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Drive for Uber: Get Up to $800 Extra Cash for Signing Up

If you're looking to make money on your own time, then you should consider becoming an Uber driver. This simple step-by-step guide will show you how to sign up to drive for Uber — and get a huge bonus while you’re at it.

You don’t have to start a business from scratch to be your own boss. When you sign up to drive for Uber, you can start earning on your own schedule — all from the comfort of your car.

As the world’s largest rideshare company, Uber has the potential to connect you to thousands of passengers who want to pay drivers like you for a comfortable, convenient ride. The brand changed the transportation industry, and it remains the go-to app for plenty of consumers around the world. By branding yourself as an Uber driver, you can automatically gain the same trust and get matched with instant business.

Disclosure: Ridester.com is supported by our users. We may recieve compensation from the companies whose products we write about, test, or review. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

The best part is, you can complete your application in just a few simple steps — and receive instant access to a bonus earning opportunity (worth up to $800) when you use our sign-up link and get approved. Keep reading to learn more about the process.


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Should I Sign Up as an Uber Driver?

If you’re interested in driving for Uber, you have to check off a set of driver requirements before you can get started.

To be an Uber driver, you must meet these requirements:

  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Have at least one year of driving experience (or three if you’re under 23)
  • Can pass a driving record check and background check with no major offenses
  • Have a smartphone that’s compatible with the Uber Driver app (iOS 11.0, Android 5.0, or later)

These are fairly basic requirements, and most people interested in driving for Uber will be able to meet them. There is no way around any of these, so don’t think you can fake them on the application. You’ll have to upload documents confirming your age and amount of driving experience, and the background check will be conducted by a third-party agency in cooperation with state law enforcement agencies.

Vehicle requirements are just as forgiving.

Uber has certain vehicle requirements that all drivers are required to meet. The specific requirements can vary based on your city and state, but you must meet the local requirements in order to drive for Uber.

Most four-door cars will be eligible for at least UberX, UberPool, and even Uber Eats as long as they’re registered, insured, in good condition, and no more than 15 years old. There are even alternative options that you can explore if you don’t own an eligible car.

For other services such as UberBLACK or UberSUV, the requirements can be a lot more specific and strict. These services allow only high-end vehicles with black leather interiors, and in many cities, they also require you to have commercial insurance. This extra work can be worth it for the high fares you can earn driving for these services, but you should be sure that your car meets the requirements before you sign up.

In some markets, your car will also have to pass a vehicle inspection before you can start picking up Uber passengers. This inspection checks that your car is in proper working order and is safe to transport passengers. You can learn more about this inspection here.

Lastly, you’ll need a smartphone to run the Uber driver app.

Uber drivers use a different app than the Uber app that passengers use. This driver app is what you use to pick up and drop off passengers, so it’s imperative that it functions correctly on your phone. If it doesn’t, then you could end up with missed ride requests and low ratings.

The Uber driver app is available for both iPhone and Android. You can install it on an iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6+ running iOS 7 or later. For Android, the app will run on any device that is 2013 or newer and runs version 4.0 or higher.

As you can see, Uber requirements are simple and shouldn’t deter you from signing up. Even if you’re unsure if you meet certain requirements, there’s never any harm in completing the free sign-up process and giving it a shot. As long as you’re not obviously unqualified — for example, if you’ve only had a driver’s license for a few months — you can be one application away from taking full control of your own career.


Uber Driver Sign-Up Process

Before you can drive for Uber, you’ll need to complete a simple Uber application that shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Follow this step-by-step guide to make the process even easier:

1. Start the application process by heading to uber.com/drive, or by tapping on our sign-up link to automatically apply a new driver bonus offer worth up to $800 (more on this in the next section).

Sign-up page to drive for Uber

2. Enter your first name, last name, email, phone number, preferred password, and the city you’ll be driving in. If you used the uber.com/drive link, you can still enter our promo code “prgey” in the “Invite code” box to receive your new driver bonus. Once complete, tap “Next” or “Sign up to drive.”

3. Select the Uber service you qualify for and want to drive, then tap “Continue.”

Rideshare options to drive for Uber

4. Select whether you have or need a qualified vehicle, then tap “Continue.”

Vehicle options for Uber

5. Tap “Background Check,” then tap “Agree” to authorize the background check. You can also check the box next to “Receive a free copy of my background check report” to see your results when they’re available.

