Early morning flight? No one wants to be the designated driver? It used to be there were only two options for those with a budget, you asked a friend or used some type of taxi service (most public transportation options aren’t open this early or late). Taxi’s can be expensive, dirty, feel unsafe, and were often cash only, so with the advent of the smartphone and apps, the ridesharing app idea was born. Uber came along in 2009 with Lyft following three years later in 2012.
What is ridesharing?
Ridesharing companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, provide a safe and clean alternative of transportation through an app. It allows riders to hail a driver without cash as the app is set-up to charge your card. No form of payment between driver and riders happen, creating a safer environment. Drivers, using their everyday cars, sign up to be a Lyft driver and go through an extensive background and car check. Drivers (hello, college student needing to make extra money!) use the app to pick up riders who need a ride. Instead of driving around with empty seats in your car, you can fill them and make extra money doing it!
Because ridesharing exploded in popularity in the past couple of years, the market has been flooded with drivers. If you don’t pay attention, the gas and wear and tear on your car can end up costing you more than you make. However, it is still possible to make money being a driver.
These eight tips will help you learn the best ways to make money using Lyft:
1. Decide if this is something you want to pursue full-time, part-time, or just in your spare time. Plan accordingly to make the money you desire!
2. Learn the best times to drive in your community/city. Ask yourself these questions: When do the bars close down? When does public transportation start/end to the airport for the early and late arrivals? Be smart about pickups. If you are taking someone to the airport, stick around the airport to take someone back to town. Talk to a fellow driver in your city and learn from their expertise.
3. If you are a two-car family, leave the gas guzzler at home and drive the car that gets the best gas mileage. Gas will eat into your bottom line fast!
4. Lyft allows tipping to be added via your rider’s app payment or in cash. Tipping is not obligatory with the ridesharing service, but unlike with Uber, it can be added in a cashless way, providing an easier (and more likely!) tipping experience when you wow your riders!
5. Take advantage of the variety of promos and referral codes when you are starting out because it can give you a good bump of a couple of hundred dollars. You can get a referral code from a fellow Lyft driver, so check with your friends, coworkers, or a driver you like to also give someone a bump as well.
6. Make sure to drive when it is hottest. If you want to make money driving for Lyft, you can’t look at it as a 9-5 job. Weekend nights after a big ball game, the bars are closing, etc., these are the times to make the best money with Lyft. Also any holiday where alcohol plays a central role (such as New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day), set aside your party hat and hit the roads.
7. Lyft gives you ultimate control and flexibility over your schedule. And time is money!
8. Think beyond the road. Driving isn’t the only way you can make your money. Use the time with passengers to mentor new drivers (see tip #5 about those referral codes!) and to network. For example, if you are a graphic designer or an editor, network with your passengers to gain business in more areas than just your driving. Or consider delivery services or ads on your car. There are more opportunities to make money with your car than you realize!
If you are still exploring the options of becoming a Lyft driver, here are a few important things to know up front impacting your eligibility. You must have a car make from 2004 or later (although, some cities regulations require a car to be even later, so check it out), and your car is required to have five functioning seat belts and four doors WITH handles. You have to have a smartphone, and you must have insurance and driver’s license in the state you are working for at least a year. You and your car will have an extensive check. These rules and regulations are part of what makes Lyft a safe alternative.
If you have gone back to school, are underemployed, or just want to make some side cash, driving for Lyft can help you fill in the holes and gaps and provide your budget a boost if you follow these eight tips!