The estimates about the earnings provided below have dropped by 50% after the sharp price reduction. The Uber Partners who were able to earn good money are now earning below the minimum wage. Uber Partners also feel cheated about the safety fee which Uber charges from their customers but won’t give any percentage of it to them, who take all the risk and provide safe rides to the Uber customers. Uber also has been sending spam emails to their partners asking them to buy new cars. How is it possible for the drivers who are earning below minimum wage to buy new cars and pay high monthly installments.
Uber has created a revolution in transportation industry. Uber has gone from just a small San Francisco tech company in 2009 to a behemoth $17 billion (yeah, that’s a billion with a B) valuation company in 5 years. Uber started out as a black car dispatching app on which one could order a lincoln towncar or some high end SUV like Cadillac Escalade, basically catering to the high end consumers. During the same time, other tech companies like Lyft and Sidecar were taking a different approach, catering to the middle class market. They called such service “ridesharing”. Uber saw their explosive growth and decided to launch their own ridesharing service called UberX in 2012. Just recently UberX has became the major revue stream for Uber, surpassing the black service not just in terms of revenue but also in number of rides and drivers.
I’m one of thousands of UberX drivers working in Seattle. Intially I started out as a black SUV driver when Uber had only the black car service in Seattle. My first month was November 2012, Uber was still a new thing in town. Every customer I picked was surprised how the technology just worked so efficiently. People loved Uber! It has been almost year and a half since I started. Uber has grown drastically since then. Say thank you to taxi monopoly! The countless stories I heard about customers bad taxi experience and how much they hate them and don’t want to ever go back.
Anyways, couple of months back I decided to give UberX a chance since it was gaining ground lot faster than black car. The one question I had was, how much am I going to make with UberX? I’m pretty sure you all have seen their ads about making $40/hour on Facebook. I know it’s their marketing kids playing with the lucrative business of transportation. Let me tell you right away that you are not going to make $40/hour if you work 8 hour a day. Realistically, it will be closer to $20/hour which I think is still a decent amount of income by looking at the current state of the economy.
The reason I wanted to do this post was to show some real numbers in terms of much money an UberX driver can make in places like Seattle. Keep in mind though that UberX drivers income vary from city to city. The simple reason for income difference is the cost of living in each is different. So making $80,000 in New York will not buy an UberX driver the same necessities in other cities.
Let’s dig in to some real numbers. I work six days a week Tuesday – Sunday from around 5:50 pm to 2:30 am (Yeah, there goes my weekends!). Below you can see how much income I earned UberX in a week. It’s a bit confusing to some new drivers because the payment summary shows trip earnings, miscellaneous payout and the total payout. So let me break it down for some new UberX drivers:
The trip earnings is the amount of money an UberX driver made after deducting UberX commission which in Seattle is 20%. The commission may or may not be different in other US cities (You can talk with local Uber office representative). The total trip earning before UberX commission was $1,103.77. After subtracting Uber commission pf $220.75 I made $883 for the week. By the way the trip earnings also include cleaning fee $41 because a girl puked on my car on a Saturday night. It was gross but who said it was going to be rosemary doing this job. The total trip earning comes out to $924.
Uber has been paying it’s driver $1 per ride on a temporary basis which they say will be phased out in September. The reason for the $1 fee is that Uber cut back on it’s commission to 5% a while back to attract more drivers and reduced fares by 30% to attract more customers. The low margins didn’t seem to work out well for Uber since the credit card processing fee alone is 3%. So Uber decided to raise the commission back to 20%. At the same time Uber didn’t want to shock the driver with such an increase and decided to implement the safe ride fee. The $98 listed as the misc. payout is the ride fee as I did 98 trips during the six day week.
By the end of the week I earned around $1000. Some drivers earn more than that by putting more hours on the sheets. In my opinion, top drivers make up $1500 a week.
Please keep in mind though that these earnings are not taking in to account the gas expenses, taxes, insurance, payments and maintenance cost. I drive a Toyota Prius 2008 which I bought with cash for $7000. It gives a pretty decent mileage. Every week I pay around $80 for gas and I have no car payments. My overhead cost is pretty low as my brother also drives the same car with UberX as well. Personal insurance payment is $140/month for comprehensive and collision with decent limit. I think one has to be careful when doing such business because overhead cost could be high if driver buys an expensive vehicle with low gas mileage and high insurance. Oh yeah, taxes could be a big pain. Most of the UberX drivers work as sole proprietor which means you have to pay about 15% taxes! Trust me, it’s not a small amount at the end of the year. Check out the google search for tax rate: Click here
Below is the breakdown of earning for a day:
I started working around 6:00 pm on Tuesday May 27th. As you can see from the picture above, I got my first trip around 6:25 pm. Let’s say I started working from 6:30 pm and I ended my day at 2:30 pm. By the end of the day I made little less that $150 which is typical for a slow weekday. Usually, the average is around $200 – $250 for an eight hour period. The per hour rate for a slow day comes out to be $18/hour before Uber commission and other expenses. After expenses the earning would be around $14 – $15/hour. Ofcourse, money earned on the weekend would be much higher depending on what kind of events are happening in the city.
Simply put there are way to be many variables to accurately determine how much money UbreX driver can earn. If you’re looking to make UberX as your sole money stream then I would recommend making some smart decision before starting. Try to keep the overhead cost as low as possible. Buy a used vehicle from a private buyer but if you’re not comfortable dealing with strangers then dealers are fine too, just keep you budget low. You’ll be driving all day, a good gas mileage car would be a wiser choice like Prius. Always look at the carfax! One owner or two are the best vehicle. The other advantage of used vehicle is lower insurance payments and maintenance cost (maybe). My last advice – “Good luck”.
If you’ve made up your mind to make money with UberX. Check out the available cities below:
ALBUQUERQUE, ANN ARBOR, ANNAPOLIS, ATLANTA, AUSTIN
BAKERSFIELD, BALTIMORE, BOSTON
CHARLOTTE, CHICAGO, CINCINNATI, CLEVELAND, COLUMBUS, CONNECTICUT, CORPUS CHRISTI
DALLAS, DENVER, DETROIT
HAMPTON ROADS, HAMPTONS, HONOLULU, HOUSTON
INDIANAPOLIS, INLAND EMPIRE
LOS ANGELES, LOUISVILLE
MADISON, MEMPHIS, MEXICO CITY, MIAMI, MILWAUKEE, MINNEAPOLIS, MODESTO, MONTREAL
NASHVILLE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK CITY
OKLAHOMA CITY, OMAHA, ORANGE COUNTY, ORLANDO
PALM SPRINGS, PHILADELPHIA, PHOENIX, PITTSBURGH, PROVIDENCE
SALT LAKE CITY, SAN ANTONIO, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO, SANTA BARBARA, SEATTLE, SPOKANE
TACOMA, TAMPA, TIJUANA, TORONTO, TUCSON, TULSA