Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

A Wisconsin Uber driver explains why the most profitable time to work is when ‘you don’t want to drive’<!-- wp:html --><p>Ken Morris, a Green Bay Uber driver, said late at night, early in the morning, and the weekends are the most profitable times for him to drive. </p> <p class="copyright">Ken Morris</p> <p>A Wisconsin Uber driver said working inconvenient hours gives him the best chance to make money. He said declining earnings and customer tips have caused him to cut back on driving for Uber Eats. Many drivers have told BI that their gigs have <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-make-money-gig-worker-uber-lyft-doordash-delivery-driver-2023-12" rel="noopener">become less profitable</a> in recent years. </p> <p>For Ken Morris, an Uber driver based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, embracing unideal working hours is the best way to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-make-money-gig-worker-uber-lyft-doordash-delivery-driver-2023-12" rel="noopener">make money as a ride-hailing driver</a>.</p> <p>“If you don’t want to drive, that’s probably when you should be driving,” Morris, 49,<strong> </strong>told Business Insider via email. </p> <p>Morris, <a target="_blank" href="https://muse.insider.com/story/65d60dec2b09cffef058af32" rel="noopener">who has driven</a> for Uber, Uber Eats, and Lyft, said he usually works late at night, early in the morning, and on the weekends because these times tend to be the busiest and most profitable.</p> <p>He typically drives 20 to 30 hours a week — mostly doing <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-tip-lyft-uber-drivers-tipping-doordash-gig-economy-2024-2" rel="noopener">ride-hailing</a> for Uber. But one week in January, when he said a snowstorm caused rider demand to spike in his area, he put in over 40 hours. </p> <p>Morris said he’s focused on working during busy times because it’s become <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-uber-drivers-make-hours-burnout-tipping-arizona-2023-10" rel="noopener">more difficult for him to make money</a> in recent years. </p> <p>In 2022, he took home roughly $14,000 as an Uber ride-hailing driver — about $1.1 per online mile driven — according to a document viewed by BI. Last year, he took home $8,000 — or $0.93 per online mile. These income figures include tips and bonuses and don’t account for <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/driving-for-uber-lyft-how-make-money-car-expenses-gas-2024-2" rel="noopener">driving expenses</a> like gas, maintenance, and depreciation. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-uber-drivers-make-hours-surge-pricing-part-time-2023-10" rel="noopener">Online miles</a> include the miles he drove with the Uber app open — both during and between trips.</p> <p>“Driver pay has gone down,” Morris said. “Whether it actually has decreased or tipping is less, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in what I make per trip.”</p> <p>Morris is among many drivers who have told BI that their gig is<strong> </strong>less profitable than it used to be. Some drivers point to high car expenses, increasing <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-driving-rideshare-gig-economy-worker-arizona-virginia-pandemic-2024-1" rel="noopener">driver competition</a>, and declining <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-driver-tipping-trends-getting-worse-taylor-swift-riders-best-2023-4" rel="noopener">customer tips</a> as explanations. But many drivers say the rollouts of Uber and Lyft’s <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/gig-economy-jobs-uber-lyft-driving-pay-tipping-doordash-instacart-2023-12" rel="noopener">up-front fares features</a> in many cities have had the biggest impact. </p> <p>These features have provided drivers with <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lets-drivers-see-earnings-before-accepting-trip-2022-7" rel="noopener">more information</a> about trips before they accept them, but it’s also <a target="_blank" href="https://www.uber.com/us/en/drive/how-much-drivers-make/?city=new-york&uclick_id=4e8091e8-a429-476f-a8f1-d28bbfc5ae35" rel="noopener">changed</a> how their pay is determined. While it’s unclear exactly how the companies’ algorithms calculate pay, some drivers <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-driver-pay-protest-valentines-day-gig-economy-california-2024-2" rel="noopener">haven’t been happy</a> with the results. </p> <p>In November, Uber said the typical US driver <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-driver-pay-protest-valentines-day-gig-economy-california-2024-2" rel="noopener">earned</a> roughly $33 per engaged hour, not accounting for driving expenses. Engaged hours refer to the time between when a driver accepts and completes a trip.