I have driven for both Uber and Lyft and wanted to share my experiences with both, and the pros and cons of driving. Both opportunities are legitimate ways to earn some decent money without too much effort. I think both companies are good to work for so I am not here to compare them and tell you which is better. Today I am going to review the basics so that you can make a good decision about whether you want to drive part time to make some extra dough.
First of all, one of the most attractive parts of driving Uber or Lyft is that it’s very flexible and you can literally do it almost any time. You can start when you want, end when you want and drive for an hour or all day long. All you have to do is get in your car and turn on the app and you are ready to go. When you are done with a ride and want to get back home to the kids or to cook dinner, just turn off the app and you are done. No need to ask permission, check in and worry about your schedule. You make your own schedule, or even have no schedule, and that’s pretty attractive.
How much you can make
The pay is decent but not amazing. Of course your pay will vary but I would estimate that over time you will make $15 to $17 per hour. On the up side, if you are driving when it’s busy (peak times), you will probably make $20 to $25 per hour. On the down side you may be in your car and ready for a call…and nobody calls you. Why? You may be in a slow area with no riders, you may be driving at a historically slow time (middle of the day), or it may just be randomly slow. In any event, both apps help you by telling you what peak hours are (hint: before and after work, bar hours), and what parts of town are busier at the moment. One good thing is that you can get tips to add to our total hourly rate, but don’t forget that you have to pay for gas, which will cut into your overall hourly rate.
Strategies to succeed
If you want to drive full time you can, but our goal right now is to talk about how you can make $500 per month, and it’s not that hard. Here are a couple of simple scenarios. If you drive four or five hours on a weekday, say from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm (it’s good to catch that after work crowd for an hour) you will probably make about $75 to $90. If you drive most of the day on a Saturday, Sunday or Holiday, you could easily earn $120 to $140 depending on tips. So it’s pretty clear that you only need to drive five or six times per month to make $500, and I know from experience that this is very reasonable and really quite easy to do.
In order to make $500 per month, while I do other things too, I plan to drive twice a week for a few hours. I usually drive two afternoons per week, and if I miss a weekday, I will drive on Saturday for several hours. I drive during the day when it’s light and if the weather is really bad, I don’t drive. So overall, with a schedule of driving two days per week, minus weather and family events I end up driving six or seven times per month, usually making $75 to $100 per day. Not too rigorous or difficult and it fits my schedule. As you can see it’s not hard at all to make $750 per month if you want.
Overall I can definitely recommend driving with Uber or Lyft but I do have one bit of advice. Don’t rent a car from either app and here’s why. Currently Lyft has a partnership with Hertz and it definitely seems like a good deal, but it turns out not to be so great. Lyft charges a variable rate every week depending on how much you drive. But here’s the catch. You are going to pay for that car rental whether you drive or not so it becomes immediately apparent that you need to drive for at least 25 or 30 hours per week to justify the car rental amount. I rented a car from Hertz to drive for Lyft and it reduced my earnings to about $8 per hour because of the car rental fees. I didn’t want to drive full time so I returned the car after only one week. Renting a car is probably fine if you are really ambitious and want to drive a lot but it wasn’t worth it to me. For me it made far more sense to use my own car and keep all the revenue and not feel like I had to get in the car and drive no matter what.