Uberman: how Uber driver earns $ 252 thousand a year

Original author: Jon Youshaei http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyoushaei/
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The person sitting next to me gives the most practical business advice that I have heard lately. True, the conversation does not quite correspond to the place in which we are. This is not a cafe or office. We are in a Uber car, and he is my driver ( Uber is a service for finding, calling and paying for taxis or private drivers).

This is Gavin Escolar, a charismatic Filipino whose laughter has an even more flashy hue than his shirt with orange and red stripes. We drive, and I gradually notice that diamond earrings hang on the panel, emerald bracelets glisten on his wrists. And from the pockets of the seats stick out glossy catalogs with many decorations and the inscription: “Gavin Escolar. Collection 2014 »

And suddenly it dawned on me: I'm not just in the car - I'm in the mobile shopping pavilion! And he is not just a driver. And not just a businessman. He is Uberman! Gavin uses the Uber service to promote his business. I wanted to know the whole story of Gavin, and he gladly shared it.

His homeland is the Philippines. When Gavin immigrated to San Francisco, he set a goal - to create his own jewelry business. However, to begin with, he decided to go work as a driver in Uber, in order to somehow make ends meet. “My passengers surprised me,” says Gavin. “I thought they would ride silently or go into their phones, but for some reason, most passengers wanted to talk. When the conversation came about my jewelry, they asked me for business cards. And then I thought that you can not stop at business cards, but place jewelry and catalogs directly in the car! ”
So Gavin turned his car into a shopping pavilion.

“When passengers noticed a product, I talked about it. But he himself was never imposed. And if they did not pay attention, then this is not my target audience. ”
“To impress within 10 minutes is the dream of any seller. Because usually time is much less. Take at least the same peddling trade or online advertising. And the best part is that I’ve been paid a stable salary at Uber, and I could live in peace when the sale of jewelry went badly. ”

Uber drivers have a rating system. Gavin had 4.85 / 5.00 on Uber Black, 4.87 / 5.00 on UberX and 4.95 / 5.00 on Lyft. Over the past 18 months, Gavin has served about 3,829 passengers. Among them were quite wealthy business people, for example, Vogue editors, top managers of Silicon Valley, including the famous investor Sherwin Pishvara .
“We saw a lot of amazing drivers, but Gavin is one of the best,” Sherwin said. “I saw his jewelry in the car and thought it was wonderful and deserved good encouragement from me”.

While Gavin and I were driving, I watched him communicate with the passengers. If the passenger was silent all the way, then Gavin did not distract him. If passengers started talking, then Gavin tried to talk a little, asked them questions and tried to understand if they needed anything.

So, last year, Gavin earned an average of $ 18,000 per month on jewelry. If you add here earnings in Uber, then for the year it turns out $ 252,000. Gavin used his profit to expand his business: he bought 3 more cars and hired 6 drivers.

“The best generals are always with their soldiers,” he says. Therefore, Gavin himself also carries passengers at least 8 hours a week. This allows him to constantly update information on how the situation on the roads has changed, which routes are the fastest to travel to and in which areas there are more customers.
Developing his business, Gavin thinks not only about himself, but also about the poor immigrants from the Philippines, who, at the time, was himself. When hiring drivers, he prefers Filipinos. Many of them are not familiar with modern technologies, so he also teaches them to use the Internet, smartphones, and Uber services.

Gavin’s experience will be useful to many other entrepreneurs. Working at Uber, he got what many want: a stable salary, the ability to create his own business, business contacts with businessmen, as well as communication and feedback from his target audience.

Of course, not everything is as smooth as it might seem. After all, not all drivers are as considerate as Gavin. Without feeling the passenger’s mood and not seeing his interest, they will offer their goods almost by force! But in this case, a rating system comes to the rescue. Dissatisfied passengers can give them low marks, protecting themselves from annoying and overly talkative drivers.

Or maybe Gavin is not the only one? Maybe someone else followed his example? To find out, we interviewed 89 Uber and Lyft drivers. It turned out that 28 of them (31.5%) also have their own business. But only two of them place their advertising materials in their cars. So, these people allow themselves to just drive, day after day, missing out on a great opportunity to grow their business.

Gavin’s story once again shows that the way a person goes to his dream can have the most unexpected turns. The main thing is to always be ready to take a step forward and not look at the ongoing changes as new problems, but see unlimited opportunities in front of you.

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