Ride Sharing Experience and Advice

Currently there are 3 major ride sharing programs out in the market. SideCar (small of the three), Lyft and Uber (most biggest one).

The following are my personal experience, hearing from other people experiences and reading stuff online and news.

Pay/Compensation

Uber there are price surges, which uses dynamic pricing some sort of algorithm they use which depends on supply and demand. As it was in the news when there is a crisis demand goes up thus the price goes up as there is limited number of drivers. When it was reported that Uber had the multiply after the crisis really high charges then Uber apologized and has given refunds (such as the Sydney Siege in Dec 2014) reportedly the surges can go up to 50X as reported on business insider.com and there was a story of a person who couldn’t pay the surge pricing and she did a online campaign fund raiser. So beware of the cost see the price before accepting Uber.

Lyft does price surge but the highest I personaly have seen is 2x the price which is comparable to a taxi.

SideCar pricing is based on what the driver set it as and the highest I sees that it can go to is 1.5 X but you need to know that before you accept the ride you see the price.

All companies keep about 20% (there maybe other small fees the companies collect but that’s about it) of the ride as a fee so if a fair is $10 the companies keep $2 and the driver keeps $8.

All in all, if you work ONLY price surges, as in Uber, expect to make around $25 or more if you work over 30 hours a week all three you pretty much make the same on average more or less $15 – $20 / hr. If you average the time working @ $10 hr at slow times and then busy time $25 / hr it comes out to about $15-$20 / hr.

Drivers Responsibility and hours

Drivers are independent as all the companies say. I read somewhere that about 80% of the drivers work about 15 hours a week or less. Drivers can work whenever they want but some hours you can make less or more. Usually middle of the day is the slowest as most people are at work or school expect to make around $10/hr. The morning Rush from 6 am to 10 am and evening rush 4 pm to 7 pm expect to make $20 hour it lulls down from 7 pm to 10 pm picks up 10 pm to 1 am. These are all estimates. Mon and Tues are the slowest days. Wed picks up a little Thur more and Fri evening and Sat usually the whole day and surprisingly Sunday morning. I find two groups are sunday morning   ‘grocery shoppers’ great time to go do this and ‘drive or shame’ (read more at marketplace and why not to do uber ‘Uber tracks riders’ hookups’ kinda creepy)

You as a driver are responsible for the following

1 You own gasoline
2 You car maintenance and repair find a good mechanic (SERIOUSLY)
3 Cleaning the car exterior car wash can be found for $3 do this often especially after a rain or snow storm and doing a full cleaning once a week there are a few for $12  interior and exterior do this once a week
4 You do not get paid for waiting for the next ride, nor get paid to drive to the passenger and can not pick up people from the street like a taxi.

All expenses are tax deductible confirm with your tax advisor they are business expenses. Such as car maintenance, mileage on the car you will get a summary at the end of the year.

I like to get small bottles of water can pick up 24 pack for a few bucks. Good customer service and if they like you SideCar allows you to be in their favorites list.

Picking up Passengers

Always good to introduce yourself say
‘My Name is Ron’ Whats your name? Verify their name on the app matches. If they don’t ask again 🙂 worse thing you can do is pick up the wrong person and driver and your real passenger is still waiting for you. Once they verify confirm the address and give a ETA. I ALWAYS tell them to put their seatbelt on. It’s the law and safer. Taxi and Buses it seems are the only exception to this rule.

SideCar is the only one that I saw that allow you control the pickup and destination. I once was a driver on lyft and picked up a person that was 30 minutes away and drover her 2 miles and drover 30 minutes back for a $4 fare. Seemed like a waste of time. Another time I was about to go home but decided to take one more ride. I picked up person drover the opposite direction from my home and when I dropped them off it took another 1-1/2 hours to get home I was exhausted. With Sidecar this won’t happen, I can set up the pick up as being only 1 or 2 miles from where I am and usually the time to pick them up is 10 minutes and I can set my destination in a particular area or destination like around my home or business destrict. This way I have control where I want to be driving. This control is not in Uber nor Lyft. I sometimes want to work around my home I stay at home and leave the app on and set the pick up and destination 5 miles around my home and if a call comes in I quickly go out as my car is parked in front of my home. I pick up the passenger drop them off and head back home because my destination is set up so close. If I get no calls it’s ok I’m working from home.

