UberX Economics – How I Did New Years Eve

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I’ve certainly had some interesting adventures as an UberX driver… but I knew New Years Eve was going to be the night to end all nights.  If I bought into the hype (and believe me, I did), it was going to be the busiest night of the year – and the highest earning for an UberX driver.

The company started sending out emails weeks in advance reminding drivers that this was our top earning season and that we should plan to be working all the peak holidays to make the best money.  So I dutifully marked “make money” on my calendar for December 31st 2014.

Admittedly, I’ve always thought that New Years Eve was an overhyped holiday.  Perhaps that attitude comes from working on New Years Eve for so many years (first as a babysitter, later as a server/bar worker).  Perhaps it comes from too many expensive evenings out that weren’t all that.  Or perhaps it stems from the many years I’ve traveled on New Years Eve to some of the world’s most spectacular locations – after spending it in Sydney, Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Machu Picchu – among other places, a New Years Eve at home just doesn’t hold that much appeal to me.

The Uber hype continued as the day drew closer.  Uber shared with us their thoughts on how to have a successful day and suggested working from 4 pm to 4 am.  They even reminded both drivers and riders that they anticipated surge pricing to be in effect from 12:30 am to 2:30 am.  I wrote up my own top ten tips for Uber riders to help my readers navigate this.

Would this be my best New Years Eve yet?  Let’s see…

I got up mid-morning on December 31 to get my car ready.  Washed the car, did a thorough vacuuming and wipe down of all the interior, and made sure everything was rider-ready.  I also grabbed a supply of plastic bags (much better than an air sickness bag for drunks who vomit), a bottle of Febreeze, and a supply of sugar-free Red Bull for myself.  The car wash was necessary after a week of driving in on/off icky weather.  I knew it would be pointless because rain/sleet was predicted for later in the evening but I wanted to have a 5 star worthy ride for the night.

The nap was next – three hours of sleep mid-afternoon so I could be fresh – I had decided my working hours would be 7 pm to 3 am (although I reserved the right to quit early depending on how the night was going).  I woke up at 6 pm and took a long hot shower to warm myself up.  Temperatures were hovering near freezing and humidity was high which meant it would be a cold damp night sitting in the car.  I don’t like driving in a heavy coat as passengers often get in without a coat and want the heat cranked up, so I planned to drive in a thermal shirt, quilted vest, jeggings, and fingerless gloves.  I tossed on a sparkly necklace and did my makeup so I’d at least be in the festive mood.

At 7 pm I logged on… time to make some money.  Where I park is important – most drivers will use the rider app to check the position of other cars (an activity that may actually contribute to surges in some areas) – and after checking on other drivers who were already positioned in heavy nightlife/restaurant areas, I decided that I should stay put at home and wait to drive someone from my neighborhood who was heading out.

Uber is reporting that “top drivers” will average up to $30/hour during the New Years Eve peak.  (Note that is “gross” earnings – after Uber’s $1 per ride and 20% cut, that’s expected earnings of around $23/hour.)  But drivers from last year reported netting $40-50/hour so I’ve set myself a goal of working 8 hours and making at least $300.

Will I make it?  Let’s see….

Ride #1

7:35 pm – It takes 35 minutes for my first ride to come in from right around the corner from me.  I took a nice young couple to a popular new pizzeria on the Near Southside.  On the way we chatted about travel (she had just come back from Iceland).  My New Years Eve was off to a good start.

Rider Charged: $7.57

My Cut: $5.26

Ride Duration: 9:21

Ride Distance: 4.15 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $5.26

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $7.00/hour

Ride #2

7:55 pm – After I drop my first ride, I decide to grab Starbucks (a good move since they are closing at 8 pm).  My second ping comes through as I’m picking up my drink at the drive-thru window from a Hilton Garden Inn around the corner.  I pick up a couple who is headed to the Stockyards.  We chat about Uber a bit (he’s a former police officer and loves that the service keeps drunk drivers off the street).

Rider Charged: $10.76

My Cut: $7.81

Ride Duration: 18:21

Ride Distance: 5.53 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $13.07

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $10/hour

Ride #3

9:09 pm – So it’s midway through the 8 pm hour and lots of drivers are sitting up at the Stockyards after my last drop.  Logic tells me that people who are already in the Stockyards won’t be leaving to go elsewhere so I decide to head back south to see what I pick up.  I make it all the way down to TCU without a ping and decide to sit and wait on a residential side street.  After 9 pm I get a ping to come to a residence around the corner.

