Meeting the Driver & Vehicle Requirements

Module 1 – Applying To Drive

The individuals at Lyft personify incorporated values and an exceptional level of standards. At the heart of this service Lyft strives to support and employ everyday people, driving everyday cars. With emphasis on providing an exceptional service and experience for our clients, Lyft asks drivers to understand and actively engage with all components of the application process.

Meeting the Driver and Vehicle Requirements

Lyft is easily among the top two most popular ride-share services in the market today. Their warm and welcoming company culture and promotional offers are encouraging new sign-ups to their network every day. Adding a supplemental revenue stream by ride-share driving has never been easier.

Lyft always insists that their drivers are ordinary people like you and me. However, as a ride-sharing service they do need to adhere to certain rules, especially when the service involves a certain degree of proximity with the customers.

For those of you who are unsure if you’ll meet the requirements, check out their online application portal. Lyft takes great care in covering ground on frequently asked questions, without inundating you with too much information. In the following sections below, I’ve tried to break it down further so you can easily glean the most relevant facts.

Lyft Driver Requirements

  • Age: At least 21 years old at the time of application. Pretty straightforward. No minors allowed, and no leeway there. If your birthday is coming up in a few weeks, try applying after that date, else your application would be rejected. To be fair, 21 is a pretty low barrier. It allows fresh graduates and college kids to earn some handy money without compromising on their studies or day job. Though many Lyft drivers are older, Lyft doesn’t discriminate on age.
  • License: You must own an in-state license which is active for at least twelve months prior. No exceptions on this one either. If you’re coming up on a renewal, better get it squared away first, before applying for Lyft.
  • Vehicle: Fully insured 4-door car that is 2003 or newer, and possess an active, in-state registration. Two doors, older than 2003 models, or out of state plates would not make the cut. Lyft scopes out these requirements after discussions with local DMVs, so trying your luck wouldn’t work. But stay within the lines and it goes through pretty smooth. Some special points to note:
  1. Vehicle date requirements are different in some places:
    2005 or newer in Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul
    2007 or newer in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas
  2. Commercial plates are allowed for Lyft vehicles, as long as you are not competitively using the vehicle for commercial purposes while driving for Lyft.
  • Insurance: Must be with your name on the policy, and in your state where you are going to drive. Car insurances are issued in accordance with state regulations, which do vary a lot from state to state. It is a pretty simple process to migrate it; just contact your insurance providers.
  • Clean driving record: You don’t need it to be spotless. We all have copped a speeding ticket or two at some point. As long as you don’t have a major driving accident, misdemeanor, or injury on record – you’re in the safe zone. More about it in the section below.
  • Pass background check: Lyft employs third-party background check companies. So there is no room for having anyone with past record as criminals or offenders to sneak through.
  • Own a Smartphone: iPhone 4 or newer (iOS 7+), Android devices running 4.0+
  • Must clear a Mentor Session / Onboarding session with an experienced Lyft driver.

Most of the requirements are fairly direct, and without any obvious ambiguity, some of them do invite questions. And in the sections below, we will try to address them in order.

Will Lyft make any considerations for age, license, insurance, and registration terms?

No. A business model like Lyft has two sides. One is obviously the ride-share aspect which gives you the amazing opportunity to make extra money, meet new people etc. However the other, more important aspect is that it rides on the trust of millions of users who avail it as modes of commute. Side stepping any of the requirements above could potentially land them in a whole lot of trouble should there be any legal issues, accidents, or any other untoward service issue.

What does Lyft mean by “Own a Car?”

It merely means that the vehicle has an insurance policy with you as one of the drivers. It could be registered to your spouse, parent, sibling, or even your boss (if you’re a commercial driver!) You also hae couple of other alternatives:

If the dates, insurance, and registration are good, will my vehicle automatically qualify as a Lyft car?

Not always. Since customer service is a big part of Lyft, they do insist on keeping your car in good condition. Chipped paint, dents, cracks on the wind-shield, stains, and any foul odor are going to work against your vehicle’s qualification. Take special care in covering these bases before you show up for the mentor session.

Do remember, there are insurance companies which refuse to cover ride-share vehicles. Make sure you compare your quotes and read through the terms.

What is a Mentor Session?

It’s effectively the last lap of tests to pass. An experienced Lyft driver or Mentor would be picked to train you and bring you up to speed with ‘onboarding’. Ensure the car appears presentable, and all the safety features are working. Any obvious mechanical or cosmetic issue shows that you don’t care, which would reflect on Lyft’s customer service. Use the mentor session to pick up pro-tips about driving in the area, most profitable times to drive, doing your taxes, or anything relevant. Your mentor is most likely one of the best experienced folks to learn these from. Read more here about real experiences.

Oh! And try not to cancel the Mentor session more than once without a genuine reason. Not only does it waste their time, it creates that awkward chance that the mentor is already judging you not-so-nicely. The mentor will also look for all technicalities like in-state plates, up-to-date tags, and registration. While failing these won’t automatically disqualify you, it would lengthen the process, and you would be sweating over another round of DMV errands. Besides, there is no rule saying you won’t get pulled over while driving for Lyft. So it’s best to be abiding the laws. Better safe than sorry!

What does a clean driving record constitute?

Okay, so one or two speeding tickets in your driving career – not such a big deal. But three moving violations in last three years (skipping lights, accidents, etc.) – big deal. You get the picture. The driving record check isn’t super rigid, but they do check a few things:

  • Meeting the 21 year age limit, active license for past twelve months, insurance, in-state registration – all the works we just discussed.
  • No major violations in past three years – reckless driving, or driving on suspended license.
  • No severe infractions in last seven years – road rage, felonies or arson involving vehicles, driving under influence (DUI) or drug-related issues while driving.

What does Lyft look for in Background Check?

Standard stuff. They hire third-party services to look up record for last seven years which covers – violent crimes, manslaughter, homicide, property damage, theft, arson, and a lifetime screen against sexual offense (National Sex Offender Registry and DOJ50-State Sex Offender Registry). You can contest these results, but failing the background check pretty much means your application is not going to be considered further at the time. Lyft updates their safety guidelines regularly to update these.

When should I apply?

Ride-share is bursting at its seams as a business opportunity for independent contractors, part-time drivers, students, and pretty much anyone who has a nose for supplemental revenue. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of beating just that many more people to get on road and avail the opportunity. As soon as you can get your papers reasonably ready, go ahead and apply. Even if you don’t understand every detail, a call to Lyft HQ will resolve most of your queries.

You can’t make money until you get on the road. It’s as simple as that!

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