Can A Pickup Truck Be Used For Uber Or Lyft?

Can you try and make money with Uber or Lyft by driving your pickup truck for them? And perhaps the more important question: Should you? We've put together a detailed guide with some answers.

Driving for Uber or Lyft a great way for many people to make some extra cash in their free time. Can you do that with a pickup truck though? We've set out to investigate the topic in-depth and bring you a concise and accurate answer.

To put it simply, the answer is yes. In most areas, you can take people around in your truck as an Uber or Lyft driver.  However, when taking into account the poor gas mileage most pickup trucks have, driving for rideshare apps may not be very profitable for you.

Keep reading to find out whether or not Ubering is a good option for you and your own truck. As with everything, there are caveats and exceptions, so if you're serious about giving this a try, make sure you read through this post.

Can you - and should you - drive for a rideshare app?

In the next few paragraphs, we'll give you a very detailed analysis of what Uber and Lyft requirements are for drivers and vehicles, with an emphasis on how the latter is applied to a pickup truck.

First, a general overview.

Not all trucks meet the requirements set for rideshares. Specifically, pickup trucks with a single-row cab are a no-go. There other caveats as well  - which we'll get into in a minute. If your truck has a regular cab, you will not be able to drive for either Uber or Lyft. Feel free to leave us at this point and explore other posts like cool things to add to your truck's interior.

Assuming you have a pickup truck with two rows of seats and four doors, you can apply to drive for Uber or Lyft. Or at least, the truck wouldn't be an issue.

However, driving a pickup truck for Uber/Lyft is almost certainly not a good idea. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

In a nutshell, the costs of fuel - gas or diesel - mean that you almost certainly won't be making enough to make it worth your time. Especially when you take deadheading into account. We love pickup trucks but there are some things for which they're just not the right fit.

Still not convinced - or just want to learn more about how we came to this conclusion? Keep on reading, it's all laid out in this post.

What Does Uber Look for in a Driver?

According to Uber itself, to become a registered Uber driver, you should possess the following qualities:

  • You must be willing to accept a driving record check, and you must pass it.
  • You should also be able to pass a background check.
  • You need a valid social security number.
  • You should have current registration paperwork, in-state license plates for your home state (with commercial plates also permitted), an in-state driver’s license, and in-state auto insurance under your own name.
  • You should be 21 or older. If you’re not yet 23, then you’ll need to have been legally driving for three years with your driver’s license. If you’re over 23, then it only needs to have been a year.
  • You also need a vehicle, of course. Uber insists that said vehicle was manufactured within the last 10 to 15 years (there are some leniencies on this, but it varies by city/town). The vehicle needs to have four doors.

What Does Uber Require Of Your Pickup Truck?

You already know that you can’t drive your pickup truck for Uber if it’s more than 15 years old (sometimes more than 10 years old). What other limits does Uber impose on its vehicles?

Here are the requirements:

  • You cannot have rebuilt or salvaged your pickup truck. Even if you have a salvage title, this type of vehicle is still not allowed.
  • Your truck cannot have any commercial advertisements on it.
  • Full-sized vans are prohibited, including the GMC Savana, the Ford E-Series, and the Ford Transit vehicles. Since you’re in a pickup truck, this doesn’t really affect you.

What Does Lyft Look For In A Driver?

Lyft and Uber are similar services, so the requirements necessary to become a Lyft driver aren’t too different than those needed to become an Uber driver. Those requirements come from Lyft itself and are as follows:

  • You need to have a smartphone or similar device that can download and use the Lyft app. If your device is Wi-Fi-only, it won’t work for these purposes. It’s best to be running the latest version of your device’s operating system.
  • You must have your own insurance policy (again in your name unless not mandated by region), your registration paperwork, valid license plates (you can also have commercial plates), and a valid, current driver’s license.
  • Your vehicle must have five seatbelts (yours counted) and four doors. You cannot use stretch limousines or taxis if you’re driving for Lyft.
  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no earlier than 2006.
  • You must concede to a background check. Your background will be combed for a history of property offense damage, theft, drug-related offenses, felonies, sexual offenses, and violent crimes. You will not be able to drive for Lyft if you have these crimes or convictions on your record.
  • You must also agree to getting your driver’s record checked. Lyft will disqualify you if you have had a driving conviction over seven years, a drug-related conviction or DUI over seven years, a moving violation over three years, or multiple moving violations over three years.

