How to Become a Lyft Driver in 3 Easy Steps

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Not sure what all the hoopla is about why it’s so great to become a Lyft driver?

For most people, the idea of being his or her own boss, determining their own working hours and directly controlling where and when to work seems like a dream achievable only after many years of toiling in the same industry.

One company is changing that – Lyft.

This is a new mobility service that seeks to connect drivers with potential passengers through a mobile phone app.

The catch here is that drivers use their own vehicles and unlike your conventional taxis, they can respond to ride requests when it is convenient for them.

Driving for Lyft gives wonderful opportunities for car owners to earn extra income by offering taxi rides.

The company employs a large nationwide team of vetted drivers to provide four basic types of service.

First things first.

The basic point to point ride for between one and four passengers is the original Lyft.

Then, Lyft Plus – the same point to point ride for up to six passengers.

Next, Lyft Premier.

This is a luxury version of the same service.

Lastly, Lyft Line, where passengers share a ride (and the cost) with others going the same way.

The first two are available in all 60 operating cities across the country.

Lyft jobs are available in each of these areas.

If the prospect of providing one or more of these services – coupled with the freedom to choose working hours that are in harmony with your family commitments and lifestyle – appeals to you, you should consider this game-changing career!

1. How to Become a Lyft Driver

Lyft has made it extremely simple for individuals to sign up as drivers for them.

Besides the old fallback of using their website to apply, you can also register through Lyft’s customized app for iOS and Android phones.

The application is free.

Some people prefer to drive for both Uber and Lyft.

In this case, we also suggest applying to become an Uber driver.

If the idea of working for Lyft fascinates you, then there are requirements that you have to meet.

Application Requirements for Lyft Jobs

The basic requirements are your legal name, phone number, and email address.

You have the option of registering through Facebook to have your contact details and profile picture automatically linked.

Lyft Driver Requirements

There are some Lyft driver requirements including your vehicle requirements.

All Lyft drivers and vehicles have to meet these standards:

Lyft Driver Requirements

  • You should be at least 21 years old.
  • Consent to a driving history check by your state’s DMV.
  • Consent to a background check. Criminal offenses may disqualify you.
  • Own a smartphone on Android or iPhone platforms.
  • Provide a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Have a valid driver’s license which must have been issued by the state you wish to operate in and active within the past one year.
  • Own or have a car that is legally registered within the state you intend to work in.
  • Have an auto insurance coverage in your name. Lyft offers insurance at absolutely no extra cost to drivers on condition that the vehicle will be used exclusively for Lyft pick-ups.

Lyft Vehicle Requirements

Having met the Lyft drivers’ criteria, your vehicle also needs to meet certain standard requirements before you can begin working for Lyft.

The standard requirements include:

  • Four (4) door vehicle model year 2004 or newer.
  • All tires should be in good working condition.
  • Windows, mirrors, and windshields in proper working condition.
  • Properly functioning lights, horn, seatbelts, heating and air conditioning units.
  • Should have proper working Engine, transmission, suspension, steering, and brakes.

To ensure your vehicle meet these standards, driver applicants must go through a car inspection process.

Since this varies from city to city, it is important that a Lyft Mentor or a mechanic perform the inspection process.

These instructions will be given to you upon your application.


Pro Tip:  The requirements to become a Lyft driver and those to become an Uber driver aren’t too different.  There are quite a few proprietary perks to working for each platform, so we always suggest driving for both services.  This is especially helpful when driving as a full-time job.


Driving Record Check

It is necessary that they get your driving record from your state DMV.

There are offenses that may disqualify you from driving for Lyft.

To pass this, the applicant needs to meet the following criteria:

  1. Be at least 21 years of age.
  2. Be a holder of a current U.S. driver’s license for over one year.
  3. A maximum of three moving violations (accidents, signage and traffic light violations etc.) in the preceding three years.
  4. No major violations (reckless driving, driving while suspended etc.) in the preceding seven years.
  5. Lack of drug-related driving violations or DUIs in the preceding seven years.
  6. No extreme infractions (hit-and-runs, felonies using a vehicle) in the preceding seven years.

