Given the recent rate cuts by Uber, this blog post might be comforting to some Uber partners and Uber drivers out there. Some Uber partners are still killing it. Here is some inspiration.
I had a Q and A session with Greg Palomino, who is an Uber Partner in San Antonio, Texas. Greg is also a business owner in the corporate events space with over 16 years of experience. From what I gathered from our discussion, Greg makes an average of $675,000 per year leveraging his gig as an Uber driver while only working about 12 hours a week on the platform. He has been doing this for just over 16 months now (he started driving for Uber in August 2014). Read the full Q and A below to find out how he has been able to make such an impressive amount; receive some tips and important information for Uber drivers; and some general thoughts he has about the Uber platform and how the Company can improve its service.
a) What is your name?
b) What city do you primarily drive in for Uber?
San Antonio, Texas
c) Do you drive for any other ridesharing service such as Lyft? If not, why?
I drive for Lyft as well.
d) What is your primary motivation for driving for Uber?
Uber was introduced to me by another business owner in a networking event back in August 2014. I was very skeptical and did not have time for another “job” as i own various companies and manage over 200 employees. However, once I got on the platform, I realized I could primarily use the platform for networking. The money that can be made through Uber is good and can even be great. However, when i get to know my riders and who they are, i sometimes get great business opportunities and sign contracts for my other businesses (see more on this below).
e) At what time of the day specifically do you drive?
I drive from 10pm to 4am Fridays and Saturdays if i am in town. This is when surges hit! Riders need us the most and others are not willing to drive. This time of the night is more risky, but comes with a bigger reward.
f) Are you a professional livery driver?
g) About how much do you make in tips per week?
I earn about 25% of revenue in tips a week, so it can vary depending on the week.
h) Who tips better? The Drunk or Sober “passengers?
Passengers tip equally most of the time; however the excited ones tip better since they are usually in good spirits.
i) What do you do to encourage tipping from your passengers? Do you have any specific tips?
I do not encourage tipping from my passengers. I earn every tip, but most of the time it is a fairly decent tip. If someone asks if they can tip, i always let them know it is not encouraged or required.
j) How do you track your expenses for Uber? How do you plan for tax season?
I track my expenses by writing my total mileage down and my expenses for the vehicle. I divide the time i drove for Uber vs the time i used it for my other business. Since my car is new (and it is better to have a new car), everything is under warranty. Once the warranty runs out, i get another new car. So my expenses are at a minimum.
k) How much do you spend on gas on a weekly basis?
I spend about $125 a week on gas on my Denali for the hours i drive.
l) Have you had any issues with people throwing up in your car, or any other incidents that are noteworthy?
Nobody has thrown up in my car yet; however one couple spilled a glass of red wine all over my backseat carpet, and that was not a fun ride. On top of that, the couple was very inebriated and irritated. The ride ended with a little argument, and the couple paying for their fare plus the cleaning fee.
m) What do you hate about being an Uber driver?
The only things i dislike about being an Uber driver are 1) The lack of attention and support to Uber drivers, and 2) The inconsistency with managing the quality of cars for a specific uber service on the road. I get comments all the time from Uber customers who selected an upgraded vehicle (Uber XL or Uber Select) but got some small compact car with faux leather seats. When these customers get in my Denali, they usually call me directly to pick them up in the future.
n) What would you like to see changed about the Uber Platform?
I think the Uber platform needs to be more precise about pickup addresses. It also needs to ask passengers how many people are in their party (to confirm the vehicle size). I believe that we [Uber drivers] also should get paid for the cancelled rides. It takes time to reposition our vehicle and sometimes we could have wasted 5 to 10 minutes getting to someone just to have them cancel when we arrive.
o) In our initial conversation ,you mentioned that you have put about $3M in your funnel, and closed 30% of it. Are you saying you have made 900,000 dollars off the Uber platform, or can you expand on that a little bit? Over what time period is this?
With the riders i have met, and the business i have conducted for my other companies, those numbers are fairly accurate. Whether it is an event or couple looking for an event planner, catering, venue, or travel help, i am their new go-to guy.
p) Do you have any closing thoughts?
I always run rides through the Uber app for ethical and moral reasons, even if the rider wants to pay me cash. I do this because it is the fair thing to do, and i also don’t want to lose my Uber driving privileges. I don’t have any contracts with my riders; however they know that if they need me for extended travel (outside the uber zones) they have to compensate me in other ways. I take cash or credit for those rides outside my market or for long haul destinations that start/end outside my market.
One thing i would love to see Uber implement is long haul rides. It would be nice to take Uber passengers from Austin or Dallas to San Antonio for instance. I would be open to those rides, to make the most use of my time, when i am going out of town. Plus, most business professionals book last minute airfare at two to four times the normal fare ($200 to $800). A hypothetical long haul (400 mile) Uber ride can cost half the price of a last minute airfare. Uber could bank big on this segment of the market. I know this market because i have been in the corporate events field for over 16 years. Just my 2 cents!
For more information about Greg Palomino, and to drop him a note follow the social media links below
To receive professionally vetted information that will assist you in running a profitable uber business (just like Greg was able to do), download our Uber kit at the top right of this page.
Other Interesting Uber Related Posts
For our blog posts on some of Uber’s Services, see the links below:
- Responses to Uber Rate Cuts in North America
- An Introduction to Different Uber Services
- Uber Car Requirements: 420 Uber Black Cars Analyzed.
- Uber Car Requirements: 90 Uber SUV Vehicles Analyzed.
- Uber Car Requirements: 580 UberX Cars Analyzed.
- Uber Car Requirements: 115 UberXL Cars Analyzed.
For other popular posts you might be interested in, check the links below:
- How Much Do Uber Partners Make?
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- How to Find the Highest UberX Fares
- How to Become an Uber Partner
- Uber Customer Service