Knowing the best times to drive for Lyft allows you to make the most money for your time.
While some factors are outside your control, there are many things you can do to increase your earnings as a rideshare driver.
Best Times to Drive for Lyft
Choosing the best days to drive for Lyft is important, but the hours you drive on those days are just as important:
During the week, the best time to work is early morning. So if you’re an early riser, you won’t have as much competition from other drivers.
From 5 AM to 7 AM, you’ll have an influx of business travelers and people commuting to and from school. If you’re able to be up and ready even earlier, you can catch the business travelers catching the first flight of the day. This is most popular on Mondays and Fridays, but you might also catch a few in the days in between.
Other popular hours to work during the week are 5 PM to 7 PM. At this time, you’ll have people returning home or going out for a drink or two after work.
You might catch some rides after 7 PM on the weekdays, but most fall between 5 PM and 7 PM.
The best time to drive on the weekends is at night, usually 7 PM and 2 AM. This is when most people hit the town and don’t want to drive due to parking or because they’ll be drinking.
However, pay close attention to events in the area. For example, if there’s a big concert on a Saturday night, you’ll want to be available much earlier than 7 PM as people want to get to the event early.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drive during the day on the weekends, especially if you live in an area with popular attractions. For example, if you live near a busy city, chances are there will be many people requesting rides to the top destinations.
Holidays are another great time to increase your Lyft earnings, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not only will you have more people traveling to and from the airport, but you’ll likely have more people traveling to the area and site seeing.
If you’re available on the holiday itself, you’ll likely make good money taking people to and from their destinations since many people will visit without a car. Others want peace of mind to drink and enjoy themselves without worrying about driving.
Other popular holidays include the Fourth of July, Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo. These are the holidays when people are most likely to attend parties, drink, and not want to drive.
Choosing Peaks and Hot Spots
Knowing the trends in your area will help you choose the best hours to drive for Lyft. Of course, every area is different, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
However, there are certain generic times that you should plan to drive for Lyft if you want to maximize your earnings.
Early Morning Hours
Early drivers are more likely to catch commuters needing an early ride. The earlier you get up, the higher your chances of maximizing your Lyft earnings before most people start their day.
You might drive business people to the airport to catch their flight for an important business meeting or drive an executive into the office who is visiting from another state and doesn’t rent a car.
Some people also take Lyft rides to the office to avoid the hassle of paying for parking if they work in the city, or some just don’t have a car. There’s the least amount of competition among drivers early in the morning, so if you rise early, take advantage.
Check out your area during the day on the weekends and see where people spend most of their time. The heat maps on the Lyft app will help but also get to know the area.
Do you have touristy areas where people go often? Then, you’ll likely catch a lot of rides if you hang out in that area. Also, pay attention to special events, as the need for rides will be higher on those days.
If you live in an area with a lot of shopping and other errands people can run, you may also catch those who want to get everything done on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Friday and Saturday Prime
Friday and Saturday prime times are 7 PM to 2 AM. This is when most people go out for the night. Find the hot spots in your area and position yourself there. Consider it your ‘office’ while you wait for rides. In busy areas, you probably won’t have to wait long.
For example, if you live near an area with a cluster of nightclubs and bars, you’ll catch people bar hopping or going home for the night. You might also live in a theatre district or area with many restaurants.
Find where people spend most of their time, and be near the area. Lyft is likely to have surge pricing in hot areas, so it makes sense to position yourself there.
Mid-Day Lunch Rush
The mid-day lunch rush during the week is usually 11 AM to 2 PM, but figure out what it is for your area. This is when most executives and business people will likely go out for lunch and catch a ride.
This is especially true if you live near a downtown area with many lunch choices, but most business people need a ride instead of walking.
Special Events Near You
Special events often trigger peak or surge pricing because of the higher ride demand. Sign up for notifications about special events near you, such as concerts, sporting events, political events, and conventions.
Stay active on social media to see the latest news and make yourself available when ride demand increases.
If you live near an airport and don’t mind dealing with airport traffic, work shifts during busy departure and arrival times to make the most money.
Timing departures work best during the week, early mornings, or mid-day on Fridays. This is when most business people travel to and from home.
During other times, pay attention to the airport’s schedule, looking for times with many arrivals. Position yourself near the airport during those times so you can catch people arriving at the airport that need rides. The times will vary by airport, day, and demand for airline tickets on any given day.
Impacts on the Best Times to Drive for Lyft
The best times to drive for Lyft are obviously when there are the most riders. But there are some factors that affect your decision.
Here’s what to consider:
Location, Location, Location
Deciding when you should drive is important because you need riders to make money. If you aren’t in the right location where there is an abundance of riders, you won’t maximize your earnings.
If you live in a popular area, like New York City or Chicago, you’ll have your pick of riders. However, a more rural town will have fewer riders.
But there’s a fix.
The Lyft heat map is full of helpful information. Look for the shaded areas on the map – this is where the highest request for rides are located. Try positioning yourself near these hotspots to optimize your rides.
This might mean going out of your way slightly, but if you spend a few hours in the hotspots, you’ll get more rides and make more money.
