[Fellow blogger Harry Campbell shares what it’s like to be a Lyft and Uber driver today – including how much it pays. Sounds kinda legit!]
I’ve always been good at making money. But not just any kind of money, I seem to attract jobs that pay well, are laid back and don’t require a whole lot of work. That should sound like the perfect recipe to J Money’s nation of side hustlers out there.
Even with my day job as an engineer, I somehow got assigned into the long flow division where projects are measured in months instead of days or even hours. And now that I know I have this power, I’m always looking for fun and innovative ways to make money.
First Off, What The Heck Is An Uber And A Lyft?
It’s conceivable that you may not have ever heard of Lyft, but Uber too? Come on now people, Uber is an $18 billion dollar company and its also one of the fastest growing tech companies in the US. Lyft isn’t far behind but it’s definitely the baby brother in the rideshare family. Both companies actually started off in San Francisco as a cashless way to hail a ride with your smart phone.
I used to abhor taking taxis because they often tried to screw you, were pretty disgustingly messy and they didn’t accept credit cards. Lyft and Uber are pretty much the complete opposite of that and the coolest part is that a lot of the drivers are ordinary people like you and I. Over the past year, rideshare as its known in the industry has exploded. There are now tens of thousands of drivers across the country and many people including yours truly, refuse to take cabs now.
I Started Off As A Passenger
I started off taking Uber and Lyft as a passenger. The companies were (and still are) doing tons of promotions so I don’t think I paid for a ride for at least 3-4 months. During one of my rides, the driver actually told me that since Lyft was new to Orange County he was getting paid $30/hr whether he gave rides or not. All he had to do was sit at home with the driver app on and wait for requests to come in.
Say no more, I applied the very next day. That promo for drivers actually ended before I got going but I started driving for Lyft during my free time anyways and I loved it. The money was good, but for me I really enjoyed meeting new people from different walks of life, networking and just doing something totally different.
I eventually signed up for Uber too (since they paid me $500 for one ride!) and now I drive for both companies on weekends or whenever it’s busy out. That Uber sign-up promotion has since ended but new Lyft drivers can still earn up to $150 after just 20 rides using my referral code.
How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make? What About Uber?
One of the first things people always ask me when I tell them that I drive for Lyft and Uber is, “So how much money do you make?” Whoa, that’s kind of personal I always say to myself, maybe I should try countering with, “How much money do you make at your job?”.
So just how much can you make with Lyft or Uber? Either way, I don’t have a problem telling people that I generally aim for $30-$40/hr but I’d say the average is closer to $20/hr. And now that I have a lot of experience driving and blogging, I also created on online training course for drivers called Maximum Ridesharing Profits. Sales from that are pretty strong and it’s become a pretty good side hustle.
The nice thing for me is that I don’t need the money from this job so I’m able to cherry pick the best hours. I primarily drive weekends and holidays since that’s when you’ll make the best money and meet the most interesting people.
Trust me too when I say that I’ve met some interesting people driving for Lyft and Uber. I’ve given rides to B-List celebrities, models, foreigners, teenagers, couples uninhibited by PDA rules, athletes and drunk people. Lots and lots of drunk people. But the funny thing is, I’m now over a few hundred rides between Lyft and Uber and I haven’t had one bad experience. I’ve had some weird ones for sure but every ride has been pretty unique and I never felt scared, uncomfortable or even unhappy.
Correlation Between Effort and Pay
One of the reasons why I think being a rideshare driver is the ultimate side hustle is because there is a direct correlation between how hard you work & how many hours you put in and how much money you’ll make. If I put in 10 extra hours a week at my day job, my boss will give me a nice pat on the butt. But with rideshare, you have a lot of control over how much money you make.
If I blow a bunch of money at the bars with my friends one night, you can bet that I’ll be out rideshare driving the next night to make up for my horrible decisions of the night prior. A lot of passengers assume that rideshare drivers do this full time but I’d say about half are like me doing it just part time.
The Most Flexible ‘Job’ Ever
The last thing that I love about rideshare is the flexibility. I can flip into driver mode whenever I want, take a 2 hour lunch break or go home if things are slow. How many other jobs that pay this well offer flexibility like that? At the end of the day, I’m my own boss and I get to decide how much or how little effort I put into things.
I’m not limited to one platform either. When I drive, I leverage both Uber and Lyft so that whatever request comes in first, I take that one and turn off the other until I’m ready for another ride. This really comes in handy during weekends and holidays when Uber is on surge pricing.
Uber’s pricing model is based on supply and demand so when there are more passenger requests than available drivers, the pricing goes up. I’ve seen it go as high as 13x but normal surge is in the 1.25-3x range. I primarily drive during this time since that’s when you can really make the big bucks as a driver. On the morning of July 4th, I gave a 20 min. ride that earned me $68 dollars (surge was at 3x).
Is There A Downside?
Based off what I’ve told you so far, I bet there are already some people thinking about quitting their jobs right now and applying to drive with Lyft and Uber. But not so fast, there are definitely some drawbacks to being a rideshare driver. Since this is such a new and innovative form of technology, there is still a lot of uncertainty with what the future holds.
