“If Lyft and Uber ever realize how much fun I have out here, I’ll have to pay them.”
Those are the sentiments of at least one rideshare driver, and we hear comments like this whenever we talk to drivers.
There are few jobs that can offer you the flexibility of being a rideshare driver. You make your own hours and work when you want, and you can tailor the job to your working style.
Better than that, though, there are few jobs where you have as much fun. Every night you meet new people. If you drive a full eight-hour shift, that could be as many as 20 or 30 new acquaintances. At least once a week a passenger’s destination takes you to someplace you never even knew existed in a community where you’ve lived for decades, maybe even your entire life.
You have no boss leaning over your shoulder. No one is micromanaging your every move. And if you work a strategy and use the tools available to you, including the Gridwise app, you can make a decent living.
Challenges exist for rideshare drivers
Let’s be honest though. This post-pandemic world holds challenges for rideshare drivers. Fuel prices are as high as we’ve ever seen them. Inflation is also ravaging the money you bring in. There are more reports of unruly passengers. It is getting more and more difficult to make money as a rideshare driver. We all know the challenges. We also know some of the solutions.
Questions we’re answering in this blog post
Read on to discover answers to the most commonly asked questions by rideshare drivers, both veterans and those who are just starting. We will answer:
- How much are rideshare drivers making in 2022?
- How much do rideshare drivers make per hour? What about tips? Trip earnings? Median monthly pay?
- Uber vs. Lyft. Which one pays more?
- What should I know about rideshare if I’m new to the job?
- What can experienced rideshare drivers do to earn more?
- How can drivers increase tips?
- What are the best tools rideshare drivers can use on the job?
Uber vs. Lyft: How much are rideshare drivers making in 2022?
Drivers for Uber and Lyft realized comparable earnings in the first quarter of 2022, with Uber mostly in the lead, sometimes by pennies.
Gross earnings per hour
The days surrounding Christmas and New Years are bountiful, with lots of people shopping and many more going to or coming from the airport. By the first week of January, though, everyone is back to work and school and settling back into a routine. Business drops, especially depending on what kind of driver you are. The nightlife business will be down a little, enough to notice a difference. The relative quietness of January resulted in Uber drivers averaging $19.47 per hour and Lyft drivers $19.33 per hour. By February, hourly earnings bumped up noticeably, with Lyft drivers making $22.32 per hour and Uber drivers bringing home $22.10 per hour.
In March, Uber returned drivers averaged a healthy $24.57 per hour. Lyft was not far behind with their drivers averaging $24.27 per hour.
Gross earnings per trip
In February, Uber driver earnings went up almost 80 cents an hour, to $13.32 gross earnings per trip. Lyft was not far behind, though, at $13.08 an hour.
With March came a big increase for Uber drivers. Gross earnings per trip shot up more than two dollars an hour to $15.42. Lyft driver earnings went up, too, to $14.24 per hour.
Tips edged up over the course of Q1 2022. Uber drivers averaged $3.83 in tips per trip in January, with Lyft drivers bringing in $3.24 in tips per trip.
By February, Uber drivers brought in an average of $4.00 in tips per trip. Although still behind Uber, Lyft saw a bigger boost, up to $3.59 per hour.
In March, Uber inched up to $4.10 in tips per trip. Once again, Lyft also realized a good increase to $3.80 per hour.
Median monthly earnings
Uber driver monthly pay came out to $348.22 during the first three months of 2022. Lyft’s monthly driver pay was not too far behind at $329.24.
By February, Uber drivers increased their median monthly earnings to $463.71. Lyft was also up more than $100.00, to $442.49.
March saw another healthy increase, although not as good as February. Even so, the numbers were robust. Lyft and Uber monthly driver pay was almost the same, with a difference of mere pennies. Lyft drivers brought in a median monthly income of $537.94. Uber drivers were right behind at $537.29.
Biggest factors eating into Uber and Lyft driver pay
Astronomical fuel prices, in some regions of the country, are eating into the profits of rideshare drivers. The AAA website reported that by late April the average cost of a gallon of gas was $4.134. Some of the biggest rideshare markets paid even more. Rideshare drivers in New York saw prices as high as $4.242 per gallon. Their colleagues in California paid $5.680 a gallon at the pumps.