Background check for rideshare

6. Enter your Social Security number in the space provided. Read through the disclosure and check the box next to “I agree and acknowledge.” Tap “Submit” and continue to the next step.

Enter Social Security number for background check

7. You should arrive at the “Driver’s License” section of your application, where you’ll need to upload a clear image of your valid United States driver’s license. You can select “Take Photo With My Phone” to get photo upload instructions sent to your phone number, or select “Upload Photo” to upload a file from your computer. Once complete, tap “Go to Next Step.”

Upload photo of driver's license to drive for Uber

8. Here, you’ll need to upload your proof of vehicle insurance. This document must include your name, vehicle identification number (VIN), insurance company, and the expiration date of your plan. Again, select “Take Photo With My Phone” or “Upload Photo” and tap “Go to Next Step” once the upload is complete.

Take a photo of vehicle insurance

9. Next, you’ll be asked to upload your vehicle registration. This picture must include your car’s make, model, year, VIN, and license plate number, as well as the expiration date of the registration. Tap “Take Photo With My Phone” or “Upload Photo,” then continue to the next step once complete.

Car registration photo to drive for Uber

10. Select whether or not you’ve completed an Uber vehicle inspection. If so, you’ll just need to upload the completed inspection form, signed by your inspector. No worries if you haven’t gotten a 19-point inspection before. You can always head to your nearest Greenlight Hub, as suggested on your web page after you tap “No,” for a free inspection. Then, return to your application by logging onto bonjour.uber.com/hub when you have a form to upload.

Vehicle inspection check for rideshare application

11. Once your form is uploaded, you can move on to the final step, which is simply uploading a profile photo. Make sure your headshot is well-lit, with no hat or sunglasses. Select “Take Photo With My Phone” or choose “Upload Photo.”

Take a profile photo to drive for Uber

Once this process is complete, you’re just a week (or less) away from earning money with Uber. Your only job is to wait for an Uber team member to approve your documents and for your background check to come back clean. While you’re waiting, you can download the Uber Driver app for iPhone or Android. This is the platform you’ll be using to receive ride requests once you’re activated.


New Driver Promotions: Earn Up to $800 Guaranteed

As we mentioned in the sign-up tutorial, you can use our promo link (partners.uber.com/i/prgey) or our promo code (“prgey“) to receive a new driver bonus worth up to $800.

So how does this promotion work exactly? Every city has a set earnings guarantee available for local drivers who sign up and complete a set amount of trips within their first 90 days. Because the value of the promotion is based on your location, there’s no need to search the web for better options. Our convenient promo link or code above will give you access to the same bonus offer as any code you’ll find on coupon sites or Uber.com.

Here are some of the offers for drivers in a handful of U.S cities, as of March 2020:

  • Albuquerque: Earn $560 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Atlanta, Boston, Nashville: Earn $600 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Boise: Earn $640 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle: Earn $700 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Columbus and Memphis: Earn $630 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Houston: Earn $670 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Lincoln: Earn $610 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Miami and Oklahoma City: Earn $590 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Orlando: Earn $620 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Portland: Earn $800 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • San Antonio: Earn $650 guaranteed after 100 trips.
  • Salt Lake City: Earn $680 guaranteed after 100 trips.

The value of new driver promotions can change at any time, so make sure to apply today to take advantage of the extra earnings available to you. As a reminder, starting the sign-up process at our sign-up link will automatically apply your local promotion. If you choose to apply through uber.com/drive, you’ll need to manually enter “prgey” in the “Invite code” box before tapping “Sign up to drive” for the promotion to apply.


8 Things You Should Know Before You Drive with Uber

8 Things You Should Know Before You Drive with Uber

From the outside, driving for a rideshare company can seem like the best job in the world. You don’t have a boss, you get to meet a variety of people, and the road is your office, all while having a flexible way to earn extra cash. Who wouldn’t want to drive with Uber?

While these are all excellent perks, the allure of signing up to drive with Uber or Lyft can be so strong that it’s easy to get into the job without knowing all the details. If you aren’t aware of certain details that the job requires, you can be in for a rude surprise when it comes to things like filing your taxes or dealing with your insurance company in the aftermath of an accident.