I think the future looks good for Uber (recently valued at $18 billion) and Lyft but there are lots of ongoing issues with insurance, permits and driver pay. In fact, over the past year the war between Uber and Lyft has really gained momentum with each company trying to poach each other’s drivers and continual fare cuts.
It’s now cheaper than ever to take a Lyft or Uber as a passenger, but that also means that drivers are making less than ever. I don’t think driving full time would be something that I would ever enjoy but I’m also the type of guy that likes to work about 5-6 hours a day and call it quits.
UPDATE: Here are some cons that were thrown out by commenters since this post went live. Be sure to check out the comments if you’re considering being a driver as Harry did a good job of answers most of them below:
- Safety concerns as a woman (especially at night)
- You’ll get hit on a lot more as a woman (apparently, from what Harry says ;))
- Wear and tear on your car
- You have to pay for your own gas
- Have to pay for tolls/etc
Other things to consider:
- You need a 2004 or newer car
- And a smart phone
- You go through a background check
- You need a *clean* driving record (ie no DUI’s!)
- Your car goes through a 20 pt inspection from a licensed mechanic
- Passengers have the ability to rate drivers, so the bad ones get flushed out of the system
- Uber drivers need to maintain 4.6 and Lyft need to maintain 4.5
- Paid 1099 so you own your own biz and are allowed to write off mileage at 56.5 cents/mile!
- There are lots of ways to make money in the sharing economy. You can also make money delivering food (Post Mates), renting out your car (Relay Rides), or even renting out your house/apt (Airbnb)
Becoming A Lyft Or Uber Driver: The Takeaway
Ultimately, you’re not going to get rich off rideshare driving but you can make some decent side income. I consider it an integral part of my secondary income portfolio and I actually enjoyed it so much that I started a blog and podcast for rideshare drivers at The Rideshare Guy.
If you’re interested in becoming a driver or learning more about rideshare in general I encourage you to check out the site or follow me on Twitter or Facebook for all of the latest industry news and trends. My Maximum Ridesharing Profits course is also a great resource that will help give you a really strong start. It has advice for both beginner and advanced drivers.
And if you need a little incentive to give it a try, Lyft is currently offering a sign-on bonus of up to $150 for new drivers for cities all across the country and Uber is also offering a bonus of up to $150 for new drivers too. So try one out and let us know how it goes!
What do you think? Sound like something you’d be interested in doing?
Harry Campbell is an aerospace engineer and online entrepreneur. He runs a personal finance blog at Your PF Pro and his latest project is a blog and podcast for rideshare drivers at The Rideshare Guy
[Liked this? Check out our entire list of 50 0ther ways to make side money!]
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Wow. I never thought that someone could earn approximately $30/hr in Uber or Lyft. Being rideshare driver, I think the hour you work really matters. If you’re determined to work beyond 8 hours, you will get the financial stability earlier than expected. How interesting that is!
Hey Jayson, $30/hr is what I strive for, but I’d say $20/hr is more realistic if you’re driving during semi-busy times. In the past you could pretty much log on at any time of the day in a major city and make $20-$30/hr but with recent ‘temporary’ fare cuts that’s made it a little tougher. Still, it’s a very flexible gig and great side income.
I’ve read that Uber eats the difference when they do the fare cuts. This isn’t true?
Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
I did 8 hrs saturday 8:00 pm to 4:00 am i make $160 and another day Friday to 7:30 am – 3:30 am 8 hrs $125 it’s not real life! U spend gas , bridge and tax!
San Francisco – CA downtown
Interesting and a great idea! I’m sure there’s demand for drivers where I live (Boston), but not sure I could stomach the idea of intentionally picking up strangers. Maybe if my husband and I drove together, but not sure I’d feel safe doing it on my own. I do, however, have a sweet 18-yr-old minivan, so I have a lot of cargo potential…
Oh yea Boston is huge, lots of people like to drink there I guess?! Haha. There are definitely lots of women who drive for Lyft and Uber but you have to have the right personality for it. If you drive late nights, you will get hit on as a woman, or even a man haha but you just have to laugh it off.
I reckon it could get a bit dicey driving late as a woman.. so sad that it even has to be a thought in our world :(
Great post. I’ve had deep conversations with Uber and Lyft drivers. My preference when I leave Newark airport after a trip is to turn on my Uber app and request a ride. It’s so much faster then waiting in line at the taxi stand and it’s actually $10 cheaper than the taxi fare. One time an Uber driver shared with me he made close to $3000 in one week but he did say he worked like 18 hour days. It was worth it though he was able to pay off the remainder of his debt.
I take it as a passenger almost as much as I drive haha! But yea the convenience is huge in my book, add in the lower cost and you have a game changer. Pay has slowed down a bit as more and more drivers have signed up but there is definitely still some opportunity out there. I’ve met drivers who were quitting their high five figure jobs to drive for Uber and Lyft last year!
