How much do Lyft drivers make?

How Much do Lyft Drivers make?

I often get asked the question, “How much do Lyft drivers make?” Nationally, the average is around $15-$20 per hour, before expenses. However, there is a lot of variation from city to city. Drivers in New York and San Francisco earn more. Drivers in Houston earn less. That’s not all. Even within a city, there’s a lot of variability. I drive in Chicago, and I’ve met drivers here who make $15 per hour, and ones who make $20-25 per hour or more. In the end, how much a Lyft driver makes depends on a number of different factors including: location, experience, expertise, service, and willingness to drive the right hours.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? The Location Factor

How much you make depends on what city you’re in. I drive in Chicago, and can usually average $20 per hour or more on Lyft. If I drive a lot in a week and get one of the power bonuses, I can push it up to the $25-30 per hour range. However, I’m not going to be able to match what an experienced full time Lyft driver in Manhattan can make while driving in Chicago. It’s just not going to happen.

Last week, I didn’t drive much, but hit $23 per hour.

How much do Lyft drivers make in Chicago?

$23 per hour driving Lyft in Chicago.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? The Experience and Expertise Factor

Unless you’ve driven a delivery truck or cab in your town, you may not know your way around the city as well as you think. Studying a map can help, as can learning the address numbering system of your city, but there’s no substitute for experience. Thankfully, Waze or Google Maps can help out with navigation in the meantime. Both integrate seamlessly into the Lyft app and usually give fairly accurate time and traffic estimates. Waze also tells you where the speed traps and red light tickets are.

Over time though, you want to get to the point where you don’t need Waze or Google Maps. This process takes about 300 to 500 rides. However, even after five rides, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable as a rideshare driver. Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll never want or need to use Waze after doing 300 rides, but you’ll probably need it a lot less.

Expertise is different from experience. Experience is simply how long you’ve been driving. Expertise is how you apply your experience to make yourself a better driver. For example, the routing that the Lyft app gives drivers is not always the fastest route. The same is sometimes true of Google Maps and Waze. However, an expert driver has probably driven the Lyft suggested route, realized it’s slow, and figured out a faster, more efficient route.

Here’s a pro tip for Chicago. Learn Lower Wacker Drive like the back of your hand. None of the navigation systems suggest it, but there is no better way to get across downtown Chicago than Lower Wacker Drive. Learn the entrances and exits and on which routes Lower Wacker is useful and you will have taken your first step towards becoming an expert Lyft driver.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? The Service Factor

Good service comes into play more on Lyft than Uber, because of the tip factor. Experienced Lyft drivers know how to get around the city efficiently. They know which routes to take, and which to avoid. They even know if the Waze or Google Maps is giving a poor route.

However, the drivers that get the most tips tend to go beyond just giving an efficient, well routed ride. Giving top notch service means greeting the rider warmly when they enter, and helping with any luggage or bags. It means having phone charges and maybe an amenity like candy, or waters. One excellent driver I encountered had water, chargers, Purel, candy, and tissues available.

Offering good service also means not doing certain things. Drive efficiently, but don’t drive like a maniac. Don’t change lanes eight times in two minutes. When it comes to talking, let the  passenger lead when it comes to conversations. If the passengers isn’t talking, it’s probably because they don’t want to talk. If you say three or four things, and get nothing from the passenger but one word responses, stop talking.

The main reason to offer top quality service when driving for Lyft is that it can add an extra 10-20% to your weekly pay.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? Driving the right hours

Where I drive, in Chicago, you can make between $17 and $23 per hour before expenses, including tips, if you’re driving part time. If you drive full-time or only drive during peak hours, you can make a bit more. If you fulfill one of the weekly Power Driver Bonuses Lyft offers, you can earn even more.

How much do Lyft Drivers Make with the Power Driver Bonus?

Lyft drivers can make an extra 10% or 20% on their earnings with the power driver bonus. Basically, you have to give a certain number of rides per week, and some of those rides have to be during peak hours. In Chicago, if you give 75 rides total, and 35 are during peak hours, you get a 20% bonus.
Lyft Power Driver Bonus Chicago

Can Lyft Drivers Really Make $35 per hour?

