How Much Does Uber Pay? Your Guide To Earning While Driving

Uber driver pay: the numbers

Gross rideshare driver pay has been decent in 2022. Companies are still using incentives to coax drivers back to their rightful place behind the wheel, and passengers are showing up in greater numbers. This has led to steadily climbing gross earnings for drivers over the first few months of 2022.

How much does Uber pay an hour? The average hourly rate for the first quarter went up steadily. Hourly earnings started at $19.47 in January, rose through $22.10 in February, and wound up at $24.57 at the end of March. We see Uber vs. Lyft 2022 driver pay, thus far, being in a nose-to-nose tie. Uber pay came in at $22.04 per hour, while Lyft drivers made an average of $21.97. Literally, the average hourly gross rates are just pennies apart.

We see the same Uber vs. Lyft picture when we look at earnings per trip. Uber drivers earned an average of $13.76 per trip in the first quarter, while Lyft drivers brought in $13.03 per trip. Once again, gross earnings steadily went up over the first three months of 2022. Uber drivers earned $12.53 per trip in January, and $13.32 in February. A little jump up to $15.42 made the quarter end on a sweet spot.

Tips, as well, were up for Uber drivers as they drove their way through the first few months of the year. The average tip per trip for the first quarter amounted to $4.90. The tips per trip figure started off at $3.83 in January, then went up a little to $4.00 in February, and $4.10 in March. This isn’t a huge leap, but it does follow the general upward earnings trend.

The last number we’ll look at closely is the one that matters most, because it’s the best way to answer the question: How much does Uber pay? The monthly earnings figure is always a good indicator of the bottom line for drivers. Gridwise figures show that Uber drivers brought in an average of $449.74 per month in the first quarter of 2022. Median rates went up from $348.00 in January to $463.71 in February. Then, they rose again in March to $537.29. This looks pretty good for Uber drivers, as it represents a 54% increase from January to the end of March. 

Is this what drivers are really seeing though? Now let’s look at what’s behind these numbers to see if they’re as promising as they seem.

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Uber Lyft Commission

That $19 is great, but that amount doesn’t go home with the driver. Uber and Lyft take 20% of each fare. So a driver is paid 80% of that final fare is $15. Assuming you are able to get another similar ride in the same hour, you have the potential of making up to $30 in an hour, which is certainly a decent hourly rate.

However, it’s more likely that you’ll get shorter rides that earn you significantly less than that. Uber and Lyft do have minimum fares, which guarantees that riders will always make a certain amount, even if they take a short ride. This is to guarantee that drivers aren’t negatively impacted by 2-3 block rides which take only a few minutes. This minimum fare varies from city to city.

What About Uber Eats?

Uber rideshare drivers also have the option to deliver orders through Uber Eats. This entails opting in, accepting delivery orders and then transporting food and beverages to customers.

Choosing to deliver food can boost an Uber driver’s pay, especially on days when rides are slow. Uber encourages its drivers to diversify their payment options, depending on demand.

Uber Eats pays drivers a delivery fare based on pick-up, drop-off and distance. There is also a similar surge pricing for food delivery known as “Boost” that will increase pay at certain times of the day.

What are Some Common Expenses for Uber Drivers?

Vehicle Maintenance

When you drive for your job, you drive more miles than you otherwise would. You’ll need to change the oil, other fluids, and tires more frequently.

Car Payment

If you don’t already own your car outright, you will need to continue making lease or car loan payments. According to Experian, the average monthly payment for a new car loan is $568. The average monthly payment for a used car loan is $397.

Car Insurance

Uber drivers need to maintain comprehensive and collision coverage on their personal auto insurance. According to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, collision coverage costs $363 per year on average, and comprehensive insurance costs $160 per year on average.

Uber has additional insurance coverage that protects your car should you get into an accident while on the clock. However, drivers must pay a $1,000 deductible before the coverage kicks in. Uber also has third-party liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury insurance for drivers. Learn more about Uber and insurance here.

Gas

Gas prices vary significantly, depending on where you live. Uber drivers must pay for the gas used to operate their Uber business. You can claim gas using the standard mileage deduction or by tracking actual gas expenses and deducting an exact figure for gas.

