Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Life as a 1 week Uber driver during company forced leave (Part 1)

I had always wanted to try to drive for Uber / Grab to see:
  1. how it is like as an Uber / Grab driver
  2. if the earning is high
  3. can this be my backup plan in case I am being retrenched or if I were to tender without a job in the future

So my chance came when my company forced us to clear our annual leave. As I was being "forced" to clear 5 days of leave and not wanting to rot at home doing nothing, so I went to try to drive Uber for a week.

Suddenly, this year forced leave seem good.
Its like 1 stone kill 2 birds for me - On one hand, I can earn extra income during my leave and I also can finally try out as an Uber driver.

"UberFLEX Club (UFC) is a brand new club that caters specially to drivers who rent hourly from SMOVE, allowing for commitment-free driving!"

As I don't own a car, and I only have 1 week to spare, so I went to Smove to rent their car. Unlike Lion City Rental (LCR), their minimum contract is 1 month rental while Smove on the other hand, allows hourly rental, which is prefect for my case.

To sweeten the deal, UFC + Smove is having promotion for new Uber driver
  • 1 week rental and petrol for FREE (Yes, there is a catch. You will need to hit 1 trip per hour which is easily do-able)
  • $1 for $1 match on your earning (Cap at first $200)
  • $100 for being referred to join

Before I start my Day 1, I went to buy a handphone car holder ($10) and break my 2 x $50 notes into smaller notes (10 x $2, 4 x $5, 6 x $10) and of cos, dig my coins bank for some $1, 50cents, 20cents and 10cents coins.

I also bring along with me the following items during my Day1:
1) Xiaomi powerbank (As I do not have in-car charger)
2) Water bottle for plain water
3) Ezlink card (For ERP & carpark)
4) Milo

The above is the driver screen where we can see which part of Singapore is in high demand (The redder the colour mean the higher demand in that area). Of course, higher demand mean higher fare due to price surge.

Less than 2 mins after I am online for my first time, I got my first ping :)
I was so excited about it as that was what all drivers are waiting for.

I was lucky that I did not encounter any nasty riders.
But if I were force to choose one of the worst rider I had, then it will be HER.
She is the only one which I gave her a 3 stars rating (All my other riders got a 5 stars rating)
She lived in one of the condo and her destination was Sentosa Cove.
She should be in her early 30s and is the kind of lady you will turn back to take a 2nd glance when she walked pass you.
The moment she boarded my car, she say "Make a 3 points turn here to head out to the exit" (When the road width in her condo is only about the normal 1.5 times road width). "Follow my instruction by taking this road route. Don't follow your GPS" and when reaching the Sentosa gate, she said "Take the shortest Q between Counter 1 to 3".
It was her TONE when she commented all these which make me feel uneasy.

Fast forward to the 7th day, which is also my last day, below is the pointer I would like to share with rider from driver point of view:
1) Key in the exact address or postal code. Do not rely on your phone GPS pin drop (It is not 100% accurate all the times). This also save everyone time and enable you to have a faster pick up when you need a ride.
2) Google map is not 100% accurate. I have riders, who frequency go to the same location such as workplace/home, able to point out to me that in front is a 1 way dead road when Google map showing I could reach the destination using this road. So if you already know the direction, please alert and point out to the driver in advance (You will have a shorter trip time and could save money for not having the need to detour).
3) If you keep encountering Uber driver going to the wrong pick up location despite keying in the exact postal code, most likely your pickup location is marked wrongly in Google map. Advice you could drop an sms to alert the driver of the exact road path to take to reach you faster.
4) Especially in shopping mall area/Orchard Road/Bugis Junction, we are unable to pick up along the road or go into the taxi stand. So please be alert and keep your eye on the road to spot your Uber car so that you can wave at the car to alert the driver you are the one he is hunting for.

As I only drive for 7 days, I believe other more old bird drivers will be able to share more pointers based on their experience.

I will continue in my next post on the next part - My Earning for driving Uber in these 7 days.
It will contain numbers, numbers and more numbers.


  1. This was a highly interesting post, I am looking forward to the next one! It must have been a good experience to see people from all walks of life. The rude lady is seems to have a terrible character, don't let it get you down. You will probably be much nicer to taxi/grab/uber drivers in the future, right? I experienced the same after working many blue collar jobs during uni and highschool. Changed my perspective.

  2. Can't wait for the next post. I am curious what the earning is!