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3 Easy Ways to Become a Top Earning Lyft Driver (2020)

If you are looking for a job that will pay you handsomely and will let you interact with many people, you should consider looking at how to become a Lyft driver.

With many rideshare companies emerging recently, there is no dearth of driving jobs in the country.

In fact, of all such companies, Lyft is certainly one of the most flexible and rewarding ones.

It gives you full freedom to decide on your working hours and offers you an opportunity to earn money provided you meet certain requirements.

Want to try working for Lyft?

Read on until the end, and you will develop a fair idea on how to do so and how much would you be able to earn.

Plus, if you’re interested in spreading the word of mouth, you can receive a handsome sign-on bonus.

And you can also refer others to earn further benefits!

How to Become a Lyft Driver

1. Do Your Due Diligence

To maximize your time here and get going on making money as quickly as possible, it helps to know what you’re getting into first.

There are steps you must follow to become a Lyft driver.

Like any other job.

You would first need to check the requirements to see if you or your vehicle is eligible or not.

No one wants to waste time applying if they’re not eligible, so it pays to check first.

If eligible, you will have to fill out the application, which is pretty quick and easy.

Upon application approval, you should be aware of the terms of and conditions of driving for Lyft.

Check Requirements for Lyft Driving Jobs

Lyft ensures that they maintain high safety standards for the services that they offer.

It’s better for everyone.

To be eligible for driving with Lyft, both driver and the vehicle need to meet certain requirements as laid down by the company.

Some of these requirements do vary depending on the state, but on the whole, they are more or less similar and apply for every driver or vehicle who wishes to be a part of the Lyft platform.

Lyft Driver Requirements

Driving for Lyft requires the driver to meet the safety standards and regulations as laid down by the company.

The list of requirements for taking up a driving job at Lyft requires the driver to:

  • be at least 21 years of age
  • have a clean driving record
  • have a valid driving license for a minimum of 1 year
  • pass the criminal background check
  • be insured on the vehicle that he intends to drive

Lyft Vehicle Requirements

It is not only the drivers who have to comply with the list of requirements.

There are a certain set of requirements for the vehicle as well.

These are listed below:

  • The model year of the vehicle should be 2005 or later. It varies from state to state, with some states allowing vehicles from 2007 or even 2010.
  • The vehicle should have 4 doors that can be opened from interior and exterior and can be locked or unlocked by the passengers
  • The major parts of the vehicle like the brakes, steering, suspension, engine, wipers and horns should be fully functional and safe.
  • Including the driver, there should 5 seat belts which should be functional
  • The vehicle should have headlights, turn lights, brake lights, and reverse lights
  • The body of the vehicle should be free of dents, scratches or damages
  • The tires of the vehicle should need sufficient tread.
  • Vehicle should have fully functional air conditioner and heat system
  • Windshields and mirrors should be free of cracks and the windows must be fully functional
  • The exhaust system of the vehicle should meet the state standards
Loan a Car for Lyft Jobs

If you do not own a car, that should not be a showstopper for you to become a Lyft driver.

You can certainly look for options where you can loan a car, if not buy one.

Lyft Driver Application

Complete the Lyft Driver Application

Applying to become a driver at Lyft is a fairly easy and uncomplicated task.

You can apply after downloading the app or even from the website.

Once the online application form is filled and submitted, you will wait for basic approval from Lyft’s side where they will approve your application and pass it on to the Lyft mentor to do a survey of the car along with verifying and uploading your documents.

No worries; it’s painless.

Once all the formalities are done, you can use the same app as the passengers, with the difference that you click on the steering icon on the top right for driver mode.

Driving for Lyft Online Application

You would have to first create an account by providing some basic information like name, city, contact number and your email address.

Our advice?

Connect through Facebook and save some time.

Upon agreeing to the terms and conditions, you punch in your 4-digit verification code (will send via text).

This is done to verify the phone number actually.

Upon successful verification of the phone, you would need to input the driver and vehicle-related information.

The pieces information that would need to be provided here are:

  • Make of the vehicle
  • Model of the vehicle
  • Color of the vehicle
  • The number of your driver’s license
  • Registration number of the vehicle
  • Information of the insurance carrier

You do not need to upload the documents yourself at this point of time.

Once the form has been filled, you need to approve a state disclosures page, followed by an approval wherein you grant permission for Lyft to conduct a background check on you.

Once you clear the background check, a Lyft mentor would meet you to inspect your vehicle, take your photograph, verify and upload your documents.

It is very important to keep the car in the best conditions so that the mentor is satisfied with the maintenance of the car.

