Driving for a rideshare company is considered one of the most popular modern side-jobs. It is easy to start, highly flexible, and available almost anywhere people might need a ride. However, just because you can quickly join Uber and Lyft doesn’t mean that there aren’t steps you need to take before starting. Fortunately, the Uber and Lyft driver requirements are reasonable and simple to meet.
Own a Smart Phone
Because both Uber and Lyft are app-based services, drivers are required to own a smartphone in order to accept rides. Neither service will supply a phone for their drivers. Having a phone also lets drivers access a GPS to avoid getting lost or stuck in traffic.
Both Uber and Lyft require drivers to be at least 21 years old. However, some states have their own individual requirements that overrule this. For instance, states like Florida, Colorado, Maine, and Alabama require drivers to be at least 25 before driving for Lyft.
Be a Licensed Driver
Naturally, a driver must be licensed before they can drive around passengers, and both Uber and Lyft require that you provide this documentation before you drive. Both Uber and Lyft also require at least one year of licensed driving experience before becoming a driver, so you can’t immediately get to work, even if you passed a driving exam. If you are under the age of 23, Uber requires a total of three years of licensed driving experience.
Some cities and regions require additional licensing before you begin driving. For example, here in New York City, you must obtain a Taxi and Limousine Commission license in order to pick up passengers. Other areas may have additional licensing if you have an out-of-state driver’s license.
Have the Documents
Beyond licenses, drivers must supply documentation demonstrating they can drive their car legally and work in the United States. Examples of these documents include license plates with up-to-date registration, as well as proof of car insurance. Both companies require drivers’ Social Security numbers, and Uber also requires proof of residency. As with licenses, some states require additional paperwork specific to their jurisdictions.
Have an Eligible Car
You can’t drive just any car for rideshares. There are several rideshare vehicle requirements you must follow. Cars must have at least four doors, per Uber and Lyft standards. Despite that, Lyft does not accept sub-compact cars, even if they do have four doors. Similarly, Uber rejects cars that are older than fifteen years, have cosmetic damage, have commercial branding, or are painted to look like taxis. Different cities and regions may have additional stipulations regarding age and types of vehicles. There are also additional car requirements to operate a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
In addition, rental cars are not always accepted by rideshare companies. Uber’s website states that rentals are only accepted from “approved vendors.” Fortunately, if you need an Uber car rental in NYC, companies like Fast Track Mobility have a wide collection of Uber-approved rentals for you to choose from.
Go Through Screening
Because of the nature of rideshares, Uber and Lyft’s driver requirements include a few levels of screening. This assures passengers getting into rideshares that they can trust the people driving them.
Both Uber and Lyft perform background checks through the company Checkr. This check goes through national and county levels as well as the National Sex Offender Data Base. Certain convictions will disqualify you from driving for Uber and Lyft, such as violent or sexual offenses, human trafficking, or terrorism of any kind, as well as fraud, theft, and drug-related crimes that occurred during the last seven years.
Driving History Check
Uber and Lyft will also examine your driving history to identify any infractions that disqualify you from driving. Multiple smaller events in your history, such as accidents or traffic violations, or one significant violation such as reckless driving, may render you ineligible to drive for at least three years. Some infractions such as a DUI, hit and run, or vehicle-related felony may disqualify you for as long as seven years.
You aren’t the only one Uber and Lyft will screen for safety; your car will also be screened. Even if your vehicle meets the requirements above, both Uber and Lyft will require vehicles to undergo an inspection at least once a year. These inspections must be performed at a pre-approved repair shop or a Greenlight Hub, per Uber policy. For Lyft, you will need to review the specific requirements in your state or city for vehicle inspections.
Community Safety Education Program
Lyft has an additional training requirement for its drivers: the Community Safety Education Program. Lyft created this program in partnership with RAINN, the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the United States. The training course is only thirty minutes long and focuses on safety, respect, and personal boundaries intended to protect both the passengers and the drivers.
Recommended: Review Insurance
This is not a nationwide requirement by Uber and Lyft, but it is recommended to review your insurance coverage before you start driving. When you drive for Uber or Lyft, you must have insurance for your vehicle, and the company itself will also supply insurance for use while working for them. However, this insurance may not cover as much as you think it does.
For example, your personal vehicle insurance will cover you when you drive without using the Uber or Lyft app. When you are en route to pick up passengers or are driving with passengers, Uber or Lyft’s insurance will cover you. But during the period when you are waiting to accept a ride and have your app on, you will find that neither your personal nor Uber/Lyft insurance is covering you. It’s important to review both policies to find gaps and, if necessary, buy additional rideshare coverage.
Driving for a rideshare service is a great way to augment your income. But just because something is a side job doesn’t mean that there aren’t strict requirements for you. Once you have met the driver’s requirements for Uber and Lyft you’ll be able to fill out an application and start down the fast lane toward bolstering your income.