To make sure that you go into the job with both eyes open, here are eight things you should know before you sign up to be an Uber driver.

1. You Are Not an Employee When You Drive with Uber

Although Uber handles all payment and logistics, Uber drivers are not (legally speaking) employees. When you drive with Uber, you are an independent contractor, or “driver partner,” as Uber puts it.

While this has benefits such as a flexible schedule and a lack of boss or hierarchy, working as an independent contractor has some financial ramifications that you need to be aware of.

First, as an independent contractor you are responsible for withholding and reporting all your own taxes. If you’ve never worked for yourself, this can be an adjustment, as you’re likely used to having an employer that handles tax withholding and reporting for you. Luckily, the process is not difficult, especially if you’re using automated tax filing software such as TurboTax. To learn everything you need to know about taxes as an Uber driver, check out our guide to self-employment taxes.

Second, working as an independent contractor means that you’ll need to make your own retirement contributions. You won’t have a company 401(k) or other company-sponsored retirement plan. Of course, by the time you’re ready to retire it’s likely that cars will all be self-driving, but that’s all the more reason to save up your extra money while you can.

Of course, if you’re just driving for Uber to earn make money on the side, then you may not have to worry about additional retirement contributions, as you already have an employer that has a program. But in all cases you’re still responsible for reporting (and paying taxes on) any extra income you earn.

2. Make Sure You Have Adequate Insurance Coverage

While your regular auto insurance is sufficient to meet the requirements to drive with Uber, we strongly recommend that you look into additional insurance coverage specifically for rideshare drivers. This will protect you from what’s known as the “gap”: the period of time when you have the Uber driver app on but aren’t accepting rides. In this situation, your regular insurance will not cover accidents or liability incidents, and Uber’s coverage will be minimal.

To learn more, check out our rideshare insurance guide.

3. Surge Pricing Is an Opportunity

There are a variety of ways to maximize your earnings when you drive with Uber, but one of the surest is to drive in areas that are experiencing a surge. Surges occur when the number of ride requests outnumber the available Uber drivers.

To help boost the number of rides available, Uber applies a multiplier to the final price that riders pay. This means that, during certain prime times like holidays, after events or even just rush hour, you have the opportunity to massively boost your driver earnings just by hanging out in an area that’s likely to receive a large number of trip requests. You’ll be able to see notifications of surges within the Uber Driver app. To learn more, check out our explanation of surge pricing.

4. You Need to Pass a Background Check

Before you can get approved to drive with Uber, you’ll need to pass a background check. During this process, Uber will look to see if you have a criminal record containing offenses that would disqualify you from driving for Uber. They’ll also examine your driving record for things that might disqualify you, such as major moving violations (or an excessive number of minor moving violations).

To learn more about the Uber background check requirements, check out our Uber background check guide.

5. You Can Diversify Your Uber Income

Things You Should Know Before You Drive with Uber

Driving for UberX is a nice way to get your feet wet and learn how the Uber platform works, but after you’ve been at it for a while, it’s worth looking into other opportunities that Uber provides to earn more money. Here are three of our favorite options:

Uber Eats

Uber Eats is, quite literally, the “Uber of food delivery services.” It uses the same technology that powers the Uber rider app to allow people to order food at the touch of a button. As an existing Uber driver, it’s easy to get started delivering for Uber Eats. All you have to do is open the Uber partner app (that you already have) and enable delivery requests. To learn more about driving for Uber Eats, check out our guide.

UberBLACK

If you’ve ever taken an Uber ride as a passenger, you may have noticed the option for UberBLACK below UberX in the Uber app. UberBLACK is the higher-end counterpart to UberX. As the name implies, all the cars are black, and the service caters to a more affluent crowd that insists on traveling in style. Consequently, the fares can be much higher (though also scarcer). To learn more about how to succeed as an UberBLACK driver, check out our Ultimate Guide to Driving for UberBLACK.

UberSUV

UberSUV is to UberXL as UberBLACK is to UberX. When a larger group of passengers wants to ride in luxury and style, UberSUV is what they choose. The requirements for UberSUV are fairly specific, with only certain black luxury SUVs that have leather seats qualifying (in addition to further requirements regarding cleanliness and condition). But just like UberBLACK, UberSUV fares are significantly higher, making it a worthwhile consideration if you have the right vehicle.

