An Uber Partner Story: Jim

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I take Uber rides all the time, to and from airports, out on dates, to work events, etc. Usually I’m in my own world when I’m riding alone, checking my email and browsing social media. If I’m feeling chatty, my first question generally is, “Do you work with Uber full-time?” and the answer is usually “No”. They use Uber as their side hustle to supplement another income.

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Today I’m partnering with Uber to learn about how that works with a driver-partner, Jim, that Uber connected me with. We met up at a local coffee shop so I could find out more about his story and how he makes this side hustle work (which I’m always curious about!)…

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Jim here lives in beautiful Marin County and has two teenage children. By day he works in independent insurance & financial services. He prides himself on good people and communication skills. I believe it! Jim was so warm, easy going, and personable to talk with (and a great sport to be photographed as well during out meet-up).

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A couple of years ago as his children reached their teenage years, Jim realized he needed to start saving a little extra money for their college funds and started partnering with Uber part-time in the evenings and mornings. He drives as much or as little as he wanted with UberPOOL or UberX, depending on his family and work schedule. There are few opportunities that allow you to really set your own schedule so easily and be your own boss. This seems to be the general consensus when I ask Uber driver-partners about how they make it work: flexibility is a huge benefit.

One Uber feature Jim loves is the destination filter, which I didn’t know about! You set a destination you want to go to and the system matches you with a rider that is going in that general direction. You can use it twice a day. Since Jim lives in Marin but mostly picks up riders in San Francisco, it’s great for the first ride of the day and the last ride of the night to get him to and from home. So smart!

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Whether he’s realized it or not, the same skills that make Jim an excellent at his full-time job, make him an excellent Uber driver-partner: respectful, friendly, personable. Exactly the warm, smiling face you want behind the wheel taking you from one place to another. Safety is always on my mind when I’m using Uber and the rating system on the app helps a lot with that.

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Uber has strict standards with regards to only keeping high rated drivers which puts me at ease, especially when I’m traveling alone or with my children. I also love being able to see the photo/name/license plate/location/phone number immediately when I’m paired with a driver-partner. It’s easy to recognize what car I’m looking for (which can be otherwise challenging in a big Uber-friendly city), where they are exactly, and how to contact them if needed.

For Jim, partnering with Uber goes beyond saving a little extra money for his kids’ college funds. He slowly started finding that the conversations and networking he was doing in the car with riders were leading to new opportunities in his full-time job. Getting out and making real connections, while making a little extra money, is a win-win for Jim.

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It makes me think about that wise advice “Never eat lunch alone” which I’ve found benefits myself personally and professionally.  I think that might be true of a lot of professions, as Jim as found in his experience as well.

Have you ever tried a side hustle to help supplement, support, or stay relevant in your full-time job? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks to Uber for sponsoring this post. Find out more about how to drive with Uber and start earning here. Photography by Ashley Batz. Huge thank you to Jim for agreeing to meet up and chat with us! 

Comments

I’m with Kerri on this one. Uber preys on teachers and other low wage professionals. This marketing is disgusting and masks the real issues facing our country and society: housing crisis, stagnant wages and student loan debt bubble to name a few.

I’ve never actually taken an Uber before, but it’s something my husband has thought about doing in the past to supplement his full time income. Luckily, I’m not making money through my blog which helps a ton, and he’s able to focus on his other responsibilities (full time MBA course load, full time job with Lockheed Martin, Father, and lots of responsibility at church.)

Paige
http://thehappyflammily.com

This is a super cute idea. Also, I hate to be that girl, but..where are your shoes from?

Kerri, I’m glad you posted this. I’m not buying Uber’s message that their service is an empowering way for people to make a little extra side money. The “gig economy” is eroding decent work – work where people could expect job security and benefits – in favour of low-paid shift work where the corporation doesn’t owe the people who actually do the work any loyalty or support. They need to market stories like Jim’s to wrap it in feel-good rhetoric, but I’m appalled by that marketing.

I agree, if everyone traded in their full time jobs for gig jobs it would be harmful but I don’t see any harm in making some extra money if you need to. Everyone choses to do that in different ways. Whether it’s selling handmade items on etsy or handyman work for their neighbor.

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