I used to work at Newark and *hated* the cab scene! If only this was around 10 years ago :) (Crazy about $3k in one week too – that’s some hustlin’ right there!)
Wow! now that’s something my husband would love to do seeing how he’s working about 16 hour days now making on avg $10 hr take home. thanks for sharing this info. Jason!
My wife thought I should do that, but then realized the hours I would have to work don’t jive with having 2 kids and wanting to actually get a little sleep (bars close really late here). Plus I would rather not put that much wear and tear on my car.
Hey Brian, you definitely make the most driving late nights but you can also make a ton during holidays and during special events. Over the July 4 weekend, I only drove 10 hours (over 3 days) and averaged close to $40-$50/hr because demand was so high. The best part about it was that I still got to enjoy the holiday with my friends and family.
You could probably work just on July 4 alone with Uber and make $1,000 if you don’t mind driving all day :)
thanks so much for this info def. passing along to my husband.
I’ve been hearing more and more about Lyft and Uber, and I really don’t think they’re for me. We don’t live in an area that would utilize it, but if we did maybe it would be a nice way to make some extra cash. We do have zipcars at the hotel I work at because we have a lot of airline crews that stay there. But, the crews pay a “subscription” fee to have access to drive their own zipcars and then pay a fee whenever they actually go somewhere. It’s not really a good deal, but maybe Lyft or Uber would be better for them.
Driving definitely isn’t for everyone but I’m pretty excited about the whole sharing economy in general. Zipcar is just a part of that. Imagine a world where it is cheaper to take Uber and Lyft around than owning/driving your own car. For those times when you do need to rent a car, you can try Zipcar or a similar service.
There is a really cool new service called Relay Rides (https://relayrides.com/) that actually lets you rent out other people’s cars or you can rent out your own car. Stuff like this is just the tip of what rideshare and the sharing economy are going to bring.
That’s awesome!! I bet the people would line up to take a spin in FrankenCaddy, haha…
Ride Share Guy,
I have not taken one of these services yet but I plan to next time I need a ride. I always hear that the cars are clean compared to traditional cabs. My question is, if you drive your own car, is there a requirement to keep it clean and not smelly? What about safety standards of cars? Can anyone with four wheels just sign up and start driving, regardless of interior cleanliness or fragrance?
Hey RBD, I think you’ll love them. They are much cleaner mainly because the drivers own their own cars so they have an incentive to keep them clean and smelling good. Lyft/Uber both require a 20 pt safety inspection before you start driving and you need to have a clean driving record and pass a standard background/security check.
There is also a rating system for both passengers and drivers. Lyft drivers need to maintain a 4.5 star rating (out of 5) and Uber drivers need to maintain a 4.6 or they will be deactivated.
Wear and tear on my car would be my biggest issue. Also assuming you are paying for your gas, so that’s eating into your wage as well.
Hey Brian, yea there is definitely some wear and tear on your car and you do have to pay for gas but surprisingly you don’t drive a ton of miles per hour. You also get paid a lot more for miles than minutes so longer rides are actually beneficial to drivers.
I didn’t really talk about it but as a driver you also get a very generous 56.5 cents/mile deduction. For more economical cars, that will cover gas, wear and tear and then some. Oh the joys of owning your own business and taking the mileage deduction :)
That was gonna be one of my questions to ya too – thx for covering it man (and for writing the post and answering everyone’s questions!)
Regarding the mileage thing….yes, you do get a deduction BUT…if the standard deduction is more than .56 cents, it would be better to take the standard deduction…you can’t take both…you either do a long form deduction and itemize or you do short form with standard deduction…can’t have your cake and eat it too!
The standard deduction has nothing to do with the mileage deduction. The mileage deduction is subtracted from your business earnings as an expense. The standard deduction is measured vs itemized deductions on your adjusted gross income, including your self employment earnings.
@Omaha Greg– yes you are correct. The mileage deduction would go on your schedule C for most sole proprietors and single member LLC’s.
It has nothing to do with your standard deduction ….The only other thing to take into account is that you would be considered self employed so instead of paying 7.65% on your FICA taxes, you would be responsible for 15.3% FICA (your employer normally pays 7.65% and you as the employee pay the other 7.65%. But when you are self employed, you have to pay the whole 15.3% FICA tax).
You also have to pay federal, state, and local taxes on your self employment income. Just make sure you consider your gross income vs your net income (gross income minus expenses like gas, car washes, wear & tear equals net income).
any other company beside the uber and lyft? i go de activated by both???
Alright, I’m sold. I’ve been thinking about signing up to be a driver for a few months now, so I guess it’s time to give it a go. Especially if Newark airport is such a popular pick-up spot.
Hey Mel, I honestly recommend it to anyone that is outgoing, likes to meet new people and looking to make some extra money. Airport runs definitely make you a lot of money since passengers tend to be going further distances. And if you hate it, you can just quit – it’s really no obligation :)
Wow, I’m surprised you can make so much as a driver. Every time I’ve used an Uber I’ve paid like $20 for a thirty minute drive. With downtime and Uber taking their cut, I can’t imagine drivers making more than $20 an hour BEFORE things like gas, maintenance, etc. Plus, all the cars I’ve Ubered in have been SUPER NICE, so there’s also the time they much spend cleaning and the like.
