Lyft Versus Uber: An In-Depth Comparison

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Being a rideshare driver is a flexible way to make money in your free time. You can drive on your schedule and potentially earn more money than some other side hustles. In this Lyft versus Uber comparison, you will learn things that may help you determine which company is better for you.

Driving with Uber and Lyft are two legit ways to make extra money. But, one platform might be better for you than the other. Or, you can drive with both and pick the best rides in town!

Are you ready to maximize your earnings and avoid rookie mistakes? Great, let’s get started.

Becoming a Rideshare Driver

Whether you drive with Uber, Lyft or both companies, they share some common traits.

To become a rideshare driver, you must meet at least these three basic qualifications:

  • Meet a minimum age requirement (more about this later)
  • Own or lease an eligible 4-door vehicle
  • Complete a background check process

Lyft offers leasing and rental services if you don’t own an eligible car.

If you don’t qualify as a rideshare driver yet, you may still be able to deliver with Uber Eats. Some drivers also double as food deliverers when ride demand is slow.

Benefits of Being a Rideshare Driver

Here are the key benefits of being a rideshare driver:

  • Flexible schedule
  • Be your own boss
  • Minimal startup costs
  • Meet new people

There’s a lot of demand for rideshare drivers. You may be the quickest way from points A to B.

Flexible Schedule

As a rideshare driver, you’re an independent contractor. This means you’re not an employee like you are with regular part-time jobs.

This flexibility lets you drive with both companies. Many drivers sign up to drive with both Lyft and Uber to try to earn the most money. They pick the best ride available at the time.

You’re not restricted to only driving with one company.  You choose when you drive. Each week, you can drive a different schedule or even take a month off. If your day job has variable hours, driving with either company easily fits into your schedule.

This flexibility means you are the boss. You drive as little or much as you decide, pending conditional hourly limits. Uber and Lyft don’t require you to take a certain number of rides each week.  

If you already own a vehicle, you may be eligible to sign up with Lyft and Uber. You don’t have to buy special equipment or rent office space as other startups do.

Once you complete the background check, vehicle safety inspection and activation process, you can start driving right away. The entire process can take up to two weeks or more if your city has local requirements you must meet in addition to Uber and Lyft’s.

Lyft Versus Uber: Which Is Better for Drivers?

We’re not going to recommend one company over the other. Both services have their own pros and cons. You could make money with either one. How much you earn depends a lot on how often you drive.

This section compares some of the different aspects of being a rideshare driver. In some categories, both Lyft and Uber are similar. In others, one is the clear winner. Knowing what to expect while driving with Uber and Lyft helps make the decision easier.

Ride Demand

Lyft will keep you busy, but demand can vary by city. Lyft now serves 300 U.S. cities, but they haven’t been operating in some of them for as long as Uber. For instance, Lyft didn’t add 100 of those cities until calendar year 2017.

You should value quality as much as quantity when it comes to driving. Different types of riders use both services. Try both out to judge from your own experience.

Winner: Uber

Driver Pay

Several variables affect how much you make driving with either company.

Your earnings with either company may depend on several factors:

  • Time of day
  • Day of week
  • Ride distance
  • Driving time
  • Your region
  • Base fare paid by the rider

In addition to your mileage, you could also get paid by the minute. As long as you have a rider, you’re getting paid.

Drivers could earn more during commuting  peak driving hours. Driving in a big city could also earn you more per ride. In select cities, drivers could earn extra if they drive on certain days or in special zones. Once again, it often comes down to supply and demand.

During peak hours or special events. Uber may offer promotions. Also, riders may pay prices that are higher than the standard fare.

Winner: Lyft

Driver Guarantees

Both Lyft and Uber have often offered guarantees for new drivers. The amount may depend in part on the city you live in and the number of rides you complete.

You can participate in weekly promotions when available as well . Some promotions  require you to complete a specific number of rides. Others pay more if you drive in peak hours or featured areas.

