Wow! Sidecar drivers earn 20% more per mile.

And why you should care.

We ran the numbers: Across Sherpa's nearly 1 million trips, Sidecar drivers earn on average $3.29 per mile. Compare this to Uber's $2.95 and Lyft's $2.40 per mile national averages, the two companies who continue to fiercely compete on price. That's about 20% higher earnings per mile.

Marketplace feature = More driver control

The reason for this is simple: Sidecar’s marketplace model, where drivers set their own prices, allows drivers to be competitive based on the car they have, their reviews, or demand fluctuations throughout the day. Rather then competing on a race-to-the-bottom lowering of rates, savvy Sidecar drivers can add a multiplier to the regular base fare. In short, it's a DIY-surge pricing, although not solely based on demand.

Going a mile further in San Francisco

We took a closer look at what this trend is like in a few individual cities, including San Francisco. Sidecar's per mile earnings advantage in SF is around $0.40 higher, or 15%.

In SF that means on a day where a driver’s earnings goal is $200, a rideshare driver would need to drive 10 more miles with passengers on Lyft to make the same amount as a Sidecar driver. Typically, that's grabbing at least two more fares.

But I only care about earnings per hour!

OK, that's definitely valid. In fact, this is what Uber and Lyft both seem to be optimizing for: Increasing 'marketplace liquidity' to keep the driver busier with lower prices but ultimately higher per hour income. See the below back-of-the-napkin sketch tweeted by Yammer founder David Sacks, simplifying Uber's approach.

Keeping busy means that you're working harder (extra stress?) and putting more miles on your car. Sure, your hourly rate may be higher, but your driving quality may not be as high, and you'll certainly be headed to the gas pump and service station more frequently.

Uber Network Effect

Let's say I did want to optimize for value.

Well if you're following this, that means you're making the most net earnings per mile on Sidecar. When you set your own rates in a marketplace, you may at times be less busy than your Lyft and Uber counterparts, however you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're getting more value out of your trusty car. That said, if you are in Baltimore and are lucky enough to get a 9x surge ride from Uber, you may just end up $362 richer after 20 minutes!

If you're a serious driver anyway, you're likely running at least two apps already, studying surge pricing patterns, and sorting all of this out on Sherpa.

Here's an experiment you can try: While waiting for a ping in Sidecar, find a cozy parking spot, put it in park, and read the news on your phone or catch up on a phone call. Save your precious miles for a passenger, and earn a bit more.

Prefer another approach entirely? Disagree about optimizing for time? Tell us. Or, create your free Sherpa account

earnings per mile, sidecar, lyft, uber

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