Does it pay to be an UBER driver?

I keep getting emails to become an UBER diver saying that I can make $600 on the weekend or $1000 a week. And those numbers sound pretty good on the surface, but lets look a little closer. So lets go with the claimed $1000 per week and assume a 40 hour work week. This is probably unlikely but I need to go with something and that is the norm. So, that adds up to $52,000 a year. Wow, that sounds pretty good right... or does it? Remember that you are not an employee, so you will be paying self employment taxes. Having been self employed I know that its about 1/3 of the total earnings, so lets take that right off the top... that leaves you with $34,666.67. Now out of that you have all your expenses Car, insurance, maintenance, and gas. Lets say that you expect 3 years out of your car and lets say that you bought a modest used car for about $12,000. Yearly that's going to break down to $4000 a year, and then you'll need to buy a new car. Realistically I don't think that you can expect it to last much longer than that. After we take out $4000 per year in car payments that leaves us with $30,666.67 per year. Maintenance will be more frequent since you're using your car more. Previously you were probably changing your old every 3 months, but I think its a safe bet that you will be doing that every month now. So the average oil change is about $40. Plus you were probably buying tires every 3 year, but that will probably be every year now so add that in at $400 and you have a cost of $880. There may be other maintenance too like cleaning, alignments, etc. but we wont go there. Now we are looking at $29,786.67 per year. Insurance will be going up, you are using your car for business now and those premiums will increase by about $8 per month according to USAA. So add $96 to your costs. That brings your income to $29,690.67 per year. And finally fuel, this will vary widely depending on your car, but lets say that you get an average of 25/mpg in your car. So, you will need 60 rides per week to make your 52k a year and lets say that your average ride is 5 miles. That's 300 miles a week. So that's 12 gallons of gas a week or 624 gallons per year. Nationwide the average gas price was about $3.50 per gallon. So fuel will cost you $2,184.00 a year. That leaves us with $27,506.67. So, your yearly salary is $27,506. That works out to be about $13.22 an hour that you will get to keep. Its not that bad, but you're not going to getrich either. Remember that you did not pay for health insurance, dental or vision yet. There are other incidentals too like if your car breaks down or you want to take some time off. I want to end with saying that I doubt that you are working 40 hours a week, so if you are working more like 60 it will cut into your hourly rate significantly and leave you making only $8.81 per hour.


Starbucks Stole My Money!

I thought that this was a good company, they hire and treat their employees really well. They really know how to treat customers too, they have outstanding customer service and a very consistent product. So, why did they close my account and take my money?

Lets start with how my account was setup. I had setup my account to automatically reload on my phone from my credit card and didn't think too much of it. I assumed that my account would always just be there when I was ready to use it, and I used to use it fairly frequently. Well, this weekend I went to go and get my free birthday coffee... but I wasn't able to log into my account. I thought that maybe I forgot my password or something, but when I tried to recover that, they did not recognize my email address. Huh? 

I know my account had not been very active after starting a new job, there are no Starbucks within a couple miles of my employer. I had been frequenting another shop that was within walking distance instead.

I googled about cancelled accounts for Starbucks and got a lot of hits. There were stories from online magazines and lots of other posts of people trying to figure out what to do... I decided to call customer service and they confirmed that they did delete account and that I would have gotten an email. Before I called I had tried opening another account using the same info I had before to see if anything would be reinstated, but nothing was... So while I was on the phone I asked the customer service person about putting my account back to Gold status, she did, then I asked about my auto-reload and where that money went. She had no answer for that... She said I would need to get the account number to regain those funds. Wow, really... its up to me to get proof of that money? She asked if I had the original gift/credit card that I used to setup the account on my phone. Of course I didn't have it, why would I keep that since all my info was in my account? If I had received an email, I likely deleted it as spam or advertising so now what? 

When I got home, I got on my email account and searched for emails from Starbucks and I did still have some, one of them was this email that the service person talked about. And look at that, it showed that there was $21.92 in my account at the time they sent that email. How interesting, so they knew that I had money in my account and that it auto reloaded but decided to chancel it anyway? 

Wow, that's nice... then I started to think, I wondered how many others were out there like me? Say that there was a million people like me, that means that Starbucks could have stolen millions of dollars from people. Imagine that those people did not still have their email or card to prove the funds that they had. There is NO recourse, and Starbucks just takes the money. How nice for them!

I copied the account number that was in the email they had sent me and sent an email requesting that they send me back my money...

Hi Starbucks, 
Thank you for deleting my account I really appreciate the hassle.  
Above is my account number. 
I would like my money back, you owe me $21.92, according to the email you sent me when you canceled my account. I would like a check for that amount, I don't want a credit... you lost my trust when you deleted my account so I just want my money back. I haven't decided if I'll continue to be a customer, but if I am I will be paying with my own payment method from now on.
I hope you got a nice big pay day when you deleted everyone's accounts like that, because very likely many of them will not return.  
John Kerher 

They replied very quickly asking me to call them...

