How to Become an Uber Driver in 2019

Working a nine-to-five job gets really old, really fast.

Those of us looking for a way to escape the mindless rat race have found sanctuary in the rideshare business.

Being able to set your own hours, earn money in your spare time, and accept as many rideshare requests as you wish is liberating. Other perks, such as taking a break whenever and earning as much as you need, are simply icing on the cake.

Thankfully, the rideshare industry is booming.

As more passengers use Uber, there are more opportunities for drivers to make some extra cash.

With all of these great benefits in store, the next big question is how you can take advantage of this opportunity and get started?

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Summary
  • Sign up bonuses have previously been worth up to $750
  • Get sign up bonuses on top of your normal Uber wages
  • Bonus varies by city, and are subject to Uber’s official referral terms.

This guide is meant to provide you with all the information you need to become an Uber driver, including driver requirements and basic questions you need to ask yourself before you get started.

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Without further ado, let’s dive right in.


Should You Drive for Uber?

For many of us, getting paid to cruise around town sounds like a dream come true.

You get to play your own tunes, meet new people, and take time off when you want or need to.

Plus, the profession allows you to avoid the paperwork, annoying co-workers, and micromanagement that come with most office jobs. Add in the fact that the job, for the most part, is not physically straining, and you may be wondering what’s left to consider.

As great as driving for a rideshare business is, there are downsides to the profession.

For example, the freedom of being able to do as you please may lead you to fall into bad work routines. Without someone reminding you to “get back to work,” you may find it easier to stay in bed during surge times or skip out on high-profit time periods despite needing more money to pay the bills.

Another issue to consider is customer service. If you lack the patience to deal with drunk or unruly passengers, this may not be the profession for you.

Furthermore, if you are an introvert, or have trouble with social interactions, having strangers in your vehicle all the time may wreak havoc on your nerves. Bear in mind, in order to make a ton of cash in this industry, you need to overcome these issues.

The final downside is the pay. There are drivers out there who make a ton of money. But for every success story, there are handfuls of drivers who failed to make minimum wage.

Which brings us to the major question…


How Much Do Uber Drivers Make?

This is the first and last question that most prospective Uber drivers ask. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to answer because drivers are essentially responsible for how much they can earn. There is no hourly wage with Uber.

Drivers are paid a portion of a rider’s fares, which is a combination of factors that determine price. Uber’s payment system is broken down into four categories:

  1. Base Fare
  2. Mileage
  3. Time
  4. Booking Fee

Although these rates vary by city, the principle behind them does not.

The base fare and booking fee are fixed amounts applied to every ride. Consider them the base estimate for how much the ride is worth.

Next up, the mileage and time are taken into account. A per minute and per mile fee are added to the total rideshare expense. Meaning that if traffic is bad, the time multiplier is working in your favor as a driver.

The total number of miles, minutes, and initial fees increases when surge pricing is active, too. Depending on the demand, a decent multiplier will be applied to the entire amount, potentially making a $15 charge go up quite a bit.

Related: How many Uber drivers are there?

Curious to see what sort of earnings to expect? Come explore our 2019 guide to how much Uber drivers make. Or, watch the video below to hear what top-rated driver Sam Choi has to say.


Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting to Drive

Asking the right questions can help you quickly assess whether or not the rideshare business is right for you. Think through the following questions before you jump in.

  • Am I comfortable with driving for 6+ hours per day?
    • Not everyone is comfortable with sitting long periods of time and staying alert throughout the process.
  • Am I ready to be self-employed?
    • As an Uber driver, you are technically an independent contractor, which means you are running your own business. Being your own boss has risks. There are no paid vacations or days off. Plus, you are responsible for saving a portion of your profit for taxes.
  • Do I have the discipline to work on my own schedule?
    • Maintaining a steady income will be very challenging if you have trouble motivating yourself to do other daily tasks. Be prepared for hard truths.
  • Am I an extrovert or an introvert?
    • Top rideshare drivers that earn the most money are comfortable conversing with dozens of people each day. If this does not sound like you, consider driving for Postmates or Amazon Flex instead.

Still interested in driving for Uber? Great!

Aside from the potential roadblocks we mentioned, working as an Uber driver is an incredible opportunity. Let’s dive a bit deeper into how you can start working in the rideshare business.


Uber Vehicle Requirements

Making it this far means that you have the characteristics needed to be a great Uber driver.

Now, the next issue we need to address is your wheels. Uber has restrictions and requirements on the vehicles that may be used to answer rideshare requests depending on which service(s) you are interested in driving for.

These services are divided up into their own respective categories based on passenger capacity, style, and age. Each section offers a significant difference in pay and passenger expectations too. Here’s a brief overview.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQrQXFeUYws

Now let’s take a look at each in more detail.

