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Earning money just by hopping into your car is a dream that Uber has helped millions of drivers achieve. However, when you’re considering a driving gig as a path to meet your financial goals, you probably want to know exactly what you can expect before you start filling out an Uber application. So exactly how much do Uber drivers make?
New driver sign-up bonuses and a flexible schedule can be enticing, but with frequent talk about low driver pay, it can be hard to determine if an Uber gig is really worth what it advertises. After all, making sure your earnings will meet your needs in the long run is a definite must, whether you’re a part-time or full-time driver.
Keep reading to get our complete guide to how much Uber drivers make so you can decide whether to sign up or look elsewhere.
- Uber Driver Earnings Trends in 2019 and 2020
- Does Uber Pay Its Drivers a Salary?
- Do Uber Drivers Have Benefits?
- Factors That Influence Earnings
- How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Hour?
- How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Day?
- How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Week?
- How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Month?
- How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Year?
- Which Uber Car Makes the Most Money?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Uber Driver Earnings Trends in 2019 and 2020
Before we break down the specifics of how much Uber drivers make, we’ll consider how earning levels have changed in the past year.
At the time of this writing, COVID-19 is currently decimating driver earnings. Our team just completed a survey of 175 rideshare drivers, and found that rideshare income is down by over 80% since coronavirus lockdowns began last month. As a result, many drivers are struggling to make ends meet and are at risk of not being able to cover staple expenses like car and insurance payments.
Aside from the pandemic-related income changes, before the lockdowns went into effect, average Uber driver earnings across all platforms actually increased 31.4% from our 2018 survey.
It is evident that there are some big changes happening in a handful of major U.S. cities. Namely, Uber is responding to criticism about its classification of drivers as independent contractors.
Uber drivers have always been independent contractors in the United States. This allows you to have full control over your schedule and essentially be your own boss. At the same time, this has enabled the ridesharing company to keep driver pay fairly low while also leaving drivers responsible for all of their own rideshare expenses.
Car payments, as well as vehicle and health insurance costs, aren’t covered either. After paying for their own gas, maintenance, insurance, and more — not to mention paying self-employment taxes on top of income taxes — many drivers are left with unimpressive annual earnings. We’ll dive into more on that in the section below.
In this past year, the precedent for change has been set. New York City became the first U.S. city to set a minimum wage for rideshare drivers, boosting driver pay by over $5 per hour above the national average.
As a result of these changes, our survey found that New York City has become the best-paying city for Uber drivers, with drivers earning an average of $26.24 per hour. Some California drivers are also getting more control over their own rates, allowing for higher earnings for strategic drivers.
If this trend continues, it’s quite possible that both your earnings and independence will continue to increase in 2020 and beyond. Keep this in mind as you learn more about what Uber drivers are currently making below.
Does Uber Pay Its Drivers a Salary?
Before we go any further, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: Does Uber pay its drivers a salary? The answer is a straightforward, “No.” Uber drivers are independent contractors. This means that they are not employees of Uber. Because of this, Uber does not have to pay them a salary or hourly wage. In fact, minimum wage laws don’t apply to independent contractors.
If you think this seems unfair, you’re not alone. New York City has passed legislation to require Uber (and Lyft) to pay its drivers a minimum wage. Depending on your perspective, you may see this as either a victory for workers’ rights or excessive government regulation of private enterprise.
The arguments for paying drivers at least a minimum wage make sense. Though on the other hand, rideshare companies like Uber argue that requiring them to pay drivers a minimum hourly wage harms the platform as a whole.
The extra money that Uber has to pay drivers must come from somewhere, and that likely means fare increases for riders. From Uber’s perspective, this will decrease demand for the service and thus lower the number of rides (and earnings) that drivers can get.
Here’s how Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi put it in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times:
“‘A driver gets on Uber because they can drive whenever they want,’ Khosrowshahi, who is Uber’s CEO, told us. ‘They are their own bosses. They can drive for two hours. They can drive for 50 hours.’”
