Driving with Lyft to Grow Your Business
I’ve always had somewhat of an entrepreneurial spirit so despite what job I may have been working, I always kept myself a side hustle or two. I was a financial advisor for about 14 years and roughly about 6 years ago in efforts to find new clients, I got the bright idea to do some Lyft driving in hopes of meeting people. It only lasted about a week, however.
What I found out was that most of the passengers weren’t’ good candidates for becoming clients. I’m sure it may vary depending on where you live but in Jacksonville, FL most passengers didn’t have assets worthwhile for me to manage. The few passengers that may have been good candidates may have been coming from the airport but typically didn’t live in the city and were only in town for a few days.
The remaining small percentage that could have led to something, the short ride just wasn’t enough to really make a connection and my suspicion is that people with real assets probably don’t expect their financial advisor to be driving Lyft as it may suggest that you must not be that good at what you do since you appear to need to additional income by driving Lyft. So in all, my experiment only lasted about a week or two.
Strategies to Turn Lyft Passengers into Customers
Fast forward, 6 years and a lot has changed. I created a fashion brand called Onassis Krown and built it up to a successful clothing website while I worked my job. The pandemic helped since most white-collar people were working from home and this afforded me additional time to build up my online presence. Once I was able to crunch the numbers, I realized I was able to pay my bills from my “side hustle.” I then made the tough decision to leave my place of employment in hopes that regaining 40-50 hours of time to invest into my business would help me to scale. My gamble paid off.
That said, while I do well online, I want to build more of a local presence and buzz… EUREKA!! I remember a guy who once tried to drive Lyft to meet potential clients (spoiler, it was me!) I realize that my last effort didn’t produce the results I was looking for, but this was a different business under different circumstances. For one, I’m no longer looking for clients with substantial assets for me to manage. My customer now just needs to be anyone who like urban to casual clothing for men and women who can afford some items as low as $10 to most items under a couple hundred. That essentially qualifies almost every passenger. So, I decided to give the Lyft idea another try but I adjusted a few things to improve my success. So, here’s my strategy on how I kill a couple of birds of making money driving passengers using Lyft to also promoting my business to help scale my local and online presence:
Lyft Strategies to Increase Business
- GIVE A BUSINESS CARD TO EVERY PASSENGER!
I did one trip for Lyft eats and one for a delivery and it required me to get out of my vehicle which takes too much time and doesn’t really allow me to get in front of a passenger i.e., potential customer. So, I decided to ONLY pick up passengers. The money I make is cool and, on some days, can be pretty good depending on the day and the ride requests you receive, especially if you get tips. That said, again my primary intention is to introduce my business and products to passengers. I’m in a somewhat nice position as I already make money online so the money, I make is secondary.
Therefore, I only drive during the days and times that I want to. Hence, for me, I have a wife and kids, so I only want to drive Monday through Friday from roughly 8am to no later than 6pm. Most days I cut it short around 4pm but am willing to work a little later some days but never after dark typically. I know you can probably make better money working nights and weekends but again the income isn’t my primary objective. So, I’ve made a commitment to give a business card to EVERY passenger that gets in my car. If two or more passengers get in, then I see to it I hand each and every one of them a card.
I try not to come across too salesy, so I typically try to spark up a little conversation. I’d say probably 80-90% of the passengers are open to conversation but occasionally you may get someone who gets into your car and they’re already on the phone with someone or they have airbuds in letting you know they don’t really have a desire to converse. However, even if they don’t engage in conversation with me, NO ONE gets out of my car without me handing them my card. In ideal situations, I find something in our conversation that allows me to segue “naturally” to introduce my business.
Most people tend to be polite and will say thank you. Others may ask questions about your business while some will even pull you up on their phones immediately and visit your website or follow you on social media. By the way, this should be a given but make sure your social links are on your card. I’ve taken it a step further and created a digital business card with Popl and added the QR code to my business card which passengers can scan and pull up your digital business card right away with all your social links. I also added the direct url link for people who may not be phone savvy and know how to scan so they can just input the url and access my digital business card. Maybe the passenger throws your card away later, but you don’t lose much if they do. At a minimum, you had an opportunity to tell them about your business, give them your elevator pitch and ideally gain a new customer!
