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Do you think of yourself as an independent contractor as you drive for Uber?

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've read posts on here where people refer to themselves as independent contractors. Just because Uber has created that label and uses it to their advantage doesn't make me an independent contractor in my mind.

One of the businesses I sold a few years ago, supplied goods and services to large corporations. In most cases, I was considered a independent contractor. I also employed many independent contactors in the course of my business. They were set up as smaller businesses that would set their prices and I would hire them on a as needed basis. They made their own prices, had their own business models and I decided if I wanted to hire them or not.

I believe that Uber drivers are nothing like real independent contactors:

>> An Uber driver does not set their own prices.

>> An Uber driver can be fired (disconnected) for something as arbitrary as having people who are too drunk to walk, give them a bad rating.

>> An Uber driver needs to work at ridiculous times of day if they want to take advantage of profitable times. Saying that the independent driver can set their own hours is misleading. I can't imagine that many of us would choose to be working in the middle of the night driving drunks around, if it weren't for the fact that this is a good time to make money.

>> An Uber driver is restricted by what type and age of car they use to "run their business."

>> An Uber driver is not free to make accepting tips part of his business model.

>> An Uber driver will be disconnected (fired) for handing out promotions even if the promotions are part of his business model. (Uber will fire you for handing out Lyft promo cards.)

>> Uber drivers do not set surges. A true independent contractor could charge extra for premium times. EX: Sundays, holidays etc.

I have plenty more examples, but my point has been made.
I contend that Uber uses the phrase independent contractor only to avoid playing by the rules. They have created a new industry with so many legal questions, they are now flooding the court system, as the lawmakers try to sort out all of their illegal activities. This is exactly what Napster did with illegal music downloads. (Coincidently the same business model that Travis initially played with in the first company he bankrupted.)

I believe that Uber also uses this phrase, as a marketing tool to persuade new drivers to dive into ride sharing. These drivers do not seem to understand what a real independent contractor is.
 

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I contend that Uber uses the phrase independent contractor only to avoid playing by the rules. They have created a new industry with so many legal questions, they are now flooding the court system, as the lawmakers try to sort out all of their illegal activities. This is exactly what Napster did with illegal music downloads. (Coincidently the same business model that Travis initially played with in the first company he bankrupted.)
I believe that Uber also uses this phrase, as a marketing tool to persuade new drivers to dive into ride sharing. These drivers do not seem to understand what a real independent contractor is.
I totally agree with you. I just hope the courts can find a happy medium. I don't want to be an employee...BUT...I want to be a TRUE Independent Contractor....not just UBER'S definition of one! :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Remember, Realityshark, that there are female Uber drivers as well...
How did I forget women drivers? I'm genuinely concerned about women drivers doing this. If my daughter told me she was going to drive for Uber, I'd re-mortgage my house and give her the money not to.
 

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I want to be an Independent Contractor and the moment I am not is the moment I no longer work for Uber/Lyft. I don’t care if Uber misclassifies us; an IC is who I am and who I want to be.

At the end of the year my business shows a loss. The IRS classifies the first 5 years of any business as a "Hobby"and allows losses for that time. After 5 years are over I create a new business and so on and so forth. I am a High School and Youth Football Official which I am also an IC. Write it all off!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If we truly were independent contractors - would we not be required to carry workmens comp insurance?
Not necessarily. Now you are getting into the sub categories of how you set up your business. LLC's, Sole proprietors and Corporations all have different rules. Then you get into how you actually pay yourself. Quarterly dividends, salary, profit extractions. There are many ways to play the game.
 

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If we truly were independent contractors - would we not be required to carry workmens comp insurance?
You ARE required to file and pay taxes on your income. Federal requirements include SSI/medicare, federal unemployment insurance and income tax. Workers Comp is not a federal requirement, it is mandated by your state and requirements vary - but is required in all states as far as I know... and some states allow you to include workers comp as part of your homeowners policy.
 

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I want to be an Independent Contractor and the moment I am not is the moment I no longer work for Uber/Lyft. I don't care if Uber misclassifies us; an IC is who I am and who I want to be.

At the end of the year my business shows a loss. The IRS classifies the first 5 years of any business as a "Hobby"and allows losses for that time. After 5 years are over I create a new business and so on and so forth. I am a High School and Youth Football Official which I am also an IC. Write it all off!!!
Careful there, the IRS doesn't classify anything. What happens is, the burden of proof switches from the IRS proving that you are NOT running a business to you having to prove that ARE running a business. You can most certainly have a loss for more than 5 years in a row and still be considered a business and allowed to the deduct the loss. But you have to be able to prove that you are "in it for the money," basically (there are several tests). This becomes easier to prove when you've had profit in any number of years.

If anyone wants to read about the employee vs independent contractor guidelines released by the Department of Labor: dol.gov/whd/workers/misclassification/AI-2015_1.htm It's long and boring, but it has everything you need. Unfortunately there is no black/white answer. If I were to bet on it, based on all the factors in the guidelines (many of which could go either way), the independent contractor model is probably here to stay. It will probably depend on how much emphasis the courts place on "control."
 

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Careful there, the IRS doesn't classify anything. What happens is, the burden of proof switches from the IRS proving that you are NOT running a business to you having to prove that ARE running a business. You can most certainly have a loss for more than 5 years in a row and still be considered a business and allowed to the deduct the loss. But you have to be able to prove that you are "in it for the money," basically (there are several tests). This becomes easier to prove when you've had profit in any number of years.

If anyone wants to read about the employee vs independent contractor guidelines released by the Department of Labor: dol.gov/whd/workers/misclassification/AI-2015_1.htm It's long and boring, but it has everything you need. Unfortunately there is no black/white answer. If I were to bet on it, based on all the factors in the guidelines (many of which could go either way), the independent contractor model is probably here to stay. It will probably depend on how much emphasis the courts place on "control."
I understand the difference and I know through Uber I am not a true contractor but I don't care. I do not want to be classified as an employee.
 

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If Uber wants to make drivers independent contractors they can easily do it by making a few simple changes.

1. Let drivers set their own prices
2. End the BS ratings system
3. Stop firing drivers on the word of
drunks
4. Stop the acceptance rate crap

There's more, but basically stop doing all the crap that makes driving for uber a shitty job.
 
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