Overall, this is a complicated issue, and it’s still too early to say how the new rules in NYC will affect the industry or whether or not other cities will adopt similar rules. For now, however, the majority of Uber drivers around the United States and world continue to earn a percentage of the fares that riders pay, plus tips and bonuses.
Do Uber Drivers Have Benefits?
Along with discussions of an hourly wage and salary, the question of benefits for Uber drivers often comes up. Once again, Uber appears to fall short in this area compared to other companies. Uber doesn’t offer retirement plans, health insurance, paid sick leave, or paid family leave for drivers.
Depending on your perspective, this may or may not make sense. If you’re driving for Uber on top of your day job, then the idea of Uber offering you benefits may seem unnecessary.
But you need to remember that some drivers use Uber (or other gig economy apps) as their sole source of income. These drivers don’t have the luxury of receiving health insurance from their day job. Uber driving is their day job.
So what is Uber doing to address this issue? The company does offer limited benefits to drivers. To help with vehicle maintenance, Uber drivers can get 15 percent off at Firestone, Maaco, Meineke, Midas, Jiffy Lube, Sears Auto Center, Valvoline, and Advance Auto Parts. Uber also states that they’re “working with AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to save you [Uber drivers] 8–22 percent on your monthly bill.”
Additionally, Uber does offer some assistance with healthcare. The company has partnered with Stride Health, an online health insurance broker that helps independent contractors find the health insurance and other insurance products they need.
While the service that Stride provides is free, we should note that Uber does nothing to help subsidize the cost of health insurance for its drivers. Drivers are still responsible for paying all their plan’s premiums in full. Therefore, while the partnership with Stride is a nice gesture, it doesn’t amount to much in the way of health insurance assistance for Uber drivers.
Uber (and some drivers) would argue that while the company may not offer traditional benefits — like retirement plans and health insurance — working as an Uber driver does come with other, intangible benefits.
To start with, Uber drivers have the flexibility to set their own hours. If you want to drive only at night, you can do that. Prefer early mornings? No problem. Want to drive for 12 hours straight? You’re welcome to, though the company will make you take a 6-hour break afterwards for safety reasons.
There’s also the nature of the work itself. When you drive for Uber, you aren’t stuck in an office, and you don’t have to deal with a boss. You get to meet a variety of people and see different parts of your city. Compared to a desk job, this can be a dream for many people.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Get Paid?
Interestingly enough, I found that to truly figure out how much Uber drivers get paid, it’s important to take into account two main points that oftentimes get overlooked by most drivers:
- How much does the Uber ride cost?
- How much are Uber driver expenses?
The different factors that affect these numbers widely vary by city, but the general idea stays the same no matter where you drive. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
1. How much does an Uber ride cost?
Before we go any further we need to know how much Uber pays drivers for each ride they give.
Riders get charged via a simple formula: Fare = Time + Distance.
For every minute a passenger is in the Uber, they get charged (time). On top of that, every mile you travel also gets charged (distance).
Okay, I told a small lie there. The total fare has a few more variables. They are:
- Base Fare
- Rider Fee / Booking Fee
- Surge Pricing
The Base Fare is fixed per trip. The Rider Fee or Booking Fee is also fixed and is set to cover things like driver background checks and other driver-related expenses Uber incurs on booking.
These fees vary from city to city and also on what Uber the passenger requests.
Finally, if driver supply is low and passenger requests are high, surge pricing might be enabled to encourage more drivers to come to the road, costing the riders more. This is a multiplier and its value depends on the gap between driver supply and passenger demand. The wider the gap, the higher the multiplier.
So how riders get charged is based on a formula that has two parts. First, we work out the subtotal.
Subtotal = Base Fare + Time + Distance
Then we apply the surge pricing, if any, to the subtotal. If passenger demand and rider supply are balanced then this number is just 1.0. Then add the booking fee to get the fare the passenger pays.
