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Earlier this summer, I wrote a Frugal For Less post about driving for Uber. The overall consensus was that it can be a solid money making opportunity. It gave very specific info to help you decide if the gig is right for you. Since we’re all about sharing ways to make money, I decided to discuss Lyft.
Lyft is very similar to Uber; you provide transportation services by driving your own car. It’s a flexible gig that allows you to work whenever you’d like. In this post, I’ll be covering all of the same aspects of Lyft.
You’ll find everything you need to know including pros and cons. Read on if you’re curious about this opportunity.
The History of Lyft
Lyft is a California based company that provides transportation services. The company was founded in 2012, and it has flourished significantly since then. Lyft currently operates across the U.S. in about 300 different cities. The company’s value is $7.5 billion, and they are funded by investors including General Motors, Rakuten, and Alibaba.
Lyft drivers are self-employed individuals. They drive for the company using their own car and set their own schedules. Lyft riders can use the service by downloading the app from the Google Play Store or the App Store. In the app, riders can see how far away their driver is, what their ratings are, info about their car, and other details.
Who Can Work For Lyft?
Lyft lists their driver requirements on their website, and they are fairly simple. To be a Lyft driver:
- You must be 21 or older.
- You must pass a DMV check and background check.
- You must use either an Android or iPhone smartphone.
- You must have your driver’s license for a minimum of one year.
- You must provide proof of valid insurance.
- You must provide proof of a car inspection.
- You must provide a photo of yourself.
- You must have valid license plates.
- You must have current registration.
For the background and DMV check, you’ll need to provide your Social Security Number. The Lyft Safety page provides more details about the background check. The company uses a third-party service to search national and county databases for criminal records. You are disqualified from working for Lyft if you have a record of:
- Violent crimes
- Sexual offenses
- Drug related crimes
- Three moving violations within the last three years
- Any major moving violations (reckless driving, etc.) within the last three years
- A DUI or drug-related moving violations with the last seven years
- Convictions related to driving within the last seven years
Lastly, some requirements may vary by state. Lyft provides details about requirements for each state so you can determine your eligibility.
How Much Money Can Lyft Drivers Earn?
There isn’t a black and white answer regarding how much you can earn with Lyft. Like other self-employment opportunities, how much you earn relies on different factors. One of the main factors is how frequently you’ll drive for Lyft.
However, Lyft has a Driver Pay estimator on their website. It provides an estimate of how much you can earn per week depending on your location and the number of hours you’ve worked. I decided to use this tool to get some estimates:
- A Kansas City driver working 30 hours per week can earn up to $600/week.
- A Dallas driver working 15 hours per week can earn up to $300/week.
- A Tulsa driver working 25 hours per week can earn up to $350/week.
- A New York City driver working 5 hours per week can earn up to $190/week.
As you can see, your location and chosen hours really make a huge difference. Drivers are paid for the amount of time they drive and the distance they drive. Additionally, Lyft drivers make extra money via:
- Tips in the Lyft app from passengers
- Weekly bonuses
- Referral bonuses
Lastly, I explored third-party websites for information about how much Lyft drivers earn. This information is provided by drivers themselves, so it’s certainly worth taking into consideration. These are some of the statistics I found:
- At Glassdoor.com, drivers report earnings of $15.97 to $17.01 per hour. This is based on feedback from 145 drivers.
- At Indeed.com, drivers report earnings of $26,442 to $70,000 per year. This is based on feedback from 488 drivers.
- A Time article provides data showing that Lyft drivers make an average of $377/month and a median of $210/month.
- The same Time article says that drivers earn an average of $17.50 per hour. This data is based on feedback from 1,150 drivers.
As you can see, the income potential varies widely for Lyft drivers. The number of hours you work has the biggest impact on your overall income. Lyft pays drivers weekly via direct deposit. You can read more about when and how you get paid here.
Lyft Car Requirements
There are some basic car requirements that all Lyft drivers must meet. Some of the requirements are state dependent. You can read the state specific information that Lyft provides. The rest of the Lyft car requirements are listed below.
- The car model must be age 2005 or newer. Some states and cities allow 2002 models while others require models age 2009 or newer. See the link above for details.
- The car must have four doors.
- Each door must be able to open and close from inside or outside of the car.
- All of the doors must have locks that the passengers can use.
- All seat belts must work; there should be a minimum of five seat belts including the driver’s.
- The brakes, engine, and suspension must all function correctly.
- All of the car’s lights must function. This includes all headlights, all turn signals, brake lights, and both reverse lights.
- The exterior of the car cannot be dented or otherwise damaged.
- All four tires must have sufficient tread.
- Windows, mirrors, and the windshield should not have any cracks.
- All windows should function correctly.
- The windshield wipers must function correctly.
- The horn must function correctly.
- The front seats should be able to move backward and forwards.
- The exhaust system must meet the standards in your state. Additionally, the system should not have excessive wear or any modification.
- The A/C and heat must function correctly.
Overall, your car needs to be in good shape. If you have questions about your car’s eligibility, you can submit questions here. To save time, you may want to address all of your questions and concerns before submitting your application.
Lyft Driver Reviews and Feedback
Aside from earnings, I consider Lyft driver reviews one of the most important factors to consider. Any income opportunity will have it’s ups and downs, but every person must decide what’s right for them. Because of that, I’ve presented numerous pros and cons from several resources.
