Can you make a living driving with Uber?

I signed up to drive for Uber almost a year ago. I just started a small freelance WordPress development business and thought driving for Uber would be a nice way to augment the money I made from doing web development work. I didn’t take my first Uber passenger until September 16, 2016. At first I averaged about three or four days a month, never going over four hours a day. I then tapered of to driving once a month for a couple of hours. For me, Uber was truly a part-time gig. I drove not so much to make extra money, but to get myself out of the house and away from the computer. It was a nice break from looking at code and dealing with customers.

I decided last week I would start driving every day for Uber. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t think WordPress development is something I want to do long-term. It’s hard to make a living with WordPress. The reasons are many. My specialty is with eCommerce. I worked for First Data for over seven years, a majority of that time supporting the Payeezy eCommerce payment gateway. I published a WordPress plugin made specifically for Payeezy and I’ve generated a lot of work modifying and customizing the basic plugin. Most of my clients have been other web developers. They work for clients who hire them to integrate their website with Payeezy. These developers then find my plugin on the WordPress plugin repository and contact me if they need something customized. I also created a paid plugin that adds Payeezy transaction record keeping to WordPress. I’ve made s few bucks from that, but not a lot.

In retrospect, one of the problems is the basic plugin available for free through WordPress does most of the things anyone with a WordPress website and a Payeezy account need. My biggest competitor in the freelance Payeezy integration market is my own free plugin. It’s hard to compete with yourself and it’s especially hard to compete with free.

Another problem I’ve run into are the organizations in need of my unique skills. I do a lot of work for religious organizations. Not all religious organizations are created equally. Although I don’t agree with the beliefs of any of them, some are worse than others. Working for some of them makes me feel like a complete hypocrite.

Another problem are the political groups. Last month an organization dedicated to raising money for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election approached me for work. The idea of doing anything to help fund a second term for that orange moron made me feel nauseous.

Speaking of nauseous, the largest job I’ve ever been approached with was an escort business. Each escort needed her own website with her own Squarespace payment form. I got the impression the number of escorts were in the hundreds. If I took the job, it would almost certainly be my only job. With that many websites, I doubt I would have time or resources to do work for other clients. I turned it down. The last thing I wanted to do was make money in the sex trafficking industry. Just the idea of making websites for escorts depressed me.

Sheri and I are going to Myrtle Beach in early September. I’ve decided that when we get back, I’m going to start looking for a regular job. I don’t want to go back to working in a call center, but unfortunately, I’m good at doing call center work. The only thing that could stop me from seeking a regular job is if I can make a somewhat decent living driving for Uber. That would mean driving every day. That would probably also mean driving Friday and Saturday nights. I may even mean driving down to Washington DC and driving Uber passengers down there. Before I do that, I want to make sure sticking around Hagerstown isn’t a viable option.

Yesterday was a good day. I made $114.53 on seven trips. That doesn’t include the $10 cash tip I received from the rider I drove down to Baltimore. The way Uber works is you make a lot of money driving long distances, even if you’re only paid one-way.

I was logged into the Uber Driver app yesterday for almost seven hours. I made nearly $16.36 an hour. That doesn’t include the cash tip. If I can make something close to that every day, I wouldn’t need to find a regular job after our vacation. The problem is, most days I wont get a trip down to Baltimore or Washington DC. These trips do happen, just not every day.

I need to do a long-term analysis over the course of many days and weeks before deciding if Uber is something I can do full-time. I’ve all but given up the idea of making a living from WordPress. It’s either Uber or back to a call center I go.

Originally published at Bent Corner.

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