Only a small change, really

Only a small change, really

Loose change
Loose change

Uber doesn’t always tell the whole truth. Let’s be upfront about that. I quickly worked out that the internet is full of blogs and chatrooms, all saying much the same thing. Being an Uber driver isn’t as lucrative as Uber makes it sound.
They might quote specific figures for hourly rates in specific cities and I have no reason to disbelieve them.
To start with, Uber takes 20% straight off the top. Last night, as the Uber launch enters its countdown, I learnt that in Canberra, Uber will take 25% off here.
Then there’s GST. That’s another 9% off the payments. I’m not sure if that’s before or after Uber takes its cut, but either way that’s 32 cents out of every dollar. Possibly more if they both hit the total fare before I see it.
Then there’s petrol and cleaning. I can’t abide driving a dirty cab, and a nightly wash and vacuum is going to cost me $15 a throw. Plus my own time for polishing the windows, cleaning the insides of the door frames, dusting the dashboard.
Maintenance is bound to increase. Drive a car twice as much, the service intervals come twice as fast. Tyres wear out twice as fast. Oils, filters and all the rest of it. The more I drive, the more I have to pay, just for normal maintenance. That’s all coming out of my pocket.
Depreciation rears its ugly head. But it’s your own car, and it’s depreciating whether you use it or not, I hear you say. Sure it is, but if when I sell the car after ten years or whatever, if it’s got a million kilometres on the odometer, it’s not going to fetch as much as a car with substantially less. Like the normal amount.
Driving more means more chance of accidents and breakdowns. I had a pretty near perfect accident record for the decades before I became a cabbie, but in five years of cabbing I hit two kangaroos, a tree, two other cars, had three run into me, and any number of close shaves. No injuries – apart from the roos – but still…
Then there’s the insurance. Sure, Uber has its own insurance, but I’m betting that once my insurance company knows I’m an Uber driver, my rates will go up. Perhaps not as high as taxi insurance, which is typically about ten times the normal rate (for cars driving ten times as much as a normal car), but I can’t see insurance costing the same for long.
I’ll have to pay increased licence, medical, and training costs under the ACT’s new laws starting next year.
Plus income tax on what’s left over.
It all adds up. I don’t think I’ll be going backwards, but I’m going to have to do my sums. I’d like to buy a new car to be a bigger and better vehicle for passengers than my little Golf, but I’m going to have to do my sums very carefully once the figures come in.
And then there’s the cost of water and mints. Not obligatory, no, but I’ll go that route and I doubt it will cost me only two cents a passenger, as the Uber rep suggested.
All told, this is not the road to riches. Then again, I don’t need riches. Enough for a round-the-world trip each year, that’s my aim.
And a bunch of smiles from happy passengers. There’s the real wealth.


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