How much can you make a day driving Uber in the United States?

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Uber Driver Percentile Pay by Location

The following data shows the percentile distributions of Uber driver earnings in several different locations. Note that median earnings appear in the 50% column.

Location 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
Connecticut $27,211 $33,402 $40,202 $49,102 $57,205
New York City $30,183 $37,102 $44,702 $54,602 $63,615
Kentucky $23,730 $29,102 $35,002 $42,702 $49,712
San Francisco $31,409 $38,602 $46,502 $56,702 $65,989
Wyoming $22,403 $27,502 $33,102 $40,402 $47,048

How do Uber drivers get paid?

Uber pays drivers on a weekly basis either on Wednesdays or Thursdays. The payment process starts on Monday, which is when the previous week’s earning cycle ends and the current week’s cycle begins.

You will receive a weekly pay statement for the previous week on Tuesday, but it may delay until Wednesday. The statement is automatically added to your Uber dashboard and may also be emailed. It won’t come at the same exact time each week, so don’t worry when it’s a few hours late.

On Wednesday, you’ll receive a direct deposit of your funds via ACH payment. While the deposit happens on Wednesday, the funds may not clear until Thursday. If you still don’t receive the payment by Thursday, then contact Uber directly and they’ll sort the problem.

In case you prefer to get your Uber payments more frequently, you can sign up for daily pay. This will allow you to withdraw funds up to five times per day. The only condition is that you must have at least $1 in your Uber account.

If that doesn’t work for you either, you can sign up for Uber Instant Pay. In which case, payments from customers will go directly to your debit account. You can then use a debit card to withdraw the cash. But keep in mind that some banks take up to two days to process these payments. Therefore, while Uber may deposit the money in your account instantly, you might still not be able to access it until the bank has cleared the transaction.

What does your Uber pay statement show?

The Uber pay statement essentially shows your amount receivable and completed orders for the previous week. These are rides that were requested and paid for by customers between 12 AM on Monday and 11:59 PM on Sunday of the previous week. There are three ways of accessing your Uber pay statement:

  • Via the Uber app: this statement contains your total pay for the week, with each payment itemized.
  • Via email: this is a more detailed statement which shows your pay on a day-to-day basis. It also contains the “Other” section. More on this shortly.
  • Via partners.uber.com: this is the most detailed statement. It shows you pay on a fare-by-fare basis and includes a more detailed section for other payments. These are bonuses and reimbursements that you earned over the week. You can access this statement by visiting partners.uber.com.

Contents of an Uber driver pay statement

It’s undoubtedly critical to figure out how much Uber drivers make in NYC before you venture into the business. Just as important, you also want to know where that money comes from and the amount that each item brings in. Here’s a closer look as itemized in a typical Uber driver’s pay stub:

  • Fare: the amount you received from passengers who hailed your Uber. It doesn’t deduct Rider Fee nor Uber’s cut.
  • Uber fee: the percentage that Uber retains from your earnings.
  • Rider fee: this is an additional service fee levied on the customer per ride. However, you are the one to collect it from your passengers then Uber collects it from you.
  • Surge: shows how much you earned from Surge rides. These are drives that you made to areas with higher-than-usual request volumes.
  • Wait time: the amount you earn for waiting for a customer for more than two minutes.
  • Long pickup fee: the money you earn when you drive 10 minutes or more to pick up a rider.
  • Tolls: reimbursements for tolls that you paid when driving for Uber. They are charged to riders and then Uber collects and reimburses you.
  • Cancellation fee: the amount paid to you when a rider cancels a ride request two minutes after making it. It’s usually a $5 payout per cancellation.
  • Other: this section covers miscellaneous reimbursements, cleaning fee and fare corrections.
  • Other payments: these are amounts that you earned from referral bonuses, promotions, guarantees and other incentives.
  • Total: the total amount you will receive on your next direct deposit from Uber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions people ask about driving for Uber.

Is Uber meant to replace a full time job, or supplement income as a side hustle? It’s fair to say that, for most Uber drivers, a job with Uber has to be a supplement to a salary they earn elsewhere. There simply isn’t enough consistency for the typical Uber driver to make enough money to sustain themselves with Uber alone. So, many Uber drivers are only part-time drivers.

