You Can Make More Working At McDonalds Than Driving For Uber

Uber drivers often trumpet the amount of money they’re making with the company. Often they’ve only been working for a short time, but they’ll regale you with stories of how great it is to work for the company.

Uber has told the Wall Street Journal that their “typical” driver collects more than $100,000 in annual gross fares, a characterization that Uber now disputes. Sometimes, the driver will be a bit more honest. But we, the public, didn’t know how much Uber drivers really made. Until now.

An investigation from Buzzfeed’s always-excellent tech team has revealed the typical hourly wage of an Uber driver. And — spoiler alert — driving for Uber can be less profitable than working at McDonald’s.

took a look at some data provided by Uber used to calculate a fare cut that ultimately went forward in January 2016. Uber did some calculations, but Buzzfeed did their own, which were then characterized as “solid” by an Uber representative.

Here’s the relevant paragraph:

“Based on these calculations, it’s possible to estimate that Uber drivers in late 2015 earned approximately $13.17 per hour after expenses in the Denver market (which includes all of Colorado), $10.75 per hour after expenses in the Houston area, and $8.77 per hour after expenses in the Detroit market, less than any earnings figure previously released by the company.

To put that into perspective, McDonald’s Swing Managers earn roughly $9.71 per hour, according to recruiting site Indeed, which also aggregates large amounts of job data. Other sites, Glassdoor and Payscale, offer data that paint an even harsher picture.

Though those numbers are calculated after expenses and therefore can theoretically be improved by more careful expense management and experience finding surge areas, it’s still a shocking picture. Consider also that Uber offers several barriers to entry: Namely, car ownership, current license, current insurance, and the fact that you can be fired due to low ratings. At least when you’re flipping burgers the customers don’t get to rate you on a five star scale. And all the fries you can eat.

So be nice to your Uber driver. They earn less than you’d think.

More from Work & Money


R29 Original Series