How I Earned $1750 in 3 Days (21 Hours) on Lyft
I preface this post by saying this includes the very lucrative $1000 bonus for Boston Lyft Drivers who complete 50 trips within a week. You can read more about that promotion here, which ends at 11pm today. Other cities had a $500 bonus for 30 trips over President’s Day Weekend.
But $750 in just 21 hours that includes $67 worth of tips isn’t too shabby. Even without tips, I was averaging $32 an hour and many of those hours were on a weekday night (12 out of the 21 total hours). Granted that many of my trips had at least 100% Prime Time, but this is still really good. I did not drive during Valentines day or during the snowstorm the day after where drivers averaged $40 an hour but did well on Presidents day.
Normally, 50 trips in a week (including the weekend) is not that hard. However, I was out of town Friday-Sunday and only able to start driving Monday morning. Luckily, Monday was a holiday so I had a solid 9 hours to drive on Lyft. My work schedule on Lyft this past week will show that almost anyone can make 50 trips happen, even driving on weekday nights. Granted that demand was above average the past few weeks and it would take some drivers longer to finish it, but it would have been completely possible to do 50 Lyfts just working at night after a full time job.
My wife definitely wasn’t happy that I was driving this much. I had accidentally booked a trip during Valentines day weekend without her so I would be missing Valentines Day. I did get her flowers and dinner the night before but we were supposed to make it up on Monday when she had half the day off. Well, I spent a few hours with her but then drove for the rest of the night where we should’ve gotten dinner. I’ll have to make it up somehow this weekend.
Raw Trip Data:
I am very meticulous with my trip data but here is the trip data I got from Lyft and then expanded it a bit to give me more insight about my three days on Lyft. So I calculated what a normal price Lyft would be based on the distance and time and then calculated the amount of PT there was and then separated out the tips. Tips are included in the column “Lyft Earnings” but I just wanted to count it separately.
Here’s all the data from those trips and I have a few more data points to share outside of this data:
|Date||Trip Distance||Trip Time||Non PT Fare||Ride||Prime Time||Lyft Fee||PTT %||Lyft Earnings||Tip|
Here are my daily mileage logs (total miles including dropoff and commute home) along with online time and number of trips:
|Online Time||Trips||Total Miles||Take Home Pay||Tips||Trips Per Hour||Income Per Hour|
|2/17/2015||6.43||15||84||$ 197.00||$9.00||2.33||$ 29.24|
|2/18/2015||6.56||13||106||$ 215.00||$10.00||1.98||$ 31.25|
Because I was gunning for the promotion, I did not turn on Uber or Sidecar at all. I was focused on getting rides on Lyft, which can yield some interesting data when you only work for one service.
Here was the hours I worked:
- Monday: 8am-1pm, 8:30pm-12am
- Tuesday: 6:30pm-1am (after working 8 hours at my full time job)
- Wednesday: 6:30pm-1am (after working 8 hours at my full time job)
This kind of work schedule really took a lot out of me, so that was why I didn’t post anything this week. Because I was so focused on driving, food became a very low priority so I pretty much skipped dinner Tuesday and Wednesday and only ate one meal on Monday the entire day. In addition to all this work, I still kept up with my marathon training, which only took about an hour each day, but I definitely felt the effects of it during last night short 30 minute run. I’ll try to get back into the swing of things on this blog next week but even today, I am still exhausted.
Is this income normal for drivers in Boston?
To be honest this income is a bit lower than what Lyft and Uber advertises as the average peak earnings in the past week. Take a look at the below graphics that Uber and Lyft has sent in the past week:
I started off with about $50 an hour the first two hours on Wednesday and then it went down towards $30 because of some long one-way Lyfts.
Why was there so much Prime Time in Boston?
So here are the reasons why I think there is so much Prime Time in Boston for the past two weeks and possibly for the next few weeks that is really fueling driver earnings here to almost $50/hr:
- Snow: we got a lot of it if you haven’t heard. We got 95 inches in about four weeks. On average for the season, we get 40 inches and the most snow Boston ever got was about 105 inches for the season, and we got close to that all in four weeks with another 6-8 weeks of winter to go.
- Extreme Cold: We have not been above freezing since early January and some days dipped below 0F with windchills -20F and below. Today would be the second time its happened in a week (Monday being the other day) with a few other days hovering above 0F as a low.
- Cars are buried: Again, 95 inches of snow. I did not clear my other car for 4 weeks and it had a solid 2 feet of snow, with about 4 feet of snow over the hood and trunk. This means not only less people driving, but possibly less Uber and Lyft drivers who probably won’t go through the trouble to unbury their car to work on Uber/Lyft part time
- Limited parking: 95 inches of snow needs to be put somewhere and much of it is covering many parking spots. There is limited street parking as it is so the snow is now really limiting parking to a point where people try to save their own spot or never leave their space. This applies to passengers and drivers. Personally, if I didn’t have to drive to work, I wouldn’t unbury my car for Uber/Lyft either and leave it there until Summer (yes, I really believe it would take until May for all the snow to melt off of my car without human intervention)
- Public Transportation Crippled: The main reason why public transportation here did not function was because of the low temperatures. Things just stop working at temperatures below 20F. The snow was of course no help, blocking or icing outdoor train tracks and limiting the movement of buses down narrow streets.
- Traffic: With all this snow, traffic has been very bad this winter as the snow is taking up so much of the road, covering almost two lanes of traffic in some areas. This means longer trips and fewer available drivers, so more PT.