Lyft advertises that you can make up to $35 per hour in Chicago. Is it true? Yes, it’s true, but only during certain hours. If you drive late Friday or Saturday night, you can make $35 per hour. Across a whole week, you can make $25-$30 per hour, but it requires driving during every peak demand period and giving enough rides to get the 20% Power Driver Bonus. You can’t just drive 11am-3pm four days a week, and expect to make $30, or even $20 per hour. Now, even if you drive enough to get the power bonus, and you’re efficient, you’re not guaranteed to hit $30 per hour, but you’ll probably be in the mid to high $20’s.

If you’re interested in driving for Lyft, but have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out my Uber and Lyft Quickstart Guide. If you’d like to sign up for Lyft, feel free to use my code, rsclyft, to get a signup bonus. The amount of the bonus varies by city and can be as much as $1,000. To see what yours is, click the “Join Lyft” button below.



Lyft Sign up Bonus Lyft Driver Promo Code

Lyft First Free Ride Code

Looking for your Lyft first free ride code? Then, you’ve come to the right place. For up to $20 in free rides on Lyft, keep reading.

Lyft First Free Ride Code

As of 2018, Lyft is limiting their bonus codes to a maximum of $5 per ride. So, even if you find a $100 Lyft first free ride code (you won’t, they don’t exist), you can only use $5 per ride.

Lyft first free ride codes give you up to $20 in ride credits (those $50 Lyft ride credits you’ve seen are a thing of the past). However, the maximum per ride on the Lyft promo codes these days ranges from $1 to $5. The max per ride used to be in the $10 to $20 range. One current Lyft coupon gives $1 off for each of your first ten rides. Another does $5 off your ten rides. Which discount you get depends on geography, not your code. In cities where Lyft has been around a while, the amount of ride credits will be lower.

Now, there are two ways to get your Lyft First Free Ride Code.

Lyft First Free Ride Code – Method 1

The first way you can get your Lyft first free ride code is by clicking the “Free Lyft” button below. This will open the Lyft site in a new window, and you will find free ride credits available to you. I would tell you the amount, but it depends on where you’re located. It may be $5, $10, or maybe $20. It probably won’t be $50, but maybe you’ll get lucky. To be clear, Lyft currently limits the per ride amount to between $1 and $5 per ride.


Free Lyft

Once you’re on the Lyft site, simply enter your phone number and click the “Download & Claim” button to download the Lyft app and use your first free ride code.


Lyft First Free Ride Code

Lyft First Free Ride Code – Method 2

The second way you can get your Lyft First Free Ride Code is by downloading the app from the Google Play store if you’re on Android, or the App Store if you use an Iphone. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, simply enter the promo code “rsclyft” to get your free ride credits. Be sure to enter the code before you take your first Lyft ride. See below for screen-by-screen instructions on where to enter the code.

Lyft First Free Ride Code – Method 2 – Entering the Free Lyft Ride Promo Code Screenshots

1. After downloading the app, click the “Get Started” button.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions

2. Enter your cell phone number on the following screen.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions

3. Lyft will text a verification code to your phone. Enter the code on the next screen.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions

4. On the next screen, enter your name and email, and check the box to agree to Lyft’s terms of service.

5. Now, click on the profile icon in the upper left hand corner. This will bring up the main menu.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions

6. Select “Promos” from the menu.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions

7. Enter the code “rsclyft” as shown below (no quotes), and then click apply.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions

8. Your Lyft free ride credits should now be reflected on the screen.

Lyft Rider Promo Code Insturctions



Google v. Uber – Injunctions, Judge Alsup, FBI, oh my!

Well, this case is not going well for Uber so far, but it’s early. To recap, Anthony Levandowski, Uber’s head of self-driving cars, used to be Google’s head of self-driving cars. Google says he stole 14,000 documents, started his own company, and sold it to Uber. Also, it’s possible Uber may have colluded with Mr. Levandowski. Google is understandably pissed and is suing the crap out of Uber. They want the court to force Uber to stop using it’s technology. This would seriously hinder Uber’s self-driving car program. Google also wants damages. Basically, the case could potentially devastate Uber.