What Does Lyft Require Of Your Pickup Truck?

Here are the basic requirements mandated by Lyft for its vehicles:

  • Like Uber, there are age limits on your pickup truck or any other vehicle driven for Lyft. Remember, it has to be a 2006 vehicle or newer. 
  • You cannot drive a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle for Lyft, even if you have a salvage title.
  • Your vehicle cannot have any commercial markings on it, such as those seen on a taxi cab.  
  • You cannot drive a full-sized van, including the models outlined above as well as any other vehicles that can fit 12 to 15 passengers. Since your pickup truck isn’t that large, this doesn’t apply to you.

How Many Passengers Can You Take?

The number of passengers you can take depends on the type of category your vehicle is classed into. For instance, Lyft organizes its vehicles into several categories. These include Lyft Lux vehicles, Lyft Premier vehicles, and Lyft XL vehicles, among others.

Let’s now discuss the requirements for each of the Lyft vehicle categories.

Lyft SUV

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2006.
  • You must be able to seat six passengers.

Lyft Lux

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2011.
  • You must be at least 4'7" or taller to drive.
  • The inside of your vehicle cannot be cloth. It must be leather or faux material.
  • The outside of your vehicle must be black.

Lyft Lux SUV

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2011.
  • The outside of your vehicle must be black.
  • Your vehicle must be able to seat six passengers.

Lyft Premier

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2009.
  • It must be considered a luxury vehicle, such as a Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, Lexus, Land Rover, Jaguar, Infiniti, Cadillac, BMW, Audi, or Acura. Other models may be accepted. This disqualifies pickup trucks from this category.
  • Your vehicle must be able to seat four passengers.

Lyft XL

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2006.
  • You must be able to fit six passengers.

If you drive Lyft XL, it’s possible to make 1.5 times more money than a standard Lyft ride.

Lyft Plus

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2006.
  • You must be able to fit six passengers.

Lyft Line

  • Your vehicle must have been manufactured no later than 2006.
  • You must be able to fit four passengers.

Uber does it the same way. Here are some of their categories:

  • Uber X: Your vehicle must be able to fit four people.
  • Uber XL: Your vehicle must be able to fit six people.
  • Uber SUV: Your vehicle must be newer, as this is a luxury category. It must also be able to fit six people.
  • Uber Smart: Your vehicle must be able to fit at least one other passenger.
  • Uber Select: This luxury vehicle category includes higher-end sedans and more. Leather seats are mandatory. Your vehicle must be able to fit four people.
  • Uber Premium: Again, you need a high-end truck or sedan to qualify as an Uber Premium vehicle. Your vehicle must also be able to fit four people.
  • Uber Pop: If you’re based in Europe, you may qualify to drive Uber Pop. Your vehicle must be able to fit four people.
  • Uber Pool: This carpooling option is inexpensive for passengers. Your vehicle must be able to fit at least two people at any one time.
  • Uber Lux: With limited availability, Uber Lux vehicles must be high-end luxury vehicles from specific manufacturers. Your vehicle must be able to fit four people. Pickup trucks are likely not allowed.
  • Uber Lux XL: Also rolling out with limited availability is Uber Lux XL. The same requirements as above apply, except your vehicle must be able to fit six people.  

Your Cab Type & Passenger Count

The size of your truck is already limited by its bed. Another area in which restrictions occur is the cab. Based on how big your cab is, your truck will have a single row to several rows of seating.

Generally speaking, there are three cab styles: regular cabs, double cabs, and crew cabs. We’ll now discuss each of these in more detail. Keep in mind that brands have slightly different names for these types. We actually have a great post about truck cab types which explains it all. 

Let's run a quick recap and what it means for driving for Uber/Lyft.

Regular Cabs and Uber/Lyft

Regular cabs are typically found in two-door pickup trucks. They offer only a single row of seating, so it’s you, one additional passenger (or possibly two more with a bench setup), and that’s it. Given that these are two-door vehicles that can't take four passengers, you would be prohibited from driving for Uber or Lyft. 

