Traffic in Los Angeles

Why I hate Traffic –

One of the most challenging and frustrating parts of my job is dealing with the traffic.  In many parts of the country a 6 mile drive takes 10 minutes or so.  In the greater Los Angeles area, 6 miles can take an hour.  There are dozens of times where at each traffic light I see the same bike rider catch back up or simply pass me as I sit at a light unable to make it out of the intersection.

By far my worst experience was when I picked up a business man from the airport.  I picked him up at LAX early afternoon.  When I first picked him up I thought we may have been early enough in the day to miss the worse part of the traffic.  My rider needed to get to Burbank which I new could take at least 45 minutes and potentially much longer.

As we got onto the freeway and suddenly came to a stop I got a sick feeling in my stomach.  I was used to traffic, but after 5 minutes of not even moving an inch, I knew something was amiss.  We sat longer.  In fact if I wasn’t in the car I wouldn’t even believe the story for myself.  We sat for nearly 3 hours.  A person had climbed over the freeway overpass fence and was threatening to jump off the bridge and onto the freeway.

As an attempt to save the persons life they completely closed the freeway and instead of cars they placed massive blow up mats underneath the person.  While sitting in the car with my passenger we exchanged stories and learned about each other.  I shared with him that I was wanting to start a business.  Adam shared with me that he was a small business owner himself.  He had his own window cleaning company where they provide professional window cleaning services.  I asked him more about his business and he gladly shared.

One of the things we laughed about was the traffic.  he plans his routes and tries his best  provide his clients with a small window of time for when he will arrive.  The traffic can make this a challenge when a trip that typically takes 10 minutes suddenly takes 40.  We sat on the freeway turned parking lot for another 30 minutes when suddenly we started to move.  Thankfully the person had safely climbed back over the fence and was back in safety.  But that airport trip is hopefully the worse traffic I will ever experience. It took us over 4 hours to go 18 miles.

Cons of ride sharing

As my experience being a ride sharing driver increases I am beginning to feel the toll and fatigue.  My excitement is beginning to decrease as the repetitive days begin to increase.  Over the last couple weeks I have had the privilege of meeting some more amazing people who are doing wonderful things from all parts of the world.  But these stories both fill me with excitement and cause me to want to get out of my car and make things happen as well.

Two weeks ago I drove for over 80 hours, but towards the end of the week I felt myself coming down with a cold.  It has only been in the last few days that I have been feeling my full energy come back to me.  It was during this time that i realized sitting in the car for such long periods of time has had an negative impact on my over all health and fitness.  I am going to begin a new exercise regiment and even when I am waiting for new customers to request a ride I will get out of the car, stretch and even walk back and forth to give my legs so extra movement.  I am hoping that some of these small changes will begin to have an impact on my overall demeanor.  I know I choose my attitude and I am choosing to share here and then continue focusing on my thoughts and my words.


Ride Sharing Fee’s

How much money do I actually make?

One of the common questions I am asked by friends and family is how much money do I actually make driving for ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.  For obvious reasons, there are so many variables that it is incredibly difficult to answer this question.  But what I can share are some common expenses that some one should take into consideration when considering driving for a ride sharing company and how much money they will actually take home.  Just like any employee or business owner our gross pay and our net pay are different.  This is the same with ride sharing for income.

Here are some common expenses to take into consideration:

  1. Gas
  2. Insurance
  3. Car washes
  4. Car Maintenance
    1. Depending on how much you drive you will need routine maintenance more often than when you are not driving for a ride sharing company.
  5. Depreciation of your car

The depreciation of your car can be harder to determine on your own and you may need to speak with an accountant to get a better understanding of how driving your car significantly more miles.

For me to determine my income, I track multiple pieces of information so that I can keep track at the end of the month.  I track how many hours I was driving.  I track my gas expenses, I track my working driving mileage.

I add these expenses to my fixed cost like monthly insurance.  This will give me a rough total expenses.  Then when I get paid my gross pay I can subtract my expenses to have a better idea of what my true income is.  From here there is still more information to track because taxes haven’t been paid.  Some people get mad about taxes, but I would be paying taxes if I had a w-2 position so  I have learned to just consider it as part of my expenses.

Once I come up with this new figure I divide that by my hours worked and I get a feel for what I am making.  For me, if I was planning on driving for Uber or Lyft as a career, I think I would row tired, but I use it to make extra money while I also build and work on other business ideas.  This extra income and flexibility has been a huge value for me at this time of my life.

The fastest way to learn what you can make and what possible opportunities you have are to drive for a ride sharing company.  If after a couple months you don’t like it then you can stop.  At least this way you can make a decision from personal experience and not rely on the experience of other people.  I hope you find this article helpful.

Thank you to Burbank’s best Home Cleaners for sponsoring this post.  If you need home or office cleaning in the greater Los Angeles area then I recommend giving them a call for a hassle free quote.

People I meet while driving!

On todays post I share a story from one of my recent customers.

One of my favorite things about driving is the people that I get to meet.  I never know who my next customer is going to be.  Sometimes it is a business woman coming back from a business trip, sometimes it is a college student coming home from college on a break.  More often than night it is a group of friends having a good time on the weekend and wanting to use me as their on demand designated driver.  regardless of the reason I typically have a level of anticipation for what new person i will meet and what story they will share with me as I take them to their desired destination.  I can truly say that no ride is ever the same.

