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How I Earned $1750 in 3 Days (21 Hours) on Lyft

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:

DateTrip DistanceTrip TimeNon PT FareRidePrime TimeLyft FeePTT %Lyft EarningsTip

Here are my daily mileage logs (total miles including dropoff and commute home) along with online time and number of trips:

Online TimeTripsTotal MilesTake Home PayTipsTrips Per HourIncome Per Hour
2/16/20158.8323112 $350.22 $50.002.60 $34.00
2/17/20156.431584 $ 197.00 $9.002.33 $    29.24
2/18/20156.5613106 $ 215.00 $10.001.98 $    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:

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:

Detailed Analysis

So here were some interesting facts about my 51 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
2/16/20158.83 $          350.22 $  50.00 $         166.40 $                                    15.16
2/17/20156.43 $          197.00 $        9.00 $                 89.60 $                                    15.30
2/18/20156.56 $          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.

Finally Tally:

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! Driver Promotions
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