Passenger Fare = (Subtotal x Surge Pricing) + Booking Fee
However, this is not the payout the Uber Driver gets. Let’s illustrate with an example.
For this scenario, we’ll be using the example of a rider in Chicago traveling via UberX from The Sears Tower to the Navy Pier. The ride is 2.3 miles and takes approximately 15 minutes. In Chicago, the base fare is $1.70, the cost per minute is $0.20 and the cost per mile is $0.90, in addition to a booking fee of $1.20.
Passenger fare: 1.70 + (0.20 x 15) + (0.90 x 2.3) + 1.20 = approx $8. (However, our Uber Fare Estimator estimates this being between $12–$14)
Let’s take an optimistic outlook and say the final passenger fare will be $14.
Not bad, right?
Well, the driver doesn’t actually get to keep all that money. Uber takes a 20 percent cut of the final fare.
It’s also worth pointing out that even if the rider is on a new user promotional credit, the driver still gets paid like normal.
$14 – $1.20 Booking Fee – ($12.8 x 0.80) = $10.24
So for the 15-minute ride, the driver would only earn $10.24. That’s not net, that’s their total payout for the ride before expenses, which brings us to our next point.
2. How much are Uber driver expenses?
After a driver has given an Uber ride, they must calculate the hidden cost of the ride. Often drivers overlook these expenses, which then comes back to bite them later down the road.
These expenses include:
- Insurance: This includes personal insurance and a rideshare or commercial insurance policy.
- Car/lease payments: The amounts a driver pays to drive their vehicle. Drivers either own their own vehicles or lease one from Uber or a third-party provider.
- Tolls, license, permit fees: Drivers pay for all of these fees. Passengers pay an added surcharge when drivers must incur toll fees.
- Gas: Since drivers are considered independent contractors, they must pay for their own gas, and are not reimbursed.
- Vehicle maintenance: Drivers are responsible for their own vehicle maintenance and upkeep. They will be reimbursed if a rider damages their vehicle, however.
These types of expenses, again, can vary widely based on a bunch of different factors, including what type of car you drive, what city you drive in, age, and driving record.
Given that fact, we’ll summarize these expenses and speak in broad generalities.
It’s a general rule of thumb for the rideshare industry to budget roughly 20 percent of the total ride fare amount for ride-related expenses.
In our example, that would mean: $10.24 x 0.8 = $8.19
At that rate – hypothetically speaking, after factoring in pick-up, drop-off, and dead time – the UberX driver could estimate to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $15–$20 an hour if they were to get two similar rides each hour they drove.
Bottom line: Uber drivers have a lot of expenses, that cut into their earnings, and drastically affect how much they pocket when it’s all said and done.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Hour?
While being an Uber driver can be great, figures on hourly income can be elusive. I personally drive in the Midwest, and I’ve made anywhere from $5 an hour during times of high driver supply and passenger demand, to more than $50 an hour during a glacial snowstorm when almost all other drivers were hibernating like bears in their beds.
So in 2019, to clear up the confusion, our team created a survey that measured driver earnings and satisfaction to finally get some answers.
Over 2,600 active drivers took our survey, which allowed us to analyze $1,027,585 in driver earnings that represent 62,583 paid driver hours.
After getting the data, we thoroughly analyzed it and compiled our final results into Ridester’s 2018 Independent Driver Earnings Survey.
We found that in late 2018, the average UberX driver made $13.70 per hour before tips, or $14.73 after tips are calculated in. UberXL and Select drivers earned just under $15 per hour before tips, while Uber Black driver wages averaged out at an impressive $24.87 per hour before tips.
2018 survey findings:
After notable news outlets like The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, and Vice, (just to name a few) quoted our 2018 survey data, we decided to re-run the survey to see how much of a different a year would make on Uber driver pay. Shockingly, we were blown away by the results.
In our 2020 RIDES Survey, we found that Uber drivers across all service levels experienced a 31.4% increase in earnings for a total of $19.36 per hour when base rate, tips, and Uber bonuses were factored in. UberX drivers experienced the highest increase of all service levels, seeing a bump in earnings of $14.73 in 2018 to $18.97 in 2020.
