Do You Make More Money Driving for Uber or Lyft?

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have played a huge role in the rise of today’s gig economy. If you’re looking for a flexible way to earn some extra money—or even to earn a full-time living—signing up to drive for Uber or Lyft may be the answer.

The question, however, is which ride-sharing service should you choose to work for? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t cut and dry. In some areas, Lyft drivers tend to do better; in others, Uber drivers tend to rake in more pay. By understanding the factors that influence these things and what each service has to offer to drivers, you should be able to decide more easily.

Uber

When it was founded in 2009, Uber transformed the way in which people get rides in major metro areas. Today, the service is offered in 674 metro areas in 83 countries around the world. Recent reports indicate that Uber has 77 percent of the ride-sharing market, and the company reported gross revenues of $20 billion in 2016. In a single year, the service provides more than 480 million rides.

To Be a Driver for Uber, You Must Meet the Following Requirements

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Have at least one year of driving experience
  3. Pass a background check
  4. Provide a valid driver’s license and proof of residency
  5. Possess insurance if you will be using your own vehicle

Incentives & Signing Bonuses

For many years, Uber offered sign-on bonuses to attract new drivers. With more than 160,000 active drivers today, however, the company phased these out in 2017. Like Lyft, Uber now offers bonuses for completing “quests,” which means completing a minimum number of drives in a certain period of time. For example, drivers who complete at least 20 drives from Monday to Thursday may receive an extra $55; those who complete at least 70 during that time may receive a bonus of up to $140. The company typically offers weekend quests too, and they usually have similar requirements and bonuses.

Pros of Driving for Uber

  1. Demand: As the most popular ride-hailing service, Uber drivers aren’t lacking for work
  2. Tips: The service now allows riders to tip drivers, enhancing earning potential
  3. Payments: Drivers can cash out multiple times per day

Cons of Driving for Uber

  1. Insurance: If using your own car, you may have to upgrade to pricier insurance
  2. No Sign-Up Bonus: The service phased these out last year
  3. Taxes: Since you aren’t employed by Uber, you are responsible for making tax payments, including self-employment taxes

Coverage Density

With coverage in more than 650 cities and metro areas across the world, Uber is the clear winner if you are going to base your decision on which service has greater reach. However, the service is more popular than Lyft in some cities but not in others. Do some research about the area where you live and how Uber drivers fare to gain more clarity.

Estimated Earnings

This varies depending on factors like the size of the local market and whether it is more rural or urban. A survey by Earnest, a loan company, showed that the average monthly earning is around $364. RideShareGuy, who runs a blog about driving for Uber and Lyft, reports that the average hourly rate for Uber drivers today is $15.68 per hour. Note that both figures represent earnings before expenses like taxes, insurance, fuel and maintenance.

Lyft

Uber enjoyed something of a monopoly for a few years until Lyft came along. The company was founded in 2012, and it is still playing catchup with its biggest competitor. Today, the service is available in around 300 cities — a huge leap since about a year ago, when it was only available in around 65. It has around 35 percent of the market, and the company completed more than 375 million rides in 2017.

To Be a Driver for Lyft, You Must Meet the Following Requirements

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Pass a free DMV and background check
  3. Use an iPhone or Android phone
  4. Possess a valid driver’s license
  5. Have at least one year of driving experience
  6. Pass a car inspection
  7. Possess valid car insurance

Incentives & Signing Bonuses

One way in which Lyft currently outshines Uber for drivers is in the bonuses and incentives that it offers. Lately, the company has offered sign-on bonuses for new Lyft drivers who meet certain requirements. These bonuses are worth anywhere from $10 to $1,000.

In some cities, the service offers a weekly earnings guarantee; if you meet the requirements but don’t make your weekly earnings goal, Lyft will make up the difference.

Finally, Lyft offers an ‘Average Hourly Guarantee’ in some markets. You must opt-in for the offer, and you must accept at least nine out of every 10 rides that are requested. You also must have at least 50 minutes out of every hour in drive mode to qualify.

Pros of Driving for Lyft

  1. Sign-On Bonus: New Lyft drivers in many cities are eligible for sign-on bonuses
  2. Tips: Lyft has allowed riders to tip drivers from the start, so it is more common
  3. Flexibility: Drive on your schedule

Cons of Driving for Lyft

  1. Requirements: You must be at least 21 years old
  2. Less Popular: Lyft is growing in popularity, but it is still much less widely available than Uber
  3. Unstable Demand: Earning potential may fluctuate depending on demand since this service is less popular

Coverage Density

While Lyft is only offered in around 300 markets versus more than 650 markets for Uber, drivers report that the service tends to be more lucrative for drivers in big cities and urban areas. It also appears that Lyft drivers in certain markets do better than Uber drivers; examples of places where this tends to be true include Portland, San Francisco, and LA.

Estimated Earnings

The Earnest survey showed that Lyft drivers earned an average of $377 per month—slightly more than Uber drivers, who earned around $364 per month on average. According to the RideShareGuy blog, Lyft drivers earn an average of $17.50 per hour before expenses versus around $15.68 per hour for Uber drivers.

Again, however, the amount that you can expect to earn by driving for either Uber or Lyft will vary based on many factors. Therefore, do your own research to determine which service seems to offer what you need wherever you are. Note too that there is nothing stopping you from signing up with both.

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