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.
$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.
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.