How to Become a Lyft Driver
Looking to make some extra money? Have a car that you’re willing to use to drive strangers around town?
If you answered yes to those two questions, it might be time you looked into driving for Lyft.
Here’s everything you need to know about signing up, driving, and making money with Lyft.
Here’s How to Become a Lyft Driver
If you’re ready to drive for Lyft, it’s easy to sign up, but before you do, you’ll need to meet some basic requirements. If you meet the driver and vehicle requirements (see more on that below) you can start the application process to drive for Lyft through their website or app.
The first step is to enter your phone number and agree to the Terms of Service.
After you accept the Terms of Service, you’ll need to provide more basic information. Please note, this is where you can enter a promo/referral code!
After you’ve entered this basic information, you’ll have to enter information regarding the type of vehicle you intend to drive with Lyft.
After entering your vehicle information, you’ll have to confirm (again) some personal information. In this step, they also ask for your social security number in order to run a background check on you.
They’ll also gather your driver’s license information (for your driving record check) and your shipping address (so they can send you a copy of your background check).
On the next screen, you will have to approve of the background check:
The timeline for approval varies, and Lyft lets drivers know that the process can take several weeks. However, some drivers have said that they got approval in less than three days. Just log into your account and you can check the status of your approval.
Once you’ve consented to the background check, you’ll need to schedule a time for your vehicle inspection test. During this test, they will verify that your car meets the requirements (which we’ll get to in a little bit).
They’ll also check for any exterior damage and interior cleanliness. They will also assess the mechanics of your vehicle to make sure it is not too loud or dangerous.
The final step of the process is to upload a few documents to confirm the information you provided previous was true and accurate.
You’ll also be asked to provide a photo of yourself (which will be used for your Lyft driver profile. Here’s a complete list of the items you’ll need to provide:
If Lyft runs into any issues with your paperwork, they will reach out and ask you to resubmit them.
Once Lyft approves you to drive, they’ll send you an email to set up a “welcome ride.” During the welcome ride, you’ll ride around town with an experienced Lyft driver. While you’re on that ride, the experienced driver can gauge your driving abilities and answer any questions you might have.
Lyft will also send you a Welcome Kit that includes the Lyft Emblem for your car and a standard driver guide that details what you can and cannot do.
Once you’ve completed all those steps, you’re officially able to start driving and making money on your own time.
How Do I Apply to Become a Lyft Driver? (Summary)
- Ensure that you meet all driver and vehicle requirements
- Open up Lyft’s driver application page
- Verify your phone number
- Add your driver’s license and other personal information
- Consent to a Lyft background check
- Visit a verified mechanic for a vehicle inspection
- Set up your “Welcome ride” with an experienced Lyft driver
- Start driving
Lyft Driver Requirements
As with any job, you have to meet the requirements in order to be eligible for the position. To qualify to drive for Lyft, you must be at least 21 or older and hold a valid driver’s license issued by the state in which you plan to drive.
If you’re older than 23, you have to be licensed in the U.S. for at least one year. If you’re under the age of 23, you must be licensed in the U.S. for at least three years.
You need to have access to a vehicle that meets Lyft’s standard (more on that below). You also need to be listed on a valid auto insurance policy and be able to pass a driving record history check done through the DMV. Drivers that have major traffic violations, such as DUI or reckless driving, are not eligible to work for Lyft.
A background check is also part of the process. You can’t have any felonies, theft charges, violent crimes, sexual offenses, or disqualifying drug offenses on your record.
The only other requirement is that you have a working iPhone or Android phone with internet access and a working phone number. You have to show proof that you have a data plan; Wifi-only devices are not permitted. Driving for Lyft uses up a lot of phone data, so make sure your wireless plan can accommodate.
Lyft Vehicle Requirements
You can’t just have any old car and think you can drive for Lyft. Lyft requires all cars to maintain certain safety standards and cosmetic standards.
You cannot have a car that’s more than 12 years old (in some cities and states the vehicle age requirement is even older). You must have valid license plates (commercial plates are fine) and an up-to-date vehicle registration.
Your car needs to have a minimum of four doors and five seatbelts. And – this goes without saying – you must hold a valid car insurance policy and meet all local and state driving requirements.
What Kind of Smartphone Do I Need to be a Lyft Driver?
Lyft drivers must have a smartphone that meets the basic requirements. It’s the only way you can find rides and determine where to go. It can be an Apple or an Android phone, as long as it works smoothly with the app.
Apple users must have iOS 11. Android users must have version 7 or newer. Any software older than that won’t work optimally with the current version of the app.
