How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make: Factors that Eat into Their Earnings

Have you ever wondered how much drivers of the fast-rising ride-hailing startup Lyft make?

How much the on-demand app’s drivers make depends on a number of factors. Fortunately, recent surveys provide some insights to help answer this question.

How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?

According to a recent survey of nearly 1,150 drivers, primarily from the most popular rideshare platforms, Lyft drivers averaged around $17.50 per hour, or close to $2 per hour more than what Uber drivers reportedly made.

It’s worth pointing out that Lyft drivers have the opportunity to earn a much larger amount of tips, while Uber passengers were still not quite on the same playing field in that regard. Since Uber just recently introduced in-app tipping features for passengers, this difference is to be expected.

These survey results are in stark contrast to recent earnings data from Certify, which found that Lyft drivers make an average of $25.73 per hour, and earn a rating of nearly 5 stars per trip.

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.

Looking into the topic from a monthly earnings perspective, technology and loan company Earnest noted that Lyft drivers make slightly more than Uber drivers, with median earnings for a Lyft driver recorded at $210 per month and averaging $377, compared to $155 and averaging $364 for Uber.

Lyft and Uber drivers earn approximately the same average per month, but the per-trip earnings  and tips favor Lyft.

The firm conveyed, though, that drivers who work on both platforms earn more on Uber overall. The hours that gig economy workers put in certainly accounted for their earnings.

Related: How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?

Here’s the full list of average and median income per sharing economy worker, as indicated 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 not only answered the question, “How much do Lyft drivers make?” but took it one step further to answer how many drivers fall into the different income amounts.

What they found was interesting.

how much do Lyft drivers make income distribution

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

This graph indicates that the majority of Lyft drivers either earned $0-99, or $100-500 per month.

I’ve long believed that driving for Uber and Lyft should be treated as a side job, but these numbers are lower than I expected.

However, what the numbers don’t take into account, from what I can tell, is how many different services each of these on-demand workers were doing in a given day.

While I can speculate that Lyft drivers were also driving for Uber, which would likely greatly increase the monthly income, there’s no way of knowing for sure.

But I digress.

Lyft drivers, if you are to go by all the survey results mentioned above, were higher paid, higher rated, and tended to be more satisfied than drivers of other popular transportation competitors.

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

The above studies are great, and provide a broad look of what the Lyft driver income as a whole is like.

But let’s get a bit more granular and take a look at a real-world example of what a driver on the front lines is actually earning.

For this, let’s take a look at a video created by an actual Lyft driver, who runs a well-known YouTube channel called RideShare tips.

Here’s a few things to note before watching the income breakdown video below.

  • Part time driver. He views rideshare as a great source of additional income
  • He used to be full time but due to time constraints, currently drives part time.
  • He believes that earnings depend on time driven, city in which you drive, and other variables that easily change.
  • These pay statements are from driving in Los Angeles, one of the higher-paying cities for rideshare driving.

Take a look:

If you’re asking yourself how much do Lyft drivers make, this is a great view behind the scenes to help answer that question.

This video also does a great job of breaking down Lyft income line by line, so you get a better understanding of what to expect when you sign up to drive and start making money.

But what goes into calculating all these results?

  1. One factor may be the number of hours dual drivers put in with ride-hailing firms that include Uber and Lyft.
  2. The ride rates may also have an effect on drivers’ earnings. Lyft ride rates tend to be slightly higher than Uber’s, so logically it makes sense that Lyft drivers ought to make more.
  3. In addition, from a driver’s perspective, Lyft takes much less of a commission compared to Uber, allowing drivers to pocket a larger amount of their income.

Other intervening factors

Besides marked differences in tipping policies, things like hidden costs that drivers (particularly Uber drivers) tend to overlook but eat up part of their earnings down the road also affect driver satisfaction ratings at Uber and Lyft.

Expenses also include vehicle upkeep. Factors like the type of car being driven, the city, age, driving record must also be factored in.

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

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

Note: as independent contractors, drivers who choose to work for ridesharing companies may join at least two services, allowing us to easily compare the two. This is also one of the easiest ways to increase driver income.

Lyft pay reviews

Interestingly, some online reviews for the search “How much do Lyft drivers make?” show that some people regard the part-time driving opportunity as not up to standard.

Some say it is not a reliable form of income and incurs high maintenance costs for their cars. Being a Lyft driver offers a flexible schedule and guaranteed earnings, but will suffice only for those individuals who need a small source of extra income.

But again, don’t take my word for it, let one of the most experienced rideshare drivers in the industry outline it for you…

Driving around passengers for Uber and Lyft will give earners money up front, but the high costs that go with 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 is what happens in small cities where Lyft is just becoming known.

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.

In terms of coverage areas, Lyft has done well in its expansion in the US, though there are quite a few cities and countries that Lyft still has not penetrated, so from a market share standpoint, Uber has the upper hand.

However, it can be noted that with all the scandals Uber has been swamped with, many riders have opted for Lyft. Combine bad PR for Uber with the driver sign up bonuses that Lyft is offering, and you get a tidal wave of new drivers to the platform.

In effect, there has been a surge of riders and drivers from Uber, in favor of Lyft.

The Uber experience

First-hand accounts from Uber drivers may present a clearer picture.

Some Uber drivers have expressed dissatisfaction with pay, saying it was not worth the work, while others seemed content enough working for the ride-sharing company in conjunction with their other jobs.

For many Uber drivers, there is decent income that can be made in certain markets in the US, such as New York City, where making $20.54 an hour has ignited interest.

Driver discussions online point to how Uber has facilitated making ends meet for drivers. One Uber driver cited making average earnings of 16$ to $20 an hour after expenses in the Chicago area.

Uber internal figures in 2016 pointed out how drivers in three markets — Detroit, Houston, and Denver — earned only $8.77, $10.75, and $13.17 per hour, respectively, representing a marked dip in earnings from year-ago levels. Campaigns like the “180 Days of Change” have sought to improve driving experiences.

Likewise, there have been cases where things did not pan out as expected for drivers.

In recent months, the scenario following the appointment to the Uber Board of Dara Khosrowshahi looks upbeat. Changes that include better compensation schemes that may provide drivers flexibility may be in the offing.

All about putting in time

At the end of the day, Lyft driver earnings boil down to how drivers manage their time.

There have been testimonials on how driving with Lyft on the side paid off. Full-time earnings (or driving from 45 to 50 hours a week) can reach around $800 with Lyft according to some accounts.

The company has also been described positively for its conducive startup environment with room to grow, and the perks that drivers may enjoy.

On the other hand, there have been many tales from Uber drivers. One Uber driver recounts driving about 30 to 40 hours a week and earning from $250 to $450 in that span of time, which helps him pay the bills.

The ride-sharing service undoubtedly serves as a livelihood in a downward-spiraling job market.

While an increasing number of people drive for Uber and Lyft for economic reasons or to supplement incomes, others do so because they consider it a fun and flexible side gig.

Apart from reaping the benefits of driving around passengers, people may also earn from added incentives for referring drivers or customers.

As for which ride-sharing company is better, people have varying views. Some customers tweet praised Uber, with one passenger citing how Uber drivers are our everyday superheroes. Lyft has its own following.

At the end of the day, some drivers equate satisfaction not only with monetary terms but also in meeting good people as they carry out their job.

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.

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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