Most of us have used e-hailing apps before. Whether it’s because we don’t have our own transport, or just want to save ourselves from the hassle of looking for parking – the apps are heaven-sent!
But have we ever considered the man behind the wheel? Does he really earn as much as these companies claim? What’s it like to be a driver? Is it a fun job?
Well, wonder no more folks, I’m here to answer all your questions. I’m a driver with an e-hailing App. Let’s call it… ‘Gruber’.
1. 25 % of our gross earnings goes to Gruber
Gruber takes 25 percent of the commission. So if I make RM100 in a day, RM25 is immediately taken out of it. My gross take-home pay is RM75.
In case you think that’s still a lot, don’t forget – reaching RM100 alone takes hours of driving and lots of fuel. I haven’t even deducted petrol costs and car maintenance (which can go up to RM 15 – RM 20!).
Someone is getting rich here, and it’s certainly not me.
Still, I’m not saying you can’t make money off the app. You can. But you have to be diligent and plan your routes. Have a daily target to achieve, and don’t come back home if you don’t hit it. It’s a tight ship we’re running here man!
2. The incentive structure is rewarding financially but can be dangerous to the drivers
Ever wondered how Gruber makes sure there are always drivers on the road? Through incentives.
For Gruber, there are peak hours where you can achieve guaranteed fares. What that means is, they’ll pay you just for completing a certain number of rides.
The catch is, you’ll need to hit a quota within a certain time limit. If you don’t hit your quota, you’ll miss out.
Here’s an example*:
|Time||1 customer||2 customers||3 customers|
|6am-7am||RM 22||RM 28||RM 34|
|7am-8am||RM 30||RM 40||RM 50|
*Please note the above table is just an illustration and is not the exact version of the guaranteed hourly earnings.
Think about that for a second. If you have to complete a certain number of rides in an hour, how would you drive? Like you have all the time in the world, or like your wife was pregnant and about to deliver the baby?
Naturally, this affects the customers, in two ways. The first and more obvious one would be that it’s physically dangerous to be speeding just to hit the quota.
How about the second one?
Well, picture this. You’re a rider, using the app. You book a ride to your destination. While waiting, you get a phone call. The Gruber driver asks you to cancel the ride because of traffic. You insisted you don’t mind waiting, but he doesn’t want you to.
That sounds genuine, doesn’t it?
Well here’s something you didn’t know. Remember the incentive we talked about earlier? It plays into this.
You see, if a driver cancels the request, he forfeits the ride, and it doesn’t count to his/her incentive during that hour.
But if YOU, the rider, cancels the ride, the incentive is counted. He can accept another request, possibly one where he can reach the destination faster, and still keep the incentive earnings.
Now it doesn’t sound so noble does it?
Protip for customers: Printscreen the details of the driver, including the conversation (if any), so you can report to the e-hailing app if you were told to cancel by the driver.
Speaking about waiting on Gruber drivers…
3. If you make the driver wait, he might not be there anymore by the time you are ready
Most customers prefer to book the ride before they get ready. They think, “Oh, he’s still on the way. I’ll just order it now and we’ll both arrive at the waiting place at the same time!”
The reality is, customers always underestimate how much time they need to get ready. Some customers, especially those coming from high-rise buildings can take up to 10 minutes to reach the pickup point.
You might think, eh, so we’re late for 5 minutes, so what?
Well, think about it for a second. Imagine 10 customers, each late for 5 minutes. That’s close to 1 hour, right? Most of them don’t even bother saying sorry.
Please understand – this is our livelihood. We don’t get paid by the hour, but by the number of trips we have to complete. Every time you make us wait, you’re making us lose money.
Protip for customers: Book when you are already at the pickup point. Some drivers are known to cancel the booking if they were made to wait too long at your pickup point.
4. We don’t like your surprise pit-stops, just like you won’t like if we do a pit-stop
When a customer enters my car, I’ll usually greet them, and confirm their next destination. Occasionally customers enter the wrong location. It’s better to be safe than sorry right?
However, in some circumstances, they want to do a ‘pit-stop’ before their destination. Meaning, stopping somewhere along the way lah. Usually, it’s to buy cigarettes at 7-11 or withdraw money from the ATM machine.
This is a real dilemma for any driver using an e-hailing app. If we say yes, we waste fuel and time for a ride which we’re not paid for. But if we say no, we watch our ratings fall.
If you’re a rider, please understand that we’re only compensated for a direct drive to your place. Any other rides between you and your final destination costs extra for us.
There were times the customer offered to pay me extra, which in the end wasn’t worth the distance covered. In cases like these, even if there is a disagreement, it can’t be resolved. The e-hailing app can’t do anything about unofficial rides or payments. In the end, you could have a nasty argument between driver and rider, which is just not worth the hassle.
Protip for customers: If you are going to multiple destinations, use the option in the app. At least this way, it will be fair to the driver and you.
5. Don’t interrupt us while we’re driving to you
Picture this. You’re driving to a friend’s place for the first time. You’ve already told him your ETA (according to the map app). While the app is guiding you, suddenly he calls to ask where you are. His face appears on your phone and you lose your sense of direction.
Pretty disruptive, isn’t it?
Well, that’s exactly what happens to Gruber drivers. We rely on our app to get to where you are. Sometimes it takes a while because of traffic or delay.
When you call us, not only do we have to answer your call (which can be dangerous while driving) but it also slows us down from getting to you.
That’s why these apps are designed to let you know where we are. You can easily track our exact location on the map.
While we’re at it, there’s also a horrible new feature on the app.
Gruber now gives you the option of accepting the next fare – while we’re still in the middle of one.
What’s worse is that we only have 10 seconds to accept them. If we don’t, then it changes our acceptance rate, which affects our ratings.Just so you know, 10 seconds is a VERY long time on the road. Anything can happen in a split second, while your attention is divided.
Especially when you’re a full-time driver who’s been driving long hours. It’s exhausting. Any distraction could potentially be fatal.
So for both the driver’s sake and yours keep distractions to a minimum. We already have plenty of things to think about. Rest assured, we’re getting to you as soon as we can.
Protip for customers: Check the ETA and the car’s icon on the map to know the estimated time before the driver arrives as well as whether the driver has dropped his previous customer or not.
So, why tell us all these?
Ok, maybe you have read the terms and conditions of the App. There are the rules and regulations, and the finer details of the agreement.
At least through this article, you stay informed. I also get to show you the driver’s perspective, of what’s it really like to be the man behind the wheel.
Like it or not, these e-hailing apps has become almost a necessity, so the more you know, the better!
I hope these insights will improve your Gruber driving experience tremendously, for both you and your driver. Let’s help each other out, shall we? ?
Had a funny, awkward, or scary e-hailing ride? Share with us in the comments below!