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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 earn some extra spending cash. 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
- Driver Testimonials
- Which Company Is Better?
Lyft, founded in 2007, has been successfully getting riders from place to place since 2012. One of Lyft’s driver perks is “Express Drive,” which allows you to rent a car from it, thus cutting down on some of the hidden costs like car payments, insurance and maintenance. How often you drive determines the cost — 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!”). You must pay $0.25/mile when driving for personal use, but it’s still a good deal considering the alternatives. If you drive more frequently, you can qualify for its 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.
Drivers’ wages are 75% to 80% of ride fees from your passengers. According to Glassdoor, drivers make an average of $15/hour, but base pay ranges from $5-$40. (Glassdoor also reports an annual income average of $32,000.) Get up to a $200 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 Uber has quickly grown across the world with its ride request app and now employs over 6,000 people.
Uber also offers services like Uber Eats, giving you more options than just driving people around (in case you’re concerned about safety or are anti-social). We love that you can choose to get paid up to five times per day through 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 into 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: Lyft allows you to cash out your earnings any day of the week. Its Express Pay feature also lets you get paid instantly (up to 5 times/day) — as long as you’ve earned at least $5.
Uber: You can get paid instantly up to five times a day if you qualify (requires at least 25 rides under your belt, and 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 comes 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.
- 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. You’ll also need GPS to get to destinations.
- Other equipment – Including a phone holster for safety.
- Depreciation of Car Value – Driving with Lyft or Uber can add miles on your vehicle and depreciate its value.
Car payments, oil changes and ongoing maintenance are not listed above since you would be paying those regardless of being a 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
I highly recommend driving for Lyft. The app is easy to use and you can drive whenever you want, making Lyft one of the best employers you could ask for. It has been a great experience for me, and a fun way to meet new people and make some extra money. – Current Driver in Atlanta, Indeed 12/08/2018
Lyft isn’t a bad thing. But, too many drivers (competition). Not enough passengers. The compensation is weak. The company gets more pay than the drivers, yet the drivers are the ones doing the work. App doesn’t work all the time, and the maps are often off by quite a bit. Also, the app only tells you where to pick up…but… Doesn’t let you know where your [sic] going until you have the passenger and your [sic] on your way. We should have a choice in the matter. – Current Driver Howell/Brighton MI, Indeed 1/17/2019
You don’t have to pick one because 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. Learn more about how to become a Lyft driver. Take your foot off the break and get to driving.
Do you drive for Lyft or Uber? Are you happy with your earnings?
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