fbpx
Spring sale
Save up to £10,600 with our used PCO cars on Rent 2 Buy +
image1
FEATURED POST

How much do Uber drivers make in London?

news-open-image

Anyone who thinks about being a private hire driver wants to know how much money they can put in their pocket each week. This post will tell you exactly how it works. 

Uber driving in London is both flexible and rewarding but it can be tricky to explain the numbers because it depends on several variables. These include the hours you work – and when you do them – as well as the car you drive. For starters, you earn more per trip in a luxury car but you also have higher expenses. 

These begin with the finance on the car itself (unless you own it already) plus the everyday running costs such as insurance, charging or whether you clean the vehicle yourself. 

In reality, the amount you make is what’s left after you subtract all of these costs, as well as taxes owed. This blog will look at both sides of being a PCO driver and help you to decide if this is the career for you. 

All the figures are based on the Otto Car Working Life Study 2023. This included a survey sent to several thousand drivers in the Otto Car family, along with follow-up interviews and primary research. 

Read more: How to beat inflation as a PCO driver?

How much can Uber drivers earn in London?  

Obviously, Uber is the best-known private hire operator and yet it is not the only one. In London, you can also work for Bolt and FREENOW (or all three) as well as traditional minicabbing. Most PCO drivers have at least two regular sources of work in case one dries-up. 

Some Otto Car drivers also have jobs outside of private-hire driving. For instance, we have a baker, a gardener and a care worker. The great thing about Uber driving is the flexibility to live your best life.

Read more PCO driver stories with Otto Car here

The amount a PCO driver gets paid is mostly based on the value of the trips completed, once the operator takes its fee. However, Uber has several tiers depending on which type of car the driver runs.

TierFare
Uber X£20.95
Uber Comfort £26.25
Uber XL£32.65
Uber Exec£38.94
Uber Lux£59.36

*The fares shown here are based on an off-peak journey from Ealing to Kings Cross with no surge. 

Uber says it only keeps 25% of the fare as its service fee for every tier. However, by the time you subtract the sales tax (VAT), pension contributions and other stuff, it is closer to half the money. 

The other operators say that their PCO drivers can keep a bigger chunk of the fares but it’s not so easy to compare these. This is because Uber sweetens the deal with holiday pay (its drivers get an extra 12.07% of their earnings paid each week) plus other benefits, such as sickness cover.

Each one also runs driver promotions. For instance, Uber often gives a £15 bonus for completing three trips in a specific area during a time-window (e.g. 12pm – 3am). Bolt does this, too, or it might reduce its fee if you do, say, twenty trips in a row. Complete these challenges and the money adds-up.  

And then there is surge pricing, which boosts the value of each trip if there are more riders than drivers. This might be when the bars close at unsociable hours but it can also be due to a rail strike or if it rains. 

The money you make depends on the car you drive and the number of hours (or weeks) you work but it’s also a question of if you are willing to drive at peak times and get smart about surges or bonuses. 

Uber says that the typical driver will earn up to £30 per hour in London but we think that is ambitious.  

The Otto Car family says that the average amount they earned during 2022/23 was £20.48 per hour. 

This is not as much as Uber’s official estimate yet it’s still entirely respectable.

Here’s how the typical earnings look for three completely different types of PCO driver. 

Average earningsSide hustle 
(30 hours per week)
Full-time gig 
(45 hours per week)
Superstar
(60 hours per week)
£20.48 per hour£614 per week
£2,640 per month
£922 per week
£3,964 per month
£1,228 per week
£5,280 per month

Additional points

  1. All figures are based on the UK tax year from 6 April 2022 until 5 April 2023.
  2. These are averages. The highest earnings for an Otto Car driver was £1,429 per week.
  3. Earnings shown are before running costs and personal taxes (see below). 

What are the costs of becoming an Uber driver? 

When you work as a private hire driver, you are responsible for all of the costs. In simple terms, you are operating a small business and so it’s important that you make allowances for every type of expense. 

The main one is obviously the PCO car itself. Even if you already own a vehicle that is eligible for Uber driving in London, you should be aware of the everyday running costs. 

Here are the running costs of a Kia e-Niro, which was the most popular model of PCO car in 2022/23. 

  • PCO insurance

Many people do not realise that the price of PCO insurance is much more expensive than a standard policy. To show you this, we averaged the two cheapest quotes for rideshare insurance on the basis of a monthly policy for a 50-year-old driver who lives in London with 12 months of PCO experience. 

The cost of this insurance was £55.07 per week, which is £2,863 per year. This is at the cheaper end of the scale and less experienced drivers should expect to pay at least £1,000 more. 

Breakdown cover is also pricier for PCO work than for standard drivers. Expect to pay £150 per year.  

Did you know? 