2020 survey findings:
Other notable findings from the 2020 RIDES Survey:
- The average tip for UberX drivers increased 7% between 2018 and 2020
- 46.4% of drivers drive for less than a year
- It seems that Uber is paying drivers more bonuses in 2020, which is key to the increase from 2018
While Uber once advertised that drivers could make as much as $25 per hour, it’s clear that this attractive payment isn’t what the majority of drivers — UberX drivers — are experiencing each day. These higher earnings are only easy if you own or invest in commercial insurance and a luxury vehicle, though doing so can also lead to greater maintenance costs over time.
Still, that’s not to say that $25 per hour isn’t possible for the average driver. Uber drivers’ hourly wages continue to be heavily influenced by a number of factors, including:
- Location: Drivers in Honolulu and Seattle may often see earnings around the $25 per hour mark, while drivers in places like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas may not even reach $10 per hour.
- Surge pricing: During busy times (often including rush hours, storms, and big events), demand will rise higher than supply, allowing surge pricing to kick in. This multiplies fares, leading to big per-hour earnings differences.
- Tips: Drivers earn 100% of tips, so getting even one extra dollar on a tip per hour can lead to big hourly earnings differences.
Once in a while, you may even be sent Uber driver promotions that help you earn extra money for driving in a certain location or completing a set amount of rides. With this in mind, you can see how no Uber driver is limited to the national average $19.36per hour wage.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Day?
Taking the average hourly earnings described in the previous section, we can calculate that the average Uber driver can make approximately $154 in a single day. This is assuming that rideshare driving is your full-time job and you drive a full eight-hour day. If you are in New York, you’ll of course make more, earning $209.92 per day at an hourly rate of $26.24 per hour.
However, it is admittedly hard to provide a completely accurate daily earnings estimate, as daily earnings see huge fluctuations. Part-time drivers will naturally earn less than full-time drivers, and even full-time drivers (those who drive 40 hours per week) don’t always follow consistent schedules. They may drive a couple hours in one day, but drive 10 hours the next.
The best way to estimate your expected earnings is by considering what your own driving habits will look like on any given day.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Week?
Full-time UberX drivers can expect to earn nearly $590 per week after tips when working 40 hours in a week. Beyond the aforementioned factors — location, surge, and tips — weekly earnings can also be heavily impacted by the amount of trip requests you receive throughout a seven-day period.
Some weeks, especially during the holiday season, you may notice your app lighting up with back-to-back requests as soon as you log on. On other weeks, you may be frequently idling while waiting for your next pick-up requests.
When considering the $590 per week earnings, remember that this average is calculated before your weekly gas expenses or your taxes are taken into account.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Month?
If we calculate one month as a four-week period of time, an average Uber driver makes approximately $2,360 per month when working full-time. Again, this amount can fluctuate based on where you’re located, what service you’re providing, and more, but you can expect close to $2,400 per month across the nation.
Of course, it’s important to not let it slip your mind that you have major monthly expenses to take care of on top of your gas expenses. This will typically include the cost of an oil change and car insurance payments.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Per Year?
According to Glassdoor, an average Uber driver will make approximately $33,000 per year, including tips and promotions. This pay may be meager in a major metropolitan area or for drivers with families to support, but it’s decent for single drivers in many U.S. cities. If you focus on strategies like increasing your tips with exceptional service (and even small amenities), you may start making money even faster.
Again, it’s important to consider the costs of being an independent contractor beyond the expenses of ridesharing and self-employment taxes. As an Uber driver, you’re responsible for your own “benefits,” like vacation days and health insurance, which means that $33,000 isn’t as high as it may sound for a standard full-time employee. Still, considering the amount of flexibility you get and the low barrier of entry to the job, becoming a full-time Uber driver may be perfectly worth it for you.