So here were some interesting facts about my 51 trips:
- Average Distance and Time: 3.19 miles at 13.91 minutes per trip
- Average Fare with and without PT: $16.83 vs $8.11. The average Lyft in the winter is definitely lower than it is in the summer, but you also get more Lyfts per hour so it evens out somewhat. (This would make the basis of a great comparison in terms of more trips per hour vs income debate). My average fare lifetime is about $10 per trip.
- Trips per hour – 2.31. Wednesday night was bad for me as I had a few long one-way Lyfts so that definitely ate into my trips per hour. I never waited longer than five minutes for a request. I did have some long expensive rides to make up for the fewer trips. I have personally seen 3 trips an hour with many short trips and a low of 2 trips an hour when the weather is nice and many people don’t mind walking.
- Miles Driven per Dollar earned: $2.50 (higher than my normal average of $2 per mile driven). You can see my miles per dollar figure was much higher on Monday. It was a lot of shorter rides with pickups right after. I was not nearly as lucky on Wednesday with some long one-way Lyfts
- Trip miles vs total miles: 162 vs 301. So for every trip mile I drove, I had to drive about 2 miles total for one trip mile. This has been my historic trend. If you are interested in calculating in your total cost, just multiply each trip mile by two.
- Trip time vs total time: 701 minutes vs 1308 minutes: so again, for every minute on a trip, I was online and working for about double that time. So figure for every 60 minutes you drive, 32 minutes of that time will be spent driving passengers.
- Average drive and wait time for a passenger: 12 minutes. So for every hour, I spent 28 minutes waiting for a request, driving to a passenger or waiting for them to come out. Luckily, many passengers were already outside and waiting for me when I approached, with a few that had me wait for a few minutes (no more than 5 minutes luckily), so waiting for a ping and ETA was the largest contributor to my drive and wait time. At 2.3 trips an hour, the time it takes for me to drive to a passenger and wait for them is 12 minutes. I personally have done better during a few trips but this is my average time. I did accept trips with a longer ETA than normal as there were so few drivers around that I didn’t normally get shorter trips.
I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of this analysis if I drove on multiple platforms. It is possible but just harder to do as you would need to note how long you were online for. In this instance, I have a much better idea of income per hour on just Lyft and not a mixture of both. Personally, I have found the clientelle to be different on Uber and Lyft, hence the data (trip time, miles, ETA, wait time) would be different, including income.
Analysis of Income Without Prime Time
Lets now take a look at earnings without Prime Time (Note that everything here is after the 20% Lyft Fee):
|Online Time||Take Home Pay||Tips||Prime Time||Income Per hour w/o PT|
|2/16/2015||8.83||$ 350.22||$ 50.00||$ 166.40||$ 15.16|
|2/17/2015||6.43||$ 197.00||$ 9.00||$ 89.60||$ 15.30|
|2/18/2015||6.56||$ 215.00||$ 10.00||$ 99.20||$ 16.13|
So if I was working a “normal” day or night with Lyft without Prime Time, I would’ve earned only $15 per hour take home, so that would be about $18-$20 in total fares an hour. Historically, my average fare was $10 and at about 2.5 trips an hour, that’s pretty close to that figure. When I used to drive on Uber on weekday nights, I noted a similar income level, around $15 an hour take home. The main takeaway is that the base income for a Lyft or Uber driver is only about $15 per hour even in Boston, where the rates are 40% higher than that of Los Angeles.
If you saw my income per hour figure above, it was above $30 an hour so that agrees with my observation that my average PT was 100%, which means 2x the fare.
What were my costs?
So I drove about 300 miles over the past three days on Lyft. Because of the snow and low temperatures, my car was only averaging just north of 20mpg, which isn’t good at all for my car. 300 miles, 20mpg, that is 15 gallons of gas, or about $33 total on gas (gas prices here are under $2.20 a gallon), or $11 a day on gas.
To put a better value on car cost, I would calculate it based on the IRS mileage deduction of 57 cents a mile. 300 miles at 57 cents is $171 dollars in gas, maintenance and depreciation. $171 total cost compared to $750 in take home earnings isn’t bad.
Also, don’t forget your taxes. I’ll ballpark my tax rate to be about 40% including the Self Employment Tax: (750-171)*0.40=$231 in taxes.
So if you include the maintenance and other car costs, my actual take home pay post taxes is $343 over 21 hours of work on Lyft. If you ignore the depreciation and other costs of the car, my take home would be just under $500 if you figure in for gas.
Being a part time driver, much of my car cost has to do with my full time job so the P&L analysis for a part time driver is much different from a full time driver.
- $1000 Bonus (to be posted to my account this weekend)
- $875 in Gross Fares
- $750 Take Home Pay ($69 of tips)
- $31.76 an hour (before tips)
- $15.50 an hour without Prime Time
- 21.5 online hours (12 of which were on a weekday night)
- 11.68 hours spent driving passengers
- Average 12 minutes to drive to and pick up each passenger
- $171.51 in Lyft Fees (how much they made this weekend)
- Average 3.19 miles and 13.91 minutes per trip
- Average Fare of $16.83 (Without PT: $8.11)
- 302 Miles Driven (162 total trip miles)
- $33 spent on Gas
- 3 missed meals while driving
- 1 makeup Valentines day dinner with my wife
- 17 hours of total sleep in those 3 days
There were a few drivers who took advantage of this promo and completed it on Sunday or Monday as they drove all weekend. There were some other drivers who got really long rides on Lyft and never made it close to 50. There was a driver who came up from Providence to participate in the promotion. I mentioned the possibility of drivers in other areas that may be eligible for the bonus.
What would you have done if this promotion was in your city? Would you have put your life on hold to make it happen?Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course!