Uber driver, house cleaner and cat groomer among those feeling pinch of high gas prices

·2 min read
Monybany Dau says he likes driving for Uber — but may stop doing it if gas prices don't fall. (Submitted by Monybany Dau - image credit)
Monybany Dau says he likes driving for Uber — but may stop doing it if gas prices don't fall. (Submitted by Monybany Dau - image credit)

In a 10-hour day, Uber driver Monybany Dau can typically make about $150.

The problem is, these days a full tank of gas costs him about $120.

"There's no saving at all, nothing," said Dau, who lives in Red Deer and drives in both Calgary and Edmonton.

Dau likes the gig itself: he loves to drive and to meet new people. But if the price of gas doesn't fall soon, he isn't sure he'll keep doing it.

"It's beyond frustration," he said.

Amid record-high gas prices, nearly everyone is feeling the pinch at the pumps these days. But Calgarians whose businesses require driving say they're being squeezed extra hard.

'Hate to pass it on' to clients

Submitted by Tamara Wrigley
Submitted by Tamara Wrigley

Tamara Wrigley is a mobile cat groomer who often drives about 600 kilometres a week to visit the homes of various clients. It used to cost about $45 to fill the tank of her compact Kia, but the price has now risen to about $85.

It adds up quickly.

"I hate to pass it along to my clients if I don't have to, but if it stays like this for too long, I will end up having to raise my prices," said Wrigley, owner of The Calm Cat.

Submitted by Sandra Principalli
Submitted by Sandra Principalli

Sandra Principalli is also facing that dilemma. She owns The Grocery Link, a business that offers a grocery delivery and unpacking service for a flat fee.

She's started giving her drivers a small fuel allowance but hasn't raised her prices — at least not yet. She's worried about the service becoming out of reach for seniors and people with disabilities.

"We're trying to make sure that we're not changing anything … until we get to the point where we absolutely have to," she said.

Submitted by Nicole Malcomson
Submitted by Nicole Malcomson

Nicole Malcomson is also trying not to raise prices across the board, at least for now. She's considered other creative solutions, like getting rid of her cleaning company's van and moving to an electric or hybrid fleet.

Malcomson has also tried to arrange the schedule to avoid sending cleaners all over the city on the same day, and has started to avoid taking on new clients who are too far away.

"I'm going to have to limit the growth of my business because of the gas prices, basically," said Malcomson, who owns Two Peas Cleaning Company Inc. with her sister.


Malcomson and the other business owners say they're waiting to see what happens next — but hoping prices start to fall soon.

As for Dau, he starts a new contract job in human resources this week, and if all goes well, may leave Uber altogether.

"I didn't want to give up Uber," he said. "I wanted to have a bit of my side gig, and do my job and my career.… But things are getting out of hand."

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