Becoming a rideshare driver taught me to be an entrepreneur. It's the been the best education for self employment I ever had. I was a cab driver but hated it. I started with SideCar in February 2012. Back then, there were no clients. So I drove the office staff around. I had a beat up 1997 Nissan Maxima, but it worked. I drove a cab full time, and did Sidecar on Weekends. In the fall of '12 things started picking up for SideCar. I dove off the deep end and went full time. I picked up another app, Exec a bit later. That kept me busy doing tasks after the morning rush. Early in '13, I got into Uber X. I bought a 2007 Escape and got busy. the rates were good, and I was making 1200 - 1500 a week. I did that all year, and was happy. In early 14, I added Lyft. So I was doing all three apps. Then they started with the rate cuts. I looked at that and said, what do I do? I decided to get a Black Car. I doubled down and bought a new SUV, and got into Uber Black/SUV. It was still open back then. Not any more, though. I got back into making good money. I would do Uber Black for early airports and morning rush, then switch to running all three apps after 10 a.m. I also built a website and started doing SEO and Social Media advertising. I started building a clientele. Then I contacted other airport service companies and started picking up their over flow. When I would get calls for stretch limos, I would sell other companies services and take commissions. I started writing a blog. My name got picked up by NPR after I blogged about making 10K (verified by therideshareguy.com) in one month last fall and got interviewed. When I knew I'd be on national radio, I hurriedly created my own blog and put links to driver referral promo codes on it and started getting referral commissions from the roughly 500 people a week that started reading the blog.
To recap: I make money by doing:
Uber Black and SUV calls for early airports and morning rush.
Lyft and Lyft Plus calls after morning rush. (Had a $115 Lyft Plus call from Mill Valley to OAK earlier this week)
SideCar calls after morning rush, including the occasional package and food delivery calls. ( I keep my multiplier at 2.5, so it pays well)
BlackLane, which is a Black Car app out of Germany. A lot of long runs from SFO to outlying suburbs, even up to Sacramento and the Napa Valley, also Carmel/ Monterey.
Driver Referrals Bonuses, which I get from internet marketing using Mail chimp and from my blog, theblackcarguy.com
Private clients from my website, smartripservices.com and from family, friends, and neighbors.
Consulting: I teach others how I do what I do, I charge only $50 per hour.
Selling stretch jobs for another limo company, at a 15% commission. A good wine tour nets about $600 - $800 dollars, so that's $90 to $120 in commission for one job.
I will come up with other ways to earn, I'm always learning, thinking, signing up for apps, keeping my mind open to possibilities. It's always curious to me when I see people complaining about these low x fares and that they are going broke, especially with so freaking much opportunity all around. When it's slow, ask yourself. What else can I do? It seems like food delivery is exploding right now. I see that Chewse is paying $35 - $75 per hour for catering setups, hell there's all kinds of stuff to do. Check out axle hire, they always are looking for folks and paying guaranteed wages of at least $20 per hour, no commission. Hustle, people, hustle!!!
Post Script, Added on July 13: A new report was just published ranking many of the largest on demand driving jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of these jobs have operations in other major cities as well. Jobs were ranked on money, flexibility, and opportunity to advance to benefitted employee status. Check it out here
France Gives In To Insanity And Rioting Taxi Drivers: Cracks Down On Uber from the because-that'll-help dept Taxi drivers in France have been going absolutely insane in protesting the fact that they don't like competition from Uber. They took drivers hostage, set fires and flipped cars over -- basically reminding everyone that "hey, Uber drivers aren't nearly as fucking crazy as taxi drivers." But here's the amazing thing: the French government apparently has decided to appease these modern day luddites:France ordered a nationwide clampdown on UberPOP on Thursday, siding with taxi drivers who blockaded major transport hubs in angry protests against the popular online ride-sharing service.Not only that, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, rather than call out the taxi drivers, pretended that it was the fault of "both sides"Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence and incidents "on both sides" as the government sought to take a tough stand on the protests while backing the drivers' case.
"They give a deplorable image to visitors to our country," he said during a visit to Colombia, adding that all available legal measures would be taken to halt the UberPOP activity.The French bureaucrats are now telling law enforcement to seize cars from Uber drivers. Really.In a toughening of the French stance, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve ordered Paris police to issue a decree banning UberPOP and said cars defying the order would be seized.
"The government will never accept the law of the jungle," he said in a television declaration on Thursday evening.Again, as most users of Uber and other such services will tell you, the experience tends to be a lot better than crappy cab experiences.
