Have You Thought About Becoming a Driver for Lyft/Uber?

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Have You Thought About Becoming a Driver for Lyft/Uber?

Have You Thought About Becoming a Driver for Lyft/Uber?

There’s a new sensation that’s sweeping the taxi cab world and it’s called Uber!  Or Lyft.  I actually don’t have a preference but in essence the two competitors offer the same service: a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis.  Let me make this clear: I absolutely hate taxis.  I don’t know how they’ve gotten away with such crappy customer service for so long and I’m ecstatic that there are companies like Uber and Lyft that are coming along and putting them in their place.

When it comes to ordering a taxi, I never know which number to call and they never seem to be available when I need them.  My biggest pet peeve though is that they don’t accept credit cards.  Every time I get into a smelly and dirty taxi I wonder how these guys are still in business.  I could go on and on about my disdain for taxis but now that Uber and Lyft are bringing competition to the market, it’s a great thing for consumers.  The two companies are essentially taxicab services but offer more convenience and much better customer service.  You can only order a ride through your smartphone and your credit card is linked to your account so you can pay and even tip with your card.

The thing that makes Uber and Lyft unique though is that most of the drivers are every day people like you and me.  Anyone can apply to be a driver as long as they have a car that’s four doors and 2004 or newer (2000 or newer for Lyft).  Most of the people who drive for them are courteous, respectful and friendly.  The two services have actually gotten so popular it’s becoming hard to find a ride – especially during peak times.  In fact, nearly every time I take a ride, the drivers are always telling me that they need new drivers and if I know anyone that’s interested, I should tell them to apply.

My First Week as a Lyft Driver

The Pay

The most important thing you’ll need to consider when driving for Lyber (as I’m going to call them from now on) is if the pay is worth it.  Most drivers are compensated at least $15-$20 whether they actually give a ride or not.  So you could potentially be sitting at your house making $20 an hour ‘driving’ for Lyber.  And in fact, that’s exactly what my driver the other night told me he does.  Lyber are both new to Orange County so it’s not as popular as it is in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco (it’s so popular here they’ve implemented a different pricing structure!) yet.  My last driver told me that we were his only ride of the night and he just sat in his car reading a book for 2 hours and got paid the entire time.  Now that’s my kind of job!

Obviously it won’t be like that forever though and once the service starts to pick up, drivers will be forced to drive more.  Lyber doesn’t reimburse you for your mileage so it’s up to you to deduct it on your taxes.  You’re going to need a good CPA to help you figure out what you can and can’t deduct.  But since you’re running your own business with your car, you should be able to deduct mileage and expenses.  The federal mileage reimbursement rate is 56 cents per mile as long as you’re not going to your normal place of business, which should apply in this case since every ride you give will be unique(I actually used to take this deduction for my last business).  56 cents a mile isn’t a ton of money but it should come close to covering maintenance, expenses and gas(depending on your car).

The pay will definitely favor those with higher MPG cars since once you’re driving around more, you’ll be spending a lot more on gas.  Neither Lyber nor the government will re-imburse you for this portion so I’d recommend a high MPG car if you’re going to become a driver.

The Risk

There have been a lot of stories lately about the insurance risk of driving for Lyber.  Your insurance may or may not cover you in the event of a crash since you’re actually a commercial driver when you’re transporting passengers but you’re a regular driver when you’re not.  Since the industry is so new, a lot of the current laws and regulations don’t apply to Lyber so it will be very interesting to see how they all play out.  I think eventually, Lyber will have to offer some sort of secondary insurance but for now that’s definitely the major risk.

Why Lyft is the Perfect Second Source of Income

The Benefits & Flexibility

The cool thing about Lyber is that they are pretty flexible when it comes to what hours you can work.  There are probably lots of times when you’re sitting at home bored with nothing to do.  You could easily go out and give a few rides to earn some quick cash whenever you’re bored.  It might not be enough for a full time job, but at least it could provide for some extra beer money.

Work can actually be a lot of fun if you’re able to do it part time and set your own schedule.  The nice thing about driving for Lyber is that you will see a direct correlation between how much you work and how much you get paid.  If you feel like taking a week off of driving, that’s fine, but you won’t get paid.  If you need to make some extra money, then you can work extra hours one week.

