Uber vs Lyft: Which will pay you more?

Posted at 12:17 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-05 12:17:00-04

How'd you like to make some extra money in your free time?

More and more people are signing up to become Uber and Lyft drivers. But which service is better to work for and how much can you really make?

Potential drivers have questions

Steven Valentine is just out of the Army.

And since he drives a fuel sipping hybrid Camry, this veteran figured ridesharing would be a great way to earn extra income. He wondered if he should try to drive for Uber or Lyft.

"I was wondering which ones you can earn the most money, which one has better benefits," he said.

At first glance the two rideshare services appear  to be very similar, with Uber available in more cities.

But then when you dig deeper, you find that there are quite a few more subtle differences.

Woman has driven for both

Vicky Zwissler has been supplementing her print shop business as a driver for both Uber and Lyft at various times over the past four years. "I love it, I absolutely love it," she said.

She says she's done better with Uber, since it is in more cities, and is many riders are more familiar with it.

But Lyft, she says, has one big advantage: It has always encouraged passengers to leave a tip.

"There is a great tipping feature in Lyft, where the passenger can choose to tip at the end of the ride," she said.

Now, though, Uber is finally adding tipping, so Uber drivers can expect to start receiving tips this summer. 

However, with so many Uber riders not conditioned to tip, Zwissler is not holding her breath.

Lease option

Don't like the idea of all driving in your own car? Both companies will now let you lease a car instead of wearing out your own car.

Vicky said it's worth considering. "The advantage to leasing is just that: you don't put miles on your car because it is extreme mileage, she said"

But leasing lowers your take home pay.

So which pays more?
Speaking of pay, recently compared services and says:

  • Lyft's average pay is $11 per hour, but tipping can bring you more.
  • Uber's average pay is $15 an hour, according to Nerdwallet.

Uber has two more bonuses:

Earn money delivering food through Uber Eats, and you can get paid more if you drive a fancier car. A BMW or Audi or Cadillac will get you higher paying fares (and probably cleaner passengers).

With both, Zwissler says you'll make the most money during peak times --such as Friday and Saturday nights --- but she has a caution.

"I've had four people throw up in my car, so I don't drive after 9 p.m. anymore," she said.

In the end, Nerdwallet gives a slight edge to Uber.

But don't expect to get rich: It says to earn $50,000 a year, you must provide:

  • 60 Uber rides per week
  • 80 Lyft rides per week

That means about 10 rides per day, making it a full time job at that point.  And don't forget you may have to pay extra for commerical auto insurance and gas between rides.

But Zwissler says it's not just about the money. "The amazing people that I've met, that's why I'm still doing it," she said.

By the way, these rideshare jobs are not just for young people: Uber says many of its new drivers are retirees, and even has a promotional deal with AARP.

Interested? Both companies have sign up sections on their website so you don't waste your money.


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