Riders can also leave you a tip with either service.

Winner:  Toss-Up

Customer Support

This is another area where the better option depends on your personal experience. Just like you love or hate your home internet provider, ride request app  customer support is similar in nature.

Both Uber and Lyft offer phone support for driver-partners. You can also visit a local partner office to get in-person support at a local Uber Greenlight Hub or Lyft Hub.  

Some drivers prefer Lyft because they state their agents tend to explore each driver complaint further. Drivers also state that Lyft customer support agents can be more friendly to talk to.

Ultimately the better driver support team is going to depend on your individual experiences.

Winner: Toss-Up

Driving with Uber

Uber is like the “Google” of ride request apps and is becoming a household name. People talk about “ubering” even when they’re riding a competitor. Because Uber is now in our everyday vocabulary, the company has great brand recognition. That’s a good reason to consider driving with them.

 mSince you don’t get paid unless you drive a rider, is reason enough to sign up to drive with Uber.

I independently interviewed drivers for this comparison article and the general consensus that I found among them was that they thought there were more riders using Uber.. But that doesn’t mean there may not be times when Lyft has more open rides than Uber.

Below is a basic summary of some thingsto expect when driving with Uber.

Minimum Driver-Partner Requirements

Uber requires at least the following for its driver-partners:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age
  • Three years of driving experience if you’re younger than 23, or one year of driving experience if you’re 23 or older
  • Valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Complete background check process
  • Eligible 4-door vehicle

After you complete the background check, you may also have to get a special operating license from your local city. This might require attending a defensive driving course.

Uber Vehicle Requirements

Your vehicle must have four doors and seatbelts for at least four passengers. In addition to this basic requirement, your vehicle must also meet these standards:

  • No older than 15 model years
  • Clean title only (can’t be rebuilt, salvage, etc.)
  • No cosmetic damage
  • Must carry insurance if you plan to drive your own car

 Check Uber.com for vehicle requirements in your location. Your local town might have additional requirements for your vehicle too.

Depending on the quality of your vehicle, you may be able to offer luxury rides. UberBlack is for upscale vehicles. Maybe you have a leather interior or a luxury SUV to drive. If you’re eligible to drive with UberBlack, you may be able to earn more per ride.

Driver-Partner Promotions

Uber often offers a few different types of driver-partner promotions. The amounts and availability may depend on your city. Promotions offered in the past include:

  • New driver-partner guarantee
  • Quest
  • Boost

New Driver-Partner Guarantee

You have to complete a set number of rides in a period of time in your city to earn this guarantee.

Quest

With Quests, you can earn extra when you complete a set number of trips. You might have a limited amount of time to complete the trips depending on the promotion.

Boost

Boosts may be offered during specific times and locations.Depending on the time and area, you may be able to earn more. .

Of course, there are additional terms and conditions for all of these promotions that would be available to you if you become eligible for any of them as a driver.

Payment Options

You can receive your earnings weekly via bank direct deposit.

If you sign up with Instant Pay, you can cash out your earnings up to five times daily. Instant Pay deposits your balance on your debit card.

In the Uber app, you can track your earnings in real-time.

Other Ways to Make Money with Uber

You can also deliver with Uber Eats when you don’t have riders.

If you currently don’t qualify to drive with Uber, you may still qualify to deliver with  Uber Eats because the delivery partner requirements can be more flexible. You may not need a 4-door vehicle to deliver with Uber Eats. Depending on your area, you may be able to deliver by:

  • Scooter
  • Bike

You can also deliver with a 2-door or 4-door car made after 1998.

And, you only need to be 19 years old to deliver food with a car or a scooter (18 if you deliver with a bike.).

You can sign up to both drive and deliver with Uber. When you’re not driving people, you can deliver food. This is another flexible side hustle to make money in your spare time.

