Being an introvert makes it very difficult for me to try out new things and get out of my comfort zone. A while ago, I decided to try driving for an Uber-like app called InDriver. It’s an app where you sign up and submit your info to become a driver and you start picking up people from point A to B.
It’s so unlike me to do something like this knowing that I already had a full time job that paid me enough to go hangout or just rest. Even so, here I am putting myself in a situation where all my education and experiences don’t matter.
In this article, I will talk about my experience as a driver and what I learned on a personal and professional level. Before starting, I would like to say that I respect all drivers (either taxis or apps) and that I will be sharing through this article what I could see from my personal perspective.
First of all, driving for an app under Moroccan law falls in the gray area. Some drivers even get caught by taxi drivers who take competition personally and bring the police into it. Another risk was the kinds of people you pick up, there is a possibility that they are carrying something illegal (eg. drugs ) or have intentions of hurting you in some way.
I was aware of all those risks before starting, but I did it anyway. The old me would have never.
Taking risks is a very important skill for every aspiring entrepreneur and if you are not brave by nature, you’ll have to learn it. Fear is the main thing that keeps most people inline inside the box, it even stops them from thinking creatively. Fear is also usually behind the decision of delaying the starting of a new business.
Starting a conversation
When I first started, I used to just do my job of picking people from point A to B without saying a thing, unless they start the conversation. After getting used to having strangers in the car, I began to start conversations with them.
Surprisingly, the vast majority of people I met were cool people. They happily exchanged with me over a variety of subjects. I was afraid at the beginning that they might be rude to me or I might be seen as rude but none of that happened.
During ones career, starting a conversation is something that can stand as an obstacle between them and a life-changing opportunity. It can be as simple as asking a question, then a follow up question and then you introduce yourself etc... People love it when you are interested in them.
When driving people around, some people will think that you are working for them. They’ll start arguing with you about being late or they might cancel the ride 5 minutes after you get to their destination. They really test your patience.
In all cases, what worked was listening to the complaint and asking them questions about their frustration while also keeping a smiling face.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, you must prepare for the worst when dealing with clients and should learn how to manage conflict. Sometimes people are just having a bad day, they need someone to listen to them and why not make them feel better about themselves.
Was it profitable ?
Technically, it was, but at what cost ?
Every kilometer of driving costs 1Dhs. You need to work at least 3-4 hours to make 100Dhs. So let’s say you fill your car with 100Dhs worth of gas, you’ll need 4 hours to get your money back and you’ll keep driving after that to make profit. The profit margin is around 60%, meaning you’ll make 150dhs of profit out of a 100dhs.
The hidden cost resides in the following :
- you must wash your car more often
- your car will get overused and you’ll approach the oil changing date faster
- it takes too much time to make little profit
Conclusion: it’s only profitable if you are going to a destination regardless of having a passenger or not.
It was a very life changing experience and I tried to share with you what I learned during that time. I encourage everyone who wants to make a change in their lives to go somewhere where no one knows them and do it. Examples :
- ask for a 10% discount at a coffee shop for no reason.
- start a conversation with a stranger while waiting for your order
- ask the small business of your neighborhood if they need a website
I hope this article added value to you in some way. Please share it with your friends if it can add value to them as well. Thank you for your time.