The cost of living is piling up, and there's simply no room for luxuries. Your job is fine, but you also crave a bit of fun or just want to make ends meet. Sounds familiar? These are the situations which make a modern-day individual think about earning a little extra cash on the side.
Fortunately, there are several ways to go about this. Freelancing is on the rise, but another highly popular method is to participate in a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Some countries might have their own similar service in addition to these international franchises, but the idea is the same. Someone needs a ride; they open the ridesharing app and call the registered car nearest them.
Is there a catch to this all, or is it as simple as it sounds?
Let’s explore everything you need to know about making money driving with Uber.
The Benefits of Driving for Uber
You may be wondering why you should opt for driving with Uber instead of a taxi cab or doing any other job to make extra money. While there are pros and cons to any job, there are many benefits to gain from becoming an Uber driver.
The main benefit that people seek and get when they drive for Uber is the flexibility. It might actually be among the most flexible gigs out there, whether you do it part-time or as your sole means of livelihood. The way it works is through an app, which you can log on to or log off from whenever and wherever you want.
Running late for your day job? Go offline and you won’t get requests from Uber users along the way. On a routine day, you might set out bright and early, picking up a fare or two along the way. There’s almost no other job that even comes near this level of flexibility.
Moving along with the benefits, you’ll also find that the requirements for becoming an Uber driver are quite easy to meet. While they may change according to the area you’re in and the kind of service you want to provide, the main rules are quite basic. If you have a smartphone, a functioning car, and a clean driving record, you’re pretty much set to go. There are some more requirements, but you might be able to work around them if your background check is all set.
Another upside to driving with Uber is that the company itself can help you get a new car if need be. They have connections with leasing companies and can manage to get you a brilliant agreement with flexible terms and low deposits. You’ll have a hard time finding those on your own.
You’ll also get the opportunity to make up your own schedule when driving with Uber. There are no specific days you need to work or a time slot where you have to be on duty. You may have to put in a certain number of hours, but these could be late at night, early in the morning, or whenever you’re up to it! Simply turn on the app and wait for a job to come up. When you're done for the day or just want some time off, log out of the app. This way, you can work just a couple of hours when there’s a busy week full of family commitments. When the next week rolls around and it’s empty of any extra appointments, you can easily work several hours a day.
The customer reviews are another positive aspect of being an Uber driver. In most senses, your customers are the only bosses you have, so keep them happy and you’ll get glowing reviews. It doesn’t take much effort to earn a 5-star rating each time. Most people who hail an Uber would give you a full rating for just a clean car, good driving, and no conversation unless they initiate it.
If you’re a social person or just a curious one, you'll also be delighted to meet so many different people every day. You’ll also visit new areas, get to know familiar sights in new ways, and hear stories that will make your head spin! This could mean a lot of food for thought, conversation topics, and plenty of ideas if you ever wanted to write a book, column, or blog.
Finally, you should also consider the surge pricing rates when you’re calculating the pros and cons of this job. Pick up a few rides during surge hours, and you can earn a tidy amount in a fraction of the usual time. However, this does require some knowledge of positioning, shortcuts, and a bit of luck to boot.
How Much Money Can You Make Driving with Uber?
The earnings or salary of any job is usually the first question that comes to mind. When it comes to driving for Uber, the earnings may vary due to surge pricing and the area you’re working in. For the most part, though, Uber drivers stand to make anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour. This is after you adjust for car repairs, gas, and other everyday costs. All in all, this isn’t such a bad haul when the alternative is yet another dead-end job.
This hourly earning isn’t all, though. You may find that your local Uber pays cash bonuses to drivers simply for joining up. This is so that they’re motivated to give stellar service, visit new places, work at unusual times, and generally go that extra mile.
What Are the Requirements to Drive for Uber
Driving for Uber is admittedly not as simple as downloading an app and logging on. You can only do that after applying and fulfilling all the requirements. To be fair, this might be the most difficult part of the whole job. However, most Uber drivers do confirm that it’s worth the initial hassle and investment in order to have a flexible, exciting job from there on.
For regions like the UK and many others, Uber drivers have to be at least 21 years old, have the right to work in that country, and have a valid driver’s license. Those in London, at least, need three years of driving experience as well. These requirements might change according to where you are, so find out what you need to have before applying.
Other requirements might include a full medical examination report, a criminal record check or DBS, and a general background check. You may also have to pass a local map test based on your work area, but there shouldn’t be any need for an extensive exam. In this manner, you’re much better off than regular London cab drivers. For anything too complicated, you can always make use of Google Maps!
You may also need a private hire license in order to start work. Obtaining one wouldn't be difficult when you have Uber to help you out. This could cost some cash, though. So you might have to budget for it. Even after you apply, it might take some time for your license to go through. The official claim is that it could take anywhere from two to six weeks, but most drivers report that it’s more like three, four, or even six months. This includes an ‘Uber Ignition session’ and a short interview.
