– Xochielt Sanchez
Answer by Caroline Zelonka:
My brother drives occasionally for Uber in Los Angeles. He likes it for the following reasons:
- Flexible schedule. He can decide when he wants to work, just by turning on his Uber-supplied phone. He generally works on short-distance fares; transporting people to and from clubs and private parties in Hollywood, and for just a few hours at a time. Or, if he's going somewhere anyway, like the airport, he'll try to get a fare out of it. Drivers can accept or reject any fare they want.
- Bonus. He got something like $250 after completing 10 rides; though I am not sure if they offer this perk in every market.
- Fun. He's an extrovert who likes meeting new people, and he meets a lot of folks similar to him as an Uber driver. He says that a few have invited him to come meet him out later, and that "could have gotten laid" at least once as a result of an Uber connection. (He didn't accept, but he did say that if he were single, this would be a huge perk.)
- Extra money. It's probably not a great primary source of income, but Uber can help a driver earn extra pocket money if they have the free time and resources. Tipping isn't required, but he said about 30 percent of rides throw him a few bucks anyway.
Here's what he doesn't like about it, and is why he doesn't drive much for them anymore.
- Lowered fares. When he first started, he got a certain rate, but Uber reduced it after awhile. Less money per ride means less reason to want to work.
- High standards for the car. He told me that in his last inspection, a couple of his tires didn't pass minimum Uber standards (for tire wear), even though the tires still had quite a few miles on them; he didn't want to get new tires right away, so he stopped driving for awhile.
- Reduction in referral bonuses. He used to get a certain amount for every driver he recruited, but these went away as well. Another disincentive; like I said, he's a social guy and was a good source of referrals, but lowering referral compensation made it less likely for him to talk it up.
From his experience alone, I think Uber is good for a certain type of driver — someone with a newish, well-maintained car that likes meeting and driving around strangers and doesn't really count on it to provide a real or steady income.