Thanks Neal from Real Estate Network Northwest!
Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’
For nine years I fulfilled an obsession that began from childhood. I owned and operated a limousine service. To make a long story short, I subsidized and grew the business to a fleet of 8 vehicles, and had a mix of corporate accounts and music entertainment related clients. I closed the business in 2004 for multiple reasons, the main one being that costs to purchase/lease and insure, maintain, clean and store luxury vehicles is a very rich man’s tax write-off, at best.
I applauded a Company called Aces For Hire when they came up with a business model for towncars at taxi rates with realtime response by just making a phone call. They featured older vehicles and very casually dressed drivers, which we never allowed when we were in business. Our oldest cars were usually around 3-4 years. eventually, They had to increase rates in line with mainstream limousine businesses. So now you had a towncar service driven by artist types and alternative music people, at retail rates. Still cool though.
Today we have apps.
Which brings me to today’s subject – UberX. I use their app constantly. Why? At an average of $9-$11 per ride in Seattle for what I do, it is fully half of anything taxis charge and I can get the car to arrive usually within 2-3 minutes. There is no “flag drop” minimum when the car begins the trip and the final charge reflects recent pricing Uber has actually reduced, in hope of adding more and more customers.
But here’s the problem. Uber has doubled drivers cost to 20% of fare. It’s the commission Uber charges for use of the service. Uber also has a maximum vehicle age inorder to participate as a driver and does not cover gas, insurance, time, etc. These things add up very, very quickly.
That $10 ride is net $8 to driver BEFORE expenses. Additionally, when that driver drops me off there is little guarantee that another customer will be there to jump into vehicle, hence a potential deadhead (empty car using gas) to get back into an area where there might be actual business to be had.
That’s a lot of driving $8 fares to cover the basics of a car’s overhead.
As a “ride sharing” concept, this could work casually as a civic minded practice. You’re going somewhere, I’m heading that way, let me pay you a little to join you. Except this isn’t what’s happening, at least in Seattle. Many UberX drivers are former or current taxi drivers who went out and bought a Prius for this gig. Some are actual limousine businesses with a couple of cars marked for UberX use.
It’s not sustainable unless millions more plan to join Uber and there are a constant stream of customers located exactly where the last customer left off to rinse and repeat. It’s not sustainable when drivers are expected to wait until you decide to come downstairs for that $8 ride.
I suspect that scale of the UberX business is taking place to show crazy number of app downloads and customer use that will appeal to Wall Street when this Company goes public. But it’s being done on the backs of these poor drivers.
Simple math and hard costs. It’s common sense. The current pricing plan is amazing for customers right now, to the detriment of Uber’s real customer – the driver.
What if all of the earth’s ice melted? Here’s what Seattle would look like –
As a highly experienced Realtor with the requisite awards and classifications to show for it, I have found that at the end of the day, this is a referral based business. Relationships and reputation trump tech bells and whistles, each and every time.
I conduct business in markets where home owners and buyers know who their community real estate players are like they know sports teams and top field performers. If you are not in one of those places, an excellent street level and unscientific method is to see who’s names are consistently found on For Sale signs throughout the neighborhood. But make sure there is an occasional “In Escrow” or “Sold” banner on top of those posts, as you don’t want to see many listings that are simply not moving. This is especially true when seeking a Sellers (listing) agent.
For buyers, it’s a little more work, but your network is your first point of contact.. Once you have several names, the research is as simple as Google makes it. The best agents have a positive record of successful transactions, a strong online presence and always willing to refer you to the best fit if you are seeking a home in unfamiliar territory or type of property. The lakefront specialist may not be your condominium resource in the city, but the best, ethical and smart Realtor knows who is.
A word of advice if I may. While many Realtors understand the value of information and putting out as much as possible about their listings, you will want your own representation with the offer. It is the job of the listing agent to sell the features functions and benefits of what you are looking at – your own agent’s value is in the negotiation and truth of that information.
Do you need a real estate agent when you start looking for a house? What makes a good real estate agent? Is good relative to whether you are buying or selling?
From my new Kindle eBook Buying a House Using Apps, Maps and Location Based Services: (In case you weren’t aware, you don’t need to own a Kindle, you can download free software for your PC, tablet or mobile from Amazon.)
“I’m very harsh on real estate agents. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because of how they call every small house ‘charming’ and every run-down house a ‘great fixer-upper’. Just once, I’d like them to show me a house and declare, ‘This one’s a piece of crap’.” – Stephan Pastis
I recently wrote a review on a new iPad application from Auckland Realtor, Barfoot & Thompson. You can read the review here. The application comes…
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Honestly, I don’t know what’s up with the marketplace today. This video says everything. Noir’ish, jazzy, Pulp Fiction’ish, and a huge statement about the commodity of hiphop culture, as presented by the new Blues Brothers.
I love it.
Meet The Bad Tenants.
Proving yet again how It’s About The Content, Stupid – the ADD – All Def Digital channel has made moves this week with an exclusive video distribution deal with Seattle artist, Sonny Bonoho.
We’re watching how this plays out closely. Never known for being idle, Russell Simmons and Steve Rifkind have collaborated to meet the demands of new music Industry independance and experiment with this brave new world of record promotion.
They haven’t signed Sonny’s music. They signed his video.
Yes. His video.
This is a profound shift and one that needs to be studied.
And yes, Content is still King.
In the meantime; Seattle loves you Sonny Bonoho. Congratulations. Well deserved.
Clickthrough photo for video.
All I’m saying is that after waiting 20 years for something like the Macklemore phenom to happen, we need to consider reaching back to the next generation of hiphop artists in Seattle / Portland / Spokane / Salt Lake City / Boise onward who are doing real business.
I’m too Mr. Miyagi not to speak on it. And BTW, even if it’s 50% of the tour, there is a long list of qualified MC’s or contemporary, neo soul, R&B artists from the Great Northwest who can get the job done.
While pleased that Talib Kweli is on billing – I’m #JUSTSAYING …
Macklemore won’t mind the rant of an old music Has Been here anyway. #OKbye