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How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?

As the popularity of rideshare continues to grow, so does the number of drivers out on the street. Over the last few months, we have noticed a huge jump in Lyft-related questions sent our way.

One of the more common questions is “How much money does a Lyft driver make?”

To get a solid answer to this question, we turn to the most logical source: actual Lyft drivers.

A recent survey conducted by a popular rideshare platform revealed some interesting information. During this survey, about 1,150 Lyft drivers came forward to disclose how much money they make per hour.

On average, Lyft drivers make about $17.50 an hour! To compare, Uber drivers reported making about $2 less per hour in the same survey.

It is worth mentioning that the survey does not disclose whether these results include drivers that use both rideshare services or their average tips.

The survey does factor in an age alongside wage. Those between the ages of 18 and 30 tend to earn quite a bit higher than other age groups. On average, 18- to 30-year-old drivers generate almost $18 an hour. Regardless of age, the average wage is well over minimum wage in most states.

This estimation may have to do with the fact that there are more drivers under the age of 40 working in the rideshare industry.

Even so, we are going to break down some of the most common questions and misconceptions when it comes to working as a rideshare driver.

Some of the main topics we are going to discuss are as follows:

Ready to learn more about how much you could potentially make? Check out the details below.

Factors That Affect Lyft Earnings

Although the hourly wage appears to be about $2 more than Uber, earnings start to level out when you review monthly profits. Bear in mind, this average only considers the hourly wage variations over the time span of a month.

As in, tips are not factored in. If the monthly profits include tips, Lyft drivers earn more money, even after a month.

As mentioned above, the $17.50 hourly wage came from a survey that did not ask drivers to specify if they only drive for one company.

According to Ridester, drivers who opt to work for both rideshare companies earn more than if they were only working for one. This is very important to consider if you are currently only driving for one app.

Having said that, we continued our research in regard to how much drivers can earn working for either rideshare company. Another source we came across was from the lending company Earnest.

According to Earnest, the wage median for a rideshare driver is pretty darn low. Drivers typically earn less than $500 a month, with Lyft at $210 and Uber at $155. Keep in mind, Earnest does not specify if this includes business expenses.

Still, let’s discuss what median wages are. To calculate this, take all wages from highest to lowest or vice versa. From there, pick the middle number, which is the number that is the same distance from the left as it is from the right.

If there is a tie, add the two middle numbers together, then divided by two. The result is how much the median value is in the information you are working with.

Having said that, the median wage is used to exclude outlier numbers. As in, the median wage is not the average, which can be skewed if you add a low number to the mix.

For example, if nine people made $200 and one person made $10, the average wage would be $181, whereas the median would be $200. Due to this distinction, it is worth noting that the average earnings for a Lyft driver, according to Earnest, is $377.

The lending company’s estimates for Uber’s average is still lower than Lyft’s, sitting at $364.

Lyft Income Calculator

Sure, Lyft generates an estimated amount that drivers can earn per completed ride.

Unfortunately, this does not calculate how much you could earn. The calculator below does.

So if you want to figure out the amount of money you can earn, check it out.

Related: How Much Do Uber Drivers Earn?

What Drivers Can Make, According to Lyft

Of course, Lyft offers drivers with a way to see how much your fellow drivers are making.

They do this by breaking down the different phases of the ride, listed below. Then, it couples that information with the amount earned for completing each.

  • Period 1 – Driver signs into the app
  • Period 2 – Driver accepts a ride request
  • Period 3 – Driver takes passenger(s) to the drop-off destination

From what we have gathered, Lyft drivers’ median earnings during Period 2 and 3 appear to be $29.47 an hour. It is important to note that wage represents a national estimate.

When only considering Lyft’s top 25 markets within specific cities, the median wage jumps up to $31.18.

As you may have noticed, this amount does not include Period 1. This is because the driver may be online but not driving any passengers around, which makes sense.

If you do not have a passenger onboard, you are not going to be making any money via the Lyft app.

When you factor the Period 1 downtime in, which tends to happen often on slow days, the estimated wage drops. Due to this, Lyft reports the hourly earning estimate to be about $18.83 an hour across all areas.

As for the top 25 markets, drivers that located in these busy cities tend to earn a median wage of about $21.08.

To drive home the idea, let’s look at a real-world example of what an active Lyft driver is earning. We found an informative rideshare video created by a well-known YouTube channel called RideShare Tips.

We want to point out a few things you should consider before deciding to watch the video.