In-Car Amenities

Some Uber drivers choose to offer riders in-car amenities like mints, phone chargers to use, water bottles, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc. Amenities aren’t required, but some drivers claim amenities help boost their ratings.

You can claim in-car amenities as a business expense outside of the standard mileage deduction.

Instant Pay Fee

Uber pays drivers weekly, but if you want your earnings faster than that, you will need to sign up for Uber Instant Pay. With Instant Pay, drivers can withdraw their earnings using a debit card for $0.50 per transaction. To avoid the fee, drivers can open an Uber debit account through GoBank.

Not every bank processes withdrawals immediately, so although it’s called Instant Pay, it could still take a day or two until the money appears in your account.

Health Insurance

Currently, driving full-time for Uber doesn’t mean you get benefits like health insurance. Uber drivers need to secure their own health insurance if they don’t already have health insurance through a family member, partner, or employer.

This might change in the future. In the Spring of 2020, Uber announced plans to establish a health insurance policy for drivers. Uber would reportedly pay for health benefits on a sliding scale based on hours worked.

Other Benefits

Uber doesn’t give drivers matching contributions to a retirement plan, life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, or other benefits. If you want these benefits, you will need to purchase them for yourself as an independent contractor.

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 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

The impact of changing customer patterns

The recent resurgence of business and social activity has brought rideshare back to life, but the playing field is different than it was back in 2019. Drivers need to study the market for rideshare and use smart strategies to make as much money as possible—and hold on to it.

Being aware of passenger patterns is a must in this environment. Let’s look at some of the activities passengers partake in, how well they’re recovering as the world regroups after the pandemic shutdowns, and the ways it affects Uber drivers.

Air travel

Airport passengers are coming back! By early April 8, the TSA reported 2,318,977 people passed through checkpoints. On that same date in 2021, only 1,549,181 went through the gates. While that’s not quite up to 2019’s number of 2,590,499, airport traffic is definitely showing promising signs of recovery. There is a change, though: in 2022, more travel is oriented toward pleasure than business. 

Companies have learned that online meetings can be highly effective and far less expensive than those cushy business trips. In fact, many believe business travel may never return to pre-pandemic levels. This means you have to adjust your mindset about airport driving and cater to the pleasure crowd rather than banking on the business traveler.

Events

Business events are coming back, but not as strongly as rideshare drivers might like. There are conferences and conventions, but many of them are either retaining an online presentation format, or creating a hybrid option, which combines live gatherings and virtual experiences. Much like business travel, corporate events may be taking on new forms that were inconceivable before the events of 2020 changed the ways people gather.

Fortunately, the picture is brighter for entertainment. According to morningconsult.com, crowds are coming back to public events, from the movies to consumer showcases and hockey games. Concerts are back in business in a big way. Live Nation stated that 2022 is on track to be a record year.  This is great news for rideshare drivers. While there will still be many virtual entertainment events, trends show that there will be crowds again—and that they will be in need of rideshare services.

Higher rideshare prices

While it’s clear that passengers are coming back, they may not be as easy to find as they have been in times past. Higher prices for rideshare will keep some of them away. If you live in a bigger city, this creates more competition among a large population of drivers for what’s bound to become fewer rides. You’ll need to be more aware than ever about where passengers might be and at what times. 

Gridwise tips

With Gridwise, you’ll be able to track airport traffic volume and get up to the minute information about all the events in your town. What’s more, Where to Drivegives you data from real drivers, showing you the locations where more money can be made. Gridwise gives you all the insight you need to keep your earnings up where you need them to be. Download Gridwise to get all these features and more.

How Much Do Uber Drivers Actually Make?

Uber’s pay structure factors in several variables: base fares, tips and other incentives. Calculating a realistic average is difficult. However, according to Salary.com, most Uber drivers earn about $15 to $22 per hour.

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Discounts and benefits for Uber drivers

Being an Uber driver comes with additional perks as well including local discounts that help you with aspects of the job. Here’s a list of some of the added benefits of being an Uber driver.

