If you’ve ever used Lyft to get around, or even if you’ve only heard of it, you may have thought about becoming a driver for the company.
Being a Lyft driver can be satisfying and add a little padding to your wallet, but there are some important things you should consider before jumping right in. If you’re wondering, “Should I become a Lyft driver?” here is an analysis to help you determine the pros and cons.
You May Earn Less Than You Assume
There are a lot of factors that will determine how much you will actually earn as a Lyft driver, including:
- Lyft’s commission: You’ll hand over 20% to 25% of your earnings each paycheck
- Car insurance payments: Driving for a living requires changes to your auto policy that may result in premium increases.
- Maintaining and repairing your car: The extra wear and tear on your vehicle often adds up to more frequent repair bills.
- Taxes: You’ll be required to pay state and federal income taxes on the money you make.
Nerdwallet studied Lyft drivers in 14 of the largest markets and found that drivers would need to provide 84 rides a week to earn a living wage of $50,000 a year.[i] For many drivers, hitting that magic number won’t be easy, depending upon the number of hours you can commit and whether you’re available during peak times. These more lucrative hours when Lyft pays more, tend to be early in the morning or late at night. This is especially true during conventions, concerts, or sporting events.
Lyft also shuts off a driver’s app after 14 hours to ensure driver safety. Since you won’t be able to get customers for another six-hours, you’ll need to drive consistently for multiple days to reach the minimum number of hours you’ll need to make a living.
Anticipate the Demands of the Job
Driving for Lyft isn’t for everyone. For example, if you don’t consider yourself a “people person,” you may want to think twice about investing your time in driving for Lyft. If you’re more of an introvert, you could appear angry or irritated to passengers, something that could score you a bad rating and affect your future with the company. You will have to communicate with a wide variety of people as a Lyft driver, so be prepared for a lot of small talk.
You should also be ready for prolonged sitting. This can take a toll on your body, especially your back and legs.
And, of course, you’ll need to constantly keep your car spotless inside and out. This could mean frequent car washes and detailing.
You May Want to Drive for Uber Too
A lot of Lyft drivers find it more lucrative to alternate between Lyft and Uber. Each service offers better rates at different times of the day. By signing up with both, you increase the odds of getting a higher rate for your rides.
It’s also a good way to find out whether you prefer one over the other. Many people find that Lyft is more driver-friendly, but Uber’s wage is higher.
Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
There are a lot of requirements that Lyft drivers must meet. You must:
- Be 21 years old or older
- Have an active U.S. driver’s license for at least one year
- Pass a background and DMV check
- Have current auto insurance with your name on the policy
Now that you’ve read all of these considerations, you can make the choice that makes the most sense for you. If you have questions about getting car insurance as a Lyft driver, you can always contact the Bolt Insurance team for answers.
[i] Stephen Antczak. “11 Things to Know Before Becoming an Uber or Lyft Driver.” Forbes, Apr. 23, 2017. Web.