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Lyft Officially Changes Lyft Mentor Session Payouts

Lyft Officially Changes Lyft Mentor Session Payouts

In most cities, new Lyft driver applicants needs to go to a Lyft Mentor Session by experienced Lyft Mentors in order for the Mentor to check their car and evaluate their driving habits. Officially in the workflow, they have removed the first initial ride but I know some Lyft Mentors still have the applicant drive around so that they can verify the car works properly and also that they have adequate driving skills to be a Lyft driver. Typically, drivers with high ratings and enough Lyfts are invited to become Lyft Mentors.

You can read more about the Lyft Mentor in these posts:

Lyft Mentor Session Payout Glitch

Back in August, many mentors quickly noticed that their Lyft Mentor Session payouts had been lowered to $20. New Orleans and Charleston always had $20 Lyft mentor session payouts, but every city had the payout listed at $20 in their Lyft mentor portal. It would look like something like this:

Almost every mentor emailed and tweeted Lyft about the issue and we quickly found out that it was just a glitch and that payouts would be corrected to the original $35. Some of the conspiracy theorists claimed that Lyft would be lowering Lyft Mentor session payouts to $20 but somehow did it too early.

Lyft Officially Changes Lyft Mentor Session Payouts

In the past few days, Lyft announced that in they will be lowering the Lyft mentor session payout to $20 in Providence, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh-Durham and $15 in San Antonio. Lyft mentors knew that the change was coming and was hoping that their own market will not get lowered to $20. Lyft claims that the Lyft mentor session typically only take 3o minutes, but most good Lyft Mentors know that 30 minutes is often not enough to give the proper Lyft mentor session. When it was first launched, they had recommended about an hour. Also, these 30 minutes do not take into account communication with the applicant to get them to the Lyft mentor session.

Below is the list of cities that has a Lyft mentor session payout that is lower than $35:

Issues with Mentor Session Payouts

Most people would consider $20 for a 30-minute Lyft mentor session to be generous. They think that it is an easy $40 an hour. The Lyft mentor session payout doesn’t capture the time needed to answer the applicant’s questions before and during the session and all the time we spend to get them to the mentor session. On average, my mentor sessions are about 45 minutes from start to finish, and it varies from a short 30 minutes to as long as an hour 15 minutes for some who have a lot of questions about rideshare in general.

Also, Lyft have been occasionally holding centralized mentor sessions at various places in the city about once or twice a month that further cuts into the mentor sessions a mentor gives out during the week. Applicants will get a text message saying that they can show up at a specified date and time to perform their mentor session. All the time and effort spent on the applicant will now be rewarded with a $0 payout once the applicant goes to the centralized mentor session since it will be performed by Lyft employees who are being paid hourly to perform the sessions. These sessions bring together a large number of applicants and Lyft staff in order to evaluate a large number of applicants at the same time. Lyft considers these events easier for the applicant but it also cuts into the earnings of Lyft Mentors who spend a lot of time helping their applicant.

Lyft Mentor Reaction to Changes in Payout

Some consider that the payout is not enough. Back in August, many mentors wrote into Lyft saying that they would drop everyone in their pipeline if their own city was cut to $20 and I have heard reports that some Mentors in these cities have done so or will do so once the new payouts are enacted. Other mentors are noting that they will be much quicker with the mentor sessions to adjust to the new payouts. There are some mentors who only do the bare minimum and approve everyone to get their payout. Others dedicate themselves to properly evaluate drivers and spend a lot of time with their applicants to make sure they knew what to expect and to make sure they will be a good fit with Lyft.

With the changes to payout in these cities, I foresee the quality of the mentor sessions to go down and the quality of new drivers to be lower because of the shorter mentor sessions. As an independent contractor, we are allowed to perform the job as we see fit, and changing the pay will affect our behavior accordingly. Companies pay for performance and if they lower pay, they will expect lower performance.

Future of Lyft Mentor Sessions

In a few cities such as Chicago, California, and Seattle, there are no mentor sessions. Rather, they have mechanics to evaluate the car and then drivers are onboarded. This is a similar process to Uber where drivers are not evaluated before they are activated on the platform. Uber typically evaluates its drivers based on their rating and deactivates drivers who cannot meet a minimum rating. Lyft is definitely leaning towards this way of recruitment. Lyft still deactivates low rated drivers but I don’t believe they do it as often as Uber. However, I believe that it would be best to have real drivers evaluate other drivers. We can quickly tell who will do well on Lyft and those who don’t. I have heard many complaints from Uber passengers that the Uber drivers they get are not as good as Lyft’s in terms of driving ability and friendliness.

Are you a Lyft Mentor? Did your payout change? If so, what will you change about how you approach mentor sessions?


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