How Much Can You Make on Uber?

2021 Uber Stats

Learning the Uber platform’s viability as a business opportunity before committing to it as a driver is an important first step. So, how did Uber do in 2021?

In the 11 years since its founding, Uber has expanded into over 70 countries. Around 4 million drivers serve over 93 million customers. Together, they take around 1.44 billion rides each fiscal quarter.

Compared to other rideshare options like Lyft, Uber leads the pack with over 60% of the industry’s rides completed through its app.

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Uber’s Rebound

Though 2020’s statistics show a decline in regular riders, this was most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber is already seeing a rebound in rides and will likely follow the overall trend of 2014 through 2019, which saw an almost 50% increase in riders.

Given its lock on the market and steady projected growth, Uber will undoubtedly continue to prosper as a company. But does that translate into an equal opportunity for each new Uber driver?

Location and Demand

Unfortunately, these stats do not bode well for many Uber drivers based simply on location and demand. Of the 10,000 cities across the globe that Uber is present in, five account for nearly a quarter of its rides — 22%. These cities are London, São Paulo, Chicago, Los Angeles and NYC.

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An Uber drivers’ pay is based entirely on how many rides they book and complete. Being in an ideal location can vastly increase pay, whereas a rural Uber driver would generate significantly less income.

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How to become an Uber driver in NYC

Unlike in other U.S. cities, you need a Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) license to drive an Uber in New York City. That’s the biggest difference between driving with Uber in NYC and doing the same in any other city. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become an Uber driver in NYC:

Step 1: Apply for a driver’s license

You need a valid driver’s license before driving with Uber in NYC. The license can either be a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or a Class E Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) license. Additionally, Uber requires that drivers be at least 21 years of age. You must also have at least one year of driving experience with a license under your belt. Uber will run a background screening when deciding whether or not to approve your application.

Step 2: Obtain a TLC For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) license

A Taxi and Limousine Commission license is a New York State license that allows you to drive taxis. In addition to rideshare cars like Uber and Lyft, you can use this license to drive other types of taxis. These include yellow and green taxis, black cars, liveries and limousines.

Obtaining a TLC license requires that you take a 24-hour TLC education course. You can also enroll for an online course to give yourself an edge before taking the actual course. You’ll ultimately be tested on your defensive driving skills. You will only be eligible for the license if you pass the course.

Step 3: Book an appointment with the TLC

This is essentially an application to get your TLC license approved. Submit a formal request to the TLC, after which they will send you an email to make an appointment. That appointment is where the TLC will determine if you’re eligible to hold the license. Make sure to gather all the relevant documentation as you prepare for the appointment with the TLC. These include your Social Security Number (and a copy), CDL or DMV license, your online TLC application, certificate showing that you passed your defensive driving course, and $100 application fee.

If the TLC approves your license application, you can start driving with Uber immediately, assuming your car meets Uber’s vehicle requirements for NYC. The main requirements to keep in mind are:

  • The vehicle must be registered with the TLC and have a TLC license plate
  • It must either be a minivan or a 4-door car
  • For regular Uber, the vehicle should be a 2006 model or newer. For UberBlack and UberBlack SUV, your car must be 6 years old or newer.
  • Your car must not have any commercial branding on it.
  • It must be in good condition and have no cosmetic damage.
  • The vehicle should have an emissions inspection done by a NYS DMV facility

In case your vehicle is not eligible, or if you don’t have a vehicle at all, Uber can help you get one. They will charge you a weekly payment in exchange for using the vehicle to earn.

How much does a Driver make at Uber in California?

Average Uber Driver yearly pay in California is approximately $30,776, which is 40% below the national average.

Salary information comes from 186 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

Please note that all salary figures are approximations based upon third party submissions to Indeed. These figures are given to the Indeed users for the purpose of generalized comparison only. Minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction and you should consult the employer for actual salary figures.

Earn passive income

There’s nothing better than passive income to bump up your earnings to $1000 per week and more. There are a few ways to put in very little effort and come out with a nice stash of cash.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed offers from both Uber and Lyft to pay you for referring new drivers. Companies are frantically trying to recruit drivers, and those referral fees are going through the roof. 

Referrals.

Drivers can get a referral link to send to friends and acquaintances who might want to take up the rideshare driving gig in a serious way. All you have to do is make sure you get your link in range of the right eyes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Email or text your link with a “Hey, how are you doing?” message.
  • Put your link on your website, even if it involves a totally different kind of business.
  • Carry business cards with your link on them, and hand them out liberally.
  • Post your link on your social media.

As with all sales pitches, make sure to tell people they can pass it on to a friend or family member who might be into it. It can’t hurt you, and every time a new driver signs up with your link and completes the required number of rides, your virtual cash register goes “ka-ching!”

