I first met Harry Campbell back in August 2014, long before he was the ride-sharing guy. His first web presence was at www.yourpfpro.com, a financial website for young professionals. And as it turned out, Harry is also a miles and points guy, so we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
Then a few years ago, he turned his time and attention to his new brand, TheRideShareGuy.com. Maybe you’ve heard of him or seen his blog/podcast/Youtube channel. He’s my go-to resource when I have ride-share questions, so I wanted to sit down with him and get his view as both an insider, because he still drives for both Uber and Lyft, and also as a mentor and resource for drivers.
I asked Harry some tough questions, because as a consumer, there’s a lot about the ride-sharing world I’d like to understand. I want, as I’m sure you do, to have the best possible ride-sharing experience, and understanding this from both a passenger as well as a driver perspective helps! Harry’s got a unique window into the sharing economy, so let’s see what he has to say.
Shelli: I’ve been curious about who drives for Uber/Lyft. In 2015, your course came out. Who’s your typical student? Driving, regardless for which company, seems like one of those things that people do thinking, “Well, I drive, why not drive others around for money?” Yet, all jobs require a certain amount of training and basic knowledge. Have you approached Uber/Lyft to provide a certain payback to the drivers if they take the course, sorta like a professional development benefit? It would seem that drivers who invest in a course would be more committed to the work.
Harry: Our typical student is a new driver, someone just starting out, but also people who have been driving a little while and want to grow their business. These are people who see driving as just one of many ways to make money on a flexible schedule, and they want to learn how to maximize their driving so they have free time for other pursuits (monetary, usually, but it could also be personal pursuits).
My course was really created to help people maximize their earnings, not necessarily get a payback from Lyft or Uber to certify professional development. There are classes out there that are more geared to teaching people how to be a good driver and how to improve the passenger experience. Our course is for people who already pretty much know those basics and want to take it to the next level.
Shelli: Do drivers generally see themselves as business people? And do they see this as an EASY business? For the average driver earnings of $15-20/hour before expenses……still current info?
Harry: Not all drivers see themselves as business people. As you can see from our 2017 survey results, drivers come from all walks of life, all ages, and drive for various reasons. While pay is the number one reason why people drive, the second is flexibility. While people want to make money, a lot of drivers also want to do it on their own time, and may choose flexibility over earning more sometimes.
I think readers probably know by now that driving isn’t easy business, but some people do probably get into it because they think it’s easy to be a driver. Unfortunately, driving isn’t just car + person + map, it’s a lot more than that nowadays. Passengers want to see a lot more from drivers, and they expect a lot more. Rideshare driving is always evolving and it’s certainly not easy money like it may have been a few years ago.
And yes, the average driver still makes $15-20 an hour. In our survey, which I linked to above, Uber drivers report making roughly $16 an hour and Lyft drivers $17.50 an hour. Lyft also allows tips, which may account for this difference.
Shelli: It would seem from what you wrote that Uber does NOT see the drivers as business people because they, as a company, don’t provide training. You mentioned they are not LEGALLY allowed to provide training, why not? It would seem that each driver has a franchise of their own, and franchisees receive training. The more the franchise earns, the more the parent company earns.
Harry: No, Uber does not see drivers as part of their business (as franchises or as employees) and doesn’t provide training because, in most businesses, training is only offered to employees. Uber does not want to take responsibility for employing hundreds of thousands of people, because the financial implications, not to mention any benefits that would need to be offered, would cost likely millions of dollars. It’s much more economical for Uber to say that drivers are their own bosses, they’re just “using” the Uber platform.
Uber and Lyft do take cuts from what the drivers make, so the more drivers make, the more the company earns. They don’t need to make drivers full employees to reap this benefit. Drivers find their own ways to monetize and make more money, like being their own fleet owners.
Shelli: Thanks again for sharing your in-depth knowledge, Harry!
Stay tuned for Part 3 of my interview. We’ll talk about ridesharing overseas, whether or not the market is saturated with drivers, is Uber a good investment, and how to create a great ride sharing experience.