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“I think there’s an 11:15 showing tonight. We should go, like right now.”
It was my first day driving for Uber but I’d just been asked on a movie date. Not only was this girl 3 sheets to the wind but I hadn’t seen the first “50 Shades of Grey.” I had no intention of seeing the second one. Not to mention, I”m married but I was starting to think this may be a good gig for my single bros.
Why I decided to drive for Uber can be summed up in 2 words: Why not. I have an enormous amount of time off with my normal job. Now that I’m 30, going out feels like torture. I also thought it would be cool to cover the cost of my rent between Uber and Airbnb. Basically, I don’t always have anything better to do on Saturday night.
*Complete Breakdown of Earnings and Stats Below*
I’ve had harder times signing into Xbox than I did signing up for Uber. I didn’t have to fax anything or fill out paperwork. Just fill in some info on the app and take pictures of three things:
- Driver’s License
- Vehicle Registration
- Personal Vehicle Insurance
Within a few days, I got a notification saying that I was approved as a driver. Uber offered some tips on how to get started but I was completely shocked that nothing else was required. Basically get the @#$% out there and make us money!
I waited about a week to drive once I was approved. I was expecting Uber to pester me day and night to get out and drive. To my surprise, I didn’t hear a peep from them. Was completely up to me when I decided to go online and work. I finally decided to give it a shot on Saturday night. I heard nights are the most interesting and pay the most from other Uber drivers.
Here’s a summary of my first night:
10:07 PM: Hop in my car outside my place uptown and switch the button from “offline” to “online.” The excitement starts to build and I actually find myself feeling a little bit uncomfortable. Few minutes have passed and it’s dead silence. All I see on my map is my car. Starting to wonder if this thing is working.
10:12 PM: My phone makes a weird noise that I’ve never heard before and tells me tap to accept. I assume that means it’s game time. I follow the navigation to an address where I find two bubbly girls. The smell of alcohol is apparent as soon as the door opens. They are going to the music factory which is just a short distance. In less than 5 minutes they are dropped off. That was easy.
10:21 PM: I get another hit that’s less than 50 yards away. Young college guy by himself going to plaza Midwood. Nice guy but doesn’t say much.
Movie Date Request
10:41 PM: Get a hit for Southend, a young college girl in her early twenties. Once I arrive I call her to let her know I’m out front. “I’ll be right out!” The loud bar noise couldn’t hide that fact that she was completely hammered. 5 minutes later she comes out front and hops in the front passenger seat. After about a minute she turns and stares at me for several seconds. It’s finally dawned on her that I”m around her age and not a 44-year-old smelly dude with chest hair. Suddenly the conversation picks up, before I know it she’s telling me that we should go watch 50 shades of grey at 11:15. I politely side-step the proposal. We arrive at her Aunts place where she’s house sitting. Get another invite to come inside. No thanks I’m married.
I can only assume this was the 50 shades girl LOL
10:59 PM: Hit at the Ritz-Carlton uptown. Two middle-aged women. I tried not eavesdrop but based on their conversation I think they make more money an hour than all the uber drivers in Charlotte combined.
11:12 PM: By this time, surge pricing is starting to show up like a heat map on the app. The darker the color the higher demand, hence more money to make. I start driving right for the eye of the storm. I feel like I’m fishing for people.
11:15 PM: Hit at Prohibition pub: Three college guys all dressed in banana outfits. Apparently, there’s a banana pub crawl because I’ve seen hundreds of people wearing these things. Once I start the trip I realize these guys are going 20 minutes away to University area. Damn, should have peed while I had the chance. The guy in the front passenger seats informs his friends that he’s not feeling well. I contemplated telling him to go gluten free but decide to hold my tongue. I offer him a water and he seems shocked that he gets one for free.
11:22 PM: One of the guys in the back gets a phone call from a girl. They inform me that once I drop off his friend they would like a ride back to town. I accept only on one condition: They let me use their bathroom.
11:49 PM: Feel like a new man after using their bathroom that gave me flashbacks to college parties. The other two guys hop back in the car and we head back to Charlotte. Guys are shocked to learn that I”m 30. They thought I was 21 and said I was the “coolest uber driver ever.”
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12:30 AM: Pick up 4 millennials from Montford area. They casually start talking about their anxiety and panic attacks like they’re talking about the weather. Once again I refrain recommending a gluten free diet.
12:49 AM: Pick up a newly married couple. We start up a good conversation. He’s an ER doctor and she’s a nurse. We spend the rest of the ride chatting about snowboarding.
The Transition to Drunks
1:07 AM: Pick up a guy for a short trip. Asks to stop at a gas station. Gives me a $5 cash tip.
1:35 AM: Get a hit for Tilt uptown. Two guys stumble out and looking severely drunk. One guy gets in the back and anther guy with a British accent get up front. Five minutes into the trip the British guy still hasn’t completed a complete sentence. His buddy had to help him out of the car. Mumbled something about “Pheasants” as they shut the door. So far my only non-positive experience but nothing terrible.
1:54 AM: Get a hit for a country bar on Wilkinson blvd. As I’m showing up the rider cancels. 5$ cancellation fee for my trouble.
2:07 AM: At this point, the entire city of Charlotte is dark red on the surge map and all trips currently over 3x the price. Get a hit for a house uptown. Another guy in a banana costume comes out. The guy is intense but super cool. Take him .67 miles for a fare of $4 and a surge fee of $12.40.
2:26 AM: The past 8 trips I’ve said “last one” yet still continue one because I’m on a roll.
2:31 AM: Get a hit at the music factory: Pick up adults around my age. I don’t realize until I’m already driving that there are 5 people in my car. Only supposed to have 4 passengers but whatever it’s the last trip of the night. At the end, one of the passengers drops me a $20. That was nice but time to go home.
Total time online: 4 hr, 50 mins
Total Miles Driven: 87.3 @ 20 miles a gallon = 4.36 x $2.20
Uber Fee -$36.71
Fuel Burned: -$9.60
Cash Tips $25 (I suspect this is rare)
Total Payout: $120.52
Hourly Wage: $25.1
NOT BAD considering I’ve worked manual labor for much less than that. It is important to note that without the cash tips the hourly wage drops to $20 but that’s still good. Without the surge pricing, it drops closer to $17.
A few things became apparent to me really fast:
- Everyone assumes Uber is your one and only full-time job.
- Uber drivers aren’t as dumb as you think. Many other factors are in play and the app rarely gives you the exact location. Especially if someone requests by dropping a pin.
- Stop complaining about surge pricing. The higher price attracts more drivers to meet the demand in your area. Without surge pricing, your wait time would sky- rocket. If you don’t like it, call a cab or don’t use the app LOL!
In conclusion driving for uber was a great experience. The job was easy and I met a lot of cool people in the process. Not to mention a little extra cash never hurts!
Want to Drive for Uber?
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Have questions? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org