UberX Vehicle Requirements

UberX is the lowest vehicle level. This means it is the cheapest for passengers and the easiest to qualify for. Your vehicle may qualify for UberX status if it is less than 10 years old and in good condition. The actual model year requirements vary from city to city, so be sure to check with Uber before you sign up.

If your set of wheels has four doors and five seatbelts (including the driver), the next thing to check is cosmetic issues. Vehicles that lack blemishes and meet the other qualifications may be used to answer UberX rideshare requests.

UberPOOL Vehicle Requirements

Similar to UberX requirements, UberPOOL is a bit less restrictive in regards to how rideshare requests are handled.

Passengers can opt to use UberPOOL when they do not mind sharing their ride with additional passengers they do not know. UberPOOL is a great way to rack up the number of passengers (and profits) you have in a short amount of time.

UberXL Vehicle Requirements

Drivers with a vehicle capable of seating more than five passengers should check out UberXL. This rideshare request option is for those in need of transporting 7 or more people in one go (including the driver).

Naturally, with more passengers on board, drivers can earn a bit more per rideshare request. Common vehicles used for UberXL are minivans and SUVs that are less than 15 years old.

UberSUV Vehicle Requirements

Like UberXL, vehicles can only qualify for UberSUV if they seat 7 or more people (including the driver). However, there is an age restriction on vehicles driving as UberSUVs.

UberSUV vehicles must be 5 years old or younger. For your vehicle to qualify it also has to be in excellent condition and considered high-end or luxury.

UberSELECT Vehicle Requirements

Only luxury sedans are accepted to drive for UberSELECT.

These four-door vehicles must have either leather or vinyl seats too. And the age restriction? Only 2009 or newer may be used.

UberBLACK Vehicle Requirements

This is one of the most restricted vehicle categories. To qualify, your vehicle needs to be black, inside and out.

UberBLACK vehicles are commonly reserved for black tie affairs, too. To accommodate this demand, only luxury vehicles made after 2014 that have a black leather interior and black exterior are allowed.

UberLUX Vehicle Requirements

Last but not least is the UberLUX. This category is the highest rank currently offered by Uber.

To qualify, vehicles must be full-size, luxury, and made after 2012. In general, if you hope to accept UberLUX rideshare requests, your vehicle must be considered one of the finest sets of wheels available on the market.

Ensure that your current vehicle is sufficient enough to drive for your desired Uber service. If it is not, options are available to you. Learn about the various vehicle financing options that will allow you to start accepting your desired rideshare requests.


Uber Driver Requirements

So, you have the personality and possibly the set of wheels needed to succeed in this industry. Half of the getting-started process is complete.

The next set of details we need to go over is driver requirements. These are a fairly basic set of criteria to keep riders and other drivers safe.

Any individual hoping to become a professional driver will need to meet all of the following minimum requirements:

  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Have 1 year of driving experience (if 23 or older); have 3 years of driving experience (if under 23)
  • Meet the minimum driving age in your city
  • Have car insurance
  • Have a clean vehicle title and vehicle registration

A copy of the documents listed above will need to be given to Uber. In addition to this, drivers are also required to pass Uber’s official background check.

During this inspection, Uber is looking for details about your driving and criminal history, if you have one. Unless further examination is authorized, the background check usually only goes as far back as seven years.

Applicants with a criminal record such as a felony, violent crimes, or sexual offenses will be disqualified.

As for the driving records, Uber also takes age into consideration. If you are 23 or younger, you must have at least three years’ worth of licensing record.

If you are older than this, only one year is required. Applicants will automatically be disqualified otherwise.

Other auto disqualifications include major moving violations, such as DUIs or reckless driving. Minor moving violations count against potential rideshare drivers too. Three or more in the past three years, such as speeding, will prevent Uber from hiring you. In short, if you don’t have a clean driving record, you may need to wait to apply.

To learn more about what can disqualify a driver, check out our detailed guide to Uber driver requirements.


How to Fill Out an Uber Driver Application

Finally, we have made it to the application process! Signing up to drive for Uber is easy, and only takes a few steps.

At this point, you will need your license, registration, and insurance documentation. This is also where new drivers wanting to maximize their sign-up bonus can do so with one of our Uber driver invite codes.

Navigate to the Uber Sign-Up Page

Head over to Uber’s website using this link, then enter the required information into the boxes on the screen.

If you clicked our link above, you’ll automatically get enrolled for the new driver sign-up bonus, and you’ll see your guaranteed earnings amount on the landing page.

If you DON’T click the link above but instead visit Uber’s driver sign-up page directly, you’ll need to manually enter an invite code in order to receive the new driver bonus.

You can enter the code “PRGEY” into the box labeled “Invite Code.” It says “optional,” but if you don’t enter the code during this step, you won’t be eligible for a sign-up bonus.