I believe right now Uber is doing a 25% summer sale and they are making up the difference in pay, so if you pay $7.50 the driver is actually receiving $10. But you are right, most of the time you aren’t going to make $30-$40/hr driving during normal times, the average is closer to $15-$20/hr.
Since I work full time though, I primarily drive during nights, holidays and special events when the prices are surging. For example, I drove for 5 hours the morning of July 4 and every single ride was at 3.0x so I made 3x on every ride. I stopped around 2 or 3 pm but prices went up to 5.0x for a few hours that night!
You are correct; no one is coming close to that type of net cash. $20/hr please! Uber advertises that the “tip” is included in the fare and let me tell you that the only thing included is a tip to Uber that is deducted from the driver ($1/fare) so the more rides you do (aka harder you work) the more they tax you… kinda like the IRS. Great concept – terrible execution. When drunk idiots can thrash your rating and you lose your ability to drive what’s the point? When your making net only a measly minimum wage at best for taking on the risk of the roads, what’s the point?
I’ve had a Dr driving me before. Between clients she would sit in a parking lot and do actual Dr work!
Haha wow that’s awesome! I actually make more driving for Uber/Lyft with all the tax deductions than I do working extra hours at my day job as an engineer :) One of my wife’s classmates (she’s an MS2) just started driving for Lyft to make some money inbetween studying.
Wow – interesting, Harry!! Thanks for sharing! I’d be interested too to hear if your wage includes gas money spent, etc. We have larger cars, so maybe this would not be a beneficial side hustle for us?
No it doesn’t include gas, but I rarely drive more than 20-30 miles in an hour. And if you are driving a lot of miles per hour that is actually better since you get paid a lot more per mile than you do per minute. As long as your car is 2004 or newer you should be good to go!
My grandpa keeps trying to pressure me into opening an Uber franchise where we live. I think this is pretty hilarious haha.
Ok you know Uber is getting pretty big when your grandpa knows about it!
The good thing is that you haven’t had one bad experience! And obviously, you really do love what you are doing! Thanks for sharing this one Harry. :)
Yea it’s definitely more fun than I ever expected. Love meeting new people and hearing their stories.
I had a friend who contemplated signing up as a driver for her side hustle, but we both agreed and feared that as a woman driver (and the fact that your pick up knows a woman driver is on the way) you probably expose yourself to too many risks driving strangers around, especially at night. I am a little freaked out as a passenger to be honest. I am just used to the highly regulated system of NYC cab drivers, so riding in personal cars just seems odd to me.
There are definitely more male drivers than females but the numbers are evening out. I feel way safer in an Uber/Lyft than I do in a cab though, everyone is so friendly. I’m sure there are a couple bad apples out there but there’s risk just walking down the street that you might meet some weirdo.
My concerns are the same as Shannon’s. I’ve REALLY wanted to try driving for Lyft and/or Uber cause it just seems like such a cool thing to do and I actually enjoy driving. But I’ve just been wary because as a girl alone in the car with a stranger, it just seems like more could go wrong. I’m sure 99.99% are great people & I’d love to network and get to know them. I just don’t want to take the chance that I end up giving a ride to the 0.01% and end up being toast… you know? Just a scary thought. But it still seems like an awesome side hustle!
Yea it’s definitely different for me as a man since I don’t have to worry about that at all. But I think the type of people that take Uber/Lyft and drive for them are pretty awesome. I literally haven’t had one bad experience as a pax or driver in hundreds of rides.
You definitely have to have the right personality as a female to drive because you will get hit on more, messed with, etc if you’re driving a bunch of drunks around. But most of the girls I know that drive don’t mind the attention or just laugh it off.
In this situation, the concern of danger is pretty much equal for a male and a female based on the position of the driver in front versus the passenger in back. The driver will always be at a disadvantage and find it harder to defend their self from an attack. Having said that, the concept is very interesting and it does make for a decent paying side hustle!
Attacked? Haha, just to be clear I haven’t heard of any drivers getting attacked in the millions of rides that have happened over the past few years :) But I know what you mean.
I love this concept. It makes me wonder what the next disruption of a long time business model is coming. I think satellite and cable TV will soon disappear giving way to streaming tv built on a a la carte model.
Lyft & Uber are in our area and we see people jumping in and out all the time.
Hey Lance, when they told me that airport runs aren’t ‘technically’ allowed by the government but you can still do them I was sold! I love disruptive technologies like this that take an existing industry and flip them on their head. Cabs have gotten away with providing crappy service and experience for so long it was only a matter of time before something like this popped up.
I literally pay $100 for the right to watch sports right now, I don’t care about any other channels haha.
This is the first time it’s been explained to me and it definitely sounds tempting! Of course, I’m also concerned with being a woman driver, but I’m close to LAX, so I could potentially make some decent money. It can go towards paying off debt, especially since there’s like zero overtime at my job right now. I might look into it.