Double Cab and Uber/Lyft

Double cab trucks have more room. They include up to four doors depending on the model and boast dual rows of seats. Sometimes the rear doors act as "suicide doors," but not always. Double cabs may also have different names depending on the pickup truck manufacturer. Here are some examples:

  • Toyota Tundra – Access cab
  • Nissan – King cab
  • Ford – SuperCab
  • Ram – Quad cabs

For our purposes, if you only have two doors, you won't be able to drive for either Uber or Lyft. Even if you have four doors and two rows of seats, the back row may not offer your passengers enough legroom. That could be a poor ride experience which will affect your feedback and your demand level.

Crew Cab and Uber/Lyft

Finally, there’s the crew cab. All pickup trucks with this type of cab have four doors. There will be at least two rows of seating. The rear doors can open up and are larger than double cab doors. There's much more legroom in this back row seating. 

Like cab doors, crew cabs have different nicknames among different manufacturers, such as:

  • Toyota Tundra – CrewMax
  • Toyota Tacoma – Double cab
  • Fords – SuperCrew

Is It Easy To Get In And Out Of Your Truck?

Many pickup truck models tend to sit pretty far off the ground. That requires climbing, rather than stepping, into the vehicle. This may be problematic for some. Do keep in mind that passengers are likely to give you a lower score if they find it too hard to get in or out of your pickup truck.

Lucky for you, we created a list of the 15 Best Pickup Truck Side Steps. If you plan on using your pickup truck for Uber or Lyft, we highly recommend that you get some steps if you don't have them already — your passengers will thank you.

Is It Worth It To Drive A Pickup For Uber Or Lyft?

Okay, so both you and your truck are good (enough) fits for the rideshare apps. But is it really worth it for you?

Your Earning Potential

The biggest determinant of whether it’s worth it to drive Uber or Lyft is your earning potential.

Several sections back, we mentioned how the two respective ride-sharing services divide their vehicles into categories or classes. These are based on the age of the vehicle, its interior materials, and its exterior color.

If you’re lucky enough to get into a premium Uber or Lyft class, then you’ll make more than someone in a standard class regardless of distance driven. Since most pickup trucks don’t fit the bill for the premium classes, this automatically means you’re making less money.

Another point to consider in terms of income is your neighborhood. Do you live in a small, quiet area? If so, then your earning potential is capped. People may need rides in the morning or evening to get to and from work or the airport, but few during the day. Compare that to a major city like New York or Philadelphia, and people will want rides more often. You can make more money regardless of your vehicle.

Accounting For Fuel Costs

Even if you do manage to make good money using Uber or Lyft, you don’t keep it all. Not only does the rideshare company get a cut, but you have to pay to fill up your truck’s fuel tank, too.

The price of fuel you’ll pay depends on how far you go each day. Your pickup truck’s miles per gallon (MPG) and fuel economy also come into play here.

Traffic in your area is something to consider as well. If you’re stuck sitting in traffic at rush hour for 45 minutes, your truck is still running. You’re not going anywhere, but you are using gas nonetheless. You could find yourself in this situation often since rush hour is primetime for Uber and Lyft drivers.  

And while it's bad enough while there's a passenger in your vehicle, at least you're getting paid for that time. What's worse is the time spent in bad traffic - without any paying passengers. This brings us to the next point.

Deadheading Costs

Finally, there’s what’s known as deadheading. This is when you drive around the neighborhood refreshing the app hoping to get your next ride. You’re not making any money during this time, but rather, you're losing it because you’re depleting gas.

In that regard, then, deadheading is like a hidden fee. Unless you live in a highly-populated city that never sleeps, then you’ll have that idling time. It’s unavoidable.

While ultimately, it’s your choice if Uber or Lyft is right for you as a pickup truck driver, you have to keep all these considerations in mind. We also want to note that other pickup drivers who have tried the Uber/Lyft lifestyle have said they’ve lost money. Make of that what you will.

To Wrap Things Up

If you're still considering this, do yourself a favor and keep on researching, especially on dedicated driver forums for Uber and Lyft. You can ask there and they'll tell you the same thing - pickup trucks just aren't a good fit.

Go ahead and leave us a comment letting us know what you think about using a pickup truck for Uber or Lyft.

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  1. You guys are dead wrong.
    I didn’t even read the entire article (mostly because it was too long) but I can tell you guys didn’t actually talk to anyone who drives uber in a pickup truck. I drive a four-door truck, in the Philadelphia area, and I couldn’t think of a better vehicle to drive.

