How to Work for Uber (and Car Requirements)
It’s a common misconception that anyone can start driving for Uber anytime. While the Uber platform makes it easy to work as an Uber driver, there’s more to it than slapping an Uber decal on your rear passenger windshield.
No, Uber doesn’t conduct formal job interviews. They don’t require you to have prior experience as a rideshare driver. And no, Uber doesn’t care if you work another, two, or five other jobs.
But they do have some requirements. And if you don’t meet them, driving for Uber is not an option.
Looking to make some extra money by driving part-time? Considering ditching your traditional job for a new full-time driving gig?
What’s It Like to Work for Uber?
As of 2019, more than one million Uber drivers were working through the Uber app in the U.S., either as rideshare drivers or delivering for Uber Eats.
As a rideshare driver, the job is super simple:
- Once you log into the Uber app, you’ll see ride requests from passengers close to your current location.
- You’ll also be able to see where they’re going. Accept the trip when you find a pick-up and drop-off locations you like.
- Drive to the pick-up point, get your passenger, and take them where they need to go.
- Once you drop them off, mark the trip complete on the app, and you’ll see a list of new ride requests appear.
Working for Uber can be a great opportunity if you don’t mind driving all over town or dealing with unavoidable traffic. The job is easy to get and do, but it has pros and cons that you should know before signing up.
The Pros of Driving for Uber – How to Work for Uber
From making your hours to enjoying unlimited earning potential, here are some of the biggest pros of working as an Uber driver.
What draws so many drivers to the Uber platform is that Uber doesn’t tell you when or where you have to work.
You can drive full-time or part-time. Also, you can go on the days you want. You can move the hours you want. You are 100% in control of when you work, and no one will ever tell you you must be available for a specific shift or can’t take a day off.
However, knowing that the hours and days you choose to work can considerably affect how much you can make as a driver is essential.
The trick to making money as an Uber driver is to work when customers need rides. Peak hours are during the morning and evening rush hours, between 7 am to 9 am and then again from 4 pm to 7 pm. And since many people rely on Uber for a safe ride home after drinking, late-night hours when the bars close also are busy.
Suppose you’re hoping to work a four-hour shift from noon to 4 pm daily, except for ride requests to be lower. This is because you’re likely to make less money driving a mid-day shift than if you get behind the wheel during peak times.
Because of the flexibility that the job affords you, you have unlimited earning potential.
For safety reasons, Uber requires drivers to be offline for eight hours after driving for ten hours. But even with that restriction, you could work 90 hours per week.
But you don’t have to go to that extreme to make money. You can increase your earnings by working more peak hours and taking time off when ride requests are low.
For some people, driving full-time for Uber is the job they want to have. For others, driving for Uber ensures they have some income between other jobs.
It’s no secret that employers and hiring managers don’t like to see gaps in employment on a resume. Driving for Uber, even part-time, can help you fill in gaps on your resume and help you simultaneously build time management and customer service skills.
Anyone who meets the Uber driver requirements and Uber vehicle requirements can start working as a rideshare driver within about two weeks.
This makes it an excellent opportunity for individuals that:
- Love to drive
- I can’t find other forms of employment
- Need a source of income to tide them over while waiting for a new full-time job to begin
Ready to Multitask? You can deliver for Doordash too.
The Cons of Driving for Uber – Work for Uber
There are many positives to driving for Uber, but there are just as many drawbacks. Here are some of the biggest cons to consider before becoming an Uber driver.
Wear and Tear on Your Car
Most Uber drivers use their vehicles. And the more you drive, the more wear and tear you’ll put on your car.
Uber bears no responsibility for any wear and tear or other damage to your car. So the next time you get a flat tire, need an oil change, or repair a crack in your windshield, cover those expenses yourself.
No matter how many hours you drive per week, there is never a guarantee of income with Uber.
How much you earn depends on how many passenger rides requests you accept when you’re on the road. There’s no income if there are no passengers — no matter how many hours you spend behind the wheel.
Whether you drive for Uber or Lyft or deliver food for a local restaurant, safety concerns are always involved when dealing with the public.
You never know who you’re picking up or meeting face-to-face, so you must always be aware of your surroundings.
Paying Your Taxes
Uber drivers are not employees of Uber. Instead, they are self-employed independent contractors.
