Uber is about the best 2nd job I can imagine

I’ve been driving for Uber pretty regularly since March, usually anywhere for 15-35 hours a week. That’s one of the things I like best about it – I’m completely free to start or stop driving on a whim. Uber only cares that I complete one trip per month to stay “qualified”, and since I often pick up a hundred or more a week, the requirement is trivial. I have woken up at 2 in the morning and realized I’m not going to sleep any more that night, so I go out to drive for a few hours. Or I take a whole week off. It’s all good.

I enjoy driving, and I’m hard pressed to even think of the job as “work”. It’s more like driving from one chat to another. I pick up a new person, usually have a nice chat while I get them where they’re going, and go on to my next chat.

I’ve had one single episode that frightened me, when it turned out my passenger had stolen the account information of someone else and was getting the ride fraudulently. But I told him to get out of my car or I’d call the cops on the spot, and he did.

And I’ve been vastly entertained and even educated many other times. Mostly I enjoy the drunk college kids who get in my car and then want relationship advice . I didn’t get it at first, until I had a bartender passenger who told me “You’re a mobile bartender.” He gets the same things. The kids are looking for someone anonymous to spill out their woes and trials and tribulations, and they can be reasonably sure it won’t get back to their parents or friends.

I get legislators and business people in my car. I know what the best restaurants are now, and which is the best strip club. I learned that for some reason lots of men go to strip clubs in groups. I still haven’t figured that out.

I’ve been in my city for 25 years, and I’ve learned more about it, and been to every obscure neighborhood and hidden corners of it, and know far better how to get around it than I ever did before. I thought I knew my way around Madison, until I’d driven as an Uber driver for a couple of months.

I know there are a lot of Uber drivers who hate Uber. I’d guess that by and large they are people trying to make a living off of it, and I get how hard or even impossible that might be. I couldn’t live on it, but I have full-time day job that gives me health insurance, paid leave, and covers the mortgage and all the other necessities. So the Uber money is gravy to me.

The Uber money is not great, but for a part-time job it’s pretty damn good. I’m on track to gross about $35K a year. I know it’s possible to earn a thousand dollars a week, because I pushed my limits one week and did it as an experiment (It took 51 hours of driving, that in addition to my 40 hour day job, so not really sustainable for me). If nothing else, Uber will earn me enough to buy a new car every 2-3 years.

I expect my cash expenses to be $5-$6K a year. If I had an older car these costs would be significantly more. My deductibles should be way more – something over $15K per year based on my mileage.

Finally, if I’ve tempted anyone to try it, PM me and I’ll send you a couple of things. I have a spreadsheet that details all my income and expenses down to the dollar that I’ll share with you. I also have a “referral code”. If you sign up with Uber, use my code, and complete 20 rides, Uber will pay me $200 for recruiting you. And I’ll be happy to split that with you!

Please pester me with any questions you might have.

Does anyone ever slam your car doors when they get out? I went to a show a while back and I was standing out front waiting for the venue to open its doors. People were showing up in Uber’s left and right and nearly everyone slammed the shit out of those poor Uber driver’s car doors.

You don’t have a Mohawk and take your dates to porn theaters do you? Is your name Travis?

For me the people who close it too softly are more bothersome. They gingerly shut it and walk away without even making sure it’s latched. And then I have to get out and go close it properly.

I have trouble imagining that someone could close it hard enough to cause damage.

Do you get passengers who don’t want to talk? Are you ok with it?

Yeah, and I’m ok with that. They generally either listen to something with ear buds, make phone calls, or bury their faces into smart phones or tablets.

is your insurer aware you’re using your car for commercial purposes? if you get into a collision you can possibly have your claim denied if they find you were using your car for transporting passengers on a personal policy.

Yes, I have a policy that specifies I can carry passengers for commercial purposes – even outside of Uber. For instance, I made a deal with an area resort to shuttle their guests between the airport and their location. I had to switch companies to get insurance to cover this.

Are you an independent contractor (get a 1099)? If so, have you paid your quarterly taxes yet? After the income taxes and expenses, what does your hourly wage work out to be?

I would have thought escorting the escorts around would be better than plain old Uber. At least then you can get a blowjob or three through out the night.

I have a coworker who feels much the same way. For a part-time deal where she chooses her own hours, she says she makes decent money and enjoys the experience.

She was going to purchase a new car, and it actually factored into the decision.

Yes, I will get a 1099 from Uber. On advice of an accountant, I have increased my withholding from my day job, rather than make an estimated quarterly payment, for this year at least.

My gross pay works out to a bit over $15/hour. I haven’t calculated net pay yet. I have to talk to my accountant again about the best way to go this. For instance, I have about $1500 in cash expenses for this last quarter, but in terms of deductability (the IRS allows me to deduct $0.54/mile rather than itemize expenses), the amount is about $6000. I’m at roughly 500 hours of driving.

My accountant did tell me that for other Uber clients he has, roughly $30K in gross income ends up to be about $6K in taxable income after deductions.

I wasn’t even thinking of Uber when I bought my new car in December, but if I had been it definitely would have influenced my decision. The extra income would have probably led me to buy a higher level trim package, and maybe buy the next model up for more comfort because I’m in the driver’s seat a lot more than I expected to.

I got a new Mazda3 Sport. I’m seriously thinking to replace it with a Mazda 6 Grand Touring sedan, in another to years.

That seems extremely low to me (only 6 of 30K being taxable). However, my 1099 work was in a field that had very few write-offs so my taxable income was nearly all of it. It was a huge percent of the gross that I gave to the IRS every quarter.

I guess you won’t know the real answer until next spring. Hope you aren’t in for a shock like I was when I had to write that first check. I had been warned but it was still a sad day.

I hope not too. But I’m on track to drive maybe 40K miles for Uber, and that’s already more than $20K in deductible by the IRS’s allowable mileage rate. And all the Uber fees are deductible, which is another 20-25% of the gross.

I have a pickup truck. But its an extended cab so I can take passengers.

Do you think there is a need for a driver who could also carry lots of luggage or lets say someone buys something at a garage sale and needs it hauled home?

I assume when you say take someone to the airport they have only one or 2 bags? But what if they had much more that didnt fit inside your trunk?

What is an average client pick up drop off like? How far do you drive and what kind of money do you make per job?

Gosh, I never thought of it this way, but that would almost be a viable business opportunity for Uber.

Literally a couple days ago Ms. Cups and I found these GREAT patio chairs in Target on sale, bought them, then found out they wouldn’t fit in her car. They wouldn’t fit in my car either had I brought it, and we know literally no one with a pickup or SUV. I would have been willing to pay for an Uber to take it from Target to the apartment if I knew it was available. I wonder if others feel the same way?

Uber requires a 4 door vehicle less than 10 years old. You’d have to contact them about if a pickup is acceptable.

There is a non-standard Uber service called Uber XL, but that is for vehicles that can haul more than 4 passenger, and says nothing about cargo space.

Also, a passenger can’t call Uber to call you, personally, for bigger cargo. The app connects the passenger with the nearest driver, not one they can specify. The only way to get around this is by prearrangement. You and the passenger arrange to be in the same place, the passenger calls on the app, and you get the call because you’re right there.

Just to say – I imagine there aren’t many Uber drivers who want to be called to move furniture, even light stuff like deck chairs. I wouldn’t do it, and I have no idea whether my insurance would cover it either.