Here’s What You Need to Know Before Signing Up to Drive With Uber or Lyft
By now, you probably know the gist of driving with ride-sharing services: You use an app to connect with people who need rides. You drive them somewhere in your own car, and they pay automatically through the app.
If you’re thinking about earning extra money from ridesharing, you might be choosing blindly.
Could you lose money with the wrong choice?
To help you figure out what’s best for you, here’s a comparison between the basics for drivers with Lyft and Uber.
Lyft Vs. Uber: What Both Apps Offer Drivers
How each app works for drivers is fundamentally the same: You log in when you want to work, wait for a notification that means someone’s hailed a ride, then pick them up and drop them off at their destination.
You earn money based on how many rides you take, and you automatically get paid each week through direct deposit. Same for each.
Vehicle requirements vary based on state or local regulations. They’re similar for both services, with a couple notable differences.
If you don’t have a car that meets the requirements, each company offers rental options or discounts to buy in certain cities.
Uber’s Vehicle Solutions lets you rent a vehicle by the week, apply for a flexible lease with unlimited mileage and payments deducted from your Uber earnings or buy a new vehicle at a discount.
With Lyft’s Express Drive rental option, you can rent a car with a flexible lease and no long-term commitment.
How Much Can You Earn With Lyft vs. Uber?
Like any other sharing economy gig or freelance work, you’re a contractor with either company.
So, your earnings are largely based on how much you want to work and how you manage your time.
These six Uber partner drivers from around the country earn up to $450 a week driving part-time.
This guy earns $750 a week driving 45 to 50 hours a week with Lyft in Philadelphia.
Driver earnings for the apps are similar: Riders pay a base rate plus extra cost per minute and per mile.
As a driver, you earn based on how many rides you take, and how far you drive for each. You’ll get an earnings boost when you drive during high-demand times — like rush hour or during a local special event — called “surge pricing” with Uber and “peak hours” with Lyft.
Lyft drivers keep 75% of these ride costs. Uber partners keep 80%. (These percentages are lower for both in New York City, due to additional fees.)
What Lyft Offers That Uber Doesn’t
While you keep a slightly smaller percentage of fares with Lyft, you get one major bonus: Tips.
The Lyft app has a built-in way for riders to tip the driver, and you get to keep 100% of your tips. That could mean a major boost to your paycheck on a particularly good day.
Not only does the Uber app not include this feature, but Uber driver partners are also asked not to encourage tips from those generous riders who still carry cash (say, with a tip jar next to the water bottles and mints).
Uber’s tipping policy might change soon in New York City, but Lyft is currently the best bet for drivers who want to benefit from tips.
Lyft also offers Amp, a nifty device that makes it easier for drivers to connect with riders at busy spots — and for drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to stay on top of new rides.
What Uber Offers That Lyft Doesn’t
For years, Uber has had one huge advantage over Lyft: It’s in more places.
Many people outside of coastal cities may only recently have heard of the company because it’s coverage has been far less than Uber’s.
Uber might be a better option for you simply because Lyft isn’t an option. It might also be better in your city because more riders know about it — which means more business for you.
Delivery With Uber
Uber’s latest expansion into package and food delivery give it a boost over Lyft for some drivers, too.
If it’s available in your city, UberEATS gives you a way to earn money when you don’t have (or don’t want) passengers. It also has less strict requirements: You only have to be 19 years old, and your car only needs two doors.
In select cities (currently: New York, San Francisco and Chicago), you can also be a courier with UberRUSH. Deliver on your bike or scooter if you don’t have a car!
Lyft vs. Uber… So, Who Wins?
The bottom line is there’s probably no clear winner. It’s a bit of a Mac versus PC debate. You have to pick what works right for your lifestyle and finances.
Because each company offers some clear advantages, many drivers work with both in cities where both are available.
This strategy lets you maximize the riders you can connect with and earn money with less downtime. The companies don’t love competing for drivers, though, so keep an eye out for restrictions or policies that limit how easily you can switch between apps while you’re working.
Ready to get started?
Which will you choose?
Disclosure: Clink! Clink! Clink! That’s the sound of pennies hitting our piggy bank, thanks to the affiliate links in this post. It’s a better savings plan than stopping traffic to pick up loose change — and safer, too!
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).