If you want to become a Lyft driver, you’ll have to complete a Mentor Session, which is an in-person meeting with a special Lyft driver who has been invited by Lyft to Mentor new drivers, inspect your vehicle, and complete a review of you. Think of it as your interview to become a Lyft driver. After you apply to become a driver, a Lyft Mentor in your area will reach out to you to schedule a Mentor Session. Then, it’s up to you to show up to the appointment and make a good impression on your Mentor.
If your Mentor sends Lyft good feedback about you, chances are good you’ll be hired. If your Mentor gives you poor ratings, Lyft will deny your application.
Most Lyft applicants don’t know that the Mentor Session is a make-or-break step in the process, so I want to share some insight that will help you pass on your first try. I reached out to Sarah S., a Lyft Mentor in Los Angeles, who was generous enough to give me a ton of detailed information about what it’s really like to be a Lyft Mentor and how applicants can guarantee that Mentors will give them a passing review.
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How Sarah became a Lyft Mentor
“Initially I became a mentor in September 2014. I was emailed an invite from Lyft. It was pretty random. Then we switched from the old mentoring type to ‘mentor 2.0’ – they began 2.0 June 2015, and did away with the ability to mentor the traditional way (through the app) in July. Not all mentors were invited to do 2.0, but at the beginning of July I received my invitation. While Lyft has not been transparent about their algorithm as to who does and does not get an invite to mentor, it’s been rumored that it has to do with experience, your ratings, feedback, and conduct in the Facebook Lyft lounges.”
How much Sarah gets paid to be a Lyft Mentor, and whether it feels “worth it” to her
“Mentors are paid a $35 bonus with each completed mentor session. Ultimately yes, it does feel worth it, although $35 for what appears to be 45 minutes of work sounds like a dream, there is a lot more to it than that. There is a lot of time that goes into scheduling applicants, plus the time it takes driving to/from mentor sessions. There are also those recruits who say they will show up, some even confirm it an hour beforehand, and then you drive to the meeting location only for them to NOT show up or text after the scheduled time to claim they were ‘called into work.'”
How long does the Mentor Session last? What is the process like?
“My sessions last an average of 45 minutes. It takes a few min to do their inspection, take photos of their documents and input it into the mentoring form (like drivers license #, license plate #, insurance expiration date, etc). The test drive is supposed to be between 10-15 min, and then usually I spend about 15 min at the end showing them the ride walkthrough, and answering their questions, giving them tips etc. Some mentors say they’re done in 30 min, I have never been able to cut mine that short.”
There’s a lot of competition among Mentors to get new recruits
“There’s also the fact that there are MANY mentors in Los Angeles, and we are all fighting to get as many recruits as we can. The recruits come out of one pool, meaning you can go an entire hour of trying to add a recruit to your pipeline and only get a couple (most of the time you get a message saying there are no recruits available – meaning everyone who is in need of a mentor session has already been paired with a mentor) and those couple recruits you do get may never (ever) respond to our texts offering to help them with their application (if we see it is incomplete) and schedule their mentor session (if their app is ready) or drop their application if we haven’t heard back from them.”
Many potential Lyft drivers ignore messages from Mentors — big mistake
“I’d say 70% of the recruits in my pipeline ignore every attempt I make at contacting them, even if I ask them to let me know if they are no longer interested. We can have up to about 50 recruits in our pipeline before we max out (or so is the case for my pipeline) and it takes a lot of time to keep track of who I have text, and sending multiple texts to each recruit before I eventually pause their application (which takes it out of the mentoring portal). All of these taken into consideration, this could really be around $10/hour for all of the time I put into it. But because I can sit at home in my pajamas watching Walking Dead, while adding recruits and doing *most* of the hard work, I do consider it to be worth it. I see the actual meeting with the mentees and doing their mentor session to be the best part of the whole process. I love the actual mentoring part.”
The most common mistakes that applicants make on the Mentor Session
“The biggest mistakes that get me are:
- Not being willing to travel to meet with me. It is rare that I ask a recruit to drive further to meet me than I drove to meet them (unless they’re very close by already) – This is, in a sense, their interview.
