Harry here. Our 2017 survey found that drivers reported making over $15.68 an hour before expenses but is that the best way to think about earnings? Today, RSG contributor W. Curtis Preston explains how to calculate per mile earnings instead of per hour.
Many drivers look at their Uber or Lyft paychecks, subtract their gas costs, and say “nice!” Uber and Lyft likely rely on this perception, because if enough drivers knew their real per-hour and per-mile rate, they might choose to do something else.
Other drivers track their mileage, multiply those miles by 53.5 cents (2017 Federal Mileage Reimbursement rate), subtract that amount from their earnings and think “I’m making less than minimum wage!”
However, the best way to calculate what you’re actually paid is a lot simpler than you may think. What you need to do is calculate your actual cost per mile and deduct that from your Uber and Lyft pay, and I’ll show you how.
In San Diego, I make the equivalent to $17.77 per hour after expenses, which is a lot higher than the California minimum wage of $10.50. To make that outside of Uber & Lyft, I would need to get a “real job,” instead of just working when I feel like it. So I’m happy with my hourly rate. It covers the car and insurance payments, and all I’m really giving up is some evening TV time.
What I felt I needed to know, though, was whether or not the amount of profit I was receiving was worth all those miles I was putting on my car. Knowing my per-mile profit also allows me to make changes to my driving strategy and see if I can improve it. Let’s see how I figured all of this out.