And European bureaucrats sit and wonder why they can't have more innovative internet companies starting up there. Perhaps they should look at situations like this and how they respond to innovative companies that disrupt legacy, monopoly services by providing something that the public actually wants.
- Tech Dirt
A New Kind Of Mobility
June 24, 2015 from the Uber Blog
“It’s critical that people with disabilities have access to opportunities in the digital economy. Uber is opening doors for people with disabilities to earn a living with a completely flexible schedule.”
Meet Gabriel. Gabriel, an Austin resident and Uber partner, likes to dream big. He works full-time as a bookkeeper for a national student housing company, and like most Uber partners, he uses the platform when he needs or wants to make some extra cash. But unlike most partners, Gabriel has had to overcome some very serious mobility challenges of his own, ever since an accident left him without the use of his legs.
Gabriel drives a modified Cadillac Escalade with an electric lift that enables him to access the driver’s seat and store his wheelchair. He even had his car retrofitted so it is compatible for a rider in a wheelchair.
For Gabriel, being in his car gives him a sense of freedom. Beyond using Uber as a flexible earning opportunity, he feels that by giving people a safe ride home, he is making a meaningful contribution to his community.
Learn more about Gabriel’s experience in Uber's interview with him.
Meet Luigi. Luigi, a Connecticut uberX partner hailing from Italy, first learned about Uber from his teenage son. Looking to make some extra income while managing his jewelry business, Luigi started driving with Uber half a year ago.
Remarkably, it was only four years ago that Luigi wasn’t able to drive at all. A skiing accident left him with no use of his legs and limited upper body mobility. After deciding he wanted to start driving again, Luigi opted for a modified vehicle equipped with the appropriate ramp and steering capabilities.
Now, Luigi drives with Uber on the weekends in Fairfield County, CT. He loves getting out of the house, exploring new neighborhoods, and meeting his passengers.
Learn more about Luigi’s experience on the platform.
Meet Bob. Bob is a Vietnam veteran and Ohio native who moved recently with his wife to North Carolina to escape the chilly Midwest winters.
Like too many veterans with mobility restrictions, Bob struggled to find employment. When Bob first discovered Uber, he was excited to hear that he was able to drive on the platform with his modified vehicle. This July will mark one year since Bob has been on the platform. He drives almost every day, and on weekend nights. After moving to Charlotte, Bob didn’t have many connections to the community, but Uber has enabled him to get out and about and meet people in the Charlotte area.
In Bob’s own words, “Uber is a way for a lot of vets to get out — especially disabled vets — who are stuck at home trying to find something to do. It’s a good way to try to break down the barriers that are still left for people with disabilities.”
Learn more about Bob’s experience driving with Uber.
Opportunities for People with DisabilitiesBob, Luigi, and Gabriel have all been able to overcome the adversity faced by people with disabilities in the job marketplace. But there are still significant barriers to earning a stable income for most people with a disability — especially among those with limited mobility.
Unemployment rates for this community are astronomically high. Last month, unemployment for people with disabilities in the United States was twice as high as the unemployment rate for the nondisabled workforce. Just 17.4% of working-age wheelchair users have a job.
Ridesharing technology, coupled with the access provided by modified vehicles, presents a possibility to help change the status quo, which has failed to create gainful employment options for people with disabilities.
Gabriel, Luigi, and Bob are a testament to this change. The supplemental income and flexible schedules that are the hallmarks of the Uber platform are helping them do the things that matter most: Bob is building his network and community in a new home, Gabriel has the chance to play with his wheelchair rugby team, and Luigi is spending more time with his son. And instead of being limited by what makes them unique, all three are redefining mobility — for themselves and their communities.
byIsaac AlfandaryBenenson Strategy Group recently conducted a survey of Uber driver-partners to understand how Uber fits into the lives of its driver-partners. They included 601 interviews with current Uber driver-partners from 20 markets where Uber operates.
BSG found that driver-partners come from a variety of backgrounds – many were not previous drivers – and are a demographically diverse group. Uber is significantly improving driver-partners’ financial situations and they are optimistic about their financial future now that they’re driving on the Uber platform. Ultimately, driver-partners value flexibility in a job, and that’s what Uber gives them – three quarters would rather have a job where they can choose their own schedule and be their own boss than a 9-to-5 job with benefits and a salary.
For full findings of the study, click here.
To put yourself on the Uber platform, begin your application here.
Uber, the ride share app that has put 100s of thousands of drivers to work across the globe, has had it's share of black eyes recently. With over a million trips a week being taken in an industry that traditionally has been very difficult to control (think two people alone in a car and the potential for disputes/irritations/misunderstandings and conflict about any number of things), the actual number of incidents is quite likely the same or even less for a comparable number of taxi cab trips taken. Yet the media continues to shine a light on every misdeed done by a driver.
