Super Uber: the devil is in the detail


We’re not really sure if being an Uber driver is worth the hassle…

Hear that?

It’s the sound of alarm bells.

I’m starting think this Uber thing is more trouble than it is worth.

As I write this I have completed 100 trips, driven 2271km and collected $1351.46 for my trouble – just 29 per cent or 665 of those kilometres were with a passenger in the car.

The work is easy, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s the stuff they neglect to point out that is the real deal breaker – like the fact you need an ABN and have to pay GST on your earnings, with all that entails.

And here’s the bit that really sucks – although you have to pay GST – Uber doesn’t. 

That’s because it’s not an Australian company and as such is not subject to Australian tax laws.

That’s not the worst of it either.

Although Uber collects 25 per cent of your takings (20 per cent if you registered before May last year), you don’t just pay GST on your 75 per cent – but on the entire amount.

That readers is simply not fair.

Many drivers are unaware they have to pay GST, while some choose to stick their head in the sand and ignore the warnings.

Either way the Tax Office is coming for you, of that you can be sure, given that Uber has agreed to hand over all your personal details – name, age, address and bank account number (not to mention how much you have earned).

Nice to know they’ve got your back.

Then there’s the small matter of your car. You know the one you bought and paid for and are currently running into the ground in the quest to make a dollar.

The word is the registration needs to be changed from private to business – at least in NSW – and you need to notify your insurance company that you’re using the car for ride sharing.

Business registration costs more and could affect the terms of your new car warranty. With Kia for example, which is covered by an industry leading 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, the unlimited part becomes 150,000km.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Your insurance company could also take a dim view of the situation. It might note the fact on the policy, bump your premium up or refuse to cover you at all.

Unless you tell them, however, the cruel reality is that they may refuse to pay out in the event of an accident.

All this before you hit the road and become one of the army of “ants” in search of passengers.

I say ants because that’s what we look like to passengers on the map, milling around railway stations and other public venues.

The thing is, as more and more people turn to Uber, spurred on by rosy media reports that it’s the answer to their unemployment woes – your slice of pie shrinks.

In the CBD there’s plenty of work, especially at the weekend – but it’s hectic. In the outlying areas of Sydney however the trips are fewer and farther between.

You may find yourself driving many kilometres to pick up someone who only wants to go a kilometre or two down the road – for which you receive the princely sum of $6.00 (just enough to cover the cost of getting there).

It’s happened to me several times. In fact, I travelled over 20km to pick up one young bloke who wanted to be taken 950 metres – he could have walked there and back in the time it took me to get there.

What’s it to Uber – it’s not paying?

No one’s forcing you to take the job I hear you say? 

That’s true but it is probably why the app shows only the pick up point – not the destination – in the 20 seconds you have to accept or decline.

Decline too many requests and you get a black mark against your name and ultimately your access to the app could be blocked, which means no work – at least temporarily.

It’s a stacked deck and it is starting to look like Uber holds all the cards. 

In fact, it’s just announced an increase in the minimum fare to $8.45. This means the driver will now receive a minimum of $6.34 for a trip – in effect another 34 cents.

At the same time Uber is introducing  a 55 cent booking fee – 50 cents of which goes straight into its pocket – 5 cents to the driver for GST.

To be introduced from June 9, the changes have been described as an “insult” by drivers.

More on that later. Can somebody turn off that damn alarm – I’ve got a BAS statement to fill out.

Super Uber #1

Super Uber #2