- Excellent job flexibility (picking your own days, hours, etc.)
- Satisfaction with the company itself (management, perks, etc.)
- You get to be your own boss
- Everything is straightforward and transparent
- Easy job / easy money
- You get to explore new parts of your city
- Many riders leave tips
- Driver advisory council ensures feedback from drivers is delivered to HQ
- Every work day is unique
- May have to deal with rude or intoxicated passengers
- The expense of using extra gasoline
- Income fluctuates from day to day
- May have long waits in between passengers
- Customers may leave unfair negative reviews
- Increases the rate of car degradation
- No benefits that traditional jobs offer
- Mentoring is no longer available for drivers
Highlights from an article on RideShareApps.com written by a Lyft driver:
- Gives the gig an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
- The driver app seems minimal but it’s functional/useful.
- Customer support is great, and an emergency Lyft number is available.
- The driver earns $150 to $200 not including tips while working only on weekends.
- The average trip earns the driver $7 not including tips.
- Income is boosted during Prime Time (peak hours). The driver says a ride that would earn him/her $10 will earn him/her $17.50 during prime time.
- You can drive for a maximum of 10 hours at a time. If you go over this, you are logged out of the app for 8 hours.
- Passenger demand can be unpredictable. For example, the demand during weekdays is lower than the demand on weekends.
- The author highly recommends driving for Lyft.
- The author aims to earn $30 to $40/hour but usually earns about $20/hour.
- The author mainly drives on weekends and holidays in order to earn as much as possible.
- The author has had what he/she describes as “weird” experiences, but would not call any of the experiences bad or unpleasant.
- There is a direct correlation between driver effort and driver income.
- The author enjoys the immense flexibility.
- Drawbacks to being a Lyft and Uber driver include ongoing issues with insurance, permits, and driver pay.
- The author included cons listed by article commenters. Some of them include experiencing safety concerns as a woman, using up a lot of fuel, wearing down your car faster, and having to pay for tolls.
- The author recommends this as a “decent side income” opportunity but notes it’s not a way to get rich quick.
Highlights from an article on TheRideshareGuy.com written by a contributing author:
- You can earn a bonus for signing up as a Lyft driver. However, the bonus amounts aren’t directly advertised, so you’ll have to contact Lyft to ask about them.
- Lyft has a smaller user base than Uber.
- The rating requirements for Lyft are fairly strict. To drive for Lyft or Uber, you have to keep a 4.6-star feedback rating from passengers.
- Your last 100 rides are the only ones that contribute to your rating. In comparison, your Uber rating is based on your last 500 rides.
- The author says Lyft has a better company culture. This includes bonuses and perks for reaching certain milestones.
- The author suggests driving for Lyft and Uber simultaneously to maximize your income.
Overall, I was not surprised to see that Lyft and Uber driver feedback is very similar. Both gigs offer a lot of freedom, and they also have their downsides. But it seems that Lyft reviews are above average. I also noticed that Lyft drivers express more satisfaction with the company itself than Uber drivers.
Lyft Driver Tips For Maximum Earnings
Lastly, I want to offer some tips to maximize your earnings as a Lyft driver. You may notice that some of the tips here are also mentioned in the Frugal For Less Uber article. This is due to the nature of both gigs. The tips below are based on research and my own experiences with self-employment and side gigs.
- Take your driver photo in a well-lit environment, and make sure to smile. Lyft discusses this topic in a blog post about driver photos.
- Purchase a sturdy phone mount for hands-free navigation. There is another short Lyft blog post that covers the use of phone mounts.
- Keep the interior of your car clean and odor-free. Make sure to vacuum on a regular basis, and use fabric deodorizing spray. Don’t use any cleaners or sprays that are heavily scented – this may bother some passengers.
- Drive during peak hours whenever possible. If you’re able to drive on weekends, you’re likely to earn more money.
- Refer people to Lyft in order to get more bonuses. Lyft provides details about referral bonuses on their website.
- Learn about self-employment taxes and how they impact you. TurboTax has an article for Lyft drivers that is very informative.
- Keep an eye out for events in your city. This can help you determine when you want to drive, and you can also get a feel for traffic.
- Keep small items in your car that passengers can use. Some examples I’ve seen listed include water bottles and portable phone chargers.
- Keep small items in your car for personal use. You may want to keep a non-perishable snack and bottled beverage in your glove compartment. Make sure you have your own portable phone charger, too.
- Create a spreadsheet to track your daily earnings. This is a great way to see when you’re earning the most money and how much you’re earning per hour.
- Provide good customer service to keep your ratings up. You don’t have to go above and beyond to do this. Just be friendly, polite, and helpful to each passenger you pick up.
This list of tips will get you on the right path if you decide to drive for Lyft. You’ll also learn as you go; it never hurts to take note of what works best for you.
Conclusion: Lyft Is A Solid Side Gig For Many People
Overall, Lyft is another side gig that has a lot of potential. You can use the opportunity to earn spending money, or you may turn it into a part-time job. If you prefer money making opportunities that offer flexibility, then this one might really suit you.
Frugal For Less shares tons of money making opportunities with readers. Check out 50 Legitimate Ways To Make Money From Home and Guide To Making A Full-Time Income On Upwork for some great information. No matter what your needs and preferences are, there are plenty of money making options for you to consider.