- Being late to the mentor session without the courtesy of a phone call. At least give me a heads up. But don’t be more than 15 min late without asking me ahead of time if I can accommodate the change. On a busy day, mentor sessions are scheduled back to back and if one mentee is late, that pushes all my other appointments back. I’ve had mentees show up 45 min late, an hour late – without even a phone call.
- Not showing up to the session after confirming they will be there. This is the ultimate time waster as well as completely disrespectful – and one of the best ways to get your mentor to hate you.
- Not taking the mentor session seriously. I’ve had mentees show up eating food and with trash in their car etc. I’ve also failed mentees for hitting on me – it weirded me out and was a huge red flag – is this how they are going to talk to their passengers?”
Things Lyft could do to improve the Mentor program
“The biggest thing and really only thing I can think of off the top of my head is they need to make it clear to the applicants that they will need to discuss time/date/location with their mentor and that it will most likely not be at their home, as they are currently lead to believe. I’ve had applicants respond (after my offering them a date and location) ‘I thought you were supposed to come to my house.'”
A trick to see if you’re still in queue to start driving, or if you’ve been rejected
“Since the DMV check runs immediately after the mentor schedules the session, I agree that likely the DMV email somehow just got there before the confirmation email. The best way to check if you failed the background check would be to text the mentor. If you are able to reach them and you’re still in their queue, you’re good! But if you get a response saying your mentor (or ‘your driver’) is not available, you’ve failed the check and have been disqualified from driving for Lyft and your name had been removed from their mentoring queue.”
Mentor Sessions happen in cars! If your Mentor sends you an address, don’t knock on the door!
“I think we should also clarify that when you’re meeting at an address, don’t actually knock on the door. The mentor session is conducted with your car. There are times I provide an address to my mentees that’s in an area half way between where they live and where I live. I don’t know the people who live there. I just do a mentor session on their street. If someone I mentored were to knock on their door they’d be pretty dang confused!! Lol”
If your vehicle doesn’t immediately pass, you still have a chance to start driving if you sort your car out
“I’m confused about people thinking that they will fail for damage to their car. As far as I’m concerned (being a mentor myself), if someone has a car that isn’t up to par but their personality and driving are great, I’ll pass them but not their car. I assumed Lyft says to them ‘you’re great but get a new car before you can drive.’ When I applied in Jan 2014 I had a dent that needed to be fixed but once it was repaired the following week, I was activated. Also I’d like to add that if you no-show your mentor when you’ve scheduled a session, you may not be seen as being reliable or taking it seriously and you may fail once you finally do meet with your mentor. As any other job goes, you don’t show up to your interview, you don’t get the job.”
Listen to your Mentor, and be friendly!
“If your mentor is feeding you information and giving you tips & you aren’t listening or brush it off, you may not pass either. Someone who is willing to take tips & clearly wants to do well is a winner in my books, but if I say ‘I’ve found one thing that really helped me when I first started was (cuz) & you say ‘yeah. I know how it works’ in an ‘thanks but no thanks’ type of way – I may not pass you.
“If you show up and have done your research on how Lyft works, you’re friendly, your car is clean & you aren’t complaining about having to meet with me, and you don’t freak me out when you’re driving, you’ll likely get a great recommendation!”
My take — Put yourself in your Mentor’s shoes if you want to pass!
Now that I’ve spoken with Sarah, I’ve learned that being a Lyft Mentor is a lot more work than I thought it was. Being a Mentor involves a lot of planning, scheduling, and communicating with driver recruits that takes up a lot of time. Yes, Mentors make $35 doing Mentor Sessions that sometimes, but there is a lot of pressure on them from Lyft to meet with more and more recruits. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were a Mentor, you’d want your applicants to be easy to communicate with, you’d want them to show up on time to the Mentor Session, and you’d want them to show that they care about getting the job. If you do those three things, you’ll make your Mentor happy and you’ll be one step closer to becoming a Lyft driver.