I go to the designated address and sit in front of the house.  Three people are standing on the front porch and drinking.  They stare at me but make no move to approach my car.  One new tactic I’ve been using is to text my riders before my arrival to let them know how to find me (Black Volvo with hazards on), let them that my vehicle only carries 4 passengers (you’d be surprised how many people try to circumvent this!), and that open containers are not allowed (it’s the law!).  My guess is that they are finishing their drinks before getting in the car – it happens a lot where I’m kept waiting for several minutes while riders finish getting ready or wrap up their party.  It’s annoying because we don’t start getting paid until passengers get in the car (unless they give us permission to start the ride) and we have to wait at least five minutes before cancelling the ride.

After five minutes, I text.  It turns out my rider is down the block – she dropped a pin and didn’t verify the address that the pin mapped to.  (I always recommend physically entering an address for this reason!)  Great passenger – she was fun to talk to as I drove her down to the West 7th district to a bar party.

Rider Charged: $7.24

My Cut: $4.99

Ride Duration: 9:56

Ride Distance: 3.79 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $18.06

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $8/hour

Ride #4

9:28 pm – My next ride is right across the street and comes in almost immediately.  I’m picking up a couple plus the wife’s mother and taking them from a restaurant to a live music show on the Near Southside.  This is the first ride of the night where I can definitely smell the alcohol on my passengers (as well as the food they’ve just consumed).

Rider Charged: $6.10

My Cut: $4.08

Ride Duration: 10:32

Ride Distance: 2.76 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $22.14

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $8/hour

Ride #5

9:47 pm – I only have to wait a few minutes on a side street for my next ride.  I send them my pre-arrival text and roll up to count five people coming out of the house and finishing their drinks/cigarettes.  Uh oh.

They aren’t happy when I tell them that they’ll need to call a second Uber because I can only take four passengers.  They stand outside debating whether to just cancel and drive themselves.  In the end, two people get in and the other three take their own car.  I can smell rum and whisky – by the end of the night, I can fairly well identify what all my passengers have been consuming.

Rider Charged: $5.00

My Cut: $3.20

Ride Duration: 7:36

Ride Distance: 1.94 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $25.34

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $8/hour

Ride #6

10:14 pm – It gets quiet and I decide to head back towards my neighborhood to use the bathroom and grab a bottle of water.  I get a ping from two miles west of me and hop back in the car and start driving that direction only to have a “rider cancelled” message come in as soon as I am on the freeway on ramp.

Rider Charged: $0.00 – 5.00 (Uber gives riders their first cancellation free and after that charges a cancellation fee if the ride is cancelled after five minutes and/or when the driver is less than five minutes away from the destination.)

My Cut: $0.00 (Uber may charge for cancellations, but drivers can only be paid for them under very specific circumstances – specifically we must have arrived at the destination already, waited at least five minutes after arrival, and made attempts to contact the user by both text and phone – Uber does have means of checking this, even on my personal phone.)

Cumulative earnings to this point: $25.34

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $8/hour

Ride #7

10:15 pm – Another ride, a bit further from the first cancellation.  Since I’m already on the freeway on my way there, I’m the closest driver and send my pre-arrival text.

I pull up and hit arrival and then check my text messages to find this message – “DON’T PICK ME UP”.

It’s followed by “Uber did it on it’s own.  I was just checking.  Dang.”

I cancel the ride.  No money for my time or my gas getting there will be coming to me.  Luckily this was only a couple miles away – but sometimes this happens when the rider is 15-20 minutes and several miles away.  Very frustrating and many drivers now will refuse rides that are more than five minutes away after having this happen too many times.

Rider Charged: $0.00 – 5.00

My Cut: $0.00

Cumulative earnings to this point: $25.34

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $8/hour

Ride #8

10:27 pm – I’m not in that neighborhood long before I catch another ride – three college students headed to the Stockyards.  I have a nice chat about microeconomics with my front seat passenger.

