2021 Uber Stats

Learning the Uber platform’s viability as a business opportunity before committing to it as a driver is an important first step. So, how did Uber do in 2021?

In the 11 years since its founding, Uber has expanded into over 70 countries. Around 3.5 million drivers serve 93 million customers. Together, they take 1.44 billion rides each fiscal quarter.

Compared to other rideshare options like Lyft, Uber leads the pack with 68% of the industry’s rides completed through its app.

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Uber’s Rebound

Though 2020’s statistics show a decline in regular riders, this is most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber is already seeing a rebound in rides and will likely follow the overall trend of 2014 through 2019, which saw an almost 50% increase in riders.

Given its lock on the market and steady projected growth, Uber will undoubtedly continue to prosper as a company. But does that translate into an equal opportunity for each new Uber driver?

Location and Demand

Unfortunately, these stats do not bode well for many Uber drivers based simply on location and demand. Of the 10,000 cities across the globe that Uber is present in, five account for nearly a quarter of its rides — 22%. These cities are London, São Paulo, Chicago, Los Angeles and NYC.

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An Uber drivers’ pay is based entirely on how many rides they book and complete. Being in an ideal location can vastly increase pay, whereas a rural Uber driver would generate significantly less income.

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How Much Can You Actually Make on Uber?

You can make a median salary of $56,066 as a full-time driver for Uber in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter. Annual income could go as high as $130,000 or as low as $14,500, depending on several factors. Factors that affect median earnings include hourly wages, the type of Uber driving, and location. For example, Uber Eats drivers currently earn an average annual salary of about $40,176 .

The top three highest paying cities for Uber rideshare drivers at the time of writing are San Mateo, CA, Berkeley, CA, and Daly City, CA. Full-time Uber driver earnings in these cities include an average of $69,121, $66,778, and $66,592 yearly respectively.

A Shortage of Uber Drivers

Recent talk of a shortage of Uber drivers may bode well for those looking to pick up some rideshare gig work. Here, again, understanding the fine print and variables is important.

At the end of 2019, there were 5 million Uber drivers. Today, that number has dropped to 3.5 million, a 40% decrease.

Fewer drivers result in increased costs for riders. As more people are looking to get back on the road post-COVID-19 restrictions, they’re finding wait times and prices that reflect the shortage of drivers.

In April of 2021, Uber developed an incentive program number of $250 million to get drivers back on the app. This, combined with increased fares due to scarcity, means drivers are seeing better financial opportunities than before. In large cities like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, drivers are making over $30 per hour.

However, this temporary demand imbalance combined with Uber’s dynamic pricing structure suggests this pay increase is likely an unusual exception, not the rule. Those signing up as drivers now can make good money, but they should do so with an end date in mind.

Good To Know

The average car insurance will not cover a vehicle used for rideshare work. Uber provides insurance that covers drivers while they are waiting for a request, en route to pick-up or during a ride. To protect yourself when you use your vehicle for Uber, be sure to sign up for a rideshare auto insurance policy.

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How Do You Qualify to Be an Uber Driver?

There are a few basic requirements that you’ll need if you want to sign up to become an Uber driver. You must meet the minimum age to drive in your city and have at least one year of driving experience (or three years if you’re under age 23). You also must have a valid driver’s license and an eligible vehicle with four doors. Moreover, when you sign up, you’ll have to provide the company with proof of residency, proof of insurance, and registration, as well as a profile photo.

How Much Money Will You Make?

Depending on where in the country they drive, most drivers can make anywhere from $5 to $26 per hour before accounting for expenses such as gas, tax, and car maintenance. Uber sometimes offers cash bonuses for new drivers, too. For example, the company has been known to offer up to $500 to Lyft drivers to join.

There are other ways to maximize your earnings while driving for Uber, including:

  • Driving a hybrid vehicle, which should save you money on gas
  • Driving during a surge, which is when Uber charges riders peak pricing due to the lack of available drivers in a certain area at a certain time or for rides in a populated city
  • Making food deliveries with the Uber Eats app

“There’s plenty of earning opportunity as an Uber driver, but you can’t just flip on the app and expect to make a ton of money,” notes Harry Campbell, owner and founder of TheRideShareGuy.com. “You have to be willing to try new places, new times, and basically, go above and beyond what other drivers are doing.”

