Emily Moberly says you, too, can use your car to make a little extra money.
What is Lyft?
Lyft is a better alternative to a cab! It’s your “friend with a car” as they say on the website. Drivers (like me) are matched with passengers who request rides through the Lyft iPhone or Android app.
How long have you been driving for Lyft, and how did you get involved?
I started as a passenger. I met so many cool drivers that I decided to look into it as a way to make some extra cash myself. I started driving November 2013.
So, how does it work from your end?
When you’re driving, the first thing you do is put your mustache on your car. Then you turn on “driver mode” in the app. This allows you to receive ride requests. Then you basically park your car and wait. When someone in your area needs a ride, a ride request with the passenger’s picture, rating, and location will pop up on your screen. You have 14 seconds to accept or deny the passenger. Then you pick them up, do the customary fist bump, and take them where they want to go. When the ride is over you “end” it through the app. The passenger is notified and is asked to submit payment and to rate their driver (scale of 5 stars). The app gives a suggested amount to pay, but passengers can give more or less.
What do you like about it?
My favorite part about driving for Lyft is being able to set my own hours. I can literally drive one hour a week or 40 hours a week. The networking opportunities were an unexpected perk. It’s a great way to meet really cool people. I’ve driven news anchors, club managers, museum directors, etc.
And what would you change if you could?
I would increase the demand for rides. My favorite nights are when I have one ride request after another. I wish every shift was like that. Unfortunately some shifts are slow. I also wish we got paid a base still.
Any wacky stories you can share?
My first day driving I met a sweet guy who ended up taking me out on a few dates. It didn’t end up working out, but it was a fun story. That first ride was only 1.6 miles. I guess I was pretty charming to make him want to take me out that quickly.
How much would money you say you’ve made with Lyft in the past two months?
I’m not the best example because I only drive about 4 hours a week. Many people drive much more than I do and make much more. In the past two months I’ve made an average of about $100/week or $800 for the two months.
If you wanted to make more, could you have?
Yeah, I could have definitely made more. I would just need to drive more. I would also make more if I didn’t avoid the late night shifts (after 1am on weekends).
The main reason I don’t drive more is because most of my time goes to running Traveling Stories, an international nonprofit I started in 2010. As you can probably imagine, I don’t make a ton of money for my work with the nonprofit. Driving for Lyft helps make ends meet without monopolizing my time.
What kind of person do you think is best suited to be a Lyft driver?
People who are outgoing and comfortable engaging strangers in conversation. People who are safe drivers and either know San Diego or know how to use a GPS. People who like surprises and spontaneity. You never know what kind of passenger you’ll get, or where they’ll want you to take them.
Any final bits of advice (or warning) for those interested in looking into it for themselves?
Try it out first as a passenger! If you’re new to Lyft, feel free to use my personal promo code EMILY2338 to get a $25 credit. For everyone who uses the code between now and the end of May, I’ll donate a portion of my referral bonus to Traveling Stories.