Are you applying to become a Lyft driver? Or you are a Lyft driver seeking to grow? If YES, here are 26 practical tips on how to make the most money driving Lyft.
The idea of ridesharing involves getting a nearby driver who will pick you up and take you where you want to go for a fee. Lyft is one of the many ridesharing apps that you can use to get a ride to your destination in just a few minutes. Just tap request and a driver is there.
Some people do not fully realize the latent potential that exists in Lyft. Even those who already drive may be surprised at how much more they can make with the right information.
Some Lyft drivers waste their time and fuel driving back and forth searching for clients, then complain about low income and say that it is not possible to make a lot of money from Lyft. However, if you know the right tips and tricks of the trade, you will be able to make a sizable income from Lyft.
First things first, in order to start working for Lyft, you will need to meet some requirements. For instance, you will have to be at least 21 years old with at least one year of driving experience in the USA. If you are under 23, you must have three years of driving experience.
Improving your earning on Lyft involves a lot of approaches including optimizing what you already have at hand by making the most of your physical capacity, and adjusting your working routine to become more effective. Here are some tips for accomplishing this.
26 Practical Tips on How to Make the Most Money Driving Lyft
1. Prepare for the working day: for starters, make sure that you are dressed in comfortable clothing because you may spend a lot of time seating in a car, and uncomfortable clothes may distract you from driving. Also, you should take some snacks and drinks with so that you will not have to stop for extra breaks to get these things. It’s an open secret that nutrition has a great impact on health condition and productivity.
2. Plan places for breaks: as long as you are a human being, it is inevitable that you will have to take some break from driving. Research that was carried out by ScienceDaily has proved that a good break can make you more effective. You should choose 1 to 5 places in different locations where you can have a good break without spending much money.
3. Stay fit: in order to stay fit, it is imperative that you should stretch or undertake physical exercise before and after driving. A sedentary job like driving can significantly affect your ability to work. If you don’t stretch your muscles before and after work, you may feel uncomfortable the next day. Poor physical condition will negatively influence your mood and lower your motivation to work and ultimately the amount of money you make.
4. Get up early enough in the morning to drive people to work or school: a lot of drivers are of the habit of sleeping late into the morning and as such, they miss the morning rush hour which is undoubtable the biggest chance in the day to make a lot of money.
Statistics have shown that morning peak time for driving is between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. If you want to make money, get up early and be ready when your customers need you. You may as well ride people back home from school and work during afternoon surge. So, don’t miss this time too.
5. Be aware of increased surge fares: sometimes, a lot of people request rides at the same time so much so that there is not enough to go around. Surge fares are prices that increase as demand for drivers grows. This is quite common during bad weather, during rush hours, on national holidays, and when special events are occurring.
A tip that you can make use of in order to increase your surge fare is to log out of your Lyft app when you expect a surge and then log back on. You will notice that your rate will be higher than before.
6. Work on weekends, holidays and during big events: surge times are also more likely to occur during weekends, holidays and big events, so driving during these periods significantly increase the amount of money you make from Lyft.
7. Know where your competitors are: it is always good to know the amount of competition that exists within the area you are in. However, as a Lyft driver, you can only see the location potential customers and not your fellow drivers.
In order to surmount this challenge, you can go ahead to download the Lyft passenger’s app which will show you how close competitors’ cars are both to you and to your potential clients. If there are too many cars, drive to a different location to increase the likelihood of finding a passenger.
8. Head to central areas during downtime: During downtimes, it is more advisable to drive to a central area because the chances of finding passengers are higher in busy urban areas than in suburbs.
9. Calculate and track your expenses: If you want to make more money, you need to track your expenses. You should calculate the amount of money you spent on things like gas, coffee, snacks and others expenditures you incur during your work hours. Then you will have to analyses the information and try to map out a strategy for minimizing your costs.
For instance, you may notice that over the course of a week you spend too much on buying coffee in shops: spending $5 per day may not seem like much but this amount quickly adds up to around $1,000 a year. In this light, you can decide to go for homemade coffee which is cheaper, and even sometimes tastes better.
10. Set a goal for yourself: irrespective of if you are a Lyft driver on a part-time or full time basis, it is imperative to set daily goals for yourself and have a strategy in place that will help you to meet the goal. For example, you can set a goal of a daily minimum of 15 rids per day. If you hold yourself to that then the chances of hitting the target and even surpassing it is quite likely. You can set a goal such as, I won’t do less than 15 rides per day.
11. Avoid waiting in long airport queues: Waiting around for hours each day is no way to go. Some new drivers think only doing airport rides all day is a fool proof way to make money; however, waiting around for hours each day is no way to make good money.
When you get a ride to the airport from the city, it’s most likely Lyft will send you another airport request without you having to go wait in the long airport line at the cell phone lot. These two back-to-back fares are going to most likely be pretty high.
