We all run across the frequent posts about the low rates paid by Uber/Lyft - true, and especially true if you are not driving an SUV/black (I don’t). I don’t mind the posts - I feel the pain as well.
HOWEVER, we need to understand that ** rates ** are ultimately a supply and demand based set of numbers.
Ultimately, the rates paid by Uber/Lyft are not going to go up - until the ** number of drivers available to work at those rates ** start going down. Or demand rises to the point where drivers are no longer plentiful. While it might make you feel better, no amount of complaining is going to help the situation.
Uber and Lyft have continuously lowered their rates - because they found people were still willing to drive at those lower rates. Usually Uber will lower rates; Lyft follows some time later.
There are occasionally calls for strikes, class action lawsuits etc. but I am not touching those topics in this post and if you do not mind, avoid those in the comments for this post as well.
But I do find drivers can help themselves by being cognizant of certain factors related to their income.
- That screeshot you poted saying you earned $228.74 yesterday is NOT your earnings.
First off, that includes Toll Reibursements. If you paid $20 in tolls, deduct that right off the bat - $228.74 - $20 = $208.74 to get a more accurate number. This is actually a number that Uber and Lyft could show you but understandably, they want to make your earnings look as high as possible. But it is easy enough to calculate if not shown (perhaps a bit more painful in the case of Lyft).
It does not include regular ongoing costs of operation - primarily fuel, but also expenses you incur because you are driving - snacks, water, other amenities if you do, your own coffee/food that you would not have paid for if you were not driving. They are real expenses (even though you might had similar expenses doing some other job).
That ‘booking fee’ taken out from what the passenger pays is actual money Uber and Lyft collects and keeps. Do I really care that this is claimed as being used for specific purposes such as cost of development? No. Uber and Lyft has certain costs of operation - and breaking it down into categories should be an ‘internal’ thing at the companies. If the passenger paid $6.50, and the booking fee is $2.50, and service fee/other fees is $1.15, the amount collected and kept by Uber or Lyft is $3.65 (2.50+1.15) and the amount the driver got was $2.85. In this example, U/L kept 56% of what the passenger paid. Parts of it may be used for whatever purposes - but it is still 56%. This ‘booking fee’ is not something one would normally care about - UNLESS one is talking about how much percentage U/L takes. If you talk about that percentage, make sure to include booking fee as part of the U/L take.
One thing I do find is that many drivers often overestimate their income, and in that sense, fool themselves to a degree (please *** I do not intend any disrespect to any driver *** we are all working hard to make some money here).
**** It is highly likely that a good precentage of drivers do not keep track of how much they really make after expenses. Doing that requires all U/L income and U/L related expenses to be tracked separately. ****
This is not too hard to do if you use
a) a separate checking account for Uber and Lyft income (not absolutely mandatory but otherwise you have to manually add up the transactions, and possibly store in a spreadsheet)
b) a separate credit card for all U/L expenses (almost a must)
c) you can pay the monthly balance on the credit card from the above checking account
The above method alleviats the need to maintain extensive tracking on an ongoing basis.
Make sure to include costs of maintenance (tires, oil change, other wear/tear) - usually I will take the average over a year and divide by 12 or 52 to get a monthly or weekly number. Placing these expenses on the separate card will help to quantify them.
Loss of value of the car (depreciation) or lease costs, car loan interest etc. (as applicable). This is probably the hardest one to calculate.
Insurance costs specifically attributable to rideshare driving.
There is one significant factor that is not even quantifyable: the added risk taken by an U/L driver in terms of probability of getting into an accident - simply because they drive so much more. Even if they are great drivers, others on the road are not. No driver is getting compensated for taking this risk.
In summary, I am trying to make two points here:
Uber and Lyft won’t stop reducing rates till they actually start losing driver counts (or some other major legal change happens such a reclassification from contractors to employees). No amount of complaining to fellow drivers is going to make this happen (however, it might make you feel better)
Drivers need to track their REAL income after expenses and then decide if it is worth it to drive. The answer is likely yes in most cases (as of now), but in a few cases may change to no once reality sets in (or when rates drop even lower).
Aplologize for the very long post. Hope you did not get bored reading.