Time for an earnings update.
My earnings floor — the lowest take-home pay I can expect — is increasing from the record lows of the winter. In other words, it’s rare this time of year to see a shift that doesn’t net me at least $100. In the winter I had sub $100 shifts much more often.
The ceiling seems to hover around $250, with occasional exceptions like Bay to Breakers Sunday — the most recent high outlier on the chart.
Unfortunately, earnings don’t ‘feel’ as high as they did last summer. Indeed, recent earnings seem clustered around $150, compared to a large cluster around $200 last summer. Two obvious reasons: gate fee increase and fuel cost increases, both costs are borne directly by cab drivers. Other potential reasons: tourist activity has yet to reach peak, major SF events and street fairs happen later in summer, I work less lucrative shifts than last summer.
My take-home shift average still hovers around $170.10* since I started driving July 2007. My median take-home pay (the middle amount of all shifts worked) is $176.
When I started last summer it was at the peak of the high earnings season. Plus, I worked the rather lucrative Saturday and Sunday day shifts (when compared to lower earning Monday and Tuesday shifts I added). I thought these seasonal and day of the week changes would give an artificially inflated view of my earnings, so I also computed take-home average for 2008 only, which starts at the low-point of the season and includes the lower earning Monday and Tuesdays.
I guessed the 2008 year-to-date (YTD) average and median take-home would be significantly less, but I was surprised at the outcome. 2008 YTD average is $168.54 and 2008 YTD median is $170. Both figures are surprisingly close to my all-time average.
*I do not subtract money spent on food during my shifts. This is important so that my variable food spending (which can range from $0 to $20 during a shift) doesn’t affect the outcome and so that I don’t have an odd monetary incentive to not eat (in order to inflate my take-home pay statistics). But, the reality for most drivers is that ‘food costs’ are a real expense, subtracted from take-home cash pay. So, any other cab drivers reading this, be sure to add back in your food costs to compare your earnings to mine.