Khang’s Review: Being a Driver for Uber in PDX

I remember my first time pretending to be a taxi cab driver was in GTA III where you could
steal a taxicab and then complete side quests by shuffling clients to where they want to go and get honestly paid for it. I actually tried to obey traffic signals, drive at the correct speed limit, and avoid running over the occasional prostitute – it was actually fun driving people around! Fast forward a decade and here I am doing it in person and getting paid real money for it! For those that have been living like the Flinstones, Uber is an app that hails itself as “Your Own Personal Driver” and gives the user the ability to call a “cab” from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. I actually first heard of Uber on the Dave Ramsey Show and decided to check it out as a way to make additional income however it was banned in Portland until only a month ago. I have 3 nights and 19 trips under my belt so far and I always gets constantly asked what it’s like driving for Uber therefore I figured I would write a post about it! It is a fairly new thing in Portland however people have been embracing it around the globe and all my riders LOVE Uber. My favorite part is that it helps keep drunk people off the road – 95% of the people I’ve driven have been slightly to severely intoxicated and I’m very glad they decided to take an Uber ride rather than getting behind the wheel. Let’s get started!

Becoming an Uber Driver

The application process is fairly straight forward and what you would expect from a company founded and ran by Millennials – we don’t have time for bullshit and fluff, we like things simple and to the point. From the Uber login page you select that you want to register as a driver and then fill out your typical personal information along with adding your vehicle. The following are required documents you need to upload:

1. Vehicle Insurance
You must be one of the “named insured” on the policy or Uber will not accept your document.

2. Vehicle Registration
Your vehicle has to be 2005 or newer with 4 doors.

3. Vehicle Inspection Form
The inspection form can be completed on your own time at a participating mechanic – Uber has locations on their website and the cost is around $20. They also host free vehicle inspection events and that’s where I got mine however it was in Vancouver and I had to wait 1 hour for it to get completed but I heard the wait was 2-3 hours at the Portland one!!

Here is a screen shot of the Uber Driver home page:
Uber HomescreenUber will also run a background check and you can request to be cc’d on the documents (which I did) to see what the cops are saying about you! The check includes driving history along with a criminal scan. They’ll also put a small deposit into your checking account to validate it for direct deposit – mine was a $0.01 deposit. The background check will take 5-7 business days while the document review usually takes 24 hours. The whole process itself took 3 weeks for me with the most difficult part being getting the vehicle inspection completed around my work schedule. Once Uber checks that you’re all good to go they’ll send you a link to download the Uber Partner app and activate your account.

Here is a screen shot of the Uber Partner app vs the regular Uber app:

Uber App

Using the Uber Partner App

The app is extremely straightforward, any dummy can use it! This is what it’ll look like when you first log-in:

Online Screen

Then you just click “Go Online” and you are officially an Uber Driver! As you drive around to more populated areas you’ll get a “fare” and will have 15 seconds to accept or decline the fare. The screen will give you the location of the person, estimated time to get to their location, and the rating they’ve received from other Uber drivers – it does not provide you with where the person wants to go or what the fare estimate is. There is also no decline button, you just have to wait till the 15 seconds has ended however clicking anywhere on your screen means you’ve accepted the ride. Here is what it looks like when you’re “online”:

Being Online

Once you go off-line, there is an options menu in the left hand corner that provides you with other pages that includes your trip history, waybill, invite a friend code, help, settings, and a sign-out button. The waybill is basically a detailed history of your last trip that includes your fare, your passenger, where you picked them up, where you dropped them off, and insurance information.

Profile Page

The trip history is the fun part out of all these buttons! It lists all the rides you have completed and shows the route you’ve taken to complete the ride along with the fare that you earned. Clicking on each map will give you additional details like exact pick up and drop-off, duration, distance, and total fare.

Trip History

Trip Details

When you’re done driving for the night/day, just click “Go Offline” and you back to being a regular citizen.

Actually “Driving” for Uber

Once you accept your first fair they’ll provide you with a location for your rider and give you the option to navigate to their location. Once you click on the navigate button it’ll switch you over to Google Maps and give you directions to their location. Uber also requires that you have a hands-free mount and will reimburse you up to $10 for the device. Furthermore, if you don’t have a smartphone to run the app, you can rent a iPhone from Uber for $10/month but the phone is locked where the only thing you can do is run the Uber app.

