Molly couldn’t believe her eyes when she turned on the Uber app to make her annual insurance update. It had been a while since she’d been out on the road.
The weekly incentives were through the roof, and … Uber sent a message saying if she took three trips in the next four days, she’d earn an extra $100. All her roommate could make out was a streak as Molly bolted to her car to get out there and drive. Thankfully, she had updated her insurance and was ready to roll.
There was no problem getting rides, to say the least. The app pinged her with a ride right away, and the next two came in while she was still driving the first passenger. How could this be? Could it really be this easy to make a hundred bucks?
Sure enough, Molly watched the app award her an extra $100 a few minutes after she dropped off her third passenger. The trips didn’t have to be consecutive, and she didn’t even have to open the doors for customers as they got in and out of her car. The only restriction was that the first trip had to start within the borders of the city where she lived.
Just so you know, we’ve verified that what Molly experienced is real. Driver earnings are skyrocketing, thanks to the incentives companies are putting out there to bring rideshare drivers back to work. In this blog post, we’ll show you the numbers – and how you can get the same great deal. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Driver earnings: Watch them soar
- Why all these incentives now?
- How long might the incentives last?
- How you can cash in
Driver earnings: Watch them soar
In case you don’t believe driver earnings are way up, we’ve got the evidence. Check out the graph below to see how rideshare driver weekly earnings have increased since January.
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – you’re seeing it right.
There we were, at the beginning of a new year, with median weekly earnings for drivers hovering at only about $300 per week. Thanks to driver incentives offered by the companies, earnings began to inch upward—and then declined in mid-February when severe winter storms (especially in Texas) took many drivers off the road or reduced their hours.
Then, we saw driver earnings steadily increase, and by the week of March 15 had reached nearly $500 per week.
Breaking driver earnings down by hour also shows a pattern of growth. At the end of December, median hourly earnings were around $20.00. They dipped into the high teens for most of January and February, but by March 15 they jumped as high as $26.03 per hour.
Earnings per trip saw some fluctuation too.
Rideshare driver earnings per trip stayed between $10 and $11 from December through February. By mid-March, they had jumped to nearly $15 per trip.
So why are drivers suddenly earning more? Because, in an effort to get current drivers back on the road, Uber and Lyft are offering some of the biggest incentives they have offered in years.
Check out the incentive index below. It shows that the number of trips where drivers are receiving some incentive pay (surge, quest, etc.) has increased by nearly 400%.
Why all these incentives now?
Uber and Lyft have struggled to get drivers back to work. It’s hard to blame drivers for being skittish about getting back in their vehicles when the pandemic is nowhere near over. Even with sanitization and mask mandates for passengers as well as drivers, rideshare can be risky.
Also, after the downturn in rideshare requests during the lockdowns, many drivers sought other means of making money. Some turned to making delivery runs, while others found new jobs outside of gig driving.
Meanwhile, passengers need rides – and can’t find drivers. When Molly made her three-ride run, her riders expressed extreme gratitude for her being out there driving. They described waits as long as an hour in areas where the nearest Uber and Lyft cars used to be no more than three or four minutes away.
Obviously, Uber and Lyft want to keep their customers, and in order to do this, they need more drivers. So … they’ve been offering high incentives, which has caused the jump in earnings shown in our graphs.
How long might the incentives last?
No one can say for sure. What we do know is that in their end-of-year earnings reports, both Uber and Lyft mentioned that they’d be using incentives to bring drivers back out. This was originally projected to happen in the second quarter, but obviously it has started already.
As for whether the incentives we’ve seen so far in 2021 will continue, that’s unknown too. Much will depend on how reopening the economy progresses throughout the country.
What we’ve seen in data coming from states where lockdowns have been lifted is that rideshare volume spikes in areas where economies open quickly. Rideshare drivers will be in demand, and in order to draw them back out into the streets, Uber and Lyft will have to continue, and even increase, the incentives they have on the table now.
How you can cash in
We realize that rideshare driving may not be the first thing you want to do while COVID-19 remains a danger. But as long as you (or anyone in your household) are not immune-compromised or in another high-risk group, you take the proper precautions, and you ensure you and your passengers are following safety protocols, driving could be well worth it.
Check your Uber or Lyft app to find any available prospects for incentives. Before you know it, you could be pulling in money faster than you thought possible.
Keep your eye on your cash as it piles up
With these great driver incentives likely to continue, you’ll need to keep close track of your earnings – and Gridwise is here for you. Simply download the app, link your rideshare accounts to Gridwise, and go online at the beginning of every shift. We’ll do the rest, and produce slick-looking graphs like these to give you the full picture of your earnings.
You can record expenses too, and get information about airports and events so you can find the most riders. Use the Perks tab to find deals and discounts for drivers, and get easy access to our blog and YouTube channel.