Driving for Uber has become a very popular side job among all types of people. From college students to parents, this gig provides a unique source of income. For some individuals, driving for Uber is even a full-time job. You’ve likely heard about the opportunity, and you may even be curious about it.
In this post, we’ll cover everything there is to know about working for Uber. From potential income to pros and cons, you’ll find it all below. Use this info to help you decide if this gig is right for you. You may be pleased to find that it’s a solid opportunity to make extra money!
What Is Uber?
The name Uber is short for Uber Technologies Inc., a technology company founded in 2009. They operate the Uber car transportation service and food delivery service. The word Uber stems from the slang word and German word uber, which means awesome, super, or above all else.
Uber is similar to a taxi service; they provide rides to customers in 570 different cities worldwide. In many places, using Uber is less expensive than using a traditional taxi service. Uber drivers use their own vehicles to transport customers to their destinations. However, drivers also have the option to rent a car from Uber Technologies Inc.
Uber drivers are self-employed and get paid weekly via direct deposit. The driver signup page states “You can drive with Uber anytime, day or night, 365 days a year. When you drive is always up to you, so it never interferes with the important things in your life.” Some people work for the company a few hours per week. Others drive for Uber on a full-time basis.
Who Can Work For Uber?
As with most companies, Uber has requirements for their drivers. The driver requirements page fully covers all of the details. Here are the main highlights and qualifications that you will need to meet:
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- Minimum three years of driving experience required.
- You must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and provide proof of your valid license.
- It’s necessary to have a four-door car that meets the eligibility requirements (covered below).
- You must provide proof of vehicle registration and vehicle insurance.
- You must pass a driver screening that reviews your criminal history and driving record.
That’s the gist of it! You can see that it’s pretty simple and that many people are eligible to drive for Uber. According to their site and to some reviews, potential drivers can be verified and be driving in just two days.
What Are The Car Requirements For Uber?
The driver requirements above state that your four-door car must meet certain requirements. Uber also has different tier services that use different vehicles. To work for each tier, you’ll need to meet different requirements. These are the tiers of service:
I cannot find detailed requirements for each level explicitly stated on the Uber website.
- This may be because many cities have area-specific requirements in addition to the ones that Uber has. However, I found an Uber vehicle requirement list on Ridester.com. It covers what you need to drive for the different services Uber offers. This is what the article states about car eligibility:
- For UberX, you must have a four-door vehicle that is a 2006 model or newer. Your vehicle can be a truck, minivan, or regular car. It must have no major cosmetic damage and has to pass a vehicle inspection.
- UberPOOL requirements are the same as UberX requirements. According to the article, drivers who drive for UberX must also drive for UberPOOL.
- For UberXL, you must meet the above requirements plus additional ones. Your vehicle must have the ability to seat seven people (one driver and up to six passengers). Full-size vans are not eligible.
- For UberSELECT, you must meet the above requirements and more. Your car must have leather interior and spotless interior and exterior. Additionally, you must have a mid-size to a full-size vehicle for UberSELECT. The Uber Operations Team also has to approve your vehicle for this tier.
- UberBLACK has different and stricter requirements. Your vehicle must be a 2012 model or newer. It must have all black leather interior and a black exterior. Your interior must be clean and the vehicle must be completely free of accidents or any sort of imperfections. As an UberBLACK driver, you must have less than five traffic violations in the last five years.
- UberSUV is essentially a combination of UberBLACK and UberXL. The requirements for this level are the same as those two tiers, and there are additional standards. You must have a transportation charter permit, commercial car insurance, and some cities require an airport permit.
- UberLUX requirements are the same as UberBLACK requirements plus a few more. You must have a full-size four-door sedan, crossover, or SUV. The vehicle must be a 2010 model or newer, and it must pass an Uber inspection.
As you can imagine, many drivers start out or stay at the UberX tier. The requirements are easy to meet for the average adult driver.
How Much Do You Make Working For Uber?
Let’s get to the part you really want to know about – how much extra money will you earn driving for Uber? I did a lot of reading about this question since it’s such a hot topic. There is not one set answer to this question. However, I found a lot of great, helpful information. Let’s take a look:
- Start out by reading the Uber page that discusses how much drivers make. According to this page, you essentially earn as much as you want. The more you drive, the more you earn. You may also earn more during surge times, which are the high demand times for Uber drivers and riders. This page also states that 80% of Uber drivers drive less than 35 hours per week. Over 50% of Uber drivers only driver 1-15 hours per week.
- A BuzzFeed article from 2014 states that the average hourly wage for an Uber driver is $31.61. This information is based on the reportings of eight drivers in New York. The average is based on the following hourly wages – $15.22, $21.17, $27.54, $32.90, $36.88, $37.12, and $38.25. These drivers also reported working anywhere between 5.78 and 42.65 hours per week.
- Uber advertises that drivers typically make $25 per hour, but this claim has been frequently challenged. This in-depth article from Slate.com discusses that the math behind that claim may not add up. It also discusses taxes, the commission that Uber takes, and other important information.
- One Uber driver reported making anywhere between $5 and $50 per hour. Another post from Ridester.com discusses how and why these numbers vary so greatly. The article also provides a lot of information about costs that drivers have to cover.
