5 Tips for New UberX Drivers

You have some free time, and you’d like to use it to make some extra money. After seeing an ad online promising impressive earnings, you sign up to be an Uber driver. You like the flexibility that driving for the on-demand ride service gives you, and you look forward to meeting interesting people as you see unfamiliar parts of your city. Since you’re still new, however, you’re feeling a bit lost and could use some guidance.

If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to give some of our top tips on driving for UberX. We’ll cover how to choose the right vehicle and how to boost your tips. Plus, we’ll discuss some ways to maximize your UberX income.

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What Is UberX?

If you’ve given any Uber rides, then you’re already driving for UberX. There are other Uber services (which we’ll discuss below), but UberX is both the default and the most common service option. It’s the low-cost option for passengers who still want a private ride.

The only cheaper service is UberPOOL, which matches passengers headed in the same direction and gives them a discount for sharing a ride. As an UberX driver, you’ll also get UberPOOL rides, but we won’t discuss them much here as they work basically the same way (just with a few extra stops).

Since UberX is so common, we want to give you some tips for how to best drive for this service. So without further ado, here are our top five tips for succeeding as a new UberX driver.

1. Choose Your Vehicle Carefully

When you’re giving UberX rides, you need to make sure you’re using the right vehicle. Luckily, UberX has the least strict vehicle requirements of all the Uber services. In general, as long as your car is less than 15 years old, has four doors, and can seat four passengers, you’ll be able to use it for UberX.

Many states and cities will require you to have a vehicle inspection done just to make sure your car is suitable, but passing this shouldn’t be an issue as long as your car receives regular maintenance.

Of course, we think you can do better than just having a car that meets the minimum requirements. If you’re in the market for a new car, it’s worth picking one that will help you maximize your UberX driving experience. If you can get a fuel-efficient car that’s easy to maintain, you’ll end up saving a lot in the long run, especially with how many extra miles you’ll be putting on your vehicle.

If you want a detailed guide to choosing the right car for Uber, check out this resource we created. If you’re short on time, however, you can’t go wrong with any of these cars:

  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Camry

As long as they’re sufficiently new and don’t have any unusual modifications, all of the above will qualify as UberX cars. They all get excellent gas mileage (especially the Prius), are easy to service, and are reliable cars.

Mind you, we’re not saying you should go out and buy a new car just to drive for UberX. If you have a qualifying vehicle that’s still got plenty of use left in it, just use that to get started and learn the ropes of UberX. You can always upgrade to one of the vehicles above when you’re ready to trade in your current car.

2. Supplement Your Driving Income With Uber Eats Deliveries

When you’re looking to earn more than what UberX pays, an easy way to boost your income is to accept Uber Eats deliveries as well. You can easily opt in within the Uber app, and the odds are good that the app has already prompted you to do so.

If you’re not familiar with Uber Eats, it’s Uber’s food delivery service. Uber realized that they already had a large network of drivers, so it made sense to offer food deliveries in addition to transporting passengers.

Delivering food may sound intimidating, but the Uber driver app makes it very easy. You don’t have to worry about your food deliveries overlapping with passenger trips — Uber makes sure to keep these tasks separate. All you have to do is follow the app’s instructions and watch your earnings increase.

3. Work to Maximize Your Tips

UberX: Tip jar in a cafe labelled "Good karma tips"

When Uber users choose UberX, they’re looking for an affordable option. In order to keep UberX affordable, Uber sets its base fare lower than other Uber services. When you factor in Uber’s commission and your operating costs, your overall UberX earnings can suffer.

The key, however, is to work on boosting your tips. While what you can earn for a given Uber trip is pre-determined by the Uber app, there’s no limit to how many tips you can earn. Plus, you get to keep 100 percent of your tips, which helps offset the commission that Uber takes from your fare.

So how can you go about boosting your tips? Most of it comes down to providing excellent customer service. For instance, you can ask your passenger if there’s anything you can do to make their ride more comfortable (adjusting the A/C, changing the music, etc.). You can also keep gum, candy, or bottled water in your car and offer it to passengers for free.

These little gestures go a long way towards getting not only good reviews, but also higher tips. For even more advice on how to increase your Uber earnings, have a look at our guide to making more money as an Uber driver.

4. Drive for Uber and Lyft at the Same Time

This tip is a bit more advanced, but it’s a strategy you’ll see lots of rideshare drivers employing. While Uber would prefer that you drive exclusively for them, they can’t stop you from driving for Lyft as well. This is a good thing, because driving for both Uber and Lyft increases your chances of getting a ride.

If you’re not giving rides, then you’re not earning. Sitting around with Uber on while you wait for a ride is a waste of your time and money (due to the expense of running your vehicle). But when you add Lyft to the mix, you’re tapping into another market of people who need rides.

Driving for both Uber and Lyft might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. There are even special apps that help you switch seamlessly between Uber and Lyft. To learn more, check out our guide to driving for Uber and Lyft at the same time.

5. Look Into Other Uber Ride Options

For our final tip, we want to challenge you to think bigger. While you can certainly earn a decent side income driving for UberX, you’re not going to get rich doing it. If you want to earn some serious money as a rideshare driver, you should look into driving for other Uber services. You’ve already passed the required background check, so in most cases, the only additional thing you’ll need is a qualifying vehicle.

Which Uber services should you look into? Here are our recommendations:

UberXL

This is just like UberX, except that you need a vehicle that can hold six passengers. Most newer minivans or SUVs will qualify for this service, so if you already have one of these cars, it’s easy to use it for UberXL. Learn more about driving for UberXL here.

UberSELECT

If you have a car that’s nicer than average, it might qualify you to drive for UberSELECT. For instance, brands like Audi and Lexus are perfect for this service. Generally, UberSELECT cars will also need a leather (or leather-like) interior and must be less than ten years old. Learn more about driving for UberSELECT here.

UberBLACK

Now we’re getting into the territory of really high earnings. This is Uber’s black car service, and it has the requirements to match. UberBLACK only accepts high-end black vehicles with a leather interior. If you’d describe your vehicle as luxurious, it will likely qualify.

UberBLACK also aims to hire professional drivers, so you may need a commercial driver’s license and commercial insurance to qualify. Learn more about driving for UberBLACK here.

UberSUV

Our final suggestion is UberSUV. It’s the high-capacity version of UberBLACK, which usually means a black luxury SUV that can hold at least six passengers.

This can be a particularly lucrative gig if you live somewhere that large groups of wealthy people like to go out and party (think New York City or Los Angeles). Learn more about driving for UberSUV here.

Start Your UberX Driving Journey the Right Way

UberX driver with hand on wheel

We hope this guide has helped you understand how you can make the most of your UberX driving experience. If you’re looking for even more advice on driving for Uber, check out our comprehensive Uber driver guide.