Here’s What You Need to Know Before Signing Up to Drive With Uber or Lyft

lyft vs. uber
Lyft driver Paul Pruce stands with his car in Philadelphia, PA on January 13, 2017. Photo by Jessica Kourkounis
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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.

The two biggest players in the space — Uber and Lyft — continue an intense rivalry, despite neither riders nor drivers really knowing why they choose one or the other.

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

lyft vs. uber

James and Nancy Rottger of Buffalo, NY take an Uber ride with Edwin Patrick Young on Friday Nov. 18, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Sharon Steinmann / The Penny Hoarder

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.

The driver requirements for Lyft and driver requirements for Uber are nearly identical.

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, Lyft offers rental options or discounts to buy in certain cities.

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.

For context, this past December, the average Uber driver partner in the U.S. made $568.39 a week.*

Then there’s 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.

Both services also include tipping features. In addition, Uber now offers drivers a $15 bonus for returning lost items to riders, as well as a charge-per-minute when riders take some extra time to hop in.

* This opportunity with Uber is to be a driver-partner.  As a driver partner, you are an independent contractor. Stated trip earnings of $568.39 per week are based on 40 hours of driving per week using the net median national earnings of driver partners from December 2017. Median earnings in your specific location may be lower than the national figure. Actual earnings vary depending on number of rides accepted and taken, time of day, location and other factors.

What Lyft Offers That Uber Doesn’t

lyft vs. uber

Lyft driver Paul Pruce drives a shift in in Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Jessica Kourkounis

Lyft 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.

For years, Lyft also had the added benefit of a tipping option within its app. However, Uber just launched a similar feature to help drivers make more money.

What Uber Offers That Lyft Doesn’t

lyft vs. uber

Uber driver Edwin Patrick Young checks his app to respond to another request during a nighttime shift in St. Petersburg, Fla. Sharon Steinmann / The Penny Hoarder

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.

While Lyft is expanding in a big way this year, it still suffers from a relatively small market share.

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 gives 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?

Here’s the link to sign up with Uber.

Here’s the link to sign up with Lyft.

Which will you choose?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post,, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

Do you think this article might help you put more money in your pocket?

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Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.