Does Lyft or Uber Hire Felons – How to Get a Job With Ride Sharing Services
A ride sharing service, such as Uber or Lyft, can be a great source of income, but the big question is – do they hire felons?
Here we analyze the requirements to become a driver for one of these companies. Some Lyft drivers make upward of $1,000-2,000 per week. The average driver reportedly makes about $1,300 per week, which is equivalent to $20-25 per hour.
Not too shabby – but can you get this job with your conviction?
Hint: You CAN, so read on!
Ride sharing is a very competitive business. Lyft, along with its main competitor UBER are very aggressive at recruiting new drivers. Both offer hefty sign-up bonuses of as much as $2,000, depending on your city, for new drivers!
Lyft & UBER will accept 30-35% of felons*. That is one out of three that can get a great paying job in the fast growing industry.
However, 90% of applicants never take the necessary steps to apply. They fill out the initial application, but never finish it. So if you do apply – finish your application process!
If you already have Lyft App installed, you can still get a Driver sign-up bonus – use referral code HIREFELONS.
UBER and Lyft need new drivers, and they want YOU!
These companies NEED more drivers, especially in new markets, and are very aggressive in their hirings, and business development. Even more so after UBER’s self-driving program fiasco, which was supposed to be rolled out by 2019, but is now pushed back at least by 3 years! In light of UBER’s self-driving program issues, Lyft is taking a much more careful approach, and will also not have any meaningful number of self driving cars on the road, doing commercial rides for at least 3-4 years.
This means that both will need many 1000s of new drivers, to provide service to over 330,000,000 US population.
However, with massive pushback from riders – complaints of robberies, sexual assault and even murders, both companies are under serious pressure and scrutiny to improve background checks on their drivers.
While both companies claim to run very thorough background checks and be very strict in their driver selection process, the reality is that there are MANY folks who should not be drivers (based on their criminal records), but they are, and make very good money.
Do understand, that our goal is NOT to make it look easy to get a ride sharing job when you have a felony. The majority of people even with low level felonies get denied from this line of work. However, we know many who do get these jobs.
Numerous factors can be at play here, and THE BIG ONE is your location. In some areas, depending on demand for drivers, both Uber and Lyft are more open to considering people with a past criminal history.
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 the background check and won’t get the job. However – if your felony is OLDER than 7 years, you should have a much higher chance of being hired, and can start earning pretty good money. Once again, both Lyft and Uber provide generous bonuses to new drivers!
Ok – this is a huge topic, and falls outside the scope of this guide, so I will only cover the basics here.
First of all, you need to always keep in mind that it is VERY easy to lose this job and if this happens – that’s it, THERE IS NO GOING BACK!!!
So follow the tips bellow 100%, and most likely you will not get “deactivated”. I have several friends who were ride share drivers, but for stupid mistakes were deactivated and cannot ever get back in again!
Once you are approved as a driver, 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-year old vehicle, 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.
Check out the full list of Lyft approved cars here.
If you don’t have a car, don’t fret! Lyft has Renting/Leasing program for approved drivers, where you can pay a fixed weekly rate for a brand new or fairly new car for just $209/wk – All-inclusive rentals with unlimited mileage, while Lyft takes care for the rest (with limitations of course).
Bottom line, even if you are carless, or have an old clunker, you can still drive for Lyft!
I’ve take a Lyft ride recently, and the driver said he did not own that car (it was rented from Lyft), and that it was relatively inexpensive ($209/wk, including insurance!), and he was still making pretty decent pay, even with rent payments!
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 ride share service 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 it!
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 a cheap dash camera, and when I needed it, there were no videos, while the camera was rolling 🙁
You need a smart phone to install the ride sharing app, so you can drive customers. Everything happens through this app, so I recommend a decent Android phone or an iPhone 5s or newer. Your phone will also be your navigation!
Along with a phone you will need a decent car-mount to place it on. Here, I recommend a magnetic mount like Schoshe, which makes it very easy to take the phone off and put it back on 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 an unlocked phone, like Blu Life One X2 or Blu R1HD or Sony XA or Unlocked iPhone 5s or newer.
Moreover, an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to change carriers, and you won’t get stuck in a two year contract.
How to behave with passengers
Never ask for tips! While Lyft allows tipping, you should never ask for tips. First, most people will leave tips anyway through the app. Second, if they did not leave a tip – that is fine – many people are just cheap. However, if you ask for it 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 all 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 If you drive aggressively, you will most likely be fired the first day! All ride sharing service companies are very strict about safety. One or two 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 a casual conversation going without being too personal.
Be on time Many people are in a hurry, and use ride sharing for fast inexpensive transportation. Don’t come 15 minutes late for your pickup. If you want to eat lunch – turn off the app and you will not get any ride requests at that time.
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 the smell of cigarettes. So when I need to, I just pull over, and get out.
Here is a good “training video” if you are considering getting int this line of work:
Once you are setup and ready to start driving
Ok, assuming you get the job and set everything up with you car, phone, app, camera, etc, – you first ride should be during off-peak day hours… like between 11am and 3pm. Pick up 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 and 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. This will also make your passenger have positive emotions about you – increasing your chances of getting tips and good reviews.
Additionally, in the beginning, you should also have your friends ride with you (through the 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 – they are a good place to start.
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 guide, as truck companies can be much more lenient with hiring felons.
Let us know in comments below, if you were able to get a driver job with a felony.
UPDATE ON UBER: As of April 12, 2018, Uber began doing criminal background checks on all new drivers signing up (and possibly drivers who are already approved). Here are types of convictions that will prevent felons from getting a driving gig at Uber:
“Driver candidates cannot have a conviction for a felony, violent crime or sexual offenses, or a registration on the US Department of Justice National Sex Offender public website”.
Therefore, if you have a misdemeanor conviction, you are ok. However felons are most likely not going to be able to drive for Uber.