The Pink Moustache

Sticking with the side hustle theme from my post on Gift Card Arbitrage a few days ago, here’s my next experiment:


Long story short, I saw a great sign-up promotion, and thought to myself, “What the hell, I like trying new things!”  So here I find myself, staring at the bright pink Lyft app on my phone, and trying to find time to drive a bit more (not something I usually say).

It seems like I’m addicted to sign-up bonuses.  Credit cards, banks, and now this?  Do they have a self-help program for this?

I actually delivered my first passenger this morning, and it was really cool!  But before that, let’s get into some of the details:

Signing Up

I won’t lie, whomever is running Lyft’s marketing team in Boston is doing a great job.  I see ads for Lyft everywhere, although I’ve used Uber a few times before.  Lyft seems to feel they’ve got an uphill battle, at least in the Boston area.  Uber apparently holds first place, just judging from my own experiences, and from conversations with friends and coworkers.  I guess I have a soft spot for the underdog – especially when they offer me $750 to sign up!

The verification was painless, though time consuming.  I signed up on a Tuesday, and stopped by the Lyft office in Boston the next day to complete the short classroom session, take pictures, confirm my identity, that sort of thing.  I also brought a copy of my car insurance.  The insurance needs to clearly identify the vehicle in use, and must be in the driver’s name.  With a new car (with warranty), I figured there was no better time to try driving for Lyft!

The whole process was very easy, and a bit boring, to be honest.  Once the Lyft team in Boston verified all of the paperwork, I wandered over to a small classroom of sorts, where they explained how to use the app and what not to do on your first ride.  You know, don’t get into a car crash, that sort of thing.

The Numbers

I’m actually pretty excited to do this!  First of all, FOR SCIENCE!  I love learning things, and this is going to be a great experiment.  I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about driving for Lyft, Uber, and the like, so I’m excited to try my hand at it.

Second for the money (obviously).  I’ve decided I’ll put any net income from Lyft towards my savings, and any day I can boost my savings is a great day!  Once I hit that bonus, I’ll be able to get a head start on my savings rate for the year.  I’m trying to hit upwards of a 40% savings rate for the year, remember?  Maybe Lyft will help a bit.  If I like the experience, I’ll probably even drive throughout the rest of the year.  That is, if I have any free time…

Anyway, that $750 sign up bonus sounds great right?  Pretty simple:

  • Apply (using the promotional code) and get approved to drive for Lyft within 30 days of the application date.
  • Complete 200 rides within 45 days of approval.

That comes out to about 4.5 rides per day, or 31 rides/week.  I’ll definitely be shooting for that weekly number, as I won’t be driving every day.  Honestly, 31 rides/week is kind of a stretch for me, and we’ll see if I bit off more than I can chew.  I’m planning to skip public transportation for 1 or 2 days/week, head into the city early, and I’ll drive a bit in the morning rush, and then again after work.  I’ll also plan on driving at night a few weekends, to make some extra “prime time” money, and hit that 200 ride count.

My First Ride

I’m truly sorry.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t come up with a heading title that didn’t sound at least slightly inappropriate..


So anyway, the first ride wasn’t too bad!  I got up early, drove into the city, and switched on the app.  The app pinged pretty quickly, and I accepted the rider.  I switched over to Google Maps to do the navigating and the rider showed up a minute later.  Well, there were two of them actually, and we on the road!  We drove from Cambridge down to the South End, and that was that.  Not very talkative, but nice guys.  1 ride, only 199 more to go!

After work, I switched on the app for a few more hours.  I drove from about 4PM to almost 6:30PM, and got a whopping 4 rides in!  For all 5 rides today, I averaged about 45 minutes per ride.  At that rate, it’s going to take me a solid 150 hours to complete the bonus!

I made $72.05 for the first day.  I can’t tell you exactly how it was broken up, but the first ride was about $10, and the last ride of the night was definitely the longest (and I assume the most expensive).  I believe I’ll be able to see the breakdown in an email summary Lyft will send me, so I’ll get back to you on that!  That $72.05 puts me at an average of $14.41 per ride.  Against the 2 hour, 45 minute drive time, I made about $26.20/hour.  But remember, this is before taxes, gas, mileage, etc.  Let’s say I pulled in about $20/hour all in, still pretty good!

I plan on driving Friday and Saturday night this week, to see how I fare on some of the peak driving times.


Peak driving hours are shown with lightning bolts, and my driving time for the week are shown in blue.  I’ll definitely be on the road this weekend!

200 rides.  I have until March 9th.  Wish me luck.

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