Last updated on February 26th, 2018 at 10:40 am
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 the suburbs, or in an urban center or downtown area. In smaller markets, or if you plan on driving mostly in the suburbs or rural areas, you’re probably better off signing up to drive for Uber first.
If you’re in or near a larger market, and you plan on driving mostly in the city, you can do just as well signing up for Lyft first. Many drivers will disagree with this as they tried Lyft a year or two ago, and found it wasn’t very busy. Fortunately, that has changed in most markets. While Uber still has more riders, in larger markets, drivers can now make just as much on Lyft as they could on Uber, with higher satisfaction levels.
Another thing to keep in mind when signing up, is that only Lyft still offers new drivers a cash sign up bonus. Uber has switch to guaranteed earnings instead of a bonus. 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.
Pro Recommendation – Sign Up For Both Uber And Lyft At The Same Time
However, whether you’re in a small town, or near a big city, your best course of action is to sign up to drive for both Uber and Lyft at the same time. 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.
Moreover, if you sign up for both, there’s quite a bit of upside. First, you have two streams of potential revenue instead of one. Second, while Uber is busier overall, parts of most markets are sometimes busier on Lyft. Third, on occasion, either the Lyft or Uber system can experience downtime, or a driver can be temporarily deactivated from Uber or Lyft. Usually, it’s because of a customer complaint and the driver is reactivated within 48 hours. However, if you are signed up for both Uber and Lyft, and Uber temporarily deactivates you, you can just drive on Lyft until you’re reactivated on Uber.
On a side note, if you’re in Los Angeles, it’s definitely a good idea to sign up for Lyft now since the sign up bonus is up to $1400!
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, which take care of the above process automatically.
Uber is still the big dog, but the 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 74 percent of the market while Lyft is up to 26 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 26 percent. In some markets, like San Francisco, 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 an 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 $900! 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
Sign up for Uber if you live in a smaller city, town or suburb, 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 and suburbs, Uber still has over 80 percent of the market. Lyft’s business is growing faster than Uber in those areas, but Uber is still pretty dominant at this time. While you’ll do alright on Lyft, you will probably make more and be busier on Uber in these areas. Check out our Uber Sign Up Information page to learn about the sign up process and see what people are making driving for Uber.
Who should sign up for Lyft over Uber
If you live in or near a larger city (more than 1 million people), and you plan on driving primarily in the city, sign up for Lyft. Also, 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.
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.
Eventually, you should 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: Sign up for both Uber & Lyft At The Same Time To Maximize Your Earning Potential
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.