How to Earn Extra Money Driving for Uber or Lyft


Have you ever been in such a rush that you didn't want to wait on a taxi or pay their high fares? This is the very idea that ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft were born out of. Since these companies use local drivers who supply their own vehicles, it can be a great side job for many people who realize they can also make money by driving for them. It's straightforward and can generate some decent extra income. Here's what you need, and what you can earn.

What Do You Need to Be a Driver for Uber and Lyft?

Uber offers four different classes of services (uberX, uberXL, uberBLACK and uberSUV), which each require different classes of vehicles newer than 10 years old (some markets require vehicles from 2011 or newer). The most common service is uberX; it is also the low-fare service, making it a lower-earning option.

In addition:

  • UberX requires a four-door, non-luxury sedan of any color.
  • UberXL requires any color of SUV that is able to seat six comfortably.
  • UberBlack and UberSUV are similar to UberX and UberXL, however the vehicle interior and exterior both have to be black. In addition to the color requirement, you also have to maintain a 4.6 Uber Driver rating in order to be eligible.

Uber also offers vehicle financing in select markets if you do not have a vehicle that meets the above requirements.

To drive for Uber you must:

  • Be 21 years old or older
  • Be a licensed driver with a clean record
  • Carry vehicle insurance
  • Own a smartphone for using the Uber App

With Lyft, your vehicle must be a four-door car that is newer than a 2003 model in most markets; however, some do require that the vehicle be no older than 10 years.

To drive for Lyft, you must:

  • Be 21 years old or older
  • Be a licensed driver with a clean record in the state you'll be offering Lyft services
  • Carry vehicle insurance in your name
  • Have current vehicle registration with in-state licence plates
  • Own a smartphone for using the Lyft App

How to Start Making Money

Once you've met all the above requirements, it's time to actually sign up to be an independent contractor. First you'll need to see if the services are available in an area where you'd be able to offer your services. Not only is Uber available in more cities and is used more frequently than the other ridesharing services, but drivers typically make more per trip than any of the other ridesharing services.

To sign up for Uber, you'll need to fill out a quick form and provide copies of your driver's license, vehicle registration, insurance, and photos of your front bumper and vehicle interior. You will also have to undergo and pass a motor vehicle record screening and federal background check, which takes some time to complete. As a side note — if you know an Uber driver, get their referral code and you could earn a $100 bonus!

The process to sign up for Lyft is similar to Uber with the addition of a Welcome Ride with a Lyft mentor.

How Much Money to Expect

You are in full control of how often you accept trips, which in the end, affects your overall earnings. Since you're an independent contractor, you have the flexibility to sign up to drive for both companies to maximize your earnings, if you wish. (Two-thirds of rideshare drivers admit to doing just that!) When you're available to drive you simply log on within the app; when you want a break or are unavailable, simply turn it off. This is flexibility at its finest!

Uber drivers make anywhere from $13 to over $30 an hour, while Lyft drivers earn anywhere from $8 to $25 — sometimes slightly more. Peak seasons and events will have an effect on the rates as well, so keep that in mind when choosing the times you wish to drive. (A recent study by SherpaShare noted that over 70% of drivers didn't quit their day job when signing up to drive. They have kept their full-time jobs and drive no more than 40 hours a week.)

Since you'll be an independent contractor providing your own vehicle, you'll be responsible for your own taxes, as well as any additional vehicle maintenance or cleaning fees, which would affect your bottom line.

If you have a car and some free time — with a need for some extra cash — then maybe Uber or Lyft is your solution!

Have you considered driving for a ridesharing service? Why or why not?

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Guest's picture

What about driver safety? Through Uber, you are picking up random people who need rides which is all well and good. But how safe is it to really do that, when in fact may have intention to harm the driver, or may ruin your car from the hangover they had when you drove them from bar to bar. This is a minor worry. Even the panic mode on the phone's app could go wrong and may not receive service, or the driver may not have access to it, especially if they are being attacked by a rider gone wrong. Uber or Lyft are great companies for making quick money, on your own terms. But are they safe and can the driver be prepared for what the rider's do to you or your car. Especially if they are female drivers. I was thinking of signing up as an Uber driver and almost completed my application, until I realized that I might be picking up people with bad intentions to hurt me or damage my car, or have been drinking all night, then puke all over my car. I don't think it's worth it. The concept is good though. But they need to come up with more measures to protect drivers.

Guest's picture

This is exactly my thoughts. I am a 67 year young woman and thought of Uber driving, but then backed out for the above reasons posted by Foster Jr. I just cant bear the thought of having to clean up puke in my spic and span vehicle. I dont think I would drive at night, but still...

Guest's picture

At 8 dollars an hour with wear and tear on your car plus gas your not going to make any money

Guest's picture

This is something I have been wondering about, too. I would love to sign up with Uber but, as a woman, I'm concerned about my safety.

Guest's picture

Just because you have a license does not mean you are a great driver either . I think you are taking a chance riding with someone who is not a PRO . Not to mention the safety factor involved . I would pay the little extra and ride with a PRO .

Guest's picture
Retired Limo Chauffeur

UBER Driver? Making $8-$20 hr? BALONEY! Do the Math!

you also have to have, not just reg. car insurance, but Commercial insurance that is 5x more ! Call your Auto Insruancew Co up and ask them ! They won't Cover you otherwise..

And many Cities are wising up and requiring you to have a Commerical Chauffer's License as well .. ave cost? $100-$500 a yr and its like a CDL required too !

While you might make btwn $8-$20 hr? Figure out the Cost of your Car and that insruance per Mile as well with the Maintenance.. Ave is 0.50 mi ( with that Commerical Insurance) .so 10 mi? Your cost is $5! You made $10 gross Fare? You made a big whopping $5 for the ave of 15 min to go pick them up at their home, take them their 10 mile trip and then Deadhead back to your Home ! Do the math !

Guest's picture
Azimat Bagatov

I have driven for Uber. It is NOT a job for anyone who wants to make money. If you work ONLY the busiest hours, you may be lucky enough to GROSS $25-$30/hr. From that comes your gas, the money you're putting aside for taxes (YOU ARE, AREN'T YOU?), money for parts and repairs on your car (which you're wrecking by putting on all these miles), and money for insurance. Of course, if you get in an accident, your insurance company will not cover you because you didn't tell them you were using your car for Uber, because you know if you did they would have thrown you out forthwith. On the dead hours, you may not gross minimum wage. Read what experienced drivers have to say on Don't be a sucker.

Guest's picture

These services are a scam. You, in the end, are not going to make money. The expense for operating a car service are huge. More than you will probably make, or leave you with a meaningful income. That's why companies like Uber have this arrangement in the first place; so they can swift the operating burden onto you, the driver, while they sit back and collect the money that you made. You do all the work, pay all the expenses, and they take the money. How's that for a scam?

Guest's picture

No way would I work for a fruity company like Uber! On of their drivers killed six people in Michigan earlier this year. They don't allow Uber drivers or their passenger to carry firearms even if you have a licence to do so.

This is what cab and livery companies are for. Uber is nothing more but a scab outfit taking jobs from professionals!

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