Driving for Lyft

The Lyft driving experience can also be very rewarding. Because Lyft usually has less ride demand, some drivers recommend joining Lyft first to gain experience. You won’t feel overwhelmed with all the options. When you’re ready to drive more often, then you can become an Uber driver-partner too.

Other drivers prefer Lyft because the average rider tends to tip better and can be more friendly. This isn’t always true, but it’s a common theme in many markets.

Learn how to find the best rides on Lyft to earn more money.

Lyft Driver Requirements

Lyft has similar driving requirements to Uber.With Uber, you must have three years driving experience if you’re under age 23.

You also need to pass a criminal background check. And, you may have to obtain a special driving permit. This depends on your home city.

Lyft Vehicle Requirements

Your vehicle must have four doors and at least five seatbelts. You must also comply with any state or local rideshare laws. Your vehicle can’t have any cosmetic damage beyond basic scratches.

Lyft does appear to have a stricter vehicle policy. In most states, your vehicle must be model year 2005 or newer. In other words, your car can’t be older than 13 years.

With the Lyft Express Drive program, you can lease or rent an approved car. Active drivers can qualify for smaller leases based on the number of completed rides.

Driver Bonuses

New drivers also qualify for an introductory bonus. You must complete at least 20 rides in the first 20 days to earn a bonus.

Lyft also offers these bonuses for current drivers:

  • Weekly ride challenges
  • Power zones
  • Streak bonus

Weekly Ride Challenges

Similar to Quests with Uber, you must complete a set number of rides in a limited time to earn the Weekly ride challenges.

Power Zones

Earn more by driving in high-demand areas or busy hours. Lyft now calls these busy hours Prime Time. These bonuses start when there are more ride requests than drivers.

Lyft also has a peak hours bonus available during the busiest hours of the day. You can see these bonus windows in the app in advance.

Streak Bonus

Get a streak bonus by accepting two back-to-back Lyft rides. This bonus can keep you from switching and accepting your second ride on Uber. Or, only doing one ride before going home.

Lyft texts you when this bonus is active.

Lyft Payment Options

You get paid weekly with Lyft via direct deposit.

With Lyft Express Pay, you can request same-day payment when your balance is $50.

Should You Drive with Uber, Lyft, or Both?

The activation process for Uber and Lyft is similar. Each company is unique, but it’s not like comparing apples to oranges.

To help make your decision easier, here’s a brief summary of each company.

Since riders are going to choose the option with the best price and the shortest wait time, you should consider driving with both Uber and Lyft. Driving for both can help you maximize your potential earnings.

Must-Read Advice for New Rideshare Drivers

Do you know what it takes to become a successful rideshare driver?

Driving with Lyft or Uber has many perks. You get to make your own schedule and potentially earn more than other side hustles. At the same time, this flexibility can make it hard to develop a routine.

Below are several tips from four different rideshare drivers that may help you.

Ride With Lyft or Uber First

Harry Campbell, a driver who writes a blog about rideshare driving, recommends every new driver to take a ride first. If you’ve never been a rideshare rider, this is an absolute must!

Use this time to ask the driver about their experience and advice. Some of the questions you might ask include:

  • Most popular routes
  • Busiest times to drive in your city
  • Most common rider problems
  • Their best and worst driver experiences

If Lyft and Uber are both available in your city, ride both! Being a rider may also give you an idea of how to be a better driver. By riding with different drivers, you can look for positive and negative trends.

By offering a good experience, you could receive more positive reviews early on.

Bonus Tip: Read Campbell’s book The Rideshare Guide where you can learn about his ideas on what may be helpful to your rideshare business. 

Drive with Lyft and Uber

As a new driver, you might only decide to sign up to drive with  either Lyft or Uber first. After earning your new driver guarantee if one is available to you, you may be able to sign up with the other company don’t feel pressured to drive with both.

If you drive with both, you might use both apps to find the best ride.

Know Your City

Becoming familiar with your city has many benefits that can potentially help you earn more. ,  Being in a popular area means there may be more people requesting rides .

