What will a ride-share driver earn in 2017?

(Brandon Bhangoo) #1

With so much misinformation about how much ride-share drivers earn, it's not surprising that so many new drivers apply for this kind of income. It's also not surprising that over 50% of these drivers don't last more than 12 months. There are some reasons; they break down to the experiences a driver is faced when driving and the income generated. Many times the income just doesn't warrant the stress and strain of the ride. Also, what most new drivers don't take into account are the expenses and end of the year taxes. So, here is an article about what to expect your income to be in 2017.

Ride Share Calculations

Rideshare income is made up of three sections;

  • Booking Fee
  • Income per mile
  • Income per minute

The booking fee is a set figure; the miles are also basically set by the navigation route, the only changeable variable is the time it takes since traffic can change a five-minute drive to a half hour drive. However, the income for a minute is much less than from a mile, so there is a trade-off that makes driving during congestive hours not a good solution to increasing income. It is better to drive more fares as quickly as possible and rack up the miles or drive the same miles but be in a surge or boost price.

That is why it is best for the driver to pick a strategy that suits their lifestyle and income levels.

Here is a quick comparison of two days, showing the impact of driving in congestion against driving in a car-free environment.


  • Time: Noon
  • Hours of driving: 3
  • Miles drove: 80
  • Number of rides: 8
  • Gross pay: $54.60
  • Commission: 20%
  • Gross Pay per hour: $17.43
  • Take Home pay after Expenses: $37.00
  • Net Pay per hour (before Tax): $11.81
  • Income per mile: $0.457


  • Time: Night;
  • Hours of driving: 4
  • Miles drove: 76
  • Number of rides: 12
  • Gross pay: $78.67
  • Commission: 20%
  • Gross Pay per hour: $19.50
  • Take Home pay after Expenses: $62.00
  • Net Pay per hour (before Tax): $15.37
  • Income per mile: $0.810

As you can see, there is an extreme difference between the two, while Friday produced more income from the same amount of miles in comparison to Tuesday. This was due to Surge prices; surges are great ways to increase income. Also, the time driven on Tuesday was a relatively slow time with lots of congestion, so the miles were the same but the time took we longer, making the income lower.

Ride Share Income Averages

Based on standard figures but without factoring in surges and boosts, the average income per ride (when miles and time are average too) are:

  • Uber Booking Fee: $1.65
  • 30-minute ride, 15 cents per minute: $4.50
  • 9 miles ride, 90 cents per mile: $8.10
  • Passenger Fee: $14.25

So we now get an average gross income per mile of $14.25, now let's calculate the expenses.

Ride Share Expense Averages

Expenses are calculated per annum and then aggregated to per mile.

Expenses calculated per mile for Toyota Prius C 2017 model

  • Car price: $24,686
  • Loan interest: 3.79%
  • Depreciation: 15%
  • Insurance costs: $1,350
  • Gallon of Gas: $2.35
  • Miles per gallon: 50
  • Maintenance: $800
  • Car cleaning: $25
  • One time Purchases per annum: $2,250
  • Total expense per mile: $0.31

The commission ranges between 20-25%.

Nett income calculations

Passanger Trip Income: $14.25

20% commission: $2.52 (The don’t take 20% from the booking fee).

Expenses for 9 miles: $2.79

Total Expenses: $5.31

Net income from this trip: $8.94

Net income per mile: $0.933

Average Driving Time Per Week

The average ride share driving hours are between 11 to 30, these account for 68% of the drivers, 14% drive under 10 hours and 17% drive over 40 hours a week.

Based on these numbers we can figure out the average income per percentile where an average of 18 miles per hour are driven, giving us the following income calculation:

$0.933 x 18 x hours = net income before tax.

10 hours $167.94 Month: $671.76 Year: $8,061.12

20 hours $335.88 Month: $1,343.51 Year: $16,122.24

40 hours $671.76 Month: $2.687.07 Year: $32,244.48

60 hours $1,007.64 Month: $4,030.56 Year: $48.366.72

These are UberX based calculations, so if you are driving UberBlack, SUV, Pool, Lyft etc…adjust the calculation accordingly.

Raising your income factor

Since these figures are based on the basic income, you should factor into these calculations boosts, guarantees, surge bonuses, deliveries, and pool. Depending on what you do, how many hours you drive, can add to the above anywhere from 10%-40%. The experienced drivers know how to read surges and hot-spots and always use destination filter to increase income which also converts all period 1 miles to taxable miles.

Driving with Efficiency

It is imperative that as a driver you measure your times, this means making each time section a measurable factor:

  1. Down Time (Period 1)
    This is how much time you're not making any income; it includes the time it takes to reach your destination if you use destination filter you will invariably pick up a passenger on the way. The time you sit about waiting for a call and the time it takes you to drive home at the end of a shift.

  2. Drive time to passenger (Period 2)
    This is how much time it takes from receiving a call to when you pick up the passenger, again, you are not getting paid for this time, so you want to cut it down as much as possible.

  3. Paid drive time (Period 3)
    The most important factor, how much time you drive and get paid for it. This calculation takes into account miles, bonuses and of course quality of the ride.

You should measure each one and find ways to improve each one, the first two need to be reduced and the third one increased. Also, by using destination filter, the first period (Period 1) will be tax deductible.

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