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Stephen moh

Strategising my driving helps maximise my earnings

Veteran wedding cinematographer Stephen Moh, 38, who has been in the business for 12 years and is booked solid until 2017, shares why driving a GrabCar as a second job makes sense. 

“My advice to other part-time drivers such as myself: don’t drive hard, drive smart.”

After driving for a few months now since February, I can say that being a GrabCar driver has complemented my primary job as a wedding cinematographer very well. Besides the extra income I earn from driving a GrabCar on weekdays, I get a vehicle to drive around for my personal needs too.

The bonus that I receive from driving a GrabCar also goes towards savings for the family and occasionally, to buy items that we desire. For example, we go for three to four holidays a year and now, we can pick a better hotel. I’m definitely looking forward to our upcoming trips to Hong Kong and Boracay!

My rating now is 4.79 and I think it helps me make a better impression on my passengers. Of course, being friendly and courteous is the most important factor. Not only will this result in a good experience for the customers, it makes each ride more pleasant for me too.

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I’ve met many different kinds of people while driving a GrabCar, and almost all the encounters have been good experiences. There was once I felt like I made a positive difference when I helped to deliver some medication that a hotel guest had left behind. The reception manager made the booking, I picked it up and delivered it to the guest’s home. Payment was made by credit card so everything was smooth and easy.

Another time, I had the privilege of driving a pilot back home from the airport. He was friendly but not overly chatty as he was tired. To my surprise, at the end of the trip, he gave me a box of cookies that he had bought from Zurich. He told me, “I don’t have much to offer but please have these cookies. They are very good.” Indeed, they were delicious!

My advice to other part-time drivers such as myself: Don’t drive hard, drive smart.

Personally, strategising and planning my driving is important – so that I do not tire myself or suffer from burnout. One way is to drive with a partner. On weekdays, I take the morning shift from 5am to about 11am, which includes the peak hour from 6.30am to 10.00am. Then, after a short rest, I drive again from 2pm to 5pm, when my partner takes over just as the evening peak hour starts. In this way, we make sure we cover almost the whole day, including the morning and evening peak hours, which are important because drivers can earn extra incentives for driving a certain number of trips during these times.

I don’t drive on weekends as I have to fulfill my cinematography assignments, but my partner does. The both of us set a target for ourselves each week and we make it a point to hit it by Wednesday, so that a base amount of earnings is “in the bag”. The rest would be extra incentives. I earn about $800 to $1,000 per week from driving with Grab, after taking out commission fees, car rental and petrol costs.

Another tip that has worked for us is studying and identifying patterns in passenger behaviour. We have found that staying around the fringe housing estates and HDB heartlands work best for us in the morning around 7am. This is when many people, such as office workers and students, are in a rush to head to work or school and thus, are more likely to book a GrabCar.

Together, these strategies have also allowed us to work less for maximum gains.

– Mr. Stephen Moh, Wedding Cinematographer

 

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