Driving with Lyft vs Uber in 2018: Which Lane Should You Drive In?

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Highway at night: Driving for Uber vs LyftLooking 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.

Article Overview

Making Money From Lyft

Lyft logo

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.



  • 60% of riders leave an additional tip, and you get to keep the entire amount
  • Get a free car (or rent one inexpensively) from them to save on your costs
  • VIP rewards for frequent drivers
  • Lyft has what they call Prime Time, which is peak hours where you can make even more money
  • If rider cancels within a period of time, you still get paid (as they incur a penalty)
  • Lyft takes 20 to 25% commission

How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?

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.

Click Here to Apply to Become a Lyft Driver | Learn More About Driving For Lyft

Driving With Uber

Uber logo

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.



  • Use Instant Pay to get paid up to five times per day
  • Other driving options including delivery services of food and items (not just transporting people)
  • Riders can tip on top of their fee for exceptional service
  • Not paid for all canceled trips

How Much Do Uber Driver-Partners Make?

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.

Sign Up To Drive With Uber

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).

Driver Testimonials

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

Is It Better to Drive with Uber or Lyft?

Become a Lyft Driver | Become an Uber Driver-Partner

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?

Kimberly is always up for an adventure. She’s used to living out of a suitcase and travels consistently. Her first time out of the country was to Thailand, where she spent 4 1/2 months traveling throughout southeast Asia. Kimberly enjoys exploring new places and diving into new cultures. While Kimberly isn’t traveling you can find her trying a new recipe in the kitchen, spending time outside or just lounging at home.

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I’m surprised nobody mentioned the bonuses that Uber gives for driving a certain number of rides in a given amount of days, at least in Los Angeles. They range from $75.00 to over $100.00, and you can go for two bonuses per week, one during the week, and one on the weekend.These bonuses are a big difference in the weekly paycheck.They do happen to entail quite a lot of hours behind the wheel.So, more hours more money, yet also more risk from the dangers of being on the road, and more wear on your car.
Sadie Cornelius (Admin)
Thanks for letting us know!
Edward Smith
I would say that in driving for both part time, You make far more money than with Uber. Lyft has much more high demand areas in which you can make 25-100% more. With Uber the pay is so low, like 3.20 a ride, it’s not worth putting both on unless your getting no hits whatsoever. Also, with the tips, Uber hides them on a small line, and nobody see’s them. Witk lyft, tip options pop up right away with boxes to check 2, 5, 10, other. Lyft is more strict with driving styles, but it’s not worth your time just driving for uber
They both suck. I drove for Uber. When you factor in the cost of Gas, replacing brakes, Tires, the depreciation of your car, taxes, and the ridiculous percent that Uber/Lyft takes out, you’re working for 5 bucks an hour. I drove for 4 hours down town San Diego last Fri, picked up 7 people and only made $45 the entire night. The biggest problem I have if that you’re not paid for driving (to) your pickup location. And the minuets displayed are never accurate, It will say you’re 3 mins away when it takes you 15 or 20. The app also doesn’t always show you that you’re going to be going in the opposite direction.
Before I excepted the trip, it showed me that my pickup was ahead of me. When I clicked accept I got a U turn indicator telling me to go back. The people that run this CO are rats. That’s why the CEO stepped down, he’s on the run lol – Because he’s being sued for being the rat that he is and all the other a$$holes that work for Uber. I also got screwed out of a payment for a trip. The rider entered the wrong info into his app intentionally. Another story to tell. Uber won’t reimburse it.
Uber’s reputation has really taken a hit the past couple of months. I wonder what will happen to them. I guess it might be best to sign up for both services and run them side by side, just in case Uber’s business hits the fan. Seems like no one wants to support them anymore.
vard warnock
Lyft / Uber drivers can also add income by selling carsickness product viban eyewear. The company sells it at a discount to the driver and the driver has a captive audience that can resell it to the passenger. Save a demo pair for the rider to try and sell them one when it works! Simple and a way to squeeze more dollars per day to counteract fare cuts! V. Warnock Jacksonville, FL
Gary E
I just heard on the radio that Lyft is offering a “tip” option for riders. As a rider, I’ve only ever used Uber. But now that I’m thinking about driving, it seems like being a driver for Lyft could lead to a lot more money with the tipping option. I wonder if Uber will roll out this option soon?
Danny W
I can confirm that you can tip with Uber now. But I’m not sure what the Uber tipping etiquette is? I’ve been getting an option to tip $1, $3 or $5. I’ve just been going with the $3 option.
Maybe taxis aren’t overpriced after all.
I heard recently that Uber dropped its rate for customers and thus the payout for drivers will go down. More reason to drive for Lyft (plus they don’t take $1 a ride like Uber does). I don’t drink and am always driving my friends home fro bars, so figured this might be a good way to earn a little extra income while doing something I already enjoy doing (helping people get home safely).