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How Much Do Uber and Other Rideshare Drivers Make?

8 Feb by Commercial Driver HQ

How Much Do Uber and Other Rideshare Drivers Make?

How Much will I Make Driving For Uber or Lyft?

Being a rideshare driver can be a great full-time or part time job. It certainly won’t make you rich but you can earn a comfortable living, or some extra spending cash if you just drive part-time.

The great thing about the way the rideshare market has developed is that there are no set hours or shifts, you go on and offline whenever you want and drive as much or as little as you want.

If having control over your schedule is important to you, then being a rideshare driver might be a good fit. 


Head to our Rideshare Rates and Requirements page to find what you need to get started!

How Are Rideshare Drivers Paid?

As a rideshare driver, you are typically paid by distance travelled and time spent in trip. The following equation can be used to calculate how much your Transportation Network Company will pay you for a trip. 

Rideshare Income = Base Fare + Distance + Time + Tips - Commission

Each company, like Uber and Lyft, will set the rate you are paid (for example, $1 per kilometre) from the point that you pick up the passenger to the point that you drop off the passenger.

This rate will depend on the company you drive for, the type of car you are driving (the rates are higher if you drive an SUV or a luxury vehicle), and the city you drive in.

In addition to a per kilometre rate, you are also paid based on the time for the trip, so if you get stuck in traffic while on a trip, you will still make money (though much less).

Much like a taxi, there is a base fare for the trip. That means you get this amount plus the per km and per minute fees once you pick up the passenger. There are also minimum fares set so if you drive someone a block, that is the guaranteed amount you will be paid.

Each company will also provide you a cancellation fee if you are on route to pick up someone and they cancel the trip request after a certain amount of time.

Some companies like Uber also have wait fees, which is a per minute fee you get once you arrive at a pickup and are sitting there waiting for the passenger to get in and you start the trip. Companies like RideCo in Kitchener-Waterloo offer a per kilometre fee you get paid if you are driving a long way to pick up a passenger.

Dynamic Pricing

When there is high demand in an area, companies like Uber and Lyft charge surge pricing or Primetime pricing. As demand increases and there is a lack of drivers in an area, Uber & Lyft increase the prices to the customer and offer drivers Surge or Primetime bonuses for pickups in these areas.

Uber uses a fare multiplier, for example, a 2.0 surge, which means the fare is doubled.

With Lyft, Primetime  is represented as a percentage, for example, 200%, which is the amount the fare is increased over the base fare. That would mean a Lyft Primetime rate of 200% would be the equivalent of an Uber Surge of 3.0.

This where the real money is to be made and also why it can be so difficult to approximate earnings. It depends on not only company, city, vehicle type as mentioned above, but the times you drive and when Surge or Primetime comes into play.

What Are The Rates?

Some rideshare platforms have different rates, be sure to check out our rideshare rates and requirements 

tappcar-circle-200px

Calgary


Base Fare:
$2.50
Per Minute:
$0.18
Per Km:
$0.90
Cancellation Fee:
$4.00
Minimum Fare:
$3.25

lyft-circle-200px

Toronto


Base Fare:
$2.50
Per Minute:
$0.18
Per Km:
$0.81
Cancellation Fee:
$5.00
Minimum Fare:
$3.25

uber-circle-200px

Montreal


Base Fare:
$1.90
Per Minute:
$0.19
Per Km:
$0.79
Cancellation Fee:
$5.00
Minimum Fare:
$6.50


Numbers reflect the rates of UberX or similar service.

Working As An Independent Contractor

For all rideshare companies (Uber, Lyft, TappCar, etc) you are considered an independent contractor and NOT an employee. As such, you are self-employed which comes with some perks and benefits.

A non-monetary benefit is that you can be your own boss, work whenever you want and however long you want!

However, you do have a lot of responsibility “running your business” and that includes keeping track of your expenses, mileage and income. You also need to save for tax time because no deductions come off your pay and if you don’t carefully save, you may owe a lot of money when it comes time to file your taxes. 

What About The Taxes?

As a self-employed individual, you have to calculate and remit your own deductions to the government every year. This may include Federal and Provincial Income Tax, Canadian Pension Plan contributions (CPP) and depending on your province.

rideshare-tax-shakedown

If you are an employee, the company you work for will give you a T4 after the end of the year detailing how much you made and what deductions they took off your pay and gave to the government. As a self-employed person (business) you need to keep track of all the money you received from driving and all the expenses related to your business.

Because the rideshare company you work for did not deduct any taxes, you will need to calculate what your gross income was after deducting all your business expenses. Then, you will need to pay taxes on that amount. As an Uber Driver, you will need to prepare your own T2125 Statement of Business Activities which your accountant or tax software will prepare for you instead of plugging in numbers from your T4. In Quebec, you need to file Form TP-80-V Business or Professional Income and Expenses with Revenu Quebec as well as a return with the CRA. You will be able to get a tax summary in your driver app or online showing how much you have been paid as well as an HST summary which we will talk about later. 