If it isn’t, driving with Uber can still be an excellent side hustle that can help you pay for anything from your vehicle insurance to your student loans.
Which Uber Car Makes the Most Money?
If you’re a new driver for Uber or Lyft, you’ve probably wondered which type of vehicle you can make the most money with.
But, the real question is, which Uber service pays the most. Because it’s the service level you wish to work for that will determine what kind of vehicle you’ll have to have.
There are several different levels of Uber rideshare that drivers can drive for. Each service level requires a different type of vehicle. And each service level pays drivers at different rates. When considering what type of vehicle you should get, you first have to consider which of Uber’s several services you might like to drive for.
The main service levels Uber offers to its passengers, ordered from lowest rates to highest:
UberX is the most popular service class of Uber’s offerings. And no doubt it is the most popular because it is the cheapest. The low price is good for riders, but for rideshare drivers, being the cheapest means low earnings.
Nationally, UberX charges passengers on average:
- $0.40 pickup fee
- $0.97 per mile
- $0.14 per minute
And drivers make just 75% of that, so drives make the following on UberX
- $0.30 pickup fee
- $0.73 per mile
- $0.11 per minute
To make it easy to compare earnings on the various service levels, let’s look at a typical 4-mile/15-minute trip. This is a pretty typical trip in large congested cities. We’ll use this hypothetical 4-mile/15-minute to compare vehicle options throughout this post.
With UberX rates, a 4-mile/15-minute trip would earn you:
- $0.30 pickup fee
- $2.92 mileage charge
- $1.65 time charge
- $4.87 Total
On average, drivers complete 2.1-2.5 trips per hour. If you get another trip just like this one, you’ll make around $10 for that hour (before car expenses and taxes). If however, you get a second trip in that hour that’s a longer trip – you could do better and maybe end up with around $15 for that hour.
According to the 2018 RIDES survey (Ridester’s Independent Driver Earnings Survey), UberX workers generally earn from $10-$15 per hour driving on average (before expenses). That rate barely beats minimum wage hourly rate in most states.
Although most any four-door car is acceptable for UberX, smart drivers will drive a hybrid so they can save extra money on gas. They’ll also save a lot of money on brake pads since hybrids have their own deceleration system that involves putting the brake pads into use a fraction of the time of non-hybrid cars.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is probably the most popular and practical UberX vehicle. But other low-cost hybrids such as the Prius or the Hyundai Sonata or the Honda Insight are perfect for UberX as well.
UberXL is the next step above UberX. As the name implies, it’s an extra-large vehicle.
UberXL vehicles are required to have six passenger seats (in addition to the driver’s seat). Riders use XL when they have more than four people or when they have a lot of luggage or packages that they need to transport.
UberXL rates are roughly 75% higher than UberX rates. Nationally, XL charges Uber passengers on average:
- $2.15 pickup fee
- $1.68 per mile
- $0.26 per minute
And drivers make just 75% of that, so drives make the following on UberXL
- $1.61 pickup fee
- $1.26 per mile
- $0.20 per minute
With UberXL rates, a 4-mile/15-minute trip would earn you:
- $1.61 pickup fee
- $5.04 mileage charge
- $3.00 time charge
- $9.65 Total
This comes to nearly twice as much (1.98x) what a driver would have earned on an equivalent UberX trip.
According to our 2018 RIDES survey, UberXL drivers earned on average 8% more than UberX drivers.
You may wonder if UberXL rates are 75% higher why did drivers only earn 8% more? That’s because if you drive an XL vehicle, you will still take a lot of X trips. You can tell the app that you will take “all calls” meaning you’ll take calls from every service class your vehicle is eligible for. And in the case of XL vehicles, they are eligible for XL calls and X calls. Or, you can tell the app you will only take XL trips.
If you tell the app you will only accept XL trips, then you will get far fewer trips. You’ll make more on each trip, but you won’t get as many. Unless you know where and when to position yourself for the maximum opportunity to get XL trips, you’ll be missing out on earnings.