For example, my shortest drive has been 4 minutes and my longest drive has been 2.5 hours.  I have had people who want to talk to me the entire time and I have had other people who get into the car with headphones in their ears and never say a word.  Most trips fall somewhere in between, which is ok with me.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting a truly extraordinary women.  For privacy concerns, I will call her Sarah.  Sarah is a single mom of two boys.  Both her boys love sports, their favorite athlete is Lionel Messi, and soccer games are a constant weekend activity for her and her two sons.   What inspired me was Sarah’s perseverance.  Sarah is an ER nurse who works at a local hospital.  Today she was heading to the airport to attend a friends out of town wedding.  In addition to being a full time nurse in the local er room, Sarah is also real estate property owner.  She has been purchasing duplex units in order to build up enough passive income so she does not have to work as many night shifts at the hospital.

The daily hustle she puts forth inspired me to continue pushing towards my own dreams.  If Sarah can work full time at the hospital where she literally saves lives on a daily basis, attend her sons soccer games, be a great friend, and buy real estate then surely I can keep pursuing her dreams then i can too.

I asked her if she gets tired with everything she does.  She responded, “Of course I get tired, but soon it will all be worth it.”

This was just one of my many trips today.  But as the day came towards an end and I found myself getting tired I was reminded of Sarah.  Soon it will all be worth it.

Cheaper to Rideshare than own a Car?

Is it Cheaper to own a car or Rideshare to work?

The answer to this question depends heavily on where you live and how much driving you do.  A recent study highlighted 4 major cities where the study determined it is cheaper to Uber than it is to won a car.  Before reading the answer below try and guess which 4 cities the study determined are cheaper to Uber than to own a car.

These 4 Major cities its cheaper to Uber:

  1. Chicago
  2. Washington DC
  3. Los Angeles
  4. New York
Los Angeles one of 4 cities found in study where ridesharing is more affordable than owning a car.

The study done by Mary Meeker highlighted that 4 out of the top 5 largest cities in American that you can actually save money by utilizing a ride sharing service instead of owning a car to get back an forth from work.  At first this may be shocking, but when you begin to consider the wear and tear that is put on a vehicle, especially in stop and go traffic then it is no surprise that after gas, insurance, and repairs ride sharing becomes a more appealing option.

A major area of convenience larger cities have is the volume of uber drivers available.  5 years ago taking a taxi required planning and patience in order to arrive on time.  Now with ride sharing becoming more and more popular it is not uncommon for a customer to turn on their app and have a driver outside waiting for them within minutes of their request.  This provides almost the same level of flexibility that owning your own car provides.

An additional benefit of utilizing a ride sharing company for your commute is you are free to drink your morning cup of coffee while reading, checking your email, or texting all without the concern of causing an accident or getting an expensive ticket.

Car Sharing Safe for Women?

Uber is a leading car hailing company which has its business worldwide.  The online transportation company comes up with unconventional ideas and offers to attract the drivers and the riders.

Inspite, of being the leading company in the transportation market, Uber often gets involved in controversial issues. The fact that Uber is unsafe for women is the talk of the town after the reports on the Uber drivers sexually harassing the female passengers.

A new ride sharing company launched its business in April 19th, 2016, and the interesting aspect of this new company is that, it has only women drivers and they ride only women and boys under the age of thirteen.

Michael Pelletz the owner of The Chariot for Women launched the riding service is spread in fifty states; he was working as a driver in Uber.  His experience in working with Uber was the key to start his own business.  In an interview to the Washington Post, he said that he once had an unsafe ride as a driver in Uber.  Michael had drop assigned to him at night and his rider was mentally unstable, fearing at the behavior of the passenger, he reported him to police. This situation made him think that if there were women in his state, how she could manage the scenario.

This is not the first ride sharing company; in 2014 SheTaxi was a taxi service catering for women started by Stella Mateo, but it did not flourish in the market.According to the law, there should be no gender discrimination while recruiting.But they have exceptions if the recruitment is a bona fide occupational qualification.In Massachusetts, 2200 women applied in Chariot for Women, and the company does background verification of all drivers including criminal records.

Below is a video I found on youtube where a female driver details her experience as an uber driver.

Do I have to live in a large City to drive for Uber?

Do I have to live in a large city in order to drive for a ride sharing company like Uber or Lyft?

This is one of the most common questions I get.  The answer depends on the population as well as the competition.  Smaller communities can sometimes have less competition, but they also have less opportunity.  They key for making money is less about how long and how far you drive a customer and more about down time.  If you have large chunks of time where no one is in the car then it is hard to make good money ride sharing.  The days where I make the most money are the days where I have very little down time.  One person gets out of the car and shortly after I pick up another person.

So back to the origional question about city size and ride sharing for money.  Smaller communities may not have enough volume and translate to a lot of downtime.  My brother lives in a smaller community of only 8,000 people.  While it is a tourist town in California that can have weekend visitors of 50,000 people, the money is too inconsistent to rely on.  I personally live in a much larger community where there are several hundred thousand people.  This allows me to have a consistent flow of people looking for rides.

The flip side for me, is the supply of people looking for a ride causes the competition to go up.  So either way you are going to have to figure out what works for you.  For now I have been able to make good money.  The more I have driven the more I have learned which days, which times and which locations earn me the most money.  My suggestion for you is to give it a try.  One of the best parts of driving for either uber, lyft, or another ride sharing company is that you can do it own your own schedule and see if it is a good fit for you.

In closing my suggestion to you get out there and try it.  For me driving for multiple ride sharing companies has allowed me to work on my own schedule and make money.  Until you get working you wont know if it is a good idea for you or not.