Month: June 2017

Tinker, Beater, Uber, Spy

Uber driver
Tinker, Beater, Uber, Spy: Would you use your personal car as a livery?

Crowdsourcing is a fickle thing. As more companies arise to fill in gaps by providing job sourcing opportunities, many people are finding ways to make a few extra dollars by using the things they already have — cars, apartments, technical skills, and so on. However, for some users, the crowdsourcing economy simply asks for too much.

AirBnB asks you to open your home to strangers. Likewise, ridesharing companies (Uber, Lyft, etc) ask you to open your car to strangers. This raises a lot more questions than answers: is it a good idea to use your everyday car as a livery? What does that mean for your insurance? And if you’re not willing to use your car as a livery, would you pick up a car specifically to use for ridesharing? Is it even possible to find a cheap car that will fit their standards?

In order to find the answers to some of these questions, we asked around. First, we went around our office and asked everyone if they would drive for a crowdsourcing app. The results were as varied, diverse, and colorful as the personalities that make up our dysfunctional little family. Unsurprisingly, almost no one was game to do it with their daily drivers — James being the most vehement detractor, going on a 15 minute long diatribe about why he wouldn’t let drunk people into his completely immaculate 3 Series BMW. However, the people of Surfwrench think outside the box, and almost all of them said they would try it — if it wasn’t their daily driver.

Secondly, we asked people on various points of the internet such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. This yielded more diverse answers. Mostly, people thought that it would be impossible to find a vehicle that would fit the parameters and be clean enough to pass a ridesharing company’s inspection. That sounded a lot like a challenge, so we put a few interns on looking at cars that could be picked up on the cheap — repaired, cleaned, put on the road, and pass an inspection for less than $2000. That was a rough shake, but they actually pulled it off!

More on that later.

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