That means that Uber won’t withhold taxes for you. So instead of getting a tax refund at the end of the year, you’ll have to set aside a certain amount of money from your paycheck and pay taxes to the IRS every quarter.
Some drivers find it difficult to set that money aside throughout the year, but failing can leave you with a hefty tax burden come April. In addition, if you don’t have the funds set aside to pay your taxes, you’ll acquire fines and penalties on top of the tax bill you owe.
There’s No Guarantee You’ll Have the Job Forever
The job of an Uber driver may be easy to get, but there’s no guarantee you’ll keep it.
Like Uber passengers, Uber drivers are reviewed on a star rating system after every trip. If you cannot maintain Uber’s minimum rating, they can suspend your account and restrict you from picking up additional fares.
The minimum driver rating varies by city, but drivers everywhere need to keep their ratings high to keep their accounts active.
Need Help Registering Your Business? Check out our Guide.
What Kind of Car Do You Need to Drive for Uber? How to Work for Uber
Not sure if your car meets the standard to drive for Uber?
There are some basic requirements that all eligible vehicles must meet to pass approval as Uber vehicles.
Uber requires that you have a four-door vehicle in good condition without any visible cosmetic damage. Two-door cars are not permitted under any circumstances.
Your vehicle must also be no older than 15 years of age and be able to pass inspection. If you live in a city or state where emissions efficiency is a local regulation, your vehicle must be able to pass an emissions test as well.
No matter the model year or vehicle model, your car must have five factory-installed seats with seat belts, working windows, and air conditioning.
Uber has different levels of service, each of which has its vehicle requirements:
- Uber Black
- Uber Black SUV
The higher the level of service, the more money passengers pay for rides and the more you can earn driving. But the higher service levels have much more stringent requirements than the basic standards required to drive for UberX.
For example, to drive for Uber Black, your vehicle must:
- Be no more than five years old
- Have black leather seats
- Hold at least four passengers in addition to the driver
The requirements are similar for providing Uber Black SUV service. Although, for this highest level, you’ll need seating for at least six additional passengers instead of four.
Want to Drive for Uber, But Your Car Doesn’t Meet Uber’s Standards?
Uber partners with the national rental car services Hertz and Avis to provide drivers with a vehicle that meets the standard requirements. This also gives drivers who don’t own their cars an option to lease a vehicle whenever they want to work.
Hertz and Avis provide various vehicle options, and drivers are responsible for the rental cost. Vehicle requirements and prices vary from state to state, so you must determine if the rental fee is worth paying.
Don’t have the money to pay for a vehicle rental upfront?
There is another option …
Instead of driving Uber passengers, you might want to deliver with Uber Eats instead.
The vehicle requirements to work as a delivery driver for Uber Eats are much more flexible than those required to drive Uber passengers. Two-door cars are perfectly acceptable and, in some cities, you don’t need a vehicle at all. In some cities, you can deliver Uber Eats with a bicycle or a scooter.
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How to Get Started as an Uber Driver – How to Work for Uber
The first step in becoming an Uber driver is to ensure that you meet the following basic driver requirements:
- You must hold a valid driver’s license and be a licensed driver for at least one year
- If you’re under the age of 23, you need to have had a permit for at least three years
- You must be able to provide proof of residency in your state
- You must have a current vehicle insurance policy if you plan to drive your vehicle
- Your vehicle inspection and registration must be up to date
If you meet these basic eligibility requirements, you can visit the Uber app or Uber website and sign up to be a driver.
What Documents You’ll Need to Provide
Signing up requires you to provide the following:
- Your personal information
- Proof of residency
- Proof of insurance
- A copy of your driver’s license
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to meet a few more requirements before slapping an Uber decal on your front passenger windshield and accepting ride requests.
Once you submit this preliminary information, you must complete an online screening. This includes consenting to a review of your driver’s license record and passing a criminal background check.
Note: If you’re a registered sex offender or have ever been convicted of a felony, a violent crime, or a sexual offense, you won’t pass the background check.
The requirements to drive for Uber are minimal. So whether you’re looking for a flexible new gig or to supplement your income, it’s an excellent opportunity for a licensed driver that can pass a background check.
Ready to sign up and get started?
Visit Uber.com to sign up to drive, deliver food, or both. Uber takes a few days to process sign-up requests, but as long as you meet the requirements, you can make money in as little as two weeks.
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