Can I Drive For Both Uber And Lyft At The Same Time?

Can I Drive For Both Uber And Lyft At The Same Time

If you are thinking about becoming a driver for Uber or Lyft you are probably trying to figure out which one is right for you.

When you drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, you are an independent contractor.  In this role, you are not obligated to sign an exclusivity agreement so it is perfectly acceptable to drive for both companies at the same time.  In fact, like over half of all the other drivers, you may find that your greatest path to success comes from driving for both companies.

Increase earnings per hours worked

Whether you are looking for a part-time gig or full-time income, it’s important to focus on the dollar amount you earn for the time you spend working. Even in the biggest markets for rideshare, there will be downtime between ride requests. The best way to minimize the time spent waiting for ride requests is to have both Uber & Lyft running simultaneously.

Start one service then add the other

I don’t take sides in the argument of which is better, Uber or Lyft. The truth is I like them both! What I do recommend is to start with one of them and learn that system and then add the other service and learn it as well. There are several reasons for doing it this way.

  1. Each company has a sign-up bonus that is based on completing a specified number of rides. These bonuses are a guarantee of the amount of money you make on your first rides. If you don’t make the guaranteed amount the company bonus pays the difference! It makes good sense to focus on one service and max out the bonus before adding the second service. See bonus program here: Uber / Lyft
  2. You may be able to use your vehicle inspection form and medical exam form from one company to qualify for the second company. When I started in Colorado I found out that I could go to the Lyft Hub and get my vehicle inspection and medical check for free while Uber charged for theirs. Then I was able to use/upload the Lyft forms for the sign-up process for Uber. I went hard in the beginning so I had the Lyft bonus requirement met in two weeks and then went after Uber exclusively until I had their bonus requirement met. Then I started driving for both on a first come first serve basis!
  3. While the pay structure and basic ride sequences are similar, there are differences. It pays dividends to learn one driver app from top to bottom before jumping into a second driver app. In addition, if you attempt to run them both simultaneously while still learning it can lead to high stress and mistakes. In this case, starting slower will actually help you go faster and have a more enjoyable and successful experience.

How I manage the process of driving for Lyft & Uber at the same time

Price of admission: get a phone mount & charging cord!

I feel all rideshare drivers should have their smartphone in either a vent mount or dash mount. It truly is a safety issue!

When you start running both driver apps at the same time a securely mounted phone is a must. In addition, you will use much more power and data so your phone will need to be continuously plugged into a charger and you will need an unlimited data plan.

The best practice is to reboot your phone at the beginning of every work period. This gives you a fresh start for both driver apps and limits errors. In addition, It’s a good idea to not have other apps such as social media, youtube, etc., running on your phone while running both driver apps. This will result in drastically reduced app crashes and temporary freezes that could make you miss being able to accept a ride.

I’ve found that the best start-up sequence is to open up the Lyft Driver app and go online. Then open the Uber Driver app and go online with it as well. You can switch back and forth for brief periods but if you leave the Uber Driver app in the background for more than a couple minutes it will shut down.

Ride request notifications

You will be able to hear and see any ride requests whether the app is in the background or foreground. The first couple of times you may feel under stress to hurry and accept the request before you miss it. In truth, you have plenty of time to bring the request to the foreground and take a look at it before accepting it. Once you develop a pattern of having Uber in the foreground and Lyft in the background it will become muscle memory to switch and accept the rides in minimal time!

My personal sequence is to bring whichever app has the ride request to the foreground, take a look at the trip, and then accept (or decline) the ride. Then once I have accepted a trip I simply bring the other driver app to the foreground and go offline with it. It really only amounts to 4 or 5 seconds and that’s doing it in a relaxed easy manner.

What if you get simultaneous requests from both Uber & Lyft? It’s very rare, but it can happen. In this case, you quickly look at both rides and decide which one you want to accept and decline the other and then go offline with the app you declined the ride on. It’s just that easy!

Funny story…in case it happens to you…laugh out loud! When I was first learning how to run both driver apps simultaneously I thought I had the sequence down, so naturally, I made a mistake! I had accepted a Lyft ride so I needed to bring the Uber Driver app to the foreground and take it offline. This was becoming second nature so I barely looked at my phone and started driving at the same time.

