The ride-sharing platforms are multiplying and with them come increasing numbers of “driver-partners”.

The companies all espouse the benefits of flexible work arrangements and being your own boss, but are they actually a good source of income? And which is the most profitable one to work for?

Uber

Uber is the oldest player in the Australian market, and the one that remains the most controversial due to its high commission. The company takes 27.5 per cent of all your fares (including 2.5 per cent GST), and when you add that to car expenses, GST on income, income tax and other expenses (such as parking, mints for passengers etc.), you can walk away with as little at 15 per cent profit from of all the fares you pick up.

 

Driving for Uber

Of the ride-sharing apps you can drive for, Uber is the most controversial due to its high commission

You can claim your GST back against your other expenses, though, so it works out to be more than 15 per cent in the long run. Uber also operates in the most cities across the country and has uncapped surge pricing, which is a benefit if you’re willing to drive at peak times.

We did some rough calculations on the back of an envelope, and we reckon if you’re earning $109,500 a year working 10 non-stop hours a day every day (which would suck), you’re also paying 34.5% tax so $71,722, less about $20,000 in petrol (if you’re driving 10 hours a day) so $51,000, less about $2000 on professional car cleaning, $49,000, less $1350 on insurance and registration = $47,650.

Not taking into account wear and tear on vehicle, that comes to about $13 an hour!

But we could be wrong. So if you drive for Uber – or another brand- we’d love to hear how you make the sums work.

Taxify

Newcomer Taxify, launched in Estonia and brought to Sydney and Melbourne in December, has better rates for drivers. They take a commission fee of between 10 and 20 per cent of the fare, depending on the city, and also offer bonuses to encourage drivers to take more rides. They also have surge pricing, but it’s capped at 1.5 per cent. The same costs as Uber apply, so keep that in mind when anticipating earnings.

There are fewer people using the app, but also fewer drivers, so it can still be a better option for drivers. Riders can pay in cash or through the app, and Taxify pays into your bank account weekly. Taxify operates in the metropolitan area of most major cities in Australia.

Ola

Ola is the newest app, and has the best commission rates for drivers. They offer a very enticing introductory rate of 7.5 per cent for the first 30 days as a driver, followed by approximately 15 per cent based on driver rating. They also have a driver referral bonus, and they pay drivers each day’s earnings the following morning.

However, unlike the other platforms, there is no surge pricing during peak use times. As the most recent addition, there are fewer people using the app, but the company is pushing hard to attract customers. It’s currently rolled out in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra.

Shebah

Finally, Shebah is an Australian-founded female-only rideshare app. The barriers to entry are a little higher, since their USP is a promise of safety for women and children and they have strict background checks. However they guarantee you keep 85 per cent of your fares, which are different at peak and off-peak times and in different states.

Driving for Shebah

Shebah is a great option for women who want to earn money as a driver but don’t feel safe picking up men, especially at night. Image: shebah.com

Shebah operates in Melbourne and surrounding cities, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. This is a great option for women who want to earn money as a driver but don’t feel safe picking up men, especially at night.

While the apps are similar, there are subtle differences that may make one more appealing and suitable for you over another. But remember, you are driving as an independent contractor, so you can use as many as you like.