Readers, have you ever heard of Uber or Lyft?  If so, do you think you’d be willing to drive for them and make some extra cash?

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Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..

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Comments

    • says

      You’re right Steve, I forgot to include a section about the insurance risk. I wrote this article a few months ago but more recently there have been a rash of stories about the insurance problem for this industry.

  1. stewart resmer says

    INSURANCE, THATS A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT OVER SITE i WOULD SAY TOO?

    JUST ONE OF A LONG TRAIN OF OVERSIGHT FROM PEOPLE WHO FAVOR TNC’S, HOW UTTERLY CONVENIENT?

    OH, AND LEST NOT MENTION THE FACT THE UBER IS ILLEGAL ALMOST EVERY WHERE (YOU CAN GOOGLE THAT AND SEE WHATS BEING SAID). OVERLOOK TOO THAT UBER AND LUFT ARE CERATAINLY NOT ADA ( AMERICANS WITH DISABLILTIES ACT) COMPLIANT IN WHOM THE SERVICE AND THEIR HIRING PRACTICES.

    IGNORE THE FACT THAT UBER AND LYFT SET UP SHOP IN CITIES REGARDLESS OF LOCAL COUNTY AND STATE LAWS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS WHEN IT COMES TO FILING FOR PERMITS THAT EVERY ONE ELSE IS COMPELLED TO OPERATE UNDER.

    A OF COURSE NOT A WORD HERE ABOUT HOW SAN FRANCICSO AIRPORT ARRESTED EVERY UBER LYFT DRIVER THAT THEY COULD STUMBLE ON TO LAST YEAR AND AT LOS ANGELES AIRPORT HUNDREDS OF CITATIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED WITH CARS IMPOUNDED THERE FOR A MANDATORY 30 DAY HOLD WITH EVEN MORE DRIVERS CITED?

    MILWAUKEE OF COURSE LIIKE MANY OTHER CITIES STAND POISED TO DO LIKE WISE THAT LYFT AND UBDER WANDER IN TO AS CITIES PUT FORTH A GOOD FAITH EFFORT TO REVIEW AND CINSIDER THE REGS RULES AND LAWS ON THEIR BOOKS AND THE APSSTERS RIP OFF INTO THE STREETS REGADLESS AND DONT FOR ONE MINUTE THINK THAT SOMEHOW THAT SORT OF CONDUCT ENDEARS THE APPSTERS TO REGULATORS WHO ARE CONSTITUTIONAL TASKED WITH ENFORCEMENT.

    ALL THE APPSTERS EVER HAD TO DO WAS SIMPLY PULL PERMITS AND #PLAYBYTHERULES, BUT, nooooooooooo?

    WELL IN THE ETHER NET, UBER AND LYFT MAY BE UNASSAILABLE LIKE CHILD PORNOGRAPHERS, BUT DOWN IN THE STREETS? INDIVIDUALS WHO SIGN ON FOR THIS PREDATORY BUSINESS PRACTICE FACE HAVING THEIR VEHICLES IMPOUNDED, GETTING CITED, PAYING HEFTY FINES, AND ISSUED MORE CEASE AND DESISIT ORDERS, AND YES HELD FINANCIALLY LIABLE FOR AN INCIDENT THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO THREATEN EVERY THING THE INDIVIDUALS EVER WORKED FOR BECAUSE THEI PERSONAL INSURNACE CARRIER DENIED A CLAIM AND CANCELLED THEIR POLICY UNDER THE FUNNY LIL REFERENCE TO COMMERCIAL FOR HIRE LIVERY EXCLUSION?

    AND ON A PERSONAL NOTE? EVEN THIS WRITER JUST COULDNT HELP BUT REMARK IN HIS OPINION THAT ‘CABS ARE SMELLY AND DIRTY’ WHICH OF COURSE IS CODE FOR INSULTING THE INDIVIDUALS WHO GET UP EVERY DAY, WORK HARD, PLAY BY THE RULES AND THEIR TAXES 24-7-365 IN ALL KINDS OF CIRCUMSTANCES JUST TRYING TO MAKE AN HONEST LIVING.

    WOULDNT IT BE NICE IF WE DIDNT GET RUN OVER TODAY?


