The last time we had guest writer Angelo on The Rideshare Guy, he shared the expenses and challenges of becoming a rideshare driver in London. Many of you asked us to follow up with Angelo to see how he was doing, what his earnings looked like after spending all that to become an Uber driver, and more. Angelo shares his experience, and earnings for a two month period, below.
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If you’re a regular Rideshare Guy reader, you might have caught my recent post on the process of becoming an Uber driver in London.
This is a follow up post of my first two months as a part time Uber driver. This post is designed to give any potential drivers an insight into how it went and to find out if driving for Uber part time is actually worth it.
Is it Worth it to Drive as an Uber Driver in London?
As I write this article, I’m sitting in sunny Cyprus – at the courtesy of Uber. I’m able to enjoy time with my family, enjoying the sun, all thanks to Uber and hard work. Without Uber, I wouldn’t have the flexibility to work when I want, be home with my family when I need, and something that paid me a decent amount of money.
If you’re not aware, the process of becoming an Uber driver in the UK could take up to 9 months. Because it took so long, I was only left with 2 months of driving before my planned vacation, which didn’t leave me with a huge amount of time to save. Nevertheless it was still 8 weeks of additional income I was potentially going to earn on top of my full time wage which would make the difference of being able to take my family on the 3 ½ week vacation we had all been looking forward to or not.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go through 9 tiresome months of form filling, studying, taking a topographical test, waiting hours on hold for weekly updates and a 600 pound ($748USD) expense just to drive for 8 weeks. I’m in this for the long haul. I foresee a bright future for rideshare especially in the UK as we see more and more competition enter the market in an attempt to dethrone Uber.
What is Driving in London Like?
For one, it’s fun and interesting. You meet people while driving for Uber that you never would otherwise. While there are a number of people who prefer to bury their heads in their phones, I don’t mind because sometimes we all need a little peace and quiet.
If you are interested in a detailed week by week breakdown on my part time Uber earnings, you can find them at my complete earnings report on my blog, but in short, I will give you a brief breakdown of June and July.
June and July Earnings Driving in London as an Uber Driver
In June I worked 74 hours and 36 minutes, which averaged just under 19 hours a week. These were hours on the Uber app starting from the time I left my home to the time I decided to end my shift. Because of my full time job, I only worked nights, typically starting between 8 and 9 PM and ending about 4 hours later between 12 am and 1 am. These were quite profitable hours to work as I’d typically catch some late night surge in central London, but the earlier part of my shift could be quiet as I missed out on the late afternoon rush.
I still managed an average hourly rate of £20.20 ($25USD), which I’m happy with as £20 is what I aim for every hour I’m online.
My gross earnings after Ubers 25% cut was £1516 (about $1890) over 133 trips for an average of £11.39 ($14) per trip.
In July I worked 77 hours, which averaged just over 19 hours a week and my average hourly rate increased to £21.17 ($26). Despite only working 2 1/2 hours more than last month, I earned an extra £230 (about $287) more for a total of £1746 ($2,176).The total amount of trips where 152 for a near identical average to last month at £11.48 ($14) per trip.
These aren’t ground breaking numbers by any means but they have shown real promise coming from a rookie driver with zero experience driving in the chaos of central London.
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Strategies for Driving in London
The best advice I can give is to know the surge trends of your city. Don’t chase surge – it’s a terible strategy. You need to know ahead of time when your city is busy, andbe there ahead of time.
A little known tip for any London drivers is that from Thursday through to Sunday between 10pm and 6 am you are also paid higher base fares with the per mile rate increasing by 20 pence from £1.25 to £1.45 and the per minute rate by 5 pence from £15p to £20p. If you also factor in the extra £1 for every journey that starts, ends or passes through central London, you can really maximise your earnings potential driving part time for Uber between these times.
Earnings Minus Expenses
The question is, how much of that money do I actually see?
The biggest expense for me is the weekly Uber car rental which comes in at £185 ($230) including insurance. Being a part time driver, it is important that I keep costs as low as possible so I have opted for the cheapest rental option on the market. For £185 I get a fully serviced and maintained 2010 Toyota Prius which admittedly has seen better days, but it does exactly what I need it to do in the most economical way possible. The Toyota Prius hybrid is renowned for its fuel efficiency and is the reason it has become synonymous with Uber drivers in London, with my weekly fuel cost being only £40 ($50).
In an attempt to be as frugal as I can be, I do the majority of the car cleaning myself. Every other day I use a handheld vacuum to clean the mats and interior of the car and I also polish the windows inside and out. Once a week I’ll wash the exterior of the car myself at home, and once a month I get it cleaned professionally at a car wash, bringing my monthly car cleaning cost to only £5 ($6).
This brings my monthly running costs to £905 ($1128). If we take July as an example. I earned a total of £1746 minus £905 expenses netting £841 ($1,048). This means I’m taking home £10.92 ($14) an hour, which is about half of the £21.17 ($26).
How Does Being an Uber Driver Compare to Other Work?
Overall, you’ll want to be realistic about this job. Are you going to get rich solely driving for Uber/Lyft? No. But if you’re looking for a job that requires no clarifications, let’s you work when you want, and have no boss to report to – then try Uber.
There is no other way I would have been able to generate an extra £841 (over $1,000) last month if it wasn’t for Uber. This was also only based on average of 19 hours of work per week. Any additional hours worked would have yielded much more profit due to the law of increasing returns as the car rental cost would have already been covered.
As enjoyable as the experience has been, it has also been extremely tiring. Driving until late at night 4-5 times a week and then having to wake up early to get to my full time job has been taxing. If you’re thinking of driving rideshare as an additional second income, I would still definitely recommend it, with the caveat that it requires drive, determination, hard work and a positive attitude.
Obviously each market is different and within each market you will have varying rates. In London we have a base rate of £2.50 ($3), £1.25 ($1.50) per mile, £0.15 ($.19) per minute and an additional £1 ($1.25) for every trip you pick up or drop off in central London. These are higher than a lot of rates you will find in the States but it doesn’t mean it can’t work for you. With a bit of strategy, hard work and the right mindset, I’m sure you can make it as a part time rideshare driver too.
Readers, what stood out to you about Angelo’s income vs. expenses? Do you have questions for him about driving in London? Leave them below in the comments!
I’m Angelo, a health and fitness fanatic father of 3 and owner of appdriver.co.uk, a website dedicated to helping new drivers get on the road and earning money as quick as possible. Follow me as I share my journey driving for Uber around my full time job.
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-Harry @ RSG