How much money do Uber drivers make?

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Gross vs. Net Income

Several significant deductions will reduce the amount that Uber drivers net. These are important to consider when considering gross versus net income as a driver.

Uber drivers are contract, or 1099, workers. This entails they work on their own schedule with their own supplies. Drivers are responsible for all vehicle maintenance, gas and insurance compliance.

As contract workers, income taxes are not withheld from pay. Drivers must remember that they owe taxes on the pay they receive from Uber. Not only do they need to calculate their income taxes, but they must also pay a self-employment tax if they make more than $400 per year as a 1099 contractor.

The self-employment tax is 15.3% and covers both the Medicare and Social Security tax contributions that both employee and employer pay in a typical job. Since Uber drivers are self-employed, they must pay 7.65% — half of the 15.3% total — more than they would as regular W-2 employees.

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How Much Does Uber Take From Your Pay?

Drivers don’t get to keep all of the money a rider pays. Uber takes 100% of riders’ booking fees. Then, Uber takes a 25% cut from each fare. Drivers keep 100% of tips and bonuses. In the Uber driver app, you can exactly how much you’re earning vs. what Uber’s earning.

What Affects How Much You Can Earn by Driving for Uber?

Signing up for Uber doesn’t guarantee you the average 2020 wage of $17.21 to $19.89 per hour. How much you earn depends on the following:

How Far You Drive Per Ride

Part of your fare earnings is based on how many miles you’re driving and how long you’re driving. Longer trips bring in a bigger fare.

Where You’re Driving

Drivers earn different amounts based on where they’re driving. For example, if you drive in big cities or do airport runs, you can expect to make more than a driver working in a smaller suburb.

What Service Tier You Work In

Uber offers many service tiers. Not every tier is available in every location. Drivers with nicer cars that can hold more people enjoy higher rates than drivers who participate in UberX, which is the cheapest service tier for riders.

  • UberX: most affordable rates for 1 to 3 people
  • UberXL: affordable rides for groups up to 5
  • Uber Select: stylish rides for 1 to 4 people with highly-rated drivers
  • Uber Comfort: newer cars with more legroom
  • Uber Pool: shared rides, discounted rate per rider
  • Uber Black: premium rides in luxury cars
  • Uber Black SUV: premium rides for 6 in luxury cars
  • Uber LUX: top-rated drivers in luxury vehicles
  • Uber WAV: wheel-chair accessible vehicles
  • Uber Green: sustainable rides in electric vehicles
  • Uber Taxi: local taxi cabs

Surge Pricing

Uber uses an algorithm to detect rider demand and driver availability. When rider demand is high and driver availability is low, Surge Pricing goes into effect to incentivize drivers to give rides. Drivers earn the normal rate for rides multiplied by a surge price multiplier.

During times of Surge Pricing, drivers see what the multiplier is in the app. For example, when SURGE is at 2.5x, a ride that’s normally $10 would be $25.

Tips

As noted above, tips added an average of $1.31 per hour to a driver’s 2020 hourly wage. Being more personable and supplying extras like mints or tissues are ways Uber drivers can increase their chances of getting tips.

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Is Working on Uber Worth It?

Working on Uber is worth it if you want a flexible job that allows you to be your own boss. Uber driving does not require as much capital as other businesses. To drive for Uber, you do not need a university degree. Even if you don’t own a car, you can hire one from Uber for as little as $250 per week. You can eventually buy a car if you have a steady source of income. 

How Much Do You Make Working for Uber?

A national average of $19 an hour may sound promising, but you might want it broken down further. The amount you make depends on the city you’re driving in, how often you drive, and your expenses. For example, according to a 2016 report from BuzzFeed News, drivers in Denver, Detroit, and Houston were found to earn less than $13.25 an hour after expenses. Taxes can cut into your pay further. A Washington Post evaluation of BuzzFeed’s analysis and additional data and interviews found that a driver in Denver earning $13.25 per hour would bring home only $11.21 per hour after taxes.

How Uber Commission and Fees Work

It’s not that difficult to understand the way Uber fees and commissions work.

For instance, when it comes to fees, the passengers are the ones who have to pay a booking fee, as well as per minute and mile fee for their ride. After the ride, you as a driver would be paid the majority of the fare you made. And you only get “the majority” and not all of it because Uber is going to get their cut, respectively the “Service Fee”.

More than 25%

The amount that Uber says it charges their drivers is 25%, but it actually takes a little more than that from their earnings. This is all due to the fact that some additional fees are taken by rideshare companies, resulting in a higher percentage for the cut.

In the past, Uber drivers had to drive around 2.36 miles to make $10 before fees, but nowadays, the prices were lowered by Uber. As a result, a driver will have to drive 4.71 miles to make the same amount of cash.

Fees

Also, there is the booking fee and a safe rides fee for every Uber ride, which is between $1 and $3. These fees vary by city, but the driver cannot actually see these in their bank account, as this goes directly to Uber.