Background Check

A background check is also important to ensure that you are a law abiding citizen.

This background checks is done by a third party and may stretch back to 7 (seven) years.

To pass this, the applicant cannot have convictions for the following offenses within that time:

  1. Theft
  2. Property damage
  3. Felonies
  4. Drug-related offenses
  5. Violent crimes
  6. Sexual offenses

Besides this, applications from individuals who are on the DoJ 50-state Sex Offender Registry and/or the National Sex Offender Registry will be rejected outright, regardless of how long before the application the individual was placed on either of those registries.

In the event you fail your background check, you will get a detailed copy through mail together with instructions on how you can appeal or contest the results.[divider]

2. The Lyft Driver Application

Having met the driver and vehicle requirements, the process becomes even easier.

All you need to do is:

  1. Create an account either on your smartphone or on your PC.
  2. Enter the necessary basic information such as your name, address and contact information.
  3. Submit the information needed for:
    • Vehicle check
    • Driving history check
    • Proof of identity
    • Basic driver requirements

Wait for feedback or check your application status.

Once ready with the relevant information, an applicant simply has to register the details online or through the Lyft app.

The background check also has to be authorized.

And the final step…

The applicant has to sign into the app and register for a Welcome Ride with a mentor, an experienced Lyft driver.

It is not a requirement for all areas – the instructions during the application process will inform the applicant if it is required.

Occasionally, it may not be possible for a mentor to be matched up immediately; in this case, the applicant should drive to the city’s coverage area between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The Lyft app will typically match up a mentor with the applicant within about 15 minutes.

The Welcome Ride

The Welcome Ride is an induction/initiation that allows you to ask a veteran Lyft driver any questions you might have and clarify your doubts and concerns about driving with Lyft.

Before the start of the Welcome Ride, a vehicle inspection will be conducted.

This may be performed by the mentor or a certified mechanic, depending on the city.

It is advisable for the vehicle to be washed, polished and the interior vacuumed.

The 19-point inspection may incur a $20 assessment fee, and this may vary between cities.

How long?

It typically takes about 45 minutes to complete.

When this has been completed, the mentor will verify your license, registration, and insurance information and forward photos of the relevant documents via the app for official record purposes.

The Welcome Ride itself is a test drive of about ten minutes that the applicant takes the mentor on within the coverage area.

After the Welcome Ride has been completed, the applicant has to wait for the verification of details by the DMV and the background check approval.

Once these are completed, the applicant will become an official Lyft driver.[divider]

3. Lyft Driver Pay

Many drivers say the main draw is that they have direct control over what they earn.

Drivers are paid 80% of the total fare.

How much to expect?

For these Lyft jobs, the actual pay depends on the number of hours worked.

To accept a ride, a driver has to open the app and go into driver mode.

A list of clients and their locations and destinations will be displayed and the driver can choose whichever he finds most appropriate.

When he picks the passenger up, the driver confirms this through the app.

At the end of the ride, the app processes the payment.

Both driver and customer can then rate each other between 1 and 5 stars.

This Lyft jobs program also has introduced a number of bonus incentives.

These include the new Lyft driver bonus for completing a certain number of rides within a period of time.


There are Daily and Weekly Guarantees as well – if you opt into them before the start of the calculation period and maintain the acceptance rates specified, you are guaranteed of being paid for those hours even if you do not actually end up driving them!

Drivers whose acceptance rate is over 90%, and who drive more than 50 hours a week (10 during peak times), are awarded a 20% bonus.

Those whose clock between 30 and 50 hours are given a 10% bonus.

Clients are charged a premium for rides in peak times and this allows drivers to increase their pay.

Customers may also give tips – 100% of tips go straight to the driver.

The pay calculation period starts on Monday and ends on Sunday.

They process direct deposits from Tuesday onward.

