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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Who actually bothers to figure out their hourly rate? I do, and it speaks volumes. The knowledge that came from calculating my hourly rate has caused me to drive significantly less which has resulted in more profit and less wasted time. Profit does not equal money. Initially, figuring out my hourly rate opened my eyes to quit driving all together. I started driving again, but I only drive with a very calculated game plan in mind. I only drive a few hours per week in a very limited area. I have come to understand, that the more you drive, the less profit you actually see.

Uber preys on drivers greed in the exact same way a slot machine entices its' victims in a casino. Uber has a button allowing you to see your earnings. You can see daily, weekly and yearly earnings. These notices are just like a slot machine which has your cash staring you in the face, encouraging you to play again for the big payoff which seldom comes. Simple greed causes many drivers to play again and again. Uber is relentless with their endless text messages and e-mails trying to get you back to the game. Hot spots, local events, surge pricing, guarantees. They do this only for their benefit. It's the flashing lights and the lure of big money in the Uber casino. The reality is, you'll get stuck in traffic, trying to find the big payoff while your hourly wage erodes to nothing. All the other greedy drivers flooding the area only serves to compound the problem.

Over time, the slot machine slowly takes your money in the same way that Uber steals your profits with long drives to pick up passengers that turn into minimum rides. The result is 40 minutes of work for two dollars and some change, BEFORE EXPENSES. Factor in the wasted time as you wait for the Uber slot machine to let you play again, and it becomes even worse. If you are lucky enough to hit back to back pings, you may actually be able to yield a bit more than minimum wage, but how many rides can you actually do in an hour? Keep playing, because you didn't make enough, and it eventually gets even worse. Every once in a while, the Uber slot machine will payoff with an airport ride or some other worthwhile payoff. Drivers remember these, while they forget the losses which causes them to keep playing the rigged game. The drivers chase the dream like a drug addict chases the feeling they got from their first hit, or the gambling addict who chases the feeling they remember from the mini-jackpot they hit yesterday

One simple fact has become clear to me, additional time you invest driving for Uber, will result in less profit per hour, over an extended period of time. As I read thread after thread from drivers talking about how much money they are or are not making, it would be far more interesting to discuss how much money we are making per hour.

How many times have you heard someone say that they won $500.00 in Vegas? They love to talk about their big win. In reality, they hit a mini jackpot on a slot machine but ended up spending $700.00 for the $500.00 win. Factor in food, travel costs etc. and the losses are far greater. People hate to admit that they lost. That's why you read post after post from some drivers who talk about the big payday they had last week. For the next three weeks, they chase the dream hoping to see similar paydays. Figure out your hourly rate for a month, and then you'll get a good idea of what you are really making.
Drive the same way and figure it out for two months. If it's getting worse, you are getting scammed.

I'm not saying you can't make money playing the Uber ********* slot machine. But to really figure out how much you are making, figure out your hourly take home pay. Figure out one week, then two weeks and then a month. You'll see the pattern and have a much better understanding of how you are investing your time.

For me, my time is worth much more than minimum wage. All of us are different. I believe that everyone owes it to themselves to take the time to calculate what Uber thinks you are really worth, and then ask yourself if you agree.
 

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Except for weighted words like "preys," "scammed," and "steals," I agree with all of this.

Bottom line, you have to be smart to make money. Uber doesn't prevent anybody from doing the math. They don't (normally) take anything that you didn't agree to. They do make it pretty difficult to turn a hefty profit, but they obviously aren't having any trouble getting people to sign on anyway. That's our problem, not theirs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For someone who trashes my posts on a regular basis, it's creepy that you reply everytime I put something up. Considering that you admitted in one of your posts that you drive for Uber to check out "the hot soccer moms" only serves to reinforce your true colors. Go back to creeping on the hot soccer moms and kindly hit ignore next to my name.
 