There are times and places where it’s okay to set your trip preference to XL only. Namely, the airports. The airports are the best place to use ur XL vehicle.
UberXL is a Great Choice for Better Earnings
We believe XL vehicles are the best choice if you want to earn more than you can with UberX but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on your vehicle.
The reason we believe XL is the best choice for earnings is that Uber riders are very well aware of the UberXL choice. The same can’t be said for the higher levels of service like Select and Black.
And Uber has been around long enough that airport travelers have learned that when they have a lot of baggage or a large group of people, an XL vehicle can handle all of them and their luggage.
So, if you go into the airport queue lot and set your app to accept XL calls only, you usually won’t have to wait too long and you’ll get a profitable trip.
Another top time for XL trips is the Friday and Saturday night bar scene when people tend to travel in groups of four or more.
Top XL vehicles include:
- Toyota Sienna – this is a great choice because it has so much cargo room in the back. Perfect for airport passengers with a lot of luggage.
- Honda Odyssey
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Ford Explorer
UberBLACK is Uber’s high-end luxury car service. It is the luxury equivalent of UberX. Like UberX, Black cars are only required to have seating for four passengers. However, they must be black inside and out and the interior must be leather.
Black cars are also generally required to be registered as for-hire vehicles. And drivers must follow the local licensing requirements for traditional for-hire drivers.
UberBLACK is the second most expensive ride in Uber’s fleet. Unfortunately for drivers, Uber has packed the streets of most cities with more Black car drivers than the demand can keep busy. So you can easily sit for 30, 40 or even 60 minutes in between rides. But, the rates are so high that you can make more off of one 30-minute highway trip than an UberX driver can usually make in two hours.
UberBLACK vehicles can only accept trips from UberX. So, if you’re not busy with Black car calls, you can always accept X calls. However, most Black car drivers hate doing this because they earn 2-3 times less on X trips as they would earn on equivalent Black car trips.
Most Black car drivers will only accept X trips if they’re getting desperate for a trip. It’s unfortunate that they can’t accept higher-paying XL trips, but their cars don’t qualify as extra large vehicles.
Our 2018 RIDES survey showed UberBLACK drivers earned a median of $24.87 per hour. This is much higher than UberX, UberXL, and UberSELECT drivers. And it could be even higher if Black car drivers were kept busier.
Nationally, an Uber ride for a BLACK car costs a passenger:
- $7.22 pickup fee
- $3.33 per mile
- $0.44 per minute
And drivers make 75% of that, so drives make the following on UberBLACK
- $5.42 pickup fee
- $2.50 per mile
- $0.33 per minute
With UberX rates, a 4-mile/15-minute trip would earn you:
- $7.22 pickup fee
- $10.00 mileage charge
- $4.95 time charge
- $22.17 Total
At these rates, you can see that if you could keep busy, you could make some real money. And if you get a trip that is slightly longer than our theoretical 4-mile/15-minute trip here, you could easily make in that one brief trip more than the typical UberX driver makes in two hours.
Many Black-car drivers who do only get one or two trips are happy with it even though they know they’re not making much more than an UberX driver. However, what they do make is made a lot easier and with a lot less effort. It is also made with a lot less wear and tear put on their car.
Some Black-car drivers are happy to accept a few UberX trips in between Black-car rides. If they get one decent Black-car trip in an hour they’re more willing to take a couple of X trips afterward to add to their earnings.
With UberBLACK and UberSELECT, the trick is knowing when to mix and match trip types. It’s something you’ll learn with experience.
Top UberBLACK vehicles are:
- BMW 5- & 7-Series
- Mercedes S/G/GL/GLC-Class +
- Volvo XC90
- Infiniti Q70
- Lexus ES and LS
- Audi A6, A7, A8 & more
- Hyundai Genesis
UberSUV is Uber’s most expensive service class, with the exception of UberLUX. However, UberLUX is only available in a limited number of markets, so for most cities, UberSUV is the top of the line.
