Becoming a rideshare driver is one of the most popular ways to make extra money with your car.
Being an Uber driver or a Lyft driver gives you the flexibility to make money on your own schedule.
In a major city with high demand, driving for Uber can be a full-time job or a part-time gig that saves some extra money each month.
Many people use Uber to help cover their new vehicle expenses.
Others use Uber to save for a vacation or other expense.
Whatever your reasons are for being interested in Uber, you will need to know the requirements for becoming a driver.
So keep reading to learn all the hows and whys of becoming an Uber driver.
Table Of Contents
Reasons to Become an Uber Driver
There are many reasons to become an Uber driver, and ultimately you will have to weigh the benefits for yourself.
The following benefits are the most common reasons people enjoy using Uber to make money.
1. Flexible Schedule
Having the freedom to make your schedule is one of the main reasons people choose to drive with Uber.
You decide both how many hours a week you will work and when you will work them.
You can be the boss of yourself.
You will need discipline, but for many people, it is worth it for freedom.
Did your friend invite you to something fun at the last minute?
As an Uber driver, you can drive or not drive whenever you want.
Especially if it is a part-time gig to bring in some extra money, you can always make up your hours on a different day.
2.Meeting Diverse People Is Fun
As an Uber driver, you will meet new and interesting people every time you drive.
Especially in a major city like New York City or Los Angeles, passengers will be from around the world and will probably love talking about their travels.
While some riders will prefer to make the trip quietly, many will love having a conversation with you and sharing some of their life stories.
These conversations take some of the boredom out of work and allow you to meet diverse people on the job
3. Signup Process Is Easy
Generally speaking, the application process to become an Uber driver is simple and only takes a few minutes.
You can sign up on the web or through the Uber driver app on iOS and Android.
After making an account, you will submit some documents like your license and vehicle registration.
And once Uber approves these documents, you are good to go.
You will get full access to the Uber driver app and can start accepting rides.
What Should I Know Before I Become an Uber Driver?
Like any job, you should know the basics of being a rideshare driver before you decide to invest your time and energy into it.
So let us now cover some of the details of what being an Uber driver entails.
1. You’ll Be Picking Up And Dropping People Off
It might be obvious, but the main activity of an Uber driver is picking up and dropping off people.
As soon as you put yourself online in the Uber driver app, ride requests will start coming in.
The application itself coordinates everything and will decide which ride requests to send you based on your location and the pickup location.
Slower nights can be frustrating—you will have minimal requests and lower earnings.
But on a busy night, you can get completely consumed with back-to-back requests constantly coming in.
Uber can even offer you the upcoming ride request before you have dropped off your current passenger.
2. You Will Be a 1099 Contractor
As an Uber driver, you are considered a 1099 contractor.
This classification refers to the 1099 tax document, and it means that you are a self-employed and independent contractor.
You will not get a salary because you will not be an employee of Uber.
Your earnings will entirely depend on the rides that you make.
And as a 1099 contractor, you are solely responsible for setting aside a portion of your income to pay taxes.
3. You Will Get Out of Uber What You Put into It
Uber can be a great way to make money if you do it right, but it is not easy to earn money.
The time you put into Uber, along with a willingness to work the peak hours, will be a determining factor.
You will get out of Uber what you put into it.
And if you make Uber your full-time job, you will make money for sure.
But for part-time work, you might have to learn the best hours to work in your area and then put the effort in during those times.
Certain peak hours will correlate with promotions and other bonuses from Uber as well.
Uber wants to keep both their drivers and riders happy.
How Profitable Is It to Be an Uber Driver?
How much you will earn as an Uber driver will depend on a few obvious factors, like where you live and how many hours you can work.
In a high-demand city like San Francisco, even part-time driving can be profitable.
But in less popular areas (and at less popular hours), you might find yourself waiting around too much.
According to one study of New York City Uber drivers, the median gross income was $21.85 per hour.
But this gross income dropped to an actual hourly rate of $13.56 after taking expenses into account.
You have to factor in the cost of gas and other vehicle expenses if you want an accurate estimate of profits.
Some of the main factors that affect Uber profits include:
- The location you will be driving in
- The number of hours you work
- Which hours you work (peak times equals more money)
- Gas and vehicle maintenance costs
- Car rental costs if you do not own a car
- The cost of auto insurance in your area
Some people also work as a Lyft driver and an Uber driver at the same time to help increase their profits.
Ultimately, you will have to calculate your situation and decide whether or not it is worth it to drive for Uber.
Hopefully, these factors will help you to calculate your potential earnings.