What happened this week in the Google v. Uber case?

The latest is that Google is accusing Uber of violating a court order to produce documents. Previously, the court ordered Uber to produce any and all documents in its possession that so much as mentioned information from the 14,000 confidential files allegedly stolen by Levandowski. Uber says they don’t have the documents.

The bigger news, however, is that Mr. Levandowski refused to testify in the case. At a hearing last week, his lawyers said he was taking the fifth, to avoid potential criminal charges.

See, what Google is accusing Mr. Levandowski and Uber of, may be the subject of an FBI or U.S. Attorney investigation at some point. In fact, it may be already. So, if you’re Mr. Levandowski, you don’t want to testify in a civil trial. Then you’re on record, and anything he says at the civil trial can be used against him in a criminal proceeding. So, he took the fifth to protect himself. As the judge in the case pointed out, Uber could tell him to testify or be fired. So far, Uber has not done that.

Also during the hearing, Uber’s attorney tried to get the judge to keep the hearing confidential. He was concerned that people might be prejudiced against Uber if they knew Uber’s head of self-driving cars took the fifth amendment, in a suit about stealing self-driving car technology. Unfortunately for Uber, the judge in this case is the esteemed Judge Alsup. He is generally thought of as a judicial badass who takes little crap and suffers no fools. He presided over the Google v. Oracle case and learned the Java programing language that was at the heart of the case. Not a judge to screw around with.

Here’s Judge Alsup shutting Uber’s attorney down, courtesy of Mike Isaac of The New York Times.

Skeptical Judge Google Uber Trial

What comes next in the Google v. Uber trial?

The first thing Google is asking for is a preliminary injunction forcing Uber to stop using the stolen technology. The hearing on that injunction is May 3. If the judge grants the injunction, Uber may have to stop its self-driving car tests in Pennsylvania, California, and Arizona. In fact, it may have to shut down significant parts of its self-driving car program. If that happens, the effect of Uber’s valuation would be substantial.

The New York Times
USA Today

What Types of Rideshare Insurance are available for Lyft and Uber drivers?

Should I buy a rideshare insurance policy?

If you drive for Uber or Lyft, you should strongly consider buying a rideshare insurance policy. Your personal auto insurance is unlikely to cover any accident related expenses while you are driving for Lyft or Uber. In fact, many insurance companies will cancel your policy if they find out you are driving for Lyft or Uber.

Uber and Lyft divide their insurance coverage into three periods. Period one is when you’re online, and waiting for a ride request. Period two is when you’re on the way to pickup a passenger. Period three begins when you start the trip, and ends when you end the trip.

Uber Rideshare Driver Insurance Summary


So, imagine you’re waiting for a ride request to come in (period one). If you have an accident, you’re going to be on the hook for the expense of fixing your vehicle. The reason is that neither Uber or Lyft provide collision coverage during period one. True, you could lie to your insurance company and not tell them you were rideshare driving. However, that’s a crime, so I can’t recommend doing that.

Additionally, in period one, Uber and Lyft’s liability coverage only kicks in if your personal insurance doesn’t provide coverage. If you call Uber or Lyft and tell them about the hypothetical accident above, both companies will tell you to report it to your insurance company. But, if you tell your insurance company you were driving for Lyft or Uber, they may cancel you. Also, they likely won’t provide coverage. See the problem?

So, if you want peace of mind, your best bet is to purchase a rideshare insurance policy. To find an insurer offering rideshare coverage in your state, visit our 50 state rideshare insurance database.

For more detailed information on the insurance coverage Uber and Lyft provides to drivers, see, How does Uber and Lyft driver insurance work?

What types of rideshare insurance policies are available?

If you want to be fully covered while driving for Lyft, Uber, or another sharing service, you will need to purchase a rideshare insurance policy to replace or enhance your personal auto insurance policy. Today, insurance companies offer one of two types of rideshare insurance policies, gap coverage and full coverage.

