How Much Money You Can Really Earn As An Uber Driver…not much unless driving 60 hours a week

uberX allows anyone with a car to begin a driving career in under two weeks. All you need to do is be at least 21, have a license, personal insurance, and a four door car in “good condition”. Then there’s the background check where you provide your address, driver’s license number, and social security number. If you pass the check, it’s on to the online training course that covers standard operating procedures, how to get five stars, and what not to do. Upon completing the course, Uber sends you an iPhone.

9to5Mac yesterday had an unboxing of  the provided phone:

First off, the packaging is surprisingly great. The presentation made it feel like I was unboxing a high-end product. Very Apple-esque. The first thing you’ll find is an “Uber Driver Guide” which will get you up to speed on using the “Driver” app and best practices when picking up customers. Next up, you’ll get an iPhone. In this box, we were presented with a 16GB iPhone 4s, but it may differ for everyone. Uber also left a small welcome card next to the iPhone. In some areas, Uber includes a “driver light” that can be stuck to a car window, but due to laws and restrictions in certain areas, this package didn’t come with one. Finally, you’ll find a small accessory kit. It’s nothing special, but inside of the kit you get an auxiliary cable, dual-USB car adapter, 6 ft. 30-pin to USB cable, and even a dash/windshield mount for the iPhone 4s.  Speaking of the iPhone, that thing is locked down. Uber is using special profiles to disable most of the iPhone’s features, but you are left with a handful of stock iOS apps. Unfortunately, you won’t find the App Store, iTunes, or Safari as they have been hidden and restricted. Also, even though the Phone and Messages apps are available, they aren’t functional. I’d assume that these restrictions are in place because Uber wants its drivers to do their job, instead of play around on the phone. The only app you’ll actually need on this phone is called, “Uber Driver.” This is the app that you will use to conduct all driver business with Uber. Once signed in and “live,” you will be able to accept rides as they are requested from customers through the driver app.

Last May, Uber ran a driver campaign noting that half of its New York City uberX drivers earn more than $90,000 a year and that those in San Francisco were earning up to $70,000 a year. Yahoo! and Business Insider report on a Washington Post article that claims those figures are almost impossible to actually hit.

It turns out Uber’s data is based on a sample of uberX drivers who drive over 40 hours per week. That figure also excludes the cost of gas, insurance, parking, maintenance, repairs, and paying for tolls. For example, one uberX driver in New Jersey who drove 12 hours in one day says he made $180 in gross fares. So that’s $15 an hour. But accounting for tolls, Uber’s 20% cut, gas, car insurance, vehicle financing, and self employment taxes, the driver really only made $54.50 for 12 hours of driving. So that’s just $4.54 an hour — far below minimum wage. If you want to make a living off of Uber, you’re going to have to drive an insane number of hours. In order to make $75,000 a year driving for uberX in San Francisco, you’d have to work 3,000 hours per year, which is effectively a 58-hour work week, financial journalist Felix Salmon concluded. “I would have to work 80-120 hours a week to make ends meet,” an uberX driver wrote on Quora . “But at least Uber gives me the opportunity to work that much. Most companies will only hire you for low pay at only 35-40 hours a week.” Being a part-time driver for uberX sounds like a much more attractive option than being a full-time driver, even though there’s no way you’d ever earn $90,000 a year. “If you have a Monday-to-Friday day job, but it’s not enough to make ends meet, then you could probably earn an extra $400 per week, net of gas, by working 16 hours a week on Friday and Saturday nights,” Salmon wrote on Medium. “That’s $20,800 per year.”

Still never tried Uber? The current sign up offer is a $30 credit for new riders when being refereed .  Additionally, the person who refers you will receive a free trip up to $30. This is my referral link if you want to use it, as always your support is greatly appreciated!

Related – Google Maps Adds Uber Access for iOS and Android

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  1. […] A Philadelphia journalist recently went undercover as an Uber driver to determine how much she could earn. She completed about 100 trips to see if she could truly make the median wage (as reported by Uber) of $90,000 per year for UberX drivers in NYC. We shot down that figure last August – see How Much Money You Can Really Earn As An Uber Driver…not much unless driving 60 hours a week. […]


  1. I don’t know if you saw Jetsetter’s Homestead’s post over on Prior2Boarding but recently she did 24 hours as an UberX driver – it was a pretty good read but I think she would agree with you about the (lack of) viability of making that a full-time career.

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