My name is Olubunmi Isaac, 33-Years-Old and I drive Uber and Taxify for a living. I started around July 2017.
DANG: What made you start the Uber Business?
BUNMI: I left my job in 2016.I used to be a banker but I was constantly frustrated by my boss who had at some point asked me out and I declined. At every opportunity, he was piling up the queries (for no just cause) so I just figured; before I get a sack letter, it is best I just leave.
DANG: Did this boss ever ask you out?
BUNMI: At some point, he did. I got to job that faithful day and I saw another query and I said, “No, I’m not going to respond to this” and I tendered my resignation letter. I left the job just like that.
DANG: Did you ever think of reporting him?
BUNMI: I did not. The only alternative that came to my mind was just to leave the job. And I left that very morning. And that was it. For close to a year, I did nothing. I mean, I had worked non-stop for more than 7 years so I thought “okay, let me just take a chill. In 2017, I figured; ‘okay, I am done resting, time to start up something’. I contacted a few people that I know and told them I needed money to start up a business. No one was forthcoming. Then someone said; ‘Bunmi, instead of looking for money, why not sell your car and start up a business?’ I thought, instead of selling my car, why not use my car to make money? That was how I started driving for Uber and Taxify”
DANG: How profitable is Uber Driving?
BUNMI: On a good day, depending on how well and active you can work, I can make up to N25,000. The more I work, the more I earn. So, on a bad day, because there are times you turn on your app and you won’t get trips, I make an average of N5,000
DANG: So you can say right now that the business is going on well for you?
BUNMI: At the moment, yes. I needed money for my business, I can say to a great extent, I’m satisfied with the money I’ve saved so far. When I first started, I worked for like straight two months. Even on Sundays, Saturdays, public holidays, I’m on the road.
DANG: What sort of business do you plan to do with the savings you make?
BUNMI: I’m into cosmetics right now, learning to install semi-permanent eyelashes at the moment. I’m also running a delivery company with my car. As time goes on, once I get steady clients, I’ll buy a motorcycle then get someone who will run errands with me.
DANG: I’m sure driving Uber would have taught you some life lessons?
BUNMI: I have learned to respect everyone most importantly. Let me tell you a story: There is a particular day I picked up a lady, at some point, I told her to help me lock the door and she was like “yes ma’am”. Obviously, she might be older than me and she was so courteous and I’m like “Wow”. Then she smiled and told me a story of how a close friend of hers took a taxi, he was going to a company to secure a contract. So, the guy was in the taxi and was talking to someone. The taxi man could hear his conversation and then immediately he ended the call, the taxi man asked him that “are you going to (name withheld) company, what do you need there?”
The rider almost insulted him like “what do you know? Your job is to drive”. But something just told him to keep quiet and listen to what he had to say. So, he told the driver what he was going to do at the company. The driver said “Oh! I actually know the head of the company. He is my younger brother” The passenger got the contract from that company after he was introduced.
The lady told me, that has really taught her that you don’t look down on people, you must respect them the same way you respect yourself. Even up to your gateman, you don’t know who they are.
Driving Uber has taught me to have a listening ear, to respect people because you never know who you’re carrying in the car, who they are now and who they can become in future
DANG: What reactions do you get when people see that you’re a female driving Uber/Taxify
BUNMI: When people see that it’s a girl driving, some of them just cancel the trip. Women and men but more from women. I’ve actually picked someone that requested up to 5 times, about the 5th time, she gave up during the drive, she told me, she is not comfortable with a female Uber driver. So I asked her, ‘Are you aware that females drive uber all around the world? Even in Dubai?’ She said, “Well, that’s outside Nigeria”. I mean, I’ve picked up someone who said he was not comfortable with me driving him and so he would like to drive.
We still have a long way to go in Nigeria. There is a lot of sexism. A lot
DANG: No regrets?
BUNMI: I am glad I defied the odds and took a bold step, I’ll always be proud of myself for that.