How to Make Money with Your Car on Uber and Lyft
This post is to show people how to make money in their spare time with their car on Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. This is a great way to either work temporary in between jobs or for extra income in addition to your full or part time job. It also serves as a quick introduction to rideshare. To get the best signup bonuses with Lyft, Uber and Sidecar, use my referral links above!
Intro to Rideshare
Rideshare is a new term that describes an alternative way to get people where they need to go with cars driven by non-professional driver. Often it is cheaper and can provide a better experience than other for-hire car services, such as car service, taxi’s and limousines. Many of the drivers are just normal people with insurance that is free and willing to get requests to drive passengers where they need to go.
Rideshare company generally recruits drivers with a car that is newer than a certain date, like 2004 or newer for Uber. The company will check their driving record and perform a background check to make sure the driver is safe. They will then approve this driver to drive on their own network. If you want to drive for multiple ridesharing platforms, you will need to repeat the “onboarding” process with the different platforms you are interested in.
The process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on what needs to be done. For the most part, drivers can drive whenever they want within a given radius around the city. This provides a lot of flexibility for the drivers. This system works best when you drive part time and pick the busiest hours to work.
By driving during the busiest hours of the week, I average over $30/hr after commission, for about 15-20 hours a week. Some turn this into a full time job but there are plenty of hours Friday to Sunday to make about $30/hr over a 40 hour week.
Here is a great info-graphic on requirements:
How to Make Money on Uber and Lyft:
Each of the rideshare services depend on an app on a smartphone to function. Lyft lets you use your own phone while Uber gives you an iPhone 4s. Uber and Lyft set rates on the ride based on distance and time and its all recorded on the smartphone, and then calculated into a fare that the passenger has to pay.
Passengers request a ride from the app and the closest driver usually gets the request first. The driver will either accept or they can reject it. If they accept, the driver will then drive to the passenger and pick them up. The passenger starts paying for the ride as soon as they are in the car. The driver will go to the destination, end the ride on the app, and the passenger gets out. The driver will be paid for the trip based on the distance and time between passenger pickup and dropoff.
It functions very similarly to a taxi but you get requests on your phone and drive to them, instead of picking up people off the street. Generally, rideshare companies will take a portion of the fare, anywhere between 5% to 20%. Even figuring for this fee, I can usually earn over $30/hr, with up to $100/hr for an hour or two. Normally I average about $30-$50/hr.
How to Maximize your earnings:
- Drive during the busiest times. Drivers are more likely to find another passengers very shortly after the previous one and also more likely to get surge pricing on either Lyft or Uber. On Sidecar, you may be more likely to get passenger requests if you’re cheaper than the competition as your rates are set lower than the others with surge pricing. Even without surge pricing, I can average about $30/hr after commission.
- Drive towards the busiest parts of the city if you do not have a passenger: Drivers are more likely to get a passenger in the most busiest parts of the city. This can be case if you have a passenger take you way outside of the city. Wait a minute or two for a ping, then slowly drive back into the city. I have done this repeatedly and playing the odds, I almost always get a ride back into the middle of the city.
- Try to get more people to sign up for Uber/Lyft/Sidecar as new passengers. Many people have supplemented their normal income by passenger referrals. As drivers, you earn cash. As a passenger, you earn credits towards your next ride. You will have different codes for a referral as a driver or as a passenger so you can pick which one you want to use. Normally, they will give out $10 per referral, so if you get 10 passenger referrals a week, that’s $100 extra dollars without driving!
- If you don’t make enough money in certain parts of the city, move around and maybe try to go somewhere else. Different places can work for certain people. In Boston, I get stuck usually in South Boston, Downtown/Back Bay/South End and Seaport area. This is a great area to be in as there are many requests and all of these areas are close together.
- Try to work for a few hours in a row. If you only work an hour or two at a time, chances are you’re wasting a lot of time traveling to/from home.
- If possible, sign up for two or more of these services. This will ensure you are busy. Also, one platform may charge surge pricing while another one doesn’t. This is when you can choose the potentially more expensive ride. This is where you can start making $40/hr or more.
- For Lyft, if you have a lot of rides (~100) and a high rating (above 4.9), you may be invited to be a mentor. Each new driver you mentor will get you $35 and usually takes an hour. Many Lyft Mentors have supplemented their income by mentoring. It’s a rewarding process and it pays well too!
- As you can see above, Lyft and Uber are always trying to poach each other drivers’. Sign up with one service that has the most generous sign up bonus and then wait for a good sign up bonus to switch over. If you follow this blog, I will always publish the best sign up bonuses as they are emailed to all drivers trying to get us to refer more drivers to their platform.
- Recruit your friends to drive for Uber or Lyft. You can earn anywhere between $100-$500 each by referring your friends as drivers. Rideshare companies love referrals as they know that they tend to be better candidates for rideshare and also that if the applicant has any questions, there is someone they can turn to for help.
How to Sign up:
Here are some posts on how to sign up for Uber and Lyft:
- Uber Driver Series (Registration, Dashboard, Payment Statements, Weekly Summaries, Zone-Based Surge Pricing)
- Lyft Driver Series (Registration,Dashboard, Prime Time Tips, Daily/Weekly Summaries, Facebook Driver Lounge, Groupme Chats)
Comparison of the three largest rideshare companies:
Salary and Risks of Driving for Uber and Lyft:
Here are some posts on the risks and hourly salaries for Uber and Lyft:
- Uber Driver Risk and Costs
- Uber Driver Salary and Tax Rates
- Uber and Lyft Updates their Insurance Coverage for Drivers
Situations that people sign up for Uber and Lyft:
- Additional income: People will drive in their spare time and earn a bit of money on the side. You can be free for a trip or for a few hours.
- Earn income commuting to/from work: Some people can pick up passengers either on their way to work or on their way home. I sometimes turn on the app and drive people on my way back into the city after work
- As a temporary full time job: Some people may be out of work or changing jobs and Uber/Lyft allows them to earn money while being flexible enough so that they can job hunt or interview. Some part time actors and musicians on the west coast have signed up to drive on Uber and Lyft because of its flexibility and higher earning potential. Some older students have signed on to drive in between semesters or during school breaks.