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One simple fact has become clear to me, additional time you invest driving for Uber, will result in less profit per hour, over an extended period of time. As I read thread after thread from drivers talking about how much money they are or are not making, it would be far more interesting to discuss how much money we are making per hour.
Excellent post. From the very first day I drove, to present, I have had a spreadsheet to keep track of all factors involved including hourly wage. It tracks hourly wage based off of what Uber pays out AND then after expenses (gas, maintenance, depreciation) are taken out. I have the "net pay after expenses" column highlighted in light green to direct my eyes to what I'm actually making. The spreadsheet is constantly "under construction" as I keep finding things to add, subtract, or re-work.

I've noticed in recent months that my average hourly wage is falling, and getting harder to bring back up. I partially blame it on the fact that surge in Houston has diminished greatly, and it's harder to make guarantee's with an over saturation of drivers out there. Not to mention the ridiculous minimum requirements that Uber keeps changing.

The top of my spreadsheet even has a section that averages out the hourly wage over all months driven. Right now it's about $11.77 an hour. That's after all expenses, including tax. For me, that's OK because I have a full time job so that wage is purely extra income for me and it's come in handy from paying for my Florida vacation this past May to a new mattress this month.

I've seen some threads stating that it's important to look at your profit per mile, but for me it's always been about the hourly wage.
 

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Great post!

Most new Uber drivers don't do the math before they start driving. After doing it, they start realizing the costs, and when the costs don't justify the revenue, they quit. This is why Uber has such a high turnover rate.

I do the math down to the penny. I've learned in my market conditions and with my setup as an UberSelect car that is required to also be sent UberX requests, there are times I can make over $15 per hour and times where I can make less than $5 an hour. I've also learned to use the buffer Uber gives us in our acceptance rates/cancelation rates to avoid unprofitable requests sent to me. People can call this "cherry picking" all they want, but I see the problem as Uber's system needs to be fixed so it stops throwing rotten lemons at drivers. Until it's fixed, I'm not accepting rotten lemon requests.

For those that haven't done the math and learned good strategy, it's just a matter of time before they quit, because doing it the way Uber wants drivers to do it isn't justified by the compensation. You've got to do the math, learn the market, and strategize to make it work.

That is why I can still continue to drive despite how much I hate Uber. I hate Uber because you shouldn't have to be an engineer like me to make it work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Excellent post. From the very first day I drove, to present, I have had a spreadsheet to keep track of all factors involved including hourly wage. It tracks hourly wage based off of what Uber pays out AND then after expenses (gas, maintenance, depreciation) are taken out. I have the "net pay after expenses" column highlighted in light green to direct my eyes to what I'm actually making. The spreadsheet is constantly "under construction" as I keep finding things to add, subtract, or re-work.

I've noticed in recent months that my average hourly wage is falling, and getting harder to bring back up. I partially blame it on the fact that surge in Houston has diminished greatly, and it's harder to make guarantee's with an over saturation of drivers out there. Not to mention the ridiculous minimum requirements that Uber keeps changing.

The top of my spreadsheet even has a section that averages out the hourly wage over all months driven. Right now it's about $11.77 an hour. That's after all expenses, including tax. For me, that's OK because I have a full time job so that wage is purely extra income for me and it's come in handy from paying for my Florida vacation this past May to a new mattress this month.

I've seen some threads stating that it's important to look at your profit per mile, but for me it's always been about the hourly wage.
Thanks for your well thought out, intelligent reply. It's easy to make believe that you have a grip on the finances of driving for Uber, it's quite a different thing to actually crunch all the numbers, which allow you to make strategic decisions to maximize profits. I use excel spreadsheets the same way you referenced. I can't imagine playing this game without a clear understanding of what you are really making. I totally agree with your observation regarding profit per mile VS profit per hour. Profit per hour gives you a variable you can control. Profit per mile doesn't make any sense to me, unless you are trying to rationalize depreciation. I suppose you can control the miles, but that's really the same thing as controlling time which is actually easier to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I've also learned to use the buffer Uber gives us in our acceptance rates/cancelation rates to avoid unprofitable requests sent to me. People can call this "cherry picking" all they want
I've been fine tuning my "cherry picking" technique as well. Frankly I'm still waiting for Uber to stick me on their 72 hour probation bullshit....like I care. I've got a running list of people who use Uber for minimum rides during my work times. I can't afford to eat bullshit rides for Uber and I'll do everything I can to avoid them. I've successfully "trained" a couple riders who will cancel me when I accept their trip. After having me cancel on them after five minutes, they have figured out that I have no interest in driving them a couple miles down the road. These people use Uber to get a ride to work in the mornings. They only work a few miles away from where they live. I'll let some new driver waste their time and money.