UberSUV vehicles are top-of-the-line luxury SUVs. Like UberBLACK, they must be black inside and out and they’re required to have leather seats. Also, like UberBLACK UberSUV drivers must be licensed according to local rules for for-hire drivers. And their vehicles must be commercially licensed as for-hire transportation vehicles. This also means that most drivers must possess commercial insurance as well.
One big advantage UberSUVs have is that they can drive for all the service classes below them. They can accept calls for UberBLACK, UberSELECT, UberXL, and UberX. This gives SUVs the ultimate in flexibility.
SUV drivers can use a myriad of different mix and match strategies to maximize their income.
As we said before, the more expensive the ride, the fewer people that will use it. And that holds true for UberSUV. SUV drivers will receive fewer SUV calls than any other call type. They will generally accept Black and Select (where available) calls as well. And sometimes they’ll accept XL calls.
When an UberSUV driver drops someone off at the airport, one strategy they use effectively is to switch over to XL to get a quick trip out. If they accept SUV calls only, they could wait literally hours before getting a trip. So, it’s much smarter to switch to XL and get a quick trip – but a trip at higher rates than X.
By mixing and matching service classes in this way, SUV drivers can maximize their earnings.
The downside to driving for UberSUV is the vehicles are super expensive to attain and very expensive to maintain. They guzzle gas like there’s no tomorrow so drivers don’t like to cruise around looking for a ride. Drivers who purchase or rent an SUV for the sole purpose of driving for Uber and Lyft, usually end up working full-time to meet all the expenses. And full-time usually means at least 50-60 hours a week.
Nationally, charges on UberSUV average:
- $14.00 pickup fee
- $4.00 per mile
- $0.49 per minute
And drivers make 75% of that, so drives make the following on UberSUV
- $10.50 pickup fee
- $3.00 per mile
- $0.37 per minute
With a 4-mile/15-minute trip you would earn:
- $10.50 pickup fee
- $12.00 mileage charge
- $5.55 time charge
- $28.05 Total
If SUV drivers could get one of these typical trips once per hour, they would make far more than any other Uber driver. However, they may only get an SUV trip once or twice a day. The rest of the day they’ll spend doing XL, Select or Black trips, in that order. But those one or two SUV trips a day can easily add $100 or more to their daily earnings.
If they were lucky enough to get a 60-mile/60-minute trip they’d earn $213 in that hour! But an SUV trip that long is quite unlikely.
Top UberSUV vehicles include:
- Chevy Suburban (most common, but not the most luxurious and will not lead to the highest ratings)
- Cadillac Escalate
- Lincoln Navigator
- Ford Expedition
- Infinity QX
UberSELECT is the next service level up from UberX and UberXL. Like UberX, UberSELECT is a four-door sedan that carries four passengers. It is an in-between car between the low-end UberX and the high-end luxury cars of UberBLACK.
Ultimately, UberSELECT is a lower-end version of UberBLACK, and it is less expensive for riders and pays less to drivers. It’s also not available everywhere. It’s only available in select markets! So, you should check with your local Uber team to see if it’s available where you live.
Select rates are higher than XL rates but lower than Black rates. Because of this, in the markets where Select is available, drivers generally get more trips with it than they do with UberBLACK.
In the case of UberSELECT however, it’s still cheap enough that you can get more trips with it than you could with UberBLACK.
UberSELECT is the first service class in Uber’s lineup that breaks $2.00 per mile mark.
Nationally, charges on UberSELECT average:
- $4.02 pickup fee
- $2.17 per mile
- $0.33 per minute
And drivers make 75% of that, so drives make the following on UberSELECT
- $3.02 pickup fee
- $1.62 per mile
- $0.25 per minute
Going back to our 4-mile/15-minute trip, you would earn the following with UberSELECT:
- $3.02 pickup fee
- $6.48 mileage charge
- $3.75 time charge
- $13.25 Total
Now we’re talking! These are rates at which drivers can make some decent money. We believe UberSELECT rates should be the minimum rates charged. UberX should start at these prices and they should go up from there.
