How Much Do Uber Drivers Really Make & Is It a Good Way to Make Extra Cash?

The other day I had my first Uber experience. I know, how have I gone this long without ever using Uber to get around the city? Well, I’m just used to walking or transiting everywhere I guess. And if you remember my blog post about some of the most cheapskate things I’ve ever done, then you know I hate paying for cabs — whether it’s the day after my wedding or not.

But alas, we were out to dinner with friends and had tickets to see Jurassic World (highly recommend it by the way), and it was a bit too far for us to walk from the restaurant to the theatre.

One of our friends called us an Uber and the 5 minute drive cost us a total of $8. Great for us as it was definitely cheaper than taking a cab, but I just couldn’t understand what was in it for the Uber driver.

Sure, he technically made $8 for maybe 10 minutes of work, but unless he was doing similar trips throughout the night, how much money could he possibly make by driving people around?

Especially since Uber claims to be 40% cheaper that taking a taxi and takes a 20% cut of all Uber fares.

Uber Says You Can Make $90,000/year

Well, according to Uber’s New York City General Manager Josh Moher, you can make $90,000 if you really want to. Umm…that seems a little high, no? I’m not the only one who thinks that number is a bit crazy since I found this Buzzfeed article looking into how much Uber drivers really make.

Based on a sample group of drivers, that number is indeed inflated and unrealistic based on several factors such as the time of day they are driving (at surge times they can charge a higher rate), how often they’re driving, and how high their car expenses are (gas, insurance, car repairs, etc…).

It’s More Like $20,800/year

Buzzfeed’s sample group was based in New York City, which is probably a pretty decent city to be an Uber driver in because of the huge volume of people and tourists. That being said, Buzzfeed estimated that most drivers only make between $10-$30/hour. And if we’re looking at this as a full-time 40-hour work week, that means drivers would be making between $20,800-$62,400/year.

Ok, that’s not bad too bad I guess, but it sure doesn’t sound good enough to leave your day job for. But, if we’re looking at these numbers to merely see if Uber is a good way to side hustle and make some extra cash, then let’s say you take every Sunday out of your week to be an Uber driver. You work an 8-hour day once a week for an entire year.

How much does that make you? That’s between $4,160-$12,480/year. Ok, that’s actually pretty decent, but don’t forget that doesn’t include any tax deductions! And how tired and stressed you’ll be by working 6 days a week for 52 weeks straight!

Is It Worth It?

Honestly, I’m gonna say no. The only way I can see being an Uber driver as a good way to make some extra cash is if you only do it when you’re on the way somewhere anyway. For instance, say you’re leaving a movie, you know a bunch of other movie goers are going to be looking for a ride. That might be a great opportunity to make a bit of cash on you’re drive back home.

Another example would be if you’re retired and want some extra money while keeping yourself busy. But other than some small instances like these, it’s just not worth the hassle in my opinion. Of course, I also really hate driving, so being an Uber driver to make some extra money sounds as fun as jumping in a pool of thumbtacks to me.

What do you think? Would you ever become an Uber driver to make some extra money on the side?

Showing 10 comments
  • Michelle

    I hate driving, so I would never become an Uber driver. Haha it’s really that easy of a decision for me!

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Same here. I’ll pay for an Uber but you couldn’t pay me enough to be a driver.

  • Stephen

    Great idea with the movie idea. Uber doesn’t quite work that way does it though? I’m not overly familiar. Can you put out calls to places you’re going and see if people will join you? Or is it strictly a dispatch system where the calls are put out by the riders and the drivers accept the fare if they’re in the area? There should be something like the example you gave that’s a little more time sensitive than kijiji or msg boards.

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      It’s all through the Uber app. I’m definitely no expert on it but I believe you can let people know through the app that you’re in the area available to drive and then they decide if they want to choose you as a driver or not?

  • Christine Weadick

    Nearest place to us Uber is trying to get into is London ON. The locals are very not impressed and they face an uphill fight there. I refuse to drive in Toronto so you couldn’t pay me enough there. If you know the city you are driving in along with any shortcuts to bypass traffic and such slow downs you could make some nice change driving for them but I think I’ll pass on it thanks

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Ya, there’s no Uber in Vancouver and not sure if it’s because the people don’t want it or it just hasn’t made it’s way over there yet. Too bad though because it is seriously so hard to find a cab there.

  • NZ Muse

    I’m sceptical about how lucrative it would be. That said T loooves driving, and our new car is actually new enough to qualify (and he has in the past talked about going into taxi driving… yeeeeah), so, it’s on our radar as a potential side hustle.

  • Matt J

    It CAN be lucrative in a young market, but as soon as the proliferation of drivers comes on board, it automagically becomes way less worth it. Prices get driven down and the time between passengers becomes longer.
    The idea of getting some passengers on the way to a movie or to work also doesn’t really work, because 9 times out of 10, they will take you in completely the wrong direction. And you’d have to be going to the movies alone (womp womp).
    All-in-all, I vote NO (After being an Uber-Lyfter for about 6 months when it first came to Austin).

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