How Much Bolt Drivers Make in South Africa

Money

Is there still money to be made for Bolt drivers in South Africa, especially in big cities with so many cars?

We’ve asked a number of old and newer Bolt drivers how much they make and if investing in the business model is still worth it.

Even better, I have asked a close friend to document his Bolt earnings every month, to show you the opportunity that lies within the business, so you can make a profound decision when considering buying a car to join Bolt.

Let’s dive right in.

February 2024 Income Statement

Every month, I’ll share the original income report from Bolt, so you can understand their fee structure and so forth.

Bolt Income for February 2024

2024 Bolt Driver Income Report

And here, I’m going to document how much this Bolt driver has made for the year, in case they tell you otherwise.

Date PeriodGross FareBolt FeeBooking FeeTake Home Income
January 2024R11,558.35R2,719.66R459.65R8,379.04
February 2024R10,296.33R2,213.66R408.67R7,674.00
March 2024R21,485.00R4,690.02R850.00R15,944.98
April 2024R0.00R0.00R0.00R0.00
Grand Total:R31,998.02

Consider This Before Joining Any Ride-Hailing Service

I know the numbers above can be exciting, but I was too, until I realized what it actually costs to operate such a business.

Joining a ride-hailing service like Bolt in South Africa with your own car can be a great way to earn income, but there are several factors you should consider before making the decision.

Here’s a list of important considerations:

Vehicle Requirements: Ensure your car meets Bolt’s vehicle requirements in South Africa. This usually includes factors like age of the vehicle, condition, type (sedan, SUV, etc.), and sometimes specific environmental or safety standards.

Insurance: Check the type of insurance required. Bolt may require a comprehensive insurance policy that covers not just your vehicle, but also passengers and third-party liabilities.

Driver Requirements: Beyond your car, you’ll need to meet certain criteria as a driver. This includes having a valid driver’s license, undergoing a background check, and possibly completing a training session or orientation provided by Bolt.

Operational Costs: Consider the costs of fuel, maintenance, insurance, and any other operational expenses. These costs will directly affect your take-home income.

Earnings and Working Hours: Research the potential earnings in your area. Earnings can vary widely based on location, time of day, and demand. Be realistic about the number of hours you’re willing to work.

Taxes and Legal Requirements: Understand the tax implications and any legal requirements for operating a ride-hailing service in your region. This may include registering as a business and reporting income for tax purposes.

Competition and Market Saturation: Assess the level of competition and market saturation in your area. More drivers mean more competition, which can impact your earnings.

Safety: Consider safety measures for both drivers and passengers. This includes understanding Bolt’s safety features and protocols, as well as considering additional personal safety measures.

Customer Service Skills: Successful drivers often need good customer service skills. Your ability to provide a pleasant and safe experience can impact your ratings and earnings.

Local Regulations: Be aware of any local regulations affecting ride-hailing services. Some areas may have specific requirements or restrictions.

Best Times for Potentially Good Earnings

The potential earnings from driving with Bolt in South Africa, like in many other locations, can vary significantly depending on several factors such as time of day, day of the week, location, and special events.

However, there are general patterns that tend to result in higher demand for rides, which can lead to increased earnings for drivers.

Here are some key times to consider:

  1. Mid-Week Rush Hours: Morning (6 AM to 9 AM) and evening (4 PM to 7 PM) rush hours on weekdays tend to have higher demand as people commute to and from work.
  2. Weekends: Friday and Saturday nights (from late evening until the early hours of the following day) often see higher demand due to social activities, events, and nightlife. Sundays might also have increased demand in the evenings as people prepare for the upcoming work week.
  3. Holidays and Special Events: Public holidays, major sporting events, concerts, festivals, and other large gatherings can significantly increase demand for rides. Keeping an eye on the local event calendar can help you anticipate these surges.
  4. Tourist Seasons: In tourist-heavy areas, the season can play a significant role. Periods of high tourist activity often result in increased demand for transportation.
  5. Weather Conditions: Inclement weather, such as rain or cold snaps, can lead to a spike in demand as people avoid walking or using public transport.

It’s important to note that while these times can offer higher earning potential due to increased demand, they may also attract more drivers, which can impact the availability of ride requests.

Additionally, Bolt uses dynamic pricing, which means that prices (and therefore earnings) can increase during times of high demand.

To maximize earnings, many drivers combine knowledge of these general patterns with their own experience and observations about local demand trends.

It can also be helpful to use Bolt’s driver app features designed to inform drivers about current demand levels and surge pricing areas.