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Looking to make some extra cash in your free time? Many people are becoming Uber and Lyft drivers to make ends meet or if they just want to have some extra spending cash. Either way, these services offer opportunities that can put some money in your pocket. And the best part is you can make a dime on your own time and be your own boss. But with so many ride-sharing programs, which lane should you drive in? Uber and Lyft are the two most popular services in the US, so we’ll compare them against one other. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and read on, so you can decide which is a better fit for you.
- Driving With Lyft
- How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?
- Driving With Uber
- How Much Do Uber Driver-Partners Make?
- Hidden Costs
- Which Company is Better?
Lyft, founded in 2007, has been successfully getting riders from place to place since 2012. One perk that Lyft offers drivers is “Express Drive” that allows you to rent a car from them, thus cutting down on some of the hidden costs like car payments, insurance and maintenance. The cost is based on how often you drive and the more frequent, the less you pay. In fact, if you give 75 rides a week then you get a car for free! (Cue Oprah “you get a car, you get a car!”) But you will be paying $0.25/mile if driving for personal use but still a good deal considering alternatives. If you drive more frequently, you can qualify for their Accelerate program that has three levels of incentives for drivers including discounts on gas, cell phones, tax support, healthcare and retirement plans, roadside assistance and more.
Lyft states that drivers can make up to $35/hour driving your own car. (According to Glassdoor, drivers make an average of $20/hour but wages range from $8-$40.) A driver’s wage is determined by 80% of ride fees from your passengers. (So if you give a ride that costs $10 you get to keep $8.) So, if the minimum amount of money a Lyft driver can make per hour is $8 and the maximum is $35 and they work 40 hours/week, a Lyft driver’s salary can range from $16,640-$72,800. Get up to a $500 bonus if you use the link below to sign up.
More well known in the marketplace, Uber has been connecting drivers and riders since 2009 (Under the name UberCab). Since then they’ve quickly grown across the world with their ride request app and employ over 6,000 people. They also offer services like UberEats (learn more about driving for UberEATS) giving you more options than just driving people around (in case you are concerned about safety or are anti-social). We love that you have the option to get paid up to five times per day, with Instant Pay.
How much you make as an Uber driver-partner depends on the fare, which can vary based on several factors including the type of Uber service you provide (UberX, UberBlack, etc.), the time of ride and distance of the trip. Which city you drive in and if it’s during peak or off-peak hours (when increased pricing applies) also factor in to the cost of a ride. All rides have a base amount, so you’ll at least be guaranteed a little something even if you’re only going a short distance.
Uber may offer a sign on incentive, but that amount can vary based on your location and other factors. Use the link below to find your reward opportunity.
Uber vs Lyft Payouts
Lyft: The money you make is deposited into your bank account once a week. They offer express pay to get earnings prior to your weekly deposit, but it can still take a few hours or days depending on your bank’s processing time.
Uber: You can get paid instantly up to five times a day if you qualify (have had at least 25 rides under your belt – other conditions may apply).
The Hidden Costs of Driving with Uber & Lyft
Even though Uber & Lyft claim you’ll make the amount above, this doesn’t include all of your out of pocket expenses which include:
- Gas – There is no gas allowance from Uber or Lyft, so gas money spent to get to a rider or between rides will come out of your pocket. (Hint: don’t use the expensive gas if you don’t have to, and fill up at cheaper places when you can.) Or better yet, get a hybrid or car with higher gas mileage, so you’ll get more bang for your buck.
- Gas to and from picking up riders – For example if a driver goes three miles to pick up the rider, drives the rider five miles, then drives three miles back to the next rider – their real cost is 11 miles. However, the wage is based on the five miles the rider was in the vehicle instead of the 11 miles the trip was total for the driver. For that reason, drivers in larger cities often make more money because of more dense populations, so miles driven between riders is typically shorter.
- Perks – Some drivers offer water, hand sanitizer, candy and other items to riders to improve their customer service, but it’s not required.
- Phone and Data Plan – You must have a smartphone to drive (which can be upwards of $500) and a larger data plan to use the app to find riders, and GPS to get you to destinations.
- Other equipment – Including a phone holster for safety.
- Depreciation of Car Value – Driving with Lyft or Uber can add miles onto your vehicle depreciating it’s value.
Car payments, oil changes and ongoing maintenance are not listed above since you would be paying those regardless of whether or not you were a ride-sharing driver-partner, but you should still consider factoring those expenses into your total income (you also may be driving more frequently than normal, which could make these expenses higher).
Below are some reviews from driver-partners for Lyft (one good and one bad so you can get both perspectives).
Lyft Driver Reviews
Being a Ride-share driver has many great perks, one has to be good at navigating while talking to your passenger and not skipping an exit, because one can get wrapped up in good conversation. Know the cool spots and great food recommendations, an occasional night club or cafe recommendations are also good to know. Being sharp and proficient with knowing the grid system in Chicago is recommended. As a driver I enjoy the flexibility Lyft’s gives you to be able to log on to the platform to make money at what ever time of the day. -Current Driver in Chicago, Indeed 2/26/2015
I just started working for Lyft. It doesn’t seem possible to make a living or a profit when you consider time, gas, maintenance, car note and insurance. I was surprised to see what the customer pays and there is nothing extra if you have 4 people in your car. I contacted Lyft because I think you should make more if 2 or more people are in your car or get a gratuity. They responded that Lyft encourages socializing, wow at my expense? I had 4 young guys get in my car and I’m a woman and they hassled me wanting to play misogynistic rap in my car. They changed my music and keep wanting to turn the music up loud. I didn’t feel safe. I suggested that Lyft let you know when you have multiple riders for safety reasons. When I have contacted Lyft the response feels like it’s coming from a non experienced kid. I don’t feel like the driver’s safety is a priority. There doesn’t seem to be much respect for the driver. -Former Driver in Chicago, Indeed 1/2/2016
You don’t have to pick one because, as of the time of publishing, you can drive for both (and some drivers do). Feel free to give them each a try and see which you like best and/or switch between services depending on the time of day, demand, etc.
Take your foot off the break and get to driving! You can also learn more on this topic including how to become a Lyft driver, if you’re ready to sign up visit their websites (links above) to start earning today.
Do you drive for Lyft or Uber and if so are you happy with your earnings?