Taxes can become really confusing, especially if you also have another job. You should consult with an accountant or use some handy online tax preparation software to get it right. You may even want to talk with a tax planner to get assistance on how much to save every pay so you don’t end up surprised at the end of the year. In fact, depending on your income and province (especially if this is your first year being self-employed), you may end up having to pay tax installment payments to the CRA for the following year. Don’t worry, if this happens, they will let you know!

Tip: Use a mileage tracker app or log book to keep track of the number of kilometres you are driving personally, for Uber or for other business or employment related activities. Record the number on your odometer at the start of the year and the end of the year.

Tip: Keep all of your receipts related to your car, cell phone and anything you buy that could be related to the business like water for passengers, phone chargers, and even your new snow brush!

Tip: Companies like Uber have partnerships with Tax Software Companies that offer Uber Drivers a special discount!

HST / GST / QST & Business Registration

Effective July 1, 2017, all rideshare drivers are required to register for an HST/GST number. This change groups rideshare drivers in with taxi drivers when it comes to HST/GST collection. Before you get your HST number, you will need to register as a business with the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Canada Revenue Agency provides more details on the HST/GST changes at their website.

Both Uber & Lyft have resources detailing these steps on their websites.

You may be wondering if this affects your earnings. The answer is yes. Now, every trip you drive with your rideshare company, they charge the customer HST/GST and pass the money off to you.

Your responsibility is to remit that amount to the government in your (typically) annual filings come tax time. So though it may seem as though you are making more, that extra amount is really just given to you to hold in trust until you file your taxes and hand it over to the government.

Ontario is required to charge 13% HST on rides & Alberta 5% GST on rides.

You don’t have to give the government the entire HST/GST amount though, as you are allowed to claim Input Tax Credits. This means that you take the amount of tax you paid on gas or other business expenses and deduct if from the amount of tax you collected for each trip.

Whatever the difference is, you give to the government. Ultimately, you will get to keep some of those taxes because almost everything (your biggest expense likely being gas) has GST/HST on it.

Rideshare drivers in Quebec including Montreal, Gatineau & Quebec City have different requirements. Once you sign up for Uber, they will send you a form to fill out for a GST & QST number if you don’t already have one. By completing this form, it means that Uber will collect the amounts you are required to pay to the government on your behalf.

They will also use (and you consent to) the “quick accounting method” whereby you get an automatic 6% added to each and every pay for a sales tax rebate.

Don’t go at this alone.

At least for your first year and especially if you have another job or business, consult an accountant on how to prepare you taxes. After that, once you begin to learn how it works, you may even be able to do your own taxes using a self-file online software.


NOTE: If you also pick up an UberEATS delivery, there is NO HST charged. If you only deliver UberEATS, you don’t require an HST number at all.

Business Expenses

As a self-employed person, you can deduct your business expenses to lower your taxable income. Let’s say you made $45 000 from driving Uber last year and all your expenses related to driving were $5 000. You would deduct your business expenses, $5 000, from your total income, $45 000, leaving you with $40 000 in taxable income. That means you pay less tax and could even lower the tax rate you pay depending on your income and the tax bracket you fall into.

So what type of expenses can you include as business expenses?

  • Gas
  • Maintenance costs, like oil changes
  • Car repairs
  • Cleaning supplies, services and car washes
  • Cell phone and plan
  • Insurance
  • Financing or lease interest
  • Purchase of your vehicle
  • Snacks and water for your passengers
  • Winter tires

Some of these things you can claim in full (like snacks for your passengers, but only if you don’t eat them first!) and some can only be claimed in part. This is why it is so important to keep track of your mileage.

For instance, if you drove 20Km last year and 10Km was while working for Uber, then you can only claim 50% of your expenses as business related. You should be keeping track of your kilometres in a logbook, a spreadsheet, or an app.

For expenses like your car and cell phone, there are equations to find out how much you can claim depending on how the CRA classifies. You can also claim a Capital Cost Allowance, whereby you claim a percentage of the cost each year.

Remember to keep all your receipts, NOT just your credit or debit card slip. You need the actual itemized receipt from the gas station, so the government can see that you didn’t sneak in some treats and claim it all as gas! You can buy items all on the same bill, you just have to separate those non-business (personal) expenses out come tax time.

Sound confusing? That’s because running a business is not an easy task. Please see an accountant or invest in a solid tax program to help you out come tax time!

Driver adjusting their mirror

How To Find Your Net Earnings

Often you will hear drivers “brag” about making $50/hour when there is surge pricing. Wow, you think, that is great! I should drop out of school or quit my job!

What you are forgetting is that there are a lot of expenses that go into driving for a living as we have talked about above.

There is also the fun topic of “wear and tear” on your car, and the price of that in the long run. Like anything, the more you use your car the faster it is going to break down, you will spend more on repairs and as the kilometres add up , your car will depreciate in value.

So how do you find out what your “take home” pay is?

Takehome Pay = Income - Expenses - HST + Expense Claims + HST Input Credits - Taxes

Because everyone’s personal financial situation is different and Uber pay varies so much depending on your location, hours driven, type of service (UberX, UberSelect, etc.) there is no simple answer. But if you keep good records of your expenses and follow this simple formula, you will have a much better understanding of what your net earnings are.

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