But, drivers who operate full-time in a dense urban area, and optimize their trips by supplementing their time behind the wheel by providing other Uber services can certainly earn a respectable income.

At that point, they are working a full-time job but don’t receive the benefits that other full-time workers enjoy.

For instance, you will not receive any paid time-off or sick leave working for Uber.

How much Uber drivers make by using the platform is up to them, but the ancillary benefits of full-time employment are not attainable as an Uber driver, as you are not an employee of Uber.

How long does it take to make 100 Uber trips? That depends on how buys your operating area is and how much you are working. If you are operating in a densely populated urban area, it’s quite possible you could complete 100 trips in a week to ten days, depending on the number of hours you work. But, if you are in a more rural setting, with longer rides for each trip, or you don’t work many hours consistently, it will take much longer to complete 100 trips.

Can you make $1,000 in a week with Uber? You can. But, you might be the exception to the rule. Most Uber drivers do not make that kind of money. But, by keeping in mind Uber’s payment structure, targeting times where your trips are eligible for surge pricing, and providing quality service that earns tips from your passengers, you can drive your earnings higher.

There are a great many factors that can make it easier (or harder) for full-time drivers to earn money with Uber.

It’s up to you to tailor your efforts to maximize your wages.

How Much Are Uber Driver Expenses?

We all know that maintaining, insuring and gassing up a car can be expensive. So, when you work for Uber, you may wonder how expenses like these are covered. To answer this question, they’re covered by you. Uber drivers are expected to cover their own car expenses fully. These expenses commonly include:

  • Car lease payments. You can lease a car from Uber but are responsible for the fees. You can also drive your own car and are responsible for any fees that come with that ownership.
  • Insurance. Age, location, vehicle type, coupled with a variety of other factors determine what you pay for insurance. Uber does offer drivers a commercial insurance policy. This policy is $1 million of coverage per incident.
  • Tolls, license and permit fees. These are all paid by you. However, your passengers will find themselves paying a surcharge when you encounter tolls on the road.
  • Maintenance. All maintenance fees are your responsibility. The one exception is when a customer damages your car. Uber will reimburse you in this situation.
  • Gasoline. You will need to pay for your own gas as an Uber driver. Don’t expect to be reimbursed.

These expenses all vary depending on the age of your car, mileage, amount of driving, and destinations you travel to. Also keep in mind that as an Uber driver you can claim a deduction for your vehicle expenses. There are two ways to claim this deduction.

  • Standard mileage rate. The IRS issues a standard mileage rate each year. For 2018, it is 54.5 cents per mile. If you drove 1,000 miles driving for Uber, your deduction would be $545.
  • Actual expense method. With this method, you track the actual cost of gas, repairs, car insurance, registration, licenses and depreciation or lease payments for the year, then multiply those expenses by the percentage of miles driven for business. For example, if your total automobile expenses were $5,000 in 2018 and you drove 10,000 miles for the year, 2,000 of which were for Uber, your deduction would be $1,000 (20% of $5,000).

You can also deduct business-related smartphone use, as well as water or snacks given to passengers. In addition, the cost of parking and tolls paid while driving for Uber can be deducted.

Recently, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a special deduction for owners of pass-through businesses such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and S corporations. If your Uber driving business qualifies, you may be able to deduct up to 20% of your business income from your taxes. There are several rules and thresholds to navigate, so talk to your tax advisor to determine how the pass-through deduction will apply to your situation.

Is Working on Uber Worth It?

Working on Uber is worth it if you want a flexible job that allows you to be your own boss. Uber driving does not require as much capital as other businesses. To drive for Uber, you do not need a university degree. Even if you don’t own a car, you can hire one from Uber for as little as $250 per week. You can eventually buy a car if you have a steady source of income. 

The Pros and Cons of Working on Uber

Like every other business model, working as an Uber driver has benefits and drawbacks. Weighing these pros and cons will help you decide whether a full-time job as an Uber driver is the best option for you.

