Complete Comparison Of Uber and Lyft For Ride Share Drivers


In the last few years, more and more drivers are quitting their full time jobs and flocking to their cars to make their money. Ride sharing has become increasingly popular since Uber got started in 2009. Several years later their largest competitor Lyft was born. The year was 2012, side parts were still socially acceptable and ride sharing was just becoming a thing. 

Uber and Lyft drivers can make a very significant living with their contract positions. But which ride sharing app offers the best experience for their workers?

Which car sharing experience pays drivers more? Which offers better benefits and bonuses? 

We’ll take a look at the similarities and the differences for both companies and tell you which company may be a better fit for you, however generally the best option is to do both!

A Comparison Of Uber And Lyft

There are many similarities between the two ride sharing apps both for riders and for drivers. For many customers, there is no difference in the service what so ever and the two companies are interchangeable. But what about drivers? Let’s take a look at what is familiar between the apps and what is different for both the riders and drivers.

The Striking Similarities For Riders

  • You can ride 24/7
  • Both apps offer the same services (ride sharing where contractors pick up and shuttle paying and tipping customers)
  • Both apps offer styles of cars that customers can pick and choose which influences the cost for the customer
  • Both apps allow customers to allow ride sharing with other riders to pool costs
  • Both allow customers to see an estimated cost of their ride which includes any influx for demand
  • Both services are allowing drivers to pick up and drop off food

Similarities For Drivers Of Uber And Lyft

  • Make your own schedule
  • Log in whenever you are ready to work
  • Both calculate pay by base rate, miles traveled, type of car, time of day, demand multiplier
  • Allow contractors to collect tips 
  • Both allow for surge pricing or prime time in high traffic or high volume times where driver is able to collect more money for their time
  • You can rent a car to drive with either company if you don’t own one

Key Differences Between Uber And Lyft

  • Lyft is only just beginning to be an international brand
  • Tipping wasn’t originally permitted through Uber
  • Uber is more of a professional service 
  • Lyft is known for encouraging their drivers to be more fun and laid back
  • Uber offers a high class, luxury or business option depending on what your dress code is

Uber Or Lyft. Who Is Paying More?

Like most questions in life, the answer is that it depends. Drivers make their money based on many factors, from how their service was and how well they are able to collect tips, to how many hours they work, what area they are working and the current demand levels, if there is a surcharge, and what type of car they drive.

Ride Sharing App% Of Ride Revenue
Taken By Company

Each app makes a revenue by taking a % of each rides fair. Uber takes slightly more at 25% and Lyft takes 20% however this isn’t the only way that drivers make an income and drivers do make more at times with Uber than they do with Lyft.

What Are Booking Fees On Uber And Lyft

A booking fee is included in the price of the fair. The booking fee is the fee that Uber and Lyft charge the drivers as a fee for using their booking services. Think of it like a commission for delivering a good lead on something, the apps drum up the traffic and want to take a cut simply for finding the rider to begin with. These fees, (which the rider can’t see the break down of) are just rolled into the fair price and billed to the consumer.

The booking fee is sent directly to the company and the driver never sees that money, On average this fee is around $2.10, though it does vary from city to city. The range is as low as $1.85 and as high as $2.45. Because these apps have been struggling with overall profitability, these booking fees go to cover the company overhead cost. Every so often these rates are raised, like they were in 2019, and the price of a ride increases. Unfortunately, the drivers aren’t the ones seeing this extra cash end up in their pockets.

The booking fee is called a “pickup fee” for Lyft and is slightly less than that of Uber $1.05 to $2.05 but it is the same concept: the driver sees less of the fair because a second fee is being subtracted and goes into a corporate expense bucket. While this is completely moral and the companies do have to make money on the services they offer, they are usually taking well over the 20-25% that they advertise to their drivers.

Typically the total amount that the company takes is somewhere between 30% and 50% depending on where the ride is occurring, the booking fee for that city, and how long the ride is.

So How Much Do Drivers Actually Earn?

The ridesharing platforms Uber and Lyft claim that their drivers can make above livable wages by driving for the app. They boast that drivers can make between $20 and $35 per hour and many make more than that. While this is likely true in a few select locations, the majority of these drivers never make close to that as an hourly average.

According to TheRideShareGuy out of over 1000 drivers who gave information about their earnings through Lyft and Uber, only Just over 250 of them made anywhere over $20 per hour. Just 25%! About 30% of drivers made somewhere between $10 and $15 per hour and about 15% making under $10 per hour.

On average, a Uber driver was making a bit over $15 per hour, however the cost of car depreciation, as well as gas and other expenses have not been considered in this hourly wage. They Lyft drivers in the survey were making about $2 more per hour on average at $17.50 but they also have to count in other expenses. So what are these other expenses?

The Costs Of Driving For A Ride Share App

The expenses are ride share drivers responsible for:

  • Maintenance of the vehicle including tires, gas, oil changes, and coolant
  • Gas
  • Taxes

Drivers work as contractors, therefor they are responsible for their own taxes! They are also responsible for covering the cost of gasoline, so as gas prices increase, it becomes less profitable to work for a ride sharing app.

Various drivers have different expenses associated with driving for these companies which are based primarily on what type of car they drive. For example if you drive a hybrid vehicle you’ll spend far less in fuel costs than you would driving a large diesel truck. Having a reliable car that is cheap and easy to repair is another way to keep a handle on how high expenses can soar for drivers.

Depending on location, some drivers make as little as $8 per hour and with the cost of expenses their hourly wages can dip below the minimum wage mark.

Driver Incentives And Bonusses

Driver incentives is one of the ways that both Uber and Lyft ups its driver involvement and brings on new drivers. The main way that drivers make their money through both apps are in customer tips. The tips that the customer gives to the driver through the app go completely to the driver and aren’t touched by the companies.

Lyft drivers typically report higher tip wages than Uber drivers and this could be because the rides tend to be a bit less expensive on Lyft or because Lyft only started offering tipping driver options after years of being in service. It is hard to know for sure why Lyft drivers are being tipped more.

When it comes to incentives, the companies tend to be pretty similar. They both offer incentives throughout the year to encourage their drivers. These incentives can be money back towards fuel, bonuses for high volume drivers who work a certain number of rides per week, or just random weekly promotions when the company has an increased demand for drivers and needs to bring on new employees.

Some of the most popular promotions among drivers include:

Lyft Rewards And Incentives

  • $250 for fuel: Earn $1 in fuel rewards for every five rides you give, up to 50 rides in the first 30 days.
  • Accelerate premium driver rewards: Earn your rank as a driver based on the number of rides given. Different levels offer different perks like cell phone discounts, fuel rewards, and roadside assistance.

Uber Rewards And Incentives

  • Boost: Boosted areas offer promotional multiples of fares in that area during certain times; these can be combined with Surge pricing (when available) for an even higher earning per ride.
  • Quest: Complete a specific number of rides in a certain period of time to earn a promotional bonus (i.e.: give 10 rides this weekend to earn an extra $50).
  • New Driver Guarantee/Bonus: If you sign up to be a new driver using available promotional links, you will receive guaranteed income minimums for a specific period of time. One such promotion is that if your earnings for your first 200 trips* (not including fees, tips, or commissions) do not reach $1,600, Uber will credit you the difference. *Trips must be given in the first 90 days.

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We hope this article has answered all of your questions regarding driving for Uber and Lyft, and that you feel more knowledgeable going into an employment with either company. Consider protecting your vehicle with an extended warranty plan from Protect My Car. In addition to warranties, Protect My Car also offers insurance and maintenance plans and can negotiate the best prices on repairs with mechanics.

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