A $750 sign up bonus has caught your eye and you’re most likely reading this because Lyft seems like the perfect way to cover some monthly bills, offset the payments for your car, or even save for college. But then, you obviously would want to find out more before you invest in it.
So here’s an easy guide to answer most commonly asked questions for those who intend to become Lyft drivers, walking you through signing up for Lyft.
Test rides are cool, and useful!
Trust me, this might seem like a waste of time and money, but it isn’t. Download the Lyft app in your smartphone and take a couple of short rides as a passenger. Indulge in friendly conversations with the drivers. It won’t cost you any more than $10-20, but you’ll learn a few things:
- How to treat passengers as Lyft drivers – courteous, but casual and friendly. It isn’t mandatory to ‘fist bump’ passengers any more, just rely on your instincts and the vibes from the riders.
- How to make most of Prime-time pricing – during bad weather, rush hours, or an event you can make more than the average ride. See how drivers leverage that to work less and earn more. It would also teach you how to focus on these ‘heat maps’ to target high-value rides.
- No special uniform or tags to carry – Unlike the early days, Lyft is popular enough now and you don’t need to carry a faux mustache around (or grow one!) to identify yourself as a Lyft driver.
- Safety – If you sit upfront, a Lyft driver would ask you to put your seatbelt on. If you’re drunk and potentially violent, the driver may ask you to step out. Long story short, Lyft cares about safety of both the driver and the passenger. And yes, passengers can sit at front or back.
- Rating – Lyft also allows the driver (and the passenger) to rate the ride. You get benefits too, like accumulating a certain count of good ratings allows you a free ride.
How much do I earn from Sign up Bonuses?
Okay, so you’ve made up your mind about signing up for Lyft. Now how to maximize what you earn from bonuses? Here are a few options:
- Lyft offers sign up bonuses up to $750 in certain markets. In addition, certain markets like NYC, Las Vegas and Portland have an additional $500 bonus after 50 trips!
- Competitive as they are, Uber actually has a $500 offer for drivers who have previously driven for Lyft. So, well – just sign up for Lyft and drive for a bit, then sign up for Uber as well. That’s the best possible double-dipping offer you’ll get.
- If you’ve previously driven for bonus, Lyft has a counter-offer too! The exact amount changes, owing to volume of applications but it’s still extra money to just ‘sign up’
- Lyft has two-sided referral bonuses. So if you can inquire a driver while you’re taking your test ride, you might actually help him earn the referral bonus as well as earn it yourself once you reach a certain ride count (usually 30 to 50 rides). Win-win!
So there are a good few reasons to sign up for Lyft, eh?
Is working for Lyft better than Uber?
We will refrain from passing judgments, but those in the know admit that driving for Lyft is an easier, friendlier experience. The corporate culture for Lyft is more interactive by design. Statistically, it also attracts a greater percentage of women drivers.
How to Sign Up for Lyft?
Simply fill out the “Apply Now” form here and once it could be as quick as less than a week to get on road. Lyft does run background checks on your vehicle and driving records, so it could take longer.
Pro Tip: Customer service isn’t the greatest strength for these rideshare companies. They have pre-programmed answers to avoid legal hassles. So it’s best to keep your car shipshape and your records in good order so you don’t have to reach out too often.
Remember to enter your referral code at Sign Up!
If you’re gunning for referral bonus, sign up bonus or any other sign-up deals, remember to enter the relevant code while signing up. This is a one-time process, so if you miss it, you lose the money. Forever! There’s no post factum option to write a letter, email, phone or apply it once application is underway.
If you have a code from a different driver, feel free to use that. If you don’t, spend time to dig through online forums and get a valid referral link. For those who simply want to save themselves the hassle, here’s a link to driver referral code.
Once you get qualified as a Lyft driver, you’ll get a similar link which you can leverage to earn money for every new Lyft driver who uses that referral code.
Remember to enter it at Sign Up or you’ll not earn any bonus!
Do I have to pay taxes on the Sign-Up Bonus earnings?
Yes, you do! All bonus amounts are taxable and must be included in sections of your 1099-K or 1099-MISC while filing taxes.
Will Lyft’s 20% commission be included in the bonus?
Nope. You’re rideshare income and bonus earnings are mutually exclusive. For example, if you make $500 from rides, $400 is all yours and $100 is Lyft’s commission. If you also made $750 as Sign-Up Bonus, your total earning would be $400 + $750 = $1,150 (and you’ll pay taxes on that entire sum).
Additional Promotions: Guaranteed Hourly Pay
Certain metropolitan markets offer guaranteed hourly pay for the first month you drive for Lyft. Needless to say, because of such generous pay-scale, they are infamous for changing their qualification criteria often.
The basic premise is simple enough: Lyft guarantees you an hourly rate, and will cover the gap between your actual income and potential (number of hours worked times ‘guaranteed’ hourly rate).
The conditions are:
- You have to drive in an eligible location
- Minimum number of rides, hours of activity and acceptance rate (often 75% or more!).
- You have to sign up using their special promo links for guaranteed hourly payments.
The trouble is, new drivers can often fail to understand all the stipulations. You have to know your rideshare driving well, to meet the count of rides and acceptance in a high-traffic zone for several short rides and then quickly move to a low-activity area so your earning stays below the potential maximum. Worse still, Lyft will take their commission regardless.
Unless you know how to work the system well, this is a tricky sign-up option you could do without.
So there you go – you have all possible bonus options. Work out a strategy, do your groundwork and research on all bonus and referral codes you can find, take a few test rides to get a hang of everything and sign up (with special attention to entering the promo bonus codes carefully).
Welcome to Lyft!