Forbes ran a fascinating story last week about an “Uberpreneur,” who makes $250,000+ driving Ubers… with a twist.
The article is about Gavin, a Filipino immigration who drives Ubers, but makes most of his money selling jewelery to passengers:
His name is Gavin Escolar, a charismatic Filipino man with a laugh that’s even louder than his orange-and-red striped dress shirt. We’re cruising down Valencia street when I notice diamond earrings dangling on the dashboard. Around his wrist, an emerald bracelet gleams through the sunlight. In the seat pockets, glossy catalogs display more jewelry. The cover reads: Gavin Escolar’s 2014 Collection.
Then it hits me: I’m not in Gavin’s car. I’m in his mobile showroom. He’s not just an Uber driver. Nor is he just an entrepreneur. He’s an Uberpreneur, using the ridesharing app to promote his jewelry business.
“My passengers surprised me,” Gavin says, remembering his early days. “I thought they would be silent or on the phone. But most people wanted to talk. When I mentioned my jewelry, they asked for business cards, but I didn’t have any.” That’s when a light bulb went off in his mind: Why stop at business cards? Why not just show them my jewelry?
This is an interesting, because I would have assumed Uber would have a policy against drivers trying to sell other things to paying passengers. But it seems they actually support the idea:
“Absolutely,” Uber spokeswoman Kristin Carvell says. “One of the greatest things about the Uber platform is that it offers economic opportunity for a variety of drivers — full-time, part-time, veterans, teachers, artists, and students — in more than 260 cities around the world. Supporting and fueling the local economy is important to Uber and our driver partners help us to achieve this goal.”
How much is Gavin making with his business?
It’s these tactics that translate to sales. In the past year, Gavin designed many jewelry pieces for passengers, averaging $18,000 in transactions per month. Adding the $3,000 monthly gross earnings from Uber, he made $252,000 last year.
I think the key here is that Gavin seems to have tact with how he approaches this. Clearly he wouldn’t have such a high Uber rating and sell so much jewelery if he didn’t get “hints” from people. If he’s a nice guy and has a great product, I’m all for him being entrepreneurial. The good thing about Uber is that there’s an instant feedback loop, so if someone’s sales pitches are annoying, the person being driven can immediately provide that feedback through the app.
So I say kudos to Gavin for his creativity!
What do you think — is it okay for an Uber driver to try and sell paying passengers something, assuming it’s done with tact?