Driving with Uber allows any qualified person to become a driver, work their own hours, and make a pretty decent income doing so.
The maddening popularity of Uber comes with good reason: whether it’s because you’re too inebriated to drive after a night out, have a meeting before which you’d like to look through your presentation, or because you don’t own your own vehicle, Uber is just a click away from accepting your ride.
This easy accessibility has proven itself an even more convenient luxury than the old-school cab, and it can be lucrative for drivers, too!
Besides being a major convenience in a growing list of cities across the world, Uber has also brought with it employment opportunities for a range of individuals.
If you have a car, enjoy driving and would like to make some extra money on the side as an independent contractor, Uber is a great option to cash in on.
Signing up online is easy, and there are several advantages to working as an Uber driver; let’s take you through some of them.
First, The 5 Best Benefits of Driving With Uber (#4 Is The Big One)
1. Choose Your Own Hours
Flexible hours are one of the most attractive aspects of being an Uber driver. You get to choose your timings at your convenience and can choose to work only weekends or during the busiest hours, to make the most of your time.
Conversely, some Uber drivers tend to accept rides when they’re out running their own errands so that they can make some quick money on the side, while on the go.
2. You Don’t Answer to a Boss
Since you will be working as an independent contractor, you are not answerable to a boss, as such. All you have to do is sign up, undergo a background check, mark yourself as available to take rides, and you’re good to go.
3. Use Your Own Vehicle (or Rent One)
You can use your own four-door car when you’re accepting rides as an Uber car, as long as it is a model that is from the year 2007 or newer, in most cities, 2002 or newer in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco, and 2011 or newer in New York. You can go to help.uber.com to check for your city’s model year requirement, or type in uber.com/drive/*yourcity* to find out more.
You can also use services like HyreCar to rent a car out, that you can use to accept rides around town as an Uber driver, although this would add to your own expenses.
4. Supplement Your Income
Working full- or part-time as an Uber driver is a great way to supplement your income.
Whether you’re trying to start your own business or studying at a local university, by working as an Uber driver at your own convenience, you can make some extra money to pay the bills, and be able to make ends meet.
There are also sign up bonuses, surge pricing and other regular incentives, besides fares, that add to your earnings and make the prospect more attractive.
5. Signing up and Getting Paid as an Uber Driver Is Easy
Signing up to partner with Uber as a driver is a simple process, and can be done online or even from your phone. You can drive as much as you want, according to your schedule and the more rides you accept around town, the more you will end up making.
You can receive your earnings weekly, which are automatically deposited into your bank account, and Uber has also introduced Instant Pay, which enables to you to transfer your fares to a debit card account absolutely whenever you like.
Do YOU Qualify to Be an Uber Driver?
There are certain requirements Uber looks out for in people who are interested in driving and working with the company as independent contractors.
Here are some of them:
- You need to be over 21 years old.
- Access to a four-door car which is a model from the year 2007 or newer in most cities, is required.
-In Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco it is 2002 or newer.
-In New York, it is 2011 or newer.
(You can find more details at help.uber.com)
- An in-state auto insurance policy, with your name, stated on the policy.
- An in-state driver’s license.
- Licensed in the US for at least one year, or three years if you’re under 23.
- A social security number.
- A current/valid registration of in-state plates (commercial plates are acceptable).
- Pass a driving record check and a background check.
Does YOUR CAR Qualify as an Uber Vehicle?
There are a few general Uber vehicle requirements your car must meet so you can use it as a ride-sharing car.
The Uber vehicle requirements are as follows:
- Must be 10 years old or newer (the model year 2007) – varies from city to city.
- Must be a four-door car, truck or minivan.
- Manual (standard) transmission is acceptable.
- Appropriate seating and seat-belts, for four passengers, not including the driver.
- Must pass a vehicle inspection.
- The vehicle registration does not need to have the driver’s name on it.*
- Driver must pass a background check.
Vehicles which do not qualify include full-size vans, such as the Ford Transit, Ford E-Series or GMC Savana and taxis, or other marked vehicles.
The vehicle should not have any commercial markings or advertisements and cannot be a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle.
3 Quick Steps To Becoming An Uber Driver
Now that you know what Uber is, here’s the quick and dirty on how to become an Uber Driver in just 3 steps. The process really is this quick.
- You will be asked to provide some personal information so Uber can perform a background check
- You will need to provide your vehicle information (Make, Model, year,etc..)
- Last you will be asked to upload pictures of your documents (Driver’s License, Insurance, Car registration).
Step 2 – Get Your Car Inspected
The inspection isn’t difficult, but if you’re going to drive people around everything needs to be in working order. That’s only fair. The great thing about Uber is they will do the inspection for you for free.
I actually got $100 bonus just for letting them inspect my car which took them 10 minutes. That’s a pretty awesome bonus, right? When you sign up Uber will let you know where their car inspection locations are.
Of course, if you prefer to get your car inspected by a third party that’s totally fine too. Just check with Uber to make sure your car mechanic is approved to do your inspection.
Uber just wants to make sure things like your headlights, seat belts, mirrors, etc… are all in working order.
Better safe than sorry right?
