How Does Uber Work? The Complete Guide For Drivers

Have you ever wanted to start driving for Uber, but weren’t sure how the process worked? Even if you’ve ridden with Uber before, the experience from the driver’s end can seem a bit mysterious. How does Uber work for drivers? How do you become an Uber driver – or any kind of private driver –...

Have you ever wanted to start driving for Uber, but weren’t sure how the process worked? Even if you’ve ridden with Uber before, the experience from the driver’s end can seem a bit mysterious.

  • How does Uber work for drivers?
  • How do you become an Uber driver – or any kind of private driver – to begin with?
  • How do you get paid?
  • What requirements does your car have to meet?

In order to take the ambiguity out of driving for Uber, we’ve written the following overview for prospective Uber drivers. In addition to the overview of each part of the process, you’ll also find links to further, more detailed info on every aspect of driving for Uber.

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  1. Vehicle requirements
  2. Completing the driver application
  3. Passing the background check
  4. Passenger pickups
  5. Payment options and information
  6. Managing your ratings
  7. Getting help

Vehicle Type and Requirements

You can’t drive just any car for Uber. Before you even apply to drive, save yourself some time and ensure that your vehicle meets the minimum requirements for Uber service.

What are the requirements, exactly? This will depend on the type of rides you want to offer.

For now, let’s look at the requirements for the most basic type of ride: UberX. Any four-door car, mini-van or truck can qualify for UberX, provided that it:

  • Has four doors and can carry four passengers
  • Is less than 10 years old (though in some cities the requirement is different)
  • Has in-state car insurance, registration and plates
  • Passes a vehicle inspection (only required in some cities)

See our complete guide to Uber vehicle requirements to learn what sort of vehicle you’ll need for UberBLACK, UberSUV, UberTAXI, UberLUX, UberSELECT or UberPOOL.

Filling Out the Application

Once you’ve ensured that your vehicle meets the requirements, you can begin the application process.

First, note that you must be 21 years of age for your application to be considered. You’ll also need all of the following handy when filling out the application:

  1. Your driver’s license
  2. Your vehicle insurance identification card (proof of insurance card)
  3. Your vehicle registration

Once you have these, you just need to enter your email address on Uber’s website and begin filling out the application. During the application, you’ll be asked to do the following:

  • Provide your contact details
  • Certify that you have a qualified vehicle
  • Provide your Social Security number
  • Approve the terms required for the background check
  • Upload a photo of your driver’s license
  • Verify that you’ve had your driver’s license for a year
  • Provide proof of auto insurance
  • Provide proof of vehicle registration
  • Download the Uber Partner (Driver) App

Once you’ve done the above, you should hear whether your application has been approved within 48 hours.

If you can get one, we recommend signing up using a Uber offer code. Signing up with this code will make you eligible to receive cash bonuses provided you complete a minimum of 30 rides within your first 90 days as a driver.

For a more detailed look at the application process (including common mistakes to avoid), check out our Uber application guide.

Pass the Background Check

As part of the application process, Uber will run a background check. Passing the background check won’t be a problem provided that you have:

  • At least one year of U.S. licensing history (if under 23 years old, must have at least three years licensing history).
  • A valid driver’s license and Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)
  • No major moving violations, such as DUIs or reckless driving, within the last seven years.
  • No more than three minor moving violations in the past three years, such as speeding tickets or failure to obey traffic laws.
  • No criminal history of conviction for a felony, violent crime or sexual offense within the last seven years.

This background check is free; Uber conducts it using your Social Security number in a manner that complies with all state and federal laws.

How to Pick Up Uber Fares

Provided you’ve met all the above criteria, you’re now allowed to pick up your first Uber ride. Congrats! This is an exciting step for any new rideshare driver.

Open up the app, tap “Go Online,” and you’ll be able to receive trip requests. Simply tap anywhere on the screen to accept the request.

Once you’ve accepted the request, you’ll need to navigate to the rider’s position and pick them up. Navigation is built right into the smartphone app; simply tap the arrow in the top right corner of the screen to get directions to your rider’s pickup location.

For more info on how to use the Uber driver app and what to expect during your first rip, check out our tutorial in the video below.

How to Get Paid

Ultimately, you’re not doing rideshare for charity; you want to get paid and are justifiably curious about how that works, especially if this is your first job as an independent contractor. Luckily, the process is straightforward.

All you need to do to get paid as an Uber driver-partner is add your bank and tax information from within the “Banking” tab at Once you’ve added all the relevant information, you’ll be able to receive direct deposits of your earnings, which are issued to drivers via direct deposit every week.

For an even quicker payment method, you can use Uber Instant Pay. You’ll need to add a debit card of your choice in order to receive payments. Once you’ve added the card, you can receive payment of your earnings instantly, up to five times per day, though there is a $0.50 fee for each withdrawal.

Learn more about how Uber pays drivers.

Managing Your Ratings

In order for rideshare services like Uber to work, there must be trust and accountability. For drivers and riders, this comes in the form of ratings. Of every tool at a driver’s disposal, this is one of the most important for keeping rider quality high and drivers happy.

Once you’ve finished giving a ride, your Uber rider will have the option to leave you between a one and five-star rating. In return, you’ll also get to rate the passenger based on how you felt about the experience.

Here’s how the rating system works:

Pro Tip: If you rate a passenger lower than a “3”, you’ll never get matched with that rider again.

While you don’t have any direct control over the rating a passenger leaves, you should be careful to do everything in your power to keep your ratings as high as possible. If your ratings dip too low, you risk deactivation of your Uber driver account, or simply less trust from potential passengers.

Luckily, keeping your rating high is simply a matter of the following things:

  • Be polite and respectful
  • Drive safely
  • Be attentive to your passenger’s needs
  • Go above and beyond (offer phone chargers, gum or bottled water to passengers)

As long as you keep the above in mind, you’ll be able to keep your rating exactly where you want it.

How to Get Help

It can be scary to pick up strangers in your car, especially the first couple times. Therefore, it’s comforting to know that Uber has help available for any issues you might encounter.

They offer drivers 24-hour support via the:

  • Uber app – You can send a written message about any issues, questions or concerns related to driving for Uber.
  • Uber phone number – For more urgent matters, Uber has a phone number you can call. Note that you may not always be able to reach someone right away. We also suggest reserving this method for issues that are truly urgent. If it can wait even a bit, then written requests are the best way to go. And, of course, in a true emergency you should always call 911.

Get Started Driving

We hope the above has given you an overview of the basics of driving for Uber. There’s certainly a lot to learn, but once you master the content above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming active.

For a more in-depth look at the process of becoming an Uber driver, we suggest taking our free Rideshare 101: Introduction to rideshare training course.

And, if you’re ready to get started driving, you can sign up as an Uber driver here.

Happy driving!

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