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What Is the Empower Rideshare App and How Does It Work?

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Key Takeaways

  • Empower is a unique rideshare service that allows drivers to set their rates and keep all fares.
  • Subscription fees for drivers vary by location, offering different plans.
  • Driver earnings depend on set rates and ride completion; Empower provides an earnings calculator.
  • Empower is praised for higher earnings compared to Uber/Lyft but criticized for its smaller market and app issues.

What Is Empower?

Empower is a software company established in 2019 in McLean, Virginia, revolutionizing mobility by decentralizing rideshare and giving both drivers and riders more control over their trips.

Ultimately, it aims to provide better treatment for drivers.

To disrupt the ridesharing transportation sector, Empower built software that lets drivers set their preferred rates and keep all of their fares.

Also, unlike platforms like Uber or Lyft, a rider can request a same-gender driver or add favorite drivers they feel safe with. Ultimately, Empower helps riders save money with cheaper rides than Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare service.

Note that Empower isn’t a transportation provider like Uber. It’s a booking platform directly connecting drivers to riders.

What Does Empower Offer Passengers?

Empower offers the following perks to riders:

  • More affordable rides, around 20% cheaper compared to Uber and Lyft
  • Ability to request same-gender drivers
  • Add and request favorite drivers for future rides
  • Get $10+ in free rides for signing up

What Does Empower Offer Drivers?

The company provides the following perks when you become a rideshare driver:

  • A 30-day free trial of the software
  • Ability to set your preferred rate
  • Keep 100% of the fare
  • A dedicated local support team
  • Low monthly subscription fee

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

I think Empower is an interesting opportunity for drivers, as it offers a unique alternative to traditional rideshare gigs like Uber and Lyft.

The ability for drivers to set their own rates is a significant departure from the commission-based models that have become the norm.

This allows drivers to charge what they want, when they want, which can often result in discounts for riders – especially helping avoid SURGE pricing in times of high demand – if the driver has set the pricing correctly.

Where Does Empower Operate?

As of the time of writing, Empower operates in Winston-Salem/Greensboro, New York City, North Carolina, and Washington D.C. It has the biggest presence in Washington D.C. According to its website, Empower looks forward to expanding across the U.S.

How to Sign Up as an Empower Driver

To sign up, download the Empower Driver app via the App Store or Google Play Store.

You can simply scan the QR code below and you will be taken to the download.

empower rideshare driver app download QR code

Then, create an account and provide all the details required to register.

Creating an Account

Once the download completes, open the app and you’ll see a screen that prompts you to get started.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app signup process

Next, enter your phone number and tap “Continue”.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app signup process

You’ll receive a code to your phone number that you will need to enter. This code is to verify that the phone number is working and active.

Once entered, tap “Continue”.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app signup process

Enter your first and last name, the tap “Continue”.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app signup process

From there, you will be prompted to enter your email address, the address at which you live, gender, and date of birth.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app signup process

If you’re in a city that Empower offers service within, you’ll be promoted to continue.

If not, you will see a message that indicates the service is not available. However, Empower has your contact information on file and will reach out if and when they come to your area.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app - showing that the service is not available in my area

Besides your basic information, the company requires you to upload a profile photo, a valid driver’s license, car registration, and vehicle insurance.

To upload your documents, here’s a quick video tutorial from Empower.

All drivers must pass a criminal background check, as well as a background check from the Department of Motor Vehicles, to be registered on the platform.

The background check can take around 24 to 48 hours, depending on the county you’re located in. You’ll receive the confirmation via email.

After Empower approves your background check and activates your account, you may start offering rides immediately!

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

While I think Empower is a unique take on the rideshare market, the signup process indicates to me that the service has a bit of growing to do before it goes mainstream.

First off, the background check process does not appear to be super thorough. They seem to be a bit more lax than Uber and Lyft’s strict background checks.

Second, the company’s insurance and legal coverage are a bit confusing.

For example, Washington, DC recently warned the service that they were operating illegally, serving them with a cease and desist letter.

