Lyft can be a great source of income , but do they hire felons? Here we analyze the Requirements to Become a Lyft Driver. Some Lyft make upward of $1000-2000/wk, with average driver pulling in about $1.3K or $20-25/hr, so this would be a perfect opportunity for felons – but can you get this job with your conviction?
Hint: You CAN, so read on!
Let us know in comments below, if you were able to get a Lyft / Uber job with a felony conviction.
Ride sharing is a very competitive business, and Lyft, along with its main competitor UBER are very aggressive at recruiting new drivers, offering sign-up bonuses as much as $1000 after you drive for 1 month. These companies NEED more drivers, especially in new markets.
However with massive pushback from riders – complaints of robber, sexual assault and even murders, Lyft and UBER are under pressure and scrutiny to improve background check on their drivers. And while they say that they are very strict – reality is, MANY folks who should not drive for Lyft and Uber, do so, and very “successfully”.
Lyft’s official Policy / Requirements to Become a Driver
Here is the official stance on criminal records and background checks for new drivers:
Every driver is screened for criminal offenses and driving incidents. Lyft’s criminal background check is provided by a third-party and includes national and county-level databases, and when necessary, local courthouse record checks. You will be ineligible to drive on the Lyft platform if, among other things, the background check results reveal convictions for any of the following in the past seven years:
A violent crime
A drug-related offense
A sexual offense
Certain theft or property damage offenses
So as you can see – if you had a felony conviction (or others listed above) in the last 7 years, you will most likely fail background check and won’t get the job. However – if your felony is OLDER than 7 years, you should have no problem being approved by Lyft, and can start driving and earning pretty good money.
Ok – this is a huge topic, and falls outside the scope of this guide, so I will only cover the basics here, and discuss details in separate guide.
First of all, you need to always keep in mind that it is VERY easy to lose the privilege to drive for Lyft (or Uber) and if you lose it – that’s, no going back. So follow the below tips 100%, and most likely you will not get “deactivated”. I have several friends who were Lyft / Uber drivers but for stupid mistakes were deactivated and cannot get back in ever!
Once you are approved to drive for Lyft, you need a CAR – a decent car, or at the very least “newer” and very clean! Some will say “duh!” but trust me on this one.
Your car must be in very clean/pristine condition: No rust, smoke, falling tail pipes, broken windows, or trash inside. No ripped trim either! If you get several complains for the quality of your car, you will be banned!
Basically you don’t need to have a brand new or even a 2-years old car, but definitely not a clunker. Also Lyft has an approved list of cars that you can drive. In most cities your car must be no older than 2004… in some cities 2006 or newer.
Be extra polite with riders: If you get several bad reviews, and your rating falls (there is no hard number, but 4.5 out of 5 stars is bad), you will be banned.
Many drivers now days offer free water bottles to riders, and vacuum their cars every 5-10 rides!!!
Get a Dash Camera!!! Most Lyft drivers now have dash-cams, to protect themselves from frivolous/meritless accusations or in case of an accident, to have hard proof. Felons need a dash-cam much more so than regular drivers, because if you get wrongly accused, you will be “guilty by default” without video evidence. Definitely stay away from cams under $100 … This video footage may be a deciding factor in your life, so spend $200-300 on a great cam to be sure that you have the evidence when/if you need!
You need a dash cam that films in front of your car as well as inside (with secondary rear view camera) the car. Don’t buy cheap cams – they are garbage, and often will not make a recording, that you need (even if they appear to be working). I made a mistake of getting cheap dashcam, and when I needed it, there were no videos, while camera was rolling 🙁
You need smart phone to install Lyft app, so you can drive customers. Everything in Lyft happens through app, so I recommend a decent Android phone or an iPhone 5s or newer. Your phone will also be your navigation!
Along with phone you will need decent car-mount to place the phone. Here I recommend a magnetic car mount like Schoshe, which makes it very easy to take phone off and put it beck onto mount with one hand, in less than 1/2 second! Don’t get operated mounts as they are a driving hazard.
As for the phone itself, it’s very personal, and depends on you provider (AT&T / Sprint / T-Mobile / Verizon / Prepaid). With Sprint / Verizon, you pretty much can only use carrier phones (no unlocked options). For AT&T / T-Mobile, I recommend unlocked phone, like Blu Life One X2 or Blu R1HD or Sony XA or Unlocked iPhone 5s or newer.
Unlocked phone gives you freedom to change carriers, and you won’t get stuck in 2 year contract.
How to behave with passengers
Never Ask for Tips! While Lyft allows tipping, you should never ask for tips. 1st – most people will leave tips through app. 2nd if they did not leave tip – that is fine – many people are just cheap. However if you ask for tip or complain, you WILL get bad review. Once again – just a handful of bad reviews and you are off the job forever!
Don’t tell them that you are a Felon! Ok, so I am for transparency, but if you want to make someone very scared of you – tell them you have a conviction, while you drive them … J/K … never do that.
NO ROAD RAGE / AGGRESSIVE Driving If you drive aggressively, you will most likely be fired the first day! Lyft is very strict about safety, and 1-2 complains about dangerous driving is enough to get you deactivated! There is no going back, once you are out.
Don’t make awkward conversations with riders. Many people don’t like talking with strangers – just drive them and that’s it… unless you get a talkative type. Then just keep the conversation going without being too personal
Be on time Many people are in a hurry, and use ridesharing for fast inexpensive transportation. Don’t come 15 minutes late for your pickup. If you want to eat lunch – turn off Lyft app.
Don’t Smoke in the car Riders often think of themselves as hip and cool, and today smoking is NOT considered cool. So definitely don’t smoke in the car with the rider in it, but also don’t smoke in the car when alone. I do smoke but I hate smell of cigarettes. So when I need to, I just pull over, and get out.
Here is a good “training video” for Lyft:
Once you are setup and ready to start
Ok, assuming you have everything ready, and are approved by Lyft – you first drive should be during off-peak day hours… like between 11am and 3pm. Pickup and drive a few clients, and be EXTRA nice and polite. Ask your riders how their day goes, offer water, etc.
Mention that you are new on Lyft / that this is your first day, and ask – would they care to give you some tips (as in ADVICE). This will open up the conversation and make time go by fast, as well as make your passenger have positive emotions about you – increasing chance of good tips and good review.
Additionally, in the beginning, you should also have your friends ride with you (through app) and give you initial positive ratings.
Ok – this should about cover it for now – if you want more advice – hit some Lyft / Uber forums – it’s a good place to start.
Come back for my in-depth guide on ride sharing jobs for felons, driving for Lyft and Uber. Also soon I will publish my full Uber guide.
If you do not qualify (felonies that are less than 7 years old), you should still try to apply, unless 7 years is coming up soon. Also check out our trucking jobs for felons guide, as truck companies can be much more lenient with felons