Payment

Uber and Lyft you must work for a week, usually Monday – Sunday and get direct deposite the following thurs. SideCar you get paid when the money is cleared it usually take 4 days. So when a passenger makes a payment you see the amount you made and once it’s cleared as you can see in the app you can click on transfer and the money is sent to your bank account the next day. There is a $0.50 transfer fee. You do not have to transfer at the end of the 4 days and can wait for weeks until you decide to transfer the money.

The ratings are 1 to 5 stars. Passenger and Driver rate each other 1 – 3 stars mean you will not be match 4 means sometimes was not up to par and will be matched again and 5 means it’s all good. SideCar is the only one that a driver can give a good rating to a passenger and click on the block button and not be matched. I did this a few times the passenger was kinda weird but didn’t do anything bad to give them a low rating but I did block them. I feel this is more just than the other two that a driver must give a low rating to get them blocked.

Customer Experience

Most customers are the same they get in “cordial greetings” confirm name and destination, we get to the destination and it’s done.

Generally morning people are sleepy and don’t talk much, afternoon people are relieve to go home and little more talkative but usually tired. Later on after 7 pm people are more friendly and talkative this is when I get my most stories for this website. Friday and Saturday nite are the “Fun” times where people are more fun and sometimes drunk. This is when you need to be on your toes. Some people are more flirtatious and funny. Yes I think I have hit on by guys and girls. Given and taken my number. Personally nothing came out of them but a few times during the ride we did go to a fast food place and eat before dropping them off. 🙂 it was fun. SideCar allows the passenger to add the driver as their favorites (so having water and being nice helps) which means if you are in the are and they need a ride you come up on top of their list of driver good for business. I hear what’s going on in their lives and we chat. Some conversation I added to this website. It makes the ride more fun.

Some reports I found online and had a suspicion that Uber workers would get in the car and ask the same questions over and over and try to recruit to Uber and me personally for a period of time notice 1 Alot of Cancellations and 2 Getting lower rating I have a suspicion that something was going on and found this article about the large cancellations rate, thanks Uber for your wonderful marketing techniques and wasting my time driving and earning a living. I wonder if a lawsuit can come out of this for Uber wasting our time of not making money and loosing customers so driver beware of that.

 Stable Income?

I have hear that some people are very happy with the money they make on ride-sharing but in reality consider it as a part time and side job. Here are the reasons plain and bluntly:

1 Any ride-share company can fire you for any reason. You have no protection for this as a job. There is no recourse of giving your version of what happened. Taxis have a method to deal with allegation is brought by passengers. The driver can give a response, you as a ride share driver have no recourse. If a few passengers don’t like you, let it be race, gender, the way you looked at them, or say to them, if a competing ride-share company puts a few people in your car and gives you a bad rating, you can get kicked out. I have heard of many people get kicked out

2 You are not guaranteed income. The ride share company sometimes have promos and give good money and at their whimp decrease their pay as they wish it’s their choice. You can make good money one day and close to nothing the next. If there are too many drivers or too little passengers you can make close to nothing.

3 If you invest in a car just for ridesharing do you think it’s a good idea? If you are not guaranteed an income and can get kicked out at any time do you think it’s a good idea?

If you plan to do this more than 30 hours a week and more than a few weeks. Driving a Taxi is actually more money. Classes are really short to take and more stable income.

Rules of picking up Passengers

There are place where you can not pick up or drop off people. In Chicago as far as I know you may want to check the local ordinances can not drop off at O’Hare Airport, Midway Airport and McCormick place. My understanding is you can ask them to go somewhere else to pick them up. If you do pick them up at these place there is always a chance of getting a ticket or getting our car impounded.

Types of Cars

As far as I know check again to make sure with the companies SideCar and Lyft allow the car to be up to 15 years old and Uber car needs to be 10 years or newer. Should you purchase a new car for this activity? Remember what I mention above? There is no guarantee of income and you can get kicked out or no reason you are considered an independent contractor. There maybe city regulations so check such as yearly car inspections.