Once you get to the designated location you’ll click “Arrived” and your rider will be notified of your arrival. There is also a number provided for you to text/call your rider to let them know where they can find you or to check in on them if you don’t see them. The number isn’t their personal number but acts like an escrow account where you call the generic number and it’ll relay the message to them kinda like Craigslist’s anonymous system. Once you see your client, be sure to ask “Can I please get your name?” to ensure that it’s the correct person you’re suppose to pick-up. I actually had a guy try to steal some other dude’s Uber. The guy said “Are you my Uber?” and started opening the door and I said, “What’s your name?” and he responded with “Uhhhh, Joel?” so I go, “Sorry buddy, maybe next time, good-bye bitch!” but without the bitch part.

The most important part of the ride is making sure you click begin trip when your passengers get in the car and end trip when the ride is complete – this is how you get PAID after all! Once you end the ride, you’ll be given the opportunity to rate your rider from 1 to 5 stars and they’ll have the ability to do the same for you. The rating is actually quite important as you I’ve heard you need to maintain above a 4.7 or else Uber will deactivate your account.

Getting Paid!!

Of course the most frequent question is “How much do you get paid?!?!”

The Rate: $1.50 Base fare + $0.30 per minute plus $1.55 per mile

Uber also has additional incentives like where they’ll guarantee you’ll make $25/hr during busy times but you’ll have to meet certain requirements like a minimum of 2 trips and a 90% acceptance rate. Here’s what I mean:

Uber Guarantee

The work week ends on Monday at 4 AM Pacific Time and you’ll get paid on Thursday. Your pay stubs are easily accessible online and they are very clear and concise. At the end of the day, Uber takes 20% of your fares. Here’s one of my pay statements:

Weekly Summary

Driving for Uber has been a very fun experience so far and I’ve learned a lot more about the surrounding Portland area. It’s also greatly increased my knowledge of the streets and roads and fastest ways to get on a highway. I have no complaints so far and it truly is a perfect part-time job; wear whatever you want, work whenever you want, and the work itself is relaxing and stress-free. If you’re interested in becoming an Uber driver, don’t hesitate to contact me and use my referral code!!!


5 Important Life Lessons I learned from Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

D2 CoversOne of the fondest memories of my childhood is playing Diablo II and the expansion pack Lord of Destruction. I’m sure anybody who has played any MMO can relate and say they’ve made great friends through the game and you truly get lost in that wonderful world. I played this fantastic game starting from 5th grade all the way up to 10th grade and stopped after that, however, there are people still playing the game! The game consists of choosing a hero class and then leveling them up by killing monsters through five different “Acts” and ultimately defeating the 3 Prime Evils of Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal in Acts III, IV, and V, respectively. You get better items and skills as you progress up your levels (maximum is 99) and once you “finish” the game then you’re free to go back to any Acts and kill more monsters. It seems repetitive and I truly don’t understand why I did thousands of cow levels, Baal runs, and Magic Finding quests but I loved every minute of it. People might say that playing video games is a waste of time but I feel that if you enjoy the time you’re spending on anything then it’s not a waste of time FOR YOU. It might not be the most productive thing you could be doing but you have a limited amount of time on this earth so you might as well enjoy it! Of course this mind set changes tremendously when you grow up and have that horrible disease called responsibilities. The game also taught me many great lessons that I’ve applied to my everyday life and helped shape who I am today – I thought I would share my experience for shits and giggles.

Lesson #1 – If you want to be GREAT at something, you need to put in the TIME

I spent a considerable amount of time playing D2 which I will go into further detail in Lesson #5. Let’s just say that if I used that time to read the dictionary instead then I would be able to recite the entire English language either starting from A and going to Z or from Z and going to A. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME PLAYING DIABLO 2! With all the effort and time I put it, it definitely showed in my account, items, knowledge, and characters that I had. By the time I quit the game, I was quite wealthy in this virtual world. I was rich enough to get any item in the game and was giving away items that people would literally jump up and down IRL if they found it during Magic Finding. To compare it to real life, I wasn’t rich as a Warren Buffet or Bill Gates but more like an Elon Musk or Mark Cuban. However, I started playing the game like everyone else: a level 1 hero with the default items. I put in the time to become great by learning about the game, the mechanics, how to trade, how to barter, how to maximize Magic Finding, and the relationship between players. As the saying goes, “There is no shortcut to any place worth going”. If you want to be great at something, then put in the time and you’ll see the fruits of your labor.