    • says

      Hi Stewart. I never said Uber/Lyft are perfect but there’s a reason why they are wildly successful. Before they came about, I almost never took taxis for several reasons. I pay for everything in cash so I’m not sure why cabbies are literally the only industry in the USA that refuse to accept cards – there is no reason for this. Secondly, how am I supposed to call a cab if I need one right now? Is there a service that will connect me to every cab company – what if I’m visiting a new area? Or maybe you think it’s my responsibility to go onto Google and research a cab company to make sure they have good reviews and then call them only to find out they don’t have anyone they can send out.

      Uber/Lyft have solved all of those problems and I have never once had a bad experience taking them. And the last cab I was in was dirty and it did smell like shit. You are clearly biased on this subject and are probably one of the many cab drivers up in arms over Lyber coming onto the scene because your entire industry has been unwilling to adapt and respond to customer demands. Are there some good cab drivers? Yes, but a majority are not nice, not helpful and not someone that I’m willing to give my business to. The cab drivers that have switched to Lyber absolutely love it so maybe you’re standing on the wrong side of the fence?

      Btw, all caps means you’re yelling. Why are you yelling?

    • LC says

      Poor Stewart,

      I want to congratulate you on continuing the lobbying process for our deer Taxi drivers in the these United States of America. Unfortunately, your unfounded statements are uniquely Ad-Hocked to a degree where the read is notably entertaining, but promises to prove to those reading – greed sustains by the ignorantly blind advocates who are blind to support open and free enterprise (I don’t expect you to understand these words, but please try to follow). Instead, technological advancements, which are designed to help communities stray away from rip-off, customer service deprived taxi cabs in exchange for a newly rebuilt system of friendly ride-sharing, convenient and sustainable community-based drivers created expected nay-sayers who are more interested in the status-quo than developmental progression.

      It’s also interesting that your argument that Lyft, and Uber are problems seemingly based solely on what you cite through arests, and citings by police and institutions. The very institutions (In very small, isolated communities) where agreements between lobbyists, and local supporters of the TAxi cab-supported unions. They know their system currently is unsustainable. Yes, change hurts, Stewart. But, your the problem, not the solution for change. I request you to take a cab ride, and wait for that ride, and wait for that ride, and well….. wait….. (point taken). Then, well; attempt reserving one. Through 80% of my experiences, customer services, hygiene, cleanliness, and courtesy cold water and USB ports for a more affordable, sustainable ride was not part of my experience. If I have not gotten my point across yet, I’ll compound my argument by closing with this statement.

      I am a proud Lyft driver, and guess what Stewart, I’m also about to join Uber. And also, guess what Stewart? Everywhere I go, not a soul tells me they “Love to take cabs.” In fact, last I checked, Yelp reviews are in, and they are about, um, 5 stars. TAxi cab services? I think they would get two stars if they spoke a word other than, “Cash or credit”.

      Thank you, Stewart. Last I checked, I went downtown, and passed a bunch of taxi cabs. They were all full, and so was all the Uber and Lyft cars. Nobody is taking anybody els’s business. But when it does happen, like it did super late at night. I recall passing a lot with two yellow cabs sitting in a parking lot, empty. I was passing them because I had a “Lyft” to attend to. This was 4 a.m in the morning. Why they chose my service. I don’t know. A taxi cab won’t tell you. A lobbyist won’t tell you. Laws can’t tell you. But the people, they can tell you quickly, loudly, and clearly. Because your BS is read the same way, it’s words without a cloud of real foundation. Your just complaining. Welcome to progress, that is what capitalism represents does it not? I recall a phrase, “%$@t or get of the pot.” If Taxis can’t keep up, I believe I’ve overstated my point here. I digress… but don’t ask me.
      Your rant means there is obvious progress. Old dogs can be taught new tricks, but some old dogs are just, well, old.

