It was painful pulling myself out of bed this morning. Despite having gone to sleep at 9pm, my body was fried from the days of driving. Who would have thought it would be this exhausting! I was on the road by 6am, hitting up the gas station as I do each day. My first ride came in at 6:20am. It was a man in his 30s who had just moved here from Chicago, having driven 14 hours on Saturday to get here and was starting his new job this morning. He worked for a technology start-up called Coyote, which were looking to expand their Denver office. They do optimization of freight transport, kind of like an Uber for truck drivers. It sounded really cool. 10 min later I dropped him off downtown for $7.50.
My next rider I picked up in RiNo, a young lady who had spent the night at her friend’s house after a fun night of fourth of July festivities and needed to get back home. I commended her for not driving intoxicated and took her to the area just north of Cherry Creek, which was perfect for me as it got me back in the Uber Boost zone. We chatted about firework displays and the weekend weather, but mostly she seemed exhausted and not ready to head back to work understandably. 13 min later I dropped her off for $10.93.
It wasn’t long before the next request came in, another young woman in her twenties who had spent the night at her friend’s house. She had done a volleyball tournament the day before and their team won, there was a bit of drinking, and she didn’t feel fit to drive home. I found the correlation interesting that two women, both in their mid-twenties, had this same experience. Did men also crash at each other’s houses when they drank too much? She was really nice and 20 min later I dropped her off in Edgewater for $20.11. Edgewater was outside the boost zone, which was a bummer, but as a driver you ebb and flow through town based on requests, regardless of what promotions Uber has going on for you to make extra money.
My next rider wasn’t far away and immediately matched as I was dropping her off. He was a man in his late 30s casually dressed. He was headed into work and spent most the time on his cell phone until we got about halfway in. Then we started chatting about work, strategy, companies, investments, etc. I’m not sure why, but so far I’ve found my conversations with the men I pick up are far deeper, more left-brained, and just invigorating, whereas the conversations I have with the women are more surface-based and just chit chat. Perhaps I just haven’t figured out how exactly to engage women in the same way. 35 min later I dropped him off in Littleton for $23.62.
Without any hits, I took a break to stretch my legs as they were started to feel stiff. It wasn’t long before I got another request, a lady in her early 40s who had too much fun the night before and left her car at the bar but needed it for the day. She looked exhausted as if she’d had a really fun night last night and we mainly just chatted about how busy I was, her night last night, etc. 10 min later I dropped her off in downtown Littleton for $3.75. Strange how all the male pickups today were heading to work and all the female pickups were oopsies from the prior night.
Before I dropped her off, I had a request to pick up a guy in his mid-20s. He was frazzled running late, his pregnant wife keeping me updated as he raced around the house, the yard trying to get his clothes on and stuff together. It was like a tornado! When he hopped in the car, he was curious about driving for Uber, what was it like, the pros, the cons, if I had any thoughts, etc. He was heading to the court house and it didn’t feel like jury duty if you know what I mean. Nice enough kid but seemed like he was in a tough place. I was curious why he would choose Uber if his wife has a car, given the ride cost him $23 but who knows. 25 min later, I dropped him off at the Arapahoe County courthouse for $12.12.
I quickly set my destination to home and started heading back, at this point I was 25 miles worth of gas money from home. On my way I got a request from a guy in his late 20’s who had flown all the way from Dallas to get his passport in Denver for a trip to see his girlfriend in Paris. Apparently, all the other nearby cities were booked for weeks but Denver was wide open. We talked about Europe, about Paris, about recommendations for where to go, what to eat, about how they were going to Amsterdam, so I gave him tips there too from my travels. It was a fun conversation and I dropped him off at a coffee shop 13 min later for $8.45.
The last ride of the morning was an UberPool request from a guy who took his car into the shop and needed to get to the Barnes and Noble. While in transit we got a request from a second rider who cancelled shortly after. If they cancel within 2 minutes it’s free to them and I get nothing, otherwise they get charged $5 and I get $3.75. The guy was cool and we talked about all sorts of things from work, to startups, to school, to being an Uber driver. 10 min later I dropped him off on Colorado Blvd for $3.75 and headed home.