Unless you use Express Pay!

This allows payouts every day if needed.

Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors and receive the appropriate variation of the 1099 Tax form for earning from the previous year.

How is the Fare Calculated?

When working for Lyft as a driver, it is important to remember that your pay is calculated based on a set criterion.

The pay calculation starts once you pick your passenger and are on your way.

You also get paid for the time that you will spend waiting.

In the event you canceled the ride before the timer is out without calling the potential passenger, you forfeit the waiting fee.

The ride fare includes the following amounts:

  • The base fare which is the amount the passenger pays to start the ride.
  • The cost per mile which is the amount per mile covered from the start of your ride and within the region you are designated to work.
  • Cost per minute is the amount you earn per minute in the area where your ride commences.

There is a minimum fare, which is the least amount of money that passengers will be charged even if the ride is short.

Any trip that falls short of the minimum fare is automatically rounded up to this amount.

There is a maximum fare which applies as a flat rate for longer than average rides.

There is an average distance that Lyft rides cover, which is an average of three miles.


You can get tips from customers.

The driver earns 100 % of the tip amount.

The platform includes tipping to ensure that passengers have an easy time saying thanks.

You can keep track of your earnings on the earnings tab of the driver’s portal.

Here you can view your weekly and daily earning totals.

Lyft totals the earnings each week and processes direct deposits every Tuesday.

These paychecks transfer to your account by the end of the week.


Pro Tip:  The little things can make a big impact on a passenger’s experience, and can ‘tip’ the odds in your favor for a tip!  For example, keeping an extra phone charger (it helps to have one for iPhones and one for Android phones) available can be a great little perk for a lot of customers.


Safety and Insurance

Lyft provides a generous insurance package to cover its drivers and passengers.

From the time a driver accepts a ride to the end of that ride:

  • $1,000,000 Commercial Auto Liability – property damage and/or personal injury to driver and/or passengers and/or third parties.
  • $2,500 deductible & $50,000 maximum – optional coverage for drivers.
  • Contingent Comprehensive & Collision – optional coverage for drivers.
  • $1,000,000 Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist – property damage and/or personal injury to a driver and/or passengers and/or third parties if caused by Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist.

From the time is in the Lyft app’s ‘Driver Mode’ until he accepts a ride:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident/$25,000 property damage Contingent Liability – property damage and/or personal injury to driver and/or passengers and/or third parties

If the driver has commercial insurance or personal policy that covers ride-sharing, these amounts will be in excess of that insurance.

Aside from this, all clients booking rides must submit personal credit card information.

This serves to personally identify them for an extra layer of safety for the driver and his vehicle.

It is important to realize that whenever you are not on driver mode and aren’t waiting for ride requests, your own motor insurance cover applies in the case of damage occurring.

How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?

The amount you make may vary from city to city.

Basically, you are your own boss and you determine how much you will make.

Making the Most of Working for Lyft

Unlike your traditional job where everyone may end up making the same amount from day 1, the savvier driver can take home much more than others.

With staying on the job comes more experience comes tricks that ensure you are making the most of working for lift.

Here are some of the most fundamental tricks to observe:

  • Be strategic on where and when you drive.  Cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles are hot spots for making more money with Lyft.
  • Follow the party. Friday and Saturday nights and Holidays like Thanks Giving and July 4th create a demand for rides.
  • When other drivers are not driving; like 3-7 a.m. airport rides, walk of shame rides etc.

Average Hourly Guarantees

This is a program that applies in select cities.

Average hours guarantees assure you of average gross earnings if you drive during your eligible hours.

You need to fill each hour by using driver mode for at least 50 minutes and also fulfill the completed ride requirement.

Each ride counts towards this hour.

The guaranteed amounts differ from hour to hour.

Weekly Guarantees

You can earn a weekly guarantee after becoming approved.

The first week starts at 5 a.m. after approval.

It is possible for a driver to qualify for one or all of the weeks designated for a weekly guarantee.

