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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Community,


I wanted to share my experience driving part time on the weekends with Uber. I drive during surge with a used 2014 Toyota Prius C mostly in La Jolla and Pacific Beach, San Diego. I would estimate I worked about 30.5 hours total from Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night for two weeks from 9:30pm to 2:30am. These were the best times to acquire inebriated people during surge pricing. I only do this to supplement my other income and as an experiment to see whether it is even worth continuing this endeavor. I hope this information will help you decide whether this is still worth your time. Just know that everyone's situation may be different. I am blending my knowledge as a scientist and a startup business owner to do my best to provide a reasonable estimate of what you can expect to earn at this time (April 2017) in San Diego driving the most cost-efficient and economical vehicle currently on the market.

I hope this attached document and its analysis helps you. May your car stay functional and your wallet fat.
 

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Fascinating...

You came to 25c a mile to operate a Prius?

25c a mile is enough to completely eradicate the profit margin in some markets.

Orlando is at about 20-25 miles driven per hour to make $7-10 (driver cut) leaving us with..

$7-10
Minus
$5-6

or about 0 to +$4 after expenses per hour..d
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is very grim indeed. The worst part is that even with a Prius, one of the most low-maintenance and fuel-efficient vehicles with one of the lowest depreciation rates, you are barely profitable in some markets. I am barely at minimum wage in San Diego, making between 8-12 USD per hour after factoring in taxes (although I would get a fat refund for the IRS mileage I accrued so it might offset a substantial portion of my income tax come April). Still, many drivers do not take these things into consideration and are either working for free, or are paying Uber to work for free. Either way, I have no idea how this is legal as Uber's entire business growth model is predatory and parasitic in nature.
 

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It is very grim indeed. The worst part is that even with a Prius, one of the most low-maintenance and fuel-efficient vehicles with one of the lowest depreciation rates, you are barely profitable in some markets. I am barely at minimum wage in San Diego, making between 8-12 USD per hour after factoring in taxes (although I would get a fat refund for the IRS mileage I accrued so it might offset a substantial portion of my income tax come April). Still, many drivers do not take these things into consideration and are either working for free, or are paying Uber to work for free. Either way, I have no idea how this is legal as Uber's entire business growth model is predatory and parasitic in nature.
24/25 uber drivers QUIT within 1 year...

And uber wonders why..
 

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It might be worse. There's no line for misc. repairs. If under warranty, great, no cost. But the depreciation rate was based on 72k-100k and that may be beyond the warranty period. My bumper to bumper warranty runs out at 36k and 50k for the driveline. A major repair will be required at 100k for 10% of cars (guessing). That probably should be considered.

On the other hand, what is the cost to not drive ride share? Would you still have the car? If yes, the registration and base insurance would be paid for personal use anyway. Might want to factor in a bit more for personal insurance because the more miles driven the higher possibility of a negative driving record.

Using $0.25/mile cost and driving 25,000 miles means it cost $6,250 to drive that year. Come tax time, big brother will give you ~$0.50 per mile for a deduction. That's a $12,500 deduction which at a 30% rate translates to roughly $3,750. Subtract the $3,750 from $6,250 leaves $2,500. That translates to $0.10 after tax cost to drive per mile. Better.

Figures don't lie. But ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Just wondering, what was your reason for assuming there will be repair cost? Is this usually the case even if the vehicle is well maintained? Assuming that a driver follows the car manufacturer's maintenance schedule even after it is out of warranty, should this not greatly minimize the probability of having to do any type of seriously expensive repair? How would one factor this into a model since you can't really quantify it as a fixed cost, but more as a cost dependent on probability. Anyway, I actually had a weird but maybe slightly good idea. It might be more useful for Uber drivers to build a multivariable cost function for a Prius where the inputs would be time (t), mileage (x), and fixed expenses (y), and the output would be a cumulative cost (z) at that point in time. Then the driver could take partial derivatives to determine the per-mile or per-year cost at each time interval, or figure out whether Uber is still worth doing by determining the rate at which operating cost/depreciation is outpacing income.

Anyway, my other motivation to do this is to show that if someone who had minimized virtually every conceivable cost was only marginally profitable and made net earnings which are verifiably far below what Uber cleams, and I was able to prove it and back it up with data, maybe it could be used as grounds to sue Uber for false claims, and maybe even damage their reputation so badly that they have to raise their fares or risk going out of business.

EDIT: Also, in my financial model, I don't consider the IRS tax incentive but I guess that really does change things in your favor if you can use it to write off taxes on your other incomes as well.
 

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Also, in my financial model, I don't consider the IRS tax incentive but I guess that really does change things in your favor if you can use it to write off taxes on your other incomes as well.
It's pretty bad when the best thing about a job is that it's a tax writeoff.
 

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From an article written in 2011, the Prius has a 5 year cost of $1868 in maintenance and $1406 in repairs. The article doesn't mention how many mile the average Prius does per year.

Don't forget items like brakes, belts, muffler bearings, canooter valves, blinker fluid, etc. It might be better to find current data on average maintenance and repairs costs and then extrapolate to the mileage an Ubernaut drives.
 

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Close, but your analysis is flawed.

Revenue - Standard Mileage Deduction = Revenue subject to taxes assuming no other deductions
Revenue $652.00 - Standard Mileage Deduction $323.68 = $328.32

Applying 30% taxes to the Revenue after subtracting mileage deduction = $98.50, not $195.60.

Revenue - Operating Costs - Taxes = Net Profit

$652.00 - $151.58 - $98.50 = $401.92

$401.92 / 30.5 hours = $13.18/hour after taxes

This is much different than your analysis of $9.84/hour, and $1.68 more per hour over San Diego minimum wage ($11.50/hr).
 

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Close, but your analysis is flawed.

Revenue - Standard Mileage Deduction = Revenue subject to taxes assuming no other deductions
Revenue $652.00 - Standard Mileage Deduction $323.68 = $328.32

Applying 30% taxes to the Revenue after subtracting mileage deduction = $98.50, not $195.60.

Revenue - Operating Costs - Taxes = Net Profit

$652.00 - $151.58 - $98.50 = $401.92

$401.92 / 30.5 hours = $13.18/hour after taxes

This is much different than your analysis of $9.84/hour, and $1.68 more per hour over San Diego minimum wage ($11.50/hr).
You didn't deduct for dead miles.
 

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Honestly I would love to see an example of a driver even making minimum wage after deductions. Plus it doesn't take into account all the free time they have to sit around waiting for pings that never come.
 

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Honestly I would love to see an example of a driver even making minimum wage after deductions. Plus it doesn't take into account all the free time they have to sit around waiting for pings that never come.
Last week, working 12.5 hours, I made $21.70/hr before promotions, and $34.78/hr after promotions. I include both because I know some markets do not have promotions. I do it part-time on the weekends in a busy market. For some markets, it does not make sense to drive. But it is definitely profitable in others.

Additional info to compare markets. I was able to do 40 rides in 12.5 hours. I drove about 400 miles (including dead miles), and drive a Prius. My market has UberPOOL (which helps hit higher trips/hr for promotions) and earnings were broken down as (rounded):
Fare - $300
Boost - $20
Surge - $30
Uber Fee - $87
Promotions - $160
 
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