Pros of Working on Uber 

  • Flexibility to work when you want. Uber is one of the most flexible rideshare companies you will find today. All you have to do is change your status on the app to “Available”, and you can begin accepting rides. When you want to rest or do something else, simply change your status to “Unavailable”, and you will not receive rides. You can work flexible hours as long as you own the vehicle.
  • Get paid each time you drive.You do not need to wait till the end of the month or week to get paid for the rides you complete. Uber drivers are paid instantly, allowing you to drive people whenever you need money. Furthermore, the charges per ride rise significantly during peak hours, allowing you to earn even more.
  • Earn bonuses for putting in the work.Uber offers bonuses to drivers at intervals. These bonuses serve as incentives for drivers to work hard and reward those who put in a lot of hours. 
  • You don’t need to own a car. While most Uber drivers use cars, you don’t always need a car to make money on Uber. For example, people can use motorcycles, bicycles, and even scooters to make money on Uber delivery services like the Uber Eats platform. You can also work for someone who owns a car and pay a set amount each week.
  • You can work anywhere. You can work as a driver as long as the Uber app is available in the city you are in. So, if you want to relocate, you don’t have to worry about finding a new job. You’re able to drive as long as your app is operational and you’re driving the same registered vehicle.

» MORE:   Best Jobs That Pay $100K a Year Without a Degree

Cons of Working on Uber 

  • You have to pay double insurance. Uber is not responsible for providing drivers with rideshare insurance premiums. However, they make it mandatory and deduct it automatically from your hourly income. This means you’ll have to pay your regular car insurance as well as rideshare insurance every month, regardless of how much you make.
  • The cost of doing business is on you. Whether you are the car owner or you are leasing the vehicle, you will have to pay for maintenance costs, repair costs, income tax, sales tax, and the cost of gas. Individual drivers cover the entire operational cost that comes from working with Uber. This may significantly affect the total amount you make monthly and make it difficult to work with a budget. 
  • Driving for Uber doesn’t mean you are an Uber employee. Using the Uber app to make money doesn’t mean you are an Uber employee. You will be an independent contractor. As a result, you should not expect to receive the traditional benefits that come with working for Uber as a part-time or full-time employee. If you want to enjoy these privileges, you will need to learn how to become a software engineer or an Uber data scientist or
  • There are no clear-cut terms. Uber has different terms and conditions in different countries, and they are not always favorable. For example, the terms in the United States are completely different and more favorable than the terms for drivers in developing countries like Nigeria. A typical example is the difference in hourly income and subsequently annual earnings. 
  • It is not as flexible as you would expect. While you have a high degree of flexibility when you’re working as an Uber driver, you are obligated to accept almost every ride you get. It makes no difference if you are uncomfortable with the rider or if you are unsure about getting to the destination. Uber will ban you from driving if you reject rides you aren’t comfortable taking. 

What Taxes Do Uber Drivers Need to Pay?

Most Uber drivers need to make quarterly estimated tax payments and pay self-employment taxes. Consult a tax professional in your area for more specific tax advice about becoming an Uber driver.

Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments

When you drive for Uber, you don’t have income taxes taken out of your pay like you would with a traditional job. Instead, you, the independent contractor, may need to make your federal, state, and local income tax payments throughout the year. These are called quarterly tax payments or estimated tax payments. Whether you need to do this depends on how much you expect to earn during the year.

Fortunately, Uber drivers can claim all of their business expenses to reduce their overall taxable income. Drivers can take the standard mileage deduction or claim the actual amount spent. The standard mileage deduction in 2020 is 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use. If you claim the actual amount spent, you can deduct the cost of gas, repairs, depreciation, lease expenses, and other car-related expenses. Regardless of whether you claim the standard deduction, Uber drivers can also claim in-car amenities made available to riders.

Self-Employment Taxes

When you’re an employee, your employer pays half of your Social Security and Medicare tax liability. The other half comes out of your pay. When you’re an independent contractor, you have to pay your half plus the half an employer typically pays. The combined tax rate for both equals 15.3%. You can deduct the employer portion (7.65%) from your taxes.

