10 Frequently Asked Questions About Driving for Uber or Lyft

Fran Majidi
March 8, 2019

Uber and Lyft are the two largest on-demand ride-hailing services, with lots of other smaller companies following in their shadows (Hailo, The Twist, Sidecar, BlackJet, Swifto). Many people are driving for these services as side jobs and some are even making it a full-time career. Surprisingly, more than half of Uber and Lyft drivers are 51 or over even though most of us think of it as a service run by young people under the age of 30. In fact, Uber started a partnership with AARP in 2015 to give drivers over the age of 50 a signing bonus of $35! The Life Reimagined incentive was to get more senior drivers to join the company. After all, they are safer drivers statistically speaking. No matter what age you are, driving for a rideshare company is a great way to make money. Here are some frequently asked questions about what it takes to work for Uber and Lyft.

1. Should I Become an Uber Driver or Lyft Driver?

If you’re looking to supplement your income or if you’re a student or senior who needs a part-time job, driving for Uber may not be a bad idea. If you enjoy being in a car all day, you’ll love the work. However, unless you’re working “peak hours” every day (very early and very late), it’ll be hard to make a full income. As a side gig, it’s a great way to supplement your income, especially if you can squeeze in a few peak hours during the week.

2. How Much Does an Uber or Lyft Driver Make?

This is a tricky question because every driver averages a different amount. With that said, do know that your actual earnings may not be as advertised. In 2015, Uber did its own study, which claimed that drivers make more than $19 an hour. A less biased study found, however, that depending on where you live, you actually make anywhere between $13-$20 an hour. If you want to make 50K, you have to provide about 60 rides a week for Uber and about 84 for Lyft. If you’re driver less than 35 hours a week, you’re making less. You should also consider the cost of driving, including gas, oil changes, repairs, car washes, insurance (you’ll need Rideshare Insurance too if you want to be fully insured) and other miscellaneous expenses. It’s not advisable to rent a car to drive for Uber or drive for Lyft. You’ll be spending a large percentage of your earnings on the car rental. Joining Uber’s Facebook page or Lyft’s Facebook page will help you make more money because they are full of great information about where to go. With that said, if you live in a small town, there won’t be much business at all except for festivals, big concerts, and the usual bar crawlers.

3. What Are the Driver Requirements for Uber?

All you need to drive for Uber is a clean driving record and car that is less than 10 years old. The car must be a four-door car, truck or minivan with seatbelts for 4 passengers plus the driver. The car must pass inspection, and the driver must be on the insurance policy of that car. You always need to keep your car clean, inside and out. Count on regular car washes and possibly even some detailing.

To pass an Uber background check you have to have:

  • 1+ year(s) U.S. driver’s license, if under 23 years old.
  • A valid driver’s license
  • No more than 3 minor moving violations in the past 3 years
  • No major moving violations within the last 7 years (DUI, reckless driving)
  • No criminal record

Oh, and it goes without saying: You should like people and not be too skittish about strangers getting in your car!

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4. Do I Need Special Insurance to Drive for Uber or Lyft?

Technically you’re covered by the company’s commercial insurance policy while the customer is being driven and while the fare is being accepted. Your personal auto insurance covers you after the ride-share app is turned off. There is a gap in coverage between waiting for payment and turning off the app. If another car hits you while you’re idling, it’s an out-of-pocket expense because you’re not covered by either insurance. That’s where rideshare insurance comes in. It’s not very expensive but it is an important form of protection if you’re working as an Uber or Lyft driver. Get the best but cheapest car insurance with a rideshare endorsement.

5. Does Driving for Uber Increase Your Insurance?

Your standard auto policy is tailored to meet the needs of personal use. You must report it to your insurance company if you start driving for Lyft or Uber. While you will not need a commercial insurance policy, there are gaps in insurance, which an agent can help you fill for a minimal amount with an endorsement (rideshare insurance). If you are involved in an accident and your insurer learns that you work for a rideshare company and that your app was on during the accident, you will not be paid out for the claim. Also, if you are not upfront with your insurer, they can and may cancel your policy and refuse coverage in the future.

6. Which Is Better? Driving for Lyft vs Uber

To maximize your earnings, it’s wise to drive for both Lyft and Uber. Each has its own reputation within different circles. Also, rates vary so it’s best to try out both to see where you’re earning the most. Learn quickly what the peak hours are (Uber calls these “price surges”; Lyft calls them “prime time”) because that’s when you’re making the most money.

These peak hours tend to be very late at night or early in the morning. Events that draw many rides include sports events, concerts, trade shows, conventions and the good old visit to the local bar.

One nifty feature that Lyft offers that Uber does not is the built-in tips on the app. Uber drivers can only take cash if the customer has cash readily available. Some states have put pressure on Uber to add a tipping option, however, so check to see what the options are in your state...

7. What Is UberEATS?

UberEATS is a food delivery service from local restaurants. Customers choose their menu items and pay for them. UberEATS picks up the food and delivers it to the customer.

8. Should I Become an UberEATS Driver?

UberEATS drivers work whenever they want without a fixed schedule. You just log into the app whenever you want to work and then log out when you’re done.

9. Can You Drive for both Uber and Lyft?

Yes, you may. Both are a Transportation Network Company (TNC) without any exclusivity clauses for drivers. You can even drive for Uber and Lyft at the same time to maximize your earnings. You just need an iPhone or Android. Open the Uber and Lyft rider apps and go online with both, with Uber on the main screen while the Lyft one runs in the background (otherwise Uber will disconnect if you are away from the app for a few minutes. Do not use other apps while using these to prevent crashes and glitches.

10. Can You Drive for Uber with a DUI? How about Lyft?

Not if you’ve had the DUI within the past 7 years. If it is a DUI from. Say, 8 years ago or more, Uber and Lyft will not hire you.

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