Invariably, I'll get hit with a few minimum fare rides from time to time. Whenever this happens, I let them know how little I make on these types of rides. I engage them in conversation to learn how, when and why they use Uber. If they are too cheap to tip on minimum rides, I'll never take them again. On my list they go. Rate me poorly. I could care less.

Any insights you care to share to identify minimum fare rides, before they happen, would be greatly appreciated. They are the kiss of death and Uber does everything to try to get you to pick them up.
 

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Any insights you care to share to identify minimum fare rides, before they happen, would be greatly appreciated. They are the kiss of death and Uber does everything to try to get you to pick them up.
Learn to identify grocery store locations when you see them come up. Walmart and target locations are the same. People do NOT go across town to go to these stores. They are almost always a minimum fare, and when they are not, it's no more than a buck or two more.

That said I will accept these trips when I'm a minute or so away from them. Simple math can show why that is profitable.

When I'm four to five miles away from that grocery store or Walmart, I have to spend say $1.50 in deadhead miles getting to them, and then spend another $0.60 in billables miles to provide them the service. That means t I net only $0.30 in profit ($2.40 minus $2.10 in car costs equals $0.30) for the 10 minutes I spent doing the job. That's $1.80 per hour.

However, if I'm just a mile away, I only spend $0.30 in deadhead miles getting to them, then I net $1.50 for the 6 minutes I spent doing the work ($2.40 minus $0.90 in car costs equals $1.50). That's $15.00 per hour.

However, even with it being $15 per hour if the request is just a mile away, there's other reasons to ignore them. These types of pax can be high maintenance... filling up the trunk with 20 bags of groceries, asking you to take them through fast food drive through before taking them home, etc, etc.... so I can understand why a driver would decide to never pickup grocery store/Walmart pax. But like I said, I only do it when I'm right near the request... which is rare.
 

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I have freelance work on the side. Plus a full time job. Started driving Uber when my side work gets slow. I only look at hourly rate. Waiting for rides while logged into the app and in my car starts the clock for me.

I will not pick up anyone from a strip mall or grocery store, they are always minimum fares.

I will also not pick anyone up from a residential neighborhood near a downtown area between 7:30am - 9:30am they are always minimum rides to work. People are not trying to get to the airport during rush hour.
 

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Who actually bothers to figure out their hourly rate? I do, and it speaks volumes. The knowledge that came from calculating my hourly rate has caused me to drive significantly less which has resulted in more profit and less wasted time. Profit does not equal money. Initially, figuring out my hourly rate opened my eyes to quit driving all together. I started driving again, but I only drive with a very calculated game plan in mind. I only drive a few hours per week in a very limited area. I have come to understand, that the more you drive, the less profit you actually see.

Uber preys on drivers greed in the exact same way a slot machine entices its' victims in a casino. Uber has a button allowing you to see your earnings. You can see daily, weekly and yearly earnings. These notices are just like a slot machine which has your cash staring you in the face, encouraging you to play again for the big payoff which seldom comes. Simple greed causes many drivers to play again and again. Uber is relentless with their endless text messages and e-mails trying to get you back to the game. Hot spots, local events, surge pricing, guarantees. They do this only for their benefit. It's the flashing lights and the lure of big money in the Uber casino. The reality is, you'll get stuck in traffic, trying to find the big payoff while your hourly wage erodes to nothing. All the other greedy drivers flooding the area only serves to compound the problem.

