How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make, Really? Factors that Eat Into Lyft Earnings

Over the last few years, there has been an ever-increasing interest in driving for Lyft. It’s a quick way to make cash. But how much can drivers really make?

Here’s what we’ll cover:

I’m pretty excited about what we’ve discovered, so let’s jump right in.


Video Overview:


How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?

A recent survey of nearly 1,150 drivers from popular rideshare platforms shows Lyft drivers averaging around $17.50 per hour- around $2 per hour more than Uber drivers.

These survey results contrast with earning data from Certify, which found that Uber drivers make an average of $25.73 per hour.

How much do Lyft drivers make? A screenshot of hourly Lyft, Uber, and Taxi driver averages

An illustration from Certify’s infographic highlighting hourly amounts by service.

An illustration from Certify’s infographic highlighting hourly amounts by service.

Earnest, a lending company, reports median earnings of Lyft drivers at $210 per month, compared to $155 per month for Uber drivers.

Lyft and Uber earnings for drivers fall at approximately the same average per month, but Lyft drivers earn more in tips. Also, the drivers who work on both platforms earn more on Uber.

Related: How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?

Here’s the full list of average and median incomes for various gig economy workers, as reported by the Earnest study:

Rank Company Average/Month Median/Month
1 Airbnb $924 $440
2 TaskRabbit $380 $110
3 Lyft $377 $210
4 Uber $364 $155
5 Doordash $229 $100
6 PostMates $174 $70
7 Etsy $151 $40
8 Fiverr $103 $60
9 Getaround $98 $70
Overall $299 $109

This study also looked at how many drivers fall into the different income categories:

how much do Lyft drivers make income distribution

A graph illustrating the percentage breakdown of monthly income earned through popular on-demand platforms.

A graph illustrating the percentage breakdown of monthly income earned through popular on-demand platforms.

The graph above indicates that the majority of Lyft drivers either earned $0-99, or $100-500 per month. Lyft drivers were higher paid, higher rated, and tended to be more satisfied than drivers of similar ridesharing companies.

Lyft Income Calculator



What Can Drivers Expect to Make According to Lyft

Lyft breaks down driver work stages into these 3 periods:

  1. Period 1- Driver signs into the app
  2. Period 2- Accepts a ride request
  3. Period 3- Drives passengers to their destination

During Period 2 and 3, Lyft reports median earnings to be $29.47 an hour nationally and $31.18 an hour in their top 25 city markets.

In Period 1, the driver might be online but not driving customers. This waiting will drive down average wages, as it is time spent working with no clientele. The amount that it affects wages is highly variable: some days can be slow, others extremely busy with almost no downtime.

Lyft reports that the hourly earning estimate that includes all 3 periods is $18.83 an hour nationally and $21.08 an hour in their top 25 markets.

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But expenses should be taken into account too. Lyft agrees with Harry Campbell, the founder of The Rideshare Guy, and states the expense to be $3-$5 an hour.

How much do Lyft drivers make? [Driver Video Testimonial]

Let’s look at a real-world example of what an active Lyft driver is actually earning. The creator of this video runs a well-known YouTube channel called RideShare tips.

A few things to note about the driver before watching the video:

  • He is a part-time driver only.
  • He works in Los Angeles, which is one of the higher-paying cities for rideshare driving.

Take a look:

From this video, we learn that Lyft earnings are affected by:

  1. Lyft ride rates tend to be higher than Uber’s
  2. Lyft takes a smaller commission than Uber
  3. Hidden costs, like vehicle maintenance, insurance costs, vehicle depreciation, fuel, also eats up part of the earnings, and these costs are particularly higher for Uber drivers.

This infographic helps illustrate the most common Lyft driver expenses

Lyft driver infographic that outlines the expenses for How much do Lyft drivers make question

We put together this infographic to illustrate some of the most common Lyft driver expenses.

Lyft pay reviews

A Google quick search on “How much do Lyft drivers make?” will serve results of people dissatisfied with driving for Lyft. Some claim that it is an unreliable source of income that driving for Lyft incurs high vehicle maintenance costs .

This is true.

On the other hand, working for Lyft offer drivers flexibility as to when to drive and offers weekly guarantees on earnings. Taking part in power driver bonuses and driving while surge pricing applies can boost driver earnings.

Here’s what one of the most experienced rideshare driver in the industry has to say about making the most out of Lyft:

In summary: Driving for Uber and Lyft provides drivers with more money up front, but the high cost of car maintenance and other expenses will hit drivers later on.

There are also other things that tend to drive down driver earnings, like the time spent waiting around, which happens mostly in smaller cities.

The earnings also vary per state. Lyft drivers in cities like Los Angeles and New York may possibly earn closer to the maximum hourly rate of around $35 compared to drivers in places like Sanford Florida and Plano, Texas.

All about putting in time

At the end of the day, Lyft driver earnings boil down to how drivers manage their time. Full-time earnings (or driving from 45 to 50 hours a week) can reach around $800 per week with Lyft, after expenses. Some drivers enjoy meeting new people as they carry out their job as ridesharers.

The long short: How much do Lyft drivers make? You can either trust the existing drivers on the road, or sign up for yourself to see.


Ready to start driving? Learn how to become a Lyft driver today!


How much do you make as a Lyft driver? Can you offer any advice to potential drivers, or other existing drivers on the road to increase Lyft driver income? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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