I live in the small town of Manhattan, Kansas. It has a population of 50,000 people and if you have heard of it before, it is most likely because Manhattan is the home of Kansas State University. When the peer-to-peer taxi service Uber came to my town I was pretty surprised. I knew it was very popular in big cities, but would it work in a small town like Manhattan? I know Manhattan has a taxi service, but I am not entirely sure I know anyone who has ever used it.
What is Uber doing in a small town? Would Manhattan use Uber? And the most important question of them all… can I make money off of this?
I have recently gone through a job search, and was in no mood to go through another difficult job interview. I was happy to find out that signing up to be a driver-partner with Uber is really easy. I gave them my information, took pictures of my drivers license, insurance cards, and car registration and uploaded it to the Uber website.
That was it. Signing up didn’t take me more than 15 minutes. Then Uber did a bunch of backround checks on me and my driving record and a couple weeks later I got an email saying I had been approved. It was the easiest job interview process I ever had.
If you would like to sign up you can use my referal code of ccjwiue if you like.
Driving with Uber
The experience of driving with Uber will be completely different for everyone depending on what you want to do. For me, I don’t really want to spend a lot of time on it. I already have a full time day job, and I consider writing this blog to be my second job, so driving with Uber was going to be a very tertiary job for me. I don’t really want to go sit in a car all day being a taxi driver, I just wanted to see how it worked. Maybe a couple drives a week to make a few extra dollars is all I wanted.
So whenever I had free time I would log on to the Uber app to tell them I was available. I would do this while I was at home writing articles, watching TV, or playing video games. I would have my phone next to me and whenever the Uber app alerted me someone wanted a ride, I would jump up, run to my car, and go pick them up.
I logged on only when it was convenient for me, which was weekend afternoons and evenings, and maybe an hour or two after work during the week. I found driving with Uber to be fun. I have to do a lot of thinking at my day job, and believe it or not, writing this blog takes a lot of mental energy as well. Driving with Uber on the other hand was easy. No thinking required, just drive around town taking people places and visiting with them a little bit. I have never had a job before that didn’t require using my brain, and I found that to be very relaxing.
Uber prevents DUIs
There is one more important thing about driving with Uber that I didn’t know going in, and that is what a great public service it is. I have given rides to 10 people over the last week and a half, and at least 8 of those people needed rides for alcohol related reasons.
Some of them had been drinking and needed a ride because they didn’t want to drive under the influence. Some of them were going to go drinking and didn’t want to to drive under the influence when they were done. Either way, I was very happy that these folks weren’t driving around drunk, and that Uber gave them such an easy way to avoid it.
So how much money could you make?
Now for the real purpose of this article, how much money can you make. I kept detailed records in order to figure that out. I took 10 trips and made $99.78.
It took me 4 hours and 57 minutes to make those 10 trips.
I drove a total of 123 miles, only 47 of those miles were with a fare paying customer in the car. The other 76 miles were me either driving to the customer or driving back home after I dropped him off. In a bigger city, I could have been much more efficient by taking one fare after another without driving back home each time.
Another way to be more efficient is to wait to run your errands until after you have given somebody a ride. For example, I needed to go to the grocery store one Saturday afternoon. Instead of just going to the grocery store, I waited until somebody needed a ride. After I had dropped the rider off I stopped at the grocery store on my way home. This way I was able to combine trips and save myself some mileage.
The final piece of information I need to figure out just how much money I made is to know how much it costs me to drive my car. The best tool anywhere for figuring this out is the ABC’s car cost calculator. For purposes of this calculation, you should use the driving cost per mile, not the total cost per mile. Anyway, my driving costs are $0.19/ mile. Driving 123 miles cost me $23.37
That means my net pay was $76.41 ($99.78 I was paid- driving costs of $23.37)
On a per hour basis, I made $15.43/ hour ($76.41 in net pay/ 4.95 hours). $15.43 per hour is pretty good. I think you will have a hard time finding a part time job as easy as driving with Uber that pays that much.
Can driving with Uber be a full time job?
Unfortunately, I don’t believe you can do Uber as a full time job in a small college town. There just aren’t enough people looking for rides. As time goes on, demand might grow and things might change but my opinion at this time in my town is that a person can’t make enough to live off of, even if it is a pretty good second job.
I base this opinion on how few rides were requested during the time I was logged on. I am afraid I didn’t track this amount of time but I can tell you that during most of the week you might wait several hours or even all day before a ride is requested.
If you want to take driving with Uber more seriously than I did, you can certainly make much more money than I did. For example, in my town the biggest demand was late on Friday and Saturday nights in the night club district of Manhattan known as Aggieville.
If a driver-partner really wanted to make money, you could drive to Aggieville and just hang out in your car waiting for rides on Friday and Saturday nights. I am sure there would be several people looking for rides, and you could make a nice little amount of money.