Over time, the slot machine slowly takes your money in the same way that Uber steals your profits with long drives to pick up passengers that turn into minimum rides. The result is 40 minutes of work for two dollars and some change, BEFORE EXPENSES. Factor in the wasted time as you wait for the Uber slot machine to let you play again, and it becomes even worse. If you are lucky enough to hit back to back pings, you may actually be able to yield a bit more than minimum wage, but how many rides can you actually do in an hour? Keep playing, because you didn't make enough, and it eventually gets even worse. Every once in a while, the Uber slot machine will payoff with an airport ride or some other worthwhile payoff. Drivers remember these, while they forget the losses which causes them to keep playing the rigged game. The drivers chase the dream like a drug addict chases the feeling they got from their first hit, or the gambling addict who chases the feeling they remember from the mini-jackpot they hit yesterday

One simple fact has become clear to me, additional time you invest driving for Uber, will result in less profit per hour, over an extended period of time. As I read thread after thread from drivers talking about how much money they are or are not making, it would be far more interesting to discuss how much money we are making per hour.

How many times have you heard someone say that they won $500.00 in Vegas? They love to talk about their big win. In reality, they hit a mini jackpot on a slot machine but ended up spending $700.00 for the $500.00 win. Factor in food, travel costs etc. and the losses are far greater. People hate to admit that they lost. That's why you read post after post from some drivers who talk about the big payday they had last week. For the next three weeks, they chase the dream hoping to see similar paydays. Figure out your hourly rate for a month, and then you'll get a good idea of what you are really making.
Drive the same way and figure it out for two months. If it's getting worse, you are getting scammed.

I'm not saying you can't make money playing the Uber ********* slot machine. But to really figure out how much you are making, figure out your hourly take home pay. Figure out one week, then two weeks and then a month. You'll see the pattern and have a much better understanding of how you are investing your time.

For me, my time is worth much more than minimum wage. All of us are different. I believe that everyone owes it to themselves to take the time to calculate what Uber thinks you are really worth, and then ask yourself if you agree.
keep track of all your expenses and then come and bring this to a good accountant, have him or her produce a profit loss statement and there you'll be shocked to find out you are working for less than minimum wage if you are working for uberx, I work for Uber black and SUV and I'm only making between 12 dollars per hour on a bad day and $15 per hour on a good day after gas and lease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
keep track of all your expenses and then come and bring this to a good accountant,
I always use an accountant. For me, simply deducting miles is the suggested way to go. The tough part is not showing too much of a loss, which says a lot about how stupid it is to drive for Uber.
 

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I work from 8pm to 5am. The airport runs happen Sat & Sun starting at 3:30am (last night).

I pick up the "over the limit" people from 10 pm to 1am.

I pick up the bar workers from 2am to 3am when they get off work.

The new car service garages open at 8am. The garage takes the people on short trips and I get them on long trips. There is usually a surge between 8am and 9am, when it opens and they find out how long it will take to fix the car.

I may start taking a break between 2am and 4am so I can work an extra 2 hours in the morning.

I love my PAX people and I tell them that my favorite people are "over the limit" people because they may have fancy cars, but they ride with me because they do not want to kill people while over the limit. . . and I really mean it.

I really love Uber and thank them for giving me a chance to have some fun.
 

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I always use an accountant. For me, simply deducting miles is the suggested way to go. The tough part is not showing too much of a loss, which says a lot about how stupid it is to drive for Uber.
my view is to simply go by the government's rules to figure out what you really are earning, for example, the 56 cents per mile deduction is based on an average cost though yours may vary somewhat, but if your actual vehicle cost are more than this go with the itemized deductions, of course. and if you show a break even or near it or even a loss it might not be good for your credit rating but at least you won't have to pay any taxes
 

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OPPORTUNITY COST

per hour is irrelevant unless you compare your time to anything else that might make money with that time.

Your time has NO value unless you can use it to make money elsewhere.

If I would spend that time having a latte at Starbucks or Peet's - or sitting at home, it had NO economic value.
 

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One week I am happy and hopeful. The next I am sad and hopeless. Uber likes showing u who is boss. Riders are always happy and thrilled with the fast service and cheap fares. However, surge is the one thing riders and the outside non ride share world get upset about. Surge up to 2x 3x 4x maybe even 5x is within reason. Just cap it. That's a nice compromise and could be handled psychologically by the public. The 300 400. 500 dollar rides are very rare, but have a lasting sting and are what gives Uber a black eye. But no surge would create no cars at important times. Capitalism works well, unless it becomes outrageous and takes advantage of people. Travis please think long and hard. Just compromise, respect your drivers, employees, and the riders equally.
 