Hello John,
Thank you for contacting Starbucks. I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us. 
I am so very sorry to hear about your account.  I can understand your frustration.  In order to best assist you, we would like the opportunity to speak with you over the phone. 
Please call our customer contact center and have reference # xxxxxx35 handy to provide to our representative.  Our contact center can be reached at 877-309-3180 Monday-Friday 5am-8pm, as well as Saturday-Sunday 6am-4pm (PST). 
If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at customerservice.starbucks.com. 
Evelean C. 
customer service 

I replied back...

I opened a new account this morning, while standing outside Starbucks, I did not end up getting a coffee after spending 20-30 minutes screwing around with my account. I had talked to a representative that pushed my status back up to Gold. I gave her my address on the phone so I know you have my address. I really don't want to call you and spend more time on the phone or even write this email. You guys caused this hassle and now I pay for it with my time.  

Please send a check to me at the address I provided (57 Lindale LN SW, Lakewood, WA, 98499) for the $21.92 that was on my account at the time you closed it and deleted my original account.  
If I purchase coffee from your stores, I NEVER again plan to use your pre-paid auto reload system, and I DO NOT want a credit to my account, so I see no reason to talk with you. 
If you want to talk to me, you have my phone number on file now too, but I do not feel like jumping through your hoops at this time.  
You know, I am very annoyed at the decision of the leadership at Starbucks to close and cancel people's accounts like this. You had to know that you were holding money on my account when you canceled it. As an IT professional, I know that it takes an extremely small amount of space to hold some account info in a database. As a message to the leadership, if I had not kept this email, I would not know how much money you had taken from me and so would not have any recourse to take any action. There has to be thousands if not millions of account like mine in my situation. Basically, I see this as being at worst blatant stealing and at best extremely negligent and I don't think that it's OK for big rich corporations like you to take money from their customers to deal with account inactivity... it's simply unacceptable.

They replied and said that they would send me a check...

Hello John,
Thanks for writing back.
I have requested a refund check in the amount of $21.92 for you today. Please allow up to 30 days for it to arrive. Once again, my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. 
If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at customerservice.starbucks.com. Sincerely,

Amanda H.
customer service 

After doing some digging, it sounds like the reason for deleting all these accounts was because they could not prove that any of their customers accounts were held by people that were over the age of 13. After opening my new account, they still don't know my age, only my birthday, minus the year I was born. So, it all seems pretty shady to me. It seems more likely to me that they saw some inactive accounts sitting on a bunch of cash, so they proceeded to cancel and delete accounts to get a hold of those funds.

I still feel like this was a bad decision by the executives at Starbucks, and I don't know if I will visit Starbucks again in the near future, it's likely that I will eventually if there are no other coffee shops around, but to be honest... if there is another coffee shop nearby, I will probably go there instead.


School shootings on the rise?

What's going on? Why are there so many school shootings occurring? Just this week we've had a high school shooting in Thurston County (Washington State) and another scare at another school near that the next day, but a weapon and shooter were not discovered. Yeah, maybe it was a car back-firing or something else, but who knows.

Today, I got a call from my daughters high-school in Lakewood, WA to let me know that they were in lock down because a student was caught with a weapon at school.

The #1 reason that kids bring weapons to school is because they are being bullied. Now, that doesn't mean that they are not billies themselves that feel the need to protect themselves... and that doesn't mean that they are not bringing a weapon to school to aid in their bullying efforts... but bullying is the #1 reason. And don't forget that bullying today doesn't stop at the school. We have this "wonderful" thing called Facebook, where people will and do air all their dirty laundry and share things that they shouldn't, but not only that... they will bully and attack other kids very personally and publicly, for everyone to see. So, unlike when I grew up, the bullying no longer stops once you're out of school and safely at home. Cyber-bullying can go on all day, every day.

Did you know that 77% of students have reported being bullied, and 1 in 5 students reported bullying other kids. Those are some staggering statistics that I found on BullyingStatistics.org.

I've read that violence is on the rise in high schools. Well, I've not seen that to be the case, at least not in my area. I don't hear reports from my kids or the news about teens getting into fights. I also chaperon school events and never see anything there either. No, I don't think that's really what's causing this.

Are our kids desensitized? I think that they are. There are a lot of arguments to change the attitude towards weapons for everyone, but even more so for our young students. Our students do see a lot of violence on TV and in video games, and often the answer to bullying or wrongdoing does include fighting and a weapon of some kind.

Many people believe that weapons shouldn't be so freely and easily obtainable. I personally don't think that's necessarily a great way to correct this problem. I happen to stand behind our second amendment rights. But certainly, keeping these weapons out of a child's hands is a great place to start. Do you, as an adult, own a firearm? Do you take precautions? Do you have it locked up? Is your ammo in a separate location from the weapon? I feel that it's the gun owners responsibility to make sure that their weapon is secure and that it is not obtainable by a young person or their friends. This is part of being a responsible citizen. You certainly don't want it to be "your" weapon that was involved in a child shooting, do you? BTW, hiding your weapon in your sock drawer, the top shelf of the closet, under the bed, or any other place is NOT being responsible, LOCK IT UP.

Do we, as parents, need to consider abandoning the public school systems. Put our kids into online schools where they don't have to face these types of things on a daily bases? I don't want to shelter my child, but at the same time I don't want to get that phone call that a student, at my kids school, was shot either.