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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Make $70,000 per year driving for Lyft ad is not as easy as Lyft claims

A new Lyft advertisement is making its rounds in the search engine. Lyft claims a new driver can make $70,000 per year driving for their ridesharing company. It is in no way that easy to make $70,000 ridesharing for any company, let alone Lyft. Ridesharing drivers must invest at least 40 hours or more driving at peak weekend nights to sniff this annual income. How can a new driver at Lyft earn $70,000 per year?

A new Lyft must be serious to earn $70,000 annually. Making $70,000 per year ridesharing will require a driver to make 7000 trips and average $10 per trip. We all know that late night pickups are usually quick rides that cost under $10. However, late night pickups in the downtown area to the outer parts of San Francisco can cost as much as $25. It really depends on the pickup location, as well as the destination, such as outer Richmond and Sunset districts. 

A new Lyft driver will need to make on average of 135 trips per week to reach over 7,000 for the year. This means a Lyft driver must average over $36+ an hour, which is impossible during the afternoon hours. Lyft drivers can make $36 an hour working from 6pm-2pm on Friday and Saturday night. No doubt about that, that Lyft drivers will make good money on Friday and Saturday. Rides are most frequent during these times. 

Can new Lyft drivers survive the rating system? If a new Lyft driver fails to score high enough after their first 24 rides, the Community Review System will flag their account. Unless Lyft has done away with this flagging system, take a flag serious because a third flag is an automatic deactivation. We've heard that new drivers that have given less than 40 trips or even worked only a weekend are getting deactivated from the Lyft platform. Don't think too far in the future with making good money, instead focus on every ride to preserve your driving account.  

Riders on the Lyft platform are over critical. They rate low for any mistakes. A driver at Lyft must avoid missing turns. They can't talk too much. They can't drive too slow or too fast. They can't take too long to make pickups, even if there's traffic and/or construction delaying the ETA. 

Next, there are riders who are rowdy and drunk. Almost every ride is like a rave. You may pick up drunk bar hoppers so often that you car will smell like alcohol. Your new air freshener is now straight Vodka or whiskey. Quality alcohol is pure, but bad liquor is unbearable to inhale. 

How much gas do you need to make 7,000 trips? At $4.50 a gallon, and driving a 4 cylinder vehicle such as a Honda, Acura, Nissan and any other fuel efficient vehicle, you will require about $10,000+ or more in gas. Drive a SUV? You will need $17,000+ in gas. Additionally, drivers are expected to purchase snacks, water and develop Lyft themes. This costs money, increasing your budget to operate at Lyft. We heard Lyft is offering a no commission promotion for the Summer or one that ended in the Spring.

Lyft once featured Power Hours, where drivers could work specific hours and pay no commission. That incentive was the best aspect of Lyft. This way, drivers would see more of their earnings. Paying 20% commission on all trips can decrease earnings and increase the time spent on the roads.  

As a result of no commission, then it is possible to make $70,000 in a year if the driver make on average of 135 trips per week for an entire year. It will take working full-time driving on the road to reach this number of trips. A good estimate is about 40-70 hours. Passengers who are not ready will impact pickup times. These trips must average out to $10 per ride. With every 100 trips, a driver must worry if their rating will hold up. 

Any rating below 4.80 is at risk of deactivation. Once you receive 2 Community Review Flags, and then get flagged on cleanliness, safety, navigation and friendlessness, it is inevitable your driver account will get deactivated. A negative comment from a passenger can cause deactivation. The more drivers take the roads on weekend nights, the great chance they may get negative feedback and low star ratings. Drunk passengers are quick to submit "1" star ratings for any minor issue. 

A new Lyft driver must survive the riding community. The Performance Review Department at Lyft measure a driver's account based on their star ratings, feedback and the flag system. Even though a driver is safe, outgoing and has a clean vehicle, a few bad star ratings from misinformed riders can prematurely end their run at Lyft. 

Think you can make $70,000 at Lyft? Think again. If these Lyft advertisements are rotating in the search engines, then their intent is to attract a new driver such as yourself to drive in the busy streets. Ridesharing is not as easy as it seems. Drivers must constantly scan the roads for pedestrians, bicyclists, bad drivers, red light running taxi drivers, rude bus drivers, and all other obstacles facing their path. In ridesharing, safety is the number #1 concern. The goal is not to cause any problems that will attract unwanted attention to ridesharing. 

Making $70,000 is possible if you drive often and ridesharing with Lyft is your only. You must be on the road daily. We know of one Lyft driver who works daily - Monday-Saturday - and doesn't earn more than $500 per week. Needless to say, Lyft is his only job. He depends on this ridesharing job to survive. In a year and at the $500 per week rate, his income would add up to $24,000. However, this driver doesn't like to drive at night. 

New Lyft drivers with day jobs will find making $70,000 a year unlikely. if they already work 40-45 hours per week, then driving another 40-70 hours a week will burn them out. How can a driver working these many hours capable of being friendly and safe while on the road? Drivers need good rest; they can't sleep in their vehicles to be efficient. 

If you believe Lyft and think making $70,000 a year ridesharing, go ahead and take a risk. Always have a backup plan in place because Lyft doesn't care about you once your rating drops. Many drivers have gotten deactivated with previous 100 ratings falling under 4.80. A 4.79 paired with two Community Review flags and top 4 flags (Navigation, Cleanliness, Friendliness, Safety) translate into deactivation. You can be friendly all you want, but a few riders will say otherwise. At Lyft, whatever the rider says goes and this poor business practice is problematic. 

Our best advice to you is to save your money. Drive as much as possible to maximize your earnings at Lyft. Never think that because many riders are complimenting you, that your fate at Lyft is secure. Because Lyft places high emphasis on their star rating system to measure driver performance, a new Lyft driver will soon discover that their goal to earn $70,000 will cease to exist. 

Driving Friday and Saturday night hours are the best times to work; however, the worst star ratings and feedback are submitted to influence drivers. One Lyft driving account manager advised a driver to avoid working the night hours to salvage their rating. 

Go ahead and make that $70,000 a year at Lyft. It is a catchy ad that makes people believe that driving is easy. On New Year's Eve a few years ago, a taxi driver had to work 10 hours to take home $300 after all expenses for that particular night. He made over 30+ trips. There were trips less than $7 in that batch of rides. If Lyft takes 20% commission on all rides, a driver must increase their weekly trips 20%. Instead of averaging 135 trips per week, a Lyft driver must make 162 trips. 

In our opinion, we believe that Lyft drivers can make $70,000 driving on the UberX platform. This ride app has riders from their UberXL, UberBlack, UberSUV, and UberTaxi platforms. Lyft drivers have been known to drive around the entire city of San Francisco without accepting one ride. This won't happen on the UberX platform.

The two ridesharing services - UberX and Lyft - are somewhat similar and somewhat different. Their apps have different features, but their intended goal to give rides resemble one another. If you like the dorky Pink Mustache, then Lyft is for you. On the opposing side, the Uber logo is cool and hip. Whichever ridesharing platform you choose, good luck and be safe. 

Happy Ridesharing! 

Lyft Drivers who signup to Drive for UberX may make $70,000 per year - Ridesharing drivers who have driven on another ride platform prior to January 8, 2015 can qualify to receive $500 after 1 trip is completed.