From the Desk of Lance Wood President of Trucker Charity, Inc.
My time as an uber driver.
A few weeks ago we found interest in the opportunity for people to work as an Uber driver. This can be an opportunity for people to earn income part time or full time. Maybe a stay at home spouse or a driver that is out of work or laid off for some time. Here is what Uber is and what it takes.
Uber is a ride sharing application. Basically people use their cell phone to request a ride from someone. You simply use your vehicle as a cab.
We wanted to check this system out before we recommend it to people. We get many folks that call Trucker Charity Inc that can not find a decent truck driving job because of to many CSA point or medical issues. So we tested the entire system from onbording, giving rides, taking rides, getting paid and also interviewed many of the people we gave rides to.
You sign up to be an Uber driver or what is called a partner by downloading the Uber partner application or doing it on line from a computer. You also will need to provide banking information as Uber direct deposits your pay every week. If you do not have a cell phone then Uber will rent you an I Phone for $10.00 a week. It is very simple. Amazingly simple in fact. You fill out a simple application that includes you drivers license and social security number so they can do back ground checks on you. You submit your vehicles information. Including just taking a picture of the insurance card. You also submit pictures of your vehicle and your self. If doing this from your phone it takes all of 5 mins. You also will be only allowed to drive in the market you signed up for. As each market has different rules and laws. We signed up for the Metro East St. Louis area and Indianapolis. The Metro East St Louis gave us from the Mississippi river to Salem Illinois. About 60 miles.
You have to have a 2005 or newer 4 door vehicle in good repair.
It takes about 3 days for Uber to do all the background checks. They do about 4 different ones. They even email you the background checks so you can have them for your own records.
The training is really rather simple and kind of lacking in my opinion, but really how hard is it to pick up people and take them where they want to go?
You watch a 5 min video that explains how Uber works and that is about it.
How It Works.
Uber is a application. There are really 3 parts. There is the Partner (driver). There is the rider. Then there is the system.
So lets say you are the rider. You just get off the train and need to go to the hotel. You take you phone. Start the Uber ap. You place a pin to say you need picked up. The system is so exact that it knows the address you are at because of the GPS in your phone. You can enter your destination if you like. The closest Uber partner that has put them self online will get a notification. The GPS in the phone knows the closets available Partner. They get 15 seconds to accept the trip. If they do not. It then goes to the next closest Partner and so on.
When the partner accepts the trip. They are given the riders name, their face picture and phone number. You can text them is you like. They also get the partners face picture as well as a picture of the vehicle and how far away you are.
Uber is a cashless system. This is great as you do not have to carry cash or risk not getting paid. All the riders are verified just like the partners. They have a card on file and the payment is done instantly at the completion of the trip.
My very first Uber partner experience went like this.
I put my self online on a Sunday Night. I was planning on going to a college town about 15 miles from our Office in Illinois. I figured I would take the interstate. I was not online for more the 3 mins and got a rider notification. I accepted. Not really knowing what I was to do. Once I accepted It game me all the details I needed. Address for the Hilton Hotel 3 miles away. I hit navigate and it took me right there.
I texted the rider I would be there in 5 mins. He texted back he would need 10 mins. I pulled up to the Hilton and started the trip as the pay includes .25 a min for waiting. In a few mins two men in suits came up and said Lance? I jumped out and opened the door for them. The guy said I put in an address for my house, but we changed out mind we would like to go get a good drink first. No problem, they told me a bar they wanted to go to and they knew how to get there. Yet, they both smelled of booze so I googled the bar and let the system navigate me there.
I explained to these two that this was my first trip and to bare with me. I also explained to them why I was doing this. One of the guys was DOD worker in Washington DC the other A DOJ worker that lives in the area but works in Washington DC. Both said they prefer Uber over Taxis as it MUCH SAFER and quicker for them. They say they use Uber a few times a week each in their jobs traveling. One of the guys asked me I I happen to have any mints. I said I sure do and gave them both two. I took them like 2 miles away. Ended the trip. Got my conformation that I was paid about 10 bucks. I rated the rider 5 stars and he instantly did the same thing. Got the notification of how much it cost and he rated the driver. It went so smooth. I purposely bought mints and bottled water.
