In the ride-hailing industry, Uber — valued in 2017 at between $50 and $68 billion — dominates with more riders than any other service. For individuals who want to pocket some extra cash, driving for Uber is an attractive side-job, and in that vein, Uber loves to market the benefits of the “side hustle” opportunity. Learn how Uber works and how to make money if you drive for Uber.
How to Become an Uber Driver
If you’re ready to drive for Uber, you can visit the website to sign up. Before you do, be sure you meet the following Uber qualifications:
1. To be an Uber driver you must:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have one year of driving experience in the U.S. — or three years if you’re under 23 years old
- Possess a valid U.S. driver’s license, proof of car insurance and registration
2. Determine if you have a qualified vehicle. Depending on where you live, the Uber car requirements may vary. If your car doesn’t qualify or you need a vehicle, Uber has affordable car leases and rentals for all credit levels with low-security deposits and available no-mileage caps.
Here are the general requirements for Uber vehicles:
- Must be no more than 15 years old
- Must have four doors and a minimum of four-passenger seating
- No rental vehicles allowed unless Uber-approved
- No salvaged, reconstructed or rebuilt titles
- No cosmetic damage, missing pieces or commercial branding
- Must be fit to pass inspection
3. Pass an Uber background check. Uber conducts a driving history and criminal history background check on each applicant. The criminal history includes a national, state and local-level check, and potential hits are verified.
To qualify for a background check, applicants must submit the following items:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
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How Uber Drivers Get Paid
Drivers can work any day — or night — of the week they want, set their hours, and get paid almost instantly. With Daily Pay, drivers have the option to cash out available earnings up to five times a day.
According to the Uber website, trip fares are calculated from the following:
- Base fare or price of pickup
- Total time of trip
- Distance in miles of kilometers
- Surge pricing — during peak times, surge rates are charged by a variable multiplier of X.X
- Tolls and other fees, if applicable
Driver payments for trips are calculated by adding the base fare, time rate and distance rate together and multiplying the sum by the surge multiplier if applicable. Then, the Uber fee, tolls and other fees are subtracted from the sum to equal the driver payment.
The type of vehicle you drive and the city where you drive will affect the specific base fare, time and distance rates charged.
How to Maximize Your Uber Earnings
Plenty of ways exist to help avid Uber drivers make the most money. Here are some ideas to consider if you want to maximize your earnings with Uber.
- Use a fuel-efficient car to minimize your gas expenses. Although Uber offers discount fuel rewards to qualifying partners, fuel reimbursements don’t exist.
- Drive during peak hours when opportunities for passengers increase.
- Consider driving for UberEats or doing deliveries for extra earnings.
- Accept tips through the Uber Driver App, which gives riders the option to add a tip when rating a completed trip.
Related: How Does Uber Work?
Considerations for Becoming an Uber Driver
Although driving for Uber can help you earn some extra money, a few potential drawbacks do exist. Before you commit, consider the following:
- Be prepared for gas and maintenance costs. Operating your car will be your biggest expense as an Uber driver. The costs of gas and maintenance will come out of your profits.
- You still need insurance. Even though Uber provides supplemental insurance that protects you while you’re online, you still need to have car insurance when you’re driving your car for personal use.
- Be prepared for wear and tear on your car. Wear and tear on your vehicle can also be costly, although this might not be an immediate concern when you start driving.
- Understand how cleaning fees work. Make sure you know how to collect a cleaning fee if someone vomits or makes a mess in your vehicle, and what steps are required to preserve evidence.
If you’re not sure if driving for Uber is right for you, there’s no time like the present to give it a try. You can follow the Uber blog for the company’s latest tips and advice to maximize your earnings and make the most of the time you spend in your car.
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