Lyft Driver Review – Should You Drive for Lyft?
So you’re contemplating becoming a Lyft driver. Maybe you think this could be the side-hustle of your dreams or a job that lets you work on your own schedule. But before you dive into the Lyft driving life, you want to know the pros and cons of being a Lyft driver. You also want to know how it compares to other apps and side hustles. Well, this Lyft driver review has got you covered.
What You Need to Know About Becoming a Lyft Driver
Lyft is an American ridesharing company that operates in 644 cities in the U.S. and 11 in Canada. To drive for Lyft, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be 21 years or older
- Have had a valid driver’s license for at least one year
- Have a clean driving record
- Pass a criminal background check
- Be insured on the vehicle you plan to drive
There are also vehicle requirements you must meet.
Lyft calculates pay by taking into account time, distance, tips, and bonuses. Rates paid for time and distance vary by location.
To sign up, visit the Lyft website or download the app. Then, from there, you can create your free account and apply to become a driver.
The Pros of Being a Lyft Driver
Now that you know how Lyft works, you will want to know the pros and cons of becoming a Lyft driver. First, read on for the pros.
You Are the Boss
With any ridesharing side-hustle, you automatically get to be your own boss. You work when you want, meaning you choose your own hours. You get to go online whenever you would like.
Lyft is a great side-hustle for creatives who are trying to audition for various gigs and don’t want to have to call out of work every time they have an audition. It’s also great for anyone who wants to make some extra cash on their own time.
Unlike some popular careers, there aren’t a lot of skills required to drive people around. As long as you meet the requirements, you can become a Lyft driver and make some good money!
Higher Pay Than Other Apps
In comparison to other ridesharing apps like Uber, Lyft has higher pay. Lyft drivers earn an average of $20-$35 an hour. However, this will depend on your location. For instance, a driver in San Diego may earn more than one in San Francisco or Los Angeles if there is a higher demand.
Regardless, wherever you are, Lyft is going to be on the higher end of the pay range in your area than Uber. Also, if you do a good job and work long hours, you can get paid more from tips from customers. You can also get paid by referring friends to become new drivers.
Lyft also has a sign-up bonus for completing a certain amount of rides in your first 30 days. The bonus can range from $10 to $2500, depending on the city you drive in, but if you are in one of the cities with a massive sign-up bonus, take advantage of that ASAP! Having 5 stars reviews also helps you boost your income.
Lyft has an “Express Pay” option that lets you cash out on your earnings before getting your weekly deposit. While profits can appear within a few hours, they can also take a few days depending on your bank’s processing time. So if you have a bank that can process the transfer sooner, this “Express Pay” option could come in handy if you ever needed your money sooner than later.
You can even cash out up to five times a day. Heads up, though; you need $5.50 to cash out, and there is a $0.50 fee for each transfer. However, you can have this fee waived if you are a Lyft Direct debit card holder!
As a Lyft driver, you get to apply for the Lyft Direct debit card. This card allows you to cash out instantly without any fees. Because you would set up a bank account through Lyft’s partner, Stride Bank, you would have access to all of your earnings on your debit card right away. There are also no low-balance or maintenance fees, and you get access to over 20,000 ATMs.
Additionally, Lyft goes the extra mile (no pun intended) for its drivers by providing cashback deals through the use of their debit cards. You get 2% back on gas, 1% on groceries, and 4% on select dining, so you get to keep more of your money.
Prime Time pay occurs when the riders increase past how many drivers there are online. Prime Time can occur during rush hours, after popular sporting events, or during parades or holidays.
Busy locations are also more likely to experience “prime time.” The Lyft app will notify you when it is “prime time” and let you know what percentage extra you will be getting paid. Prime Time is a great way to make some extra money!
Rewards and Bonuses
Lyft offers various bonuses for its drivers. An example would you can do 26 rides in a week to get an extra $36. Bonuses incentivize you to drive more, and you get rewarded more money for it.
Additionally, the more rides that you do, the more points you earn. The points unlock three different tiers (Silver, Gold, and Platinum) with various rewards. Click here for more information about Lyft rewards.
The Lyft driver app has a few features that add to the driver experience and convenience of the side hustle. For one, Lyft has a section of the app for “scheduled pickups,” which will show you if anyone in your area has scheduled a pickup, so you can choose to accept that ride in advance. Ensure you always honor a scheduled pick to get great customer reviews.
You can also filter your rides by choosing to get rides on the way to a specific destination. For instance, if you end up having to give someone a ride to let’s say, the airport, and the airport is far away from your home, the app gives you the option to only accept ride requests that leads back to your home. That way, you aren’t getting further away from your home, and you are still getting paid on the way back.
Another way Lyft ensures a great experience for drivers is in-app analytics. This feature analyzes the best times to earn more money per day and hour. It provides support for drivers and makes it easier for them to plan their Lyft driving time around those hours and, therefore, make more money.