Job openings matching Driver in Uber

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  3. Group Product Manager – Driver – Earner Progression San Francisco, CA 20 days ago

Ways Uber Drivers Make Money

Now, let’s take a look at the different ways Uber drivers make money.

Fares

Uber drivers receive a base fare plus compensation for how long and far they’re driving. According to the Uber website, how much you make per mile or per hour varies by city. Fares can change over time, too. For example, in 2019, Uber dropped rates in Southern California from $0.80 per mile to $0.60 per mile. This led to protests and strikes in California.

Tips

Riders can tip their driver during or after their ride. Tips vary greatly, and most riders don’t tip. A 2019 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that only 1 percent of customers always tip and around 60 percent never tip. The average tip (of those who do tip) is $3. Female drivers are more likely to get tips than male drivers.

Ridester’s 2020 driver survey also found that tips added just $1.31 per hour to a driver’s earnings in 2020.

Bonuses & Promotions

Uber offers different bonuses throughout the year that enable drivers to earn extra money. An example bonus on the Uber website states, “earn $30 extra for completing 20 trips this week.”

Sometimes Uber runs driver sign-up promotions that give new drivers a $500 to $1000 bonus for signing up and completing 50 to 100 rides in their first month. Sign-up bonus availability depends on the time of year and where you plan to drive.

Cancellation Fees

Uber drivers must wait a certain amount of time for the rider to show up. If the time limit passes, an Uber driver can mark the rider as a no-show. In most cases, the driver gets a cancellation fee of around $5.

How Uber Commission and Fees Work

It’s not that difficult to understand the way Uber fees and commissions work.

For instance, when it comes to fees, the passengers are the ones who have to pay a booking fee, as well as per minute and mile fee for their ride. After the ride, you as a driver would be paid the majority of the fare you made. And you only get “the majority” and not all of it because Uber is going to get their cut, respectively the “Service Fee”.

More than 25%

The amount that Uber says it charges their drivers is 25%, but it actually takes a little more than that from their earnings. This is all due to the fact that some additional fees are taken by rideshare companies, resulting in a higher percentage for the cut.

In the past, Uber drivers had to drive around 2.36 miles to make $10 before fees, but nowadays, the prices were lowered by Uber. As a result, a driver will have to drive 4.71 miles to make the same amount of cash.

Fees

Also, there is the booking fee and a safe rides fee for every Uber ride, which is between $1 and $3. These fees vary by city, but the driver cannot actually see these in their bank account, as this goes directly to Uber.

So, the commission taken by Uber is higher if the ride fare is lower, meaning the rideshare drivers would make less. So, in the end, even if Uber claims to take 25% of its drivers, it will actually take up to 42.75%. If you are doing short rides, then it won’t be too profitable for you.

>> Read More: Loans for Uber Drivers

How Much Do Uber and Lyft Make From Drivers?

At the time of writing Uber takes 30% of each fare for its operational costs. Lyft's platform fee varies but is typically around 20% plus sales tax.

The numbers we presented above include these platform fees. What they do not reflect is the possibility, in fact, the overwhelming likelihood, that those fees will increase.

Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies hemorrhage money. According to an article published in New York Magazine:

No ultimately successful major technology company has been as deeply unprofitable for anywhere remotely as long as Uber has been. After nine years, Uber isn't within hailing distance of making money and continues to bleed more red ink than any start-up in history… Across all its businesses, Uber was providing services at only roughly 74 percent of their cost in its last quarter. Uber was selling its services at only roughly 64 percent of their cost in 2017, with a GAAP profit margin of negative 57 percent.

Uber has lost money every year since its founding because it undercharges customers. When accounting for the full costs of its infrastructure, salaries and other overhead, the company spends more per ride than it makes. This has allowed it to kick the stuffing out of legacy taxi companies which, lacking generous venture capitalists, have to operate at a profit.

It also means, however, that sooner or later the money will have to come from somewhere. There is a very good chance that it will come from the drivers in terms of higher app fees. For Uber drivers, the number right now is 30%. They would be wise to expect that to change.

They should also realize that this is true for every competitive rideshare app on the market.

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