Lesson #2 – NEVER give your password to ANYONE

D2 Login

In this age of technology, this might be more important than ever. I learned the hard way not to entrust your password to anyone. This happened perhaps during 7th grade and I had multiple accounts however my main account was the one I entrusted to a friend. He wanted to see what my characters had and play on my account for a little bit. Being the nice guy that I was, I said sure go ahead since I had other accounts I could play on. I trusted him but the problem was that he then told my password to his other friend who I barely knew. Next thing I know, that dude changed the password on my account and would not give it back to me. It was extremely infuriating and it still boils my blood when I think of that interaction. If that guy is reading this and you know who you are, YOU’RE A PIECE OF SHIT! I wish that you never plug in any USB device the right way on your first try and always have to flip it AND that you always feel like sneezing but never get the satisfaction of being able to sneeze! Never give your password to anyone, I don’t care if it’s your mom or if you’re telling it to your cat! DON’T GIVE YOUR PASSWORD TO ANYONE!!

Lesson #3 – There is ALWAYS a way to make MONEY doing something you LOVE

I first found out about people selling Diablo items on eBay shortly after I started playing and finding it was impossible to trade for an Ume’s Lament with my measly items and wanted to buy it from someone. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about buying something on eBay or even how bank accounts worked. Fast forward to freshmen year of high school and I was now quite rich in Diablo 2 and had a large surplus of items that people would actually PAY for. Logically, I researched how to sell items on eBay and had my dad/mom help me set up the account and I learned a lot about the financial world through this small endeavor. I also learned how to market my product and make an appealing website for potential buyers – the name of my store was Khangaldinho’s Arsenal haha… blame it on my youth for that goofy name 🙂 The first item I ever sold was a 160/60 armor that was very similar to the image below for $12!! That’s a lot of money IMO for a VIRTUAL item and to a 14 year old who has never made a dime.
DuskShroudI sold over 100 items on eBay and made enough money to buy my own soccer cleats! I will never forget the feeling I got when I was able to buy those shoes with MY OWN MONEY! THAT I EARNED ALL BY MYSELF! They were golden Nike Mercurial Vapors and I still have those shoes to this day. I learned that there is always a way to make money with something, you just have to be creative about it or sell it in a way nobody has thought of before.

Lesson #4 – Plan and gather as much information as you can before proceeding with any endeavor.

D2 CharactersThis is a lesson I learned from wanting to play different hero classes and didn’t want to trudge through finding/trading items as I leveled up. I was lucky to be in a position where I could fully furnish any character I wanted with just a few days of trading. For every new character I created, I did extensive research on what the best items, builds, skill sets, and attribute allocations were. I searched forums, talked to players in-game, and ultimately modified the build according to my own knowledge of the game. Therefore, as soon as my character was created and “rushed” I was able to hit the ground running and didn’t waste time learning how the character worked, I already had everything planned and figured out from the start. This lesson has transcended to my everyday life where I do extensive research and calculations before I begin any time consuming task or something that has any risk aspect.

Lesson #5 – Video games can be EXTREMELY ADDICTING

As I mentioned, I spent a lot of time playing Diablo 2. For example, in the summer time I would wake up around 9 AM and start playing Diablo with bathroom and food breaks in between and play up until 2 AM and then wake up again at 9 AM to repeat the pattern for the next 3 months. I didn’t know what “addicted” meant as a kid because I was having so much fun playing and I had a lot of friends that played as well. I mean I went to soccer practice and tournaments and played with my friends outside like a normal kid but the majority of my time was definitely spent playing Diablo. It got so bad that my dad actually took out my Diablo 2 disk and SNAPPED IT IN HALF! I got a little addicted to other games as well like Star Craft and DotA but nothing was comparable to the time I spent playing D2. Be very careful of getting attached to video games and be cognizant of how much time you’re spending on these things – you can very, very easily get lost in the virtual realm. I would relate it to being at a casino, you sit down for a few games at the start of the night and next thing you know it’s 5 AM! This is the reason I never played Diablo III after being a die hard D2 fan – I knew I couldn’t handle it.

As silly as it sounds, Diablo 2 shaped me into the person I am today – for better or worse. Either way, I would never hesitate to take the Soul Stone and penetrate it into my head again!

Here is a photo of where I spent a lot of time in Tristram – in the COW LEVEL!!
The_Cow_KingPhoto sources:
(Photos 1,2,4) Blizzard Entertainment
(Photo 3)
(Photo 5)