In mid-March, Uber announced a surcharge of 45 cents to 55 cents per trip, as reported by numerous media sources and a release from Uber on their website. The rideshare company said they would pass 100% of those surcharges on to the driver. The surcharges should last for at least 60 days, after which they will be re-evaluated.
Lyft followed its competitor, announcing that it would add a 55-cent surcharge to each ride, with all the money also going to the drivers. Lyft also announced that drivers can apply for a Lyft Direct debit card that will save drivers another 4% to 5% on fuel purchases through June 30, 2022.
Many drivers are also turning to Gridwise to help them offset fuel prices. Gridwise Gas is a great way to save a chunk of your earnings that are now going to fuel. The sign-up is free and you get immediate access to discounts at the more than 95% of service stations accepting the Gridwise Gas Card.
Keeping your car running and in top working order is important for rideshare drivers. No one wants a car breakdown on the road, and there is nothing worse than having a breakdown with a passenger in the car.
When it comes to paying for oil changes, you will pay top dollar for maintenance at dealerships, as opposed to independent service shops. Another trick is to ask about tire rotation the next time you purchase new tires. With most tire stores it is part of the package, and it is free.
Gridwise is also helping drivers with maintenance costs. Gridwise + CarAdvise offers drivers an opportunity to check out different auto shops, talk with experts, compare prices, and even schedule their car’s service appointment online. Drivers report huge discounts, as much as 40%, on maintenance and repair services.
Cell service is a chunk of the monthly expense of being a rideshare driver, but there is good news. According to CNN Business, cell phone charges are not expected to rise appreciably in the near future. The three big carriers, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, are in intense competition, and price cuts are their main weapon.
You can use this competition between the cell carriers as a bargaining chip to reduce the amount you pay. The prospect of losing you to the competition is enough to get most carriers to grant concessions or outright lower your bill. If you are 55 or older, also ask about senior citizen discounts. Call up your cell carrier’s customer service department and ask them to review your plan and see if there are any discounts available. One driver with a family plan called his carrier, one of the big three, and by the time he got off the phone, he saved $95 a month. During the sign-up process, or when you purchase a new phone, cell carrier sales representatives will convince you to add services that sound like a good idea at the time. The reality is you never use them.
Also, look at this Gridwise article that outlines the best cell phone plans for rideshare and delivery drivers.
What new rideshare drivers need to know
Work a strategy
The most successful rideshare drivers know that you can’t rely on pure happenstance to get rides. You need a strategy. Some drivers find their niche in special events—concerts, sporting events, large conventions. Others work the airports. Still again, others find lots of business with the weekend crowds. New drivers should experiment and find which strategy works for them.
If you frequent a particular area regularly, keep in mind local traffic conditions. Construction is not always reflected in navigation apps. Take note of roadwork and how to get around it. Experiment with Google Maps and Waze. Most drivers find they prefer one over the other.
Update Your Apps
Apps change regularly. If you don’t update your Uber or Lyft app, it will eventually stop working, or work so inefficiently that you receive few rides. Updating twice a week keeps your app fresh. Restart your phone regularly to clear old data and free memory, and keep the operating system updated. Also, don’t forget the free mileage tracking app on Gridwise.
Working both apps simultaneously
This is a tactic that should be saved for experienced drivers, but you will hear about it. Some call them Lubers, drivers who work both apps at the same time. When you get a ride from one of them, you turn the other off. Check out this blog post on multi-app strategies for rideshare drivers.
How can experienced rideshare drivers make more money?
The Gridwise app is a must-have tool for rideshare drivers. It allows you to check earning trends data from When to Drive and Where to Drive to find the most profitable times of day and the most lucrative neighborhoods.
The app is also a trusted reference source. Use it to monitor your personal earning trends or to see whether Uber or Lyft pays more over a period of time.
The Gridwise app also monitors special events such as concerts or professional sporting events, and even airports, so that you’ll know when passenger demand is about to surge. You can make a lot of money if you are in the right spot when a concert concludes, or the airport is about to hit a surge of incoming or departing flights.
