Getting started driving for Uber or Lyft

Here are the basic steps, including driver and vehicle requirements, to become a rideshare driver for Lyft and Uber.  Whether you want to start driving for Uber or Lyft, the approval process generally takes less than a week.  However, it can take up to two weeks.  Both companies offer a sign up bonus if you use a sign up code. Visit our Lyft Sign Up Bonus page for information on the types of bonuses Lyft is currently offering. Click here to see your Uber bonus. If you would like to use our signup codes, our Lyft referral code is ridesharecentral, and our Uber referral code is i9tz1.
Driving for Uber.

Is it better to start driving for Uber or Lyft first?

It depends.  I usually recommend signing up for Lyft first and completing the rides necessary to obtain your sign up bonus.  Then, sign up for Uber.  Overall, Lyft riders are a little more forgiving of mistakes, so if you mess up, it’s less likely to result in a bad rating. Also, Lyft is less busy in most markets, so you won’t be overwhelmed in your first week.  However, because Uber has more riders, you’ll probably be able to fulfill the sign up bonus requirements faster driving for Uber.  The catch is that some drivers find it harder to maintain a high rating driving for Uber in the first couple of weeks.  So, if you’re feeling adventurous and know your city well enough, go ahead and sign up for Uber first.  I joined Uber before starting on Lyft and was fine.

How driving for Uber and Lyft Work

Riders request a ride throught the Uber or Lyft app. The closest available driver gets the call. On each ride, Lyft takes a booking fee ($1-$2 generally) + 25% of the fare. Uber now pays drivers by distance and time. Uber and Lyft offer cash bonuses if you complete a certain number of rides in a week. These bonuses can top $100 to $150 per week in addition to your regular earnings. In some markets, if you complete a certain number of rides, Lyft refunds part or most of their 25% commission instead of giving a cash bonus.

Earnings vary by city, but in most markets the average is in the $15-$20 range. However, experienced drivers who know their way around tend to earn more as do drivers who only drive peak hours. Earnings are often higher in newer Lyft and Uber markets, because there are fewer drivers. So, if Lyft or Uber recently arrived in your neck of the woods, now is the time to sign up!
driving for Uber

Differences between driving for Uber and Lyft

Lyft allows riders to tip in the app.  Uber does not.  Overall, Lyft riders are more forgiving of mistakes by the driver. Lyft treats the drivers better.  However, Uber has about four times as many users as Lyft.

Lyft and Uber driver requirements

  1. You have to be 21 years old and have had a driver’s license for at least 1 year. (In some cities, your license may need to be from in-state.)
  2. You must be able to pass a criminal background check.
  3. You must have in state personal auto insurance (your must be listed as a driver on the policy) for the vehicle you will be using.  I highly recommend supplementing or replacing your personal insurance with rideshare insurance coverage. However, you don’t need rideshare insurance coverage to be approved for the Uber and Lyft platforms.
  4. You must have a relatively clean driving record. (No DUI’s or reckless driving and very few moving violations over the last few years.)

Lyft and Uber vehicle requirements.

You do not need to own a vehicle to drive with Uber or Lyft. However, if you do, these are the requirements.

  1. The vehicle must have a valid registration and a clean title. However, the vehicle does not have to be in your name.
  2. The vehicle must have four doors and a minimum of five seatbelts.
  3. The vehicle must be in good working order. Lyft and Uber require vehicle inspections.
  4. The vehicle must be model year 2004 or newer for Lyft, and model year 2001 or newer for Uber (2002 starting in March).  In some cities, the requirements are more strict. For Lyft Premiere and Uber Select or Black, the requirements are also more strict, and vary by city.

The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Documentation

You’ll need to upload the following items during the application.

  1. Driver’s License
  2. Insurance Certificate
  3. Vehicle Registration

If you have those items handy, you can click one of the buttons below to start your application.

Once you’ve filled out your application and uploaded your documents, Uber and Lyft will run a DMV and criminal background check. This is the part that takes a few days. While you’re waiting for your approval, we recommend taking the following steps.

The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Background Check

  1. Consult our Before You Drive guide for expert tips and advice on driving profitably.
  2. Browse through our Essential Products for Drivers.
  3. Visit Rideshare Central’s Insurance Marketplace to explore your rideshare insurance options.
  4. If you’re looking for a vehicle, visit our Vehicle Financing page to find the best options for purchasing or renting a vehicle for rideshare driving.


The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Approval and Vehicle Inspections

After approval, you will need to pass a vehicle inspection to get on the road.  Lyft does the inspection during the mentor session. During a mentor session, an experienced Lyft driver inspects your vehicle, teaches you how to use the driver app, and gives you final approval to get on the road.

Uber does not have a mentor session. After approval, Uber will send you a vehicle inspection form and a list of places where you can get the vehicle inspected.

The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Activation

After you successfully complete your mentor session/vehicle inspection, you should be able to get on the road and start making money driving for Uber or Lyft, or both!