This piece was originally published by Greg Muender, a San Francisco Lyft driver, and is republished here with permission. To read the full version, check out the original post on Medium. I’m exactly five weeks into launching my startup, and my cofounder and I are still very much bootstrapping. My auto lender and landlord don’t accept equity, bitcoin, or high-fives as currency, so I’ve got to bring in cash in creative ways. Lyft driving in San Francisco is my interim solution, and I’ve racked up over 1,000 rides thus far.
I can usually fit in around 15–20 hours of drive time in on the weekends, while still keeping Monday through Friday to work on my startup, Whttl. A typical weekend brings in about $500. It’s enough to support my extraordinarily bare bones lifestyle. My wife and daughter may not be as receptive to Ramen as I am, but we still keep it on the cheap.
I figured I would break down the questions that I get asked most frequently. Here we go, listed in no particular order:
Do you ever pick up any weirdos?
Most of my passengers are relatively normal, at least for San Francisco standards. I can seamlessly carry on conversation with them, and we can usually both find something that is interesting to discuss.
How much do you make?
I previously posted a detailed write up about my earnings, but I generally figure about $30 — $32 / hour. Weekday afternoons are considerbaly less because of the slow demand. Friday and Saturday nights are usually more. I’ve once made as much as $45 / hour.
Do passengers ever hit on you?
It happens every once in a while. I try to make it pretty obvious to any female passengers that I’m taken, though. I display my wedding ring prominently (and proudly), and usually bring up my wife and/and or baby daughter as early and organically as possible. Plus, my wife printed out a picture of her and my daughter that I put in my sun visor to, as my wife puts its, “Let them all know I’m taken!”
Have you ever felt in a dangerous situation?
Never, not once. Granted, I’m a male, and a taller-than-average one at that, but I imagine that even a female would seldom feel unsafe or uncomfortable, beyond the rare awkward silence!
Do you ever give rides to people that you know?
All the time! I’ve even given rides to friends that attended my wedding in 2013. For those that are really close to me, I’ll end the Lyft and exit driver mode. I’m not going to charge my best friends for giving them a ride across town. (Only done this 2 or 3 times.) I also pick up people that are acquaintances, or whom I had met previously at a startup event or conference. On a couple occasions, I’ve picked up fellow alumni from my high school. I even get people who recognize me and say, “Hey, you are that guy that blogs about being a Lyft driver!”
Have any passengers become friends of yours?
I can think of at least a few of my pals that I originally met via Lyft. I have business cards on hand, so if we really connect in the car ride, I say, “Let’s stay in touch!”
Do you have repeat users?
I once dropped off a gentlemen at his house, gave a quick ride to another passenger, and then returned to pick up the same guy from the first ride a few minutes later. On another occasion, I picked up one passenger from his workplace three days in a row at about the same time. We both had a laugh.
Has your car ever been damaged?
Someone once spilled soup in my backseat, but we quickly cleaned it up and the crisis was averted. They were incredibly apologetic and worked tirelessly to clean it up with me. No biggie! On another occasion, I had someone once open the back door and hit a telephone pole, but fortunately there was no damage.
I truly love driving Lyft. I meet great people, earn enough cash to pay the bills, and get to explore a breathtakingly beautiful city. I’ve made such a compelling case to drive for Lyft that I’ve even convinced a couple friends and family members to adorn the pink mustache.
Leave a message for Greg in the comments, and check out his startup, Whttl.