First, the gentleman in the video is only working as a part-time driver. This means that he is working fewer hours and experiencing less downtime than what most full-time drivers experience.

Second, and it’s important to note, he works in Los Angeles. This location is one of the higher-paying cities in the rideshare industry. Having said that, check out the video here:

Here is what we gathered from watching the video:

  • On average, Lyft ride rates tend to be a bit higher than Uber.
  • Lyft takes a smaller commission than Uber, which definitely adds up over time.
  • Extra costs, such as vehicle maintenance, insurance, and fuel, eat up a major part of a driver’s earnings.
  • These business expenses appear to be higher for Uber drivers.

Lyft Pay Reviews

Remember the survey we talked about earlier? Well, the same survey asked drivers if they are satisfied with their rideshare driving experience.

Out of the 1,150 drivers polled, about 73 percent said they are either strongly or somewhat satisfied with being a Lyft driver. Uber drivers reported only being about 43 percent satisfied.

Having said that, many claim that Lyft is an unreliable source of income. The reason cited on why this happens is not due to downtime.

Rather, drivers are reporting that the unreliable income aspect is due to vehicle maintenance costs. Which, unfortunately, is a very valid observation from what we can tell.

Despite this, the perks of the job definitely carry weight when determining if working for Lyft is worth it. As a Lyft driver, independent contractors have flexibility when it comes to their schedules.

The joy of being your own boss makes this occupation worthwhile despite the amount of profits earned when it’s all said and done.

Lyft Weekly Guarantee

Driving enthusiasts seeking a way to turn their passion into a career will adore Lyft for one major reason: weekly earning guarantees. Dubbed the Weekly Guarantee, Lyft offers drivers a way to earn a specified amount of money by completing a certain number of rides within a timeframe.

Drivers that are not able to meet this metric, or do meet it but earn less than the guaranteed wage, will get the promised sum. But, if drivers make more than the guaranteed earnings, nothing noteworthy happens.

Drivers that qualify for this awesome weekly earnings guarantee will be notified via email. The email will inform drivers of the amount of money they need to earn, as well as the number of rides to complete.

Once drivers reach the last day of the given timeline, the bonus amount will show up on their promotions tab if they have met the qualifications.

Lyft Bonuses

Another way to make extra money driving for Lyft is to watch out for is prime time. This monetary bonus is applied to a ride’s final price as a percentage.

Lyft uses this as a way to encourage drivers to drive when the demand for rides is higher than the number of drivers.

Related: Maximize Lyft Earnings with SherpaShare

Another way to increase your Lyft or Uber earnings is to take advantage of new driver bonuses. Both ridesharing companies allow drivers to use a referral code when they sign up. When you use a referral code, you make more money on your first rides.

Lyft Driver Expenses

Even so, these monetary bonuses and perks may not be enough for some. For example, if you love your vehicle and want to use your position as a rideshare driver to show your car off to people, you might want to reconsider. There are hidden costs when driving for Lyft and Uber that many drivers fail to take into account.

The high cost of car maintenance and other expenses will start adding up over time, even if you find yourself making serious cash. Expenses include:

  • Car maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Vehicle wear and tear
  • Gas
  • Taxes

The Verdict

Lyft driver pay is between $17 and $20 an hour. Although expenses tend to devour most profits, the majority of rideshare drivers appear to be happy with their occupation.

Furthermore, drivers that are able to reduce the downtime between rides can make a ton of cash for their time.

For example, drivers that amp up their hours between 45 and 50 per week can reach $800 after subtracting business expenses.

Since the gig economy is here to stay, there is plenty of time to see for yourself how much money you can make. So take the time to figure out what works for you.

Bear in mind, the only thing standing in your way from making big bucks is how much effort you are willing to put in.

Drivers that are able to focus on the positives, such as getting to know passengers, their city, and the perks of being your own boss, are more likely to earn more over time – mainly through tips. This usually occurs when passengers pick up on a driver’s positive mood.

Other than this, drivers should work on identifying ways to always have a ride queued up. Steady rides will definitely help to boost profits thanks to the virtual elimination of the Period 1 phase of a shift, as outlined by Lyft.

Play around with both apps and see which one fits your workflow the best. If you’d like to maximize the number of rides you complete each day, adopting both apps might be in your best interest.

Either way, there are so many variables to consider when it comes to estimating how much money you could make as a rideshare driver. Trial and error (along with patience) can go a long way in this industry.


Brett HellingProfile Photo Brett Helling
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