Uber 201 – How to Earn More Money
After taking the afternoon to get some work done, I headed over to the Uber office for their Uber 201 class which is all about how to make more money. The key learnings I had were:
1) Quest Promotions – these go to just select drivers and will be things like do X we’ll give you Y, supposedly I’ll get these after I hit a certain number of trips
2) Airport Pickups – rumor has it to increase a re-match I need to end the trip of my drop off passenger as soon as I get to the terminal
3) Uber Eats – you have to use a car on your profile, no going out on the town for UberEats with your boyfriend and his fuel-efficient car, boyfriend yes, car no
Pretty much if you read all their emails, all the info they have online, there was no new information. It’s really just a chance to ask clarifying questions (which as an INTJ is awesome since at any given time I have over a million unanswered questions).
Afternoon Boost Driving
Since I’d reached over 25 trips and have a 5-star rating (yay me!) I qualified for Uber Select so while I was there (it has to be done in person bleh) I had them update my profile. I figured I’d also pick up a free food delivery bag in case I choose to do UberEats. Out on the road, I decided heck I’ll use my new profile of only Select and XL (i.e. my big money profile) and see what happened. I immediately got an XL hit just outside the Uber office – sweet! UberX pays me $0.75/mile, UberXL $1.33/mile and Select $1.50/mile. Let the carrot chasing begin!
The UberXL pickup was off Peoria at the Enterprise location. The GPS took me to the trailer park on a dirt road across the street which was fantastic, not. It was four people and a ton of bags. They were from Texas – Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The guy in the front seat and I talked airplanes which anyone that knows me is aware it is one of my favorite subjects so I was happy as a clam. I dropped them off 16 min later at the airport for $24.84 and did what I was taught, kept my phone with me while I unloaded their bags (super inconvenient btw) and ended the trip as soon as we got to the terminal. No takers. Eventually the airport guy shooed me away. So many people waiting for Ubers looking at me with hope in their eyes, me returning it with sadness as I drove my empty car away … boo.
Then I realized, with being on the special big money profile I’d only get a hit if a special big money rider requested in the 2-minute window. Darn. Lesson learned. I switched back to the normal profile immediately. I got all the way to Stapleton before I got a hit, a man dressed professionally with his Tumi luggage heading to the airport. Yes. He works for Box a Cloud Storage provider so we talked Azure, AWS, etc. how his technology differs, how it works embedded within Azure, repointing the IP addresses. I loved it! 20 min later I dropped him off at the airport for $16.54. Following all the Uber protocols, still no re-match, seeing the same airport guy I hid behind a bus, lingering sadly before slowly heading back out defeated.
As luck would have it, I got a request from the nearby hotels. Two guys, both in sales, one from Sacramento the other Chicago heading to the airport. We talked travel, United, flights, upgrades, the United Club, restaurants in the terminal. My favorite topics. It was awesome. They asked me to join them for drinks, which was funny. We had such a great conversation and I dropped them off 8 min later for $6.75. Finally a re-match! A young lady in her early 20s from Boston heading back to Denver where she’s going to school at DU. She mostly kept to herself catching up on her cell phone and I dropped her off 36 min later for $27.88.
Exhausted but before I could hit the offline button an UberXL request came in (big carrot). I’m glad I took it. Turned out to be a couple living in a beautiful house in the DU area that owned several startups. He asked my story – prior management consultant, started as a programmer, moved to database administrator then ran an IT department, then helped a company build a new practice expanding it to EMEA, then running their strategic initiatives before going back into pure consulting running large global teams on system implementations before being an analytics practice lead over data scientists until I quit my job to be an entrepreneur. He was intrigued and said maybe I could help his startup. Sure thing, let me know! I gave them tips for their upcoming Portugal trip and dropped them off at the Rockies game 26 min later for $22.89.
Time to call it a night. Long day, over 250 miles, 13 trips, 6 h 37 min online. Total earnings $189.13 + $0 tips – $30 gas = $159 / 6.5 hrs = $24 / hour. Not including taxes, car, or insurance.
More to come,
PS – if you’re interested in joining Uber, you can use my link to get a sign-on bonus: https://partners.uber.com/i/sarac13944ui