Step 3 – Wait
Once you have done step 1 and 2, you just need to wait to clear the criminal and driver’s background check. Once cleared you will be able to start driving. You will be checked to make sure;
- You don’t have any felonies or other bad criminal records
- You don’t have too many driver infractions or accidents
- And of course, they will verify your documents are all up to date
It only took me 2 days to be approved to start driving after I got my car inspected, but my rule of thumb would be to give it at least a week before contacting Uber to see what your status is.
Once you are approved, Uber will send you an email letting you know you are all set and ready to drive. After a few days or week or so, you should receive in the mail your Uber sticker to place on your window.
Depending on where you live it’s a serious fine for not displaying the Uber sticker, so I would wait till you receive yours before you start driving.
Once all of the above is all set; Start driving!
You Are Ready To Drive For Uber! (Just one quick thing…)
So, now you are all set and have taken care of all the necessary directions to become an Uber driver, it’s time to start driving.
1.) Make sure you have downloaded the Uber Partner app on your iPhone or Android store.
2.) Log in to your account on the app
3.) Once logged in, you should see a “go online” button on top. Click on it to start receiving ride request.
If it doesn’t allow you to go online then Uber will let you know what step you are missing (either not finished uploading documents or maybe background hasn’t cleared yet).
4.) When on the map you will see your location and how busy an area is (color ranges from orange, means slightly higher prices, to blood red which means price are 3x times higher).
That’s it! You’re good to go.
Time to make money.
Speaking of which, here’s how that works…
How Are Uber Fares Calculated?
When you accept a ride, the passenger or rider takes a trip with you and pays you a fare once you’ve dropped them off at the destination.
This fare is calculated based on two primary factors:
- the distance of the trip
- the duration of the trip
The driver keeps 75% of the fare, while Uber keeps 25%.
How much an Uber driver makes on average varies, depending on the location and the number of hours you drive amongst other factors, like surge pricing and what type of Uber vehicle it is.
On average, across the United States, studies show an Uber driver makes over $19 per hour.
And, in New York City, one of the busiest cities in the world, an Uber driver makes over $30 an hour, on average.
More On Money: Variables Affecting Uber Wages
The areas that you drive in and accept rides in, make a big difference to your earnings.
For example, if you turn on your Uber when you’re near the markets or town squares, around areas which are well-populated with a steady stream of visitors arriving and leaving, you are naturally more likely to have more people looking for rides and hence increase your earnings.
Time of Day/Number of Hours Driven
This one is pretty simple: the more you drive, the more you make.
This is because you are more likely to be driving at the time of high demand (meaning high surge price), as well as driving long distances, your earnings are also going to be correspondingly higher.
By choosing to drive during peak hours, such as a weekday morning and evenings or weekend nights, you’ll be working during the busiest hours and have more chances of making higher fares.
Surge pricing is a concept that has burst into the common discourse in just the past five years.
During the busiest hours, when the demand for rides is high, fares increase to provide rides to those who are willing to shell out more for it. A surge multiplier (of 1.3x or 2.1x, for instance) applies to the base, time and distance of the trip fare.
For those calling the cab, surge pricing helps them get value for their money by ensuring quick and reliable pickup when they want it.
For drivers, on the other hand, this translates into much higher fares, calculated by taking the trip’s total fare and multiplying it by the surge multiplier.
It also means the driver will receive a steady flow of requests, especially in those areas where the demand for rides is high, but there aren’t many drivers to meet the demand.
Your Uber app will show you the areas where a lot of people are looking for rides, in various shades of red; the deeper the shade of red is, the more the people there are on the lookout for Uber cabs in the area.
Type of Ride
When someone calls a cab on the Uber app, they have several on-demand options to pick from. Each comes at a different cost, has a different capacity and is targeted for different purposes.
Here’s how some of the most common Uber services around town are different from each other:
- UberX vehicles are usually regular sedans, such as the Toyota Prius or Honda Accord, which can seat up to four passengers.
- UberXL vehicles, typically SUVs and minivans, cost more than UberX and can seat up to six passengers.
- UberSelect vehicles include higher-end cars like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi cars, complete with leather interiors. This can seat up to four passengers and is positioned as Uber’s entry-level luxury service.
- UberPOOL is the most cost-efficient Uber, as you can share your Uber with another passenger and divide the final fare.
- UberBLACK and UberSUV are Uber’s luxury services, including commercially-registered and insured luxury vehicles, usually a black SUV or luxury sedan. UberBlack is the most expensive Uber service.
Since Uber drivers work with Uber in the capacity of independent contractors, Uber does not pay for your fuel costs and other expenses.
Other expenses the driver can incur they are responsible for themselves include repairs, cleaning, and maintenance costs, wear and tear to the car over time, depreciation, minor accidents and other small unplanned expenses you might have along the way.
Additional payments which come into play to consider would be insurance, which would vary from driver to driver, location and vehicle type, lease payments in case the driver is renting a car from another party, tolls, license and permit fees.
The Expenses Which Uber Covers Already
Although Uber doesn’t cover any fuel, repair or maintenance costs for ride-sharing, they do have a support team you can get in touch with in case riders cause damage to your vehicle, such as by getting sick in your car.
