- Driving for Lyft and Uber doesn't require interviews or many hard skills, so there's a relatively low barrier to entry. You'll still need to provide valid auto documentation and pass background checks, though.
- Uber and Lyft have slightly different requirements for drivers and vehicles. You'll generally need at least a year of driving experience and a car in great condition.
- You'll need to get your car inspected before your app of choice permits you to drive. Depending on your location, you may need to get your car inspected every 4-12 months.
- This article is for people interested in driving for Uber or Lyft.
As Lyft and Uber have become increasingly popular methods of public transportation, more people have signed up to drive for these rideshare giants. That's largely because there's a low barrier of entry to driving for either company. There are no job interviews and few formal skill requirements – your driving history and your car's condition matter more. Below, you'll learn how easy it is to become an Uber or Lyft driver.
Some Lyft and Uber workforce figures
If you're looking to drive for Lyft or Uber, you'll join 1.4 million Lyft drivers and 3.9 million Uber drivers. Lyft drivers serve a global customer base of 23 million riders. Uber has even more riders, with 93 million monthly users.
Notably, some drivers give rides for both apps, and some riders use both apps. So it's safe to assume when you enter the market, you'll have ample competition right in your backyard.
Did you know? In 2018, Lyft purchased a bike-rental company and renamed it Lyft Bikes, which now has a market share of 80%.
This competition can get in the way of earning a high salary. Based on hundreds of self-reported annual earning amounts, Lyft drivers made about $24,895 in 2021. That figure is 49% lower than the American average for all drivers. The equivalent figure for Uber is available as an average hourly wage of $9 to $10. This amount doesn't include tips, which go entirely to drivers without Uber or Lyft taking a cut.
If these figures keep driving for Lyft or Uber in the realm of possibility for you, here's six steps for how to get started.
1. Make sure you meet the driver requirements.
Uber driver requirements
According to Uber's website, each city has specific requirements for Uber drivers. In any case, you must be of at least legal driving age in your city. You also need at least one year of U.S. driving experience; though if you're under 25, that number increases to three. You must have a valid U.S. driver's license, vehicle registration, auto insurance and a clean driving record.
Uber conducts background checks that scan the last seven years of your driving history. Drivers can't have DUI or drug-related offenses, been involved in any fatal accidents or a history of reckless driving.
Lyft driver requirements
According to Lyft.com, drivers must be between 21 and 25 years old, depending on the region. In some states, you must have an active U.S. driver's license for at least a year.
The company also completes a driving record and criminal background check. You'll be ineligible if you have more than four moving violations in the past three years, a major moving violation in the past three years, a DUI or other drug-related violation in the past seven years, or any serious driving-related conviction in the last seven years. In some regions, the window for DUIs and drug-related violations may vary.
You can't be a Lyft driver if you have been convicted of a violent crime or sexual offense. Certain crimes, such as drug-related or theft offenses, have a lookback time frame of about seven years. You must also have a current driver's license, plates with current registration and insurance.
2. Ensure your car meets the vehicle requirements.
Riders don't want to be stuck on the highway with a broken-down car. It's important for vehicles to meet specific requirements as rideshare cars.
Uber vehicle requirements
Vehicle requirements may vary across cities and states. In general, your vehicle must be no older than 15 years. You also can't use a rental vehicle or a salvaged, rebuilt, or reconstructed vehicle, and it must have four doors.
Uber vehicles should be in good condition – meaning no cosmetic damage or commercial branding. All vehicles must pass an inspection.
Lyft vehicle requirements
Lyft vehicles must also have four doors, and they must be able to open and close from both inside and outside of the car. Passengers must be able to unlock and lock their own doors, and there must be at least five seat belts.
Engine, suspension, steering and brakes must be working properly. All the lights should function – including high- and low-beam headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and reverse lights.
Lyft goes into further detail, requiring that drivers' tires have sufficient tread, the wipers and horn work, and the front seats move forward and backward. Air conditioning and heat should be working properly too.
Windows and mirrors can't have cracks, and windows need to work right. Tailpipe and mufflers should be within the state standards and shouldn't be modified. Lyft cars also can't have body damage or dents.
3. Obtain the required documents.
Potential drivers need to upload their driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Uber also asks for additional proof of residency at your address beyond your driver's license. To streamline the application process, obtain these documents before starting an application.
FYI: Your rideshare driving application will require you to submit your driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Uber requires additional proof of residency.
4. Submit an application.
Once you have reviewed the requirements and determined that you meet them, it's time to start the application. Before you apply, see if there's a referral code. For instance, new drivers at Lyft can receive a bonus for completing a certain number of rides within a specific time frame using a code.
Create an Uber or Lyft account if you don't already have one. Once you are logged in, select "drive with Uber" or "sign up to drive."
When applying to Uber, potential drivers can visit a local Uber Greenlight location to ask questions or discuss the application process.
For Lyft, applications may be held up because of background checks, which can take several weeks to process. You can check your application's progress anytime at Candidate Checkr.
5. Get your car inspected.
All Uber and Lyft vehicles must pass a vehicle inspection. Then, potential drivers need to upload the inspection to their profiles.
In some cities and states, certain cars only need to be inspected annually. Cities with stricter rules require drivers to have their vehicles inspected quarterly. Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy blog and podcast, suggests completing the vehicle inspection as soon as possible to speed up the application process.
6. Wait for your application to be accepted.
The last step before you are a rideshare driver is waiting for your application to be accepted. Many factors determine how long the process will take, but Campbell said most drivers are approved in five to seven days.
While potential drivers are waiting to hear if they are approved, they should ensure they have a working smartphone, which is necessary to use both the Uber and Lyft platforms. Once your application is approved and you have a phone, you can hit the road, pick up your first passenger, and start earning money.
Max Freedman contributed to the writing and research in this article.