Advertising

Some companies make ads specifically for drivers to carry on and in their vehicles. On the outside, they’re in the form of car wraps and rooftop ads. Companies such as Wrapify pay car owners up to $450 a month (depending on wrap type and campaign structure) to display their ads on drivers’ cars. 

On the inside of your car, you can get video games with ads, and news and information programming to keep your backseat travelers occupied. Improve your riders’ experience and sign up with Play Octopus to receive a free gaming tablet. You can receive cash rewards of up to $100 per month for driving activity and passenger game play!

You will need to check regulations, both with your local governing body and with Uber and Lyft. In most cases, though, these ads offer ways to bring in money with almost no effort on your part.

Uber pay structure

According to the Intellectual Democratic Workers Union (IDWU), on average:

  • A NYC Uber driver makes $25.91 per ride
  • The driver will make two rides within the hour, bringing their hourly wage to $51.82
  • They work 30 hours per week, which amounts to $1,554.6
  • Over a 52-week year, the average NYC Uber driver makes $80,839 in gross income (before tax).
  • Net annual income for New York Uber drivers is $45,545 (before tax)

The above pay structure is based on average earnings. To know exactly how much Uber drivers make in NYC, it’s important to first understand how the cost of an Uber ride is calculated.

In addition to a minimum fare, Uber charges New York riders a journey fare that’s based on time and distance. The rider may also be required to pay a base fee, depending on the type of ride they’ve requested for.

The most basic and popular ride in NYC is UberX, which doesn’t have a base fee. Riders simply pay a minimum fare of $8, journey fare of $0.74 per minute and $1.62 per mile, and a cancellation fee of $5.

Based on these rates, the average NYC Uber driver makes $25.91 per ride, according to the IDWU. Since most drivers manage two rides per hour, the hourly wage of a NYC Uber driver comes to $51.82. This totals to $1,554.6 per week for drivers who work 30 hours a week and a gross pay of $80,839 per year considering a 52-week year.

In New York, Uber takes 20% in commissions and fees. Vehicle expenses – particularly gas and maintenance costs – carve out around 10% and 5% of the earnings respectively. Combine these costs (along with Uber’s cut) and the gross annual income drops to $52,545.

That value, however, doesn’t account for licensing and insurance, which often fall in the $2,000 and $5,000 mark respectively. Subtracting these from the driver’s earnings brings the final annual salary to $45,545. This is $29 per hour, which is above and beyond the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission's (TLC) minimum wage requirement of $17.22 per hour after deducting expenses.

As a matter of fact, the annual income of $45,545 means that Uber drivers in NYC make more than the national average salary for Uber drivers, which stands at $39,989. This boils down to a few things that favor NYC Uber drivers. The city’s population is high, ridesharing is legal, and ride-hailing is a norm. For these reasons, New York City boasts the highest salaries for Uber drivers in the U.S.

It’s worth mentioning that the type of car you use for Uber will determine maintenance, insurance and fuel costs – all of which influence your salary. Furthermore, your history as a driver will also play a part in determining your insurance premiums. With an efficient car and great track record on the road, your hourly and annual wage can rise to well over the NYC average.

How much can Uber Eats delivery drivers make in NYC in 2022?

Uber Eats drivers make an average of $40,059 per year in New York City, according to ZipRecruiter. The salary range is extremely wide, with some making as much as $88,297 and others as low as $15,905. Among other reasons, this variation comes about because of skill level, years of experience and location of operation.

Interestingly, NYC Uber Eats drivers make less than the national average, which stands at $40,176. This means that as a regular Uber driver, you stand to make more than other drivers if you operate in NYC. However, the same can’t be said for Uber Eats drivers.

How Much Does Uber Take From Your Pay?

Drivers don’t get to keep all of the money a rider pays. Uber takes 100% of riders’ booking fees. Then, Uber takes a 25% cut from each fare. Drivers keep 100% of tips and bonuses. In the Uber driver app, you can exactly how much you’re earning vs. what Uber’s earning.

What Affects How Much You Can Earn by Driving for Uber?

Signing up for Uber doesn’t guarantee you the average 2020 wage of $17.21 to $19.89 per hour. How much you earn depends on the following:

How Far You Drive Per Ride

Part of your fare earnings is based on how many miles you’re driving and how long you’re driving. Longer trips bring in a bigger fare.

Where You’re Driving

Drivers earn different amounts based on where they’re driving. For example, if you drive in big cities or do airport runs, you can expect to make more than a driver working in a smaller suburb.

