How Much Do Uber Drivers Make in 2017? [Insider Info]
How much do Uber drivers make? This is the question that everyone needs answered before they decide whether or not they should take the dive and sign up for Uber. But this question is complicated and comes with many answers. In this post I’m going to be revealing how much I am currently making with Uber in 2017, as well as what other driver’s I know are making. I am also going to be giving you a general estimate of what you could be making if you decide to sign up today.
Before I get into what I am currently making driving for Uber, its important to know how Uber pays you, how the fare breaks down and how much of it you get.
The Math Behind Your Uber Earnings
When someone rides with Uber, their charge consists of 2 things, the fare and the booking fee. The fare is how much they actually charge you to get a ride, and the booking fee is an additional fee to cover Uber expenses such as background checks for new drivers and things of that nature.
The amount an Uber costs depends on the location. I drive for Uber in Pittsburgh PA and this is what the cost for an Uber currently is listed as in this area (UberX is the most common and cheapest type of Uber)
As you can see the Base Fare is $1.30 and then there is $0.15 added per minute of the drive and $1.05 added per mile. The booking fee in Pittsburgh is at $1.45. And then the minimum fare is at $6.95.
The minimum fare is the absolute minimum that a rider will pay for an Uber.
And then of course the cancellation fee is $5, which is nice because you will get people that cancel on you when you are already in route to the pickup location. sometimes this works out to your advantage and you get paid more for your time when people cancel.
So take this for example: Say someone is going from Heinz Field to the Pittsburgh International Airport. This route is about 30 minutes and 18.1 miles. So the math behind the charge would work out like this…
($1.30 base fare) + ($0.15 x 30 minutes) + ($1.05 x 18.1 miles) = $24.80
The total that the Uber rider is paying for that 30 minute trip is $24.80
BUT THIS ISN’T THE AMOUNT THAT YOU AS A DRIVER WILL MAKE. Of course not! You only get a percentage of that. And how much is this? How much would you make in those 30 minutes of driving?
What Percentage Do Uber Drivers Make?
Uber is going to take 25% of that total fare, and you (the driver) are going to be left with 75% of it.
So 75% of $24.80 is going to be $18.6
That really is a good bit of money for 30 minutes of driving. And this is realistic for the route I just went over. Of course you shouldn’t expect to make that kind of money every 30 minutes, but this is just to give you an example of how the fares work and how much you can make on one ride.
Its important to also remember that this is before expenses, which I will go over shortly.
What Do Uber Driver’s Make On Average?
Ok, so I just went over how the fares work and how much you get paid depending on the fare. But that was just an example of one particular fare that you could earn if you drive in Pittsburgh. But what about everywhere else?
To check Uber driver salaries for locations all across the country, Glassdoor seems to be one of the sources. At Glassdoor Uber drivers can submit their salaries anonymously. It has a good reputation and is accurate judging from my knowledge and experience in the industry.
So far they have had close to 400 salary reviews by Uber drivers and the average hourly pay works out to be just over $14/hr.
That really isn’t all that great in my opinion but it still beats working at a fast food restaurant of something like that.
But just know that Uber earnings vary greatly depending on the area that you are driving in.
New York City, for example, is famous for very high fares and Uber drivers tend to make very good money here. If you look at the Glassdoor Uber salaries in NYC you will see this…
They make well above the average. If you average out the numbers above, which you have 14 people saying they make an average of 22.34/hr and then you have 5 people saying they make $16.38/hour. If you average out this you will get an average (of the average) being $20.77/hr.
$27.77/hour is pretty darn good. But this number doesn’t tell you what type of Uber these drivers are driving. The Uber service you are driving for will also have a big effect on how much you will make.
Your Uber Makes A Difference
Your car (the Uber) makes a difference in how much you will make. The most common type of Uber is UberX, which is your normal 4 door sedan.
But there is also UberXL, UberLUX, UberLUX SUV, UberBLACK, & UberSELECT, which all cost more for riders and that means the drivers get paid more.
