The promise to Lyft drivers: Make money driving your own car! Save the world by sharing your car with people who need a ride!
But after the ride ends and the passengers climb out, does a Lyft driver really make money? Cars are so expensive! Gas, maintenance, insurance — don’t all those costs add up and make Lyft drivers lose money at the end of the month?
Here’s a comment I read that sums up Lyft driver expenses pretty well:
Gas isn’t your only expense though. The increased use of your vehicle causes it’s value to drop, wear and tear must be repaired, plus your insurance is certainly going to go up with more miles driven, and lets not forget about taxes at the end of the year.
Interesting points, commentor! Let’s take a look, point-by-point
Gas – Expect to pay about 10-15% of your earnings
Let’s take a look at one of my Lyfting nights and we can break down fuel expenses.
(See more screenshots of Lyft driver pay stubs)
Here’s what’s going on in that report: I did a four and a half hour shift and made $68.60 from rides. I earned around $15/hour. Pretty cool, right? And this isn’t even close to my best night.
That $10 bonus comes from a new user who used my promo code. Score. That extra cash increases my hourly pay to ~$17/hour.
But…what about gas? Answer me (you?) that!
I drove passengers 24.3 miles and I drove another 30 miles moving my car around town to find better pickup spots.
- I drove 54.3 miles
- My car gets 25 miles per gallon, roughly
- That means I used 2.2 gallons of gas
- At $3.79/gallon in California, I spent around $8 on gas.
- $78.6 – $8 = $70.60. Still pushing $15/hour!
- Fuel took a 10% chunk out of my night’s earnings
- The bonus covered the cost of gas — get out there and promote for the app!
Gas expenses are nothing to dismiss, but they’re not going to wipe out your pay entirely.
Insurance – Your rates won’t go up by much — unless you get in an accident
Insurance costs vary so much driver to driver so it’s really hard to pin down the effect that driving for Lyft has on your car insurance. My own car insurance rates have not risen at all, and I was paying for car insurance before I drove for Lyft. When you think about it that way, insurance isn’t a cost of driving for Lyft at all. Insurance is the cost of driving, period. Can’t blame Lyft for that.
And even if you have to pay an extra $5 each month because you drive more miles each year, your ride earnings easily cover that.
Maintenance – More oil changes and tires. Not much else
More miles on your car means more maintenance, but does that kill a Lyft driver’s profits? Not really. After all the extra driving I’ve done, I’ve only had one extra oil change. And I’m the type of car nerd who follows the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. My 60,000 mile service is coming up, but I can’t say that driving for Lyft has substantially added to wear and tear, especially when I take into account the thousands of dollars I’ve made driving.