Last updated on July 21st, 2018 at 11:16 am
Uber Vs. Lyft Driving In 2018
If you’ve thought about taking up rideshare driving, you’ve probably asked yourself, should I sign up to drive for Uber or Lyft?
The answer depends mostly on your market size, and whether you will be driving mostly in a rural area, or near an urban center.
In smaller, rural markets, or if you plan on driving mostly in the suburbs, you’re may be better off signing up to drive for Uber first.
If you’re in or near a larger market, and you plan on driving at least part of the time in the city, Lyft may be a better option.
One other thing to keep in mind is that only Lyft currently offers a new driver sign up bonus of up to $1000. Uber phased their sign up bonus out in 2017 and now offer guaranteed earnings, not a cash bonus on top of regular earnings. Basically, Uber will guarantee that you’ll earn a certain amount ($500 for 65 rides for example). If you don’t, Uber will make up the difference.
While it’s true that Uber still has more riders, they also have more drivers, so it’s not like that creates an earnings advantage. In most larger markets, drivers can now make as much, if not more, on Lyft as they can on Uber, with higher satisfaction levels. In fact, nationally, Lyft drivers earn more per hour that Uber drivers. However, if you’re in a small town, Uber is likely to be busier overall.
Whether You Sign Up For Lyft Or Uber First, Eventually Sign Up For Both
Whether you’re in a small town, or near a big city, your best course of action is to eventually sign up to drive for both Uber and Lyft. For one thing, there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved on both platforms. Also, the time it takes to be approved to drive for Uber or Lyft varies. It can take anywhere from less than a day, to several weeks. If you sign up for both, It’s likely you’ll be approved for at least one of them pretty quickly.
A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t recommend signing up for both Uber and Lyft at the same time. The main reason was that both Lyft and Uber used to have minimum requirements for drivers who wanted to get their sign up bonus. Basically, you had to give a certain number of rides in a limited amount of time. If you signed up for both at the same time, it would be hard to complete the needed number of rides to get both the Uber and Lyft bonuses.
However, since Uber dropped their sign up bonus, there’s no longer any downside to signing up for both at the same time. Once you get approved for Lyft though, you’ll want to concentrate on driving Lyft for your first 30 to 60 days, to make sure you get your entire bonus amount.
Running The Uber And Lyft Driver Apps At The Same Time
Most drivers who are signed up with both simply run both driver apps on one phone at the same time. It’s easier than it may seem. Basically, you launch both apps and go online. If a ride request comes in on Uber, you simply accept the ride and then switch over to the Lyft app and go offline. When you’re done with the Uber ride, you stay online in the Uber app, and also go online again in the Lyft app. Some drivers use the Mystro app (Android only), which takes care of the above process automatically.
Uber is still #1, but Lyft is catching up
Nationally, Uber is busier, but Lyft is growing much faster. At the end of 2016, Uber had about 84 percent of the market while Lyft only had about 16 percent. Now, Uber has about 68 percent of the market while Lyft is up to 32 percent. However that’s not the whole story. In many of the larger urban markets like Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and Los Angeles, Lyft’s market share is significantly higher than 32 percent. In some markets, like San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Lyft has almost half the market.
Uber’s growth slowed in 2017 while Lyft’s exploded
In many cities, such as Louisville, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Lyft’s business more than doubled in 2017. Uber, on the other hand, only experienced growth of around 5-10% in most larger cities. And in San Francisco and New York, Uber’s business actually shrank in 2017. Part of this is due to Uber’s disastrous 2017. The #deleteUber movement that started in early 2017, along with other Uber missteps, basically halted Uber’s momentum and allowed Lyft to catch up. Lyft took advantage by expanding to dozens more U.S. cities last year, and concentrated on recruiting more passengers through incentives and discounts. Lyft has also had success recruiting drivers by continuing to offer generous sign up bonuses. Uber has stopped offering sign up bonuses and instead only offers guaranteed earnings.
Lyft’s sign up bonuses and driver approval give them a slight advantage
Besides your market area, also consider that Lyft drivers are generally more satisfied than Uber drivers. Lyft is also still offering sign up bonuses for drivers that go up to $1000! If you’re on the fence, these two factors can make the difference. However, how busy each service is in your area should be given more importance when deciding who to sign up with.
Who should sign up to drive for Uber over Lyft?
If you’re only signing up for one service, sign up for Uber if you live in a smaller town or rural area, and plan to do most of your driving in those areas. While Uber doesn’t offer a sign up bonus anymore, in many smaller markets, Uber still has over 80 percent of the market. Lyft’s business is growing faster than Uber in those areas, but Uber is still busier at this time. While you can probably make the same money on Lyft as on Uber in these areas, you’ll probably feel busier on Uber.
Who should sign up for Lyft over Uber?
If you live in or near a larger city (more than 500,000 people), and you plan on driving primarily in or near the city, consider signing up to drive for Lyft first. Drive until you complete the Lyft sign up bonus, and then sign up for Uber.