This mentor would be mentoring you on the basic to-dos as a driver.

Should you have any questions, you can feel free to ask the mentor and get them clarified.

Driving Record Check

An important part of getting qualified as a driver with Lyft is to clear the driving record check.

A third party agency conducts the driving record check.

It basically checks on the following points; there should not be:

  1. More than three instances of moving violations like traffic light violations or accidents in the last three years.
  2. Any instance of reckless driving, driving on suspended license in the last three years.
  3. DUI or DWI violations in last seven years.
  4. Charges of a hit-and-run or any criminal offense that involves a motor vehicle in the last seven years.

The Background Check

Along with checking your driving records, Lyft would also want to conduct a thorough criminal background check on all the potential drivers who want to become a Lyft driver.

Safety first!

To ensure that they have checked every possibility of you not holding any criminal background, the company checks both state as well as federal databases.

To clear the background check, you should not have any of the following criminal offenses in the last seven years.

  • Serious crimes like rape or murder.
  • Drug-related offenses.
  • Sexual offenses.
  • Any offense of theft or causing damage to any property.

The checks require a good amount of time and could take as much as two to three weeks.

If you do not clear both the driving record check and the background check, your application will be rejected and you will be notified via email.

If you clear these, the approval email will be sent to you.

What to Expect as a Lyft Driver

2. Know What to Expect as a Lyft Driver

The thing about new jobs is:  it takes awhile to learn the ropes.

At an hourly paying job, that’s not such a big deal because you earn the same wage no matter when you come up to speed.

Rideshare is different.

If you do a little research – or in your case, simply read this article – you’ll be much more prepared and therefore will earn higher fares right from the get-go.

The following are things you should definitely know before giving your first ride.

How to Drive for Lyft

Once you become an approved driver, you can start taking passengers in your car.

The process is fairly simple through the driver app.

This is what you need to do:

  1. You open the app and turn on driver mode.
  2. Once you get a ride request message, accept that by tapping the screen.
  3. Pick up the passenger and confirm the same by tapping the confirm arrival option on the screen.

At the end of the ride, you do not need to take any payment from the passenger, as the app will charge the credit card that the passenger has already saved with Lyft.

Staying Active While Working for Lyft

To continue to be eligible for driving with Lyft, you would need to ensure that your account is in an active status.

To maintain the active status of your account, you will have to:

  • Take at least one ride every month
  • Update the insurance information as applicable
  • Avoid getting too many cancellations against your account

How Much Do Lyft Drivers Make?

Driver earnings vary from city to city.  But the question still remains, how much do Lyft drivers make?

If you are driving in a major city like New York your earning would be much more than someone who drives in smaller cities like Austin or Boston.

What about tips?

The driver keeps 100% of tips from passengers.

Apart from this, there are certain tricks to maximize your pay.

Tricks to Maximize Lyft Driver Pay

3. Utilizing Tricks to Maximize Lyft Driver Pay

Apart from the general pay, there are other ways to maximize your earnings as a driver who drives for Lyft.

This does not include any unfair means but involves the implementation of a thoughtful strategy.

To maximize your earning, you could:

  • Drive during rush hours and weekends
  • Get qualified for power driver bonus
  • Drive in the areas where there is high demand. You can follow the heat map on the app to understand the areas where the real-time demand of Lyft cars is high. You will receive the prime time commission for catering during the hours of demand.
  • Create a good impression in the passenger’s mind by keeping the car clean and by driving well and safely. A satisfied customer would tip you, which you can keep without sharing with Lyft.
  • You can try to refer as many new customers to Lyft as possible. The company will pay with $10 per new customer as a referral bonus.

Maintain a High Rating

In an attempt to keep a tab on the performance of the drivers, Lyft encourages their customers to rate the drivers on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best) at the end of the ride.

An average driver rating of 4.8 or above is what all Lyft drivers should gun for.

If you manage to get a higher rating, it will benefit you in many ways.


Well, a customer who rates you a 5 is a satisfied one; hence you can expect a tip from him.

However, it is not only the passengers who get an opportunity to rate.

The driver also gets a fair chance of rating the passenger on a similar scale of 1 to 5.

Anything less than 4 would require a feedback from the driver as in why he rated the passenger poorly.

If you have rated a customer wrongly, you can get that changed after following a certain set of protocols.


Pro Tip:  It’s the little things that cause passengers to give a 5-star rating.  Small courtesies such as having a spare phone charging cord available and offering some tissue and/or water or a small snack can go a long way.


