £2.40 per mile, £10 minimum
UberLux: £5 base, £0.55 per minute, £3.55 per mile, £14 minimum
UberXL: £3.50 base, £0.15 per minute, £2.10 per km, £7 minimum

However, Uber takes a hefty fee (20%-28%) + you’ve got to deduct the price of fuel, insurance, cleaning, wear and tear etc from your earnings.

Chris George (who experimented working with UberX in London) during the weekdays had a revenue between £150-£170 per day before expenses.  On weekends it was approximately £200 for each day.

The things nobody tells you about / you may not think about:

  • All the costs – Petrol / Diesel, Car Rental / Loan, Insurance, Fluids, Parking tickets, fixed penalty notices, minor scratches to car, cost of PHV licence etc.
  • Unsociable hours + the fact you’re your own boss so you might find it difficult to set your own times to start work
  • Being on the road all day (finding places to eat, go to the toilet etc)
  • The drunks. Uber has a system where you can rate Uber Drivers & Uber Passengers so at least you have some way of seeing who is getting in your car but you will still get people you don’t like in your car.
  • We’ve taken various UberLux & UberExec trips around London and every single driver has indicated that they feel stuck as a driver, the majority of them leased the car and have minimum payments that are needed to pay off the car. So if they were to stop or ‘go it alone’ then the majority of them wouldn’t be able to pay up. The problem here is Uber can (& have) increased their % fees, so drivers are being forced to take home less money and there is little the drivers can do.
  • You get to see tons of new places and meet tons of interesting people.
  • Low requests for trips = you sat there earning no money (at all)
  • Nobody will tip you and you technically can’t accept tips. All payments are done via card, so you won’t be able to ‘keep the change’ EVER!
  • Customers rate a driver from 1 to 5 stars, any drivers with an average of 4 star is failing and often will be terminated.
  • No interaction with other Uber drivers, unless you chat on forums etc
  • No management patting you on the back when you’re doing well. You either are working or you’re underperforming and need to go.
  • Wear and tear (although mentioned above) is worth repeating. This can add up to significant added depreciation and maintenance/repairs on a vehicle.
  • If you lease your car you may be breaking the lease agreement
  • Remember MPG ratings often are exaggerated so be careful when calculating
  • Must check local laws + speak with council about correct licence etc
  • Uber isn’t your boss, therefore is not responsible for someone stealing your iPod/Phone or ruining your day, or calling you names, nor is it a replacement for emergency services AKA nobody really has your back.
  • Uber expect the GPS app is all you need but in reality you need to know some of the roads, the road restrictions etc.
  • There is absolutely nothing to be gained by taking people by a longer than necessary route
  • There will be a ceiling as to how much you can generate in an area and if you are in a major city, driving is eventually stressful and tiring.
  • Long hours, doing similar work means you can become tired so don’t drive more than eight or nine hours at a stretch, always take at least two days off each week.
  • Uber now offers ‘Spotify Sync’ which basically means other people will control your car music

Chris George did a test for two months being a Uber driver, here are some of his thoughts:

…To summarize I was making substantially less than minimum wage, working 60 hours a week at very anti-social hours, meeting many self-entitled unpleasant people, my health started to suffer, my social life was almost non-existent and I was treated as a servant by most people. In conclusion my recommendation would be to avoid Uber driving and look at working as an employee instead. Even McDonalds workers get treated better and make more money in the long run. i.e with paid holidays, national insurance contributions, sick pay etc. Uber say you are a ‘partner’ but the reality is that you are an employee without any benefits or job security. The only control you have, is that you can choose when to work; however this is a false choice as the only way to make any money is to work very long shifts during very anti-social hours.

I have stopped working as an Uber driver for one week now and I have no regrets that I finished. It was an interesting experience and I had lots over memorable conversations and discovered much about London that remains hidden to most dwellers but I do not wish to repeat this experiment. To make it viable then my estimate is that fares would need to increase by at least 50% and a tipping option needs to be added.

– Chris George (guy who tested Uber for 2 months)

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Important things to remember with everything we post:

  • If you earn over your personal allowance (currently £12,570 a year) HMRC need to get their % cut (even if the money is in cash or from another country)
  • If you’re working for yourself / earning an income on the side you need to let HMRC know – There are numerous benefits but also some drawbacks
  • You need to always ensure whatever you’re doing is legal and not hurting anyone else – be careful and always think twice
  • Some income streams may require you to have DBS check, licence, insurance or qualifications before you can start to profit from it, do your research.
  • Be careful that any additional income doesn’t compromise your studies or main income/job
  • If you work for a company check your contract, if you don’t inform them you’re working on other side projects outside of work they may have grounds to ownership on this work

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