A full-time Cleveland Uber driver who took home $17,000 in 2023 shares why the full-time gig isn't worth the money anymore

George, a dedicated full-time Uber driver from Cleveland, has faced various challenges during his tenure with the ride-hailing company. Since beginning his driving career in 2017, George has seen a shift in the profitability and sustainability of this gig, compelling him to consider a significant career shift into truck driving.

### Declining Profitability and Changing Perspectives

George, who has chosen to use a pseudonym, has expressed a notable shift in his view towards Uber based on his experiences. Once a vocal advocate for the company, recommending it as a lucrative business opportunity, he now finds himself disillusioned by the diminishing returns of the job. In the previous year, his gross earnings surpassed $109,000. However, after deductions for Uber's commissions, vehicle maintenance, gas, and other expenses, he netted only about $17,000 - a stark 16% of his gross income compared to 19% in 2021.

### The Realities of Ride-Hailing Economics

George typically invests between 45 to 55 hours weekly into driving. After accounting for expenses like gas and maintenance, he realized an approximate hourly wage of $17 in 2023. Despite his efforts in employing various strategies such as cherry-picking lucrative rides and maximizing weekend demand, the outcomes remained largely the same. The reality of constant competition, high expenses, and company policies has contributed to a growing discontent among drivers, some of which have led to protests for better pay.

### Safety Concerns and Inadequate Information Transparency

Apart from financial issues, safety concerns have also marred George's ride-hailing experience. He highlighted a significant informational asymmetry where drivers have minimal data about their passengers, posing potential security risks, a concern despite recent initiatives by Uber to improve rider verification processes.

Despite the forthcoming challenges, George continues to drive for Uber out of necessity. However, he is actively exploring alternative career paths. The persistent frustrations and the stagnant earning potential are driving him towards potentially becoming a truck driver, indicating a quest for a more stable and rewarding professional life.  

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