Driving for Lyft vs. Uber: Driver Pay and Other FactorsMake Money Fast
This post may contain affiliate links, which means the site may receive a commission if you purchase or sign up through these links at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclaimer for more information.
Ridesharing is incredibly popular and can be lucrative for drivers in the right area.
2017 saw stagnant growth for Uber, while Lyft’s growth exploded.
Here’s what you need to know to help make your decision.
Founded in 2009 in San Francisco, Uber is the world’s most popular ridesharing app.
Uber can be used in over 60 countries across the world, meaning it’s used by millions of people every day.
With more and more users signing up for Uber every day, there’s always a need for more drivers.
Whether you’re in a rural area or a busy urban environment, there are always riders who are in need.
Driving for Uber is a great way to get started with ridesharing and is a fantastic platform if you want to drive for years to come.
While the company has certainly gone through changes in the span of a few short years, there’s a lot to love about driving for Uber.
1. Uber Is Everywhere
First and foremost, Uber is virtually everywhere.
No matter where you are, you usually won’t have much difficulty finding someone who needs a ride.
Uber is incredibly accessible, which is why it is the best platform to launch your driving career.
New drivers need to feel comfortable and confident when driving, and that only comes with time and practice.
2. The Uber Driver App Is Easy to Use
The Uber Driver app is incredibly simple and straightforward, making it easy to find and accept new rides.
Recent updates have added useful features and clearer navigation, meaning you’ll have everything you need right in the driver app.
3. You Can Get Tips (Just Like Lyft)
Uber recently started allowing riders to add tips to their ride, which is great for drivers.
4. You’re Paid Weekly
You’ll also get paid weekly, which means you don’t have to wait as long to get your money deposited into your account.
Simply sign in when you want, take a break, and make your dream work schedule throughout the week.
If you’re just starting out driving or if you’re looking to make consistent cash on the side, Uber is the way to go.
Driving for Uber is a fantastic experience, but no company is perfect.
1. Uber Changed Its Pay Structure After Introducing Tipping
One of the biggest cons that current Uber drivers report is the updated pay structure.
With the introduction of tipping right in the app, the percentage of the fare that drivers take home was reduced.
Since tips are completely voluntary, there is less consistency with how much you might be earning per ride.
With a lower guaranteed amount per ride, relying on tips can be stressful and inconsistent.
However, most riders do end up tipping their drivers, and you get to keep most, if not all of your tip.
2. Uber Does Not Cover Your Expenses (Neither Does Lyft)
There are expenses that Uber will not cover, such as regular maintenance, gas, and car insurance.
You need to be able to budget your earnings with Uber to ensure you set enough aside to cover those expenses every month.
Thinking about where you live and how often you want to drive can help you decide whether Uber is the right platform for you.
Lyft offers extremely generous new driver bonuses, which we will detail later, so if you’re new to driving, Lyft is a great way to earn a lot of money in the first few months of your driving career.
1. You Might Make More with Lyft
While earnings can vary from one location to another, when looking at earnings on a national level, Lyft drivers do take home more money at the end of the day.
2. Lyft’s Bonuses Are Really Cool
In addition to earning more per ride, Lyft drivers have the opportunity to earn various new driver bonuses.
The exact amount of the bonus and the specific requirements to earn the bonus change throughout the year, but they can boost your earnings shortly after signing up.
3. Lyft Has a Sweet New App
Drivers can tip you right in the app and it doesn’t impact your earnings per fare.
Lyft has virtually always had a tipping option right in the app, allowing drivers to earn even more after each ride.
Drivers can earn significantly more during busy hours.
Also known as Prime Time in the Lyft app, these busy hours typically increase the cost of a fare for riders, meaning more money for drivers.
While Uber’s surge pricing can increase fares by up to eight times the original fare amount, Lyft’s Prime Time price increases are often far less than that.
Geography Matters When It Comes to Uber vs. Lyft
Where you live can play a major role in which ridesharing platform is right for you.
If you live in a rural area or on the outskirts of a city and rarely go into the city, Uber may be your best option.
With big new driver bonuses and typically more earnings per ride than you’d get with Uber, starting out with Lyft will help you get acclimated to driving for a rideshare company while having the opportunity to earn more cash through new driver bonuses.
Timing Is Everything
We briefly mentioned surge pricing and Prime Time, but timing truly is everything.
Hours that earn drivers the most in one area might not be the same in another area, so it may take some time to learn the different areas of your city and what times work best.
With Lyft, certain drivers will get notified about Power Zones for the coming week.
These Power Zones earn drivers much more than the typical per-ride earnings, and never fluctuate like Prime Time or surge pricing would.
Uber notifies drivers when surge pricing begins and if they are in an area that will potentially earn them a lot of money.
Who Pays More, Uber or Lyft?
The bottom line is that while there are some differences in the per-ride pay structure and how fares are calculated, both Lyft and Uber give drivers the opportunity to earn a significant amount of money.
Often in the form of new driver bonuses and driver guarantees, there’s been a shift away from making a higher percentage for each ride to bigger, more frequent bonuses.
For example, Uber has two types of bonuses, Quests and Boosts.
Quests allow you to earn a one-time bonus after completing a certain number of trips in a specific time frame, usually during the busiest days of the week.
For simply completing the rides you probably were going to do anyway, you can get some extra cash.
Boosts are a new update to Uber’s bonus structure, offering higher earnings during busy hours in certain locations.
Unlike surge pricing, Boosts are a guaranteed rate for a specific area that you’ll be able to see right in the app.
The great news is that if there is surge pricing and a Boost going on, you’ll always be paid the higher rate.
Lyft offers bonuses similar to Quests.
The Weekly Ride Challenges allow Lyft drivers to earn one-time bonuses for completing a minimum number of rides on specified days and times.
You’ll also have the chance to earn more during Streak Hours.
In order to qualify for a Streak bonus, you’ll need to be alerted by Lyft that you’re eligible for a bonus during a short period of time.
When you accept your first ride, you’ll need to stay online and accept every ride that comes through until you hit your minimum streak requirement.
Both platforms offer regular Guarantee Bonuses, meaning you’ll be guaranteed a minimum amount of earnings for a set number of rides; for example, the guarantee might be $500 for 50 rides during a specific week.
Sign Up For Both Lyft and Uber
If you live in a city, signing up for both will allow you to earn when you want, and you’ll find plenty of people who need rides.
Why limit yourself to just one platform when you can sign up for both and have even more ways to earn?
Driving for Lyft vs. Uber: Conclusion
At the end of the day, both platforms are simple to use and they both offer plenty of ways to earn money.
Logan is a CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.