    Everyone wants to talk about the gas, as if its this monumental cost. The additional gas, that I burn each night, is about the equivalent of one additional ride. Yes, I put in more gas than the guy who drives a Sentra. That just means I do one more ride, and the gas is covered (its really that simple).

    Also, I would be willing to bet that I make way more money than the guy who drives the Sentra. I usually receive more money in cash tips, than I spend on gas. I often get tips from people who are simply happy to have enough leg room. My truck seats six (comfortably), so when I pick up a family or group of friends, I get a tip because they didn’t have to squeeze and bunch all up. I also live relatively close to the airport, so I often get groups or families with luggage. Most of the time, they tell me how I am the third uber they have called, but the other two canceled, once they messaged them about the number in their party and amount of bags (and guess what, that means a tip for me).

    I’ve been driving uber in my truck for four years and nearly every night, I get a tip for doing things that other drivers can’t. I’ve had riders with Christmas trees, tons of laundry, several bags of mulch, bicycles (cyclists who got caught after dark), bulk food from BJ’s, Wheel chairs, spare tires, you name it. I don’t know what these people would have done, if I had shown up in a Prius, and I don’t care. I am the one who gets the tip.

    In addition my truck allows me to drive in times and places that other drivers can’t, and that turns into additional money. As I said, I live in the Philadelphia area. Therefore, we get lots of snow, in the winter, and lots of rain in the summer. When it snows, uber’s pricing goes up. However, the guys in the egg shaped cars stay home and wait for it to end and the streets to get plowed. Not me, I head right out in it. When its snowing, rides, in this area, can carry a surcharge of as much as $24 (on top of the price of the ride). But you can’t get it in a compact car. In the summer time, when it thunder storms, its the same story. In this area, we get lots of flooding. Low areas, of the city, collect standing water and the suburbs are a bit hilly (which means water in low areas). Not only does surge pricing go into affect, but the low riding, egg-shaped compact cars can’t even drive down some streets and roads. Again, I capture the surge pricing AND the tips, for being able to effectively operate when other drives can’t.

    Lastly, because I live in the Philadelphia area, I often find myself driving on streets that are ridiculously awful. My truck is built a little tougher than the egg-shaped compact cars. I am a “Diamond” driver, with a rating of 4.95 (sometimes higher) who has driven over four-thousand trips, in the last three years. But, when on the highway, my truck rides smooth and straight, like the day it was new. I doubt if most cars would have endured the streets of Philadelphia, anywhere near as well.

    When I first signed up for uber, I went, almost, six months, before taking my first drive. That happened because I was worried about the gas mileage (like I said, maybe ten extra bucks per night). In addition, I read several articles, similar to this one, which frightened me into thinking my vehicle was terrible for uber. I even read a blog, discussion where a pick-up truck driver was trying to tell other uber drivers that they had the wrong impression and that he actually made more money because he drove a truck. The other uber drives ridiculed him and accused him of being untruthful (even after he uploaded screen-shots, from his app). Let people try it for themselves. Don’t discourage them. Tell them the positives, rather than the negatives, because the positive, of driving uber in a truck, out weight the negatives (at least in my area, they do), Just last night (which is the reason this article caught my eye), we had multiple thunderstorms, in the Philadelphia area. Not just regular storms, the type that causes flooding and vehicle stalls. I went out in it and drove uber for five hours and fifty-one minutes. I put thirty dollars worth of gas in my truck. When I came home, I had $435.47 cents. One of my riders tipped forty dollars, on the app. I received more money in “cash tips” than I spent on gas. I even had one rider (at the airport) who rode home on a wet seat (from rain entering as the door was repeatedly opened) and said she didn’t mind because I was the fourth car she called (the other three canceled). I know that sounds very unlike what you have described in your article and I know plenty of people aren’t going to believe it, but it is absolutely true and it happens often. If I could, I would upload a screen-shot to prove it (and I will, if given the chance).

    • You didn’t read the article mostly because it was too long. Then you write a 16 page essay repeating yourself about 5 times. Ie I live in Philadelphia (we got it the first time.
      Makes me laugh.

  2. Yes, pickup trucks are permitted for use by UberX drivers. Just make sure that you have four doors and enough room and seats to transport passengers.

  3. I drive a 21 GMC 1500 Denali with the 3 litre diesel in it. Avg mpg 26 in town with very minimal driving. I get more compliments on this than anything else.

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