The Road to EDC with Lyft
Want to go to EDC with me? Let's see if Lyft can help you get there. I've included a detailed spreadsheet tracking costs and profit at the bottom of this article, just click on the spreadsheet icon to check it out.
With everything going on I just couldn’t commit to EDC this year but then I read about the Lyft rental program. In short, I commit to giving about 13 rides per day, and they give me a rental car and pay me per ride just like every other Lyft driver. Is this too good to be true? A free rental car and money? Let’s give it a shot and see if Lyft will pay for my EDC week. Oh yeah, and if you sign up for Lyft to be a driver or passenger use the referral code ROADTOEDC to get free rides and bonus cash.
The Signup Process
I signed up on December 21st hoping that I would be able to get my rental car to drive on New Year's and cash in big. That definitely didn’t happen. What I learned is that the background check can take up to two weeks. My background check didn’t clear until January 2nd so I missed that rush weekend I was hoping for.
Once my background check cleared I jumped online to reserve my rental car. There is a $50 deposit that needs to be paid to Lyft before you can even rent the car, I went ahead and paid that. Then found my way over to the Hertz rental site through the Lyft link and reserved my car for the next day. Done…or so I thought.
The next day I headed over to the Hertz rental place and learned that the pickup location I had selected doesn’t actually work with Lyft and that there was a glitch in the Hertz/Lyft system. I went home disappointed but not deterred, I jumped online and reserved my car for the next day at the proper Hertz/Lyft location. When I arrived for my pick up the following day a Hertz agent told me that “we don’t do Lyft reservations online. There is a serious glitch in the system, you need to get the local Lyft rep to make the reservation for you, just email them.” So I went home bummed out once again.
After a week of angry emails (they took my $50!) I was finally able to get in touch with someone and secure a rental car for February 8th. So it took 50 days to get registered and get a car reserved. After all that trouble, I picked up my 2016 Nissan Sentra with XM Radio.
Lyft Rental Program Details
It's important to understand how the "Lyft week" works in order to take full advantage of the rental program. The Lyft week starts at 5am on Monday and ends the following week on Monday at 4:59am. That's easy to understand if you are using your own car but it can be complicated if you are using the rental program because Lyft prorates the week up depending on when you drop off and pick up your car. For instance, I picked up my car on Wednesday which meant I needed to do 61 rides before Monday at 4:59am. If I wanted to return my car on Monday I needed to complete another 13 rides between Monday 5am and whenever I dropped the car off on Monday (they close at 4pm) - essentially, you would be required to drive Monday morning or pay a single day car rental fee which is $25.71 here in Los Angeles. Assuming you meet all of your ride requirements your total rental fee is completely covered and when you return your rental car you get you $50 deposit back automatically.
I've included the current LA prorate schedule below, this differs between all locations so make sure you understand the rates of your own area.
Show Me The Money
I made this Google Docs Spreadsheet so you can follow me on my road to EDC with Lyft. After ten long days of driving with Lyft I was able to bring in over $1000, and after food, drinks, and gas my total profit came in at $830. I averaged $11.73 per hour but after learning so many lessons through trial and error I am sure I could have that number up to about $14 per hour. You can check out the spreadsheet to get all the details. You probably won't be able to take advantage of the Lyft rental program if you are going to school or already have a full time job, but if you have a car that qualifies the Lyft side hustle could absolutely send you to EDC.
What is Driving Like?
Before driving all I heard were funny stories about drunk passengers but to my surprise 141 out of 143 passengers were awesome. I know you're going to ask about the other 2. They were just slightly not-awesome. I met a ton of great people, had some amazing conversations, and learned to drive around all of Los Angeles like a boss. Chances are it will be the same for you.
Lyft Driving Tips
I've only got 71 hours on the clock as a Lyft driver but I've got a few tips and tricks to pass on to anyone who is going to get Lyft to pay their way to EDC.
- • Lyft isn't something you can do "just for an hour" in between classes or your favorite TV shows, you're going to need to commit a decent amount of time to it to bring in the most amount of money per hour. You have no control over where the passenger is going, so if you are in DTLA and get a ride out to LAX at 4PM that one passenger is going to take 3+ hours.
- • About an hour before you want to be home use the destination filter and point it to closest bus or train station to your house.
- • Get XM Radio. Just trust me.
- • Track your data just like I did so you know the best times to drive.
- • When rides seem slow switch over to passenger mode to see where other drivers are...and then go somewhere else.
- • Prime-time pay doesn't always mean it's profitable to be there or to rush to that location. It's a computer algorithm meant to help Lyft meet passenger demand, not meant to fill your bank account.
- • It's a phone app, YOU are in control, not the app.
Who Lyft rental is for:
- • Someone who can commit 30-40 hours per week.
- • Someone who is friendly, or at least willing to be sociable.
- • Someone who enjoys driving, it can be tiring.
Who Lyft rental is not for:
- • Anyone who has a hard time motivating themselves.
- • Someone who doesn't like talking to strangers.
- • Anyone that does not have a flexible schedule.
If I've inspired you to join the Lyft movement use the code ROADTOEDC to get free bonus cash and free rides. If you have questions about things I haven't covered, hit me up through the contact page.