Lyft Tips to Help You Crush it as a Ride-Share Driver

Ridesharing apps like both Uber and Lyft are a great way of earning extra money on the side. All you have to do is pass a background check, start up the app, and you could start your self-employed career working on your own schedule. However, making decent money is becoming harder and harder. In fact, some drivers are having a difficult time making more than minimum wage from the program. With all the competition out there, you'll need more than hard work to make money as a 1099 Lyft rideshare driver.

If you are looking to lock in a steady flow of high-paying gigs, you've come to the right place. We've carefully studied the daily routines of drivers who are crushing it with Lyft rides, and we've picked out some important tips to show you how you can too.

If you're starting from scratch - with no experience of serving ride-sharing passengers, we'll provide you with a quick road map to success. We'll also show you how to minimize risks while maximizing your earning potentials.

So take a back seat, sit back, relax, and let's dive in!

Getting Off to a Good Start

Before we even get into the strategies and tactics to make more money driving, here's some stuff to keep in mind or do before you get on the road.

Put Your Car in Good Condition

You need to make sure that you get everything right from the get-go. Try to pick a reliable car that gives you the best mileage possible. Be sure to always keep your car squeaky clean and in good driving condition. Arrange for regular car wash services and have a good mechanic on standby. All these measures are essential to your ability to compete successfully for the best gigs and best ratings whenever you're on a shift.  

Assemble the Right Accessories

Some accessories like a phone mount and mobile apps can help you with a smooth ride to destinations. A phone mount will help you avoid the inconvenience of driving with one hand while pressing your phone with the other.

Mobile apps like auto-complete texting apps or voice-to-text make it much easier to use your phone while driving. You should also have a cost-effective mobile data plan in place to cover your data needs.  

Be Mindful of Your Tax Deductions

As an independent contractor, filing and paying your taxes on time is your responsibility. Any oversight can lead to issues with the IRS down the road during tax season, so it's important to be prepared at all times. You can consult a tax expert if you're not sure of how to file your tax returns properly.

Here is a list of Uber and Lyft tax deductions. As a ride-sharing driver, you're eligible for some work-related tax deductions, such as the cost of maintaining your vehicle and equipment.

Explore Rideshare Insurance

If you read the fine-lines of your personal auto insurance and that of Lyft's insurance, you'll find that you may not be covered for damages in certain events. In order to take the most precaution, you may want to invest in Ridesharing insurance.

Familiarize with the Area

Learning more about your area can benefit you in several ways. You'll be able to find your way around to your drop-off location without relying solely on GPS - which can give wrong directions sometimes. You'll know the shorter routes to take and how to avoid hold-ups to get to your destination faster. Your passengers will also enjoy their rides better if you can inform them about events and fun facts about places in the area.

Drive Mindfully

Rather than waste your gas driving around aimlessly while waiting for your next gig, you need to keep your impulses in check and make sure every mileage counts to minimize your running cost. You might need a meticulous plan for each shift to avoid that temptation of driving around. You should always have a list of rider hotspots where you can find new passengers quickly.  

Capitalize on the Driver Referral Bonuses and other Perks

Lyft offers generous rewards for referring drivers. These rewards can add up quickly down the line as more drivers under you complete more drop-offs.

To get your driver referral bonus rolling in, get your referral ID from your Lyft app and share it with friends, family, neighbors, and others who could use some extra cash from sharing their ride.

Lyft also offers a variety of rewards for various milestones. You should learn about these and plan on qualifying for them on your daily routine.

Join the Drivers Community

While you might be competing with other Lyft drivers all day, there might be several benefits to collaborating with them. You can get insightful advice from experienced drivers on how to increase your earnings. Join Lyft driver communities on Facebook, Instagram and other popular platforms. Try hanging out with other drivers in your locality to talk shop. You can also gather valuable intel from other drivers by joining a local ride and chucking up a conversation about the driver's work.

But be careful not to take anyone's word for it. You should always do your due diligence since there are no guarantees for the quality of advice you'll be getting.

How to Nail Your Passenger Relationship

Passenger relationship is usually a major sticking point in the experience of new Lyft drivers. You'll be conveying people from just about any works of life, including ne'er do wells and opportunists. But you need to learn how to be courteous and communicate effectively with everyone to avoid no tips because of poor service.

Here are some tips that'll guarantee an amazing experience for all your good customers and protect you from the bad ones.

Provide Refreshments

Customers normally don't hire a ride expecting to get free refreshment along the way. Surprising them with such generosity will make them feel more relaxed and open-minded during the ride, even if they don't use the water or snacks.

You don't need anything elaborate so it doesn't look too obvious. Just spend a few cents on a bottle of water and a few packs of cookies.

Always Keep an Eye on Them

You should always be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior in a passenger to forestall any dangerous situation.

