I originally started with Lyft and at the time I may have heard of Uber, but they weren’t filling my Facebook newsfeed with ads like Lyft was. I got on with Lyft and thought I was set since it’s just a side gig. Then I learned about Uber from some of the other Lyft drivers and I quickly got on board.
That was back when the value proposition for driving for Uber was greater than driving for Lyft (Sept 2013)
- Lyft required being assigned hours in order to work while Uber just required signing in
- Uber has much more business
- Uber ran high sign-on bonuses and commission-free months so earnings were higher
- Lyft had such a limited coverage area while Uber covered the entire city. This meant longer rides since people could get to/from using Uber but Lyft could only do a return trip.
Lyft has since corrected most of these (aside from high sign-on bonuses. Uber offers $500 for referring drivers while Lyft offers $20) so why drive for more than one platform? Aren’t they all the same?
If rideshare driving is your only source of income you are leaving money on the table by not driving for any platform you can.
Here are the key reasons:
- You are a 1099 independent contractor. This means the other companies cannot restrict your ability to work for anyone else. Note, that cross-promoting is prohibited and is a quick way to get deactivated if a passenger writes anything in the comments.
- Rideshare companies are notorious for deactivating quickly and reactivating slowly. I just had to update my insurance (expires in March) and I received confirmation from Lyft that they received my document within 15 minutes (yes…15). If your driver status has been suspended due to expired insurance I have heard reports of it taking over a day to get reactivated. If you do not drive for another platform that means downtime without rides. Sometimes it’s not in your control either. A driver got deactivated on Lyft because a passenger said he ran a red light. He can’t drive until Lyft evaluates this. Who knows how long that will take or if they reactivate him at all. It’s their word against yours.
- Different clientele use Lyft and Uber and peak times for each differ. Driving for both means more chances of getting rides. Also, one may have Surge/Prime Time while the other is still at the base fare. Turn off the one platform and take advantage of the higher rates!
- It gives you a bit of arbitrage when one cuts rates. In my city Uber slashed rates to $0.75/mile but Lyft was still at $1.10/mile. Being on both platforms made it easier to focus on Lyft until Lyft matched a week later.
- I hate to sound cynical, but I need to reiterate this point. You are an independent contractor and the companies owe you nothing. It is sad, yes. I know a lot of drivers who have been deactivated on one platform or another for various reasons…low ratings, low acceptance ratings, cross-promoting, abusing free rides. There is usually not an appeal process. If you depend on rideshare income I would recommend getting on as many platforms as you can and stay active on them (keep documents up-to-date, give rides frequently).
A bonus perk – occasionally one platform (usually Uber in my city, but also Lyft in other cities) will offer incentives or pay guarantees. It’s nice to be able to take advantage of them.
If you aren’t already on Lyft, go ahead and apply here: https://lyft.com/drivers/ulchat20
If you aren’t already on Uber, go ahead and apply here: https://get.uber.com/cl/rideshare500?invite_code=49lk0
Also, if you drive for more than 1 platform and want to keep all of your money straight, check out Sherpa Share: http://sherpashare.com/register?refid=SP1202