Lyft’s announcement on Monday that they would be bringing back commissions was big news in the rideshare world. Obviously there are a lot of upset Lyft drivers out there but that’s why it’s more important than ever to drive for multiple platforms. I’m not happy with the commission increase but we knew it had to come back at some point. Businesses can’t just lose money forever.
Since I drive for both Uber and Lyft, I’m always concerned with how much each platform is paying. In the past, it’s actually been pretty tough to keep up with the ongoing price-war between Lyft and Uber. There have been times where I honestly didn’t know how much I was getting paid. Some fare reductions would be covered by Lyft and Uber and others were covered by me!
The one thing that remained constant though was Lyft’s 0% commission. For many months, Lyft has been the cheaper option for passengers and the higher grossing option for drivers. Obviously things swing drastically towards Uber during surge/PT but during regular hours Lyft always had the upper hand.
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Uber vs Lyft
I mentioned on Facebook the other day after Lyft’s announcement that Uber would now be the best option for most drivers. One of my followers actually commented and let me know that in Denver, Lyft was still the higher grossing option even with the 20% commission. Sure enough, he was right.
I did a little research and discovered that pricing can vary wildly from city to city. That discovery also inspired me to make a simple spreadsheet that allows for a few inputs and will tell you what service you should be driving for to maximize your earnings potential. No more guessing and hoping that you’re making more with one service over the other.
Do Drivers Make More Money With Lyft or Uber?
At the end of the day, the most important thing to drivers is how much money we make. I see people on the brink of insanity in the Facebook groups when their pay statement is late so obviously pay is an important topic.
For those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning, you know that I love to create spreadsheets. I’ve done an Uber/Lyft fare analysis in the past and I maintain a list of every active rideshare company in the world but I think this latest one might be my most useful spreadsheet to date.
Over the past couple days, I pulled in all the Lyft and Uber pricing data from every city in the US that has both platforms. I also collaborated with Sherpa to get average trip length (miles and minutes) for major cities across the US. With those inputs and the pricing data, you’ll be able to compare Lyft and Uber payouts in every city across the US that has both platforms.
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The spreadsheet is hosted on Google Docs so in order to edit it, you will need to download a copy onto your hard drive (as an excel file) or you can save it to your own Google Drive and edit it there. Take a look at the results and then come back for some more discussion:
Spoiler alert, Uber is the big time winner. I used inputs of 4.54 miles and 12.5 minutes based off data I got from Sherpa and Uber came out on top in 41 out of 54 cities. This means Lyft is still the cheaper option for passengers in most cities but for drivers you will make more with Uber on average. Lyft was the higher grossing TNC in 10 of the 54 cities we looked at while Uber and Lyft were tied in three cities.
I used an input of 10 hours drive time because I usually drive that much (or less) every week. The tipping point occurs at 30 hours, that is the point where Lyft beats Uber in a majority of cities. The most important thing for you though is to figure out which service pays more in your home city and go from there.
You can play around with the miles and time inputs but they won’t change the results much. The biggest impact to earnings come from driving 30 hours or more. I think these lower commissions are going to be a big boon for full time Lyft drivers since a lot of part time drivers like me will opt for Uber. I never drive more than 10 hours a week so why would I drive for Lyft now if I can get enough Uber rides?
Money is definitely a big part of the Uber vs Lyft decision but it isn’t the only thing to consider. In a future article, I’ll take a look at all of the fringe benefits of driving for Uber and Lyft: tips, quality of passengers, quantity of ride requests and more. Stay tuned and if you’d like to be notified when this post or any new post is live, please subscribe to our e-mai list.
Readers, what do you think about the Lyft vs Uber Fare Calculation spreadsheet I’ve created? Was the information useful or did you pretty much already know who to drive for?
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-The Rideshare Guy