Ensure Your Car Meets the Minimum Requirements

Here is the moment of truth for your vehicle. As we talked about above, in order to get on the road, your car must meet the requirements for your city.

If yours meets the requirements, proceed with the registration process. If it doesn’t meet them, you’ll need to explore other options like buying or leasing another vehicle.

Enter Your Social Security Number

The next step that you must take is to enter your Social Security number. The number remains private, is never shared, and will remain safe and secure.

The reason Uber needs your Social Security number is so they can look into your criminal and driving record as part of their due diligence process. This is an important step in maintaining the safety of riders.

Consent to a Background Check

After entering your Social Security number, you’ll need to consent to a mandatory background check. We recommend reading the fine print to fully understand everything that goes into this step.

Click “I AGREE & ACKNOWLEDGE” to proceed to the next step.

From there you can take a picture of your license, vehicle insurance, and registration and upload each of these required documents. Next, download the Uber app and…wait. The company will reach out and let you know what you need from that point forward.

A few things to keep in mind after applying…

  • The approval process may take some time. Be patient, and if there is anything support reps need, work quickly to get it for them.
  • If you are not approved, find out the reason. If it’s something you can change and control, fix it. If you another issue like a criminal record that you can’t fix, then rideshare probably is not for you.
  • While you wait, get familiar with the driver app and watch the tutorial videos supplied. This is also a great time to go through our free training courses. The more information you have before you make your first pickup, the better.

Get Your Vehicle Inspected

Once your application is approved and you are set to become an Uber driver, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle checks out and is roadworthy.

Uber requires a full vehicle inspection at least once a year. During this time, a mechanic will confirm whether or not your vehicle is in need of maintenance or repair.

There are 19 things your mechanic will examine, most of which have to do with safety. Address any issues ahead of time so you can pass your inspection on the first try.

Drivers who have this annual procedure completed at a designated Uber shop can have it done for free. Otherwise, it is $19.99 plus any services that need to be completed.

To reduce the amount of money and time it takes to complete the annual vehicle inspection, book a time with a designated mechanic before showing up.

Related: How to find an Uber inspection location near you


Maximize Your Earnings

One of the best ways to make sure you max out your paycheck is by maximizing your tips.

To promote the likelihood of passengers giving you extra cash, Uber partners should focus on enhancing the rideshare experience in every way possible. Don’t worry, there are other ways to earn additional funds.

Pay attention to how you run your rideshare business. Here are 17 ways to maximize your earnings as an Uber driver. Or, if you don’t mind getting creative with your car, there are multiple companies who will pay on top of what you’re already making giving rides.

Following this useful information will also help you to improve your driver rating, which can unlock high-end rideshare requests.

Additionally, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Enroll in our training courses to maximize your earnings. They are completely free, and by far the easiest way to learn the rideshare game. You can view all our available courses here, or register as a new user to track your progress as you go.

Another great way to increase income, if you have a vehicle that fits the strict requirements, is to upgrade service levels. For example, you could upgrade your Prius for a Mercedes, then drive Black and earn more money. Or, you could buy a Tesla, drive for a nicer tier, AND save money on gas. Now that’s a win-win right there.

Finally, you can boost your earnings even further by also signing up to drive for Uber Eats. The Uber driver app lets you pick up passengers and food orders during the same shift, so it makes sense to get some food orders in to fill the times when you aren’t transporting passengers.


Follow Proper Vehicle Maintenance

There’s nothing worse than needing to do large-scale vehicle repairs due to neglect.

Add the stress of temporarily losing your source of income and you’re in for a rough few weeks.

Most of us are familiar with checking the gas tank each week. However, do you regularly check your engine coolant and oil levels? Proper vehicle maintenance is essential for maintaining your income as an Uber driver.

Since you will be using your vehicle more than normal, oil changes may be needed more frequently now. You should also check your tires for tread wear and leaks too, considering the amount of turf covered. These items should be maintained at least monthly, whereas windshield wipers and other parts should be replaced annually.

Keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance will keep you on the road and making money, rather than spending it in the mechanic’s shop. So, be sure to stay up-to-date with it.


In Summary: How Do I Become an Uber Driver?

  1. Identify if driving for Uber is right for you
  2. Ensure that you meet Uber’s vehicle requirements
  3. Ensure that you meet Uber’s driver requirements
  4. File an Uber application
  5. Get your vehicle inspected
  6. Learn how to maximize your earnings
  7. Follow proper vehicle maintenance

With all of this in mind, you’re ready to start your rideshare career!

But this is just the beginning. Come explore our rideshare training courses to learn all of the secrets you need to know to drive as efficiently as possible. Also, be sure to check out our companion guide to becoming a Lyft driver.

 

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