Lyft is a great way to network with others as you meet different people on each trip. If you are trying to promote a business or another service, you can find ways to slip it into conversation with your riders. You could be meeting hundreds of people monthly, depending on how often you give rides.
One of those passengers is bound to be interested in what you are doing. You may meet people you can collaborate with on projects. You may also meet someone who can help you with what you’re trying to promote.
Don’t underestimate the networking opportunities that come with driving for Lyft! So, talk with your passengers, but respect those who prefer not to converse.
The Cons of Being a Lyft Driver
Lyft reviews are not complete without pointing out a few hours. Read on to learn more about the downsides of being a Lyft driver.
As with any ridesharing app or side-hustle that requires driving for long periods, you will be putting more mileage and wear and tear on your car. You also have to consider high gas prices, tires, and other expenses associated with driving.
For some, this is a deterrent to taking on this job title because they feel that the pay isn’t worth the costs. So, they see it as a poor business venture. However, you can typically write off these expenses on your taxes since you are a 1099 independent contractor and not an employee.
Therefore, you’ll end up making money back from what you save on your taxes. Make sure to speak to an experienced tax accountant to help you with this. You can also read this for tips on tax deductions associated with being a Lyft driver.
You can even write off the commissions that Lyft takes from you on every ride. There is no need to be taxed on money that you didn’t put in your pocket. You can see how much Lyft has taken out in fees in your online account.
Driving in Traffic
Peak hours are usually during times when there are high amounts of traffic. If you don’t like driving in traffic, becoming a Lyft driver may not be for you.
Less Busy Than Uber
Because Uber has been around longer, Lyft is typically less busy than Uber. That means you may have more downtime where you aren’t getting any rides.
Dealing With Bad Passengers
While you are likely to have mainly good experiences driving Lyft passengers, there can be the occasional bad apple you will have to deal with. Some passengers may be rude, but typically the “bad passengers” are drunk people.
If you decide to drive during peak hours when people are trying to go home after drinking, you may deal with people vomiting in your car. If you don’t want to deal with this, don’t drive past 1 AM.
High Rental Costs for New Vehicles
If you do not already have a vehicle, be wary of getting a rental car from Lyft. The leasing rates of cars from the company are high, and if your only way of paying off those rates is to drive for Lyft, that could be risky. You could end up in debt, and that defeats the purpose of becoming a Lyft driver.
Since Lyft doesn’t limit the number of people that can drive, there can be a lot of competition between drivers (and between apps) in certain areas. An area with a lot of competition can decrease your pay (more drivers means fewer “peak times” and fewer opportunities to give rides).
So, before joining this ridesharing service, conduct a search to see the number of registered drivers. Google searches will give you basic information on this.
Are There Better App Options?
While there are quite a few ridesharing apps out there, Lyft and Uber are the most popular. Uber is typically busier than Lyft. Therefore, in terms of that, Uber wins. It doesn’t necessarily pay more per ride, though. Additionally, Lyft has better rewards than Uber.
Overall, Lyft is better than Uber, but Uber is a strong competitor. If you want the highest chance of giving rides at all hours, you should become a driver for both apps.
If you’re looking for something with less interaction, you could also consider Postmates or being a Shipt Shopper. These apps allow you to essentially be a delivery driver, picking up and dropping off items instead of driving actual people.
Is Being a Lyft Driver Worth It?
Whether or not it is worth it depends on a variety of factors. It isn’t worth it if you have to use a rental car and are relying on Lyft to pay for that. Otherwise, it is worth it, as long as your full-time job pays you enough to cover the costs of leasing the car. However, your best bet is to become a Lyft driver if/when you own a car.
Also, depending on where you live and the pay/competition in that area, it may or may not be worth it. If there is too much competition, it could significantly reduce your earning potential. However, if you live in an area where the demand for Lyft drivers outweighs the supply and the pay is good, it can be an excellent way to make side cash, especially if you are one of those drivers making $35/hour.
Once again, depending on where you live, it could be worth it solely for the sign-up bonus. Remember, some areas have a sign-up bonus of $2500!
Additionally, take your upfront expenses into account, including auto insurance and gas. If being able to write off your costs is good enough for you and paying for these expenses upfront isn’t an issue, then yes, it is worth it.
The Bottom Line: Driving for Lyft
Lyft is a great side-hustle for those with 9-5 jobs who want to drive and make extra money. Depending on where you live, you can make some hefty side cash, and although you will have expenses, you can get that back in the form of giving less to Uncle Sam.
Lyft provides you with flexible hours to work whenever you want, and the app makes it easy and convenient. Remember, to increase your chances of giving more rides, try becoming a driver for other apps too. Now, get on that side-hustle ridesharing life!