If you’re thinking about becoming a rideshare driver, it can be tough to decide which service to start with.
How to decide if you should drive for Uber or Lyft (or both…)
1. Lyft drivers get paid more and are happier
Although the per-mile pay rate varies from city to city, Lyft drivers generally get paid slightly more per mile and enjoy higher minimum fares.
Unlike the Uber app, the Lyft app also includes an option to tip your driver, meaning that you’re likely to collect a little extra on top of your fares each day.
A recent survey I conducted asked Lyft drivers how much they were making per hour and the average driver reported earning $17.50 per hour before expenses:
And for comparison, Uber drivers reported earning $15.68 per hour before expenses:
In addition, Lyft also offers a Power Driver bonus program: Drivers who complete a certain number of rides per week (and a certain number of rides during “peak hours”) will get to take home an extra 10% or 20% on their paycheck.
Lyft’s higher payouts are likely a major explanation for why Lyft drivers are happier than their Uber counterparts.
2. Uber drivers stay busier
Just because Lyft drivers get paid more, that doesn’t necessarily mean they make more money.
Uber has a larger customer base, so you’re likely to find that you’ll get a lot more ride requests on the Uber platform than you will on the Lyft platform.
So even though each ride typically pays less, you may find that Uber’s “quantity over quality” approach nets you more money at the end of the day.
3. Lyft’s car requirements are stricter
Vehicle requirements at both companies vary depending on where you want to drive. But in almost every area, Lyft requires its drivers to have newer vehicles. Uber, on the other hand, accepts older cars.
To drive for Lyft, you’ll also need to attend an in-person mentoring session. During the session, a Lyft representative will inspect your vehicle to make sure it meets their age and safety requirements. Uber typically does not require in-person meetings, although they do have Greenlight hubs in some areas where you can expedite the sign-up process.
4. Uber wants you to deliver food, too
Uber drivers are often invited to deliver food through UberEATS after they’ve been on the Uber platform a while. If you agree to participate, you’ll receive requests for food delivery in between trips with passengers. Of course, you’re free to ignore these requests (or opt out of uberEATS entirely) if you’d prefer to just deliver people.
Want to drive for UberEATS? Apply here!
But it can be nice to have the option to work food delivery during times when ride requests aren’t coming in ‘ especially during the day around lunchtime. A lot of drivers end up adding delivery services like Postmates or DoorDash anyways.
5. There’s no law against doing both
If you’re dedicated to making the most money you can in the rideshare business, you’ll likely wind up driving for both platforms at the same time. It’s easier than you think: When you get a request on one app, just log out of the other one. Then, log back in when you’re done. This way, you’ll maximize your chances of getting a request, regardless of which platform it comes in on.
When all’s said and done, Uber and Lyft are a lot more similar than people realize. The passengers you encounter on each platform are too diverse to make generalizations about. The vast majority of them are nice ‘ but you will encounter the occasional obnoxious passenger, regardless of which platform you’re on.
You’ll also need to make sure you maintain an excellent rating (4.6 or above) on both platforms. And as with any gig in the sharing economy, you’ll need to make sure you’re keeping good track of your mileage. It’s a big help at tax time ‘ and it’s a great way to keep tabs on your actual profit after expenses.
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