The car, of course, is yet another requirement that needs to meet specific insurance and maintenance standards. If you own one already, you’re all set. If not, you can always rent one that meets the Uber requirements. It shouldn’t’ be hard to cover the cost, especially if the car is for personal use as well.
What Rules Does Uber Have for Its Drivers?
It’s not surprising that Uber has certain rules for its drivers. This ensures that customers have a safe, convenient experience that will keep them coming back. After all, they have taxi cabs and public transport as their main competitors, so the experience is what sets Uber apart.
The first rule is in attending the Ignition sessions, which we’ve already mentioned above. These could last up to four hours, so you may have to take some time off your regular job. The session itself includes map test training, guidance for background and health check, insurance advice, and more guidance for private license hire applications.
The rest of the rules apply after you’re a bona fide Uber driver. The rules are getting stricter with time, so you want to be aware of them all beforehand. Some of these rules might be about seemingly innocuous activities, but they’re all logical when you think about it.
For instance, there should be no contact with the passengers after the ride ends. Even if they forget something in your car, you’ll probably have to go through the company in order to return it. Other rules include improper conduct, which includes the physical, sexual, and verbal variety.
Discrimination of any kind is also not allowed, including derogatory remarks and gestures. No Uber driver is allowed to refuse rides based on the passengers' race, ethnicity, religion, appearance, caste, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, etc.
You’re also not allowed to pick up people who don’t use the app, like an anonymous taxi cab. Canceling rides for any proper reason, to a certain extent, is allowed if you don’t do it too often. If this becomes a regular thing, you might face temporary deactivation of your account.
Other rules are related to the basics of driving such as no texting while driving, no breaking traffic lights, etc. If you’re found breaking any of these rules, it would probably lead to the permanent deactivation of your account. There would be an investigation prior to this, but you won’t be able to work during it.
What Does it Take to Be an Uber Driver?
Once you’ve fulfilled the requirements, uploaded your documents, and downloaded the app, you’re a real Uber driver now! However, this flexible job does require you to be alert at all times. You have to keep your car maintained and your licenses updated, otherwise, you may lose a sizeable chunk of your income.
An Uber driver also has to exercise a lot of patience and trust their instincts. There are all kinds of suspicious characters out there, so you’ll have to be smart in order to avoid mugging, carjacking, or worse.
If you’re a good enough driver, you’ll probably do well working with Uber. An Uber driver has to operate the car carefully, taking no risks and knowing where the best routes are. The more driving experience you have and the safer you drive, the more benefit you'll gain. The high ratings would also only enhance your Uber career as you move forward.
Are There Any Vehicle Requirements?
There are several vehicle requirements for Uber driving, but they vary based on the kind of service you provide and where you’re currently living. Most Uber branches require either a 2000 or 2005 model or newer.
They may also require the cars to have four doors and enough seatbelts for four passengers. This doesn’t include the seat belt for the driver, so you might have to make some adjustments in your vehicle. Additionally, your Uber vehicle is not supposed to be a marked taxi or a salvaged title.
There are actually many Uber tiers, so the requirements for your vehicle would depend on these as well. An UberXL driver needs a car that can seat six or more people, while an UberBLACK driver needs a luxury vehicle that falls into a specific age slot.
The tier UberSelect requires a luxury vehicle equipped with leather interiors. It should also be relatively more recent than the previous two tiers. Some examples include the Infinitis and Hyundai Genesis. Other high-end tiers include UberBLACK, UberLUX, and Uber SUV, which give specialized services for higher costs. These may require airport permits and commercial registration according to your area.
If you want to drive for a service like UberEATS, though, the requirements might get more lenient. You can probably get by with just a 2-door vehicle, with a 1998 or newer model. This is because this tier is more for food delivery than the usual passenger service.If your current car doesn't meet the Uber requirements, you have the option of buying or renting a vehicle that does. When buying, however, we recommend that you get a used car instead of a brand-new one. Such cars usually go through a lot of wear and tear very quickly.
What Kind of Insurance Do Uber Drivers Need?
Your personal insurance would probably not cover the use of your car for Uber. On the bright side, there might be a new rideshare insurance policy to cover this area. They usually don’t cost much more than the regular kind.
Uber also offers its own coverage, but this is only when you’re actually logged into the app and driving passengers. Simply being logged in and waiting for a request will only give you partial coverage in most areas. For instance, you might only get secondary coverage that pays the losses your personal policy doesn’t cover.
With a passenger, though, you might get commercial liability coverage with a limit of $1 million. You could also get compensation for bodily injury up to $1 million as well.
How to Get Started Driving With Uber
Now that you know something about the vehicle and other requirements, you might want to get started right away. Luckily, all you really need for Uber driving is a vehicle and a smartphone. Sign up for the service online, get your background check done, and download the app to be on your way.