What Service Tier You Work In

Uber offers many service tiers. Not every tier is available in every location. Drivers with nicer cars that can hold more people enjoy higher rates than drivers who participate in UberX, which is the cheapest service tier for riders.

  • UberX: most affordable rates for 1 to 3 people
  • UberXL: affordable rides for groups up to 5
  • Uber Select: stylish rides for 1 to 4 people with highly-rated drivers
  • Uber Comfort: newer cars with more legroom
  • Uber Pool: shared rides, discounted rate per rider
  • Uber Black: premium rides in luxury cars
  • Uber Black SUV: premium rides for 6 in luxury cars
  • Uber LUX: top-rated drivers in luxury vehicles
  • Uber WAV: wheel-chair accessible vehicles
  • Uber Green: sustainable rides in electric vehicles
  • Uber Taxi: local taxi cabs

Surge Pricing

Uber uses an algorithm to detect rider demand and driver availability. When rider demand is high and driver availability is low, Surge Pricing goes into effect to incentivize drivers to give rides. Drivers earn the normal rate for rides multiplied by a surge price multiplier.

During times of Surge Pricing, drivers see what the multiplier is in the app. For example, when SURGE is at 2.5x, a ride that’s normally $10 would be $25.

Tips

As noted above, tips added an average of $1.31 per hour to a driver’s 2020 hourly wage. Being more personable and supplying extras like mints or tissues are ways Uber drivers can increase their chances of getting tips.

Job openings matching Driver in Uber

  1. Strategic Operations Manager – Driver Operations San Francisco, CA 30+ days ago

  2. Head of Global Delivery Partnerships San Francisco, CA 30+ days ago

  3. Strategic Operations Manager – Driver Operations San Francisco, CA 30+ days ago

  4. Product Manager – Driver access – Onboarding San Francisco, CA 30+ days ago

How Much Do You Make Working for Uber?

A national average of $19 an hour may sound promising, but you might want it broken down further. The amount you make depends on the city you’re driving in, how often you drive, and your expenses. For example, according to a 2016 report from BuzzFeed News, drivers in Denver, Detroit, and Houston were found to earn less than $13.25 an hour after expenses. Taxes can cut into your pay further. A Washington Post evaluation of BuzzFeed’s analysis and additional data and interviews found that a driver in Denver earning $13.25 per hour would bring home only $11.21 per hour after taxes.

About the Author

Emily Cahill is a writer with over three years of experience creating digital content. Previous to that, she worked as a freelancer in publishing while attending Trinity College for English/Rhetoric. She specializes in SEO-driven content that highlights the unique properties of a product or service while making them digitally “findable,” particularly for the finance, geek culture, and lifestyle niches.

How to Make More Money on Uber

Now that you know how to start working on the Uber platform, you can make additional income and increase your median income by having a good driving strategy. Here are some tips on making more money on Uber.

Take Advantage of Every Surge Period 

When there is an increase in demand for drivers, the fare price and booking fee rise significantly above standard trip fees. The Uber app notifies you when there is surge pricing in specific areas, which you can use to boost your total earnings. While surge prices or amounts can be unpredictable, you can predict busy times to some extent and plan your schedule around these surge periods.

Save on Personal Expenses with Uber Partners 

Uber has several partnership programs that help drivers save money on driver expenses. One of such programs is Uber Pro. Uber Pro is a loyalty reward program that helps you earn more money by saving up to 25 percent on vehicle maintenance.

Some drivers in this program may also enjoy 100 percent tuition payment at Arizona State University ASU online. If you qualify but do not want to attend school, a family member may use the benefit. To enjoy Uber Pro benefits, you must drive frequently and provide excellent services to your riders in order to accumulate points over time.

» MORE:   Ultimate Guide to Tech Career Transitions

Earn Tips from Happy Customers

If you are an Uber Eats driver, you can make extra income from tipping. Uber doesn’t deduct any service fee from your tips. It is important to note that these tips are not mandatory, so you should not pressure your clients to tip you. All delivery drivers need to do is provide exceptional service. When the client is asked to leave a review, they will have the option to tip the driver.

Stay in the City Center 

Driving without passengers will only cost you money in the long run. The same can be said about working in the suburbs. Even if you live in the suburbs, you should go to the city center in the morning and work there until you are ready to return home. You will find the most riders in city centers. 

Download the Passenger App 

To optimize the experience and earn more money, you should download the Uber passenger app. The app has features that aren’t available on the driver app. One powerful feature is the location of drivers. Passengers can see the locations with the highest number of drivers. You can use this and other trip details to your advantage.  

How Much Can You Actually Make on Uber?

