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5 things to know before becoming a Lyft driver


Rideshare services like Lyft have become increasingly common, especially in larger cities. For drivers, it's a popular option to make some extra money, since it lets you determine where and when you want to work.

RELATED: Uber isn't everything: 7 other lucrative part-time side gigs 

Lyft is one of the premier ridesharing options across the country, so it may come to mind for those looking for easy, extra cash. The transportation network, founded in San Francisco, started in 2012 and now helps the social butterflies, worker bees and everyone in between get to work in all 50 states.

If you’re seriously considering the possibility of breaking into the ride-hailing business with Lyft, here are five vital things to know before you slap that Lyft sticker on your windshield.

 

The requirements are a little stricter than Uber's.

The vehicle requirements can vary according to where you'll be driving, but in almost every city, Lyft wants you to have a newer vehicle, according to consumer advisor Clark Howard.

You can boost your earnings by referring riders and drivers.

In many markets, Lyft will give you a bonus for referring new riders and drivers to the service. Referrals for riders are usually $10 each, and if you refer drivers who complete a required number of rides within a one- or two-month period, you can significantly boost your earnings.

Bonuses can vary by city. In Atlanta, for instance, referring a driver in September who goes on to meet the requirements for rides (239 in 60 days) could have netted you an extra $460, according to RideShareDashboard.com.

It's usually best as a side hustle rather than a full-time job.

The median earnings for a Lyft driver were recently reported as $210 per month. The average driver earned $377 per month. That's more than Uber drivers earned in the same survey. They had median earnings of $155 and average earnings of $364 per month.

You may need additional car insurance.

NerdWallet recommends looking at what's covered with Lyft's insurance and also whether your personal auto insurance will provide any coverage. It's important to make sure you're protected before, during and after ride requests.

You may need to look at getting rideshare insurance (if it's offered by your company and in your state) or perhaps a commercial auto policy.

You don't need a car.

The first requirement for working for a ride-sharing service would seem to be a car, but that's not necessarily true. Lyft has an Express Drive rental car program in certain cities, including Atlanta. The costs vary according to the city, but the rental period length is flexible.

The amount you pay to rent the car will also include insurance and maintenance.


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