posted 3.13.17 by Theresa Cobb

Well, I did it.  I upgraded my 2006 Ford Taurus Uberx/Lyft car, (with 259,000+ miles), to a Lyft Plus/Uber XL mid-size luxury SUV. After sitting around, stewing over my nightly, weekly and monthly rideshare stats, running numbers and fussing for 5 months, I finally broke down, (me, not the Taurus).

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t make a move without a plan. It may appear to those on the outside like I made a sudden decision, but I assure you, I thought about this move long and hard. In fact, I absolutely drove Loverboy Larry crazy with my lists, crumpled up papers and graph-covered whiteboard, computer and my little 50 cent composition books - for a full 6 months.

Let me explain, I wanted, no, I needed to make the most informed decision I could make. I hate debt and I didn’t want to get into a position that I shoulda, woulda, coulda regret at any time in the future. It’s one thing to tell future drivers how much money you can make driving for Uber & Lyft on your own schedule. It’s another to step up, put your head in the proverbial lion’s mouth and prove it.

So, I researched the car I wanted. I checked with Lyft and Uber to see what was acceptable for XL and any additional future upgrades. I Made a list of SUVs I liked and, like a nerdy geek, I researched the heck outta each one on my list.

Meanwhile, I kept track of every current expense I could attribute to my newfound self-employment, and made a list of future expenses that would accompany a “new to me” vehicle. I checked with my insurance man to make sure I had all the correct figures for regular full coverage and inquired about future “rideshare insurance” coverage. If I got a new vehicle, I wanted to be sure my self-employment could easily support any finance payments, insurance, maintenance and repairs that might crop up.

I was aiming to adult the crap outta this decision.

Using Intuit Quickbooks for self-employed, I kept track of my Uber & Lyft income on a daily basis for 3 months. I studied graph after graph. I kept track of the # of hours, # of miles & markets I drove. I even broke down my day into 4 groups -  morning, afternoon, evening and midnight.   

After I determined what I could comfortably afford, on a separate sheet of notebook paper, I made another list of everything I wanted on the vehicle. I listed every demand, (yes, demand) including, year, make, color, bells & whistles, mileage, warranty and my dream payment (with plenty of wiggle room for negotiation). I felt like a bank robber making demands for hostages in exchange for a getaway car.

When I finished, the list was a full notebook sheet of paper long, written in pen and very specific on 31 separate points. It got me quite a few “that lady’s crazy” looks from everyone I showed it to, including Loverboy Larry. With this information in hand, I began looking around for car dealerships.

It was September when I approached 5 or 6 sale people, in person, and, on the phone, with my well-worn list. Everyone had their doubts & objections to any and, sometimes, all points on my list. Some “go getter” sales people would try to change my list or even attempt to talk me out of it entirely, presenting me with an alternative vehicle - nothing close to what I was looking for.  :: Insert eye rolling emoji here::

Finally, in October, 1 salesman agreed to at least listen to all my demands. Honestly, I think he was just bored at the moment that I contacted him. He began by asking questions about why I was so specific about each item and clarifyied all my demands. We discussed Uber, Lyft, what I’m was doing, what my goals were for the future, and, at the end of our conversation, promised to “keep an eye out” for what I wanted. I pretty much figured that was it. He was just humoring me.

A call came at the beginning of February. He had a car. No, not just A car. He had THE car. He assured me it met every point on my “bank robber hostage demand list” and then some. I was skeptical. The only time I heard from any of the other sales people I had contacted was when they wanted to present a different vehicle, or one “close enough”, to what I wanted.

So, Loverboy Larry and I went to see this magnificent find. I looked it over, drove it, asked questions, studied the financing and warranty information he offered up and sat deep in thought for 5 minutes staring real hard at the vehicle parked outside the showroom window not 20 feet away, a beautiful, shiny, Dark Grey/Metallic Black 2013 Chevrolet Traverse that seats 8 including the driver. 

“We’re gonna get a new car today, aren’t we,” whispered Loverboy Larry when Dave the Salesman went to make copies of our income statements.

“Weeeeell,… it’s exactly… what I’ve been… loooooooking for,” I whispered back, slowly, thoughtfully, rubbing my chin.

“I knew it when you hung up the phone. Come on, sign the papers. Let’s go home.”

Ahhhh! C’est l’amour

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