The Guarantee criterion is quite simple:

  • You have to enter complete rides that will count towards the goal.
  • There is no ride-per-hour requirement.
  • They combine all the tips and eligible ride payments to check whether they exceed or come below the guarantee.
  • If the total amount falls short, then Lyft meets it.


Pro Tip:  People (especially rideshare customers) are creatures of habit.  Just by paying a little attention, you can easily figure out which hours will be busy and which will be slow.  You can also start to understand when to expect Prime Time rates (more on that below) so as to earn more per fare.


Prime Time

An extra percentage adds to the base ride amount when the demand for rides exceeds available drivers.

This percentage is only added to the subtotal before the addition of other amounts fees like airport fees, taxes and service fees.

You will know if the ride was a Prime Time ride at the end of the ride.

Daily summary reports also show Prime Time rides highlighted in green.

Power Driver Bonuses

This is a program for rewarding the most dedicated drivers.

This program can increase a driver’s earnings by 20%.

How do you do it?

The power driver bonus requires that you have a 2011 car model or newer, meet the criteria on the Drivers Dashboard and maintain an acceptance rate of 90 percent.

Your weekly transfer includes the bonus amount.[divider]

Bonus: More About Driving Jobs with Lyft

There are more benefits that you get to enjoy working for Lyft, many of which you cannot find in other rideshare companies.

From Lyft driver signup bonuses to their comprehensive insurance package, when you become a Lyft driver, you’re in good hands.

Benefits of Driving for Lyft

There are numerous benefits for driving for lift.

These include:

  • Flexible working hours; you get to choose the most convenient day and time.
  • You get to earn initial sign-up bonuses.
  • Lyft has a better company culture. It allows your passengers to add tips to the fare, takes less cuts and give you an opportunity to earn a bigger percentage of the total weekly fare if you fulfill the given number of rides per week.
  • The pay is decent; whether you are experienced or a beginner, Lyft offers a steady income.
  • Lyft gives you an insurance cover at no extra costs. This helps protect you when you are using your car commercially, something your traditional insurance cover will not do.

Lyft Driver Referral Bonus

You can earn some extra money simply by signing up and using a Lyft driver promo code.

You have to meet certain requirements before you can earn the bonus amount, which also differs across cities.

Go ahead and begin the signup process here, and be sure to use referral code DRIVEGYFT when prompted to receive your bonus!

Car Rentals for Lyft Drivers

Lyft provides rental cars for drivers wishing to work with the company, but they don’t have vehicles of their own.

The program starts you off with a weekly rental rate then the rates go down the more you drive.

You get to work for Lyft and also have the vehicle for personal use.

Lyft Driver Insurance

Lyft is the only rideshare company that provides insurance cover for its drivers in addition to their own personal insurance covers.

The insurance cover comes at no extra costs to the driver.

The insurance cover gives a liability of up to $ 1M.[divider]

Driving for Lyft FAQs


Thankfully, a lot of people end up with the same ones.

So we’ve got a common list of them along with answers to help you along.

How does pay work?

When passengers pay, drivers get a percentage of the ride fare.

Deposits occur automatically every week.

You can then withdraw your earnings using Express Pay even before your weekly deposits.

If the payments take longer, it is possible that your bank is still processing your payment or there was a holiday.

It is important to ensure that your debit/credit card information is valid.[divider]

Can I cancel my express pay transactions?

Once you cash out with Express Pay, there is no going back.[divider]

Is there a limit on Express Pay?

Yes, there is a limit as to how much you can cash out using express pay.

The current limit is $ 3,000.[divider]

Can I drive for Lyft as a second job?

You get to choose when to work.

It is possible to drive just several hours during your off time and earn a decent pay. [divider]

How Safe is Lyft?

Safety is very important.

The platform runs comprehensive background checks on drivers and also provide up to $ 1M commercial liability insurance cover policy.

The app also includes numerous integrated safety features.

Drivers and passengers also rate each other after the ride to ensure continuing high standards.