When I joined Uber back in 2014 my idea was to make some extra money. I mean who doesn’t want to make extra money? I had just brought a nicer car and needed an extra boost of income to help pay it off. So this option seemed perfect for me at the time.
Uber was a great start for me and my little Nissan Sentra, I would spend most of my time driving downtown picking up people from bars, shopping areas, and universities. At the time the money was ok. Also, because I worked a full-time job, I only had time for Uber on the weekends, so I would spend Friday and Saturday nights hitting the town with strangers.
In 2016 I decided to leave Uber and drive for Lyft exclusively. I know many drivers drive for both companies, however I wanted things to be easier for me. At the time Uber didn’t offer instant pay out after a night of driving. Lyft did, and this was a good advantage for me to use. I could go out and make a quick $40 bucks in 2 hours and pay myself right away without having to wait till the end of the week to get a direct deposit.
I would continue to drive for Lyft however I was making pocket change, and the wear and tear on my car as far as maintenance and didn’t seem to equal out for me. Sometimes I would put $20 in my tank, go out and drive for 4 hours just to make $40 dollars. That’s after Lyft takes their fees.
You also have to set aside money for taxes. Uber and Lyft do not automatically deduct taxes from your earnings. This would have been a simple solution however Lyft and Uber leaves that up to their drivers. There are apps that help you track your ride, so you can calculate how much you will have to pay in taxes based on what you earned. This is great if you want to take control of how much your take home pay would be.
You also don’t get paid to drive to the location of the rider. Sometimes you get request for pick up and your 3 miles from the rider, you have to drive their and then take them to their destination. For example, I had a rider who requested a ride, this person was 2 miles away from my location. I pick up the person and the person only needed to go about 1 mile down the street. My take home pay for that ride after fees was $3 dollars and some change and that’s before taxes.
Also, Lyft and Uber will pay you a specific amount for each mile you drive. Lyft and Uber drivers make less than $4.00 per hour, that’s way less than minimum wage in most states. After you account for gas, depreciation of your vehicle, taxes, and if you paid for any amenities for your riders like bottled water. Now Lyft and Uber were started to offer cheaper fares ride to customers instead of taking taxi, this has been proven and it’s been great for the customer/rider. However, with their surge pricing its often a bit much for your average rider.
Lyft and Uber advertise the amount of money that can be made by the drivers to obtain new drivers and get current drivers on the streets. Driving for Lyft and Uber is a great way to earn extra cash right away, however in the long run you will find that you are spending more than your making, and don’t get me started on car insurance!
In 2017 a Lyft driver made $1,124.00 dollars in a year for 109 rides over the course of 30 driving days total, before commission and other fees were taken by Lyft and Uber and taxes. After the driver filed his taxes he owed close to $400 dollars to federal.
So not only do you wear out your car, you also lose money in taxes, so even though you made $1,124.00 dollars you actually made about $620 that year. That’s not including money you spent on gas, deduct another $150 dollars for the year ($470 dollars). You have to eat, and unless you have a cooler in your trunk with cold edible food, your spending at least $8 – $10 dollars at the drive thru or 7 Eleven for food and drink for each day you’re driving. Let’s say you spend $9 dollars on food every day you went out driving, and you spent 30 days that year driving you just spent $270 dollars in food (deduct $270) Now you only actually earned around $200 dollars, that’s about $7 dollars a day earned.
Hear is a video by Marc Freccero via You Tube talking about why he quit the Ride Share service.
All that driving late nights, being stuck in traffic, driving far to pick up a rider, or having to take a passenger to a place where there are little to no pick up request being made, you only really made about $200 dollars. I’m sure you spent every penny that you made on other things, so now you have nothing to show for it. I had to learn my lesson the hard way.
I understand that in order for Lyft and Uber to stay competitive with the traditional taxi company they have to offer lower fares to the riders and this trickles down to the driver who takes home even less money than the rider spent on the ride, and they are expected to do multiple rides to meet the criteria for the bonus that are difficult to achieve.
People who already have regular jobs can drive for Uber or Lyft to make additional quick money but I would not recommend it, and I would never make it my full time job, you can’t make a living even if you drive for 40+ hours a week.
With all that being said I think I’m going to quit driving, at least for now until I see some major improvement with the earnings and vehicle care.