Requirements Every Uber Driver Must Meet
Despite the easy signup process, Uber is strict about drivers (and their cars) meeting specific minimum requirements.
It is worth reviewing some of these requirements before going forward with the application process.
Uber Driver Requirements
To be an Uber driver, you must meet certain criteria, such as their minimum age requirements and criminal background check.
These restrictions are put in place to protect passengers.
There are also the more obvious requirements like having a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.
For safety, Uber requires that you have at least a year of driving experience, or 3 years if you are under the age of 23.
You will also have to prove that you are a resident and can legally work by providing your social security number.
There are also technological requirements that you will need to meet.
You need to own a smartphone, preferably a newer model, that can smoothly run the Uber software.
Older iPhones, for example, could cause you problems and make you miss out on profits.
For a more detailed look into what you will need to become an Uber driver, read our full article on Uber driver requirements.
Read More: Uber Driver Requirements
Uber Background Check Requirements
During the application process to drive with Uber, you will have to agree to a background check.
Uber does this to keep their riders safe.
Uber will do a driving record check as well as a criminal history check.
They want to know if you have any felonies, convictions, violent crimes, or sexual offenses in your past.
But aside from major offenses, Uber also needs to know your driving safety.
If you have driving violations like reckless driving or a DUI in your recent history, they will automatically disqualify you.
Uber Vehicle Requirements
Besides doing a driving record check and other background checks, you also need a vehicle in good condition that meets Uber’s minimum requirements.
And if you want to drive for Uber’s luxury services like Uber Black or Uber Select, you will need to meet stricter requirements.
Types of Vehicles Allowed
Uber has limits on what vehicle types are allowed to keep a consistent and safe experience for their passengers.
- A standard sedan like a Toyota Camry or a Ford Focus for UberX
- Bigger models such as a Dodge Caravan or Ford Explorer for UberXL
- Higher-end luxury cars such as a Lexus GS or a BMW X3 for Uber Select
- A Full-size SUV such as a Lexus LX or an Audi A6 for Uber Black
The luxury categories, Uber Select and Uber Black, also require a leather interior, and they have even stricter requirements on the vehicle year.
Vehicle Requirements for Uber
Aside from the specific requirements of those different types of Uber categories, there are some general requirements that all Uber vehicles must meet:
- Must be a four-door car
- Must have enough seatbelts for everyone (including the driver)
- Be in good general condition without any obvious cosmetic damage on the exterior
- Pass a yearly vehicle inspection
- Must be new enough (generally not more than 10-15 years old)
- Taxis and cars with commercial branding are not allowed
You can also learn more by reading our full article devoted to vehicle requirements for Uber.
Example Uber Vehicles
Specific Uber vehicles will get more expensive and have tighter requirements depending on the category.
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Prius
- Nissan Sentra
- Ford Focus
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry
Uber XL is the next category up and it requires a larger vehicle.
Some common XL vehicles are:
- Honda Odyssey
- Toyota Sienna
- Dodge Caravan
- Ford Expedition
The more luxury-focused Uber categories — Uber Select and Uber Black— have much stricter requirements.
Common vehicles in this category include:
- Cadillac CTS
- Land Rover Discovery
- Chrysler 300
- Lexus GS
- Porsche Panamera
- Tesla Model S
- BMW 5 Series
Uber Insurance Requirements
Each state will have a different minimum on the required insurance coverage to drive for Uber, but whatever the amount is you have to prove that you have a personal auto insurance policy.
Whether you have insurance extras like collision is up to you, but basic insurance coverage is a must.
And if you want to drive for Uber Black, you also need to have commercial insurance.
It is worth noting that Uber does provide you with rideshare insurance anytime you are logged into the app and carrying a passenger.
How to Become an Uber Driver
Now that you have a basic idea of the requirements for driving with Uber, let’s get into some of the detailed steps for how to sign up.
Understanding these steps and having the right documents ready to go will make it as smooth as possible.
Documents You’ll Need
Uber will need proof that you meet the vehicle and personal requirements to become a driver.
So be sure to have these required documents scanned before starting the signup process:
- Driver’s license
- Your vehicle’s registration
- Your vehicle’s insurance with your name on the policy
- A passed background check (performed in the process with Checkr)
- Profile photo
- Licensing certificate (if your city/region requires it)
Be sure that you are uploading original documents and that they are visible and easy to read.
Rejected documents will only slow down the process.
The Application Process
If you meet the requirements for being an Uber driver, the signup process is pretty simple and takes just a few minutes.
The more comfortable you are with using your computer and smartphone—downloading apps, uploading documents, etc—the easier the process will be.
