Can Ride-Sharing Provide an ‘Uber-Lyft’ to Your Income?

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

You can earn money driving for ride-share companies. But exactly how much can you make?

Rapidly growing ride-share companies are changing how people get around cities. The top two, Uber and Lyft, and some newer companies hoping to capture part of the market are giving taxis and other hired transportation a serious run for their money.

They are also creating flexible, money-making opportunities for people who are out of work, retired, underemployed or really anyone who wants to make a little extra on the side.

Getting started is pretty easy. The requirements for Uber include that you be at least 21 years old, have auto insurance and pass a background check. You also need to have a relatively new four-door car in good condition.

But just how much can you make? Lots of drivers love the income — supplemental income, anyway — the flexibility and independence the work provides.

How it works

The details vary, but in general terms, drivers are self-employed and use their own cars. Through a smartphone app provided by the ride-share companies, drivers can connect with people who need rides. The app determines the fare, which may be affected by time of day, distance and city. The app bills the credit card on file for the passenger, and then pays the driver a percentage of the total fare, with a commission going to the ride-share company.

But there are a number of factors to know before you jump in.

Things to consider

  • The situation is in flux. Before investing in a new car or quitting your day job, understand that pay, costs and working conditions for ride-share drivers are fluid. So, for instance, in New York City, Uber recently cut its fares to undercut traditional taxi fares, angering many Uber drivers. An up-and-coming competitor called Gett then raised the commission it offered its drivers in an effort to lure away dissatisfied Uber drivers, the Verge reported. Uber’s fares were created to be all-inclusive — no tipping — but the company recently started allowing drivers in some places to post signs encouraging tipping. Lyft and some other services allow for electronic tipping — and drivers keep 100 percent of tip income.
  • The industry faces powerful opposition: In many cities, ride-share companies are meeting resistance from taxi companies and other entrenched interests. In addition, they are under pressure from groups that want to impose stricter insurance requirements, advocates for the disabled who want them to provide better access, and others who want to bar them from prime locations, such as airports.
  • Insurance may have gaps. Drivers must have auto insurance. While Uber and Lyft provide coverage that applies when the driver is logged into the app, it does not apply between rides. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners lists questions drivers should ask of their insurers and their ride-share companies.

The dynamics of driver pay

Drivers report a wide variety of pay, and earnings vary by city and by driver. According to I Drive With Uber, a blog that serves the community of ride-sharing drivers, Uber drivers make an average of $19 an hour. But you can see from the comments on the blog that not everyone agrees with that assessment.

Some are surprised to learn the difference between gross earnings and what they have left over after subtracting expenses — like fuel, maintenance, tax and insurance — and the company’s commission.

The Washington Post interviewed one disillusioned Uber driver:

“I thought 80 percent of the fares was a very good deal, but in reality Uber was making more money than I was,” said [Demek] Dagnachew, 49, who quit the job last month. “I had to pay taxes, gas, mileage and for car maintenance and repairs. I was spending time and making $3 per hour.”

For comparison, taxi drivers and chauffeurs in 2015 earned an average salary of $27,050, or $13 an hour, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. The top 10 percent of taxi drivers had an average pay of $37,970, or $18.25 an hour.

The main players

Here’s a quick look at the top ride-sharing companies.


Uber serves the most markets and keeps adding more. It owns several operations, including limousine and taxi services, in addition to UberX, the fast-growing lower-cost service that lets drivers use their own smaller cars to transport riders.

An Uber FAQ for drivers provides general information. But since it’s hard to get at the nitty-gritty about requirements and pay on the company’s site, we suggest checking the I Drive With Uber blog for more details, which include requiring that drivers have three years of driving experience in addition to the auto insurance, clean background check and minimum age requirements mentioned previously.

Uber provides these useful links:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,060 more deals!