At one point, a back seat passenger realizes she doesn’t know the route I’ve taken (a shorter, less common way to get to that destination) – while texting with a friend who left before them, they realize they’ve gotten there at least five minutes ahead of them.  I love when I have a good shortcut – and it’s always a plus when my shortcut also syncs up with Uber’s navigation and suggested route because there is less chance of my fare getting dialed back if someone complains later.

They ask if they can request me in the future – always my favorite compliment as a driver!

Rider Charged: $13.08

My Cut: $9.66

Ride Duration: 17:07

Ride Distance: 7.64 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $35.00

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $9/hour

Ride #9

11:10 pm – This one comes across my phone and cancels before I even have a chance to accept it.  I check it the next day and discover that the user had put their pin somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Rider Charged: $0.00

My Cut: $0.00

Cumulative earnings to this point: $35.00

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $8/hour

Ride #10

11:24 pm – It’s starting to rain – the drizzle we’ve had all evening is now 33 degree rain.  My intuition is that the downtown New Years Eve celebration might be breaking up early and I’m right.  I pick up riders who’ve decided to ring in midnight at home and I get them there with a few minutes to spare.

I ring in midnight alone on the freeway.  I silently toast myself with a bottle of water.  Good riddance to 2014.

Rider Charged: $14.94

My Cut: $11.15

Ride Duration: 18:52

Ride Distance: 8.94 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $46.15

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $9/hour

Ride #11

12:12 am – It’s still quiet.  No surges yet and I can see lots of drivers on the app in the hot spots.  On a hunch, I decide to head back to the Near Southside as the crowd there is older and more likely to be wrapping their evening shortly after midnight.  My hunch is right – I get a pick up at the same live music venue where I dropped earlier – this couple has just caught one band and wants to get to the Stockyards to hear the last set of another band.

I try to get them there as quickly as possible but the rain is making roads slick and slow – and a road closure requires a detour.  I’m using Uber’s navigation to try to get them there and they don’t have this road closure in although I later find out that it’s been this way for months.  I get them to the Stockyards just as people are flooding out of their venue but they seem okay with that.

They invite me to take the rest of the night off and come with them and use their extra ticket.  I’m honestly tempted.  To this point, I’ve made less than I would on a typical weekend night.  Not how I’d planned on spending the evening, for sure.

Rider Charged: $14.75

My Cut: $11.00

Ride Duration: 18:30

Ride Distance: 8:84 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $57.15

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $10/hour

Ride #12

12:39 am – At this point, I think I’m in the sweet spot.  I turn the app back on hoping that all these folks flooding out is creating a surge.  No such luck but I get a ping within 15 seconds.  (More experienced drivers tell me I should have turned my app off and waited until the surge started to log back in.)

These passengers are still inside… so I have to illegally park for a few minutes to wait for them to come out – and I’m not getting paid until they are in the car.  Several folks approach me and want to get in my waiting car – some offering me cash flat rates to go back downtown –  but they are not my riders.  (I find out later that the surge started sometime while I was waiting… lucky riders, unlucky me.)

They are headed home to the suburbs north of the Stockyards which means I’ll find myself far north of the bar crowd after the ride ends.  Oh well… it’s the luck of the draw.

They are nice people – they love Uber because they can go out for the night for under $30 in ride fees on New Years Eve (round trip).  I quietly try to drive and ignore that they are making out in my backseat.

The navigation system doesn’t have this rider’s street on it.  In fact, my onboard navigation doesn’t either.  Freeway exits are closed down.  I try to memorize the twists and turns they are verbally giving me so I can get out quickly and get back to the action.

Rider Charged: $14.61

My Cut: $10.89

Ride Duration: 18:45

Ride Distance: 8.69 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $68.04

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $11/hour

Ride #13

1:08 am – I log back in and the map looks like this for DFW.  Holy cow!!!  That orange area is DFW International Airport – with no flights arriving at 1 am, my guess is that those are folks using a tool like Surge Protector to try to circumvent the surge.

Here's is what the surge in Dallas/Fort Worth looked like at 1 am on New Years Eve 2014.  Multipliers ranged from 1.5 to 6.8.

Here’s is what the surge in Dallas/Fort Worth looked like at 1 am on New Years Eve 2014. Multipliers ranged from 1.5 to 6.8.

The corner of the map where I am is only on a 1.5 surge.  I get a ping to come back to right where I picked up my last rider.