Gap Coverage

Gap coverage policies extend your personal auto insurance policy into Period one, when you are waiting for a trip request. This type of policy provides liability coverage for bodily injury, so if someone is hurt during an accident, you’re covered. It can also provide underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, so if you have an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance, you’re also covered. Finally, it can provide collision coverage, so the damage to your vehicle is covered.

Gap coverage generally covers period one only. However, some companies offer policies that cover towing or rental car expenses through all three periods.

You can purchase a gap coverage rideshare insurance policy from one of the companies below.

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Full Coverage

Full coverage rideshare policies act as your primary insurance whether you are driving to the grocery store, waiting for a trip request on Lyft, or driving an Uber passenger to work.

Purchase a full coverage rideshare insurance policy from one of the companies below. Of the companies below, Erie tends to have the most competitive rates.

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How much does rideshare insurance cost?

Much depends on the company and the coverage limits you select. Gap coverage can often be added for between $5-$20. Full coverage that extends part or all of your auto policy into periods 2 and 3 will cost more. To see all the insurers offering rideshare insurance in your state, visit our main 50 state rideshare insurance database.

How does Uber and Lyft driver insurance work?

Rideshare driver coverage changes depending on whether you’re on a trip or not.

If you’re a driver for Uber or Lyft, your insurance coverage differs when you’re on a trip versus waiting for a request. As you can see below, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft (as well as most delivery companies like Instacart) divide the insurance coverage into three periods.

Uber driver insurance breakdown.


Period One – You’re online waiting for a ride request.

When you’re online and waiting for a rider request, Uber and Lyft offer contingent liability coverage. They provide up to $100K in liability coverage for bodily injury ($50K max per person). They also provide $25K in coverage for property damage. It’s contingent coverage because it only kicks in if your primary personal auto insurance doesn’t provide coverage. Most personal auto policies do not provide coverage during period one.

In a few states, Uber and Lyft provide coverage with higher liability limits, or offer primary coverage. During period one, neither Uber or Lyft provide collision coverage.  Collision coverage covers damage to your vehicle.

Lyft driver insurance policy summary


Period Two – You’ve accepted a ride request and are enroute to the passenger.

After you’ve accepted a ride request, Uber and Lyft provide $1,000,000 in liability coverage and $1,000,000 in underinsured/uninsured driver coverage. They also provide contingent collision and comprehensive coverage. Uber’s coverage limit is “up to actual cash value” with a $1,000 deductible. Lyft’s coverage limit is $50,000, with a whopping $2,500 deductible. It’s contingent because you only have this coverage if your personal auto insurance policy has it. In other words, if you don’t have collision coverage in your personal auto policy, you don’t have it when you’re driving for Lyft or Uber.

Period Three – You’ve started the trip.

During period three, the insurance coverage provided by Uber and Lyft is the same as during period two. Both provide $1M in liability coverage and $1M in underinsured/uninsured driver coverage, and also provide contingent collision and comprehensive coverage.

Period three begins when you start the trip, and ends when you end the trip.

How do I get more rideshare insurance coverage?

If you want to have collision coverage, or more liability coverage during period one, you should consider purchasing rideshare insurance. Auto insurance companies offer one of two types of rideshare insurance coverage.

The first type of rideshare insurance is called gap coverage. This type of coverage extends your personal auto insurance coverage into period one, when Uber and Lyft offer low liability coverage and no collision coverage.  Once you accept a ride, Uber or Lyft’s insurance takes over. Most insurance companies offer a variation of this type of rideshare policy.

The second type of rideshare insurance is total coverage. This type of insurance covers you when you’re offline and driving for personal use. It also provides primary insurance coverage when you’re driving for Lyft or Uber, during all three periods.

I’ll cover the different types of rideshare insurance coverage in more detail in tomorrow’s post.

For more information in the meantime, check out our Rideshare Central Insurance Marketplace to see which companies offer rideshare insurance in your area, and what type of coverage they offer.