Just to give you a quick overview of all the Uber services offered in case you are unfamiliar with them, here you go…
- UberX – Sedan, 4 door, must be able to seat 4 passengers
- UberXL – SUV of minivan, must be able to seat 6 passengers
- UberSELECT – Mid-tier luxury sedans, must be able to seat 4 passengers, required to be newer than UberX vehicles (2008 or newer in many cities)
- UberLUX – High end sedan, SUV, or crossover; leather or vinyl interior; required to be newer than most vehicles (2010 or newer in many cities)
- UberLUX SUV – High end SUV, leather or vinyl interior, also required to be newer than most vehicles (2010 or newer in many cities)
- UberBLACK – High end “blacked out” sedan, SUV, or crossover; black leather or vinyl interior; must have commercial insurance
And just to give you an idea of the price differences that there are when driving for the different services, check this out. If you are driving for Uber in Miami & South Florida here are several options and the price differences between them…
Driving in the Miami area for UberX isn’t so great. The minimum fare cost is just $5. But if you drive for UberXL its a little more…
And if you have a high end vehicle and want to drive it for UberLUX then you could be making a good bit more… with a $10.70 minimum fare.
You see, there are some big differences in the fare prices between the Uber services.
But just because you drive a more expensive Uber, doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to make more money. You will get more money for the time spent driving obviously, but you also are likely to not drive as much, just because the demand isn’t as high as it is for the cheaper services.
How Much Do I Make Driving For Uber?
I drive for UberX as a “side hustle” and usually average around 15 hours per week. I do this because I find it somewhat relaxing driving around and of course I’m making money doing so. Also, since I’m not working all that much, I only choose to work at the best times of the week.. the times that make me the most money.
For my main job I telecommute and can work whenever I want, so I put Uber first, work the best hours, and work my main job when I’m not working Uber. It works out pretty well.
But anyways, how much do I make driving for Uber in the Pittsburgh area?
I average anywhere from $15 – $22 per hour. So if I take a number in the middle, lets say $19/hour and I’m working 15 hours per week that comes out to $285 for that week. In my opinion thats some decent pay for the small amount of time that I am putting in. And I don’t really consider it work. Its kind of like a hobby to me.
Don’t Forget About The Expenses
When you drive for Uber, you are not considered an employee, but rather a partner. Because you are just a partner Uber doesn’t have to really do much of anything for you.
There are a lot of expenses that come with driving your car around picking people up, and unfortunately for you the driver, Uber isn’t going to cover nearly any of them.
You are responsible for all car maintenance and upkeep. You do not get reimbursed for gas, wear and tear, oil changes, or anything of that nature.
Generally, I say that you can expect 10% of your pay to go back into your car for the upkeep. Now of course this can vary greatly depending on your vehicle.
If you are driving a POS (piece of shit) car that has bad O2 sensors and is guzzling gas like crazy, then you are going to be putting a nice chunk of your pay back into the car. But if you are driving a hybrid 2017 Toyota Prius (58mpg in city) then you are going to be able to keep pretty much all of the pay you get.
And on top of the car related expenses that you are required to cover, you also have to think about the taxes that are going to get taken out of your pay. This is going to be another 10% or so.
Since you aren’t employed by Uber and are just a partner, you are considered an independent contractor and must pay Federal Income Taxes as well as a Self-Employment Tax. Uber will mail you a 1099-K so that you are able to do this. Filing a 1099 isn’t any harder than filing a normal W-2, there is a great article on how to file a 1099 here.
Luckily, taxes aren’t so bad. You are able to deduct $0.535 for every mile that is driven for business purposes. This is just an estimated gas expense cost that the IRS came up with. Sometime this works out to your advantage. Because if you are driving a new hybrid car, you aren’t going to be spending $0.535 per mile on gas, but you will still be able to get this much back with your taxes.
So if you take the $19/hr average that I make and take 10% off for vehicle expenses and then take another 10% off for taxes, my pay drops down to $15.2/hr of pure profit. And really, I’m still happy with that number.
