When to Use a Service Like Uber (and When Not)
If you’ve been anywhere near a bar in the past few years, you’ve probably heard of services like Uber. Ordinary people are paid to drive like a taxi. You might also consider becoming a driver. Here’s what you should think about first.
Personal finance blog Studenomics has a detailed account of what its author Martin experienced after driving an Uber for nearly a month. This is a helpful look at what it feels like from the driver’s side if you’ve ever been curious. As you might expect, there are several unexpected benefits:
I know all the hot spots in Toronto.
If someone tells you that Toronto is boring, you must tell that person that he is a complete failure. I didn’t realize how busy this city is until I started driving. I know every hot spot every night of the week. You are discovering places you never thought existed.
As Martin explains, half the benefit of becoming an Uber driver is the people you meet. If you prefer networking, then working as a driver can increase your chances of meeting people in your city. Whether it happens directly by contacting your rates, or indirectly by showing you the most guarded secret location in your city , it can be a huge benefit. And this is great, since money may not be the best motivator:
So, on a completely random (and chilly) Tuesday, I was able to earn $ 164.17 a ride by spending 4 hours and 48 minutes working.
Here’s the catch. Uber gets 20%. This means they receive $ 32.83. So I get $ 131.34. Then you count your fuel. Oh yeah, and how could I forget? Taxes. Finally, Uber only calculates the distance when you are driving a passenger, not the distance / time you drive to pick up passengers.
If you can operate the calculator, you may notice that even after all these cuts, that $ 131.34 still comes out to about $ 27 / hour, which is not too bad, but as Martin points out, this is not passive income. Not without the costs that accumulate as a result of wear and tear on your vehicle, alternative costs, or fuel.
With ride sharing becoming an increasingly popular topic (for good and bad alike), it’s perfectly reasonable to ask yourself if there is a way to make some extra money by car on weekends or on your free time. While this is an uncomplicated answer, Martin’s article offers many insights into both the good and bad aspects of becoming a sharing driver.
Should you ride Uber? My confessions of a taxi driver | Studentomics via Rockstar Finance