How about the positive side of things? Well, the media doesn't report the rosy stories too often, simply because when something positive happens,, it's usually not news, unless we look at this story about Uber's big hiring binge - there are now about 20,000 current drivers working for Uber in the Bay Area alone. This puts Uber on par with some of the biggest employers in the San Francisco Area. But don't call them employees - drivers are strictly 1099, according to Uber. More on that below.
How about those 20,000? What's their experience with the ride share company? Most of the fare cuts are now about a year old, many that had been working in 2013 did see lower fares per hour in 2014 and '15. On any given day on a myriad of driver Facebook groups, there will be a vocal group of drivers complaining about $4 fares, while other drivers post screen shots of $363 fares that took them half way to Kingdom Come. Granted, some of the screen shots are photo-shopped, but many are bona fide, and like the spin of the roulette wheel, each and every time the Uber driver app beeps, alerting the driver to a new customer, a shot of dopamine courses through the bloodstream as he or she thinks with excitement, " Hmm, maybe this one will be the big score of the day! "
Those perennieal Facebook posters will continue to make noise about the lower fares. But this as a major issue seems to be subsiding somewhat as newer drivers, who have only ever known the current pricing structure, begin to make up the bulk of the ranks. Many of the drivers that were full time in 2013 have cut back to part time in 2014 and 2015, working only the busiest hours when there's a price hike, (surge) or more clients, or both, in order to maximize their fares per hour and income. Many of these riders do gross $30 - $35 per hour, or about $24 - $28 after Uber's commission. Many have joined other platforms, such as food or grocery delivery, that pay hourly wages for committed shifts, (one can sign up weekly or daily for shifts) and can include tips. Instacart through SideCar pays between $22 and $30 per hour (no commissions). Some drivers are opting for the alcohol or medical cannabis delivery business (Saucy and Meadow are two such companies). Or laundry pickup and delivery (Rinse and Washio). The number of food delivery outfits is growing exponentially. There is now Eat 24, Munchery, Caviar, Spoon Rocket, Postmates, to name just a few, jostling for position in a market that has exploded with well paid, overworked techies too busy working to go out and eat in a sit-down establishment.
Because of the constantly shifting dynamics of the ride share and delivery industry, drivers have a multitude of options, and have become savvier about when, where and for whom to work for, and their Uber work has become more concentrated on morning and evening commutes, weekends and special events.
But because of the over saturation of drivers in ride sharing, even what was once an obviously good time to work now has to be approached with a well thought out strategy, so drivers don't become outmaneuvered by the competition. The ride share game, always a competitor to the legacy cab industry, now competes with itself even more fiercely - Uber against Lyft. Lyft against Sidecar, Sidecar against Caviar. Driver against driver. And the eco-system of tech startups in the ride share and delivery spaces that use drivers must compete fiercely to hire and retain them - using special promotions, guarantees, hiring bonuses, gas cards and other perks. Drivers are a hot commodity, but they are still not getting rich. (This is driving, after all) The best and the brightest ones make a decent living though, and part timers as well as full timers still name the ability to create their own schedule as one of the top draws to the app based ride share and delivery business as it now stands.
A smart driver is on multiple platforms, maxing out his earnings when and where he can, doing grocery delivery for Instacart when the offer goes up to $30/ hour, doing Uber on surge, or picking up Lyft bonuses by referring friends. It's the wild west out there, a V-C funded free-for-all where the stakes are high, the competition fierce, and the downsides can be ugly - witness an incident earlier this week where an Uber driver was charged with using his vehicle as a deadly weapon in a bout of road rage against a bicyclist that pounded on his car during his own burst of anger. Emerson Decarvalho, 38, was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon in San Francisco. Decarvalho bailed out of jail and will face charges related to ramming the cyclist with his car, who is in stable condition after breaking ribs, his collar bone, and puncturing his lung. This driver, probably fairly untrained for the sometimes tense and grueling environment of high density, big city, urban ride share, spun the roulette wheel and came up a big time loser. Unfortunately, so did the cyclist.
A few months ago, Uber reported some interesting stats about it's work force. Seems close to 50% are college educated, a much higher chunk than the taxi driver population. A majority are men, which is no big surprise, but what is surprising is that only about 20% do it full time. That means that a full 80% of Uber drivers drive part time, customizing their own schedules as they go along. Many also do it simply to get out of the house or office and to meet new people.
