Lyft Mentor Series: Introduction, Mentor Ride and Evaluation
This post will go through what a Lyft Mentor is, how to become one and most of the things you need to do on a Mentor Ride and subsequent evaluation. This is a great post for new Mentors who are not sure what to do on their Mentor rides.
Lyft Mentor Series:
All potential Lyft drivers need to meet with a Lyft Mentor before they can start driving. Lyft Mentors are invited to become one based on their rating and number of Lyfts. Each mentoring session pays $35 and usually takes about an hour, including the time it takes the mentee to get to your location.
The application process can be summarized like this:
- Complete online application
- Lyft does a quick and in-depth check of your driving record going back up to a decade
- Mentor Ride and Evaluation
- Criminal Background check
- Approval or denial
Usually it takes about 5-7 days to clear the background check after the mentoring session so it can take a while before a potential mentee gets approved to start driving. Lyft says it may take between 5 and 14 days. Normally I see my mentees driving in about a week through my Mentor Summaries.
The mentor process can be summarized like this:
- Get Mentor Request on your phone
- Contact Mentee and have them come to specified location
- Meet/Greet Mentee
- Fill out car checklist and evaluate car
- Perform test drive and say a few things about Lyft and how it works
- Finish test drive and field any question they have
- Rate mentee and submit checklist.
How to Become a Lyft Mentor
There are varying accounts of what ratings and number of rides a driver needs before they are invited to be a mentor. Usually doing 70 or more lyfts in a few weeks and maintaining a 4.9 or higher rating will get you an invite but this can depend on a variety of factors, including the demand for mentors and the number of mentors already in any given city.
There are some drivers who fall between the cracks and never get invited despite having a high number of rides and rating. Even Lyft employees admit that the system misses a few great drivers. If this is the case, reach out to your local Lyft representative or community manager via Facebook to ask if they can recommend them to be a Lyft Mentor. I had to recommend a driver with 800+ Lyfts who never got invited.
Before Mentee arrives:
This can sometimes be a frustrating process. About 1/2 the time, the person who is requesting the mentor ride is either not ready for the mentor ride or didn’t intend to request it.
Here are a few common reasons why mentees will not be available for mentorship:
- They left their phone on as they think it takes 30-45 minutes to find a mentor. They will then not respond to your request for a lyft.
- They are not ready for a mentor ride because they had just finished the application
- They are trying to request a mentor ride for some time in the future. Usually this is not possible through the app and can be done by coordinating outside the app.
- You are too far away from the mentee due to traffic and availability of mentors
When you get a mentor request and accept it, here is what the screen will look like:
I usually try to request a Lyft twice. If they do not accept the ride, I would call and see what the situation is. I will call a few times if I don’t get through. If I don’t get through, I will just cancel the mentorship and move on. Once you cancel the mentorship session, that request will get relayed to another mentor. If there isn’t one in the area, it will wait until he/she is available. If there are none available, it may ping you again. I have seen it come back within a minute to as much as 30 minutes as it has pinged a few other mentors and they also cancelled the session. If you ignore that mentor request, I may not come back to you again.
Here is the screenshot of when the accept the request:
Once they accept your mentor request, I usually call to make sure they understand the mentoring process and what they need to bring. Most of the time, if they accept, they understand what it involves. I will ask for their driver’s license and auto insurance policy sheet. About ½ of the mentees who show up will not have it. Lyft HQ has told other mentors to just take a picture of the ground but I like to take a picture of the registration. In MA it has the insurance listed on there but there is no expiration date. I will make a note on the mentoring session in the comments section that the mentee will upload the insurance at a later time. It took one of my mentees a few days to find his insurance policy.
Calling your mentee is also very important before the mentoring session. You can quickly gauge their personality and how friendly he is right from the phone call. I usually get a sense of how well he/she will do as a Lyft driver from the phone call. Most people are not very friendly and personable on the phone, which is not great for a Lyft driver. Remember that they are being evaluated and I evaluate them during the entire process, from accepting the Lyft all the way to after the mentor ride.
My normal location of the mentoring session can be a bit difficult to get to so it’s a great test for mentees to see if they can follow their GPS to my location. About 25% of them get it on the first attempt but usually it takes them a second attempt to get into my location as they have to circle back around. There are a few mentees who have taken quite a few times to find my location. You can track their movements on the app and it’s good to monitor them once they are close to your location. You can find out their navigation skills by watching them on the screen. I have failed a mentee on the fact that he kept getting lost getting to me.
