Ridesharing is a Scam

I watched this video in order to cultivate some skepticism in myself, and it has proven impossible to shake the argument it makes.

Best case scenario, if you work late nights and work a lot, you are still barely breaking even with the miles you are putting on your car. If you don’t have a new car with great mileage, there is just no way you are going to make any money. By the time you fulfill all the entitlements of Uber passengers with food, drinks, and gum, you are probably spending money to drive for them.

It makes the most sense to people who need short-term cash-flow and are not worried about hurting their vehicle’s equity. But I think that those situations would be better remedied by improved personal finance habits rather than depreciating your car.

That said, I really enjoy meeting all these new people and having interesting conversations with them.

I do not anticipate doing any more ridesharing.

My First Night with Lyft and Uber ($225.86)

Sacramento is a sprawling metropolis, like a spoked wheel with eight freeways reaching 40 miles out from the city core up to the mountains and out across the valley.

This spoked wheel suggested a strategy; people are like a tide moving in towards the center, and later out from the center.

I started my day around dinner-time halfway out one of these spokes in an affluent suburb called Roseville. I immediately got a couple heading downtown for dinner, and a $20 fare.

I made it my strategy to head out one of the denser, more affluent spokes until I got another call heading back downtown. This worked well until the tide started heading back out from downtown. Then I switched my strategy, heading back downtown after taking each rider out to their homes.

I took home $225.86 and two bags of pretzel rolls on my first night in less than eight hours of work. This was almost triple what I made at my day job on the same day.

If you decide to start driving for Lyft and Uber, please help me out and use these links or my referral codes.

Lyft: CJ445290
Uber: CJT736UE

Getting Ready for Lyft and Uber

The first gig apps I want to try out are the obvious ones; Lyft and Uber.

I recently bought a three-year old Honda Civic. I did it partially with this in mind. This was the best equilibrium-point I could find between low long-term operating cost and low depreciation based on age while staying within budget. The Prius was significantly better in both categories, but at about triple the total price. Despite my buying this car because I know it will be reliable, I also added the dealer’s comprehensive end-to-end coverage of any mechanical problems which was an extra $3/mo.

Next I went shopping for insurance. This was tricky. I had Progressive before, but they do not offer ridesharing coverage. I ended up switching to AAA. They offer competitive ridesharing coverage with the added bonus of having all their perks like roadside assistance, partner discounts, etc.

Accessorizing

This usb charger supports quick charge as well as non-quick charge. This means I can use QC on my Nexus while letting iPhone users charge up the old-fashioned way.

This charger cable is the best one I could find to support a lot of different kinds of phones while still being able to reach the back seat. Also the price is right.

This is a basic aux cable that lets the riders play their music. It reaches the back seat and its only a few dollars.

I wasn’t able to find seat protectors online that I liked, so I went to O’Reilly and found a set there that fit.

Now I was ready for the road!

Why Gigs?

I was 14 when I had my first gig. I was suddenly DJ-CJ and making well over $100/hour… every once in a while.

Today, things are different.

There are any number of apps which will pay you to do work for them whenever you feel like it. This offers enormous flexibility and freedom alongside job-security and the ever elusive power to decide when to work.

If you want to disappear for a week and go on an adventure,
what’s stopping you? Your work.

If it’s the middle of the night and you would rather be making money than partying or sleeping,
what’s stopping you? Your work.

If you want to go back to school but cant afford to lose half your 9-5 work days,
what’s stopping you? Your work.

For these and many other reasons, I decided to try these gig apps and chronicle my experience.

gig-apps

Lyft and Uber are the obvious choices, but I also picked GrubHub, DoorDash, PostMates, UberEATS, Upwork, and a few others.

Will keep you posted!