How much do Uber drivers make in the UK in 2021?
The past 18 months have had a huge impact on driver pay, and in more ways than one. We all know the dramatic effect lockdowns have had, but we’ve also seen the high-profile legal battle over the status of Uber drivers and workers’ rights. So what does all this mean for how much private hire drivers can expect to earn in 2021?
Here we look at the changes Uber said it would make following the Supreme Court case, and what’s happened since.
We also see what the latest numbers tell us about driver pay and some of the ways you can boost your income.
The following information is accurate at the time of writing on 30 August 2021.
What’s changed on driver pay in 2021?
The short answer is: a lot.
In February Uber lost the final stage of a five-year legal battle with drivers over their employment status. While Uber argued drivers were self-employed, the Supreme Court found they were workers, meaning they qualify for certain minimum legal rights.
In March, Uber pledged that its 70,000 UK drivers would be guaranteed a minimum wage, holiday pay and pensions.
- Drivers will be paid at least the National Living Wage of £8.72 an hour
- Drivers will be paid holiday time based on 12.07% of earnings, paid fortnightly
- Drivers will automatically have a pension set up for them, with both Uber and drivers paying in
- Uber will continue to give free insurance to cover cases of sickness or injury, and parental payments
- Drivers are still free to choose when they want to drive.
But drivers aren’t paid for time spent waiting between jobs. The changes also don’t apply for Uber Eats couriers, who still count as self-employed.
Uber started making back pay compensation offers to drivers in May.
There have been more changes to driver pay too, with the Uber service fee going from 20% to 25% for all drivers in July. Previously the 25% commission Uber took from drivers was only for new drivers who started working for Uber after 2015.
How much do drivers earn?
The court case means all Uber drivers will get a minimum wage, but the rate drivers for Uber and other platforms get for each trip will still depend on a few factors. These include where you drive, how often and if you’re driving at peak times.
Of course, there are other factors to think about too, such as car/hire payments and expenses. More recently, traffic calming measures also come with added costs, such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London and the Clean Air Zones being rolled out in various cities across the UK.
You can read more about Clean Air Zones and what’s happening in different cities here.
Car company Splend estimates that in London weekly earnings can range from £250-£800 depending on how many hours you work. It says monthly pay before expenses can be up to £2,400.
Separate research suggests drivers in Birmingham earn around £36,400 a year, while drivers in Manchester can earn up to £39,600.
Overall, the latest average salary estimates for private hire drivers in the UK ranges from £20,100 to £31,125.
If you’re thinking about becoming an Uber driver, or want to see how your earnings and expenses compare to other drivers, The Complete Guide to Everything has a handy video on YouTube which has run all the numbers for you.
This seems to tie in with some of the other estimates out there, calculating that drivers earn roughly £30,000 after expenses:
How to boost your income
One of the ways you can maximise what you earn is through promotions in the Uber Driver app. This might be completing a set amount of trips in a certain amount of time, or perhaps signing into both Uber and Uber Eats during rush hour and mealtimes.
The app will also let you know when and where surge pricing is in force. However, long-time drivers usually advise against ‘chasing’ the surge around your local area, but just picking up surge fares if you’re nearby.
Another option is to sign up to other apps and platforms to make the most of your time, either for extra trip requests or to pick up other work such as food delivery.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best food delivery apps and how you can apply here and you can get insured for delivery work here.
At INSHUR, we want to help you maximise your earnings and get the most out of your time. Whether you’re a private hire driver, courier or working in food delivery, make sure you’ve got the right cover today.