This ride is where the crazy started.  Its starting to pour rain.  I pick up what I assume to be a couple – and they ask if we can make two stops so they can give a ride to some friends they’ve made.  Sure… at a 1.5 surge, you can go wherever you want, so two other women get in the car.  I have to ask the male passenger to extinguish his cigarette before getting my vehicle.

The ride turns out to be several miles in the opposite direction of the final destination.  It turns out, this mother/daughter duo came in specifically to see the concert at Billy Bob’s and the hotel shuttle was supposed to pick them up after the show.  It never showed up and after several calls, they had given up.

En route to the hotel, via Uber’s directions, we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a police chase (police in cars chasing a guys running on foot who scatter in front of us).  I’m envisioning gunfire – it’s that kind of neighborhood where I don’t like driving around even in broad daylight – and just want to get the heck out of there.  My male passenger has a different idea and wants to get out of the car to chase the guys on foot even though my car is moving.  I have child locks and decide to use them quickly, but not before he gets the door open.  Luckily, his companion quickly shuts the door before he can get out.

I drop the mother/daughter and the male passenger scrambles into the front seat.  I find out his companion is actually his assistant.  She just wants to go home.  He wants me to take them on a Whataburger.

I stop the car and tell him I need an address before I start driving again.  I input the address and decide that I’m going to follow Uber’s navigation instructions even though I am pretty sure I know a shorter way.  (When it comes to surge fares and the possibility of a dispute, especially given our detour, I’m covering my butt!)  The navigation takes us across two freeways on what I’m definitely sure is a longer but probably safer routing to their house.

It’s raining heavily at this point and temperatures are right at freezing.  I’m watching drunk drivers skidding across lanes and just trying to keep my car safe – defensive driving is my friend as I try to watch traffic around me, changing lanes strategically and slowing down to avoid drivers swerving.

Along the way, I’m trying to keep the noise level down in my car – my front seat passenger has discovered the stereo controls and is trying to turn my car into a nightclub.  I discover that he once worked in my industry and knows a few people I know so I’m able to get him to turn down the radio and engage in conversation instead.  He requests me on LinkedIn while driving and wants me to accept the request right then.  (No dude, I’m driving.)  He then decides to drunk dial a former colleague of both of ours (who luckily doesn’t pick up at that ungodly hour).

I finally get them home and drop him but he demands that I wait so he can run and get something for me in the house.  I’m hoping for a cash tip but no, it’s a business card – he thinks we can start a company together and I should call him soon.  His assistant is stomping off to her car as this is transpiring.  This long ride is on HER Uber account.  I’m just waiting on the disputed charge at this point.  Oy vey.

At this point it seems like surely it’s after 2 am but it’s not – yet.

Rider Charged: $51.09

My Cut: $40.07

Surge Multiplier: 1.5

Ride Duration: 37:45

Ride Distance: 22.47 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $108.11

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $15/hour

Ride #14

1:56 am – My earnings are far below what I expected at this point.  I’m really disappointed that I’ve given up my New Years Eve for barely $100.  I am bitter and wishing I had spent the evening with friends – or at least on my sofa with a good bottle of champagne.

Other drivers are reporting either dismal nights or amazing earnings from surge fares – but really very little variation in between.  Downtown is still surging so I decide I’m going to head that way for one last ride and maybe hit my earnings goal.

I pass paramedics on my way towards the action – a pedestrian has been hit by a car at a busy intersection.  I see no cars so I assume it is a hit and run.  Lots of intoxicated people are out on the street looking for rides and the surge multiplier in that area is a 7.5 but I’m getting no hits.  At that point, it seems like individuals are waiting for the surge to come down.

I get a hit as the surge drops to 6.5 (my car driving into the hot zone likely nudged the surge down… if I’d stayed on the edges, I likely would have gotten the same hit but not affected the car/rider ratio) – my rider is downtown at a nightclub that has a reputation for being seedy at times.  I send him my usual arrival text and get the reply “Cool Story”.  Oh boy.

I call him when I arrive and a lone guy gets in my car.  He says he is NOT having a good evening as he is alone.