Mentee and Car Evaluation
The mentor ride is made up to two parts, car and driver evaluation. Both needs to be of a certain standard in order to get approved. Its up to mentors to evaluate them fairly and then make a recommendation. At first, I think it was being too nice and passed most people but now I am a bit more critical of the drivers. Remember you get the bonus whether or not they pass so don’t be pressured to pass every mentee. Please do not as Mentors should be critical of their mentees to ensure a higher level of service on Lyft.
Lyft has a checklist for mentors to follow during a mentoring session. It makes evaluating them much easier.
It starts off with taking a picture of their driver’s license and insurance. Again, if they are missing the insurance, I would take a picture of their registration. I never had a mentee not have his driver’s license but it has happened to my mentee who is now a mentor. I am not sure what to do in that case, but maybe take a picture of the ground just to get through the mentoring session. It would count this against them and I would most likely not recommend him to be part of Lyft. It will also have you fill out the insurance expiration date and state of the insurance policy. If they do not have their insurance policy, I would either put a random date on or put it a year after their registration. Sometimes mentees have brand new or newly registered cars so I can pretty much assume the expiration date is one year from then.
The next page you will take a picture of the car and the driver (screenshot not shown). The car picture has to be done in a certain way so line up the car to the outline on the screen. The outline makes it pretty easy. Then note the color of the vehicle.
Then take a picture of the driver. The driver needs to be facing directly towards you with their shoulders square. It is best done in the shadow of a building if there is direct sunlight involved. It will take some practice to find the best place to take this picture. I was flagged twice for pictures because both were in direct sunlight and the driver was squinting.
Next screen is the car checklist:
It is fairly long and has you check almost everything on the car:
- License plate and state
- Exterior bumps/scratches
- Cleanliness of the vehicle inside and out
- Tire condition
- Doors open and close properly
- Cracks in windows and mirrors
- Car headlights, turn signals
- Windshield wipers
Check everything. On my very first mentee, his car didn’t have functioning seatbelts. The seatbelts wouldn’t click into the socket properly due to some defect in the car and was covered by a voluntary recall. I wouldn’t have believed it either. It only takes a few minutes to check everything on that list if you know what you are doing.
About 20% of the cars I see have excessive scratches or dents/bumps on the cars that are fairly big. Lyft has a criteria for if the bump/scratch is too big. This is one of the reasons why they cannot be allowed to drive on Lyft.
Mentor Ride and Driving Evaluation:
This is the time to take a test drive with the mentee. For some reason, I had to show almost every mentee how to start the Lyft on the app. It’s shocking because the operation of the app is covered in the video, which they should have watched.
Once you have them start the Lyft, drive around the block. You will be evaluating the mentee on the cars condition and also their driving style. Most mentees do fine in this portion but I had one mentee who was driving too cautiously and slowly. I had to “fail” him on that, despite the fact he was a good driver overall.
Make sure the car runs smoothly and that his driver skill is on par. You can test him/her on his navigation. You can do one of two things, have him/her navigate to an address using his GPS or phone or give him verbal instructions on where to go. I always test him using verbal instructions and most mentees pass this part. To test their knowledge based on address, you can put in a destination for the Lyft request and then the app will automatically go to the navigation to that address on the phone.
You can also take this time to talk a bit more about Lyft and how there is a community around the drivers and that they try to help one another, which is much different from Uber. Also tell them that if they are approved, us mentors will receive weekly reports (covered in the next post) on their progress so we can intervene to help if we see them in trouble. There are some drivers who just need a bit of help to get started and become better drivers. Some are just naturally good and there are some that can’t be helped.
This last page is an evaluation of the mentee as driver. Was he/she friendly, talkative, dress appropriately, safe as a driver? The last question is if you recommend them to be on Lyft. There are times where I have flagged them for other items, such as for their car, but still recommend them. From the mentees I have, it is hard to gauge who will be a good driver and who won’t. There are a few that clearly will do well.
Keep this last page to yourself and most of the time I fill it out after the mentoring ride but sometimes I complete it while I am still in the car answering questions
There is a comment box at the end and you have put something in there before you can click complete. If there are no issues, put generic comments about his performance and how you think he/she will do on Lyft. There is no pressure to pass or fail any mentee. You get paid out either way. However, if he/she is a bad driver, it will bring down your mentor stats, which will be covered in the next post. Mentor stats have only been around for a month or two and Lyft HQ is still trying to determine how best to use that data, so don’t be too alarmed when you see your stats being below other top teams.
After you click submit, you’re done! See it wasn’t so bad after all?Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course!