Gett, a new entrant in the on-demand car-hailing startup market, says it will start paying its drivers twice as much as one of its biggest competitors, Uber.
Starting Wednesday, the black car company, which is globally known as GetTaxi, will pay drivers $US0.70 per minute after tax and commission, and will give drivers 100% of customer tips — permanently.
Gett says its drivers earn $US500 when they switch from a competitor to drive for Gett, $US500 for completing their first 20 jobs, and $US500 for each driver they recruit for Gett.
Gett also gives its drivers training courses, tablets, and data for free. Comparatively, Uber drivers pay $US10 a week for data on the phones the company gives them.
One key difference between Gett and companies like Lyft and Uber is that Gett doesn’t provide a surcharge when its cars are in demand. Uber’s surge pricing and Lyft’s primetime pricing, which both increase the price of a ride during busy hours, have been a major grievance among passengers.
“Drivers are key to our business, they’re our partners and we want to improve their quality of life,” Gett CEO Ron Srebro said in a press release. “By paying them more, we optimise their time on the road so they can spend more time with their families. One of our drivers recently made $US390 in five hours on his very first day driving for Gett, and he was able to call it a day early and go home. Happier drivers make for happier Gett customers and improve everyone’s experience.”
It’s new to see a car service startup offer higher pay than a competitor as an incentive to attract drivers. Recently, car service startups have been competing to lower their fares. Uber announced a few weeks ago that it would indefinitely extend its discounted UberX fares in New York City, which makes Uber cheaper to take than a taxi. Uber says these discounted fares mean drivers will see an increase in client volume, which will offset the lower pay for drivers.
These discounts have been contested and protested by New York City Uber drivers, who say they’re making less money than before. Oris Fortuna, an Uber driver, told Business Insider at an Uber driver protest outside the company’s Queens, New York, offices last month: “Since Uber implemented the 20% off discount on all Uber rides, I’ve been losing $US200 a week. To make up for it, you have to work 20% more. That means more mileage and more gas. An $US8 trip is not worth it.”
Gett says its drivers who work a 40-hour week can earn a median income of more than $US100,000 a year — and that’s before factoring in tips. We’ve heard lofty claims like this before from Uber, and when we did the maths, we saw that the company’s estimates were slightly high. It will be interesting to see how much Gett drivers take home once the new $US0.70/minute policy is implemented.
Uber and Gett have butted heads before. In January, over a dozen Uber employees ordered and promptly cancelled over 100 Gett rides in New York City, a move that Uber said was “likely too aggressive a sales tactic.”
In August 2014, GetTaxi announced a $US25 million series D funding round. The company says it also expects to close a larger $US150 million Series D round of funding. The additional funding is being used to expand its New York City services, as well as in cities throughout Europe. Gett currently operates in 24 cities on three continents, including places like London, Tel Aviv, and Moscow.
Disclosure: Gett CMO Brooke Moreland is married to Business Insider’s Executive Editor Joe Weisenthal. Weisenthal does not take part in editorial questions relating to the car hailing industry.