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How Much Do You Really Make With Hustle Gigs? Instacart, Uber, DoorDash, Lyft And More

How Much Do You Really Make With Hustle Gigs? Instacart, Uber, DoorDash, Lyft And More

Uber
How much money do you really make with hustle gigs such as Instacart, Uber, DoorDash, Lyft, and others? Here’s the breakdown. Photo credit: mmg

Still home? You might want to look into a side hustle. But how much do you really make with hustle gigs like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart?

Rideshare drivers in the U.S. have collectively logged 100,000-plus miles per day so far in 2020 and tracked $50,000-plus per week, according to Gridwise, an app that automates mileage tracking and earnings comparisons across platforms for rideshare drivers.

How much a driver can earn for Uber or Lyft depends on the city. In New York, for example, the median earning per hour is $20.96 and $13.33 per trip, Gridwise reported. In Tampa, it’s $12.55 and $9.01 per trip. It also depends on the time of the year. Earnings dropped during the summer of 2019.

Clarke Bowman, a part-time driver for Uber and Lyft in Miami recently tracked every penny he made driving for one week. Bowman, who has been driving for Lyft and Uber for almost a year, made about $257 for less than 14 hours of work — or about $19 an hour, Business Insider reported.

But drivers still have to account for expenses, which can be broken down into six major categories — fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs, depreciation, and taxes.


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Rideshare drivers spend between 5 cents and 27 cents per mile on fuel costs, according to MIT’s 2018 report, “The Economics of Ride Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes.”

Rideshare insurance coverage can be added to drivers’ current coverage for as little as $20 per year depending on where you live, your age and driving record.

“All too often, rideshare drivers overlook maintenance and repair costs. Little things like oil changes, car washes, and small repairs will quickly add up,” Gridwise reported. 

Insurance, maintenance and repair costs are a median 13 cents a mile, according to the MIT report.

Depreciation is often overlooked. MIT calculated that the median depreciation for a rideshare driver is 5 cents a mile.

Drivers at on-demand prepared food delivery service DoorDash aren’t as profitable. Contract delivery workers for food delivery company DoorDash earn just $1.45 per hour on average after other expenses are accounted for, according to a new, in-depth quantitative study done as part of a worker campaign in collaboration with the worker rights non-profit Working Washington. About a third of DoorDash jobs paid less than $0 after accounting for basic expenses, Salon reported. 

Working Washington analyzed pay data for 229 delivery jobs from DoorDashers around the country for November and December 2019 — after the company said it had implemented a new pay model. In November 2019, DoorDash boasted that its new pay model would result in gross hourly earnings of more than $18.

“The company has declined to disclose how much of that gross amount is tips, how much is pay from the company, how many miles workers drive (and thus much much mileage expense they incur), what periods of time they consider to be part of an ‘active hour,’ or other details and costs involved in achieving that reported level of gross earnings,” according to the report.

One major success story is Instacart. During the pandemic, there has been exponential demand for the grocery shopping service. It’s been a win-win for the company and for its shoppers.

In April, the grocery delivery app became profitable for the first time since it was founded in 2012 and shoppers are also reporting high earnings.

Instacart Shopper Sarah Hlad in New Jersey said she makes between $100 and $120 per day during coronavirus pandemic. The former gym worker became an Instacart shopper in early April and reported earning almost $3,000 in one month, Fox Business reported.

In March, Instacart announced it planned to hire 300,000 new shoppers, and a month later, it promised to hire an additional 250,000 shoppers, according to an April Medium post.

“Instacart shoppers can choose what orders — or batches — they decide to fulfill. Hlad said she usually gets between $25 and $30 for a typical batch and between $30 and $45 for a batch from a wholesale retailer like Costco or BJ’s,” Fox Business reported.

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How much a shopper earns depends on the city, how long the order is estimated to take, and how much effort is involved in getting the items, packing and delivering them. Weight, distance and the number of items in an order are also considered in the payment breakdown.

According to Instacart, the minimum payment for a batch is between $7 and $10, not including tips.

Hlad said she makes between $100 and $120 a day, doing about three to four batches a day.