Can You Make $1,000 a Week Driving for Uber and Lyft?

Earning $1000 a week driving for Uber or Lyft may sound ambitious or out of reach, but it’s not. At Rideshare Guy, we talk to drivers around the nation who consistently hit the $1K mark week after week.

To reach $1,000, you need to hustle and approach it with the right mindset and the right bag of tricks. This article will give you an overview of how to maximize your rideshare earnings and take them from just okay to the next level.

Whether you’re a seasoned driver or wondering if you should pick up a rideshare hustle, we’ve got you covered.

How to Make $1,000 a Week with Uber and Lyft

To reach $1,000 a week doing Uber, Lyft, or both, you need to think of it as your business and take it seriously. This means understanding the best way to increase pay, minimize expenses, and make the most of your time so you’re only driving when it’s worth it.

Here’s our guide to 10 ways to boost your earnings and break the $1K mark.

1. Understand How Self-Employment Works

When you drive for Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare or food delivery services, you are a self-employed contractor. While some states, notably California, have pushed to have rideshare drivers classified as direct employees, that has not happened.

This means limited protections and increased responsibilities. As an independent contractor, you are your own HR department, payroll department, and boss. You are responsible for scheduling your hours, Schedule C tax obligations (filing your earnings and claiming expenses), payroll, accounting, tracking expenses, obtaining health insurance and other benefits, and knowing any state and local laws that govern your work

Some Lyft or Uber drivers even consider setting up their own LLC or business entity. It’s worth doing your homework and figuring out the best way to approach things to maximize your income and minimize your taxes.

2. Look for Ways to Cut Costs

Look for ways to slash your costs, finding the cheapest ways to get gas, oil changes, car insurance, phone plans, and other work-related expenses. Apps like Upside help you find the cheapest fuel, get free coupons or exclusive discounts for fuel, and even earn you gas-back rewards — cash-back rewards for gas — just through doing your everyday shopping. The right rewards credit card can also deliver some major cost savings.

To lower your phone bill, consider switching to a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) to get a similar data plan for a fraction of the cost. These low-cost networks, like Cricket, Boost, or Mint Mobile, can provide outstanding service for only $5 to $15 a month.

Also, make it a point to bring snacks and beverages from home. This is going to save money — and a lot of time — when you’re out on the road.

3. Track Your Expenses

Keep a close tabs on your income and your expenses. This means tracking your miles while rideshare driving and related expenses like oil changes, break jobs, tire rotations, and car washes. You can even claim sundries that you offer riders such as water bottles, hand sanitizer, kleenexes, or mints.

Apps like Stride and Everlance can make this process much easier, logging all of your expenses for you. They can also help you understand whether it’s better to claim itemized tax deductions or use the standard mileage deduction.

4. Learn Your Area

Get familiar with your market area. Even if you’ve lived there your entire life, get to know it from a rideshare driver’s perspective. Which rideshare app is the most popular and offers the most rides? What kinds of activities are going on and when? What hours can you work? Which hours are the busiest? How far are you from the airport?

Successful rideshare drivers work at peak times and on high-demand days when they can benefit from surge pricing and generous tips — think major conferences, NFL games, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Doing some research on rideshare blogs and driver forums can also help, and many drivers have told us that they like the Gridwise app. The app has a “Where to Drive” feature that identifies the most profitable places and times to drive. It integrates a ton of data, including local airplane flight schedules and areas where tips are trending higher.

5. Work the Right Hours

Yes, the “be your own boss, set your own hours” is a major selling point for doing rideshare apps. But if you want to make serious money at it — four figures or higher each week — then you need to choose the right schedule.

Working Monday to Friday from 9-to-5 probably is not the right fit for you. Figure out when there’s the highest demand in your area and when you have the greatest earning potential. This may mean working late-night or early-morning shifts.

And it’s unlikely that all days of the week are equally profitable. Instead of working five (5) or more days a week, you may be able to concentrate on the three (3) or four (4) days that are the most profitable and either take off on the other days or do a different side hustle like Amazon Flex or DoorDash.

Keep in mind that the hours need to be sustainable. If you want to work from midnight to 3 a.m. daily because it’s the most profitable shift, it won’t be profitable in the long run if you can’t maintain those hours. Make sure the shifts you work fit in with your other job, family needs, and overall lifestyle.

6. Deliver Food, Too

High-earning Uber and Lyft drivers don’t just deliver people; they often transport grocery orders and restaurant meals too.

Having a second side gig, like Instacart or Shipt, is a smart way to stack side hustles and a sure way to make money when there is little demand for drivers.

