Uber and Lyft aren’t just great for customers – they have career pros too. Becoming a car service driver is as easy as filing an application and applying for a license. Welcome sir/madam and congratulations: you’re a fully-fledged driver. Although many people love the idea, the reality of a career in the car service industry isn’t as rosy as it seems. Many employees report working for less than minimum wage and being abused by staff. On the other hand, some workers love the freedom and flexibility of being in charge of shift patterns and working hours.
To find out what it’s truly like to drive for Uber, Lyft and the rest, it’s time to ask people in the know about their experiences. Here are the things they flagged, both good and bad.
You’re The Boss And It’s Freeing
Sverre Rørvik Nilsen tried the app for the first time and loved the experience. So, when Uber came to his hometown of Oslo, he jumped at the chance. Speaking to Business Insider, he said: “it’s not a job. It’s not a taxi. It is car sharing that literally anyone can do.” In his experience, he tended to work no more than ten to fifteen hours a week and that was a little high compared to the average. The great thing was his wage didn’t take a hit as he averaged $25 an hour for the most part. Being a glorified chauffeur is not an ego trip for lots of people, yet guys and girls like Sverre find it liberating. Millions of students and self-employed workers around the world would agree with him, too.
But You Have To Act Like A SME Owner
Because it’s a taxi service, there are plenty of employees that don’t see the service for what it is. Essentially, it’s like running a small business says Harry Campbell of Los Angeles. On this Monster post, he details how drivers are ‘paid by 1099’ and how that means they are ‘technically running their own business.’ Good stuff; everyone wants to be a boss someday. However, if it looks, talks and acts like a duck, then it’s a duck that has to pay a hellish amount of taxes. Everything from social security to income and medical insurance isn’t taken out of your wage, and that means you are responsible. So, even if the salary is as high as $25 per hour, the net amount is lower after expenses and taxes.
There’s Free Time For Other Activities
And it’s a massive bonus for people that are proactive and have a strong work ethic. Sure, some people will sit on their butt and watch Netflix all day, but others will spend their time wisely. For example, there are numerous examples of musicians and actors investing time in their chosen profession. Full-time employees don’t get this chance, so Uber and Lyft drivers should treat it with respect. Also, there is the baby boomer generation to consider. Retirement is not as affordable as it used to be and pensioners are struggling to cope. To combat this, Craig Mitchell became an Uber driver and made an extra $700 of income per week. It’s a perfect earner to supplement the nest egg.
But A Lack of Focus Causes Errors
Sometimes, heads aren’t where they should be and it’s a problem. Driving a car is a potentially dangerous thing and requires a person’s full attention. James Lindsey found this out to his peril. Speaking to USA Today, he told them how he saw an opportunity to double his money as a ‘cabbie.’ So, he decided to start driving for 20 hours at a time and ‘felt trapped’ as a result. When you read this story, it’s little wonder there have been 47 deaths attributed to Uber and Lyft drivers. In fact, workers and passengers alike are hiring auto accident attorneys on a semi-regular basis these days. Health and safety rules should keep employees safe while they are at work, but it is possible to push the envelope in search of profits.
It’s A Mixed Bag
There is no way to describe it other than unpredictable. From the amount of taxes you pay to the people you pick up, there is a lack of accountability in many respects. There will be lots of career driven men and women that love the uncertainty of the job and for a good reason. However, it’s not everyone’s bag if you like structure and a steady weekly wage.
What do you think – would you ever contemplate driving for Uber or Lyft?