- KEEP PRODUCT OR SAMPLES IN YOUR VEHICLE!
Since I run a clothing company, I have a physical product that I am able to carry with me. I drive a vehicle with a large trunk so I’m able to put four bags in the back and still have enough space if I pick up a passenger with groceries or some other item they need to carry. I was able to pop the trunk and sell a t-shirt to one passenger at the drop off spot who expressed interest in supporting me. She also gave me some positive feedback that she liked my product and thought it was high quality!
- KEEP A BROCHURE IN BACK OF SEATS!
To entice passengers, I created two identical one-page sheets that show the five products I carry with me in my trunk. I basically just printed off two color copies on my home printer that show me wearing the products along with the online prices and a discount I provide if passenger purchases from me on the spot! You can laminate these “brochures” to last longer but for me I just slid them into a couple of plastic sleeves that protect the flyers. The 8.5x11 sheets of paper are long enough to sit all the way down in the pockets on the back of the driver and passenger seats and peep out an inch or two enough to be noticed by the passengers. They may not always pay attention or inquire about them, but a few have taken notice, taken pictures of them and asked about them. I also put on the one-sheets my cashapp handle, my paypal and zelle as well as let them know I accept cash!
- ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION WITH A PURPOSE!
If you have a chatty passenger then it is possible to talk about the weather, the city, where they’re from, what they do for a living, sports etc. I may use these as ice breakers as most people are fine making small talk about these topics, but I always try to find a way to leverage their conversation to pivot to what I do, why I do it, etc. However, these conversations are also a good opportunity to ask questions about the passenger and what types of products/clothing they like. You can get good feedback and ideas on what products you may want to focus on next.
- LEARN ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES IN YOUR CITY!
From telling passengers about my business, I’ve had the opportunity for them to educate me on opportunities around town that I may have never learned about otherwise. I’ve picked up students from college campuses who told me about events on campus that allow vendors to come in and sell their products. I’ve had locals tell me about pop-up shops, Saturday markets, flea markets and other venues that may be good places for me to sell my products. I even had one passenger give me the lowdown on a “competitor” that I didn’t know even existed and what they were doing to be successful. The takeaway here is be mindful to listen and learn and not just talk about yourself or your business.
- USE LYFT PROFILE TO TELL ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS!
When you create your driver’s account, Lyft allows you to answer a few fun questions about yourself as well as tell a little bit about yourself. I used this short space on my profile to introduce my business. You’d be amazed at how many people read your profile and they may already know about you before you even pick them up! In several instances, when I passed the passenger my business card, they said they had already visited my site or read about it on my profile. This is a great opportunity to reinforce your brand and let them know you mean business!
- SHOWCASE YOUR BRAND!
Since my business is a clothing brand, I make sure to wear my brand every time I drive! I have t-shirts, caps, tracksuits, hoodies and more but my favorite is a pullover that has my brand’s name and logo all over it. I have this pullover in both red and blue, so I typically just alternate daily. Most passengers sit in the rear seat’s passenger’s side, but this pullover is ideal because no matter where they sit, they can see the logo and branding on it.
I also typically wear a snapback cap that also has my brand name embroidered on the back along with the logo on the right side, so they have no choice but to see it while they’re riding with me. Above all remember that not only are you representing Lyft when you drive but if you are promoting your business then clearly you are promoting your business as well so always be professional. I only play music at low levels, just high enough to break the silence but not so long to prevent conversation.
INCREASE YOUR LYFT TIPS!
I also only typically play smooth jazz or music that can be appreciated (or at least not offensive) to most passengers. I always make sure my car is clean on the outside and inside. I also make sure I keep it smelling nice. I also keep the rear armrest down with hand sanitizer in it for passenger use. The more things you can do to create a positive environment and ambiance, the better experience your passenger will have and think positively about your driving and your business. If you’re already a Lyft driver, then I hope this information was helpful and if you already have a business or are contemplating one then maybe some of my strategies will be helpful to you. I’d love to hear your comments. Have you tried any of these ideas already or do you have any other suggestions I may have missed? Please share…
- Tags: Lyft