For Uber drivers, many prefer to also use Uber Eats. This is because Uber X (rideshare) drivers can easily switch between the two platforms within the same app. You just tap select which one you want to work for. All Uber rideshare drivers are automatically eligible to be an Uber Eats driver too, so there’s no additional screening and application process to go through.

For other apps like DoorDash or GoPuff, you will need to go through the application and screening process. Generally, it isn’t very long and if you can be approved for Uber or Lyft you should get in.

7. Advertise on Your Car

If you’re already driving your car for work, why not put some ads on it and get paid to turn your car into a moving billboard? It’s a great way to earn passive income because you don’t have to do anything to get the extra money — just drive your car for work as you’re already doing, and you’ll get paid.

Companies like Carvertise, Nickelytics, or Wrapify will pay you for this advertising service. Vehicles must be newer and in good condition (no dents or rust). Pay will vary based on the market, your driving patterns, the length of the ad campaign, and the type (size) of the ad you have wrapped on your vehicle, whether it’s a full, half, or partial car wrap. Sometimes a car topper alone is an option.

Many rideshare and delivery drivers can earn an extra $100 to $500 a month.

8. Take Advantage of Referrals

Make sure to take advantage of referral programs! It’s a great way for Lyft and Uber drivers to make extra money without having to do any extra driving work.

Find your referral code in your account settings and share it with friends and family on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, other social media channels, text messages, and email.

Rideshare referral programs are constantly being reworked and reward incentives are always changing. We’ve seen referral reward amounts commonly range anywhere from $200 to $500, with the amount tied to the local market, current new-driver demand, and steps involved in obtaining the reward.

To get a higher reward, the newly-referred driver may need to sign up and complete X trips within the first 90 days. For lower rewards, the driver may simply need to be approved, install the driver app, and make at least one trip.

Whatever the current reward amount, it’s usually generous and one of the better driver perks. To make the most of this incentive, make sure to share your referral code widely.

Many Uber and Lyft riders are also drivers, so you should print out the code and share it in the car. The new driver gets a generous reward perk too, and it’s a good conversation starter.

9. Set Goals and Track Your Progress

Make sure to set goals and measure your progress. A good analogy is to think of it like a football game. Imagine you say your goal is to win and you’re going to accomplish that by playing as “well” or as “hard” as possible.

While those are good outcomes, that’s also incredibly vague. A better approach would have tactics as to how you will win, including specific goals for passes, touchdowns, sacks, and points. Even other secondary metric goals are important too, like game attendance, ticket prices, or concession stand sales.

As a full-time rideshare driver, your goal is to reach $1,000 a week and you can deploy many tactics to get there. Here are some ideas:

  • Work the 12 busiest 3-hour windows every week. Saturday nights are always a good bet, but beyond that, use driver forums, apps like Gridwise, and your own on-the-road experience to determine the best hours.
  • Complete all available weekly bonus hours or quests in the Los Angeles area — or whatever market you drive in.
  • Tell at least 20 passengers a week about the $250 reward (or whatever it’s set at) for signing up for the app and completing at least X rides. (Figure out a way to casually work it in, and let them ask questions if they’re interested.)
  • Keep your cancellation rate down. Try for at least X driver acceptance streaks per week.
  • Monitor weather and special events in your area for the week. Know when the big games, concerts, and conferences are, or days that there will be bad weather (and cars that can’t handle the roads or even start).

10. Earn Higher Tips

Get higher tips. A rideshare driver’s wages are comprised of base pay, bonus pay for any promos running, and their customers’ tips. Make sure that you’re maximizing them.

  • Be friendly and make small talk — if a rider is receptive.
  • Have water bottles on hand and an extra phone charger. Customers love this extra perk.
  • Smile and open the door for them at pick-up. Greet them by name. These gestures go a lot further than telling them, “Get in the back” without moving from your seat.
  • Don’t drive off right away. Give them a chance to give you a cash tip.
  • Bring them to the front door or as close as possible to the entry point at their end destination.
  • Ask them for a 5-star rating. At the end of the ride, tell them you hope you provided a pleasant ride and say you would appreciate a 5-star rating. Many customers will also leave a tip then.

Driver’s Take

As outlined in this article, it’s possible to hit at least $1,000 a week doing Uber and/or Lyft. Success boils down to strategy, persistence, and setting a realistic plan of attack — along with thinking of this job as a full-time job and personal business, not just a side hustle.

While you won’t necessarily hit $1,000 every single week, if you live in a high-demand area you should be able to average at least $1,000 a week by using the tips we’ve outlined in this article.