</p> <p>In February, Lyft said its <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/lyft-earnings-gig-driver-rider-payments-uber-hourly-pay-stock-2024-2" rel="noopener">median US driver</a> earned about $23 per engaged hour once some driving expenses were accounted for. The company also announced it would guarantee weekly driver earnings at 70% or more of what riders paid, after external fees such as local taxes and government-mandated extra insurance</p> <h2>UberEats wasn’t worth the time</h2> <p>Morris began driving in 2014 because it was “new and exciting,” and he loved to drive. In addition to ride-hailing, he <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/pros-cons-turo-use-for-renting-2023-4" rel="noopener">rents out vehicles on Turo,</a> but he said this income stream has slowed in recent months due to vehicle repairs. That is why he’s been driving more for Uber in recent months. </p> <p>While Morris thinks Uber is taking a larger cut of rider fares than in the past, he said <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-driver-tipping-trends-getting-worse-taylor-swift-riders-best-2023-4" rel="noopener">customer tipping</a> is also worse than it used to be.</p> <p>“Tipping was OK before COVID, then was great after COVID. Now it’s dead,” he said. </p> <p>A recent study of over 500,000 gig drivers from Gridwise, a data analytics company and app that helps drivers track their earnings, found that 28% of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-tip-lyft-uber-drivers-tipping-doordash-gig-economy-2024-2" rel="noopener">Uber and Lyft rides get tips</a>, compared to nearly 90% of food-delivery trips. </p> <p>In addition to focusing on optimal driving times, Morris said he’s made another tweak to his strategy: cutting back on food delivery. </p> <p>"The offers for deliveries are ridiculous," he said.</p> <p>Morris sent BI screenshots of three of the least profitable Uber Eats deliveries that were offered to him in January: roughly $5.03 for an estimated 30-minute, 12-mile drive; $8.02 for a 46-minute, 13-mile drive; and $3.02 for a 26-minute, 13-mile drive.</p> <p>This pay included the “expected tip” the customer included at the time of purchase. This upfront tip can increase the chance a driver <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-delivery-driver-gets-big-tips-declines-orders-wealthy-areas-2023-4" rel="noopener">picks up an order</a> and helps get one's <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/doordash-tips-orders-take-longer-arrive-food-faster-slower-delivery-2023-11" rel="noopener">food delivered faster</a>.</p> <p>Morris wasn't only dissatisfied with the pay for these deliveries — he wasn't confident he'd even get the full expected amount. That’s because he’d heard about “<a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-ceo-became-undercover-boss-used-tesla-surprised-rude-riders-2023-4" rel="noopener">tip baiting</a>” — when customers leave an upfront tip to get their order delivered faster and then retract it after the delivery. It’s not clear how often tip-baiting happens, but Uber said it’s <a target="_blank" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/09/business/uber-eats-door-dash-delivery-tips.html" rel="noopener">taken steps</a> to reduce the practice. </p> <p>There’s some evidence that Morris’s focus on ride-hailing — rather than food delivery — is a smart decision. </p> <p>The same Gridwise study found that the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-uber-eats-lyft-doordash-instacart-grubhub-drivers-make-2024-2" rel="noopener">average Uber and Lyft ride-hailing driver</a> earned $25 and $24 per hour, respectively, before driving expenses. Gridwise told BI it<strong> </strong>used <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-uber-drivers-make-hours-surge-pricing-part-time-2023-10" rel="noopener">online hours</a> in the study — the time drivers spend during rides and between trips.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Gridwise found that UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Instacart drivers earned $18, $14, $17, and $17 an hour, respectively, before driving expenses. </p> <p>“Pay is so minimal with UberEats it's not worth my time,” he said.</p> <p><em>Are you a gig worker willing to share your story about pay, schedule, and tipping? If so, reach out to this reporter at jzinkula@insider.com.</em></p> <div class="read-original">Read the original article on <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-make-money-driving-uber-eats-inconvenient-hours-food-delivery-2024-2">Business Insider</a></div><!-- /wp:html -->

