Cash Cab: This Uber Driver Makes A Quarter Million Dollars Per Year

by Sean Levinson

Gavin Escolar is a San Francisco Uber driver who makes over $250,000 a year.

That's because his car isn't just a car.

It's also his office and showroom.

The driver uses the vehicle to advertize his jewelry business and when he's not designing products for wealthy clients, he's recruiting Uber drivers to promote his products.

Escolar came to America from the Philippines to start a jewelry company, according to Forbes, and got a job with Uber to support himself.

He soon realized his passengers were genuinely curious about his life.

He told Forbes,

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.

So Escolar situated his jewelry all around the car, placing diamond earrings on the dashboard, catalogs in the seat pockets and brilliant bracelets on his wrists.

But he doesn't just start pitching once the passenger opens the door.

He says,

My passengers peel back the onion. I never solicit. I only keep subtle hints to spark conversation if they notice. If they don't, they probably wouldn't be my target customer anyway.

Escolar has become what is known as an Uberpreneur, and a spokeswoman for the ride-sharing service says it's glad to help lift a small business off the ground.

Kristin Carvell told Forbes,

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.

Escolar's communication tactics and beautiful designs resulted in an amazingly successful 2014.

He chauffeured more than 3,829 different people over 18 months, attaining ratings of 4.85/5.00 on the high-end Uber Black and 4.87/5.00 on the cheaper UberX.

His passengers range from executives to Vogue fashion editors to Silicon Valley investors, paying him an average of $18,000 a month for jewelry.

Combine that with the $3,000 he makes a month from Uber, and his yearly income amounts to $252,000.

This allowed Escolar to buy three cars and hire six new drivers, the best of which are promoted to Uber Black so they can meet more jewelry customers.

He said,

The best generals are always with their soldiers. That's why I drive at least eight hours every week. It keeps me up-to-date so I can tell my drivers where to pick up customers, which hours to drive and when big events are happening.

Among Escolar's long-term goals is buying a Tesla, which would provide a fitting backdrop for his creations.

Forbes calls him a "pioneer" of Uber's entrepreneurial opportunities.

It's an appropriate title considering it's only a matter of time before more aspiring business owners catch on to the fact that each passenger is a prospective customer.

Citations: How An Uber Driver Makes 252000 A Year (Forbes)