How much do you think I make as an Uber Driver?
It’s probably less than you think. I say that because it’s less than most people think. In fact, nationwide, no one makes over $15 per hour once commissions and fees are taken out. In some cities, like Baltimore, drivers barely make over minimum wage and that’s not accounting for the fact that they have to provide their own upkeep on their car.
The problem with this is that most people don’t realize just how little drivers make. They may have some vague idea that we pay gas prices and we’re driving our own car and they probably know that Uber takes a percentage of the rate, but most don’t put two and two together and figure out that Uber drivers really are making minimum wage in some parts of the country.
I am fairly close to the average. Having driven in Dallas and Austin, Texas, I make a fair amount (about $12 per hour), but that still pales in comparison to others in the service industry. This is why you may have heard of the whole Uber and tip debate and why drivers don’t understand why a company that is making so much would be so against drivers making tips on their platform. It would supplement the meager wages and create a happier driver base, all at pretty much no cost for the company.
What I would like to see is a little bit of care for the drivers. In the long run, this will only breed better drivers, ones that will take pride in their work and stay in the industry rather than leave and find better means to make money. In the current economic climate, driving someone around is not a minimum wage job.
On some days, it’s actually quite possible for an Uber driver to lose money. With the cost of gas, wear and tear on the car and the idle time, it’s possible that some days are not even worth coming out for. That becomes a huge problem because more drivers are realizing that they’re better off working for McDonald’s than they are providing a pretty neat service.
So when an Uber driver brings up the tipping issue, we aren’t being greedy or petty. We’re fighting for a chance to offer a service at a reasonable and affordable rate. And for the most part, passengers agree. I have rarely found someone in the United States who gets up in arms about tipping, especially because it is optional. We aren’t asking for a service charge, just for a free chance to receive tips. It really could mean the difference between good drivers continuing and finding different lines of work.
Speaking of tipping, keep a lookout for TipBx, a new app coming your way to support the tipping industry!