Providing a great experience to your riders might help you earn a positive driver ratingor tips.

Some of the city topics you might want to know about include:

  • Fun facts
  • Popular restaurants and attractions
  • “Locals-only” hotspots
  • Good hotels and shopping districts

Interact With Your Riders

With any side hustle, have fun! As a rideshare driver, that could mean talking to your riders.You never know what might help you get a bigger tips and your riders may even have info on where you may want to look for future rides you will hear many interesting stories to entertain you and help pass the time.

That said, not every rider wants to carry on a conversation, so remembering not to be too pushy can be helpful.

Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. Being kind and helpful can create a pleasant experience for everybody. 

Driving with Lyft and Uber can be very flexible side hustles in many aspects. You get to make your own schedule

As the vehicle owner, you’re responsible for keeping the interior clean. If a rider makes a mess in your car, you may have to spend time and money cleaning the interior before your next ride. That means you have to spend money on cleaning supplies.

If you drive at night, you may find you encounter riders who have been partying and there might be a chance they will be rowdy or make a mess in your car.

Drive on the Weekends

You can earn money driving on weekdays or weekends, but Certain times of day may be busier and slower than others. If your schedule is flexible, you may be able to choose to drive during certain days or times that are usually busy.

Your largest expenses as a rideshare driver might be things like:

  • Vehicle purchase price
  • Gas
  • Routine maintenance and cleaning

Hopefully, you can use your current vehicle for ridesharing. When that’s the case, recurring expenses might include gas and maintenance.

If you are considering buying a car, it may be helpful to think about a car that’s fuel efficient.

Plan Your Routes

Another idea for drivers is to plan your route. When you look at the in-app map, you may be able to  see where the peak zones are and if there are any special events.

Instead of chasing busy areas, it might be helpful to find the areas that often have  consistent ride requests. When it happens to be during busy hours, that can be even better. Even without any active promotions, you can still earn money by taking back-to-back ride requests if they come your way.

Treat Your Side Hustle as a Business

Too often the term “side hustle” is thrown around for any way to make money in your free time. While you can earn money as a rideshare driver, it is still a business treating driving like a business might help encourage you.

Looking at your earnings and expenses can be helpful. Another option is making a profit and loss statement. This exercise helps put your goals and expenses on paper so you can see how much money you might earn each month. Making a budget can let you quickly see how much you’re earning and how much you’re spending

A budget might include the following expenses:

  • Gas
  • Maintenance costs
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Insurance
  • Monthly car loan payment

Lyft itemizes your earnings into these four categories:

  • Total miles
  • Total drive time
  • Rider tips
  • Driver bonuses

To see if you’ve made a profit, your earnings should be greater than your expenses.

Tip: You can quickly create a budget or profit and loss statement using Quickbooks.

Know Why You Want to Be a Rideshare Driver

With any side hustle, it can be helpful  to know why you’re doing it. Keeping in mind why you want to be a rideshare driver helps you stay motivated and intentional in the way you approach your business.

Every driver has their own reasons. Maybe you’re doing it to pay off debt. Or, you need  something with flexible hours while you launch a different business. Other drivers simply want to start a new hobby and enjoy meeting new people.

Your reasons for driving might help determine how much money you want to earn driving. But, you might not know this if you don’t make a plan.

Summary

Lyft and Uber are both have similarities but are popular for different reasons. Both companies offer a flexible side hustle. When you want to be your own boss and enjoy being with people, either company could be a good option.

Do you drive with Lyft or Uber? What advice do you have for new drivers? Let us know on our Facebook page!


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2 COMMENTS

2 responses to “Lyft Versus Uber: An In-Depth Comparison”

  1. Josh Steinberg says:

    Hey Josh,

    I love Uber and Lyft. They’re both one of the many ways I suggest to make money for young adults on my blog. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to ride around all day?!

    Thanks!

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