ST. GEORGE — A St. George woman may have found the ultimate side hustle and hobby.
Syndi Potter, a single-mother of four, is a real estate agent in Washington County who recently partnered with Uber to have fun and make money on the side, driving on her own time and toward her own goals.
“I’ve always had three or more sources of income to be honest,” Potter said. “I love the possibility to expose the ability to make money ‘for fun.’ Some people make crafts and sell them on the side. Well, that’s not me.”
Uber, a ride-hailing giant generating a multibillion dollar revenue, is an app-based service that enables customers to book drivers who use their own cars. Uber drivers — known as partner-drivers — use the company on their own terms, choosing their own schedule and being their own boss.
“It is a hobby and not a priority,” Potter said of her side gig, “but I do take it serious and ensure good customer service.”
Female drivers for the ride-ordering company are somewhat rare. Women made up 19 percent of Uber drivers in the United States at the end of 2015, according to Uber.
So, passengers are often in for a surprise when they see a Mercedes roll up with Potter behind the wheel to take them to their destination.
“I have a clean Mercedes, usually playing The Beach Boys,” Potter said, “so I try and make the experience fun for me as the driver and my passengers.”
With her interest piqued by the idea of meeting new people and talking to passengers, Potter said she started driving for Uber for something to do on the weekends.
“I decided that driving for Uber on the weekends might be the most fun out there,” Potter said, noting that she typically drives one to three evenings per week.
But, she said, she’s not in it for the money.
“The money covers my son’s lunch money, so it isn’t an income to live off,” Potter said. “Maybe if someone drove full-time they could make lunch and dinner money, but no way could someone have a mortgage and four kids and have a comfortable lifestyle only driving for Uber.”
Potter, who grew up in St. George, said she most frequently drives people who are vacationing in the St. George area.
As a realtor for Bill Potter Realty, which was started by her father more than 25 years ago, Potter said she typically ends up talking real estate with passengers during the car ride, something she said she loves.
Oftentimes, Potter will turn on the Uber app to pick up clients when she’s doing research for her real estate company or when she’s already headed to a certain part of town.
Potter said she has had humorous experiences as an Uber driver but, so far, no scary experiences.
“I’m surprised at how many people assume being an Uber driver can be dangerous. My middle name is ‘danger,’” Potter jokingly said, “so I love it.”
According to Uber, more women are joining the app-based service due to the increased comfort people have with the trust-based peer-to-peer economy, especially when transactions are cashless, diminishing the potential for theft – a draw for people looking to not get robbed on the job.
One drawback Potter found is that her car insurance went up because she drives for Uber.
On the flipside, those who drive for Uber are considered self-employed independent contractors, meaning many of the expenses incurred are tax deductible.
That can include mileage or the actual expenses of operating your vehicle for business, which might include a portion of the driver’s car loan or lease payment, vehicle depreciation, gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance, cellphone bills and car washes, among other things.
Whether it be in real estate, Uber driving or another one of her side hustles, Potter said she wants to be an active contributor to the St. George economy, noting that she feels St. George is a safe, economically strong city to invest and do business in.
“All investors of our community should be saluted, as it is a labor of love, risk, sleepless nights, hours away from family and huge rewards,” Potter said.
As for Uber driving, Potter said: “So far, I’m having a hot blast!”
About the Labor Day job series
Labor Day invites us to give “tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” according to the Labor Department.
St. George News brings this series of stories on Labor Day to recognize workers whose contributions may go unnoticed, who may be less visible to the general public than others and to unpack some of what goes into everyday jobs performed by everyday people in our communities.
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