His destination is less than two miles away but he wants to go to Jack In the Box first and yes, he knows it’s a 6.5 surge but doesn’t care as it’s “just money”.  I let him give me turn-by-turn directions as he knows a shortcut (not really, but it’s his ride).  We get to Jack In The Box and he decides it doesn’t have a good vibe.  He wants to go to 7-11 instead.  We go there (again, turn-by-turn directions) and he asks me to wait as he “might be a while”.  I wait for 15 minutes while he goes in and shops.  He comes out with two medium pizzas, a bag of chips, and a 2-liter bottle of soda.  He offers me pizza.  I politely refuse.  We get to his apartment.  He asks if I want to come up and eat pizza in his apartment.  I laugh and tell him Uber isn’t that kind of service.  He wishes me a happy new year.  Indeed.

Rider Charged: $52.68

My Cut: $41.34

Surge Multiplier: 6.5

Ride Duration: 22:49

Ride Distance: 3.39 miles

Cumulative earnings to this point: $149.45

Hourly effective rate (rounded to nearest dollar): $20/hour

I turn the app back on, hoping maybe for one last surge.  There is none.  The roads are quiet at 2:30 am and I decide it’s time to go home and go to sleep.  It’s 2015 and I’ve had time to think about my intention for the year.  I think I picked a good one.  I’ll take New Years Day off – the $20/hour in guaranteed gross earnings that Uber is promising for the Cotton Bowl from 9 to 11 am (net $15/hour) is not worth it to get out of my warm bed.

So at the end of the night, for  7.5 hours of my time, I netted just under $150 (or under $20 an hour).  I also have cash tips – $24 worth.  Uber discourages tipping (official policy is that we are to refuse the tip when offered and only take it if the customer insists).  The tips nudge me to the $23/hour neighborhood.

Without the surges at the end of the night, my official Uber earnings would have been $101.11 (or around $13/hour).  I know teen babysitters who made more… and they got to watch movies and eat snacks inside a warm house.

But at least no one puked in my car.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 47.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

More articles by Jennifer Moody »

Comments

  1. Similar to what I experienced in London. I had an email from Uber telling me that if I wanted a car between 12.30 and 2.30am I should expect to pay £75 for an ‘average’ journey ($125ish). At 1am – at home in Central London – I opened the app just to see what they wanted. The surge on UberX was just 1.5 and there was NO surge at all on Exec or Lux!

    • My hunch – and this is just me speculating – is that Uber has had so much bad press over surges that they have hired on more drivers than necessary so that the likelihood of surges stays low.

      • Sorry you didn’t do that well this NYE (or to your expectations). I was a driver for Lyft in LA (eventually Lyft and Uber, and then later neither) and NYE I made about $460, coming in at a rate of $42/hour.

        I had two friends drive this New Year’s that actually had better numbers than me last year, and they made about the same as you this year.

        I don’t think the hiring has anything to do with the surge press. It’s just the ridesharing companies onboarding as many people as possible because the investment is so little. They don’t pay for the car, the gas, car washes, etc, etc. It costs them almost nothing to bring somebody on.

        I’ve been hearing the “they need to optimize the amount of drivers” statement for well over a year now. The thing is, it hasn’t fluctuated at all. All these ridesharing companies are just going to keep hiring and hiring and hiring until people really start to make nothing doing this (people as in the super savvy drivers as you described).

        To them, they get the same amount of a cut whether there’s 100 drivers on the road or 1,000, and for them, they’d much prefer.

        I was a recruiter for Lyft in L.A. and last summer there was an uproar amongst the drivers that the driver supply was maxed out, too many drivers, nobody making any money, etc, etc. In a Skype meeting with the Market Manager in L.A., somebody asked about a hiring freeze and she acted like it was the most absurd thing she had ever heard.

        I think the mentality for them is keep on hiring until the die hard drivers start to suffer and then adjust.

  2. Thanks for the detailed recount! I really like articles that are as detailed and long as yours!

    I also noticed in Boston the highest surge I saw was about 1.3. In past years the surge was a lot higher.

    It seems like TNCs are good if you have another full time job and do it for extra money, but it would be hard to be a Uber or Lyft driver full time as your primary source of income.

    I’ve also noticed that the part timers seem happier, and if someone is doing it full time, 40 plus or more hours a week, they may be less happy as their American dream seems dashed.

    Someone in transportation also told me drivers trying to make a go of it full time buy a brand new car, and after 6 months of driving in a city full time, the car is beat up and you still have the car loan but not the anticipated (promised) earnings.

