Do you need a job with a flexible schedule? Driving an Uber lets you set your own hours while making some extra cash. But just how much cash can you make?
There are many factors to consider when taking an Uber driver job. How much are you planning on working? When? Do you want to do ride-sharing or Uber Eats?
Let’s check out the average pay for an Uber driver, along with a breakdown of vehicle expenses and the many circumstances that determine your pay rate.
While many factors determine how much an Uber driver can make, the Canadian average is $15.31 per hour, after expenses. That translates into $31,844 a year. This will vary by quite a large margin depending on the province you are in.
How much you make driving an Uber depends on many different conditions. For starters, where you drive the Uber matters most. Cities and college towns are far more profitable than rural regions.
There’s more clientele and a higher cost of living, upping the odds for more runs and more money.
Vancouver is the perfect place to illustrate these differences. As one of the largest and most expensive cities in Canada, driving an Uber here can be profitable.
According to Uber Newsroom, an average driver in Vancouver typically has net earnings of $24.38 per hour. That’s over a $9 per hour difference from the national average, making it much more profitable to drive an Uber in Vancouver than the rest of the country.
Where you live is not the only factor determining your income. You need to take into consideration how much you work and when. Obviously, a part-time worker will bring in less than somebody going at it full-time.
However, working on weekends and evenings, especially during prime rush hours, can add a good chunk of change to your pocket.
Driving an Uber involves its fair share of expenses too. You can’t drive around an old beater and expect to get on the payroll. Uber has its own rules about the type of car drivers need and vary from city to city.
An example of car requirements in Vancouver include:
In addition, vehicles must have an up-to-date insurance policy. However, most places require policies that include ride-sharing services in addition to your personal policy.
Uber requires that most cars are newer. Using the example above, the car shouldn’t be more than nine years old.
That requirement is in place both for passenger safety and to aid in drivers’ earnings. Older vehicles typically require more maintenance costs that will come out of the driver’s pocket.
It’s important to monitor and keep track of your expenses. Those costs could eat into the money you’re making from driving and lower your profits.
One of the biggest costs to eat into your profits is fuel. The more driving you do, the more gas you will need. And with prices frequently increasing, fuel expenses can easily drive your earnings into the ground.
One of the ways some Uber drivers combat this is by investing in electronic vehicles. Driving around on a full charge is a practical option, especially in the cities. With little or no fuel needed, drivers can make more money.
In addition, Uber offers various incentives to its drivers looking to go green. Their programs include:
- Zero Emissions Incentive – Drivers of EVs are eligible for this reward which include earning an extra $1 on every trip, up to $4,000.
- Uber Green – This program hooks riders up with drivers using hybrid and electronic vehicles. Drivers are paid an extra fifty cents for each trip. These earnings are in addition to the Zero Emissions Incentive.
- Deals on a Chevrolet Bolt EV – GM offers eligible Uber drivers a discount on the purchase of a 2021 or 2022 Chevy Bolt EV. Drivers can get up to $2,869 off the vehicle purchase price.
Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, and because of a ruling obtained in 2017, rideshare drivers need to collect HST/GST taxes and remit them to the proper agencies. This means you aren’t just a driver but a bookkeeper as well.
If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you’ll need to hire a bookkeeper or accountant, adding another expense into the mix.
Many people sign up to be an Uber driver because of the job’s flexibility. Make your own schedule, work when you want – it seems like a good deal.
However, some drivers have found that Uber inflates its per-hour rates, and making decent money is much harder than expected.
The CBC recently interviewed one Ottawa driver that claims his take-home pay is more like $8/hr, much lower than the average hourly pay touted by Uber.
The driver, Raph Assaf, signed up as an Uber driver because of the flexible schedule. However, he was hesitant because he wasn’t sure how he’d make a profit.
He told CBC, “Something didn’t sit right with me. They are promoting paying $20, $30s an hour versus fares being so low.”
Assaf claimed he made more money working as a taxi driver because of tips. Uber discourages tipping, which is great for customers – they don’t have to pay more.
However, it doesn’t help drivers and won’t increase their bottom line. In fact, limited tips might discourage potential drivers from signing up.
Maybe the situation with Assaf is just a one-time thing. Uber reports that the average per-hour rate in Vancouver is $24.38, but that doesn’t include car maintenance costs.
They also note that most drivers aren’t full time and almost three-quarters of them work less than 25 hours per week.
With hours like that, it only puts a few hundred dollars in drivers’ pockets every week, and that’s assuming the generous hourly rate.
The bottom line remains that the more money you wish to make, the more hours you will need to put in during peak times (nights and weekends).
Uber is a solid gig if you’re looking to make some additional cash, but probably isn’t your best option for a full-time job.
Uber offers more than just ride-sharing. You can sign up to become a driver for Uber Eats. Download the driver app and start accepting food delivery requests near you.
Then you’ll just need to pick up the order from local restaurants and fast food joints and deliver them.
You get paid per pickup and dropoff completed, along with a per-mile rate. You’re able to track your earnings in the app and can see how much an order will pay before you accept it. Customers can also add tips, and those tips are yours to keep.
After accounting for regular vehicle expenses, Uber Eats drivers typically make anywhere from $15 to $20 per hour after expenses. Just like the ride-sharing version of Uber, pay depends on how much you work, prompt delivery, and if you’re working during peak hours.
Uber Eats is a solid way to make extra cash and appealing because of its flexibility. However, the pay changes from week to week, so if you’re looking for a steady stream of income, you might want to reconsider.
Each province has different requirements to start driving. In Ontario, potential drivers can signup online. They can also check if their vehicle meets the minimum requirements. From there, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- Drivers license – Drivers need to be 21 and older in Ontario.
- Proof of work eligibility – This could include your birth certificate, citizenship card, passport, work permit, or Social Insurance Number card.
- Vehicle registration – The car needs to be in good condition and have four doors. You do not need to own the vehicle in question.
- Insurance – Insurance is required for Uber drivers.
In addition, you need to pass a background check and take your vehicle to a licensed mechanic for an inspection.
Recently, Toronto and some other cities require drivers to obtain a Private Transportation Company (PTC) license. To do this, drivers will need to enroll in a driver training program.
Toronto recently paused hiring new drivers until they set this program up.
Uber drivers in Canada average around $15.31 per hour after expenses, but there’s always the potential to make more. Working at peak times and being familiar with the city increase the odds of solid take-home pay.
While there are ways to increase your hourly rate, you still need to maintain your vehicle. Those expenses (gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance) could be costly and, if you don’t work much, might overshadow any income you make.
The bottom line is that you need to keep track of both your income and expenses to see if this job is worth it.
Its flexibility and independence are attractive options for many people, so if you can make it work, Uber is a great way to make some extra cash.
If you’re looking for other ways to side hustle, check out my ultimate guide on making money online here.