The other main requirement is that you have a data plan. You cannot use a phone that depends on Wi-fi service alone. When you’re driving, your data has to be enabled, not restricted, if you want the app to perform at its best.
If the app isn’t performing at its best, you won’t be able to do the work required. You also won’t be able to make any money. It’s essential that you have a phone with a solid internet connection that doesn’t rely on Wi-fi alone.
Renting a Car Through Lyft
Most people think that you need to own a car to drive for Lyft. Truth is, you don’t. Lyft offers a rental service called Express Drive where you can rent a car if you don’t have your own.
Lyft has partnerships with a variety of different rental car services, such as Hertz and Avis. Drivers can rent cars at affordable rates in order to take on work as a rideshare driver.
The prices and rates vary from city to city, depending on the style of the car and the city you work in. This service is not available in all cities, but it is available in multiple locations. Click here to see a list of cities where drivers can take advantage of the opportunity to rent a car.
To qualify for the Express Drive program, you must be 25 years or older. You still need to pass a background check and meet the other driver requirements, but it’s a great option for drivers’ whose cars don’t meet Lyft’s standards.
Renting a vehicle will cost you, but so will driving your own car. Renting a car through the Express Drive service also requires that you provide a deposit. That deposit will be refunded to you upon safe return of the vehicle.
How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?
The amount you make as a Lyft driver depends on where, when, and what you drive. You get paid per ride, but there are a variety of factors that go into establishing that price.
Lyft charges riders a base fare, which is a flat fee just for booking the fare. The base fare varies depending on location. They also charge a cost per mile, which also varies depending on the town you’re driving in. The third factor is the cost per minute. All three factors are variable depending on where, when, and what type of car you drive.
Total those three things together and you’ll get the total cost of the ride. Lyft takes 20% off the top and keeps that for themselves. The rest goes to the driver (but the driver does have to pay taxes on that money). Keep in mind, drivers do not receive any additional money if they have to pay tolls or other government-related fees.
Drivers do have the ability to earn tips – and they keep 100% of those. Some riders don’t tip at all, but if they choose to do so, they can tip either in cash while they’re still in the car or through the app after the ride has ended.
During the busiest hours of the day, the cost of each ride increases. This is called “Prime Time” pricing, and it’s usually in effect during morning and evening rush hours as well as big events. When Prime Time pricing is in effect, drivers make more money because riders pay more. But Lyft still takes their 20%.
From driver reviews, we’ve seen stories of Lyft drivers making around $12-$18 per hour on average. The range goes up significantly for XL of Lux drivers.
This amount is how much drivers make after counting in expenses.
Lyft doesn’t put a cap on the amount of money a driver can make – but they do limit the number of hours you can work. For safety reasons, drivers are required to take a six-hour break after every fourteen hours they work. You can stay on the road for fourteen hours at a stretch, but then you have to take a break (which should be used to sleep).
Keep in mind, the hours don’t have to be consecutive. The Lyft app simply tracks the number of hours you’ve been logged into the app. So when you hit fourteen hours, you won’t be able to accept any new rides for the next six hours.
One thing that some people don’t realize is that Lyft drivers have many expenses to pay for. You have to pay for your own gas. You have to pay for vehicle maintenance and repairs. And if you want to provide your passenger with snacks or bottles of water, you’ll have to pay for those too (but those little things can result in good tips).
Basically, anything you need to drive, you have to pay for out-of-pocket.
Lyft doesn’t pay for oil changes, new tires, or vehicle upkeep. So keep in mind that regardless of how much money you make, you’re still putting wear and tear on your car.
So can you make money driving with Lyft? The answer is yes. But there are a few steps you need to take in order to get to that point.
First, you need to make sure you meet the driver requirements and vehicle requirements. In some cities, you can drive a rental car if you don’t have your own.
If you meet the requirements, you can sign up and consent to a background check. Assuming that you pass the background check, you’ll be able to drive for Lyft and start earning money on your own time and your own terms.
You also need to have a smartphone that can run the app properly. It can be an iPhone or Android phone as long as you have a data plan and don’t rely on Wi-fi alone.
In terms of making money, keep in mind that it depends on where and when you drive. Lyft takes 20% of every fare right off the top. Drivers keep the rest. But drivers also have to pay for a variety of different expenses that can eat into their profits. Gas, vehicle maintenance, and taxes are all on you. So you have to deduct those expenses from your Lyft earnings in order to properly determine your actual profit.
If you think you’re ready to drive for Lyft, download the app and get started today.
No spam, just stories.
Subscribe to the Gigworker.com newsletter and never miss a gig-economy story.
*We don't spam, we promise.