To learn more, check out our Complete Guide to UberSUV.

6. Ensure Your Vehicle Is in Top Condition

When you’re driving other people around for a living, you cannot afford (literally and figuratively) for your vehicle to break down. Therefore, in addition to meeting Uber’s vehicle requirements when you start driving, you should ensure that your vehicle remains in impeccable condition throughout your time as an Uber driver.

This means taking your car in for all regular vehicle maintenance, as well as addressing any suspicious sounds or smells before they become a serious issue. And it also means keeping your vehicle clean and smelling fresh. Passengers notice this little details, and they can affect your driver rating (not to mention tips!).

7. Uber Is a Cashless Experience

Eight Things You Should Know Before You Drive with Uber

If you’re very new to the world of Uber, then it’s understandable to think that passengers can pay their ride fares in cash. After all, that’s the way it’s worked for taxis since they were invented.

One of the major selling points of rideshare apps like Uber, however, is that all payment occurs through the app using the credit card that the customer has on file. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect (or accept) any payment of fares in cash. You are welcome to accept cash tips, though passengers are under no obligation to tip in cash.

8. You Need a Smartphone with Cellular Data

In order to run and use the Uber driver app, you need an iPhone or Android smartphone with a cellular data connection. These are the technologies that make the Uber service possible to begin with, so make sure you have them before applying to drive with Uber. It’s also important that you have a phone running the latest operating system available, as out of date operating systems can interfere with the performance of the Uber app.


Frequently Asked Questions

Hands on the steering wheel

When you sign up to drive for Uber, you gain access to a flexible earning opportunity that allows you to make money on the road — and earn hundreds of extra dollars within your first 90 days. To learn more about the gig, read these answers to frequently asked questions that may be on your mind:

1. Why do Uber driver bonuses vary by city?

Your local driver bonuses are based on the current demand for drivers in your city. If demand is significantly higher than supply in a given area, or if Uber is recruiting drivers for a brand new market, local drivers will typically get offered better incentives for joining the platform. If demand is lower than supply, driver bonuses may not be available at all. California and New York City drivers may also be ineligible for bonuses due to recent regulation changes.

2. Does Lyft offer bonuses for new drivers?

Absolutely. Much like Uber, Lyft provides incentives for new drivers who complete a set amount of rides in a specific time frame — usually 125 rides in 30 days. Learn more about Lyft driver referral codes and how you can earn up to $1,000 guaranteed.

3. Do I need to continue to drive for Uber after receiving my new driver bonus?

You’re not obligated to continue driving for Uber after you receive your new driver bonus, so if you decide it’s not for you, there’s no worries. Think of your bonus as a big perk that makes the gig completely worth trying out.

Just in case you change your mind about moving on from Uber, we recommend that you don’t completely delete your account. You are still approved to jump online whenever you have spare time for a full year after your sign-up date, up until your next vehicle inspection is due.

4. What is the status of my Uber background check?

Before Uber can let you drive for their platform, they need to check your criminal history and driving history. Because this process involves working with local and state government and law enforcement agencies, it can often take longer than you’d like.

Don’t be concerned if your background check is taking a while to process. It doesn’t mean there’s some horrible crime in your past that you aren’t aware of committing. In all likelihood, it’s just the slow mechanisms of the government that are causing delays.

5. Does my city have specific requirements to drive for Uber?

It’s amazing that applying to drive for Uber is such a simple process when you consider how many layers of bureaucracy the company has to navigate in order to process applications. When you’re applying, you should know that state and local laws can affect the speed of your application and the application requirements.

In New York City, for instance, all rideshare drivers are licensed through the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). This can cause delays in your application, as this agency has to process it separately before Uber can get back to you. Other cities can have their own quirks, so be sure to read the information on your city carefully before you apply (or when you’re waiting around wondering what’s causing the delay with your application).

Maximize Your Earnings

Making thousands of dollars in your first two months as a rideshare driver is definitely a possibility. Uber places no limits on the amount of money you can earn, and even offers huge bonuses for anyone who signs up to drive for Uber for the first time. This means you can quickly earn what you need to pay off your car loan, cover the cost of gas, or even make a full-time living.

Read our guide for more tips to maximize your Uber earnings and reduce your ridesharing expenses, even after you’ve already earned your initial bonus.


Brett Helling

Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.

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