One driver summed it up: “Since I downloaded this, my dollars per mile has improved from barely $0.88/mile to over $1.50/mile consistently, which has allowed me to work fewer hours, put less wear and tear on my vehicle, and reduce the mental strain that comes with driving an excessive amount of miles just to pull in some decent money. This app even helps me anticipate airport traffic to see if it is worth it to sit in the lot after doing an airport drop-off.”
How to increase rideshare tips from customers
Getting more tips is an ongoing discussion among rideshare drivers. Recent stories have surfaced about some innovative ways drivers are impressing passengers and earning extra rewards.
Seeing that female passengers are safe
“I’m a father and I have daughters,” said one driver. “I started watching single female passengers walk to the door and get in safely when I dropped them off at their home at night. I wanted to make sure they got inside okay. But it became apparent that some women were uneasy with me watching them. So I started telling them that I would watch them get in the door and make sure they were safe. The unexpected result: 75% of them leave me a tip in the app. They really appreciate it.”
Giving passengers a little more in shared or pool rides
A blog called The Verge recently reported that as the pandemic eases, riders are also seeing a return of pool riders (if you are an Uber driver), or shared rides (which is what Lyft calls them).
As least one Lyft driver was excited about the return: “Lots of drivers whine about shared rides. Not me. It’s a great way to get extra rides and earn those sprint bonuses. But the thing that always troubled me was that I noticed that as soon as the second passenger got in the car, all conversation stopped. There is something about the dynamics of a shared ride that makes people not want to talk. So I took some initiative. The next time I got a shared drive, we played an icebreaker called ‘Two Truths and a Lie.’ Everyone in the car takes a turn telling three things about ourselves. Two of those things are true. One of them is a lie. Everyone else gets to guess which is the lie. People must really like it because I noticed a definite increase in the tips I received from shared rides. Who knew?”
Other tools and ways rideshare drivers are saving money
The shrewdest rideshare drivers are always searching for every way to save a buck. They know that the Gridwise app is a great place to realize extra savings on things you might not otherwise think about, including things such as lost income protection, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, buying a new car, or renting one.
There are other blogs, podcasts, and YouTube videos specifically for food delivery drivers that offer tips on maximizing earnings. Gridwise also offers a free mileage tracking app. It is the best one around.
Buying a new car
Check into the Gridwise Auto-Buying Program, run in conjunction with TrueCar. You research the vehicle you want and compare prices. The savings are substantial. You can get as much as $3,500 off the MSRP. You can also get good deals on used vehicles.
Renting a car
Both Uber and Lyft make rental cars available to their drivers, but the rates are steep, more than $300 a week. For it to make financial sense, you need to be a full-time driver. The advantages of renting a car are three-fold:
- Mileage—Serious rideshare drivers put as much as 60,000 or 70,000 miles a year on their car. Those kinds of miles can devastate resale value.
- Wear and Tear—That kind of mileage also means lots of wear and tear on your car. The cost of repairs adds up quickly. When the car is rented, not your problem.
- Maintenance—The rental companies pick up the maintenance of the cars, including tires and brakes. Those are big savings.
Gig driving jobs are contract positions. Uber and Lyft do not deduct taxes from your earnings. You must make quarterly payments, so at the end of the year you don’t owe a huge chunk of money. You can save on taxes by tracking mileage and expenses. Gridwise offers the best mileage tracking app for rideshare drivers by tracking every single mile for FREE, which allows you to maximize your tax deduction.
You can save more money on taxes by keeping meticulous records of mileage, maintenance, and insurance expenses. Check out these blog posts on Gridwise to maximize deductions and understand standard vs. actual cost deduction. As a rideshare driver you are self-employed. You can deduct many of the items you might use in your business.
There is money to be made as a rideshare driver
For people who need to augment their income, rideshare is a great job, and you can have fun while you do it. Most passengers genuinely appreciate the ride. But the climate is getting tougher out there. High fuel prices, inflation, and COVID have all affected business. Smart rideshare drivers use all the tools available to them. Watch the industry blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. And by all means, use the Gridwide app and regularly visit these pages.
And have fun out there.