It’s more lucrative than ever to be a Lyft driver. But if you want to drive down easy street, you need to learn a few ways to set yourself ahead of the pack.
Drivers can earn much more than your average entry-level job, the dollar amount varies depending on where you are. And they can rake in up to 3 times their normal earnings by picking up passengers after a packed concert or during a snowstorm.
Go the Extra Mile
You can also bump up your earnings with tips. While not every rider tacks on a tip, certain things you provide can encourage your passengers to give you an extra buck or two. Stocking your vehicle with bottled water or mints will make your riders grateful. Passengers will appreciate you being prompt and getting to the destination quickly. Make sure you know the routes well so you don’t waste time going down the wrong street. Another plus: knowing where the best bathroom stops are (hint: Starbucks and Whole Foods usually offer clean and convenient commodes).
Also, you might find that you earn more when driving in the suburbs around the city instead of in the city itself. Many residents of the suburbs tend to be middle class to wealthy and if they are satisfied with the service, they will tip well. There is also less competition in many suburban areas, but still reasonable demand for an Uber.
Some drivers supplement with selling items while driving. One Uber contractor in San Francisco told Forbes that he adds $18,000 a month to his paycheck by displaying and selling his own jewelry creations from his mobile gallery – his car. If you have a good product, try employing a low-key sales strategy. But don’t get too pushy. It’s important to know your audience; if your rider is on the phone or seems disinterested, don’t continue your pitch.
Your part-time Lyft gig can also lead to more permanent employment. One driver impressed a rider so much that the passenger hired him to drive for a real estate company. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so be prepared for anything!
Get Paid Fast!
Express Pay allows Lyft drivers to cash out instantly after accumulating just $50:
What do Lyft Drivers Say?
Curious how past and current Lyft drivers feel about their experience with Lyft? Have a look at this collection of driver reviews.
Advantages of Lyft
Sign up as a Lyft driver today to be on your way to a $250 new driver bonus! Often the Lyft sign-on bonus alone is reason enough to try out ridesharing as a side gig, even if you don’t plan to stick with it the long-term.
Uber’s sign-up bonuses, on the other hand, have been in more of a decline and there are even some cities that don’t offer any bonus at all. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still cities where Uber is trying hard to recruit – but in most cases, Lyft’s bonuses are still just as high, if not higher.
Easier to Get Started
Once you’re up and running, comfortable with your new gig, lack of passengers isn’t a good thing – but when you’re learning the ropes, a slower pace is often just the ticket to gaining experience and honing your skills. If you start out with Uber, you might start receiving requests back-to-back from the get-go, especially if you find yourself working peak hours or special events. By contrast, Lyft has a smaller user base, so expect the rider requests to come in at a more relaxed pace giving you a breather between rides. Once you’ve worked out your routine and are feeling confident, then you can move up to the more fast-paced world of Uber or even try driving for both and find out which is better for you.
If you’re new to the world of driving, you will also quickly become familiar with your all-important rating. An advantage of starting with Lyft is that they are much more forgiving of older ratings. So, when you are learning the ropes and maybe pick up a couple dings, Lyft will be much faster to “forget” those – they only count your last 100 rides in calculating your rating, while Uber’s memory is a lot longer, measuring your rating by your prior 500 rides. So, if you have some rough days early, it will take a lot longer for those to fall off your record.
Great Company Culture
Lyft has a reputation of being nicer to their driver partners:
- Lyft was ahead of Uber in allowing riders the option to add a tip to your fare.
- If you rate a Lyft passenger three stars or less, you won’t be matched with them again.
- Lyft offers the famous Power Driver Bonuses – if you complete a certain number of rides per week, you get to keep a bigger percentage of your fare (Lyft takes a smaller cut).
- Lyft also allows you to cash out your fares on the same day that you earn them (as long as you’ve made at least $50). This is perfect if you encounter unexpected expenses or financial shortfalls. The feature is called Express Pay and it’s one of the most popular amongst drivers.
The more you drive, the more you earn. Lyft’s weekly Power Driver Bonus rewards drivers for hitting the road when passengers need them most. Drivers can earn extra money without even getting behind the wheel. If they invite a friend to drive with Lyft, we’ll say thanks with a cash bonus.
Discover New Places and Friends
Want to meet new people and see new places? If you drive with Lyft, you can make friends and visit parts of the city you may not have seen otherwise. With Lyft, every ride can be an adventure.
Boost Your Earnings
Get rewarded for going the extra mile. The Power Driver Bonus can increase your earnings by 20 percent each week for hitting certain milestones. Prime Time adds to your pay if you drive when there’s a ton of passengers.
Take Advantage of Lyft Rewards
Lyft offers many perks to its drivers. You can save at the gas pump at some Shell stations and even rent a car with Express Drive.
Create Your Own Ride Experience
With Lyft, drivers are encouraged to show their personality, while making it an enjoyable ride for passengers — whether that involves offering snacks, a phone-charging station, or music recommendation.
You must be at least 21 years old with an active U.S. driver license for at least one year to apply (you can create a passenger account at 18). You must be licensed to drive for at least a year before applying. You may see an error message on your application regarding your driving history because your license was recently re-issued or your state doesn’t provide a driver license issue date. See how to handle these issues. In New York City, DMV and criminal background checks are conducted by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) according to their licensing standards, not by Lyft.
Potential drivers must pass a driving record check. Lyft reviews the results of these checks and disqualifies applicants who don’t meet the standards of both Lyft and local regulations.
Lyft uses a third-party company to check driving records. You’re ineligible to drive if any of the following are on your driving record:
- More than three moving violations in the past three years (like accidents or traffic light violations)
- A major moving violation in the past three years (like driving on a suspended license or reckless driving)
- A DUI or other drug-related driving violation in the last seven years
- Driving-related convictions in the last seven years (like hit-and-run or felonies involving a vehicle)
Different standards may apply based on local requirements specific to ridesharing. Lyft reserves the right to disqualify a driver at any time should their driving record reveal any of the above items or for any other safety-related reason at Lyft’s discretion.
Potential drivers must pass a criminal background check. Lyft reviews the results of these checks and disqualifies applicants who don’t meet the standards of both Lyft and local regulations. Drivers are screened for both criminal offenses and driving incidents.
Lyft’s criminal background checks are provided by a third-party company. These checks include national and county-level databases, and, when necessary, local courthouse record checks going back a minimum of seven years for review of convictions in California (longer in some jurisdictions). You’re ineligible to drive on the Lyft platform if, among other things, the background check results include:
- Violent crime
- Drug-related offense
- Sexual offense
- Certain theft or property damage offense cases
In New York City, DMV and criminal background checks are conducted by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) according to their licensing standards, not by Lyft.
More restrictive standards may apply based on local requirements specific to ridesharing. Lyft reserves the right to disqualify a driver at any time should their background check reveal any of the above items or for any other safety-related reason, per the Lyft Terms of Service.
If you do not pass your background check, you’ll get a copy via email and instructions on how to dispute the results. Keep in mind background checks may take a few weeks to process.
State and local requirements
In certain markets, drivers must meet additional city or state requirements.
Keep an eye on your email during and after the application process for instructions specific to your region.
Driver license, license plates, and insurance
- Current and valid driver’s license
- Valid plates with current registration (commercial plates are also acceptable)
- Current valid insurance with your name on the policy
The Lyft Driver app requires a cellular connection, so your device must be supported by Lyft to drive. We don’t support wifi-only devices (like wifi-only iPads).
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