Here at the Rideshare Guy we get a lot of feedback from Uber and Lyft drivers, and their comments usually fall into one of two categories: People who are happy with the gig, and people who aren’t. There’s also a third type of commenter who thinks I’m awkward, and creepy, and that I don’t have enough facial hair.
Personally, I couldn’t agree more. I can’t wait for the day when I can ditch this ill-conceived meat shell and upload my consciousness directly into the Matrix, where I’ll have a beard so long that I can use it like a grappling hook to escape social situations. Until then, I’m here to address the first two types of comments with a recent article from one of my fellow contributors titled “The 7 Stages of Rideshare Driver Separation.”
Check out the video to see why it’s one of the most popular things we’ve published, then read the video transcript below.
It’s proven to be one of our most popular articles, and it helps explain why some people are enthusiastic about the job while other people think it’s highway robbery. It turns out that over half of drivers quit within their first year. But, no matter how long they stick it out for, the stages they go through tend to be pretty similar.
Stage one: Blissful ignorance
You sign up, you get started, it’s really easy, there’s a lot of customers to meet, and new people, and interesting things to see. You’re driving around, you’re having fun, it’s a pretty good gig, right? You can set your own hours, you can work as much or as little as you like, and things aren’t so bad when you first start out.
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Stage two: Excitement
You’ve been at it for a little while, you’ve started to figure out the hotspots, the best times to drive, you’re keeping a close eye on your ratings, looking at all your feedback, all your compliments, and it’s stilt pretty fun at this point in the early stages.
Stage three: Rumblings of discontent
Maybe your ratings drop all of a sudden and you can’t figure out why, and you’re going through in your head trying to figure out which passenger was the one that dinged you on the rating. Or maybe you just had a bad interaction with a passenger, or someone made you feel uncomfortable. In any event, you’re starting to feel a little bit doubtful that maybe this isn’t the gig that you thought it was.
Stage four: Growing awareness
You’re calculating your earnings versus your expenses, and maybe you’re making less than you anticipated after gas, and maintenance, and tires, and oil changes. It all starts to add up and maybe you realize that the money you were making actually comes with a lot more expenses than you realized. You may also be investigating rideshare insurance. Maybe you didn’t realize you needed it, and now you do and you find out that it costs a little bit more than what you were paying before. These sort of little things start to add up over time, and tend to open your eyes a little bit to how the experience works, and that maybe Uber and Lyft aren’t as great of a gig as you initially thought.
Stage five: Second wind
We all have bills that are due and we all need money to pay ’em. Uber and Lyft are one of the most accessible jobs out there for a lot of people. They do require a car, but there requirements are pretty easy to meet apart from that, if you have newer vehicle. So, it is one of the more accessible gigs, and a lot of people do turn to it for extra cash for that reason. It’s definitely better than nothing, it’s definitely better than being unemployed or missing your rent payment, missing your cellphone bill. All of those things are pretty important. It’s understandable why a lot of drivers keep driving.
Maybe they don’t keep driving out of necessity. Maybe they take a break for a few weeks and they come back and find that they missed it a little bit, or they had a great conversation with a passenger, maybe they caught that big surge fare at the end of the night. There are these things that kind of keep drivers in the game for a little bit longer than they might otherwise be in it.
Stage six: Shock and anger
Maybe something really bad happens. You’re in an accident and you find out that Lyft’s deductible is $2500. Or maybe Uber didn’t give you a guarantee that you thought you were getting because of some technicality, and you have to email Uber support and you find out the support system isn’t very good. All you can get is an automated kind of exchange system, and there isn’t really anyone to talk to about an issue.
You start to realize that, to these rideshare companies, the drivers are really just a disposable commodity. You see through their niceties in the way that they communicate with their drivers, how they will say one thing but do another, and kind of sugarcoat everything. But you start to be able to see through that and see the real message. It’s because drivers are replaceable. They don’t really care about maintaining you as a driver on the platform because there’s always going to be another driver ready to replace you. So, in this sixth stage, you really start to see that and see the whole picture.
Stage seven: Resignation and separation
Everything is clear at this point and you start looking for ways out of the rideshare industry. Maybe you apply for Amazon Flex or Caviar, or just anything to get you out of the Uber/Lyft game. Trucking jobs, delivery jobs, maybe driving on a route of some kind. Really just anything to get you out of the system and get that income coming in some other way. Once you do that you can cut the cord. Uber and Lyft aren’t what they used to be. With pay rates dropping and demand stagnating, ridesharing is best as a side gig, or a temporary thing to get you through a rough month or two. But, if you’re new to all of this, don’t think of ridesharing as a main source of income.
It’s just too unpredictable and the pay is too low. If you’ve been at it for a while you know that after your night’s third or fourth batch of boisterous, entitled drunk people, it can start to feel a little dehumanizing after a while.
There are ways to make it work
Of course, plenty of people are making it work by driving full-time, and if that’s you, more power to you. I’ve been in the same boat. Harry and myself, and the rest of the team at the Rideshare Guy are here to help. Even if this is your side gig, or a temporary job, we love showing people how to work the system as best they can, but it’s also important to be realistic about the downsides of the on-demand industry. Will things improve eventually? I don’t know. The industry is still pretty young. Uber and Lyft don’t have facial hair yet, either. And, although self-driving cars are coming, it seems like they’re still a number of years away.
In the meantime, I hope us humans can come together and organize ourselves, and really put pressure on these companies to treat us more fairly. Until then, hang in there and as always, drive safe.
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