Drive During Prime Time

Prime-time occurs when the demand for cars is high and the number of available cars is less.

Passengers pay an additional amount over and above the regular fare when a passenger books a car during prime time

Here’s an example.

If the prime time charges are 50% of the original fare (that includes the base fare, travel time and travel distance fare), a 10$ ride becomes $15.

A major percentage of this additional amount adds to the driver’s paycheck, thereby increasing his earning potential manifolds.

It isn’t always the same.

The amount varies based on supply and demand.

It depends on the location and changes every second.

The percentage hike on the fare as applicable displays on the customer’s screen before the ride, and at the driver’s screen at the end of it.


Pro Tip:  You can make even more by doubling up and becoming an Uber driver too!  By driving for both, you can take advantage of benefits of each that the other doesn’t have (ex. Uber’s higher demand vs. Lyft’s tip allowance).  Plus during heavy demand times, you can earn more with Lyft’s prime time and Uber’s surge pricing.


Power Driver Bonuses

This is another nice way to boost your income by 20%.

This is a program where Lyft rewards its best drivers for the time they spend on the roads.

Meet the power driver bonus.

To qualify for this bonus, you need to drive a car whose make is not older than 2011.

Also, you need to meet the minimum ride requirements as defined in the driver dashboard of your account.

Additionally, the third eligibility criteria is an acceptance rate of at least 90%, which means that you cannot have a ride cancellation percentage of anything more than 10%.

The power driver bonus earnings accumulate in the driver’s account and payout with the weekly transfers.

Hourly & Weekly Guarantees

To ensure that variable conditions do not alter or shortchange your earnings, you can opt for hourly and weekly guarantees.

Guaranteed income?

Tell me more.

To qualify for the hourly guarantee, you will have to opt-in for each of the pay weeks, maintain a weekly acceptance rate of 90% and spend at least 50 minutes in the driver mode along with meeting the requirements of completed rides.

To qualify for weekly guarantees, you will have to get your approval as a Lyft driver within 30 days of application.

In addition to that, you will have to meet criteria related to acceptance rates, driving hours and number of rides.

There are a couple of things common in the hourly and weekly guarantee programs.

Limited cities offer these guarantees.

In both of the programs, if you do not hit the guaranteed amount on your own, Lyft will make up for the missing amount on your behalf.

Lyft Driver Referral

Lyft Driver Referral

With the help of this referral program, existing and new Lyft drivers can earn a referral bonus which is quite a hefty one.

Just spread the word.

You can begin the signup process at lyft.com.

Simply use the referral code DRIVEGYFT when prompted for a promo code.

So, you can use this code at the time of application when you fill out the online form, and when they approve the referred driver, you should have a good rating.

For new drivers to be eligible for the referral bonus, they should enter the referral code in the relevant field.

In addition to this, the individual being referred should earn approval within 30 days of applying and must meet the required number of rides within the first 30 days after qualifying.

The maximum number of eligible rides per passenger is two when calculating the number of rides.

Utilize Express Pay

A nifty perk of being a Lyft driver is that you can use Express Pay.

It’s pretty simple.

Basically, you can withdraw money before payday.

Within a few hours to a few days (it depends on your bank), you can have money before your weekly deposit.

Everyone can relate to the problem sometimes of needing money before payday.

Am I right?

If you’d like more information about this or would like to read more about it, check out Lyft’s help page for Express Pay.

How to Become a Lyft Driver Q&A

How do you become a Lyft driver?

The full, detailed list is above, but the gist is that you must:

  • Be 21 years or older.
  • Have a minimum of one year of driving experience.
  • Be insured to drive.
  • Have in-state insurance on the vehicle; your name doesn’t have to be on the registration, but it does have to be on the insurance.
  • Have an in-state driver’s license.

Can you drive for Lyft if you have a DUI?

No.  Lyft does a driving record check and a background check.  They will not approve anyone with any DUI or drug-related driving violations within seven years.  These checks screen out people with these offenses.

How long does it take to be approved by Lyft?

It varies.  After applying, they need to inspect your car, verify your identity, check your car insurance, and do a test drive with you to confirm that you’re a safe and friendly driver.  If your mentor passes you after the first steps, the background check will begin at that point.  You must pass the background check (this takes between 48 hours and 2 weeks) to become approved.

Jimmy has been interested in technology and smartphone apps for some time now.  These interests have helped OnDemandly.com come to life.  Through personal experience working for DoorDash and Uber for over a decade, this blog's helpful guides have become popular pieces for many of our long-time visitors to understand the on-demand landscape.