Personally, I think the fear is mainly coming from people who haven’t tried it. I suggest you join one of the many rideshare facebook groups and ask women there what it’s like. You could definitely make some good money doing airport runs from LAX although there is a little risk with that right now: http://therideshareguy.com/what-are-the-real-risks-of-doing-airport-runs-with-lyft-and-uber/
Big fan of Uber when we are out for the night, makes things simple and enjoy the vehicles and everything being included in the app. The price surging is the only thing that I dislike but I see it happening with more and more applications across different spectrum’s.
As a passenger, I hate when prices are surging but as a driver, I love it haha. Either way, it’s all about supply and demand which an economist will tell you is how the world should be. #Efficiency
This would be an awesome part time job for college students. Do they do background checks on your driving record?
Yes of course, you have to have a clean driving record. I believe the minimum age was just lowered to 21 for Uber and 22 for Lyft. Sidecar (a smaller rideshare company) allows 18 and older to drive though.
Awesome side hustle. I took my first Lyft rides last month and met 3 personable drivers each with their own story on why they drive. One guy explained he could make $250 in a night when it was busy. Another guy said he just did it a couple hours before work in the morning and a couple hours after work in the evening to earn more money.
Wow that’s awesome, yea talking to passengers is one of my favorite parts about the job. Get paid to drive and talk, I’ll take it!
So much misinformation in this post. The Uber rates have been cut in half. Sometimes a driver will need 20 min or more for a ride that he gets $3.20 for BEFORE expenses. The number this author and drivers throw out there do not consider all the costs. Gasoline, deferred maintenance, self-employment tax, income tax, vehicles depreciate much faster. This is a minimum wage job. Be careful before you consider this job. It is NO a good one.
You’re right, rates were ‘temporarily’ cut 20% a few weeks ago to increase ridership. But for those like me who use this as a side income, we just scale back on our hours and find busy times to drive until rates go back up. I made $20-$25/hr this past weekend during Labor Day so that’s right in line with my averages.
I think you are missing the point of this whole post, it’s a side hustle. I would never rely on one source of income that is so dependent on someone else/something out of my control. I work for myself and you should too :)
Also, the drivers are operating without business insurance. That is a huge unseen cost that is helping to create the Uber billionaires. Harry, your assets are at complete risk if a customer sues you. There are more issues than just an accident. When you are moving around looking for your next ride your are completely under-insured.
My assets are at risk when I drive to the store to get a cup of coffee. Does that mean I shouldn’t ever drive? No one is forcing you to work, if you’re not getting paid enough, do something else.
They recently launched here and my partner loves driving so I’ve floated it to him! Our car is over 10 years old though so we would need to replace our car first.
Ah that’s awesome, I think it’s going to be huge once it starts reaching other countries because cab drivers are even worse outside of the US haha!
Just don’t buy a new car just to try out a hustle ;) Though, if you knew it was a goldmine that hustle could certainly pay for the car in itself! That would be pretty sweet.
Very cool! Thanks for sharing, Harry!
You think people would want to get in the back of my 98 Civic sans A/C? :)
Np Ben, well with Sidecar you can actually lower your fare multiplier to make price the most attractive part about your ride haha :)
I guess there’s always someone willing to sweat it out to save money. Hmm FinCon seems like the perfect place for that haha
Harry, I think this is awesome. I downloaded a $30 first ride coupon with Uber and am trying to find the perfect time to try it out =) Good job on your side hustle!
Nice! Yea lots of free rides to go around :) How about on your way to the airport for FinCon?!
HAH! A conference full of people who like to save money – they’d all be used up by then ;)
I just used Lyft for the first time last week and it was great. I got like THREE promo codes for being an early adopter in NYC so the ride to the airport cost half of what it usually would. It was actually cofounded by a kid I used to go to high school with.
Nice! Yea Uber/Lyft love to give out a ton of free rides when they go into a new city.
Great time to be a passenger too.
That’s pretty cool you went to school with that kid! If you still stay in touch I smell an interview on your blog ;)
Funny thing, I was just looking into uber/lyft as a driver and found your rideshare blog the other day. I like the flexibility and making extra money. I probably can’t do it since I have a car seat in the back…among other reasons. I do live in NYC so there is a lot of demand. Although I’ve heard that after tolls, gas, maintenance, time (especially with NYC traffic), plus the fee that the company takes, it’s not always worth it. But if it’s something that you just do on the side while you’re driving anyway it makes sense. I’m curious as to whether you know where the rider wants to go…what if it’s somewhere very inconvenient and would take you far from where you want to be?
Nice, that’s awesome! I’ve heard NYC drivers are in high demand right now so maybe you can get a nice sign-up bonus too. It really depends on how much you drive/when you drive. If you do it full time then you’re not going to make a ton, especially with all of the recent fare cuts. But if you do it part time, you can really cherry pick your hours like I do.
With Lyft and Uber, you have no idea where the rider wants to go but the avg ride is about 3-5 miles I’d say. Out of every 50-75 rides, I’ll get a long one 30-45 miles. But you actually make more with these than a bunch of short rides since there isn’t any down time.