How to Make More Money on Uber

Now that you know how to start working on the Uber platform, you can make additional income and increase your median income by having a good driving strategy. Here are some tips on making more money on Uber.

Take Advantage of Every Surge Period

When there is an increase in demand for drivers, the fare price and booking fee rise significantly above standard trip fees. The Uber app notifies you when there is surge pricing in specific areas, which you can use to boost your total earnings. While surge prices or amounts can be unpredictable, you can predict busy times to some extent and plan your schedule around these surge periods.

Save on Personal Expenses with Uber Partners

Uber has several partnership programs that help drivers save money on driver expenses. One of such programs is Uber Pro. Uber Pro is a loyalty reward program that helps you earn more money by saving up to 25 percent on vehicle maintenance.

Some drivers in this program may also enjoy 100 percent tuition payment at Arizona State University ASU online. If you qualify but do not want to attend school, a family member may use the benefit. To enjoy Uber Pro benefits , you must drive frequently and provide excellent services to your riders in order to accumulate points over time.

Earn Tips from Happy Customers

If you are an Uber Eats driver, you can make extra income from tipping. Uber doesn’t deduct any service fee from your tips. It is important to note that these tips are not mandatory, so you should not pressure your clients to tip you. All delivery drivers need to do is provide exceptional service. When the client is asked to leave a review, they will have the option to tip the driver.

Stay in the City Center

Driving without passengers will only cost you money in the long run. The same can be said about working in the suburbs. Even if you live in the suburbs, you should go to the city center in the morning and work there until you are ready to return home. You will find the most riders in city centers.

Download the Passenger App

To optimize the experience and earn more money, you should download the Uber passenger app. The app has features that aren’t available on the driver app. One powerful feature is the location of drivers. Passengers can see the locations with the highest number of drivers. You can use this and other trip details to your advantage.

What Taxes Do Uber Drivers Need to Pay?

Most Uber drivers need to make quarterly estimated tax payments and pay self-employment taxes. Consult a tax professional in your area for more specific tax advice about becoming an Uber driver.

Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments

When you drive for Uber, you don’t have income taxes taken out of your pay like you would with a traditional job. Instead, you, the independent contractor, may need to make your federal, state, and local income tax payments throughout the year. These are called quarterly tax payments or estimated tax payments. Whether you need to do this depends on how much you expect to earn during the year.

Fortunately, Uber drivers can claim all of their business expenses to reduce their overall taxable income. Drivers can take the standard mileage deduction or claim the actual amount spent. The standard mileage deduction in 2020 is 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use. If you claim the actual amount spent, you can deduct the cost of gas, repairs, depreciation, lease expenses, and other car-related expenses. Regardless of whether you claim the standard deduction, Uber drivers can also claim in-car amenities made available to riders.

Self-Employment Taxes

When you’re an employee, your employer pays half of your Social Security and Medicare tax liability. The other half comes out of your pay. When you’re an independent contractor, you have to pay your half plus the half an employer typically pays. The combined tax rate for both equals 15.3%. You can deduct the employer portion (7.65%) from your taxes.

How much does a Driver make at Uber in California?

Average Uber Driver yearly pay in California is approximately $26,728, which is 48% below the national average.

Salary information comes from 205 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

Please note that all salary figures are approximations based upon third party submissions to Indeed. These figures are given to the Indeed users for the purpose of generalized comparison only. Minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction and you should consult the employer for actual salary figures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions people ask about driving for Uber.

Is Uber meant to replace a full time job, or supplement income as a side hustle? It’s fair to say that, for most Uber drivers, a job with Uber has to be a supplement to a salary they earn elsewhere. There simply isn’t enough consistency for the typical Uber driver to make enough money to sustain themselves with Uber alone. So, many Uber drivers are only part-time drivers.

But, drivers who operate full-time in a dense urban area, and optimize their trips by supplementing their time behind the wheel by providing other Uber services can certainly earn a respectable income.