You can see at these rates that an UberSELECT driver could potentially make more in one trip than an X or XL driver could make in an entire hour.
However, our 2018 RIDES survey shows that Select drivers don’t make that much more than X drivers. In fact, they make almost the same as XL drivers.
We believe the reason for that is that Select, being a newer product to the market, is not as well known and therefore not widely used. So Select drivers end up doing mostly X trips with a Select trip thrown in here and there.
We believe that over time, Select will become more widely known and more popular.
Top Select vehicles are generally lower-end cars from luxury automakers. They include:
- Audi RDX/A3
- BMW X3
- Infinity EX
We’re going to skip UberLUX since it is rarely available and rarely utilized by passengers. Just remember, the common sense rule remains true: The more expensive a ride, the more the driver will earn. But driver will also receive fewer ride requests.
As a recap, here is how much a driver would earn on an average 4-mile, 15-minute trip:
From these numbers, you can tell that Uber drivers make good money driving with SELECT and other high-end vehicle options. The great part about these cars is you can still make extra cash by picking up lower level rides like UberX. If you’re just driving as a side-hustle, remember that your take-home pay isn’t purely profit. Since you are considered an independent contractor, you still need to factor in expenses like oil changes and gas, which will decrease your average earnings.
Frequently Asked Questions
The average Uber driver may not be making thousands per week, but that’s not to say that earning through ridesharing doesn’t have its perks. Here are our answers to three frequently asked questions to give you more insight into driving with Uber:
1. How do Uber driver earnings compare to Lyft driver earnings?
Uber drivers are known to make slightly less than Lyft drivers. We’ve found that a standard Lyft driver makes about $17.50 per hour, which is nearly $3 more than what Uber drivers make. Of course, your average Lyft wage (just like your average Uber wage) will vary based on location, how much you take advantage of promotions on Lyft, and how much you earn in tips.
2. How much money should I budget for expenses as an Uber driver?
It’s hard to estimate how many business expenses you’ll accrue as an Uber driver, as this can vary based on your car model, local gas prices, and the amount of repairs your car needs in a given year.
However, it’s estimated that drivers spend as much as $4.87 per hour on gas and maintenance after tax deductions are considered. Make sure to save your receipts for job-related expenses for tax season, so you successfully get your deductions and don’t spend more than this estimate.
Still, you can drastically reduce your costs over time by choosing a car with great gas mileage and sticking with a car maintenance schedule that prevents expensive repair needs.
3. How much commission does Uber take?
Uber has advertised that they take 25% commission from each ride, but we’ve found that Uber fees can be significantly higher. In some locations, it may even take over 40% of a total ride cost. Luckily, Uber commission is already taken into account when calculating how much Uber drivers make.
4. Do Lyft drivers earn a salary?
No, they do not. Like Uber drivers, Lyft drivers are independent contractors who do not draw a salary or receive any kind of set hourly wage.
5. Do Uber Eats drivers earn a salary?
Uber Eats drivers earn a fee for each delivery they complete. Like Uber drivers, they don’t get paid a salary.
6. Does Uber offer salaried jobs?
Absolutely. Uber has a variety of salaried, full-time jobs with competitive benefits. You can learn more on the Uber Careers page. The key thing to understand is that these are not driving jobs. They’re generally corporate office jobs that require a college degree, relevant experience, and a traditional job application and interview process.
Stay on Top of Your Earnings
Driving with Uber isn’t the highest paying job around, but it does grant you total control over your own hours. If you drive wisely, taking advantage of surge pricing and promotions, you can exceed $20 per hour with a standard UberX car. It’s a great side hustle or full-time gig for anyone who loves being behind the wheel and starting conversations, especially if you put some effort into your work.
If you’re ready to enter the gig economy as a rideshare driver, sign up at our invite link or with the code “prgey” to claim your local driver bonus today.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.