As I approached the first intersection I got conflicting voice directions in my ear (I use a Bluetooth earpiece, more about that later). One was saying to turn right and the other left! What on earth! I turned left and drove about a block and started to get directions to make a U-turn so I pulled over again so I could figure out what was going on with my Lyft app. It turned out I had accidentally accepted both a Lyft ride AND an Uber ride! What I did was not pay enough attention when going offline with Uber. In the split second when I had brought up the offline button from the menu I had looked away and you guessed it, a ride request came through and when I touched what I thought was the offline button it had actually become the accept the ride screen. What are the odds? I should have canceled both and bought a lottery ticket! Instead, I just canceled the Uber ride since I was already headed in the right direction to pick up the Lyft passenger.

I felt kind of bad for the rider I had to cancel on but I also got a good laugh out loud because it was an almost impossible coincidence and some things just have to be chalked up to learning experiences. Plus, I’m sure the other rider was taken care of quickly by another driver. Feel free to learn from me and take the extra half-second to ensure you are tapping the correct thing on your phone before you drive off!

Acceptance and cancellation rates

Running both driver apps simultaneously will have a negligible impact on your acceptance and cancellation rates. As I said previously, it is extremely rare to get ride requests on both apps at the same time. In reality, you will find that you get taken away on one platform for several trips in a row before you even think about turning the other service on. It just seems to run that way.

This simultaneous method is best used to fill the gaps rather than to push the envelope and go live with both during every free second. I have heard of some drivers that do like to live on the edge and will go live with their offline app when within several minutes of arrival at their destination. In this scenario, I could see where acceptance & cancellation rates would have to be monitored much more closely. It’s no doubt a pro move and probably worth a try if you get super proficient with running both apps.

For me, I’ve found in my market that I tend to get on a roll with requests. Once I complete a trip or two with either Lyft or Uber there always seems to be another request within just a few minutes of dropping off the last passenger. Usually, my priority is taking a minute to drink some water and check out the tidiness of my car in preparation for the next passenger.

Back to the Bluetooth Earbud

I mentioned I use a Bluetooth earpiece when I drive for both Uber & Lyft simultaneously. In fact, it’s my preferred set-up for rideshare driving period! I use the NENRENT S570 Bluetooth Earbud and for $19.99 it is awesome! I’m sure any Bluetooth Earbud will work but I like this one because I can wear it in my left ear so I get turn-by-turn voice directions and notifications while my passenger hears nothing and just thinks I’m a pro who doesn’t have to look at the route on the map!

A good Bluetooth Earbud will also help improve awareness when running both driver apps at the same time because the notification sounds are different for Uber & Lyft. The clarity of an earbud will tell you instantly which app the notification is coming from.

Don’t forget about bonuses

I think it’s important to maximize your earnings by driving for both Lyft and Uber. At the same time, make sure you are paying attention to each platform individually.

Lyft often offers streak bonuses which can really add to your profits for the day. I often see a complete 3 rides for $15 streak add on in the morning and complete 5 rides for $25 add on in late afternoon rush-hour. If you want to collect these bonuses you need to do those rides in a row without going offline so you can’t run both Lyft & Uber during these times. This is smart of Lyft!

I try to collect those streak bonuses whenever I can but they aren’t large enough to lock me in completely if I start getting too much downtime between rides. Chances are if I sit for more than ten or fifteen minutes I will turn on the Uber Driver app. Then if I get a Lyft request before Uber the streak will continue and if not It’s Uber time! As I said at the beginning of this article, it’s important to focus on the money earned per hour spent working. Streaks are great but don’t let them keep you sitting idle.

The same goes for the surge. If you happen to be in an Uber surge area when it goes active you will probably want to go offline on your Lyft app and collect the bonus on your next ride. If you don’t happen to be in the area chances are it’s not worth chasing unless you can get into position within a mile or two. Instead, I just look at this as an indication that there are trips out there to accept so I get online with both apps. The other chaser drivers will be moving to what will soon be an oversaturated area while you will be in a good position to collect a Lyft fare right where you are!

Final Thoughts

The biggest part of being a pro driver is to treat it like a business. Your Business! In order to do this correctly, you need to place your emphasis on maximizing your earnings for every hour of effort you put forth. This will give you a great sense of accomplishment and give you the best reason to further perfect your craft. You will want to be the best driver you can be and give your passengers the service they deserve. Be safe out there!

Dan Ferrantelli

I'm Dan Ferrantelli. I discovered rideshare through my wife and daughter who used the service a full year before I decided to try it. Now I am a part-time Uber & Lyft driver and love sharing my experiences with others. I'm also an entrepreneur who has developed several businesses and I have a passion to write! I hope you enjoy the articles I post. Kind feedback is always welcome.

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