I was as surprised as most of you were by Lyft’s $1,000 new driver promotion last week but that didn’t stop me from referring as many friends and family members as I could. And in case you’re wondering, yes Mrs. RSG is one of those newly minted Lyft drivers! But after a crazy 24 hours of referrals, I started thinking about all the new drivers who are going to need mentor rides this week.
As a veteran Lyft mentor, I think the ‘Welcome Ride’ is just one of the things that differentiates Lyft from Uber (in a good way). I remember how excited I was to start driving with Lyft and my mentor was very helpful.
Unfortunately, the Lyft mentorship program has deteriorated quite a bit since its inception and there really just isn’t the same meaning behind a mentor ride as there once was. I’ve spoken with many Lyft drivers about this and it seems like the consensus is that the founding drivers and mentors did (and still do) an amazing job but Lyft has let way too many inexperienced drivers become mentors. In fact, I was one of those inexperienced drivers since I actually became a mentor before I even hit 30 rides.
It also probably stems from the fact that since rates are lower these days, a lot of drivers feel like they have to rush through the mentor sessions in order to really maximize their income. I understand why drivers feel that way but it generally isn’t a recipe for long term success.
Mentor Program Did Not Scale Well
When Lyft was only in a few cities, it was easy to manage the mentor program and the mentors were actually some of Lyft’s top drivers – the drivers who bled pink as we like to joke. But as Lyft started to scale nationally, in order to onboard drivers at an exponential pace, they had to loosen the requirements of their mentorship program and that’s when things started going downhill.
Now a days, with lower rates and more competition among drivers, it seems like most mentors are more concerned with rushing through the session than doing a great job. Personally, I’m not going to spend an hour with every single mentee but I also want to do a great job because that’s just the type of person I am. So for me, it’s all about striking a balance between an efficient mentor session and providing as much information as possible.
Mentees like to ask a lot of the same questions and one thing I’ve found after doing many mentor rides is that I am repeating myself a lot. These newbies all have the same questions and most of the stuff that goes into driving will be discovered pretty quickly after they give just a few rides.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve actually developed a two-page handout that I give to my mentees now that covers all of the top issues and most frequently asked questions. Today, I’m going to share that PDF with you so that you can use it free of charge in order to expedite your mentor sessions and also provide as much information as possible.
Download Here: Lyft Mentee Welcome Guide PDF
I’ve also compiled links to some of Lyft’s FAQs that will answer most of the top questions mentees like to ask. One of the coolest parts about being a mentor is that by helping others it actually reinforces a lot of this information.
Policies are changing constantly and there are always new issues to stay abreast of. You don’t have to know everything as a mentor, but I do think it’s a good idea to absorb as much information as you can. I often find myself fielding questions during the mentor ride that I have no idea how to answer. These links should help with that:
- Pay (Earnings, Prime Time, Acceptance Rate, Tolls)
- Tax Information (1099-K, 1099-Misc)
- Driver Ratings
Lyft no longer allows drivers to e-mail them with questions directly but you can send them an e-mail through their contact form. I’ve also found that they respond pretty quickly on Twitter (@AskLyft), so that’s another good option.
Related Article: What’s The Best Way To Get Customer Service From Uber and Lyft?
Manual Welcome Ride
The Lyft website/app/mentor system seem to be having a lot of problems over the past few days. I think it has something to do with the huge number of new drivers trying to go online and finish their application, but still, it can be frustrating.
I actually tried to give my wife a mentor ride the other day and even though we were sitting right next to each other, it wouldn’t match us up. I tried several times before finally giving up and I even tweeted Lyft to see if you are allowed to mentor drivers that you refer (their answer was yes).
I know other drivers made appointments with new mentees and they had similar problems. If you are having these types of issues, then I recommend using Lyft’s manual mentoring forms. This is a manual Google Docs form that allows you to complete a mentor session but there are a few stipulations.
Lyft says that you will not receive a bonus IF:
- Your mentee is receiving an application error
- You’re outside approved mentor hours (7AM-5PM)
- You’re outside your approved coverage zone
I have never actually submitted a manual mentor session but I would assume that it will take a couple extra days to process since someone at Lyft will have to verify all of the information. So in regards to onboarding drivers by 3/5 to meet the $1,000 bonus deadline, I would only use this as a last resort since it may cause a delay in getting the background check approved.
Drivers, have you noticed a big uptick in mentor rides? Do you think this PDF guide for mentees will be a valuable resource going forward?
-Harry @ RSG