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How to Become an Uber Driver: Your Guide to Earning on the Road

Last updated: July 28, 2019
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If you enjoy being your own boss and want to make money in the comfort of your own car, Uber might be the right company for you.

Uber drivers are independent contractors who have full control over when they work and where they drive, which means your schedule is as flexible as you make it. Whether you’re seeking a side hustle or a full-time opportunity, becoming a rideshare driver has many perks.

Keep reading to learn about the driver earnings, list of requirements, and everything else you need to know about how to become an Uber driver.

How Much Money Do Uber Drivers Make?

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Being an Uber driver isn’t known to be a luxurious job. On average, your standard UberX driver will only earn $13.70 an hour, or $14.73 after tips (but before expenses).

But don’t let the numbers frighten you. Despite the averages, plenty of dedicated Uber drivers are able to make a decent living with Uber, thanks to a combination of factors that include:

  • Location: New York City drivers can make over $20 an hour on economy services alone.
  • Surge pricing: If you drive in busy areas during high-demand times, such as rush hour in your local business district, you’ll be able to take advantage of fare multipliers that can double, triple, or even quadruple your earnings.
  • Vehicle type: Driving for economy services will likely keep you closer to the average UberX pay, but if you offer luxury services like Uber Black, you’ll be making twice as much money.

Uber Driver Requirements

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Making extra money as an Uber driver isn’t a difficult task. In fact, the minimum qualifications to do so can be achieved by most drivers — as long as you don’t have major moving violations on your driving record, or a criminal history of violent or sexual crimes. Drivers must:

  • Have a valid driver’s license in the state you’ll be operating in.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Have at least one year of driving experience with a license, or three years of driving experience if you’re under 23.
  • Have proof of coverage by car insurance.
  • Pass the Uber background check.

Drivers for select premium services have additional requirements to keep in mind. Uber Black and Black XL drivers earn more because they are top-rated drivers with an average 4.85 star rating or higher. In addition to their standard vehicle registration and vehicle insurance, these drivers must have proof of current commercial insurance.

Uber Lux drivers must also have a commercial license, as hiring professional drivers for the company’s most expensive product is of utmost importance.

Uber Vehicle Requirements

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Much like Uber drivers, Uber vehicles must fulfill a set of minimum requirements before they can be approved for any service. All vehicles must be:

  • Fifteen years old or newer. This year requirement may vary by city, so make sure to double check your local regulations.
  • Able to seat five (including the driver) with seat belts.
  • A four-door vehicle in good condition with no cosmetic modifications.
  • Able to pass a vehicle inspection.
  • Registered and insured in the state you’ll be operating in.

If you’re mostly interested in driving for economy sedan services like UberX, UberPool, and Uber Express Pool, these qualifications are all you need to pass. While drivers for economy services are done after this point, drivers for other Uber services have additional vehicle requirements.

UberXL and Uber Black SUV are the company’s large-scale vehicle services, which means their vehicles must be able to fit at least six passengers. If you’re interested in making extra cash with Uber’s premium services, make sure you’re aware of their strict vehicle requirements:

  • Uber Select: Vehicles must be 10 years old or newer with leather or vinyl interiors. Eligible vehicle models are mid-tier luxury sedans, including many models by Audi, Infiniti, and Mercedes-Benz.
  • Uber Black and Uber Black SUV: Vehicles must be five years old or newer with a black exterior and black leather interior. Eligible vehicle models are high-end cars, including models by Cadillac, GMC, Maserati, and Volvo.
  • Uber Lux: Vehicles must be 2012 models or newer. This product one-ups Uber Black by requiring ultra luxurious vehicles ⁠— think the fanciest of the fancy: Jaguars, Bentleys, Maybachs, and Rolls Royces. Your average vehicle won’t make the cut, but your investment can reap big rewards.

Important Steps to Get Started

If you think you’re ready to drive for Uber, follow these directions to complete your driver application:

  1. Complete all fields of the sign-up form.
  2. Select the vehicle option(s) that you qualify for and would like to drive.
  3. Upload your required documents. These include your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration.
  4. Take a clear and well-lit profile picture. This head shot can also be uploaded if you already have one you’d like to use.
  5. Enter your Social Security number. This information, as well as your consent, is required for your background check to be performed.

Within a week, you’ll hear back from Uber about your background check results, and whether or not you were accepted as a rideshare driver. If you’re approved, you’ll need to pass your vehicle inspection before you can go active on the Uber platform as a driver. If you aren’t approved, you’ll always have the option to reapply once you’re certain that all your car and driver requirements can be fulfilled.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Feeling prepared to apply? If the answer is no (or even maybe), perhaps some additional information about how to become an Uber driver can help you feel confident about your final decision. Here are some common questions to help you figure it out:

1. Are there additional driver requirements for Uber Eats?

No. Requirements for Uber Eats drivers are more lax than those for Uber rideshare drivers. For example, your vehicle can be 1999 models or newer, and delivery drivers only need to be 18 or 19 years old if they choose bike or scooter delivery. This is because Uber Eats drivers have minimal contact with customers, and do not face the liability of having passengers in their vehicle.

2. Where can I get a vehicle inspection?

Uber offers free vehicle inspections at many of their Greenlight Hubs, and at third-party inspection centers that are partnered with the company. You can find locations in your area that provide complimentary services to Uber drivers by heading to your city’s Vehicle Inspection page on Uber’s website. For reference, here are the Los Angeles and San Francisco pages.

Vehicle inspections are offered throughout most states, but if you choose not to go to an Uber-approved inspection center, you’ll have to cover the cost yourself.

3. How can I contact Uber if I need help?

Uber offers drivers several easy ways to get in touch with experts, or problem-solve from anywhere. These include 24/7 phone support, in-person support at Uber Greenlight Hubs, and social media support. Learn more about how to contact Uber for help.

4. I’m currently a Lyft driver. Can I still drive for Uber?

Lyft certainly doesn’t encourage its drivers to double up on apps, but because you’re an independent contractor, you’re not bound to a single company. Making money on the Uber and Lyft apps simultaneously is a smart move, as it decreases the time you spend idling between requests.

5. Is there a limit to how many Uber services I can provide?

No. Uber will allow you to receive requests for as many services as you want, as long as you’re qualified. This means that you can accept requests for UberPool, UberX, UberBlack, and more all at once.

However, many strategic drivers enjoy limiting the types of requests they receive. This is typically an effort to prioritize the most expensive services they qualify for to ensure every trip maximizes earning potential. Still, placing limits on the requests you receive can hinder the speed at which you receive a request, so finding a solid balance for you and your location is crucial to making good money.

Drive Like a Pro

Now that you know how to become an Uber driver and have a clear understanding of the requirements and service options, it’s time to start earning. Once you’re fully ready to drive, take a look at our guide to the Uber Driver app so you know exactly what to expect when completing your first trips.

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