If they're making suspicious gestures, using derogatory language, or becoming aggressive and violent, cancel the ride immediately but do so carefully in order not to escalate the situation. Don't worry about low ratings.  You should prioritize your own wellbeing over your passenger rating.

If they're coughing heavily or exhibiting symptoms of serious illnesses, try convincing them to get medical help immediately.

Install a DashCam

Another crucial passenger tip is to ensure that everything they're doing is recorded on a dashcam. If you get into a messy situation with passengers, your dashcam will help you refute any false claims they may make.

In the cases of road accidents, a dash cam can also help provide solid evidence to back up your car accident claims.  

Give Them a Hand

Passengers who see you watching them from your side mirrors as they struggle to load and offload their baggage from the boot will most likely not bother to leave you a tip. Many Lyft drivers don't bother helping their passengers with their luggage, so doing so shows your customers you're going out of your way to help them. If it's raining, escort them in and out of the car with an umbrella. Most customers will most likely appreciate the extra hand and give you a generous amount of tips.

Carrying some extra chargers in the car and asking passengers if they would like to use it is a nice gesture.

Going the extra mile will get you those 5 star ratings.

Up Your Game With Pro Tips

Once you get a hang of the basics of landing good gigs and managing passenger relationships, you can try out the following pro tips to increase your earnings and make more than minimum wage.

Ride the Surge

As a beginner, you might not be able to land incentivized gigs constantly as top earners do, but you should aim to land as many as possible every day.

What you have to do is try identifying the time and place where the demand for ride-sharing is the highest, such as early in the morning and after work, or when bars and recreational facilities close. Find rider traffic hotspots during those peak periods and wait for the surge hour to kick in. Also, don't rush to pick someone when the surge begins. Wait around for a bit - log out of your app if possible - for the surge to keep increasing, then hit the road.  

Think Beyond the Lyft App

Many top earners make a huge portion of their earnings from referring passengers. As with the driver referral bonuses, Lyft also rewards you generously whenever a passenger you refer uses the service.

Make passenger referrals an important part of your shifts. Hand out your referral cards wherever you think you can find potential customers, from bars to event venues, local business centers, etc. Before you know it, you too could be getting massive bonuses from passenger referrals.

Track Other Drivers

While you're keeping an eye on rider hotspots, you need to know how many drivers you're competing with to figure out your chances of landing good gigs steadily in that area.

Driving in hotspots during peak periods doesn't guarantee decent earnings. When drivers outnumber the demand in hotspots, the surge rates may quickly flatten out and you may wait for long before finding your next passenger.

You can track the driver density in an area by simply logging into the passenger app. You'll only be able to see a maximum of eight cars per time on the passenger app, so you need to move around a bit to get a bigger picture. If you find an area with surging rates and fewer drivers, you're in luck to make several drop-offs at above-average rates.  


Being a successful Uber or Lyft driver doesn't necessarily require long, laborious hours behind the wheels. It requires meticulous planning and smart driving. You need to use Lyft tips that show you how to be in the right place at the right time with the right attitude.

First, you need to ensure you're using a reliable car with low maintenance costs and high fuel efficiency. You also need to ensure your car is always in tip-top form to be able to compete for top-paying gigs. You also need to assemble accessories that'll make your journey smoother, from a phone mount to messaging apps.

Your passenger relationship is critical to your success. You need to go above and beyond to give your passengers a remarkable experience but also keep your guard up against the problematic ones. When you go out of your way to help customers like loading and unloading their belongings or opening the door for them, your chances of getting good tips and glowing ratings are significantly higher.

Also, you can take advantage of Lyft bonuses and hotspots to supercharge your earnings.

Jessica Wallace

Jessica Wallace


Jessica Wallace is an experienced financial professional who aims to provide valuable, actionable insight on topics ranging from the latest in fintech to the future of finance. Over the years, she has provided financial advice to individuals and businesses.

Discover the tax write-offs you've been missing

Keeper Tax automatically finds tax deductions among your purchases. On average, people discover write-offs worth $1,249 in 90 seconds.

Get started→

Note: at Keeper Tax, we're on a mission to help freelancers overcome the complexity of their taxes. That sometimes leads us to generalize tax advice. Please reach out via email if you have questions.

Discover the tax write-offs you've been missing

Keeper Tax automatically finds tax deductions among your purchases. On average, people discover write-offs worth $1,249 in 90 seconds.

Get started→

Discover the tax write-offs you've been missing

Keeper Tax automatically finds tax deductions among your purchases. On average, people discover write-offs worth $1,249 in 90 seconds.

Get started→

Free Tool

What tax write-offs can I claim?

I am a ...
Freelance designer
Freelance designer
Freelance designer
See write-offs

Discover the tax write-offs you've been missing

Keeper Tax automatically finds tax deductions among your purchases. On average, people discover write-offs worth $1,249 in 90 seconds.

Download Keeper Tax→