From what I can tell, some drivers are continuing to operate, but I’m not entirely sure if their licenses and insurance fully meets the local regulations.

My Suggestion: Before you blindly apply, I would suggest doing some research into the platform and weight the pros and cons of driving.

I’d also suggest learning the implications of driving, especially in areas that the local municipalities are deeming the service illegal to drive within.

How Does the Empower App Work for Drivers?

Empower works similarly to other rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft. Drivers receive ride requests via the app, pick up the customers, and drop them off at their location to get paid.

a screenshot of the Empower driver app - showing a map on a phone screen

However, the app differs from other rideshare services, since drivers set their own rates and keep 100% of the fare, giving them more control over their earnings.

If you don’t know how much to charge, the app has a suggested rate card. To learn more about Empower’s driver rate card, here’s a quick tutorial:

Riders pay in-app, directly from their card to your account. Stripe automatically transfers payments once per day, from Monday to Friday. You may also opt for Strip’s instant payout option.

How Much Does Empower Cost for Drivers?

Empower offers a subscription service to drivers, which enables them to keep all their fares.

The subscription fee is automatically subtracted from the drivers’ gross bookings.

The driver subscriptions and prices vary per location.

Washington DC Metro

  • Empower DC Monthly Flex: Pay from $49.99 to $449.99, depending on your earnings
  • Empower DC Monthly Platinum: Pay $349.99 monthly
  • Empower DC Daily: Pay $24.99 per day

NYC Metro

  • Empower NYC Monthly: Pay $29.99 per month
  • Empower NYC Weekly: Pay $15.99 per week

Piedmont-Triad, NC

  • Empower PT Monthly Platinum: Pay $99.99 per month
  • Empower PT Monthly Flex: Pay from $49.99 to $149.99 depending on your earnings
  • Empower PT Daily: Pay $7.99 per day

Learn more about everything included in their driver subscription plans on Empower’s FAQs page.

How Much Do Empower Drivers Earn?

We can’t provide the average earnings of an Empower driver, since a driver’s total earnings depend on the rates they set themselves and the number of ride requests they complete.

However, Empower provides an earnings calculator to help you estimate how much a driver might earn.

a screenshot of the Empower rideshare driver earnings calculator

Based on Empower’s example, let’s say that you receive a total fare of $6,667 while driving in the DC metro area.

Your subscription fee ($350 for the DC Monthly Platinum plan), Stripe fee ($233), and dispute protection ($40) will be deducted from your total earnings. You keep $6,044.

Meanwhile, if you earned $6,667 from Uber or Lyft, the platform deducts 40% or $2,667, leaving you only $4,000.

Although Uber claims to deduct only 20% of commissions from drivers, you’ll still get more driving through Empower.

What Do the Drivers Say About Empower?

Driver reviews from the App Store and Google Play Store are mostly positive, with a rating of 4.5 and 4.2, respectively.

Many drivers on both apps consider Empower a good solution and say that they earn more here than through the Uber or Lyft driver app.

However, some drivers express that the software isn’t user-friendly and up-to-date with the other apps’ technology, has delays in receiving payment, as well as downtime due to a lack of riders.

Pros and Cons of Driving with Empower

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of subscribing to the company.

Pros of Empower

You’re not an employee or independent contractor.

You set your own rates and keep 100% of the fare.

Empower doesn’t take commissions.

Many drivers report higher earnings compared to Uber or Lyft.

Cons of Empower

It still has a small market, meaning fewer rides.

The platform needs improvement.

Empower doesn’t provide insurance to drivers.

Should You Try the Empower Rideshare App as a Gig or Full-Time Work?

Empower offers a platform with a promising vision. Many drivers like that they can set their own rates and earn more money without commission.

However, since it’s new, Empower has a limited presence in the U.S., resulting in fewer customers. New drivers may not earn a lot if they rely solely on Empower.

We recommend trying Empower alongside Uber, Lyft, or Alto as an additional gig. Until it expands and runs head-to-head with other giant ridesharing companies, the platform can’t provide a stable income for those who want full-time work.

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