Things to Consider When You Start
Driving with Uber isn’t just about picking up rides and getting money in return. The opportunity might be quite attractive, but you should be aware of certain factors before starting out.
The first one is that you’ll have strangers riding in your car, probably every single day. Many people may not be too comfortable with this fact, but you can’t earn any money from Uber without it. You’ll also probably have to deal with some littering and smells that these people bring with them.
If you’re feeling any qualms about having strange people in your precious car, try out Uber as a passenger yourself. You can also try being an Uber driver for a while and see if you can get over your concerns. If you don’t, there’s always the option of UberEATs, where you deliver food instead of picking up and dropping off people.
Other concerns could include the amount you’ll earn each day. Will the compensation be worth the efforts you put in? The experience of driving could be different according to when and where you’re doing it. For instance, a city with potholes in every road could really take its toll on your body and car.
Other factors that you should consider include the importance of keeping your car clean. This means that the inside should be uncluttered and odor-free, even if you don’t always have a shiny outside. Another important aspect is a car charger, preferably with a phone mount. Your Uber app is necessary for getting rides and hence earnings. The mount will hold your phone in a safe manner.
Talking is a delicate matter as an Uber driver, as many passengers might see a conversation as an invasion of their privacy. Still, you should follow the rules of etiquette by greeting each passenger and perhaps ask how their day is going. From there on, take your cue from them about striking up a conversation.
If the passengers want to talk a bit, follow their lead. Seeming surly or rude is just as bad as being too pushy or inquisitive. If you see them busy with their kids, phone, or just lying back to relax, leave them be. The more enjoyable you make it for the passenger, the better it is for both of you.
How to Be Successful as an Uber Driver
Success as an Uber driver usually means earning a sizeable amount with your vehicle. In order to reach your goal and keep on moving forward, you need to stay in a learning mode. This means that you should educate yourself on ridesharing options, especially those related to Uber. Your riders might ask you questions related to this topic, so be sure to brush up on it.
You can also use certain apps such as Everlance and listen to podcasts by The Rideshare Guy. These will help you navigate the little details of ridesharing, such as tracking mileage. You can also use the app to record your driving income for tax purposes.
In short, you won’t be successful if you simply drive once a week or once a month. Keep at the job, stay serious about it, and work your way up like you would your own small business.
How Can Uber Drivers Earn More?
We’d all love to earn more money, and Uber drivers are no different. Are you earning as much as you want with your car? If not, you might want to try some tips for making as much cash as possible.
First off, you should know where your market lies. The downtown areas are probably more crowded on weekends, so make sure you’re idling around there at that time. Also, keep abreast of events in your town, such as a food festival. People would love to call up Uber rides for safe conveyance to and from their homes. Honing in on this demand is what will get you those fares.
You should also see if a larger vehicle is possible. With this, you can take in more people with the UberXL tier. This results in high fares and hence higher earnings. If you want to make your Uber job a full-time gig, consider investing in a car for UberBLACK or UberLUX.
Making Even More Money With Uber
You can make even more money by cutting down on your costs. A hybrid car will use up less gas, which would eventually add up over the months. Find a place to wait out your downtime instead of driving in circles. This will save on a lot of gas in the long run.If you’re willing to make the effort, drive to a nearby crowded city during a surge time to snag those rides. Also, try to use the Back-to-Back ride system whenever possible. This allows you to accept a new ride that’s near your current destination, thus shortening the wait and time lost between rides.
Are There Any Hidden Costs Involved?
When you're starting out with Uber, you need to know just how much it would cost you. The hidden costs can be quite overwhelming, so don’t blind yourself with the average wage of $10-$20.
You’re a contractor rather than an employee, so you don’t get the benefits of the latter. Plus, you’ll have to pay both income and self-employed taxes. The constant driving is also hard on your car, so you’ll have to pay more in repair and maintenance. Both these costs are not Uber’s responsibility.
Other hidden costs include car insurance, changes in pricing policies, and services such as UberPool and Upfront Pricing. These serve to save the rider money at the expense of the driver. If you take on many passengers with animals such as service dogs, you may also have to pay for regular de-hairing.
What Are the Drawbacks of Driving for Uber?
The hidden costs of driving for Uber are part of its drawbacks. Other drawbacks include the loss of many benefits such as unemployment payments, overtime pay, and health insurance. Company benefits like sick leave, pensions, and paid holidays are also a nonexistent aspect of Uber driving.
More downsides include the fact that Uber will take a quarter of all your earnings, after which you'll still have to pay for rent and maintenance. Besides, you’ll also have to wait a long time for your private hire license. While tipping can get you some extra money, it usually isn’t considered common practice.
So if you’re looking for an Uber driving job, make sure to weigh all the pros and cons. This might be a lucrative practice if you keep at it, but it’s definitely not for everyone. However, if your car driving passion pushes you forward and you’re ready to put some efforts for availing this money-making opportunity, go ahead!