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Earning Extra Income on Four Wheels
Some days, being a mom feels like you're running a free taxi service. If you're going to spend hours behind the wheel, you might as well get paid for it; right? That's what makes driving for Uber seem like an attractive side hustle for many parents. And while it's true that working as a ride-share driver is a super-flexible job that allows you to work around your family's schedule, you might not earn as much as you think.
How Do Uber Drivers Get Paid?
First, understand that Uber drivers aren't technically employed by the company. They're independent contractors, which means they're responsible for their own taxes and their own car-related expenses. If you become an Uber driver, you'll pay for your own gas and maintenance costs. Your car insurance premium may go up too, if your current policy doesn't cover commercial driving.
Say that you join Uber and get the app set up on your iPhone. When you pick up a rider, the app tracks the length and distance of the ride. At the end of the ride, it charges the rider a trip fare based on that data, plus a booking fee, and the cost of any toll roads the ride required you to use. Uber keeps the booking fee and a percentage of the trip fare, which varies by city. You get the rest of the trip fare and toll cost. Uber tracks how much you earn each week and transfers your payment to your bank account each Thursday.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?
It's the biggest question that prospective drivers always wonder about: How much money can I make with Uber? It really depends on your area and your schedule. If you choose to drive just a few daytime hours a week, you probably won't clear $100. But if you drive full-time and do a lot of driving during surge pricing (when Uber raises prices based on increased demand in a particular area), it's possible to make $500 or more per week. Predicting your earnings is really difficult, however, because so many factors are at play. If few people in your area are looking for Ubers while you're behind the wheel, you might make very little.
Uber doesn't share data about how much Uber drivers make per ride, but it's not hugely relevant anyway. The better way to estimate your earnings is to look at how much money you can make per hour as an Uber driver.
Uber Driver Salaries by City
So, how much do Uber drivers make per hour? Again, it varies; in general, the more expensive the city, the higher the earnings. Prices per city for UberX, the base-level ride, include:
- Los Angeles
Base Fare: None
Per Minute: $0.15
Per Mile: $0.96
Base Fare: $1
Per Minute: $0.12
Per Mile: $0.81
- San Francisco
Base Fare: $2
Per Minute: $0.22
Per Mile: $1.21
- New York City
Base Fare: $2.55
Per Minute: $0.35
Per Mile: $1.75
Keep in mind that those are pre-tax earnings and don't take into account fuel costs.
Can You Make Good Money With Lyft?
Surveys show that Lyft drivers make slightly more money than Uber drivers, on average, but there doesn't seem to be a significant difference in earnings between the two companies. Like Uber, Lyft keeps a portion of the fees that riders pay and charges more during peak times. Many drivers work for both companies, the most-effective way to determine which is more profitable for you.
Do All Ubers Have to Be Black?
No. Uber has different car requirements for each city, and you have to sign up for Uber to find out your city's requirements. But only drivers who want to drive as part of UberBLACK, the Uber luxury service, must have swanky vehicles with black exteriors and interiors. To drive as part of UberX, the standard service, your car can be any color as long as it meets the criteria for your city.
- Glassdoor: Uber Driver Salaries in Las Vegas, NV
- Glassdoor: Uber Driver Salaries in New York City, NY
- Glassdoor: Uber Driver Salaries in Los Angeles, CA
- Glassdoor: Uber Driver Salaries in Toronto, ON
- Glassdoor: Uber Driver Salaries in Philadelphia, PA
- Uber: How Much Do Drivers With Uber Make?
- Uber: Getting Paid
- Uber: Vehicle Requirements, New York City
- Money: Here's How Much Lyft Drivers Really Make
Kathryn has been a lifestyle writer for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on USAToday.com and Indeed.com.
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