At that point, they are working a full-time job but don’t receive the benefits that other full-time workers enjoy.

For instance, you will not receive any paid time-off or sick leave working for Uber.

How much Uber drivers make by using the platform is up to them, but the ancillary benefits of full-time employment are not attainable as an Uber driver, as you are not an employee of Uber.

How long does it take to make 100 Uber trips? That depends on how buys your operating area is and how much you are working. If you are operating in a densely populated urban area, it’s quite possible you could complete 100 trips in a week to ten days, depending on the number of hours you work. But, if you are in a more rural setting, with longer rides for each trip, or you don’t work many hours consistently, it will take much longer to complete 100 trips.

Can you make $1,000 in a week with Uber? You can. But, you might be the exception to the rule. Most Uber drivers do not make that kind of money. But, by keeping in mind Uber’s payment structure, targeting times where your trips are eligible for surge pricing, and providing quality service that earns tips from your passengers, you can drive your earnings higher.

There are a great many factors that can make it easier (or harder) for full-time drivers to earn money with Uber.

It’s up to you to tailor your efforts to maximize your wages.

Ways Uber Drivers Make Money

Now, let’s take a look at the different ways Uber drivers make money.

Fares

Uber drivers receive a base fare plus compensation for how long and far they’re driving. According to the Uber website, how much you make per mile or per hour varies by city. Fares can change over time, too. For example, in 2019, Uber dropped rates in Southern California from $0.80 per mile to $0.60 per mile. This led to protests and strikes in California.

Tips

Riders can tip their driver during or after their ride. Tips vary greatly, and most riders don’t tip. A 2019 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that only 1 percent of customers always tip and around 60 percent never tip. The average tip (of those who do tip) is $3. Female drivers are more likely to get tips than male drivers.

Ridester’s 2020 driver survey also found that tips added just $1.31 per hour to a driver’s earnings in 2020.

Bonuses & Promotions

Uber offers different bonuses throughout the year that enable drivers to earn extra money. An example bonus on the Uber website states, “earn $30 extra for completing 20 trips this week.”

Sometimes Uber runs driver sign-up promotions that give new drivers a $500 to $1000 bonus for signing up and completing 50 to 100 rides in their first month. Sign-up bonus availability depends on the time of year and where you plan to drive.

Cancellation Fees

Uber drivers must wait a certain amount of time for the rider to show up. If the time limit passes, an Uber driver can mark the rider as a no-show. In most cases, the driver gets a cancellation fee of around $5.

7. Good Drivers Get Rewarded

Good drivers get rewarded from Uber and from customers.

Uber Pro

Each month, drivers will have the opportunity to earn cash rewards by completing a certain number of rides. These rewards are on top of what you already earn with each ride and delivery.

Tips

Excellence in customer service is always rewarded with success. Riders may leave tips. Ah example: You can earn more money by helping riders with their luggage.

How Uber Commission and Fees Work

It’s not that difficult to understand the way Uber fees and commissions work.

For instance, when it comes to fees, the passengers are the ones who have to pay a booking fee, as well as per minute and mile fee for their ride. After the ride, you as a driver would be paid the majority of the fare you made. And you only get “the majority” and not all of it because Uber is going to get their cut, respectively the “Service Fee”.

More than 25%

The amount that Uber says it charges their drivers is 25%, but it actually takes a little more than that from their earnings. This is all due to the fact that some additional fees are taken by rideshare companies, resulting in a higher percentage for the cut.

In the past, Uber drivers had to drive around 2.36 miles to make $10 before fees, but nowadays, the prices were lowered by Uber. As a result, a driver will have to drive 4.71 miles to make the same amount of cash.

Fees

Also, there is the booking fee and a safe rides fee for every Uber ride, which is between $1 and $3. These fees vary by city, but the driver cannot actually see these in their bank account, as this goes directly to Uber.

So, the commission taken by Uber is higher if the ride fare is lower, meaning the rideshare drivers would make less. So, in the end, even if Uber claims to take 25% of its drivers, it will actually take up to 42.75%. If you are doing short rides, then it won’t be too profitable for you.

>> Read More: Loans for Uber Drivers

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