TULALIP – Boyd Griffin has been driving for Uber for almost two years, and the money he makes is better than any other job he’s had, except for being a mortgage broker.
Like many Uber and Lyft drivers, Griffin drives for both companies. But unlike many of them, he makes a living at it driving full-time. He starts his day trying to find a customer who wants to go to Sea-Tac Airport or Seattle.
“People commute to Seattle a lot,” he said, adding that’s due to the lack of parking there.
He stays down there much of the day because there are so many more people. But late afternoon he tries to work his way back up north.
Griffin works Monday through Thursday, to match his workweek with his wife’s, but he often is on the road from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“You can make money if you’re willing to put the time into it,” he said.
After going to a meeting in Everett a few years back, he decided to make this his job. He went to a dealership and bought a 2012 Prius “specifically for this job.” Griffin said he’s been as far south as Olympia, west to the Hood Canal Bridge, east to Snoqualmie Pass, but only as far north as Arlington. The most-expensive fare was about $70. He gets to keep all but 20 percent of that, along with any tips.
Griffin said he is an independent contractor. There are no health benefits, but he can pick his hours and locations to work. He called the job a “hybrid” because he does have some responsibilities to the company. “It’s a different animal,” he said.
Griffin said he’s probably worked 4,000 rides during his Uber career, and he has received 2,036 five-star ratings, the best there is. For about the past year he also has been a part of Uber Eats, delivering food from participating restaurants to customers at home or business. He said it’s easy to become a driver, and Uber is growing like crazy. He said not long ago there were 10,000 in the Seattle area, and three months later there were 15,000. “There’s no downside to adding more drivers” for the company, he said.
Griffin said he likes the variety of the job. “I never know where I’m going,” he said.
Uber won’t rule supreme if Lyft has anything to say about it.
And both are giving local taxi businesses a run for their money.
Both businesses say they are energizing the economy, making the roads less congested, and taking drunks off the road and making the streets safer.
Lyft only recently entered the market in Marysville and Arlington, but it is becoming popular quickly because it’s a little cheaper than Uber.
Both companies hire drivers who use their own vehicles to take people who need transportation from one place to another. It is all done online, setting up the ride and payment both paying with a credit card via a smartphone app.
Both charge a base rate of $1.35 and $1.35 a mile, plus 24 cents per minute, but Uber also charges a $1.65 booking fee. So the minimum for the cheapest vehicle is $3.50 for Lyft and $5.15 for Uber.
Along with providing rides, the two firms are providing jobs.
Both say they have jobs open all around the world. They say you can make $19-$35 an hour, in the same range as bus drivers, and it’s much easier to become one, both advertise. Both say they are looking for drivers who want to be their own boss and work their own hours.
Lyft is currently offering a $1,000 bonus if a driver picks up 400 rides in the first 60 days. They keep their tips, while Uber says customers do not have to tip.
People can share a ride and split the cost, and it’s usually cheaper than a taxi. It costs more during peak hours, and by how fancy the vehicle you choose is, but you can check the price before you make the deal. Passengers are asked to rate their service.
Companies provide added insurance at no cost to drivers. Both do extensive background checks.
Both are expanding. They are becoming delivery drivers, taking food from a grocery store to a location, for example. Only recently, in the Seattle area, they have started taking children to places like their soccer practices.
Other businesses are popping up to service such businesses. For instance, Up Hail helps people save money on a rideshare, taxi, limo or car service such as Uber and Lyft in Marysville and Snohomish County.
For example, Up Hail helps riders find fare estimates, pricing and rates for uberX, uberXL, UberSELECT, UberBLACK, UberSUV, UberPOOL, Lyft, Lyft Plus and Lyft Line. According to that site, a ride from Marysville to Everett Community College would cost: $6-$8 for Lyft, $9-$11 for UberX, $15-$18 for Lyft Plus and $31-$38 for UberSUV.
The highest-rated Uber cars cost a minimum of $20, but there is a $20 off your first ride coupon available. For Lyft, there is a $50 free credit available.