  • Vehicle inspections – because your vehicle needs to be inspected to drive for Uber, you can get discounts on inspections in your local area
  • Daily pay – you can sign up to get paid anytime – up to 5 times per day
  • TurboTax tax software – get discounts (20% off) on this service to help you with claiming your Uber income come tax time
  • H&R Block in-person tax support – Get 15% off support from the tax pros at H&R Block
  • Rogers Mobile – Get 30% off Share Everything mobile plans since you need your phone to drive for Uber

Click here to see the full list of rewards available in your local area. It’s also important to remember that working for Uber comes with several car-related expenses that Uber doesn’t cover, such as fuel, car maintenance, and taxes. However, Uber may compensate some of your insurance costs, as well as costs that result from passenger activity (such as requiring you to park somewhere, or damaging or defacing your car).

That’s what you need to know about how much money Uber drivers make. If you’re looking for some more information, these articles can help you on the road to becoming an Uber driver.

How Much Does Uber Pay vs. Lyft?

In comparison to the average Uber driver, Lyft drivers do earn significantly higher wages.

This is a HUGE factor that impacts both drivers, and riders, when evaluating the differences between Uber and Lyft.

Whereas an Uber driver makes an average of $14.73 per hour when tips are factored in, a Lyft driver makes an average of $17.50 per hour.

A significant factor in this: Lyft takes 20% of fares from drivers, plus booking fees, while Uber takes 25% of fares.

The cause behind the remaining disparity is up for speculation.

Earnings from each company fluctuate by location.

Riders give better tips on Lyft according to some accounts, while Uber riders are the generous ones according to others.

Uber surge tends to give your earnings a higher multiplier, while Lyft’s equivalent and lower-cost Prime Time may encourage riders to make more requests.

Essentially, the rideshare driver experience is about the same, and your location and availability will impact your earnings more than anything else.

Regardless of the service you’re driving for, car maintenance costs and self-employment taxes will always be part of the job.

As an independent contractor, keep in mind that these expenses aren’t typically covered by your company.

The only exception is that Uber provides free vehicle inspections at many of their driver support centers and partner inspection centers.

You can figure out where you can get your annual inspection covered on your city’s vehicle inspection page on Uber.com.

Car Insurance

  • Uber offers supplementary liability insurance that takes effect while you are accepting rides, driving to pick riders up, and taking them to your destination.
  • You will need your own car insurance as well, and you are not covered by the insurance provided by Uber or Lyft while offline. When you rent with HyreCar, though, they take care of your insurance policy for you, an added bonus of renting versus using your own vehicle for ridesharing.

What affects how much money Uber drivers make?

Wages for Uber drivers depend on 5 main things:

1. How many Uber rides they complete

The more rides you accept, the more money you will make – it’s as simple as that. In general, accepting fares continuously in a row will increase your hourly average rate, so it’s always good to accept fares while you’re still willing to drive.

2. The total distance each ride covers, and how much time each ride takes

Farther trips that take longer amounts of time will net you more money per trip, making the amount of money you make in any given hour larger if your trips are longer. Trips that take less than 5 minutes won’t help bring in a lot of money if that’s the majority of fares you’re accepting while working.

3. What tier of Uber service drivers typically work in

Uber offers different tiers of its service, all which cost various amounts for riders as they offer additional perks or services. Uber offers six tiers of service that you can drive for depending on what kind of car you have:

  • UberX – affordable, everyday ridesUberBLACK – high-end rides with professional drive
  • UberBLACK – high-end rides with professional drivers
  • UberSUV – luxury SUVs for groups up to 6
  • UberPOOL – shared rides with discounted cost for riders
  • UberXL – for groups up to 6
  • UberTAXI – local taxicabs

4. How often Surge Pricing is in effect in a driver’s area while they’re working

Uber Surge Pricing is a period that goes into effect that increases the cost of the fare for riders, while increasing the compensation for drivers. Surge pricing typically goes into effect during the following situations:

  • Weather is bad so demand for rides is higher
  • Few Uber drivers are out on the road so demand becomes higher
  • Weekend nights or holidays when more people need ride services
  • Large local events and festivals that attract big crowds

5. How much drivers are paid as tips, and how often they get tipped

Uber allows riders to give tips to their drivers, which they can add simply in the app after their ride is complete. Good customer service = good tips, so work on your conversation skills, stock your car with useful items like bottles of water, and help your riders by carrying their groceries or dropping them exactly where they need to be.

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