Many drivers use their ride share gig to network, or hustle for existing businesses or services that they already provide. We've heard about massage therapists and task runners picking up new clients. About startup entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to tech industry execs. About stay at home moms whose primary duty is childcare going out in the evening for a few hours after their husbands get back from work, earning $20 to $30 an hour and enjoying the relative freedom of driving.
We've also heard recently about Uber Pool, the service in which multiple parties of riders share the same car going in the same direction, for a big markdown in price, in exchange for a bit longer overall trip time. Which is definitely an example of car pooling or ride sharing (think of the concept of sharing a taxi, with a tech twist.) Pool is a grand social expirement, in the words of an Uber exec, and has been rolled out in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Paris so far. It's caught on with riders, they love the low promotional pricing, although drivers, as is often the case, can be slow to embrace the changes.
Theoretically, drivers can make more, since they are paid on time and distance, and taking two parties, typically will increase total trip length. Some have not enjoyed the added responsibility and headaches that can occur with two parties... but some have found that the added income makes the morning rush pay off even more handsomely.
All of these examples are of regular, every day drivers - and riders - using the platform to better their businesses, better their lives, earn money and save money on something they were already doing anyway. So Uber definitely has it's supporters - as well as detractors.
Does Uber have it's share of problems? Definitely. Inadequate training and background checks immediately come to mind. Uber has recently introduced a mentor program, that slightly resembles Lyft's, in an effort to pair new drivers with a more experienced veteran to learn from. Data privacy emerged as a concern late last year, after Ubergate hit the news stands. A senior Uber exec was quoted outlining a theoretical plan to gather unseemly data on a journalist that had been critical of the service, in what was widely seen as a major public relations disaster. And in some jurisdictions, Uber is being forced by local ordinance to provide more detailed background checks, so as not to hire potential trouble makers. There have been sexual assaults, and Uber has come to recognize that the livery and taxi space has it's share of unsavory characters who will take advantage of drunken women late at night. How to totally weed them out is still a work in progress - but Uber consistently states that rider safety is job one. Yet overall, Uber is a game changer and has made millions and millions of riders' lives easier and more predictable. And many drivers now have a source of income that can be had on their own schedule - which is a huge, huge plus.
Another looming problem is a class action lawsuit that is in process. Uber, ever the controversial company and Lyft, as well as Instacart, Postmates and others are now in the process of being sued by some of their drivers for misclassification. The drivers charge they should be counted as employees - not independent contractors, and should be compensated for fuel and other auto expenses and provided with workers comp, health and disability insurance benefits and other standard perks of employment.
Uber has unsuccessfully tried to get the case dismissed, but it appears that it will proceed to a jury trial this summer. A similar lawsuit brought against Fed Ex by the same lead attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan in 2005 is still winding it's way through the appeals process 10 years later - so don't look for a quick resolution to this law suit. If this suit is eventually won by the plaintiffs, a big change in the overall business model will ensue. Uber's model has been to shift as many costs away from itself and to it's drivers as it can, and because of that, it has been quite profitable to date and has attracted the attention of billions in venture capital. If the suit is successful, Uber's profit margins will shrink and the nature of the service could eventually change, as well the price points.
But with the trend continuing on the upswing for on-demand everything, look for even more drivers, companies and consumers to jump on the people and food delivery bandwagons as the summer of 2015 approaches. And Uber drivers will keep on keeping on, chasing down the proverbial big score.
Written by Isaac Alfandary
This article first appeared in theblackcarguy.com
In an ongoing battle with Lyft for new recruits, Uber is now offering a $300 signing bonus for new drivers on the Uber system. Drivers should be 21 years old, have a 4-door newer than year 2000, and clean driving and background checks. Although Uber provides commercial liability insurance, drivers still must carry their own policies to qualify to operate on the system. Once the new driver completes 20 trips, the signing bonus is released. To sign up, go here
There’s an Uber for everything nowadays, so why not an Uber for weed?
Eaze, a startup that enables medical marijuana patients to order cannabis products online and have those goodies delivered to their homes, today is announcing $10 million in Series A round funding led by DCM Ventures with participation from Fresh VC, 500 Startups, Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Ventures, and other strategic investors.
Thousands of Applications Flood in For $1000 Lyft Signup deal, San Francisco and San Diego End Offer, Most Other Cities To Follow Suit
You can get in on the $1,000 Double-Sided Referral Bonus in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Doube sided means we both get the bonus.
But you have to use the following referral code: ISAAC83801
Go to: www.lyft.com/drivers/ISAAC83801
This is totally crazy!!