Top Cities For Doing Rideshare and Delivery

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“Location, location, location” is just as important for drivers as it is for real estate agents. Incentives and demand in every city is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep a pulse on where the pay is.

Curious to see which major cities paying their drivers top dollar? The results are in, and we’ve got some tips on what you can do if your city isn’t listed.

In this blog post, we will cover these topics:

Why is it good to know the top cities for food delivery and rideshare?

You may end up in another coverage area. Several urban legends exist in the Los Angeles rideshare coverage area about drivers who took passengers to Las Vegas (about 250 miles). It is good to know where to find rides in your new location.‡ If you multi-app, you might also want to know about food deliveries.

In the post-pandemic world of remote work, you may decide to keep your full-time job in one city but move to another, perhaps entirely across the country. This past March, Forbes reported that 9.3% of working people have chosen to move their homes but keep their jobs because they can work remotely. That’s nearly 20 million Americans who have relocated. 

If you are one of those who maintain a side hustle driving rideshare or food delivery, then your selection of a new home city might be guided, in part, by where you can be most profitable in your driving gig. 

Understanding who uses rideshare services

Here are some fast facts on rideshare demographics that Zippia reported on their website this past March:

  • More than half (51%) of adults ages 18–29 are likely to use ridesharing apps.
  • More than half (53%) of those who make $75K or more per year are more likely to use ridesharing services.
  • The top demographic for rideshare services is college graduates, at 55%.
  • Of those people who regularly walk or ride a bike, 70% also report using rideshare services.
  • Of ridesharing app users, 26% report using ridesharing services monthly.

How do we interpret these statistics? Cities ripe for rideshare drivers—places where they can stay busy and make decent money—are characterized by a youthful population, well-paying jobs, and lots of college graduates. 

Having a college or two in town also is good for business. More than 100 colleges and universities partner with Lyft to offer free rides to students during certain hours and within a specific radius. The college or university foots the bill. Lyft drivers get paid their standard rate. In many cases, the rides are shared rides. Many Lyft drivers report that these colleges and universities are a big part of their strategy for amassing rides and meeting requirements for incentives based on ride count. 

What do the Gridwise stats say about the top rideshare cities in the US? 

In developing this list, we looked at what drivers are earning per hour, but we didn’t stop there. We also considered the cost of gasoline on the AAA website and the cost of car insurance according to MoneyGeek.com. These are the two expenses affecting net pay the most. This means that even though California cities, with the most expensive gas in the US, ranked in the top five on both lists, we removed them when considering net pay after expenses. 

If you are curious, San Francisco, CA, rideshare drivers ranked fifth, at $28.81 per hour. As of July 7, 2022, according to the AAA website, gas averaged $6.185 a gallon in California. The national average was $4.752 a gallon. 

Here are the adjusted listings for the best cities to drive rideshare in the US according to rideshare data gleaned from the Gridwise app, ranked by how much rideshare drivers make by city.

  • Boston, MA, Metro Area $32.54 per hour gross
  • Portland, OR, Metro Area $30.72 per hour gross
  • Denver, CO, Metro Area $29.28 per hour gross
  • Chicago, IL, Metro Area $29.10 per hour gross
  • Pittsburgh, PA, Metro Area $26.44 per hour gross

In a blog titled How to Earn More as a Rideshare Driver, the latest figure for driver earnings nationwide in March 2022 showed Uber drivers averaging $24.57 per hour. Lyft was a few pennies behind, with its drivers averaging $24.27 per hour. As you can see, drivers in the top five cities averaged anywhere from almost two dollars to eight dollars more per hour.

It’s also important to remember that these numbers change frequently, depending on incentives and demand in the area. Cities with high hourly earnings right now might not pay as well in a couple months. That’s why you need to track earning trends.

Understanding who uses food and grocery delivery

Here are some numbers on food delivery. It looks as if millennials rule that category, with a strong showing by baby boomers:

  • 67% of millennials report that dining out is their second-largest spending category each month. (YPulse, January 2020)
  • Three-quarters of millennials reported that they ordered takeout or delivery in the past week. (National Restaurant Association, November 2020)
  • To no one’s surprise, the pandemic made a difference. The National Restaurant Association also reported that in March 2020, 41% of baby boomers ordered delivery. That same group came back at 60% when surveyed in November 2020.

These stats tell us that cities where the median age is lower tend to attract more food delivery businesses.

What do the Gridwise stats say about the top delivery cities in the US? 

According to the Gridwise app, here are the top five cities for food and grocery delivery in the US. Again, we removed California cities. 

We should mention, however, that San Jose, CA, ranked fifth in the US for food and grocery delivery at $17.27 per hour. Here are how the non-California cities stacked up:

  • Denver, CO, Metro Area $18.48 per hour gross
  • Portland, OR, Metro Area $17.97 per hour gross
  • Seattle, WA, Metro Area $19.93 per hour gross
  • Boston, MA, Metro Area $17.24 per hour gross
  • Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area $17.12 per hour gross

Compared to these rates, this blog reports average hourly Uber Eats drivers earnings as $16.50 gross earnings per hour in March 2022. DoorDash drivers averaged $16.07 gross earnings per hour. Grubhub driver’s gross earnings came in at $15.85. As you can see, the best cities came in at a range of $0.62 to almost two dollars more per hour. 

What if I don’t live in these cities? 

There are still things you can do to maximize your earnings as a rideshare or food delivery driver. Start with Gridwise.

The first thing you can do is visit the Gridwise blog on a regular basis. It’s updated weekly with the most current information about food delivery and rideshare data. There is plenty of data about how to boost rideshare profits, as well as food delivery. For example, drivers looking for a new side gig can get paid to do non emergency medical transport with Aryv, which is available in select locations across the US

Also, download the Gridwise app, regarded as the best rideshare and delivery driver app available. You can check out the Where to Drive and When to Drive sections of the app, which will help you keep on top of important earning trends related to demand for drivers in certain neighborhoods, on different days of the week, and during specific times of day.

The Gridwise app also offers a free mileage tracker, providing you with accurate mileage tracking so that you can save the maximum amount of money when it comes to tax time. 

Download Gridwise now

† If you do have a ride that takes you out of the rideshare coverage area where you are registered, you should be aware that, depending on the market area, you might be temporarily locked out with one or both of your respective rideshare apps if you accept a ride in that new region. Check with the Lyft and Uber websites for details. 

‡ Be mindful that some coverage areas for both Uber and Lyft can have different requirements for drivers, which can cause you a problem. Some of these include things like different background checks or car requirements. Others are more stringent. Las Vegas requires rideshare drivers to have a business license at a cost of about $200. 

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