An interesting review of a very unique side-hustle. I too like that what you make is directly correlated to how much you work, that is a nice “benefit” of the job. Like you said, if I put in extra time at my FT job I get nothing and sometimes not even a “good job” or “thanks”. I don’t think this is a feasible idea for me since I live in a very rural area, but if I lived in larger place I might consider it.
Yea even in Orange County, which is a smaller market compared to LA and SF I can’t just drive whenever I want and make good money. In LA, I can turn on the app pretty much any time and it’s pretty busy it feels like.
Pretty cool details on what it’s like to be a driver for Uber or Lyft! I dislike driving very much and I will try to not drive as much as possible so it’s not a good side job for me.
Yea if you don’t like driving, I don’t recommend this one for ya. But there are other cool ways to make money in the sharing economy like Relay Rides. Rent out your car to strangers :)
It’s an interesting and cool business idea, and one that brings forth a nice way for people to make side income. I could see this working well for someone trying to pay off student debt, get extra money between jobs, etc. Always good to have options!
Yea it’s really not something I’d ever want to do full time but as a side gig, it is pretty awesome!
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.
This sounds like a really sweet side job. I am wondering, however, how insurance works? Do you just have normal insurance on your car? What happens if you were to get in an accident while “on the job”? I’m quite sure your personal insurance doesn’t cover that. I’d also be wondering how liability works when you no longer have to worry about just yourself and another car, but a passenger that is a client.
Lyft and Uber provide primary insurance coverage after you’ve accepted a ride or are with a passenger so no worries there. And there is $1million liability during this time with no deductible, there is a $500 with Lyft and $1,000 with Uber collision deductible though.
The only thing they’re still arguing about is the insurance gap period when you’re waiting for a request (so logged on to the app but no passenger). Lyft and Uber say personal insurance should cover that and personal insurance says Lyft and Uber should cover that. In this case, Lyft/Uber provide excess insurance still so your personal insurance is primary. But I suspect Lyft and Uber will eventually lose this fight and have to be primary during this time too (there is a bill in the senate right now that is dealing with this – AB 2293).
Here’s a podcast I did on rideshare insurance btw if you’d like to know more: http://www.therideshareguy.com/episode2
Thanks for clarifying the insurance question. I was wondering how that worked.
Do you have to purchase any extra insurance for Uber or Lyft? I know here in Germany they are having a dispute because drivers don’t have the license or insurance that a taxi company would have to have.
No you don’t have to purchase anything extra but Lyft/Uber do and I’m sure that cost is then passed on to drivers/riders indirectly :)
I had been wondering what the pay was like for Uber/Lyft drivers. I have enough freetime, so I had been considering something like this for a side hustle. Although, I think I would rather drive a newer car =)
Thanks for the info!
Yea I def wouldn’t buy a car for this hustle but if you already have one you can definitely make some nice side cash..
This is great stuff, and really awesome the country is supper Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB you mentioned. The services have really allowed people to make more money and utilize idol time.
We’re all pretty excited here in SF about the prospects of Uber and AirBnB going public within the next couple years. I think it’s going to really boost property values at the very least. The only problem is transportation infrastructure as things get really crowded.
The best way to make money off of Uber and Lyft is to be an INVESTOR! Uber is now at $18 billion vs. just $3.5 billion in 2013.
Yea everyone seems to be winning which is a good thing in my book. I don’t think Uber/Lyft are eliminating riders off the road quite yet but I think that’s where the future of rideshare is headed – just look at UberPool and Lyft Line.
Not sure I want to invest in Uber now that they’re already valued at 18 bn but there are definitely some companies that are going to be pretty successful. Lmk if you want to invest in my site – now officially the biggest rideshare blog and podcast for drivers :)
Is it really man? That’s awesome – congrats! Def. smart to move in and capture early and as you’re super passionate about it. I’ll take 5% of your company, please :)
The 2004 car requirement kills it for me. I live fairly close to the Denver airport (15mins) which would be perfect since downtown and the airport are pretty far apart which would be good for earning. I wonder if I could buy a used 2004 that passes inspection and still make it work. May main job is only busy September-January and I could work Xmas no problem.
I don’t know if it’d be worth it to buy a car specifically for this and I think Uber’s official policy is 2006 although you can slip in with a 2004 like I did here and there.
My husband just started driving Lyft and honestly so far the money has been disappointing. 10h45mins driving (total of 300 miles there and back, obviously not all with passengers in the car) for $140 is barely worth it once you factor in gas/car expenses + taxes. One thing I don’t understand though- often the miles he does x 56c (IRS mileage) is more than the money he makes. Does that mean his whole income that day was tax deducted? I don’t really understand. I think this can be a pretty good side hustle, especially taking advantage of holidays and busy days (weekends), but don’t know how people could ever make a full time living off this. Especially since they seem to keep lowering the prices. And Lyft’s ‘earn the 20% bonus’ thing is a bit of a slap in the face considering there was no commission for so long… I just hope prices start going up again soon! I also think the most lucrative part of doing Lyft is being a mentor. That way you don’t rack up miles on the car and you get paid more!