With Otto Car’s Rent 2 Buy + and PCO Car Hire plans, the insurance is part of the package and you also get free 24/7 roadside assistance. Read this article to find out which plan suits you best.

EV charging strategies
  • Maintenance and licensing costs  

As a full-time private hire driver, you probably need at least three services per year (i.e. every 10,000 miles) due to the terms of a new car warranty. The typical costs of servicing a Kia e-Niro in 2022/23 are £12.82 per week, when calculated over 4.5 years. Yes, this does take into account the warranty period. 

If you include wearable items such as tyres or brakes, too, it’s wiser to allow double that figure. You should expect to pay well over £1,000 per year in total and this will be much higher for older cars. 

Even an electric PCO car must have two MOTs each year and renew its annual PHV licence with TfL. The costs of this vehicle inspection process will add £4.87 per week.  

Think carefully about how the mileage you do as a PCO driver will lower the resale value of your car. It makes far more sense to hire a PCO car or work your way towards owning one on a Rent 2 Buy + plan. 

Did you know?

With the Otto Car Rent 2 Buy + or PCO Car Hire packages these servicing costs are mostly included. 

  • Fuel costs

This is undoubtedly the biggest expense as an Uber driver. The actual cost will depend on the type of PCO car that you drive and also the way that you work. At the most basic level, whether you run an electric car or one that runs on petrol and how efficient it is in terms of economy.  

With electric cars, the price you pay for charging is greatly affected by the speed at which you do this. If you have a home charger, this will be much cheaper than if you need to pay for public ultra-rapid ones. 

Let’s assume that you run the Kia e-Niro and cover the average distance per hour for Otto Car’s family of PCO drivers, which is 15.9 miles. 

If you pay 0.59p per kWh for charging, this will cost you around £2.53 per hour of actual Uber driving. 

ULEZ London
  • Congestion Charge and ULEZ

Uber drivers in London have to consider both the Congestion Charge and also the ULEZ Charge. The Congestion Charge is £15 per day, which quickly becomes expensive over an entire year. The ULEZ charge is £12.50 per day but only affects older, non-electric PCO cars that do not meet these standards.  

Petrol: Euro 4 (NOx)

Diesel: Euro 6 (NOx and PM)

Did you know? 

The Congestion Charge does not apply for electric PCO cars until at least 2025. 

  • Taxes 

Uber drivers who do PCO work (as opposed to food delivery) are now classified as workers in the UK. This gives you some rights, such as holiday pay, access to a pension and also the National Living Wage while on trips but you are not an employee. 

For tax purposes, Uber drivers are still considered self-employed and must file a tax return with HMRC every year. This means you must keep track of your earnings (which includes any other non-Uber work) plus expenses which are allowed for tax purposes, such as parking charges or car washes. 

Once you subtract these expenses from your earnings, you will see your annual profits, which is the amount that you pay taxes on. These include Income Tax and National Insurance and there is more detailed information on this at the links below.  

Did you know?

Everyone has a personal tax allowance in the UK. You pay no tax on the first £12,570 earned in 2022/23.

https://www.gov.uk/topic/personal-tax/self-assessment

https://www.uber.com/en-GB/blog/driver-worker-faq/#:~:text=Drivers%20will%20remain%20as%20self,complete%20an%20annual%20tax%20return.

Taking the next step 

One thing every PCO driver says is that the value of a flexible work life is worth as much as the money. That said, there is a good living to be made as a private-hire driver in London, no matter whether you work exclusively for Uber, the other PCO operators, or do this as a side-hustle to another job entirely.  

Several drivers in the Otto Car family only work modest hours each week in order to have a new PCO car that they can then use in their everyday lives. Those who treat this as a full-time gig typically make around £922 per week for 45 hours, based on the typical reported hourly earnings of £20.48 per hour.

The drivers who put the hours in and are smart about the operator promotions and surge pricing take home much more. Even after running costs and taxes, this is a great job that fits around your lifestyle. 

If you want to learn more about how to begin work as an Uber driver or talk about your options, feel free to read our Uber Driver guide, view our PCO Car Hire plan, or pop into any of our London hubs. Otto Car has helped over 10,000 Uber Partners get on the road since 2015.

Not sure which PCO car to choose? Try our car selection tool to find out the car that best suits your needs.

Want to learn more?

Vestibulum nec scelerisque mauris,eget finibus justo. Vivamus metus justo, semper vel facilisis quis, scelerisque ut libero. Aenean eget porttitor nisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum nec scelerisque mauris,eget finibus justo. Aenean eget porttitor nisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum nec scelerisque mauris,eget finibus justo. Vivamus metus justo, semper vel facilisis quis, scelerisque ut libero. Aenean eget porttitor nisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum nec scelerisque mauris,eget finibus justo. Aenean eget porttitor nisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

    What our customers have to say…

    Related Posts & Guides

    Related Posts & Guides