Are Uber & Lyft Drivers Actually Happy?
Back in 2012, cars with big, pink, furry mustaches began popping up on city streets. The question “What’s up with the pink ‘stache?” was on everyone’s mind. It turns out those auto decorations part of a marketing plan for the ridesharing company Lyft. The pink fuzz is being phased out but Lyft is still going strong right alongside Uber.
The concept is simple. People who own their own cars can turn them into taxis. A rider clicks onto the Uber or Lyft app and orders up a ride. Usually within minutes, depending on time and location, a car will roll up to take you where you want to go, and often it is less expensive than the traditional taxi. Plus, it is a lot more fun to “call up” a ride on your smartphone. Win/win for everyone, right? Not so fast.
A recent study conducted by Uber found the vast majority of Uber drivers were happy in their jobs. These drivers experience great flexibility with their schedules. They can work whenever they want and for however long that want. Uber alone has provided gainful employment for over 400,000 drivers, with new ones jumping on board every day. But do they actually enjoy their jobs? Consider these factors that might have an impact on an Uber or Lyft drivers’ true happiness.
They Pay All Expenses
When you sign up to become an Uber or Lyft driver, you take all the assumed risk and expenses. That means you’re paying for gas, insurance and upkeep on your car. You’re also adding way more miles on that car than you probably expected. That could mean buying a new vehicle sooner than anticipated. That is a lot of money going out.
They Have No Say on Rate Changes
The rates depend on what kind of car you’re providing. With bigger cars, you get to charge a bit more. However, you’re still at the mercy of the companies. Last winter, Uber decided to cut rates when business was slow. That was great for riders but not so great for drivers who found themselves working the same hours, paying the same expenses, but earning less money.
As for fees, Uber takes 28% off the top while Lyft takes 20%. You would think that means driving for Lyft is a no-brainer, but it doesn’t have the same kind of market penetration as Uber. Technically, a driver can drive for both companies, but they would still be dependent on the availability of customers. They could go out for a night shift, work six hours, and only have three rides. That might add up to $45 for the night. Is it worth all that effort? That is what these drivers ask themselves every day.
They Have to Adjust to Night Work
Uber and Lyft drivers can set their own hours. Many discover more money can be made at night. That requires making a huge shift in lifestyle. To suddenly go from a day job to night job can also mess up your sleep cycles and your overall wellbeing. There is even a name for this: Shift Work Disorder. Aside from all the sleep issues, that kind of shift can also cut into a social life. Just because you get to meet a lot of people in your job doesn’t mean you’re automatically having fun.
They Have to Deal With Out-of-Control Riders
Speaking of riders, the Uber and Lyft drivers have no idea who they’re picking up. That is true of any transportation service. Things get a bit dicier late at night, when the nightclubs start letting out and tipsy patrons are looking for a ride home. It’s great they aren’t driving, but there are plenty of stories about Uber drivers being attacked by out-of-control riders. Even if these occurrences are rare, it can weigh heavily on a driver, causing additional stress.
As with any type of job, an employee has to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks. By the way, these drivers also don’t get any health benefits. A lot to think about before signing up!