I agree – it’s prob best as a side hustle than it is a full-time gig. Unless you can figure out a way to work the system more and be incredibly efficient!
Thanks for sharing your story, I definitely agree with you that rideshare is probably better as a side hustle but there are plenty of people that are making it work as a full time gig. Personally, I think you lose a lot of the flexibility and high pay that makes driving great though when you have to do it full time.
$140 is pretty low though for driving 11 hours, are you in a smaller market? At that point, it probably isn’t worth it to drive during those times. I’ve got lots of strategies on my site that will help you work smarter, not harder. My last podcast is all about referring new Lyft passengers since you get $10 cash a pop. I am 100% sure you could use the tips in my podcast to get 14 pax referrals working 11 hours!! http://www.therideshareguy.com/episode6
And to answer your question: if you make $150 and drive 300 miles during that time, yes you would report a loss for that day. Most cars don’t come close to 56.5 cents to operate so the mileage deduction is actually a good thing. If I make $20/hr and drive around 20 miles per hour that would give me a deduction of just over $10 so I would only have to pay taxes on the remaining amount ($9 or so)
Hey man, uber driver here since April. Not sure if this was addressed but it seems that we don’t have to pay tolls anymore. Recently took the 73 to Dana Point and the toll was reflected in my pay statement. Not sure how they knew the price of the toll but it was there
That’s cool, maybe Uber uses GPS to track drivers and they know if you go on any toll roads. That seems kind of sophisticated for them but if it works, awesome. I did a Lyft ride a few months ago and took a pax down the 73, e-mailed Lyft a screenshot of the toll receipt and they re-imbursed me.
I work for an insurance company and a con is definitely that your insurance may not cover you while you are driving for these services. I know my employer won’t I’m not sure about others…
That’s not true. Lyft/Uber both provide primary insurance when you are en route to a pax or have a pax in the car (and secondary insurance when the app is on, but no pax) so you don’t even need your personal insurance during that time. Some insurance companies won’t cover the gap period when the app is on but no pax but there are many who do (State farm, metlife, etc)
FYI, I know a lot of the female drivers out there were wondering what it’s like. I actually added a cool new female contributor, dubbed The Rideshare Chick and I think she’ll be able to answer a lot of your questions better than I can :) Enjoy.
Awesome! And smart.
Can anyone tell me from this ad which company is best to work for Uber, lyft or sidecar?
I prefer Lyft but tend to get more rides with Uber.
Thank you so much for sharing. this was really informational and useful! Thank you! :)
In order to drive for both lyft AND uber do you need 2 cell phones? Or is the one enough? My lyft driver told me I needed a different phone for each company you drive for…
Uber provides an iphone for you to use if you so choose. The fee for that is $10/week or you could have them download the app for you…provided that your data plan can muster it. It averages about 2 gigs/month.
You can definitely run both apps on one phone but I do recommend a newer smartphone.
why the persecuted DUI offenders get the stiff arm. Some just made a mistake not like we are irresponsible nor criminals.
Thanks for all this excellent information, Harry! I’m a high school teacher and have been contemplating driving for Uber during my summer break. Can you help me with what I can write off my taxes? I know I can write off mileage, but can I also write off gas or oil changes or tires or anything else? I’m also a little concerned for my car’s well-being because I just bought a brand new Accord and it’s the nicest car I’ve ever had – learther seats, beautiful paint, etc. Should I be worried about what might happend to it with drunk and careless people in the car? Thanks again for this info. I really appreciate it.
There is a std deduction for mileage at 57.5 cents per mile that includes all of that. I’ve got lots of tax resources on my site: http://therideshareguy.com/all-of-your-2014-rideshare-tax-questions-answered-a-turbotax-giveaway/
Maybe your car would qualify for Uberplus/select if it’s real nice? Otherwise, yes you do have to take into consideration how riders will treat your car… Generally it’s not a problem but shit does happen :)
I work at Denver airport and was considering signing up to be a driver for Uber and Lyft so I could turn on the apps when I’mbabout to leave for home. Is it possible to do this? Can I choose a rider based on where they need a ride from and where they need to go?
Lyft is testing a feature called destination filter in a few cities that will do just that but for now, no you can’t.
I just got approved to drive with Lyft, I did apply to Uber, but I have not heard from them as yet. I haven’t made any money as yet and, that is because I have another job. I intend to work the Fredreicksburg and DC area. My question is do the drivers get harassed by cops and do we need to have any special licenses or certifications. Do we have to hang out by the pink spots or can we be at other locations with our drive mode on the phones.
I’m currently driving for Uber, now weekends is not that good as it used to be. It seems to me that weekdays are better now. Maybe too many drivers on the weekend and less during weekdays?
Yea we’ve definitely seen a lot more drivers/weekend warriors coming out and weekends aren’t what they used to be. Start experimenting with different areas/times/etc – I know drivers are having success with early am airport runs for example. No traffic, not a lot of drivers out, etc.
