Even though I’ve personally communicated with tens of thousands of drivers over the past few years, it’s always good to back up everything I’ve learned about drivers with some data. For example, I’ve been telling people for years that drivers stay busier with Uber but prefer driving for Lyft, but when you get a thousand other people to confirm it, your argument becomes a lot more convincing.
This year’s survey ended up being one of the largest rideshare driver surveys ever conducted. We received 1,150 total responses from drivers primarily from platforms like Uber and Lyft. If you filled out the survey, thank you! I personally reviewed every single entry (and yes, it did take a long time) but the feedback was invaluable for me and we were able to uncover some interesting observations and trends for rideshare drivers. Here’s what we found:
(If you’d like to review our full PDF report of the data, please click here. If you’re a media member or researcher and would like to see a full list of questions and/or calculations, please contact me.)
Driver Satisfaction With Uber
There’s a lot of turnover in the rideshare industry, with half of all Uber drivers quitting after just one year, but for the ones that remain behind, more Uber drivers are satisfied than dissatisfied. Of the 863 drivers who indicated they primarily drive for Uber, 49.4% agreed with the statement that they are ‘satisfied with their Uber driving experience’, while just 36.2% disagreed with that statement.
But as most drivers already know, some parts about driving for Uber are not so satisfying! Uber launched UberPool in 2015, but the confusing pay structure and additional hassle of picking up and dropping off multiple riders has been a major pain point for drivers. Predictably, we found that 56.5% of drivers disagreed with the statement that ‘they are satisfied with their UberPool experience’.
What Matters Most to Drivers?
Almost all of the articles in our top ten traffic rankings have to do with money (how much can I make, how to earn more, etc) so it’s no surprise that 53.5% of all drivers indicate pay is the most important thing to them. And while pay has gone down for drivers over the years, it’s still one of the more flexible jobs available as seen below.
Money is also a big theme when it comes to why drivers are signing up for these services in the first place, with 51.9% indicating that they signed up because they needed ‘extra money’.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?
I’ve always had a problem with the earnings figures that on-demand companies advertise to prospective drivers. Many drivers end up earning much less than advertised and one of the biggest complaints I hear is that they’re not making enough money. But just how much is ‘enough’ is obviously up to interpretation. We found that Uber drivers reported earning $15.68 per hour, but since drivers are also responsible for gas, maintenance and depreciation, that number is likely less.
Lyft Drivers are Happier, Higher Paid and Higher Rated
I’ve always felt that Lyft was the more driver-friendly company and, based off our survey results from drivers who indicated they primarily drive for Lyft, an astounding 75.8% of them were satisfied with their Lyft driving experience compared to just 49.4% on Uber.
We also asked that same group of drivers about their earnings, and they reported averaging around $17.50 per hour or almost $2/hour more than what was reported by Uber drivers. It should be noted that Lyft drivers can receive tips in the app, and Lyft rates tend to be higher across the board but, like with Uber, drivers are still responsible for their expenses.
Lyft drivers also reported an average rating of 4.88 while Uber was slightly lower at 4.84.
Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have
Who Do Drivers Work for?
Since Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors, they are technically allowed to work for other companies, and we found that 67% of drivers (+/- 3%) reported working for at least two services.
Note: There is a 3% error margins since 3% of drivers indicated zero on-demand services, but in order to answer this set of questions, they also indicated that they were a rideshare driver for at least >0 months.
Although a majority of the drivers on our e-mail list are doing multiple services, it should be noted that 75% of drivers indicated that they still primarily drive for Uber.
But Lyft was a close second to Uber when it came to which company drivers prefer to drive for.
Driver Demographics and Discrepancies
This year we also asked drivers specific questions around demographics and found that 19% of Uber drivers and 19.2% of Lyft drivers are females – and that’s higher than the national average of 12.7% for taxi drivers and chauffeurs and much higher than the 1% of New York cabbies who are women. We also took a look at earnings by gender and found that women reported earning $14.26/hour, while their male counterparts reported earning $16.61/hour. This discrepancy could be explained by time of day/night, which was not something we controlled for.
Despite passenger demographics that favor the young, driver demographics are skewed the other direction, with 54% of drivers indicating they are 51 or over and 77.5% of drivers indicating they are 41 or older.
Those in the 61+ range reported almost $3 per hour less than the 18-30 category, and there was a distinct negative correlation that we found between increased age and lower reported earnings, which could also be a function of what hours were worked.
Rideshare drivers reported as being predominantly white, making up 78.3% of total drivers, which is higher than the national (regular population) average of 62.6%. Other ethnicities like Hispanic/Latino reported just 7.1% compared to the national average of 17.2% and Black/African Americans reported 6.8% compared to the national average of 13.2%.
Our research did find some pay discrepancies among certain ethnicities, with Black/African-American drivers (Uber and Lyft) reporting that they earned $13.96 per hour compared to the average reported hourly earnings of $16.08 for all Uber and Lyft drivers.
Drivers are well educated, with 53.3% of drivers reporting they have achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the national average of 33%.
Thanks to digital marketing consultant Meelad Mashaw for helping put this together.
If you’d like to read our full report on this topic, please click here. And if you’re a media member or researcher and would like to see a full list of questions and/or calculations, please contact me.
Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have
Drivers, what do you think about the results and what stands out to you? Are you surprised by the average hourly earnings, satisfaction levels or demographics?
-Harry @ RSG
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