Author Archives: Sam Griffiths
Author Archives: Sam Griffiths
Before I started driving, this was the biggest question on my mind. I set off to search the internet for any shred of information on the topic. I couldn’t find a thing about Australia, let alone Melbourne specifically, I only knew what I would make if I were driving in America, which wasn’t much. Nonetheless, I decided I’d give it a crack. You can read about my first driving experience here.
Uber’s cleaning fees are meant to reflect the cost of cleaning. They are not meant to be punitive, nor are they meant to reflect the cost of downtime caused by the incident. They only exist to compensate you for the cost of cleaning.
My personal opinion is that if I do the cleaning myself, I should still be compensated the same amount. Sam the Uber driver is being given a cleaning fee so that he can pay Sam the car cleaner (himself) the cost of cleaning the car.
If I can just run my hand across the seat and sweep off a little dirt or even a few crumbs, I don’t say the sky is falling and ask for a cleaning fee. But if I have to open my boot and get out my cleaning supplies, then yes. I cleaned. The cleaning fee applies. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. If it takes me off the road for any period of time, it’s justified.
One of the most loved attributes of rideshare driving is that you can do it on your own terms - when and where you want and for however long a period you desire. Despite being able to do it whenever, I don’t know any drivers who are doing it for love, so knowing when the most profitable times are is an important factor in deciding when you get on the road.
UberEATS Came to Australia in April, 2016. Melbourne was first, a pilot city we were told, and one of only three outside the US trialing it. The promise of more trips had me a little excited, but I probably really signed up to do it more out of curiosity. One thing which had me torn though was if I would enjoy it as much as UberX with nobody in the car to chat with. Some drivers I met were looking forward to this, especially since, if you preferred, you could go online and only receive delivery requests and no passengers. It didn’t work both ways though, if you wanted to just drive UberX, you were out of luck, because going online with UberX allowed both types of requests to come through.
Most of us, at one point or another, have been a rider in an Uber. Once you’ve started driving, and take a ride as a passenger, the dynamic is very different. A driver’s mindset when riding, mine at least, turns to a critique of the car quality, friendliness of the driver, checking for water and mints, and anything else I can compare with how I do things. As much as this driver is my colleague in a sense, they are also the competition because the more drivers there are, the less rides there are to go around.
From 1/12/2017, Uber started invoicing as an Australian entity, paying GST to the ATO.
Although this has no effect on your net income for the quarter, it does reduce your weekly income by the GST amount and then give it back to you by a reduced amount owed on your quarterly BAS.
See the post Uber and GST Revisited for full details.
Unfortunately, Uber drivers are liable for GST as was decided in a ruling the ATO published in August 2015. The ruling was challenged in court, with the court upholding the ATO ruling, that Uber was considered “taxi travel” and was subject to the same GST rules as actual taxis. So what does that mean for you as a driver?
Not only do Uber drivers have to pay GST, they have to pay it on the total amount that the passenger pays, not just the amount that Uber transfers to their bank account. In a sense, you are paying Uber's share of the GST as well, because they are not registered as an Australian company.
Ever have a job that you only got paid once a fortnight, or even worse, every month? It’s both good and bad. The longer your pay cycle, the better you become at managing your money, knowing it needs to last. In a perfect world, we’d all have plenty of savings, and not need to be stressed about how long it is until our next payday. Unfortunately, for most of us, that’s not the case, and that’s one of the reasons so many of us take up a second job, like rideshare driving.
Drivers driving for Uber get paid on a weekly basis. In Australia, it’s on a Wednesday that the payment normally hits drivers’ accounts. Recently, Uber has introduced a new service called Flex-Pay. Flex-Pay allows drivers to be paid at any stage during the week that they choose, even daily. Drivers can request, through the app, a payout of all earnings accrued since the start of the pay week (Monday at 4am). The earnings are then transferred immediately, hitting your account in 1-2 business days.
Every time I speak with other drivers, I get asked about this. Often the drivers are new, but experienced drivers are struggling with the answers on this topic as well since Uber tend to shy away from providing any assistance with this. I’m not a tax expert, but with a bit of research, and some advice from people in the know, I’ll cover here what I’ve discovered.
You should also read our articles on GST Obligations for Drivers and on Keeping a Logbook.
Your mobile phone and the cost of mobile service are both expenses you should claim. It’s important to only claim the percentage of use that you attribute to being necessary to produce income. For many drivers, that may be 100%, and others much less. Look at your phone usage for a period and work out what you should be claiming. Also, any repairs to your phone such as a screen replacement can also be claimed. Bought a handsfree cradle? Claim it!
I signed up for Uber without telling my wife, thinking I’d give it a try “sometime.” Sometime ended up being the same day my account got activated! Turns out that I was in the bad books with my wife that night, so I decided it was a prime opportunity to give driving for Uber a go.
I didn’t know anybody who drove for Uber, so in preparation for the big event, I watched a ton of videos on what has since become our sister site, therideshareguy.com (Thanks Harry!), and read as much as I could before hitting the road.
I went online at 7:25pm and within minutes, I got my first ping. It was a pickup in St Kilda Road, Melbourne. I navigated to them, and tapped out a text to let them know I had arrived. I nervously waited as I watched my passengers approaching. A couple, they hopped in the back and gave me their destination, which was a few kilometres away in Prahran. As we started the drive, they asked how long I’d been driving. I couldn’t lie, I told them they were my first trip and they chuckled, and went on to tell me how much they loved using it and that they’d been using it since its launch in Melbourne. They then proceeded to chat amongst themselves, until we got to their destination. I had made $8.00 exactly, but back then, you had to do the maths yourself since the app showed the total fare instead of earnings. I was stoked! I had driven some random strangers less than 4 kilometres and been paid $8.00! I rang my wife to tell her (after I explained what Uber was and why I had signed up to it). She wasn’t as excited, and thought it was a bad idea, but agreed to indulge me.