So, the commission taken by Uber is higher if the ride fare is lower, meaning the rideshare drivers would make less. So, in the end, even if Uber claims to take 25% of its drivers, it will actually take up to 42.75%. If you are doing short rides, then it won’t be too profitable for you.

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How Much Can You Actually Make on Uber?

You can make a median salary of $56,066 as a full-time driver for Uber in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter. Annual income could go as high as $130,000 or as low as $14,500, depending on several factors. Factors that affect median earnings include hourly wages, the type of Uber driving, and location. For example, Uber Eats drivers currently earn an average annual salary of about $40,176

The top three highest paying cities for Uber rideshare drivers at the time of writing are San Mateo, CA, Berkeley, CA, and Daly City, CA. Full-time Uber driver earnings in these cities include an average of $69,121, $66,778, and $66,592 yearly respectively. 

Uber’s Pay Structure

Uber’s pay structure is dynamic and flexible. It is calculated according to location, time of day and frequency of work. Pay may vary on a day-to-day basis.

Uber provides “earnings estimates” instead of a set wage to help drivers identify their likely profits. These should be viewed strictly as projections. They are based on what other drivers working the same hours in the same location earned over the previous month.

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Qualifying Earnings

Uber drivers earn from a combination of factors including customer tips and trip fares. Occasionally things like Quest promotions may lead to additional earnings.

What Is a Base Fare?

The base fare is the flat rate that a pick-up pays. Time and distance increase the trip fare.

Does Surge Pricing Affect Drivers?

Uber uses surge pricing when demand is high, increasing the costs of rides. Uber drivers can use a local map to find surge prices and time their availability. This can increase earnings.

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Cancellation Fees

Drivers are protected if a ride is canceled while they are en route to pick-up. They will receive a cancellation fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions people ask about driving for Uber.

Is Uber meant to replace a full time job, or supplement income as a side hustle? It’s fair to say that, for most Uber drivers, a job with Uber has to be a supplement to a salary they earn elsewhere. There simply isn’t enough consistency for the typical Uber driver to make enough money to sustain themselves with Uber alone. So, many Uber drivers are only part-time drivers.

But, drivers who operate full-time in a dense urban area, and optimize their trips by supplementing their time behind the wheel by providing other Uber services can certainly earn a respectable income.

At that point, they are working a full-time job but don’t receive the benefits that other full-time workers enjoy.

For instance, you will not receive any paid time-off or sick leave working for Uber.

How much Uber drivers make by using the platform is up to them, but the ancillary benefits of full-time employment are not attainable as an Uber driver, as you are not an employee of Uber.

How long does it take to make 100 Uber trips? That depends on how buys your operating area is and how much you are working. If you are operating in a densely populated urban area, it’s quite possible you could complete 100 trips in a week to ten days, depending on the number of hours you work. But, if you are in a more rural setting, with longer rides for each trip, or you don’t work many hours consistently, it will take much longer to complete 100 trips.

Can you make $1,000 in a week with Uber? You can. But, you might be the exception to the rule. Most Uber drivers do not make that kind of money. But, by keeping in mind Uber’s payment structure, targeting times where your trips are eligible for surge pricing, and providing quality service that earns tips from your passengers, you can drive your earnings higher.

There are a great many factors that can make it easier (or harder) for full-time drivers to earn money with Uber.

It’s up to you to tailor your efforts to maximize your wages.

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What Taxes Do Uber Drivers Need to Pay?

Most Uber drivers need to make quarterly estimated tax payments and pay self-employment taxes. Consult a tax professional in your area for more specific tax advice about becoming an Uber driver.

Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments

When you drive for Uber, you don’t have income taxes taken out of your pay like you would with a traditional job. Instead, you, the independent contractor, may need to make your federal, state, and local income tax payments throughout the year. These are called quarterly tax payments or estimated tax payments. Whether you need to do this depends on how much you expect to earn during the year.

Fortunately, Uber drivers can claim all of their business expenses to reduce their overall taxable income. Drivers can take the standard mileage deduction or claim the actual amount spent. The standard mileage deduction in 2020 is 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use. If you claim the actual amount spent, you can deduct the cost of gas, repairs, depreciation, lease expenses, and other car-related expenses. Regardless of whether you claim the standard deduction, Uber drivers can also claim in-car amenities made available to riders.

Self-Employment Taxes

When you’re an employee, your employer pays half of your Social Security and Medicare tax liability. The other half comes out of your pay. When you’re an independent contractor, you have to pay your half plus the half an employer typically pays. The combined tax rate for both equals 15.3%. You can deduct the employer portion (7.65%) from your taxes.

Highest paying cities for Driver in US

Tampa, FL

$22.40 per hour

Miami, FL

$22.36 per hour

Fort Lauderdale, FL

$22.31 per hour

See all highest paying locations in US

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