Take the passenger wherever they’re going and find out how to keep driving in that area. If you don’t want to be driving in that area, turn off your app and head to the closest metropolitan zone and pick up rides. Going on rides always trumps waiting idly.
12. Know the Local Bathrooms: try to look around for available restroom facilities in the areas you usually drive through. At some point during your shift, you will need to stop for a bathroom break. This mandatory task can become rather expensive if you don’t know where you can get it free of charge.
It is best to seek out restrooms that offer free parking, though this can be difficult to find in downtown areas. Whole Foods and suburban Starbucks are some of the places that can offer you a restroom along with free parking space. Of course, every area will have different options, but make sure you know what’s around before you desperately need to use a restroom.
13. Don’t Follow the Herd: sometimes following the herd can be disadvantageous. At times a driver can make more money by ignoring the recommended times and locations where demand for rides was likely to be high. These are areas like popular morning commute routes, busy Saturday night bars and the stadium when a game had just finished.
It is usually possible for a driver to make more money by ignoring these hot spots. It’s a simple case of demand and supply. When drivers flocked to a recommended area, Lyft surge pricing — premium prices based on a lack of drivers in an area — would decrease, meaning that drivers in other areas will earn more and those drivers would earn less for each ride.
14. Avoid Driving Around Endlessly: driving round town in an attempt to get pinged by Lyft to go collect a passenger will only serve to increase the wear and tear on your car and increase your breakeven point without even commensurate profit.
It is best to stick to one central area and stay away from suburbs if you can. If you’re driving miles and miles to reach someone, there’s a good chance you’ll drive much further to meet them than you’ll wind up taking them.
You can’t tell where a rider wants to go until you pick them up. This usually means drivers end up losing money on a far-away fare. In addition, if you’re driving a long way to pick someone up, they may get bored and cancel the ride or find another way to get to their destination.
Lyft drivers make money by driving passengers to their respective destinations. However, rideshare drivers don’t make money when they are driving alone. Avoid driving around while you are waiting for a ride request. The gas you spend during these low activity time frames can quickly eat up your profits.
So, the key here is to figure out the best times to drive. Figuring out that piece of the puzzle will help you become more efficient and maximize time spent behind the wheel. Instead of wasting gas, identify key locations that will allow you to park and wait with the engine off. Try to find areas that are well-lit, preferably where you can be seen, and keep the doors locked.
Keep an updated Excel sheet to monitor how much money you make while waiting in each location, as well as how many ride requests you receive. To take it one step further, break down this Excel sheet based on times of the day (morning, afternoon, early evening, late night) to further track your profits. Review this list every 2-3 months to identify your top performing locations.
15. Refer new passengers to the Lyft app: in order to benefit from the referral program that is run by Lyft, you need to get someone to download the Lyft app, create an account and then input the unique promo code Lyft gives you after you become a driver.
When the passenger that you referred takes his or her first ride, you will be paid $10. The bonuses are reported on your daily and weekly driver summaries. In order to your referral bonus, you should hand out cards at bars, go to events and hand out cards, ask friends to use and share your code, use social media like Facebook and Twitter to circulate your code et al.
It’s a huge opportunity — to both drive and promote for the company at the same time. The Lyft drivers who only drive are at the mercy of rider demand of any given night, but the drivers who heavily promote are working to guarantee that their income stays high.
16. Get the iPhone Hookup: irrespective of the type of business you run, you will need to constantly invest in it in one form or the other. With Lyft you can improve the ridesharing experience by offering your passengers the option of playing their favorite songs during the ride.
You can invest in a car radio that has a way to plug in a smartphone, be it by an auxiliary cord or otherwise. Passengers that have the luxury of playing their jam on your car speakers are typically happier. Due to this, they are more likely to give a better tip and driver rating, which will help you to get more rides in the future.
17. Watch your hunger: if you work as a Lyft driver for long hours, it is inevitable that at a point you will feel hunger. Although it can be tempting to pick up snacks at a local gas station, but avoid doing so. Overpriced food items and large sodas will inevitably reduce the amount of money you are able to earn each day. The best way to prevent this is to bring pre-made snacks from home. Try to bring healthy snacks that do not have an odor and are non-perishable.
18. Invest in Water: in order to increase the comfort of your passengers during the ride, you can offer them a complementary bottle of water. Providing this essential item can increase tipping and rating averages for a Lyft driver. The cost of purchasing 24 bottles of water is just around $5. With this little investment you can increase your profit by a wide margin.
19. Purchase Rideshare Insurance: as much as everyone hates accidents and prays that they are not involved in any, the sad truth is that they still occur. To make matters worse, accidents are a lot sadder when the driver does not have a insurance that covers the damage. If this happens to you, that means you’ll be without a car, meaning you won’t be able to earn money while your car gets fixed.