What Expenses Does Uber Cover? If Any
Uber is nice enough to cover some of your expenses, but not much.
One such expense is your liability to third parties. When you are accepted into Uber you automatically are covered by their liability insurance. As I said this covers your liability of your passengers and is up to $1 million. This insurance applies only when you are logged onto the Uber app, so when you are on a trip or on going to a trip it applies.
They also have an insurance policy that will cover bodily injury of you and anyone in your vehicle up to $1 million if the accident was caused by another driver that was uninsured or under-insured.
And their last insurance policy which all drivers are covered by is their comprehensive/collision insurance. This covers drivers’ vehicle damage on a trip or going to a trip. There is a $1000 deductible with this. And its also important to note that you still need to have your own personal car insurance.
And besides insurance of you, passengers, and your vehicle, Uber also covers inspection costs.
This depends on where you are driving for Uber. In many areas you can get your inspection costs completely covered by Uber as long as you go to one of their “Greenlight Hubs”, which is commonly a Jiffy Lube or Sprint Store.
Making More Money Than Average
Sometimes Uber will introduce “surge pricing” in certain areas at certain times. What this means is that they will increase fares so that Uber drivers can make more money, giving drivers more incentive to go out and drive. Uber will use this method of increasing fares at busy times and places.
Take advantage of surge pricing if you can and get out there and make more money.
Getting tips from riders is another great way to increase your earnings. The Uber app does not allow tipping, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get tips in the form of cash. So place a tip jar or something of that nature in your Uber and see how it work out.
The drivers with more expensive Ubers, such as UberLUX’s, are known for getting better tips from their riders. This is because the riders are usually more wealthy. UberX riders for some reason think that they aren’t supposed to tip, but this isn’t true.
I don’t make all that much in the way of tips. If I work 5 hours on Saturday, which I do occasionally, sometimes I will walk away with$50+ in my pocket from tipping. And I know some people that do a lot better than me.
Driving For UberEATS, Can You Make More Money?
UberEATS is a food delivery service that Uber offers. Instead of driving around people, you are driving around food and delivering it.
There are restaurants that partner with UberEATS. People order food through the UberEATS app at these different restaurants and UberEATS’ drivers in the area are notified.
UberEATS (came out in 2016) is a lot newer than Uber itself, but there is still some good opportunity here. If you live in the bigger cities like LA, NYC, Las Vegas, etc, then UberEATS is going to be a big thing.
Downside… You Are On A Schedule.. Kinda
One of the downsides to UberEATS is that you actually have to schedule your shifts (not in all cities). Every week there will be a shift calendar that you will receive and you have to put in when you will be available. So obviously you can’t really drive for Uber rideshare if you say you will be available for UberEATS at certain times.
You can make some decent money depending on the area around common eating times like lunch and dinner.
How Much Can You Make With UberEATS?
On a positive note, you are guaranteed a minimum of $10-$20/hour depending on your location.
So you might have only 2 deliveries in an hours time that each make you $4. So the total you made for that hour is $8. Uber will then supplement that amount with an additional $2 or so to bring you up to the minimum.
This is definitely nice considering there is no such thing as an hourly minimum with Uber rideshare service.
Uber Signup Bonus
Uber offers a signup bonus to give people some incentive to start driving for them. The bonus depends on where you are signing up to drive and how much demand there is for new drivers. It can be up to as much as $1,000.
Conclusion.. Is Driving For Uber Worth It?
I still recommend Uber to friends and people I know. I like driving for Uber. Its a nice and relaxing part-time job where I can make decent money. I work when I want, however much I want.
I am making over $15/hour after all of the expenses and taxes, just for driving around my car in my spare time. I’m only working around 15 hours a week at the moment, but this adds up to close to $300 extra bucks a week.
My advice: Start driving for Uber part time. Learn where the good spots are, when you can make the most for your time, and then, if there is the opportunity to drive more, do it.