How to Become an Uber or Lyft Driver

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How to Become an Uber or Lyft Driver

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Driving for Uber or Lyft is often presented as an easy way to make money: sign up, then drive. But the reality is not that simple.

You need to meet certain age, vehicle and insurance requirements, and pass a background check — which can take a few weeks — before you can start earning on either platform.

Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Driver requirements

Uber and Lyft have slightly different requirements for drivers. Here are the basics for each service:

Uber driver requirements

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in your city.

  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

  • Have at least one year licensed driving experience in the United States (three years if you’re under 23 years old).

  • Pass a screening process, which will include a review of your driving record and possibly a background check.

  • Provide proof of residency in your city or state.

Lyft driver requirements

  • Meet the minimum age to drive for your city and state.

  • Have a valid driver’s license. (In some states, you need at least one year of licensed driving experience.) An out-of-state license will suffice in some cases.

  • Pass a screening process, which includes a criminal background check and review of your driving history.

  • Meet your state’s minimum auto insurance requirements.

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Vehicle requirements

In general, Uber or Lyft vehicles must be in good working condition, have four doors and meet state requirements, such as passing a smog test or having up-to-date registration.

Each service also has specific requirements for cars:

Uber vehicle requirements 

  • Passes required inspections at an Uber Greenlight Hub or local inspection center. Inspection requirements vary by city and state. Note: Greenlight Hubs are currently closed due to COVID-19. Drivers can still get inspections via local inspection centers where available.

  • Meets vehicle age requirements in your city and state (typically 10 to 15 years old, maximum).

  • Not titled as salvage or rebuilt.

  • No commercial branding.

  • Working windows and air conditioning.

  • A minimum of five factory-installed seats and seat belts.

  • Additional requirements may apply to drive for UberXL, Lux, Select or Black car service.

Lyft vehicle requirements

  • A minimum of five seatbelts, including the driver’s.

  • Passes any inspection required by your city or state.

  • Not titled as salvage, nonrepairable or rebuilt.

  • Meets vehicle age requirements in your city and state (typically 2005 or newer).

  • Cannot be a taxi, stretch limousine or on Lyft’s list of prohibited subcompact vehicles.

Insurance requirements

Uber and Lyft drivers need to have auto insurance coverage in their name. Minimum insurance requirements vary by state, and some places have special requirements for ridesharing drivers.

Both ridesharing services also maintain insurance coverage on behalf of their drivers, which kicks in after you’ve accepted a ride request, but may also apply if you’re waiting on a request (if your personal insurance doesn’t cover the incident).

Talk with your insurance provider before signing up as a ridesharing driver — it could cancel your policy if you don’t disclose your new gig. Your personal policy could also leave you with coverage gaps. In that case, consider purchasing rideshare insurance, if it’s available where you live. A commercial auto policy may be required for certain types of Uber drivers.

How to maximize earnings

Familiarize yourself with the various earning and bonus options offered by each ridesharing service. Check for guaranteed-pay promotions in your area, which ensure your weekly or hourly earnings as long as you meet certain requirements.

Take advantage of peak hours — when demand for rides is high — through Uber surge pricing. That might mean waiting for rides after a special event or making yourself available to drive during the morning commute.

You can also earn more through programs like Lyft’s Personal Power Zone, which pays drivers a bonus for accepting rides or picking up riders in specified locations.

Maintaining a stellar rating can also boost your earnings, so remember to keep your car clean, be friendly and use a reliable GPS.

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