In this case, an Uber driver is able to apply for reimbursement for cleaning fees, which will be charged to the passenger and deposited to your bank account the next day.
Besides this, Uber’s insurance coverage in the U.S. and Puerto Rico includes:
- $1 million of liability coverage per accident: Uber holds a commercial insurance policy, covering the drivers’ liability to third parties from the point when a driver accepts a trip until when the passenger is dropped off.
- $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage per incident: While the above liability policy has been provided by Uber since early 2013, at the end of the year, they also added uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This means that the policy covers bodily injury to all occupying the rideshare vehicle in the event that another motorist causes an accident with it and the motorist is without adequate insurance, or if it is a hit-and-run case.
- Contingent comprehensive and collision insurance: If the Uber driver holds personal comprehensive and collision insurance, physical damage caused to that vehicle during a trip is covered, up to the actual value of the vehicle at the time.
- No fault coverage (for example, personal injury protection): This coverage is provided in certain states at similar levels as limos or taxis in specific cities. To know more about coverage for ridesharing drivers when they are between trips and other details, read this.
Commercially-licensed and insured partners provide the vehicles in the case of UberBLACK, UberSUV or UberTAXI rides, and drivers are covered by commercial insurance policies, in accordance with local and state requirements.
How Uber Drivers Pay Taxes
Uber drivers work as independent contractors and have to file taxes at the end of each year.
They are required to pay both self-employment tax and federal income tax on their earnings, and Uber has a feature on the partner dashboard that allows the driver to access their tax details.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make, on an Average?
As mentioned above, there are a handful of variables that make it hard to zero in on an exact number.
The location that you are driving in, the number of rides you accept, how many hours you work when there’s high demand (surge pricing) as well as the type of car you drive all influence your earnings, in addition to your own personal expenses including fuel costs, repair, and maintenance charges.
We have compiled a list of resources for you to go through, that should give you a fair idea of what an independent contractor running their own business as an Uber driver can expect to make:
- This Uber Driving Earnings Survey we dug up online has been compiled in March of 2018 and is a crowdsourced document that should give you the real data behind an Uber driver’s earnings, expenses, and net profit.
- According to Glassdoor, Uber drivers make about $30,000 annually, on average.
- While there are a lot of alluring incentives that Uber offers, such as surge pricing, signup bonuses, and regular incentives, 86.3% of Uber drivers’ earnings come from fares.
- In New York City, the average Uber driver works for approximately 30 hours a week. According to the city’s Uber rates, that amounts to $1554 a week, which makes the Uber driver’s annual salary approximately $80,839.
- How to average over $100/hr driving with Uber. Of course, depending on the variables you need to consider, this can range a bit more widely.
If you only work Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, then your hourly won’t be as good.
There are nights where we hear of people making $15 an hour, but then other nights, like a Saturday, where they make $30+ an hour.
Here are a few other great ideas to maximize your earnings for driving:
- Work during the busy hours. We like to work when the bars are closing, especially on a Saturday night cause I’m a night-owl.
- Don’t Chase Surge Pricing. Ye, you make more money, but if it’s a 30-minute drive you might not make it before the surge is over.
- Use a fuel-efficient car. A Prius can get up to 50 miles a gallon saving you a lot of money on gas.
- Accept every request. We do hear of people being online but not accepting request because they are “too” far. You just lost out on a $60 fare.
- Make every passenger have a great experience. While there is technically no tipping through the app, many will tip you with cash.
You experience and money making potential varies depending on where you live and when you decide to work. If you only work on Friday and Saturday nights then you can expect to make a lot per hour.
Ready to Get Behind the Wheel?
Well, there’s one more quick thing…
Learn to make yourself stand out from the other Uber drivers and you’ll find repeat customers (and maybe even tips) to solidify your place in your city.
Other drivers have hosted different fun things in their cars, offered free waters or snacks, and done a lot of creative little experience for their passengers. Consider making your service top notch to make it the best of your new job driving with Uber.
Now we’ve taken you through all the details of navigating the roads as an Uber driver, we hope you have a much clearer idea of what to expect in terms of hours to invest working as an independent contractor, expenses you bear, Uber’s insurance and liability policies and the kind of earnings you can make once you sign up, an easy process which can be carried out online or even on your mobile phone.
In an age of growing expenses, having an income on the side is always a bonus, and with the range of sign-up bonuses and surge pricing options, you stand to make some relatively easy money by choosing to work hours at your own convenience.
Targeting peak-demand hours, such as late nights on weekends, is one of the fastest and smartest ways to start the following week with something substantial in the bank.
If you have your own car, you hardly have to invest anything in this new business when you sign up to be a partner, as long as it meets the Uber vehicle requirements.
Since launching in 2009, Uber has truly changed the face of most of our cities with their services and made moving about a much more convenient and often safer, affair.
Since they started offering these partnerships in 2012, they have also expanded the opportunities to hundreds of thousands of people, with a minimal increase in cars on the roads.
If you’re someone who loves driving and is looking out for a supplementary income, signing up to be a partner with Uber, as a driver, is just a click away.