Requirements for Being a Lyft Driver
Let’s start with the requirements of the drivers themselves. Feel free to skip down the page if you want to read the vehicle/car requirements.
Lyft emphasizes the fact that most drivers are just ordinary people like you and I. That being said, Lyft also has safety standards and regulations to meet. So in reality Lyft is looking for any ordinary person who has a good driving record and is not or has not been a criminal. Here is a list of their requirements to become a driver:
- Applicants must be 21 years of age or older
- Applicants must have had a valid driver’s license for at least 1 year
- Clean Driving Record
- Pass a criminal background check
- Be insured on the vehicle you intend to drive
This is Part 2 of 5 part series
- Getting Started With Lyft I: Getting Your Lyft Sign Up Bonus
- Getting Started With Lyft II: Lyft Vehicle Requirements And Driver Requirements
- Getting Started With Lyft III: Passing Your Mentor Session and Lyft Welcome Ride
- Getting Started With Lyft IV: Lyft Background Check and Preparing for Your First Ride
- Getting Started With Lyft V: Your First Week of Lyft Driving
Quick link: Rent a car to drive for Lyft
Part 1.) Lyft Driver Requirements
Planning to drive in New York City? Currently, Lyft and Uber aren’t accepting new drivers there. Instead, drive for Via (read our review). This company pays well and you can earn the big Via driver bonus by clicking here.
1.) Applicants Must be 21
There is no wiggle room here. You must be 21 at the time of submitting the application. If it is your birthday next week, wait until next week to submit the application. Otherwise it will be automatically rejected.
You cannot lie on the application about your age. This isn’t Darby’s Sports Bar. Remember, they will verify your age when they run a background check.
2.) Applicants Must have a Valid Driver’s License
You are required to have had a driver’s license for one year. The driver’s license must be for the state you plan to drive in and the same goes for your insurance and the plates on your car.
A common problem that occurs is that someone who is applying has not had a driver’s license in their state of residence for a year yet. That’s OK. All you will need to do is send in a copy of your old driver’s license WITH your new driver’s license. You can handle this by emailing a photo of both Drivers Licenses within Lyft’s help center.
3.) The Driving Record
Although you have to have a clean driving record, there is actually some wiggle room here. Let’s explore what you can/can’t have on your driving record:
- No more than 3 moving violations in the last 3 years (seatbelts, traffic lights, fender benders).
- No major violations in the last three years (Driving on a suspended license, driving recklessly).
- No DUI’s or drug related violations in the last 7 years.
- No extreme infractions within the last 7 years (hit and run, felonies involving a vehicle).
So I guess by “clean” they don’t mean sterile. A lot of people have had a speeding ticket and automatically dismiss the idea of driving for Lyft. This isn’t the case. Depending on that speeding ticket, you may still be qualified. I would be willing to wager that in the majority of cases, If you are unsure of what your record will yield I suggest applying anyway as the worst they can do is say no.
4.) Background Check
Lyft does a pretty thorough background check on all applicants conducted through Sterling BackCheck. Lyft dictates the following for its drivers (within the past 7 years).
- No violent crimes.
- No sexual offenses.
- No theft.
- No property damage.
- No felonies.
- No drug related offenses.
Beyond this stuff in the last 7 years, Lyft also does not allow anyone who is registered on the National Sex Offender Registry and DOJ 50-State Sex Offender Registry at the time that their background check is conducted, regardless of how long ago the individual was put on that registry.
The background check is initiated once you conduct your Mentor Session (which comes after you’ve applied). You can always confirm with Sterling BackCheck that the background check has been conducted by contacting them. Just keep in mind that it may take a day or two after the check comes through to get approved on Lyft’s back-end.
Related article: How Lyft drivers are making hundreds of extra dollars per month
Part II.) Lyft Vehicle/Car Requirements
Quick link: Rent a car to drive for Lyft
You may be surprised to find out that Lyft requires a newer model year car than Uber. Lyft currently requires in most markets that your car be 2004 or newer. Unless you live in one of the following cities:
- Must have four doors. Each door must have a handle accessible from the exterior of the vehicle. No, those halfsie doors aren’t eligible.
- All signals, lights, high beams, hazards, turn signals, brakes, fog lamps, and other lights must work.
- A/C and Heat must work. A space heater and windows that roll down don’t count.
- All of your windows must roll up and down fully.
- No cracks in windshield, windows, or mirrors. (leeway on minor damage as long as it does not obstruct driver field of vision.
- Body must be in good condition. More on that later.
- Working horn.
- Tire tread depth must pass the penny test: put a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. The tire treat should overlap his head. (This is the actual standard instructed to Lyft Mentors).
- Tailpipe and mufflers must work properly.
- Seat-belts. The all need to work.
- Seat Adjustments must be in working order.
Your car does not need to have a perfect body or paint. Minor scratches and dents are okay. As a general rule of thumb if the car looks like it was collided into at 5mph or less, then it should be okay. This ultimately comes down to the discretion of your mentor though.
This question seems to come up quite often in forums. If your car looks like mother nature got drunk one night and decided to drop a truckload of fist-sized rocks on it from 5000 feet , then it likely will not pass.
However, if the damage is minor and doesn’t alter the complete look of your car it should be fine. Again, it comes down to the discretion of your mentor.
A/C and Heater
Your A/C and Heater have to work well. Even if you plan to drive in Alaska, you still need working A/C 🙂
Taxi and Black Town Cars
All things that could remotely identify the car as a taxi must be removed. Further, the vehicle must meet all requirements listed above. If you drive or own a cab, you can’t just slap a mustache on your cab and start taking calls.
Town-cars can still display their commercial numbers as required by law. However, when operating under the Lyft platform you are not allowed to use calls generated by Lyft to accept cash or negotiate rides. You have to give the ride on the platform in the same way as any other Lyft.
If you have a vehicle with seven or more seats (and seat-belts) your vehicle will qualify to receive Lyft Plus calls (six passenger seats). Lyft Plus calls have the unique ability to transport six or more passengers for 1.5x the normal rate of a regular Lyft.
Lyft Plus vehicles must still have four doors and meet all of the requirements on age and condition as a regular Lyft vehicle.
Vehicles that qualify should automatically be opted in to receive Plus calls. If you do not receive these calls for some reason, contact Lyft.
Unlike UberXL, you cannot opt-in to only receive Lyft Plus calls. You will not be notified in the app whether or not the request is for a Lyft Plus or a regular Lyft.
Click here if you’d like to see your options for renting a car to drive for Lyft
If you haven’t started your application yet, follow this link to receive a sign-up bonus from Lyft!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I drive for Lyft with a salvage title or a salvaged vehicle?
Unfortunately, you can not drive for Lyft or Uber with a salvaged vehicle but most delivery services will allow you to work for them.
Is there a mileage requirement to drive with Lyft?
No there is no mileage requirement in order to drive with Lyft. As long as your car meets the other requirements, you can drive for Lyft with as many miles on your car as you would like.
Can I drive for Lyft using someone else’s car?
Yes as long as you are on the insurance card.
Speaking of insurance, we highly recommend getting commercial auto insurance for Rideshare drivers to fully protect yourself and lower your liability.
Have questions about your car or the driver requirements? Ask away in the comments section!
PS – Next up! Once your application has been submitted, you’ll move on to the Mentor Session and Welcome Ride which is kind of like a mini-interview for you and your car. You can opt in below and you’ll get all that information and more! Already subscribed? Download the PDF here.