But the basic application process is as follows:
- Create an account and give details about yourself and your car
- Provide Uber with the required documents
- Download the app and wait for your final approval
Some of those steps can take a long time, depending on your specific circumstances.
For example, having the wrong kind of offense pop up on your background check will disqualify you.
And having an expired document will also delay the process.
But generally speaking, the application process is that simple.
What to Expect After Applying for Uber
Now that you’ve gone through the application process, let’s go over the details of what you can expect afterward.
How Long Does it Take to Get Approved?
The approval process will depend on a few factors, including your specific circumstances and the specific city you are trying to drive in.
Uber also requires proof of residency to drive, so you will have to apply in your region.
While drivers can sometimes get approved in as little as 1 day, you should allow up to 7 days to get fully approved.
In rare cases, it can take even longer than 7 days.
What Does the Approval Process Entail?
The approval process for becoming an Uber driver mostly involves them verifying the information that you told them.
Uber will review your documents to verify their authenticity.
They will also use your license to make sure that you have the required driving history for your age.
The longest part of the approval process is the background check.
A separate company will check your history of crimes and driving violations over the past 7 years to make sure that you meet the requirements.
This part of the process can take longer than 7 days, and Uber will alert you if such a situation applies to you.
How Will I Know if I Am Approved or Denied?
Uber will alert you with a text and an email when you are approved.
You can also see the status of your application on your profile page online or within the Uber driver app.
As soon as you are approved, Uber will let you know and you will be able to start accepting rides.
And if you are denied, Uber will tell you exactly why.
If it’s a reason that you can easily fix, like an expired document, then you can expect to wait 24-48 hours for the document to be approved.
What if I Get Waitlisted by Uber?
During the signup process, you will usually be accepted or rejected, and the reasons will be given.
But in rare cases, you can also get waitlisted by Uber.
If you are waitlisted, it means that your account was put on hold for an indefinite period.
In the application process, this waitlisting most often happens when you have an expired document or an incomplete application.
And current drivers can get waitlisted for failing to follow the rules.
Having the wrong driver, driving the wrong car, or having additional passengers in the car are common ways that drivers get waitlisted.
For example, the Instacart waitlist has grown by the day, with more drivers getting approved as time goes on.
What Happens if I Get Denied by Uber?
If you get denied by Uber, the most important factor is the reason that they denied you.
If a document was invalid, you can have that fixed.
And if your car is too old, you can consider buying a newer one.
But if you were denied for other more serious reasons, like having too many driving citations or a criminal conviction in your history, then getting around those is more difficult.
You either have to wait long enough for those problems to pass from your record or try applying to a different rideshare company like Lyft.
Frequently Asked Questions
With the details of the requirements and application process out of the way, let’s get into some of the most common questions people have when considering driving with Uber.
Can you become an Uber driver with a criminal record?
Besides a Motor Vehicle Report, the background check for Uber also checks you for a criminal record.
Most offenses will at least prevent you from driving for some time, and other offenses last your entire life.
Pretty much any serious criminal conviction—felonies, violent crimes, sexual offenses, etc—will disqualify you from becoming a driver no matter how long ago they happened.
Lesser offenses like speeding tickets can disqualify you for a while but will go away eventually, at which time you can reapply.
Will scratches on my car prevent me from using it to become an Uber driver?
Minor scratches on your car probably won’t prevent you from becoming an Uber driver, but it depends on the extent of the damage.
If the scratches are barely noticeable and not yet rusted, you will probably pass the inspection.
But Uber clearly states that vehicles cannot have missing pieces or cosmetic damage, so to be safe you should fix any visible damage.
Besides preventing you from driving, it might also cause riders to give you a lower rating.
Is it worth buying a car with the intention to become an Uber driver?
The answer to this question depends on a few details.
If you are only buying a car for Uber, then it is probably not the smartest decision.
Making $15 per hour probably won’t justify purchasing a new car that you don’t otherwise need.
But if you need a car anyways, then becoming an Uber driver can be a great strategy for offsetting some of your vehicle expenses, especially in the beginning.
You can continue working your normal job and drive for Uber whenever you have extra time.
It will help cover your new expenses such as insurance, finance payments, and car maintenance.
However, if you do need a car, check out our list of the best cars for Uber.
Driving for Uber can be a great way to make money on a flexible schedule.
As an independent contractor, you get to decide how many hours you work and when you work them.
The process of signing up is relatively simple, and hopefully, you now have a better idea about the requirements for signing up.
So if you want to add some rideshare income into your life, definitely consider signing up to become an Uber driver!