Want to become an Uber driver? Here is what you need to know

The hassle of attempting to hail an old-fashioned yellow taxi on the street by lifting an arm straight up in the air like the Statue of Liberty is fast disappearing in most cities around the world. The innovative ride-sharing service Uber is quickly revolutionizing the way people move and hail a cab. Uber basically connects passengers and drivers through a user-friendly, ride-sharing mobile app.

Passengers can easily request a ride using their smartphone, while you can make a few extra bucks in your spare time driving people from point A to point B with your own car.

If you know your way around town, have a smartphone and find solace on the road, driving for Uber can be a good way to supplement your income, with resources you already have. Working as an Uber driver partner on a flexible schedule gives you the opportunity to make money driving any time, day or night, 365 days a year.

What you need to get started driving for Uber

So, what are the necessary requirements to be a driver on Uber? First of all, you need to:

  • be at least 21 years old;
  • have a driver’s license;
  • have a smartphone;
  • have at least three years driving experience;
  • have a clean driving record;
  • have an appropriate car insurance coverage in your name;
  • have vehicle registration (it does not need necessarily to be in your name);
  • be able to pass a criminal background check.

You need to have a qualified four-door car, truck or minivan, which must:

  • be 10 years old or newer;
  • seat at least four passengers;
  • pass a vehicle inspection;
  • be covered by insurance (your name must be on the insurance for the vehicle).

Full-size vans, taxis or other marked vehicles with advertisements or commercial markings are not allowed. Each city has its own requirements, so make sure to check them before signing up. If you don’t have a car that meets the requirements, in certain cities Uber offers rental options and discounts to buy.

Before signing up to become a driver for Uber, make sure that, in the past seven years, you have had:

  • no history of reckless driving or driving without license or insurance;
  • no drug-related offenses;
  • no fatal accidents;
  • no criminal history.

How to get started

If you do fulfill all the necessary requirements, it is a pretty simple and quick process to sign up to drive for Uber. You can apply online just using your cell phone, and schedule your availability.

Watch orientation videos to learn how to use the Uber Partner app properly. Log in when you are ready to work, wait for trip requests and notifications that mean someone has requested a ride, then pick passengers up, drive them somewhere in your own car and drop them off at their destination. They pay automatically through the mobile app.

Here is a link to sign up to drive with Uber.

How much you can earn

Exactly how much you will make depends on how many rides you take and how many hours you put in behind the wheel. You automatically get paid every week through direct deposit.

Take into account the commission Uber will take. Uber keeps 25% of the total revenue for each ride. There are no monthly fees to be a driver, though.

You are responsible for motivating yourself to work and setting your own schedule. You are, basically, your own boss, not an employee.

As an independent contractor, though, you are responsible for most of your expenses, including maintenance, repairs, gas, insurance and taxes.

How to receive positive ratings from passengers

Passengers rate their experience with Uber drivers. If you come off as dour, impolite, rude or easily stressed in traffic, this will negatively affect your rating.

Keeping your rating up is crucial, though. People tend to call for drivers with perfect ratings. Here are a couple of tips to be a good driver and receive five-star ratings from passengers:

  • be courteous, polite and professional;
  • be efficient;
  • keep your car clean, inside and out;
  • be personable, friendly and talkative, if riders want to have a conversation;
  • offer cold bottled water to passengers;
  • have extra phone chargers on hand for riders to use;
  • write out a list of your recommended attractions in your city.

Before signing up to drive for Uber, consider if you have the temperament and disposition for this type of work.

Downsides to consider

Now that you know the upside of driving for Uber, get ready for the downside, from stiffness in the legs to drunk passengers:

  • as mentioned above, you pay for your own gasoline, maintenance, repairs, insurance and taxes;
  • wear and tear on your car. Short distance, big city driving unavoidably puts more wear and tear on your car than long highway trips;
  • stiffness in the legs and back that comes with prolonged sitting;
  • unforeseen downtime between calls;
  • dealing with unruly and disrespectful riders;
  • dealing with rowdy, inebriated passengers.

Late-night drunk passengers needing to get home from a night at the club usually present a higher risk of throwing up in your car. Might that happen, Uber will help cover the cost of cleaning the mess up.

If someone is being disrespectful, you have the right to cancel the trip and ask them to leave. Protect yourself and your car. Email Uber immediately and explain what happened.