I started driving for Lyft on Monday and it isn’t so bad. My major down fall is knowing the area. I don’t know the area, so when I accept a ride it takes me a little longer that it would someone who knows the area. I am looking forward to my first pay check to decide if its worth it. This is my second job and I am also a part time student. So if this is going to take too much of my time and I can’t see any benefit in it I will have to move on.
There you go, hustler!
You never know until you try, right? I bet you make BANK this weekend over 4th of July if you’ll be out there hitting the streets…
Love your name too, btw – that’s pretty bad ass.
Navigation is surprisingly the number one reason for low ratings. I suggest just getting a sense of top landmarks and practicing navigation (google maps navi, etc) in your down time. Sounds strange but works well and really really helps.
Thanks that navigation got me low ratings and canned once my cell battery was low and the device gave inaccurate turn info some passengers snile in your face then give low ratings next thing you know you are de activated
Hey, do you just use your trip history to calculate mileage reimbursement?
My hourly average is much lower. I’ve gone during the peak hours to pick up the parties in Dallas, but still not making over $20/ hr on a regular basis. Where do you drive? Any suggestions on tactics would be great!
No I calculate mileage independently, I’ve got resources on my site that will help with that actually: http://therideshareguy.com/day-5-what-are-the-best-apps-to-track-your-mileage/
Rates have gone down a bit since I published this article and there are a lot more drivers. High demand times are always good but you also want to look for times when not a lot of drivers are going to be out (ie morning after a big night, early am airport runs, etc)
I’m a part-time female driver in Chicago for both Uber and Lyft (I personally prefer Lyft over Uber as both a passenger and driver). I don’t drive super late at night — no later than 10/11, but I’ve never felt my safety was in jeopardy at all. I encourage anyone — male or female — to consider driving. I usually don’t do more than 15 hours a week because I’m just not the kind of person that can work 7 days a week… I need one day off at least (my full time job is a social worker). I drive a Prius, so that helps a lot with gas mileage and have a Costco membership so that helps a lot with defraying the cost of gas. There’s an app called SherpaShare that helps evaluate if you are earning enough to gain a profit.
Rock on – thx for sharing your experience!
Good to know, I’ll be interviewing a female driver soon on the podcast about what it’s like for female drivers in general. And yea Sherpashare is great, and it’s free :)
As many have noticed, the market has become saturated with drivers, and after the city abs lyft/uber get their cuts of your money, you will make $5-6 an hour. It’s really gone downhill in the last few months.
You can definitely still get $30 to $40 an hour driving for Lyft and Uber, if you drive at the right times that is. My average comes out to be about $20 and hour these days, before you take into account all of the costs. But if you drive during rush hour or before/after big events you can make some really good money, which is why it is an awesome part time gig.
The money isn’t bad, and you can still get good money when you use a promo code for a sign up bonus after you complete your first 20 rides
I personally drive for both Uber and Lyft and I make good money doing it. It’s extra income for clothes, and God knows I need any more reason to buy more! lol. But the people are nice and I enjoy the time away from the house.
Im thinking about becoming either a uber driver or a Lfty driver my question is which one is better and another question is how often do a driver get paid, and last and not least how often do i have to drive; the reason for asking is for medical reason.
I’m considering signing up to drive for Uber or Lyft on my days off as a side hustle. What are the pros/cons of each? I’m leaning more toward Lyft but I’m just not sure. I’m also concerned about driver’s safety, which is the only thing keeping me from signing up with either company. I don’t want to get stuck in a bad situation and would like some tips on how to avoid any as a driver.
uber does not eat the balance of any discount they still take out the full fee from the driver from all discounted rides to a passenger. uber just lost a class action lawsuit because they advertised that tips were included in the fare and they were not.
I just decided to quit and pursue Uber full time. I keep seeing negative things about doing it full time but glowing responses about doing it part time. I’ve never made more that $15K a year in my life. My job I’m about to quit pays only $12/hr with no overtime or benefits and with my commute I’m driving 50 miles a day anyway for free! Making anywhere from $10-$20/hr to do something I already enjoy doing sounds very appealing to me! I live in East Nashville about 1 mile from the stadium and 2 miles from downtown Lower Broadway so I’m in an ideal location. I can’t see there being that much of a downside. It’s all about your aptitude for the job and attitude on life to me. I can’t wait.
Hell yeah dude – go for it! Just like with any venture, if you’re passionate enough and put in the time you’ll come out pretty successful. And if you want to come back and let us know when “you’ve made it,” I’d be happy to give you a slot here to share how you did it and how awesome it is :)
i am been de activated by both uber and lyft? any ohther company please let me know?
Here is this week numbers
35 hours driving
Net before gasoline and tolls 810
After pay gasoline and tolls 500
Divided by 35 = $11.50/hour
Now still missing car depreciation and insurance in New York of aprox $350 month
Realistic ridding share is abusive for drivers and is creating too much traffic issues in NYC
They should have less drivers and larger compensation
Ouch… interesting to see how it is in the “real world” though like that, thanks for sharing with us.