- Overall, it seems that, aside from NYC Uber drivers, the average wage varies between $10.14 and $14.84 per hour. These numbers are based on data provided by SherpaShare. They have a blog post discussing these numbers and how they were obtained, too.
- Glassdoor.com shows that drivers report earning an average of $13.84 to $14.64 per hour. It’s important to note that this Glassdoor report does not list the cities each driver works in. However, the numbers are collected from a total of 439 Uber drivers.
To make a long story short, there is no set answer to this question. How much you earn depends heavily on so many different factors. I find that the reports from SherpaShare seem to be the most realistic overall.
Reviews From Uber Employees
Since there are so many Uber drivers, finding employee reviews wasn’t difficult. I’ve included a mixture of statistics along with detailed posts from drivers. I’m going to break the reviews into a few different parts:
- On Glassdoor.com, 79% of Uber employees would recommend the company to a friend. This may include non-driving employees, though many written reviews are from drivers.
- On the same website, 88% of Uber employees say they approve of the CEO, Travis Kalanick. Again, this includes reviews from non-driving employees.
- On Indeed.com, Uber Drivers give an overall rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars. This data is based on feedback from 2,614 driver reviews.
These are the cons mentioned in Indeed.com Uber driver reviews:
- Work can be very slow-paced during certain times of the day.
- It often isn’t viable as a long-time or full-time job.
- Reviews from unsatisfied riders (warranted or not) can badly impact Uber drivers.
- There are no benefits that are frequently offered with traditional jobs.
- Drivers report poor experiences with the Uber customer service team.
- The cost of car maintenance can be expensive.
These are the pros mentioned in Indeed.com Uber driver reviews:
- Many drivers enjoy self-employment and ‘being their own boss’.
- Work hours are 100% flexible, which is ideal for most drivers.
- According to some reviews, drivers receive compensation for car cleanup and damages.
- Many drivers mention the ‘fun’ aspect of driving for Uber – meeting new people, having good conversations, and receiving nice tips.
- Uber drivers are not required to wear uniforms of any kind.
Lastly, I found a few news articles and blog posts about driving for Uber. I think they’re really insightful. Here are the links along with brief information about each piece:
- What it’s really like to be an Uber driver – This article features interviews with two different Uber drivers. One of the drivers also works for Lyft, a company just like Uber. Both drivers have jobs outside of working for Uber. The article includes pros and cons mentioned by each driver, too.
- Uber Driver Secrets: 7 Things to Know Before Working for Uber – The name of the article is a fairly good summary of the article itself. The list contains lesser known information, interesting facts, tips, and more. The information is gathered from various sources.
Overall, Uber drivers report pros and cons like most people do with their jobs. Consider these factors when you’re deciding if being an Uber driver is right for you.
Tips For Earning Money With Uber
Before I wrap this up, I’d like to cover some tips for earning money driving with Uber. These suggestions are a mix of Uber-specific recommendations as well as general self-employment information:
- Remember that you have to pay taxes on the money you earn. Uber even has a Tax Tips For Drivers post that’s very insightful.
- Keep track of your earnings in a spreadsheet. This can help you figure out how much you’re earning per hour each time you drive. Knowing your average hourly wage may help you set goals and budget properly.
- Make sure your insurance is up to par. This will speed along the signup process and prevent trouble in the event of an accident. Call your insurance company to see what’s covered when you’re an Uber driver. Several auto insurance companies even offer specific policies for drivers of Uber, Lyft, and similar companies.
- Become familiar with the surge times in your area. For example, know when your local bars or shopping centers close. If you can drive during surge times, you may be able to make more cash.
- Purchase a sturdy phone holder for your vehicle’s dashboard. This allows you to easily view the Uber app and the maps you need to get to your destinations.
- In addition to making your car look good, make sure it smells good as well. Keep a bottle of Febreze and a subtle air freshener hanger in your car. Nothing too overpowering – just something that gives off a simple, clean smell.
- Keep essentials for yourself in your vehicle. Make sure you’ve got a portable phone charger, bottle of water, and any other must have items in your glove box. They’ll come in handy when you’re out and about.
- Remember that providing good customer service leads to good ratings. Introduce yourself to passengers, allow them to choose music, and so on. Overall, just be pleasant and have fun. Riders will be more likely to leave you 5-star ratings when they have good experiences.
Use these tips to your advantage if you decide to be an Uber driver. They can help you make the most out of your experience and may help you earn more money.
Conclusion: Is Being An Uber Driver Right For You?
With this information, you can decide if being an Uber driver is the right money-making opportunity for you. If you like total flexibility and need some extra cash, it may be right up your alley.
There are also lots of other unique and convenient ways to make more money. We’ve covered a lot of these options at Frugal For Less. Here are some of my personal favorite picks:
- Guide To Making A Full-Time Income On Upwork
- 20 Night Time Jobs For Night Owls
- 22 of the Best Second Jobs For Extra Income
Check out these posts; you’ll find a lot of interesting ways to boost your income. I’m sure that you’ll find a way to make money that is 100% right for you. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!