I’m truly impressed by the vast array of side hustles I hear about around the PF blog-o-sphere. It seems we’re a creative bunch. But today I’d like to tell you about a new side hustle idea that’s quite exciting. You can make money with Lyft by driving people around in your own car.
If you’re a resident of one of America’s larger cities, you’ve no doubt seen these cars with pink mustaches zooming around town. At first I thought it was just a new sort of hipster decoration for the grill of your car, like the dice hanging from your rear-view mirror.
But it’s so much more than an unfortunate decoration, it’s actually the beginning of what could be an industry changing idea. Lyft is a whole new model of what the taxi could be. Anyone that owns a car can join the service and start providing cheaper rides to people who’d otherwise be hopping in a taxi. It’s an incredible opportunity to start a side hustle to bring in a little extra income.
How does Lyft make money?
Instead of taxi drivers motoring around in yellow Crown Vic’s, Lyft drivers are just normal folks like you and me who’ve decided to use their personal vehicles to make a little money on the side.
All a potential fare has to do is download the app, and then hit the big “Request Lyft” button. They can see a map of where the closest drivers are, and exactly how long it will take for their selected driver to pick them up.
Once they see the pink mustache, they hop in the car and the lyft driver whisks them away to their desired destination. All Lyft driver payment is handled online so there’s no cash changing hands. It’s such a simple idea that I’d be worried if I were a traditional taxi company. Innovate or die.
Being a Lyft driver could pay off
The registration process is just rigid enough to ensure quality drivers, but it doesn’t look especially burdensome for people to be interested.
You submit a simple request online, orientation takes 1-2 weeks and then you’re good to go. There are no set places to times so you can do it wherever or whenever you’d like. It’s tough to find a part time job this flexible these days.
If you’ve got a car that’s reasonably old or cheap, the math can work out quite well since your cost/mile driven is quite low. You’re obviously making less than what taxis make (since the whole business model is meant to undercut taxis), but you get to keep 80% of the fees collected from your fare.
Lyft service a meritocracy
One of the main features of this service is that you don’t just get a ride, but you actually meet the driver and get to know them. Instead of hopping in the back seat like in a taxi, the standard is that you jump in the front passenger seat.
They’ve tried to make it more like your friend picking you up than a soulless taxi company providing you a service. The advantage you have as a potential Lyft driver is that you can make more money by being friendly.
If you love talking to new people, making them laugh, and pointing out interesting city landmarks, you’ll be able to seriously increase your income.
Even though they dread tipping taxi drivers, people love to tip funny tour guides. It’s all about making their day and turning their trip across town into an adventure. More knowledgeable and charismatic drivers will earn better tips in this new type of meritocracy.
Although I’m quite excited to see how this new service grows, there are some clear reasons for skepticism.
- Payment method: It sounds like you only get paid through “donations”. And there’s not actually an obligation on the part of the rider to pay. You can suggest and amount, but they don’t necessarily have to pay it. I’m guessing they went with “donations” instead of actual payments to get around current taxi laws.
- Legislation: Taxi companies represent a significant portion of the economy and they are not happy about companies like Lyft and Uber taking away some of their market share. There have been some lawsuits in the past, but more recent legislation looks positive.
- Insurance: Lyft has $1M liability coverage for all of it’s drivers. So on the surface it sounds good, but you never really know how it will work until something happens.
- Blocking the air intake on your car: This is the engineer in me talking, but it doesn’t feel right to put a big mustache in front of the main intake where air goes into your car to cool the engine. No one else seems upset about this, but I’m sure you’ll loose a little fuel efficiency.
Are you going to sign up?
You need to be 23 or older, have a car model year 2000 or newer, and pass their screening process. But other than that you just need to enjoy meeting new people and listen to your iphone give you directions.
Oh, and so far it’s only in these cities, but it seems to be spreading like wildfire.
I haven’t taken the plunge yet, but I’m certainly considering it. You could probably make a killing on a Friday night driving around the bar areas offering Lyft Chicago.
Would you become a Lyft driver? Have you been Lyft-ed yet?