    • Your observations are in line with mine. I was talking with some other drivers today – some of them among DFW’s top earning drivers. We figured out there are really three types of drivers:

      1. The ones who do it full time and revolve their hours/location around the best times/places for high revenue rides (which may not be ideal “work” hours for some people). These guys are savvy and make friend with hotel concierges, event planners, and hospitality reps – they know where to be and when to be there. They also may develop their own “side” book of cash business with regular customers who call them off-app for rides to/from the airport, football games. These guys don’t worry that much about rules about where to pick up at the stadium or where Uber predicts the hot spots will be. It’s a black car mentality and they make black car money. (Most of my driver friends are in this category)
      2. The ones who do it part time and have no expectations for earnings other than extra income. These guys pick and choose what days/times to work based on their lives/schedules and don’t work when the money isn’t there unless they have something else going on – think teachers (grading papers between rides), blogger/writers (I do a lot of my editing in my downtime), or stay-at-home workers who can jump and go. They work the big events or specific areas of town and use the money as pocket cash. (I’m in this category as are some other drivers I’ve recruited)
      3. The ones you describe. They view Uber as the new economy and buy the car and go for it. I see these guys wandering around town at odd times of the day in neighborhoods with no business. They cruise around burning gas and tearing up their cars and can’t quite understand why the money they heard about (like Uber’s recent promises of $5,000 a month) isn’t flowing in.

      I’ll keep doing this on the side… but I will definitely be more cautious about the opportunity cost for certain dates/times in the future!

  3. Interesting experience! But you didn’t subtract the cost of running a car which, all included is around 60 cents/mile (according to AAA). At around 80 miles (maybe you went more in between trips and getting home), that’s $48 spent so you are really at around $16/hour

  4. Hey Jen, great blog post! I feel a bit better in that I might have made $50 more than you during that NYE fiasco. No drama, no puking, but no real financial triumphs

  5. Wow, that sucks dick. I read the whole thing as if you were a nice male but then I found out you’re a female. That explains the “wanna eat pizza with me” invitation. But as a male, honestly I get the same kind of invitations believe it or not. But still, I think as a female, your night sucked double dick.

  6. Jennifer,

    Good stuff. I am in full time sales in KC but do Uber part time and am in group 2.

    I made like $280 on NYE and feel fortunate.

    I do think that Uber mislead a lot of their drivers and supply outstripped demand and drivers were outraged. When they keep hiring too many drivers and diluting their brand, it will hurt in the long run. KC had 8.9x for quite a while on NYE.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head with the supply/demand issue. Uber has tried to up supply to minimize the bad PR from all the surges. In the long run, I agree that its going to hurt the quality as the experienced quality drivers flee. I have a 4.91 lifetime rating and drive a vehicle that would qualify for the luxury category they have added out in LA. But it’s not worth my time for $3.20 cut on the $5 minimum rides.

  7. Did you compute your earnings per hour based solely on the length of the rides themselves (the “ride distance” you show above), or did you also factor in the time you spent driving to position yourself more optimally and the time spent driving to pick up each fare, etc.?

    And someone else already pointed out that to compute your true earnings, you have to subtract out your expenses (mainly the cost of operating the car for the miles you drove for Uber, i.e., the ~60 cents per mile, OR the other “actual expenses” method that the IRS allows). And then…. as you know…. income taxes AND self-employment taxes (i.e., Social Security & Medicare taxes) come off. (I realize you may already be over the Social Security-taxable wage base for the year, from your main self-employment earnings, so maybe that isn’t so much of a concern in your case. But, by the same token, your income from your main job pushes your marginal income tax rate up on these Uber earnings.) I’m sure you are already doing or have done this analysis, but the results could be kinda depressing…. 😉

    • I computed them by total time logged in which includes driving time to the fare (which is not compensated), wait time for the fare (I can’t start the ride until they are in my car which is sometimes several more minutes), and the wait time to get the next ping. Started at 6:58 pm and finished at 2:29 am.

  8. How do you feel about those shorter rides? I most frequently use Uber for rides between my apartment and the local arena that is one of those “really long walk or really short drive”, so the rides normally come out between $5 and $7. I’m never sure whether the Uber drivers appreciate getting any revenue, or whether they’d just assume not deal with such a low-revenue trip.

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