Keep in mind that if you live in a suburb, but one that is close to a major urban center, you may be better off signing up for Lyft and heading into the city when you go online. Many drivers, especially full time drivers, live in a suburb, but will drive into San Francisco, or Chicago, or Boston, and work there. The reason they do this is that in every Uber & Lyft market in the country, the city is busier in the suburbs. It’s simply a question of population density. City centers have more people in a more confined area requesting rides. So, if you’re working in the city, you’ll get more ride requests with less downtime.
Even if you live in a suburb, both Uber and Lyft have a destination setting which allows you to only get rides going in a certain direction. Many drivers will go online in the suburbs in the morning, but with the destination filter set towards the city center. For more information on signing up for Lyft, and to see what people are making driving for Lyft, check out our Lyft Sign Up Bonus page.
You May Also Be Interested In:
- The 9 Best Cities To Drive Uber And Lyft
- 16 Tips For New Uber And Lyft Drivers
- Uber & Lyft City Driving Guides
How are Lyft and Uber different for drivers?
Lyft and Uber are very similar from a driver perspective, but there are some differences.
On shared rides (multiple passengers going to multiple destinations), Lyft pays the same rate to the driver, but Uber pays less. Uber’s shared rides are called UberPool while Lyft’s are called Lyft Line. Many Uber drivers refuse to take UberPool rides precisely because they pay less. Another difference between Lyft and Uber is that nationally, drivers earn a couple bucks more per hour on Lyft. However, this is not the case in every market and there’s a lot of variation from driver to driver.
Lyft riders also tend to tip more frequently (but not frequently enough) than Uber riders. The reason is that Uber just added an in-app tipping option six months ago, but Lyft has had it since the company started. Most Uber riders are simply used to not tipping at this point.
Lyft Power Driver Bonus vs. Uber’s Quests
Another thing to consider when signing up are the weekly driver bonuses that both Uber and Lyft offer. Lyft’s bonus is called the Power Driver Bonus. Uber’s bonuses are called quests. Basically, if you give a certain number of rides, you get a bonus. These bonuses can add between $50 – $350 to a driver’s pay each week. Uber’s top quest bonuses are usually a little easier to reach than the top Lyft bonuses, especially for part time drivers. The reason is that Uber usually offers a quest for the weekend, and one during the week. Lyft only offers a weekly bonus.
A typical power driver bonus works as follows: If a driver gives 75 rides (including 40 during busy hours), they’ll get a $90 bonus on top of their regular earnings. If they give 100 rides (including 45 during busy hours), they’ll get a $230 bonus. The highest weekly Lyft power driver bonus usually requires 145 rides, and 50 or more peak hour rides. However, this bonus usually pays around $350 – $380. Lyft drivers who hit that bonus typically earn over $1500 per week.
Uber Quests are a little different. A typical weekday quest will offer a driver and extra $55 for completing 20 rides between Monday and Thursday, or an extra $140 if they complete 70 rides between Monday and Thursday. They will also offer a weekend quest with similar numbers. Full time drivers who fulfill both quests also typically earn over $1200 per week.
One more reason you should eventually sign up for both Uber and Lyft.
Whether you decide to sign up for Uber or Lyft, you should also sign up for the other service. For one thing, this gives you two potential revenue streams instead of one. This can come in handy if you ever get temporarily deactivated from one platform (it happens). Also, in most markets, Lyft is busier in certain areas than Uber, while Uber is dominant in other parts of the market.
In Los Angeles for example, Uber has a higher overall market share, but Lyft is busier in certain parts of the city, and you can make the same money driving in Los Angeles for Lyft as you could on Uber. However, if you’re in the Inland Empire, you should sign up for Uber first, then Lyft. Uber’s much busier in the Inland Empire. However, if you drive there, there’s a decent chance a ride will take you into Los Angeles, where the playing field is more even. If that happens, even if you live in the Inland Empire, you’ll want to have both apps running when you hit Los Angeles. In Orange County, if you’re mostly going to work in Irvine, you can sign up for either. However, if you’re closer to Laguna Niguel, sign up with Uber first.
Final Thought: Uber vs. Lyft
While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, if you live in a city with over a million people, and you plan on driving there, you should strongly consider signing up to drive with Lyft, especially when you take the Lyft sign up bonus into account. However, if you’re in a smaller city or town, or a rural area, you’re likely better off signing up for Uber. At the end of the day though, your best bet is to sign up with both at the same time. The simple reason is that signing up for both gives you the best chance to get out on the road as soon as possible. It also lets you maximize the money you can make.
If you’re ready to sign up, head over to our Lyft sign up bonus or Uber sign up bonus pages for more information. It will walk you through the Uber or Lyft application process and contains information on driver and vehicle requirements. Or click one of the buttons below to see your Lyft sign up bonus/Uber guarantee and start your application.