Even though Uber Technologies tries to lure in new drivers by touting six-figure incomes, leaked data show that an average Uber contractor can make close to minimum wage.
BuzzFeed used leaked raw driver data to make its own calculations on how much Uber drivers actually make. And the results are far from the $100,000 plus annual salary the taxi app firm boasts about.
BuzzFeed found that the figures presented by Uber are gross earnings. They do not include losses such as the cost of gas (which is wholly supported by Uber drivers), insurance, repairs, and depreciation of the cars. These costs are subtracted from the hourly wages, which drag Uber drivers’ salaries down by thousands of dollars every year.
According to the recent report, Uber drivers in Houston, Texas, make about $10.75 per hour when all expenses are taken into account. In Denver, Colorado, where Uber drivers earn the most, i.e. about $13.17 per hour, they make less than $28,000 a year for a 40 hours a week schedule.
The worst city for an Uber contractor to work in is Detroit, Michigan. There they make slightly more than the state’s minimum wage: $8.77 per hour. Even Walmart employees have higher wages.
But the recent report must be taken with a pinch of salt as Uber drivers are very different. They have different cars, make their own work schedules and some of them see driving for Uber as a part-time job.
Moreover, Uber declines to unveil driver data even if that results in fines. So, it is extremely hard to tell how much its contractors make on average. From time to time, the company unveils its own data. For example, in 2014, the firm said that NYC drivers earned about $90,000 per year, while those in San Francisco reportedly earned $74,000.
But those figures may be dated now and drivers may make a lot less as the ride-hailing company has dramatically cut prices to take cab companies and rivals such as Lyft out of business.
The only ones who could tell us how much they earn are drivers themselves. But most of them are silent as the grave when it comes to their wages. So we don’t yet know whether working for the taxi-app firm is as great way to make a living as advertised.
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