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Drive with Lyft

Looking to make some extra cash? Get your side hustle on by driving with Lyft.

Drive with Lyft

Lyft employs more than 100,000 drivers across the country looking to make extra money shuttling passengers. But you’ll be an independent contractor rather than an employee, which means you get none of the benefits that come with a full-time job.

How does driving with Lyft work?

Lyft is a ridesharing company that connects riders with drivers based on their location. Lyft drivers work as independent contractors, which offers the flexibility to set preferred hours and availability.

Lyft drivers log into the Lyft app, turn on driver mode and potential passengers appear as ride requests. When the driver accepts the ride request, they pick the passenger up at their preferred location.

Once the ride is complete, payment is processed automatically through the app. Passengers also have the opportunity to rate and tip their driver once the ride ends.

  • Keep 100% of your tips
  • Create your own hours
  • Get a pay boost for driving during prime hours

Our top pick: Lyft

Join for free and earn weekly bonuses.

  • Rate passengers and choose which riders to pick up
  • Connect with other drivers through the Lyft community
  • Have a voice in the company through the Driver Advisory Council
  • Get started without a car with Lyft Express Drive
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How much can I make?

Lyft suggests you can make up to $35 an hour as a driver, but there’s no guarantee you’ll receive that amount. The average rideshare driver makes between $12.41 and $23.15 an hour, according to a survey by Gridwise. Pay is based on the time and distance of a ride, and Lyft takes a 25% commission on your earnings.

Lyft has subregion pricing and Prime Time pricing during peak hours, which means your earnings hinge heavily on where and when you drive. Drivers also have the opportunity to earn more by driving luxury vehicles for Lyft’s Lux, Lux Black and Lux Black XL service tiers.

How do I get paid?

Drivers must submit their banking and tax information to be paid weekly through the Lyft Driver app. Lyft payments can only be made to checking accounts. You’ll also need to select your tax classification and add your Social Security number.

Weekly payments are generally initiated by Lyft on Tuesdays at 5 a.m., though some drivers report being paid on Monday. Drivers typically receive their pay within three to five business days. Drivers can also opt into Express Pay, which allows drivers to cash out eligible earnings of $5.50 to $3,000 up to five times daily.

Do I get tips?

Lyft offers passengers the opportunity to leave driver tips through the Lyft app or in cash. Tipping is optional and drivers receive 100% of their passenger’s tips.

Where is Lyft available?

Lyft is available in all 50 states, but it’s not yet available in all rural areas and small towns. Lyft has been increasing coverage over the last several years, and adds new towns regularly.

To find out if Lyft is available where you’re at, download the app and request a ride or sign up to drive online.

How to sign up as a driver

Interested in getting behind the wheel? Here’s how to get rolling and drive with Lyft:

  1. Start the application process on Lyft’s website by entering your full name, email address, mobile phone number and the city you plan to drive in.
  2. Next, enter your vehicle’s make, model, year, color, number of doors and number of seat belts.
  3. Enter your Social Security number.
  4. Upload a photo of your US driver’s license.
  5. Review Lyft’s terms and conditions.

Complete your application by uploading photos of your vehicle registration and insurance. Add a driver photo and review Lyft’s 19-point vehicle inspection checklist.

Lyft will conduct a background check to review your driving history. You’ll also need to schedule an appointment for your vehicle’s inspection.

Driver requirements

Eligibility criteria varies by state, so you’ll want to check Lyft’s website for information on your location before signing up.

Minimum age
  • 18 in NYC
  • 21 in all other locations
How long do I need to be licensed?
  • At least one year in CA, HI, IL, MA, MN, OR, PA, VT and WA
  • No minimum requirements in other states
Do I need commercial insurance
  • Only if required by your state
Is a background check required?
  • Yes
Other driver requirements
  • Lyft Lux, Lux Black and Lux Black XL drivers must maintain a rating of 4.85+

Vehicle requirements

All Lyft vehicles must have four doors, a minimum of four seat belts and a maximum of eight seat belts. Some states also impose minimum and maximum Lyft vehicle ages. Taxis, stretch limos and most subcompact vehicles are not eligible Lyft vehicles.

If you’re interested in driving for Lyft Lux, Lux Black or Lux Black XL, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

Service Model year Other requirements
Lyft Varies by city
  • Drive a car model approved in your city
Lyft Lux 2013 or newer
  • Drive a car model approved in your city
Lyft Lux Black 2015 or newer
  • Drive a car model approved in your city
Lyft Lux Black XL 2015 or newer
  • Drive a car model approved in your city
  • Seat 6+ passengers

What is Lyft Express Drive?

Lyft Express Drive is a rental program available in select cities designed for Lyft drivers who don’t own their own vehicle. Through the program, drivers apply online or through the Lyft app and pick up their rental at an eligible Avis, Flexdrive or Hertz location. To be eligible for the program, drivers must be over the age of 25 and must pay a refundable security deposit.

Rental fees are automatically deducted from the drivers’ earnings. The rental period is flexible and the car can be dropped off anytime after the first seven days. To remain eligible for the Lyft Express Drive program, drivers must complete at least 20 Lyft rides every seven days.

Pros and cons of driving with Lyft

Pros

  • Flexible schedule
  • Work as much or as little as you want
  • Get paid weekly
  • Keep 100% of your tips

Cons

  • Drivers are independent contractors, which means you won’t get benefits
  • Taxes aren’t deducted from your pay, so you’ll have to pay your taxes directly to the IRS

Compare ridesharing services

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Earning structure Signing bonus Insurance support Locations
Uber
  • Earn base fare plus amounts for time and distance
  • Earn tips
  • Surge pricing
  • Earn more for long-distance pickups
No
Yes
All 50 states
The more you drive, the higher your earnings.
Via
Via
  • Earn base fare plus amounts for time and distance
  • Earn tips
  • Earn bonuses
Yes
No
New York City
Chicago
Los Angeles
Washington, DC
Arlington, Texas
West Sacramento, California
King County, Washington
Newton, Massachusetts
Salt Lake County, Utah
Cupertino, California
Birmingham, Alabama
Pickups and dropoffs are always on a street corner.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Driving with Lyft can be a solid way to supplement your income or to earn spending money in your spare time. But riders aren’t always on the app, which can limit how much you can make. Compare other ridesharing services and consider signing up for more than one if you’re looking for steady work.

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