How To: Know the Basics Before You Become a Lyft Driver

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  • How To: Know the Basics Before You Become a Lyft Driver
PUBLISHED BY Alwin Wong / February 5, 2021

How to Become a Lyft Driver 

Are you looking for a flexible gig job that has lots of variety? Are you always on the go? Do you love meeting people? If you answered yes to these questions, driving for Lyft is the right gig for you! 

What is Lyft?


Lyft a ridesharing platform. A better alternative to traditional taxis, Lyft lets people use their own cars to give lifts to passengers. Passengers request rides using the Lyft app, letting drivers know where they want to be picked up, and where they’re going. All payment is no-contact through the app, with no cash changing hands. For a side-by-side comparison, check out our ‘How to Drive For Uber‘ page. 

What is the application process like?

Wondering how to apply to be a Lyft driver? First, you’ll need to create a Lyft account. You’ll need to have a valid driver’s licensecomplete the online application, and meet the Lyft driver requirements 

Here’s the list of Lyft driver qualifications. You must: 

  • Have a valid driver’s license in the state where you’ll be driving 
  • Have at least one year of licensed driving experience 
  • Be at least 21 years old. In some states, you must be 25 years old. 
  • Have valid insurance for your vehicle 

Here are some of the other criteria to be a Lyft driver:  

  • You may need to own a newer vehicle (this will depend on what city you live in) 
  • Your car must not be on the list of ineligible subcompact vehicles 
  • Your car must have four doors and a minimum of five seatbelts 
  • Depending on where you live, your car may need to be inspected by a state-certified mechanic 
  • You’ll also need a smartphone that can run the Lyft app 

How long is the Lyft application process? It usually takes about 30 minutes to fill in the online forms. Then you’ll need to get your vehicle inspected (Lyft will tell you where to go for this), and Lyft will screen your application, which includes looking at your driving history and running a background check. So, how long does it take to become a Lyft driver? In total, this process should take a couple of weeks. 

Signup incentives and driver incentives

Looking for information about the Lyft driver sign up bonusPromotions will change depending on where you drive but may include a $1000 earnings guarantee if you complete 125 rides in your first 30 days on the platform. If you don’t earn $1000 with those 125 rides, Lyft will make up the difference.  

Another recent signup bonus offered new drivers a 25% Power Driver Bonus on all rides for the first three months on the platform. Drivers also receive a bonus for every successful driver referral they make. 

Lyft also offers several types of driver incentives and bonuses, including: 

  • Realtime bonuses
    These become available when demand for rides is high
    , and you’ll unlock the bonus after completing a ride 
  • Scheduled bonuses
    show up on Sundays for the coming week, when demand is expected to be high. Scheduled bonuses include:

    • Ride Streaks (completing back-to-back rides when it’s busy)
    • Earnings Guarantees (earn a guaranteed amount for completing a set number of rides in a specified time)
    • Ride Challenges (earn a bonus for completing a set number of rides in a specified time)

What’s the average salary of a Lyft driver?

Lyft breaks down driver work into three separate periods: 

  1. After signing into the app 
  2. After accepting a ride request 
  3. Driving a passenger to their destination 

In the U.S., Lyft reports that the average driver salary for periods 2 and 3 is $29.47/hour nationally 

This number goes down when time spent waiting for a ride request (period 1) is taken into account2018 survey showed that overall, Lyft drivers earned an average salary of $17.50/hor. 

Here are some other important salary considerations: 

  • Drivers in large cities like New York or Los Angeles will usually earn higher rates than drivers in smaller urban areas 
  • Lyft drivers typically earn more tips than Uber drivers 
  • Drivers are responsible for insurance, car payments, vehicle maintenance, and fuel, and these must be factored in when calculating your earnings 

How to maximize your earnings on Lyft 

Still thinking about how to drive for Lyft and get the most benefit from it? The best way to maximize your earnings on Lyft is to drive full-time. Aim for at least 40 hours each week, hitting the busiest periods in your area. Be sure to participate in any driver bonuses you’re eligible for, and drive when surge pricing is in effect. 

Looking for extra cash to help with your gig workAs a Lyft driver, you can qualify for a cash advance from Moves, the perfect alternative to Lyft loans. Get started today by clicking ‘Apply Now’ above. Keep up to date with the gig economy and industry news, tips, and resources by subscribing to our blog below! 

Alwin Wong

Alwin is the Growth Manager at Moves and a part-time freelance photographer. With the rise of the gig economy, he is excited by a world where people can have greater flexibility over their work and challenge the norms of having a traditional 9-to-5 job. Alwin is also an avid travel enthusiast and Toronto Raptors basketball fan.

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