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Excellent post. From the very first day I drove, to present, I have had a spreadsheet to keep track of all factors involved including hourly wage. It tracks hourly wage based off of what Uber pays out AND then after expenses (gas, maintenance, depreciation) are taken out. I have the "net pay after expenses" column highlighted in light green to direct my eyes to what I'm actually making. The spreadsheet is constantly "under construction" as I keep finding things to add, subtract, or re-work.

I've noticed in recent months that my average hourly wage is falling, and getting harder to bring back up. I partially blame it on the fact that surge in Houston has diminished greatly, and it's harder to make guarantee's with an over saturation of drivers out there. Not to mention the ridiculous minimum requirements that Uber keeps changing.

The top of my spreadsheet even has a section that averages out the hourly wage over all months driven. Right now it's about $11.77 an hour. That's after all expenses, including tax. For me, that's OK because I have a full time job so that wage is purely extra income for me and it's come in handy from paying for my Florida vacation this past May to a new mattress this month.

I've seen some threads stating that it's important to look at your profit per mile, but for me it's always been about the hourly wage.
If your profit per mile is too low the hourly wage will be anyway. That's why driving at 75 cents/mile is not worth it. Even if you use costs of 30 cents/mile (small and fuel efficient car), not the IRS 57.5, you'd have to drive 30 miles each hour to make $9 per hour before taxes.

$0.75×0.8=$0.60
$0.60-$0.30=$0.30

$0.30×30 miles =$9.00

If you go by the IRS deduction you're only making 2.5 cents per mile. But you won't have as much to pay in taxes!

The two are obviously linked. But I have a similar spreadsheet and have always used it to keep track of my pizza delivery miles and tips so as to see what days and times of year are best. I also used it to compare working in different locations and dominos vs pizza Hut.

Sidenote: I love Excel!
 

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OPPORTUNITY COST

per hour is irrelevant unless you compare your time to anything else that might make money with that time.

Your time has NO value unless you can use it to make money elsewhere.

If I would spend that time having a latte at Starbucks or Peet's - or sitting at home, it had NO economic value.
I would say that leisure time is worth something. Maybe not as much per hour as you make at your "real" job but it's important to recognize it's not worthless which is what I get from your "NO economic value".

It's important IMHO to have time off for your body and mind. Working 100 hours per week is not healthy.

I think we all have to somehow put an economic value on our time so as to not fall into the trap of working way beyond what is good for us for an economic benefit that is outweighed by the toll on our mind and body.

This may vary by circumstances. If I am broke and can't make my car payment I may well be willing to work for minimum wage for a short time to avoid repossession even doing something that I don't like because the benefit (keeping my car) is worth it to me.

But if my regular job pays well and I'm not in dire straits then working for minimum wage just for "extra" money probably won't be. The payoff just isn't enough.

Everything is a cost/benefit analysis and it varies by individual. Uber is managing to keep some drivers because:
1. Many don't do the math. They are willing to work for let's say $15 per hour and THINK they are doing that but in fact it's far less. They will keep going until reality sets in.
2. They are desperate due to the economy and other factors and although they would not normally work for what they're making they feel that at this point they have no choice. These people will quit or cut back if their situation improves.

But to get back to my point: You have to put a number on what you're willing to work for and why. Otherwise, using your premise, working for 50 cents per hour makes sense as your time would otherwise have "no economic value". I think you would agree that it has VALUE. The problem is the only way to quantify that when it comes to working or not working is by pay per hour.
 

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Great post!

For those that haven't done the math and learned good strategy, it's just a matter of time before they quit, because doing it the way Uber wants drivers to do it isn't justified by the compensation. You've got to do the math, learn the market, and strategize to make it work.

That is why I can still continue to drive despite how much I hate Uber. I hate Uber because you shouldn't have to be an engineer like me to make it work.
I would also argue that there are markets where all the strategizing in the world simply can't make it work anymore. I think we have to be careful not to give the impression that if you can't make it work for you it's a case of not being smart enough. I see a lot of this attitude from some posters and often they are not even in the same area as the person they are telling to "work smarter".
 
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