Lyft Driver Guide
February 25, 2024

How Much do Lyft Drivers Make?

Have you ever thought about making a little income on the side with driver apps such as Lyft? It's not always easy to answer, 'how much does a Lyft driver make per ride?' If this is something you have been feeling unsure about, it's well worth learning a little more about the different features of the Lyft app. Hopefully, this will help you find out more about the Lyft pay rate per mile and how you make money as a side hustle or full-time job with Lyft.


Have you ever wondered about how much a Lyft driver makes? Lyft drivers make a highly variable income. However, this can depend on many factors. These include your efficiency, the generosity of tips, and the distance between riders. The number of hours you work and whether you can use bonuses may also play a role in the amount you make as a Lyft driver per ride.

How Does Lyft Pay its Drivers?

Four main aspects of Lyft pay are worth considering when discussing how Lyft pays its drivers. These metrics mean that there's no set rate for picking up and dropping off a Lyft rider; this means your hourly rate may fluctuate.

Does Lyft Pay Daily?

A common question for new Lyft drivers is: does Lyft pay daily? While most earnings are paid weekly, it is possible to withdraw earnings as an express option through the Express Pay system.

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Does Lyft Go by Miles or Time?

Lyft actually pays by both miles and time. As such, unlike many other delivery platforms ' where you'll only be paid for the job without much consideration as to the time that's taken ' you'll always get a relatively secure rate with Lyft, even if you end up delayed.

Basic Pay Structures

First of all, there's the per-mile rate. As is the case for traditional taxi services, you'll be paid a set rate per mile with your Lyft rides. Though the rate itself is set, it is based on your location. As such, a mile in cities may be more expensive than a mile in rural locations with less traffic. Sometimes, this can also vary throughout the day based on zones; for example, driving in a particularly busy inner-city location may have bonus rates during rush hour and the like. The highest paying regions include California's Bay Area and San Jose, Seattle, New York, and Boston.

Next, there is the per-minute rate for rides. You'll get paid a certain amount for every minute a rider is in your car during the trip. This means you will receive a slight bonus if you get stuck in traffic during your trip. However, try to avoid delaying just for the sake of getting extra from the rider ' it generally works out much better to focus on completing more lifts than fewer, slower ones!

In addition to these two main metrics, there are also two further factors to consider that influence your trip payout. However, the per-mile and per-minute rates are much more reliable. As such, when working out how much Lyft pays, these are perhaps the most important to keep in mind initially to determine your minimum payouts per trip.

Bonus Pay Structures

Bonus pay structures can be an excellent way to bolster your Lyft earnings. The most obvious of these is customer-offered tips, which your rider can voluntarily offer if they enjoy the ride and think you offer good value! Of course, as is their nature, tips aren't guaranteed. So, you shouldn't ever count on income from tips. Still, going above and beyond for your riders is a great way to increase your chance of getting a tip. Sometimes, the little things are enough to make a rider happy to leave you a tip.

And better yet, you'll get to keep 100% of your tipped income as a Lyft driver, so this can help ensure that you don't miss out on tips due to riders' generosity. That's certainly a welcome bonus.

Finally, you can also earn a little extra from your deliveries thanks to bonuses and promotions. Many Lyft bonuses are offered as scheduled offers (for example, before and after a big public event). However, some promotions and bonuses come and go regularly throughout the day, depending on the level of demand for Lyft drivers. As such, if you notice that riders are waiting around, there's a higher chance that the app may offer a promotional bonus accordingly. Challenges (such as 'complete X deliveries in 24 hours') are also excellent ways to bolster your earnings potential further, giving you a chance to make even more with your Lyft delivery work.

How Lyft Promotions Work

Lyft promotions are one of the easiest ways to increase your potential earnings with the Lyft driver app. As such, if you've been looking for a way to grow your money-making potential, we would strongly recommend that you consider the different opportunities Lyft promotions can provide.

Lyft promotions vary throughout the day and are often demand-based. However, the four main promotional structures are as follows:

  • Scheduled promotions: In many cases, it's easy to estimate when there's likely to be more demand for drivers. As such, scheduled promotions are in place during these 'rush hours' to encourage drivers to be around. Usually, these will appear by 5 AM on the Monday of the following week, so there's plenty of time to plan when you want to begin driving with Lyft.
  • Ride streaks: If the app seems busy, you might notice a ride streak promotion being implemented. Ride streaks allow drivers to get bonuses for accepting back-to-back rides. While this won't always work out more cost-effective ' such as if you have to drive a long distance to reach your next rider ' they can often be very good offers. They're still entirely optional, though!
  • Real-time and bonus zones: When things get busy in a certain area, you may be able to drive in 'bonus zones, which occur when the roads are incredibly busy. These bonus zones have a higher rate of pay than the norm. In addition, you may also notice real-time bonuses appearing on your Lyft driver app when things get busy.
  • Earnings guarantees: It's nice as a gig driver to know exactly how much you'll get paid (at a minimum). Luckily, this is what happens with the Earnings Guarantee offers. Every week, earnings guarantees are added to the platform, and if you manage to meet the requirements, you'll earn a minimum flat rate amount. If you earn more, that's even better!
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What is the Average Income for Lyft Drivers?

