Two weeks ago I told you guys what it takes to become a Lyft mentor. I got my ‘mentor status’ after only 29 rides but I also had a perfect 5 star rating so that probably had something to do with it. I actually had a couple false alarms right after I became a mentor but eventually I got my first mentee a couple weeks ago. The whole process started off kind of fortuitously because I was actually working on a podcast for this site and I had my Lyft app on in driver mode.
I was working so hard though that I missed my first ride request of the day (and it didn’t help that the sound was off on my phone either). But within a few minutes of that missed call, I got my first mentee request. Since I’d had a couple false alarms I knew exactly what I had to do and within about 20 minutes, my mentee was at my house and he was getting some A+ mentoring.
The Actual Process of Getting a Mentee
The actual process of getting a mentee request is a little confusing at first but once you’ve done your first session it gets a lot easier. When a mentee requests his or her mentor session, Lyft will find the nearest available mentor and match you guys up. You’ll see a ‘Lyft Mentor’ request on your screen and once you accept the session you’ll have to drop a pin at your location. This part basically simulates requesting a ride as a passenger since after you drop the pin, the mentee will drive to your location.
Related Article: What Does it Take to Become a Lyft Mentor?
Now I know some mentors like to meet their mentees halfway or even drive to their mentee but I think that’s kind of dumb. This step is part of the interview. If you can’t figure out how to follow GPS directions to a pin on a map this gig might not be for you 🙂 I don’t remember ever having an interview where the employer came to me either.
The cool part about mentor requests is that while there is a basic structure and checklist from Lyft you are somewhat free to do your own thing. You will probably develop your own system but here’s what I like to do:
- Greet the Driver – In this part of the interview, I just like to talk to them and get to know them a little bit. I’ll tell them a little bit about how I got into rideshare and ask them why they want to join Lyft, if they work any other jobs, etc.
- The Formal Stuff – Once I’ve gotten to know them a little bit I’ll start going through Lyft’s checklist: checking registration, license information, etc. You may have forgotten but Lyft does a pretty good job of letting new drivers know what they need to bring to this test drive. So if your mentee is unprepared, that is not a good sign. I usually go through this section pretty quickly, since it’s pretty simple stuff and more of a formality than anything. I’ll usually start answering any questions they may have if this part is dragging on.
- FAQ Time – Undoubtedly, new mentees tend to have a lot of questions. My first couple sessions lasted close to an hour because I wanted to answer all of their questions. That wasn’t the right thing to do. Instead, I now answer a few basic questions and then move on since they’re going to figure out a lot of this stuff when they’re on the road.
- My Tips – The last thing I like to leave them with are a few tips about driving for Lyft. I usually go over all the things I talked about in my first podcast: how the passenger request system works, figuring out hot zones and why you want nice long (high mileage) rides. Most of the time, I talk about this stuff during the test drive.
- Test Drive – When I did my test drive with a mentor a few months ago it reminded me of when I was 16 and taking my driving test. Ok there isn’t nearly as much pressure but still the test drive is an important part of the session since you have to make sure they’re actually a good driver. I’ll usually do a 5-15 minute ride with them and I just make sure that they drive carefully and can hold a conversation while driving. This part takes some practice for new drivers but I know that I like taking Lyft as a passenger because the drivers are friendly and talkative.
There’s a lot to go over with a mentee but ultimately you can’t cover everything. The one thing I try to hammer home is to go about this job with common sense. In my opinion, that is the most important skill needed to be a good driver. There are lots of unique situations that will undoubtedly arise and you need to be able to think and act quickly.
For example, if you need to kick a passenger out of the car because they’re being rowdy or too drunk, they’re clearly going to get pissed about that. So make sure that you pull over in a well lit public place and calmly explain the situation. You could say something like, “Sir, I’m really sorry but I just don’t feel comfortable taking you any further, I’m going to have to ask you to get out of the car. You can call another Lyft and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to take you. If you have any questions, please e-mail Lyft support.” Even if you said something like this, the passenger probably won’t be happy. But at least you put yourself in a position where there is a very minimal chance of any type of incident occurring.
Lyft used to send out mentor summaries but they recently discontinued these and they claim that something else is in the works. I never received a mentor summary so I have no way of contacting my mentees but hopefully they’re doing ok without me. I think in the next few weeks, Lyft will come out with a new way to follow up with your mentees.
Maximizing Mentee Requests
Since mentee sessions are pretty easy on the mentors, I see a lot of new mentors asking about ways to specifically request mentor sessions. Unfortunately, there’s no way to request them though. You just have to go into driver mode like you would if you were driving and hope for mentee requests. You get paid $35 per session and they can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes depending on how much material you cover. I like to spend around 30-40 minutes with my mentees including a short test drive.
Mentoring sessions are available every day from 7 am to 6 pm but I’ve had the most luck getting them in the afternoons. I talked with my friend Simon (who’s also an experienced Lyft mentor) over at Running For Status and he suggested setting yourself up away from hot zones since that way you’ll be less likely to get a ride request and more likely to get a mentor request.
I think it might also help if you switch in and out of driver mode since I have a hunch that the mentee request system does not have an expanding radius like the passenger request system. So if you slide in/out of driver mode and you’re away from a hot spot you’ll be unlikely to get any ride requests yet you still might be able to get mentee requests.
Mentor Your Friends
The last strategy that I plan on using to get more mentee requests is to reach out to my friends and make sure that they all know I’m a Lyft driver. Obviously having this website helps, but if you’re trying to get more mentees, post on Facebook, let passengers know and let your family/friends know that you can mentor them if they’re interested in becoming a Lyft driver.
I actually reached out to one of my friends who just signed up for Lyft and offered to mentor him. Last weekend, he came over to my house and we both went into driver mode at the same time and he became my second mentee. It’s also a lot more fun mentoring someone you know than some random person.
By the way, if you’re in the OC/LA area (or know of anyone in the area who might be interested) and want to get mentored by The Rideshare Guy, just give me a shout via e-mail. I would love to mentor some people who are fans of the site!
Readers, what do you think about Lyft’s mentoring program and do you have any tips or tricks to get more mentees? I’d love to hear them!
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-The Rideshare Guy