Ken Morris, a Green Bay Uber driver, said late at night, early in the morning, and the weekends are the most profitable times for him to drive.

A Wisconsin Uber driver said working inconvenient hours gives him the best chance to make money. He said declining earnings and customer tips have caused him to cut back on driving for Uber Eats. Many drivers have told BI that their gigs have become less profitable in recent years. 

For Ken Morris, an Uber driver based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, embracing unideal working hours is the best way to make money as a ride-hailing driver.

“If you don’t want to drive, that’s probably when you should be driving,” Morris, 49, told Business Insider via email. 

Morris, who has driven for Uber, Uber Eats, and Lyft, said he usually works late at night, early in the morning, and on the weekends because these times tend to be the busiest and most profitable.

He typically drives 20 to 30 hours a week — mostly doing ride-hailing for Uber. But one week in January, when he said a snowstorm caused rider demand to spike in his area, he put in over 40 hours. 

Morris said he’s focused on working during busy times because it’s become more difficult for him to make money in recent years. 

In 2022, he took home roughly $14,000 as an Uber ride-hailing driver — about $1.1 per online mile driven — according to a document viewed by BI. Last year, he took home $8,000 — or $0.93 per online mile. These income figures include tips and bonuses and don’t account for driving expenses like gas, maintenance, and depreciation. Online miles include the miles he drove with the Uber app open — both during and between trips.

“Driver pay has gone down,” Morris said. “Whether it actually has decreased or tipping is less, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in what I make per trip.”

Morris is among many drivers who have told BI that their gig is less profitable than it used to be. Some drivers point to high car expenses, increasing driver competition, and declining customer tips as explanations. But many drivers say the rollouts of Uber and Lyft’s up-front fares features in many cities have had the biggest impact. 

These features have provided drivers with more information about trips before they accept them, but it’s also changed how their pay is determined. While it’s unclear exactly how the companies’ algorithms calculate pay, some drivers haven’t been happy with the results. 

In November, Uber said the typical US driver earned roughly $33 per engaged hour, not accounting for driving expenses. Engaged hours refer to the time between when a driver accepts and completes a trip.

In February, Lyft said its median US driver earned about $23 per engaged hour once some driving expenses were accounted for. The company also announced it would guarantee weekly driver earnings at 70% or more of what riders paid, after external fees such as local taxes and government-mandated extra insurance

UberEats wasn’t worth the time

Morris began driving in 2014 because it was “new and exciting,” and he loved to drive. In addition to ride-hailing, he rents out vehicles on Turo, but he said this income stream has slowed in recent months due to vehicle repairs. That is why he’s been driving more for Uber in recent months. 

While Morris thinks Uber is taking a larger cut of rider fares than in the past, he said customer tipping is also worse than it used to be.

“Tipping was OK before COVID, then was great after COVID. Now it’s dead,” he said. 

A recent study of over 500,000 gig drivers from Gridwise, a data analytics company and app that helps drivers track their earnings, found that 28% of Uber and Lyft rides get tips, compared to nearly 90% of food-delivery trips. 

In addition to focusing on optimal driving times, Morris said he’s made another tweak to his strategy: cutting back on food delivery. 

“The offers for deliveries are ridiculous,” he said.

Morris sent BI screenshots of three of the least profitable Uber Eats deliveries that were offered to him in January: roughly $5.03 for an estimated 30-minute, 12-mile drive; $8.02 for a 46-minute, 13-mile drive; and $3.02 for a 26-minute, 13-mile drive.

This pay included the “expected tip” the customer included at the time of purchase. This upfront tip can increase the chance a driver picks up an order and helps get one’s food delivered faster.

Morris wasn’t only dissatisfied with the pay for these deliveries — he wasn’t confident he’d even get the full expected amount. That’s because he’d heard about “tip baiting” — when customers leave an upfront tip to get their order delivered faster and then retract it after the delivery. It’s not clear how often tip-baiting happens, but Uber said it’s taken steps to reduce the practice. 

There’s some evidence that Morris’s focus on ride-hailing — rather than food delivery — is a smart decision. 

The same Gridwise study found that the average Uber and Lyft ride-hailing driver earned $25 and $24 per hour, respectively, before driving expenses. Gridwise told BI it used online hours in the study — the time drivers spend during rides and between trips.

Meanwhile, Gridwise found that UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Instacart drivers earned $18, $14, $17, and $17 an hour, respectively, before driving expenses. 

“Pay is so minimal with UberEats it’s not worth my time,” he said.

Are you a gig worker willing to share your story about pay, schedule, and tipping? If so, reach out to this reporter at jzinkula@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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