Also, pay attention to local events. Concerts, fairs, and city-wide events are great times to be a rideshare driver. During large events that involve driving and parking or a lot of drinking, requests for rides will increase.
Think of the seasons in your area and what it does for tourism or even people spending time outdoors.
In any area, not just touristy areas, people are more likely to be out and doing things in the summer versus the winter. This doesn’t mean there’s never a request for rides in the winter, but you’ll likely be busier in the summer.
However, if you live in an area where many tourists visit, arrange your schedule accordingly. For example, if you live in an area with warm weather and beaches, you’ll likely have more requests during summer when tourism rates are up.
But if you live in an area popular for winter sports, you’ll likely have more ride requests in the colder months.
The different seasons can help you create a schedule that allows more time for taking rides during busy times and planning for the slower months with less supplemental income.
Choose Your Passengers Wisely
Determining the best hours to drive for Lyft also means considering the varying types of passengers.
During the day, you’ll likely have more business people requesting rides to and from business events or the airport. As a result, you’ll need a more professional demeanor and potentially make higher tips.
At nighttime, you’ll likely be driving people who’ve enjoyed a night out. This might include adults or college students. As a result, you won’t need as professional of a demeanor, and the tips might not be as high.
Consider what you’re willing to deal with in your car when choosing the best driving time. Create a schedule that allows you to drive during business hours or Friday/Sunday nights when many executives fly to and from home.
Making More Money Driving for Lyft
Choosing the best hours to drive for Lyft is important, but there are other factors to consider.
Be Aware of Dead Miles
Dead miles are like the commute to and from an office. But because time is money when you rideshare, you should make the most of your route home.
Rather than driving home without a passenger, position yourself in an area where you can pick someone up on your route home. Then, you can make a little money while driving home, even if it’s not the entire way home.
This can take a little trial and error, especially if you drive to areas far from your home and aren’t familiar with what’s around. Try to get to know the area, and pay close attention to the heat map so you can pick up riders heading your way to make the most of your time.
Know Your Routes to Avoid Crowds
Get to know the areas you drive well so you can take backroads and avoid the major routes with traffic. Time is money when you’re a rideshare driver, and you typically don’t get more per minute if you’re stuck in traffic.
Have a Good GPS
The key to avoiding crowds and traffic is to have a good GPS program that helps you avoid traffic while keeping you on track.
You don’t want to go so far off the beaten path that your riders are nervous, but you also want to make the most of your time driving.
Aim for a Top Customer Rating
Your customers’ ratings greatly affect your income. The better ratings you have, the more rides you’ll be offered. Plus, when you please your customers, they will tip better. Because Lyft drivers keep 100% of their tips, maximizing your earnings.
To get a top customer rating, consider doing the following:
- Provide a car charging cord for customer use
- Read customers’ body language to determine if they want conversation or a quiet ride
- Offer music they want to listen to
- Be courteous, ask questions, and make sure customers are okay with your routes
Keep your car in great working condition. This means keeping up with your car’s maintenance and ensuring you’re car is clean inside and out.
If you drive a lot, you may need maintenance more often, but it will pay off when you have a working vehicle that allows you to earn more.
Common maintenance issues include tire rotations, oil changes, filling windshield washer fluid, and changing your windshield wipers.
Keep a detailed record of your expenses as a Lyft driver. You may be able to write many of them off on your taxes.
This makes it easier to ensure your customers have a pleasant ride, knowing you can write off expenses, including the following:
- Gas costs
- Regular maintenance costs
- Major repairs
Always talk to your tax advisor about what you can and can’t write off as a Lyft driver.
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing the best hours to drive for Lyft is important to maximize your earnings. Here’s what else you should know.
What are the most expensive times for Lyft drivers to take advantage of?
Lyft’s peak pricing is most common in the early morning hours and late evening during the week. However, depending on where you live, you may also see frequent peak pricing on weekend nights, especially near a major city.
What are the cheapest times for Lyft drivers to be aware of?
Any off-peak times are the least expensive times for riders to take a Lyft, which means drivers make less. Typically, these times are mid-day during the week and on weekends. However, if there are special events or you’re near a major airport, you may make more money during those times.
What is the Lyft pay structure drivers should consider?
The basic Lyft payment structure is based on trip time and distance. Occasionally Lyft runs promotions or bonuses so drivers can earn more, and on any ride, drivers keep 100% of the tips earned.
What are Lyft surge prices?
Surge prices occur when the demand for rides is higher than the number of drivers available. Lyft sets surge pricing based on demand. Sometimes it can increase by as much as 50%, but it varies based on the demand and number of drivers.
How does tipping work with Lyft services?
Drivers keep 100% of tips earned. However, riders aren’t required to tip. To increase your chances of earning more money, do what you can to provide the best customer service experience.
What Are The Best Times for You to Drive for Lyft?
It may take some trial and error to find the best times to drive for Lyft, but with practice, you can maximize your earnings.
The key is finding the hot spots in your area and the best times to position yourself so you can make the most money.
In addition, getting the best ratings and providing top-notch customer service will help you earn even more.