You can make a median salary of $56,066 as a full-time driver for Uber in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter. Annual income could go as high as $130,000 or as low as $14,500, depending on several factors. Factors that affect median earnings include hourly wages, the type of Uber driving, and location. For example, Uber Eats drivers currently earn an average annual salary of about $40,176

The top three highest paying cities for Uber rideshare drivers at the time of writing are San Mateo, CA, Berkeley, CA, and Daly City, CA. Full-time Uber driver earnings in these cities include an average of $69,121, $66,778, and $66,592 yearly respectively. 

How Does Uber Calculate Your Pay?

According to Uber, they calculate your pay on a weekly basis by summing up your trip fares, cancellation fees, tips, promotions, referral awards and tolls. They then take away any Uber fees, vehicle fees and device subscriptions where applicable. The total pay is then deposited in your bank account and in most cases deposits are daily!

How Uber Commission and Fees Work

It’s not that difficult to understand the way Uber fees and commissions work.

For instance, when it comes to fees, the passengers are the ones who have to pay a booking fee, as well as per minute and mile fee for their ride. After the ride, you as a driver would be paid the majority of the fare you made. And you only get “the majority” and not all of it because Uber is going to get their cut, respectively the “Service Fee”.

More than 25%

The amount that Uber says it charges their drivers is 25%, but it actually takes a little more than that from their earnings. This is all due to the fact that some additional fees are taken by rideshare companies, resulting in a higher percentage for the cut.

In the past, Uber drivers had to drive around 2.36 miles to make $10 before fees, but nowadays, the prices were lowered by Uber. As a result, a driver will have to drive 4.71 miles to make the same amount of cash.

Fees

Also, there is the booking fee and a safe rides fee for every Uber ride, which is between $1 and $3. These fees vary by city, but the driver cannot actually see these in their bank account, as this goes directly to Uber.

So, the commission taken by Uber is higher if the ride fare is lower, meaning the rideshare drivers would make less. So, in the end, even if Uber claims to take 25% of its drivers, it will actually take up to 42.75%. If you are doing short rides, then it won’t be too profitable for you.

>> Read More: Loans for Uber Drivers

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions people ask about driving for Uber.

Is Uber meant to replace a full time job, or supplement income as a side hustle? It’s fair to say that, for most Uber drivers, a job with Uber has to be a supplement to a salary they earn elsewhere. There simply isn’t enough consistency for the typical Uber driver to make enough money to sustain themselves with Uber alone. So, many Uber drivers are only part-time drivers.

But, drivers who operate full-time in a dense urban area, and optimize their trips by supplementing their time behind the wheel by providing other Uber services can certainly earn a respectable income.

At that point, they are working a full-time job but don’t receive the benefits that other full-time workers enjoy.

For instance, you will not receive any paid time-off or sick leave working for Uber.

How much Uber drivers make by using the platform is up to them, but the ancillary benefits of full-time employment are not attainable as an Uber driver, as you are not an employee of Uber.

How long does it take to make 100 Uber trips? That depends on how buys your operating area is and how much you are working. If you are operating in a densely populated urban area, it’s quite possible you could complete 100 trips in a week to ten days, depending on the number of hours you work. But, if you are in a more rural setting, with longer rides for each trip, or you don’t work many hours consistently, it will take much longer to complete 100 trips.

Can you make $1,000 in a week with Uber? You can. But, you might be the exception to the rule. Most Uber drivers do not make that kind of money. But, by keeping in mind Uber’s payment structure, targeting times where your trips are eligible for surge pricing, and providing quality service that earns tips from your passengers, you can drive your earnings higher.

There are a great many factors that can make it easier (or harder) for full-time drivers to earn money with Uber.

It’s up to you to tailor your efforts to maximize your wages.

Is Becoming an Uber Driver Worth It?

Many individuals choose to become Uber drivers because they love the flexibility of setting their own schedule and being their own boss. Drivers also enjoy being able to meet new people, listen to music or podcasts on the job, and take off whenever they want. Seeing as the average Uber Driver can earn $1721 to $19.89 per hour before expenses, it can be a decent job, especially in areas where the minimum wage is still set to $7.25 per hour. Of course, whether it’s financially worth it or not depends a lot on where you live, how often you plan to drive, and your other expenses.

Before jumping in and becoming an Uber driver, do the following:

  • Research average Uber driver earnings in your area
  • Estimate your monthly expenses
  • Talk to a tax professional about how much of your pay you’d need to set aside for taxes
  • Research the cost of health insurance and other benefits
  • Run the numbers to see if it’s worth it for you

Unless otherwise noted, the earnings estimates come from the 2020 Ridester’s Independent Driver-Earnings Survey, which was based on 625 Uber driver respondents.

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