    • Larry says

      Stuart, wrong. Uber, since I know this, actually sets up shop in compliance with TNC laws. I think it’s funny when I hear these BS statements that literally have nothing to back them up except from angry x-taxi drivers who are pissed off that something innovative, and obviously needed is to start to actually satisfy riders needs. It’s seriously unbelievable! Listen to yourself, as well as other naysayers when they speak of negativity, yet every single rider I get absolutely loves the experience. Instead of focusing on what these obvious growing pains illicit, and how we can mitigate them by working together, you decide, like many who think like you – to attack mode. These are the facts. The cab industry is pretty much dying. They thought they had the market cornered for decades. As with computers, and changing dichotomies in the real world, when innovation exists, there is people who can’t take it. Unfortunately for you, Lyber is winning the battle. For instance, California actually mandated a law that not only categorizes ride-share drivers as legal, but prohibits discrimination from law enforcement, or local municipalities as long as they are properly dressing/representing the companies. The taxi driving system is archaic, and crusted by absolutely awful inefficiencies. Bravo for something finally taking over people actually like. Drivers who actually come on time, even if they are only going a couple blocks down the road, unlike cabs. Growing pains happen. Here is a frank phrase, “Deal with it”! It’s happening whether you rant about it or not, Mr. You exhaust yourself, but you lost the message the minute you stopped understanding and denying the principle of the existence of these companies. They exist due to a need, not because Cabs are wonderful. Think man, stop stinking up the place.

  2. stewart resmer says

    California regulators warned four app-based ride companies on Thursday that they haven’t provided some information required to receive state operating permits. The companies in turn said they are working to comply. The move came a day after several San Francisco supervisors blasted the regulators for not cracking down more on the transportation networking companies, or TNCs.

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/techchron/2014/03/07/california-to-lyft-uber-sidecar-wingz-get-your-act-together/

  3. TonyRogo says

    @Stewart Resmer…. lol. Spoken like a true union thug cab driver. I used to use cabs all the time here in Cleveland and I won’t say they were smelly. I did even have a regular driver I became friends with and used he and his network exclusively. However the customer service aspect began to fail long ago. Saying I can’t make it…I’m out in the sticks. .. none of my guys are available, you’ll have to call dispatch . Or…I’ll be there in 8 minutes, which turned into an hour and then the excuse of I had to drop a fare off first. Another one, getting picked up and told to sit in the front. ..do u mind if I pick up this fare on the way first then I’ll take you where you want to go?

    When not using my regular guy, being out at the bars late in downtown Cleveland, trying to hail a cab to my house 5 minutes away driving time, & being asked where I’m headed first, only to be denied service because my fare would not be expensive enough. If i wasn’t downtown but was out in the burbs, forget even finding a cab. Good luck in this town!

    A big F**K YOU to the cabs and cabbies like you who complain about the competitors and look for them to be strangled with more regulation. Why didn’t the cab companies implement this software prior to uber and Lyft being created? Why didn’t they improve their God awful customer service? Also, why are they so nasty to Lyft and Uber drivers? You created these services with your own ineptitide. It’s your own fault.

    Uber and Lyft are succeeding because the need is there, thanks to the ineptitude and unwillingness of cab companies and cabbies to adapt. The government battles are part of the growing pains. They’ll work out out. The demand is there. It’s a fantastic service. Join either one Stuart. You can do it too and with your cab driving experience , you know the town. Lyber is here to stay. Cabbies and cab companies are going the way of the dinosaur. Thank God!

  4. TonyRogo says

    @Harry Campbell…..I just had to scroll up and laugh my ass off at Stuart comparing Lyber to child pornographers. What! !???? Lmao

  5. LC says

    Oh, Stuart is going to hate this new info. Just got an email recently from UBER regarding a new national insurance upgrade. Remember when a drivers persinal insurance was considered “primary,” and the UBER insurance, which drastically exceeds the commercial minimums required by taxi drivers, was strictly secibdary, and in the event of an accident one had to initially create a claim through their own insurer for UBER to acknowledge and refund any monies paid out to the insurance. Well, that all just ended. We are now fully covered!! Yes, Stuart! UBER’S insurance is now PRIMARY!!!! No longer us UBER a secondary insurance. Not only that, but a claim does not need to be made to the drivers personal insurance company. Uber now only requires, just as the states do, that the driver had full coverage before the accident via legal concerns. UBER recently streamlined the process as a direct provider. So Styluart, you doecial, special poor old man. Your previous comments are now null. Congratulations. You’ve not only been loosing steam, but UBER (can’t speak for Lyft), is gathering more and more market share. Good luck.

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