At present, there is no such protection. Rather, we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain.
- I had a girl pick me up in a brand-new Lexus. Daddy clearly bought it for her. She was quite clearly doing it until she got a big girl job. She didn't have to work, but she needed to pantomime working.
- I had a Hungarian dude pick me up in a Lyft-leased Nissan. He worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. He'd been inside sales until his wife died, Cedars-Sinai charged him $25k, and he lost his job, his house and his wife in the space of two months. Driving Lyft was the thing that got him out of sleeping in his Mercedes.
- I had a Seattle native pick me up in a Dodge Caravan he was making payments on. He worked 80 hours a week. His kids were grown, his wife didn't work and he had $1m in equity on a house in Pasadena he hadn't finished paying off.
- I've been picked up by probably a dozen? two dozen? former truck drivers.
The economics are fucking ghastly, and they're pretty complicated. Lyft will give you about 70% of your fares if your car is 2 years old or newer. If it's 3 or older, that number drops to about 60%. Many drivers are covering 800 miles a day around here, or about 50 miles an hour. My rides are generally around 45 minutes and generally cost me about $25 - that means you're grossing around $1800 a week in a newer car or $1600 a week in an older one. Grossing.
Gas around here is around $3 a gallon. Let's say you've got a prius getting around 50mpg. You're burning a gallon an hour for 80 hours a week, so you're spending $250 or so a week on gas, in a prius. You're down to $1550 a week or $1350 a week once you've cooked off gas.
You're probably paying more for insurance because the insurance companies don't like you driving for Lyft. You're maybe even buying your insurance through Lyft. I hear that's about an additional $200 a month. Let's say you have a perfect driving record and you aren't in the penal categories of being young or male or young and male. You're paying $350 a month or so on that Prius. $1465 a week or $1265 a week.
And let's be real - you're putting 4000 miles a week on that car. I was picked last August in a 2016 Honda with 198,000 miles on it. The hubs were shot but the driver didn't understand why his car growled everywhere anymore. You should be doing an oil change a week on the poor car, but you probably aren't. You should be doing the 30k, 60k and 90k services on the thing within the first six months. Shall we conservatively estimate you're $4k in maintenance over the year? We're at $1390 a week or $1190 a week.
And I mean, you're killing that car. Inside a year it's got 200,000 miles on it. KBB says your 2016 prius, in very good condition, is worth about $8500. You spent $24k on it. You're taking a $300 a month depreciation on that car. You're at $1100 a week or, if your car is older, you're just going to kill it. You'll need a new one pretty soon. Keep it up and you're at $900 a week.
For 80 hours a week.
You're effectively working two $28k a year jobs. You're making about $14 an hour before taxes.
Hey, at least you're your own boss, right? And nobody says you have to work that much. I've met those guys, too - retirees who are augmenting their pensions. The aforementioned girl in her new Lexus. Plenty to go 'round, right?
Lyft lost $130m last quarter. Uber lost $645m. Shit, Uber lost three.billion.dollars in 2016 paying out what I hear is the equivalent of about $11.50 an hour.
There's your gig economy. Venture capitalists paying so that immigrants can grind cars into metal shavings for inches above minimum wage.