How Much Money Are Local People Earning Driving For Uber, Lyft?

How Much Money Are Local People Earning Driving For Uber, Lyft?

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Now that ride sharing services are available in the north country, local people are getting behind the wheel and cashing in. But, just how much money are they making? In part three of her special series, "The Side Hustle," 7 News anchor Diane Rutherford takes a ride with people who drive for Uber and Lyft. You can watch it on 7 News This Evening at 6 p.m.

Ride-booking companies Uber and Lyft got the green light to start operations in the north country over the summer.

David Hartman, who lives in the Canton - Potsdam area, was one of the first people in the north country to drive for Uber.

"I signed up purely online and I had no difficulty whatsoever," he said.

Summer was a little bit slow for him in his neck of the woods, so he came to Watertown to make money. When the fall semester got underway at colleges in St. Lawrence County, business really picked up near his home.

 "College kids are absolutely loving us since they found out that we've been available," he said.

Driving for Uber is a side hustle for David, who works two other jobs.

"It's nice though, being a third job, that I can work on my own terms," he said.  "I can work any day, any time I want to."

So how much money does he make with his Uber side hustle?

“I’ve probably averaged about a full $200 per weekend doing what I do,” he said.

Robert McQueen drives for both Uber and Lyft. He just pulls up both apps on his device and sees who needs a ride.

"With Lyft I get paid a little bit better," he said. "So obviously I like Lyft better."

Retired from the military, Robert has been driving full-time for the last few months.

"Since July I've made about $4,000 gross and about $2,400 net," he said.

He drives from Harrisville to Watertown in search of business. Then he got an idea: head to Syracuse.

"September was actually a good month because Syracuse University was back in session. A lot of college students did not want to walk anywhere which was great for me."

Robert pulled in about $1,800 that month.

"I am my own boss, which is the great part about it," he said.

You're probably asking - how can I do this?

First of all, both Uber and Lyft have driver requirements. You must be at least 21 years old and have a driver's license, an eligible vehicle and insurance.

"As to when a passenger is in the vehicle, Uber insures when that person gets in to when that person gets out," David said.

Plus you need a clean driving record and must pass a criminal background check.

You're probably asking: what about the safety aspect of picking up strangers? Uber and Lyft have ratings systems, but there really isn't a way to completely investigate passengers before they get in your car. 

The drivers I spoke with say they've had no problems. But, Robert does take extra steps to protect himself.

"I have a camera here that watches the passenger compartment," he said. "It's not gonna stop anyone from doing anything, but I have a record of it."

Drivers have to withhold their own taxes and there are hidden expenses such as wear and tear on your car and fuel costs. Plus, Uber and Lyft take a percentage of your fares.

See Part 2 of The Side Hustle

See Part 1 here

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