I did about 4 more trips that night. All went great. All the riders were very polite, most were drunk yet it was late night when I was out. I planned on giving people rides when the bars closed.
The next day While out running around I put my self online again just for giggles. After about 5 mins I get a ride request. I hit navigate and the place is only 2 miles away. The rider did not enter a destination, Yet, I really can care less. My phone rings and its Scott. Scott says he entered the wrong pick up address and he game me the right house number. No big deal. I show up and Two men in their 30’s I open the door for them. Jump in ask if they would like a bottle of water. They both said yes. I started the trip and asked where are we going. The both said Bush Stadium. Ok cool a 15 mile trip to St Louis. These two preferred to tall to them selves. I could not help but hear there stories of the women they have been with. The women they like and even their companies finances. On the way I noticed a sign that said Popular street bridge was backed up. I explained I was going to take a different rought that would save time. This is when our conversation started. The one guy asked me how long I had been an Uber driver. I explained it was my second day and why I was doing this. They were both interested in our Charity and the opportunity this may be for some to help them self.
I found out that both of these men use Uber daily. One is a Marketing Manager for a large healthcare company in St. Louis. He travels 5 days a week. The other guy lost his license to a medical reason. He can not drive. Both said they earn over $250,000 a year each. When I explained I wanted to make sure this is safe for the drivers. I was told they both like it because its safe for the riders. When getting a taxi they have no clue what or who is coming to get them. With Uber they know exactly who and in what is coming. They also like that the driver is rated. These two were going to a Cardinals Baseball game. They said Uber is better then a taxi for this or taking the Red Birds Bus that is only 2 bucks. They get a private ride that can drop them off right where they want to be at the stadium verses having to walk a mile. I literally stopped for under 10 seconds closed the trip rated them and let them out right at the gates to the ball field.
I met some other interesting people as well. One was a male prostitute going to the truck stop for a prearranged “date”. This guy told me that there is an ap for protitutes and customers like Uber.
Well it works out to about $30.00 an hour. Now, that dosnt mean there is always riders. Unlike taxis Uber is based on supply and demand. While there are base rates of .25 a min and 1.55 a mile. Those rates go up at peak times. The system will show you on your phone the peak areas. Say there is a concert. There will be more riders then drivers. So the system raises the rates to bring more drivers to that area. I did not hit any peak rates in either Metro East St. Louis or Indianapolis. I did all my driving Basically during the week. The weekends would be far better. People use uber when they do not want or can not drive. So when they are out drinking, going to events or bad weather.
Riders can tip, yet they do not have to. There is a 20% tip already built in. Yet, simple things like a really clean vehicle, bottles of water, mints and opening the door. People will rate you high and also tip extra or in cash if they want.
Uber pays out weekly direct deposit.
Uber provides 1 million in accident insurance to the riders. Depending on the area you are in depends on what insurance requirements are. In most places just standard liability auto insurance is all that is needed.
As an Uber Partner you work when you want to. Yet, You are required to do at least 1 trip every 30 days.
Over all rating.
I find Uber to be a safe and profitable line for those who have or can get a 4 door 2005 and newer vehicle. I had a ton of fun and will keep doing it on my off time. Its also a great way to offset the costs of running errons. I find it relaxing to Uber. Kind of like meditation. Yet, I am a people person and enjoy this kind of thing. I would feel perfectly safe having my wife be an Uber driver or rider. My wife currently is now an Uber driver. If a trucker had to come off the road for some reason yet still wanted or needed to work. This is a very good option if the person lives in or close to a city.
Uber is also a great way for us truckers to go out and do things on a layover. You can have an Uber driver pick you up right at your truck. Go out in the city, maybe get a part for your truck or see a movie