The average income for Lyft drivers varies significantly by region and driving style; a driver who regularly engages in promotions is likely to earn much more than someone who doesn't! However, for the most part, the average income for a Lyft driver yearly is roughly $27,355. Some estimates may suggest a slightly higher earning potential per year, though.

Want to earn more than that? Don't worry ' there are plenty of ways to help your Lyft income stay well above the average wage. So, if you have been wondering, 'can you make a living off Lyft,' the answer is yes ' absolutely! However, you may need to work lots of hours (or otherwise make active efforts to streamline your earnings with a driver helper app) to make a full-time income.

Here's how you can earn $2000/week with Lyft>

How Much Does a Lyft Driver Make per Hour?

Generally speaking, the hourly rate for a Lyft driver is around $18. However, some Lyft drivers are easily able to make up to $30 per hour. And with the right strategy, there is even the potential to boost this further with clever acceptance tricks.

How Much Does a Lyft Driver Make per Ride?

The cost per ride is hard to estimate with Lyft since there's no set duration for each ride. However, the majority of rideshare rides are around six miles. With this thought in mind, assuming an average pay-per-mile of $1 and a pay-per-minute of around $0.15, you should make approximately $7 for a standard journey. This is based on typical cost-per-mile and cost-per-minute fees for riders of around $1.30 and $0.19 or so. However, your region may be priced higher or lower than this.

It's worth remembering that Lyft XL and Lyft Lux drivers will receive a higher fare than standard drivers. As such, if you want to increase your earnings with Lyft, choose your next car upgrade carefully.

Does Lyft Pay for Mileage?

Unfortunately, since all Lyft drivers are independent contractors, the app does not directly pay for mileage costs. With this thought in mind, having a simple way to track your mileage usage while working for Lyft is vital, and Para's rideshare and delivery driver tools can help with this.

It's also worth remembering that, although you won't be able to charge for mileage through Lyft, you can reclaim mileage expenses when you pay taxes. The current business travel mileage rate is around 62 cents per mile. As such, if you end up driving around 200 miles per week or so while doing Lyft rideshare, you may be able to reclaim around $100 on taxes per week.

Does Lyft Take a Commission?

Like many other delivery apps, Lyft typically works on a commission basis. This means that Lyft drivers don't receive all of the payment for their time; most delivery drivers only take home around three-quarters of their income. Lyft keeps around 25% of its drivers' earnings, although the exact figure isn't clear here. However, Lyft drivers get to retain 100% of tip earnings. As such, tips are often a common source of income.

How Does Lyft Compare to Other Delivery Driver Apps?

Compared to other delivery driver apps, Lyft is a great way to earn more driver pay as the hourly rate is often comparable or higher. For example, the average hourly rate for many other gig apps is around $15-$25. As such, Lyft is roughly in the middle of that average pay ' and, critically, there are plenty of simple ways to give the pay a boost as well.

Lyft vs Uber - who pays more? - read and find out!


While Lyft is relatively well-paying in terms of its pay per mile and income, it's worth noting that there are plenty of excellent ways you can streamline your earnings. The best things to consider here include the following options.

Streamlining Rides

When it comes to ridesharing, one of the most important things is to ensure you streamline your rides. Indeed, the time between pickups is unpaid, which means that you'll need to factor this unpaid time into your hourly earnings.

As such, if you spend around 20 minutes per hour just traveling between destinations, you may face relatively low earning potential. As such, ideally, you should aim to streamline your rides by aiming to take new pickups within a few minutes of each other, if possible.

Furthermore, try to avoid taking short, low-paid rides that will take you away from the main 'hub' of action. This can increase your idle driving time significantly for very little reward.

If you're struggling to find the ideal passengers, why not try multiapping with other platforms such as Uber as well?

Earning More with Para

Did you know that you can significantly increase your earnings by driving with the Para app? The Para app shows a whole host of information that could be useful for your ridesharing to know before you go, including the pickup and drop-off address, total payout, mileage, dollar-per-mile estimates, estimated pickup time, and so much more. These Para features are often incredibly versatile, giving you the information you need in one handy notification.

This can help you decide whether you'll be able to complete the ride well, which increases your chances of getting a great tip from the passenger. In addition, it's hugely helpful for cutting out idle time, which is one of the biggest limitations for gig driver income.

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If you have been looking to begin working for the Lyft ridesharing app, understanding the pay structure in advance is worthwhile to ensure that it's worthwhile for your driving goals. Fortunately, it's not too hard to learn how Lyft pays its drivers, and this can allow you to estimate how much you can make as a Lyft driver. Why not give it a try ' you might just find that the Lyft app could help take pressure off of your finances, accordingly.

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