In exchange for a small monthly increase in premiums, anyone involved in an accident will be properly covered. This can protect you from devastating lawsuits or bankruptcy. Even though your personal car insurance will cover you in off-hours, most insurance providers charge additional fees to cover you while you are driving for Lyft. Rideshare insurance provides the coverage that you need to stay on the road and out of financial ruin if an unfortunate event occurs.
20. Prepare a Backup: some unforeseen circumstances such as a flat tire, a dead battery and other mechanical failures in your car can leave you without a source of income for days at a time. In order to ameliorate the amount of downtime you experience, you need to find a backup vehicle to drive in the meantime.
You can borrow the car of a friend or a relative. Offer them a flat rate or work out another agreement. Once you find a backup vehicle, be sure to have it approved by Lyft and registered to your account before it is actually necessary to use it.
21. Keep Your Stats Up: most rideshares will take your drivers rating into consideration when matching you with passengers. Due to this, it is necessary for you as a driver to ensure that stats are top notch. Dressing sharply, being professional, and providing an excellent rideshare experience are all great ways to improve ratings.
As expected, a ride that leaves a lot to be desired will definitely earn a low star rating. Driving recklessly on the road, strong car odor or a dirty vehicle can result in a passenger giving you less than five star rating. Take the time to get constructive feedback from a friend or relative by driving them around. Doing so may help you discover any rideshare issues you may be overlooking.
22. Avoid the Suburbs: the farther you get away from the heart of the city, the lesser passengers you will be able to get so you should try your best to avoid the surburbs as much as possible. Drivers may find this to be a bit challenging to maintain, given how congested cities can be. However, as you become more familiar with your mapped out waiting areas, the increase in riders will make the effort worthwhile.
23. Prepare for Taxes: tax season usually presents a lot of challenges for independent contractors with rideshare drivers not being an exception. The tax filing process is complex and in addition to this, contractors have to pay their own taxes by themselves. However, Lyft drivers can use this employment status to their benefit by taking advantage of tax deductions.
Usually, these tax deductions cover most business expenses that a Lyft driver may incur during work. On average, the best option for drivers is the standard mileage deduction. This type of tax deduction gives drivers a rate per mile that covers most of the driver’s expenses. To use the standard mileage deduction, drivers will need to keep track of the miles driven for the entire year.
There is also another option that people who keep an itemized list of all their expenses can make use of. This is called an actual expense deduction. Anything vehicle or rideshare related falls under this category. Some examples of items that can be deducted include, Car payments, Vehicle operating expenses, Vehicle financing, License, registration, Mobile phone, charger, and payments among others.
Irrespective of where you finally decide to file your tax under (that is either standard or actual), items that were bought by you to improve the ride share experience can also be deducted from your tax. For instance, the 24-pack bottled water that was mention previously as a complementary gift to your customers can be considered as a work expense and as such, it is subject to deduction.
24. Follow the Alcohol: you can do this by focusing on Friday/Saturday nights and holidays like July 4th and New Year’s since that’s when demand is at its highest and you see the most surge pricing. This strategy isn’t foolproof, but it’s a good place to start if you’re looking to maximize your income.
25. Drive when others are not driving: these days, there are a lot of drivers using Lyft more than ever and as such, it is quite advantageous to focus on times that will be inconvenient for other drivers to operate. Usually, there are always a lot of requests on Friday and Saturday nights, but there’s also a lot of drivers out, so you may not get a ton of requests during these times. But there are lots of times and places where only a few passengers are requesting rides and there aren’t any drivers around.
For instance, early AM airport runs from 3-7 a.m. most drivers will not be willing to wake up by this time of the day to drive and, although there aren’t a ton of requests, when there is a request, you’ll be very likely to get it. And since literally no one is up at that time, there’s no traffic and people tend to travel long distances. No one will likely be going on a trip down the grocery shop by 5 in the morning so no need to worry about that.
26. Drive for Multiple Services: driving for Lyft does not mean that you cannot drive for any other ride sharing service. You can start with Lyft and after a few months, you can also sign up on Uber as a driver. This will present you with the advantage of turning both apps on during slow times in order to increase your chances of getting a request.
In conclusion, rideshare drivers are able to maximize their profits in a variety of different ways. Identifying the best ways to improve your rideshare business will take time and dedication.
In addition, you should not be afraid to experiment now things. The key thing to keep in mind is that these suggestions are a starting point. Usually, everyone’s situation and location are different and as such what works for Mr. A may not work for Mr. B. However, if you apply this type of thinking, you’ll start to notice patterns and put yourself in the position to make more money more frequently.
Keep experimenting and trying new things and see if you notice an increase in your earnings. If you’re serious about earning more money from Lyft, then try applying a combination of these Lyft driver strategies to get the best results.