How to Become an Uber Driver: Step-by-Step Guide
Is driving for a rideshare platform like Uber the right choice for you?
Uber alone has given over two million drivers around the world an opportunity to try their hand at rideshare driving.
The promise of flexible work scheduling, the opportunity to be your own boss, and the potential to pull in high hourly wages all seem great on paper.
But the truth is that it’s not all sunshine and roses. You’ll need to put in long hours and stay disciplined to make the earnings you’re comfortable with.
We want to help you decide if driving for Uber is right for you, and if so, how you can become an Uber driver.
Before we get into all of the driver requirements and application process, it’s important to know if driving for Uber even makes sense for you. In order to be a successful Uber driver, you must be disciplined, responsible, and willing to work longer hours during peak driving times.
While yes, you’re free to choose your own schedule and have the liberty of being your own boss, you still need to be disciplined and hold yourself accountable. This can be a challenge when you’re laying in bed on weekday mornings or relaxing on the couch on a Friday night. In order to make decent earnings, you must be able to get on the road when you may not really want to, especially during those peak hours like mornings and weekend nights.
You also must be prepared to interact with customers for several hours a day. If you’re an extrovert, then this should be a breeze for you. But if you feel as though you’re more introverted, you may find it nerve-racking to deal with people for hours on end, especially the occasional unruly passengers.
Lastly, being self-employed also has its challenges that you must be prepared for. Since you’ll be an independent contractor of Uber, you’ll need to consider that you won’t receive any benefits, like health insurance or 401k matching, you won’t receive any paid time off or vacation days, and you’ll be required to set money aside for taxes at the end of the year.
If you understand all of these implications and think they shouldn’t be a problem, then let’s get right into getting you set up as an Uber driver.
First, let’s see if you qualify to become an Uber driver. The basic requirements for becoming an Uber driver are that you must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, own an eligible vehicle to drive, and have a clean background.
Outside of these basic requirements, there are also a few more driving prerequisites that we highlight below.
- Must be 21 years of age
- Have a valid driver’s license and Social Security number
- Have access to an eligible 4-door vehicle to drive
- Valid vehicle registration, license plates, and auto insurance policy with your name on the policy
- Apple iPhone or Android capable of operating the Uber app
- Photo for your driver profile
- Clean criminal background
- Relatively clean driving record
Overall, Uber is looking for safe and responsible drivers they can trust out on the road. After all, as a driver, you become the face of the company. One of Uber’s number one priorities is making sure riders and drivers have a safe and secure experience.
In regards to having a clean criminal history, Uber drivers will be required to pass a thorough background check. Applicants who have a spotty criminal record with felonies, violent crimes, sexual misconduct, or are registered sex offenders won’t be permitted to drive for Uber.
There will also be a Motor Vehicle Record Check. Drivers must have a safe and clean driving record and be able to meet the following requirements:
- At least one year of U.S. licensed driving experience. If you’re under 23 years old then you need at least three years licensed driving experience.
- No major violations within the past seven years. This includes DUIs, reckless driving, or failure to stop.
- No more than three minor violations in the past three years. This includes speeding tickets and minor traffic infractions.
Now that you know what’s required to become a driver, let’s look further into the vehicle requirements.
Uber requires that you use a 4-door vehicle that is relatively new, safe, and in working condition. It also must be registered and insured to qualify as an Uber vehicle.
The vehicle requirements may vary from city to city, but for the most part, the following requirements detail which specifications you’ll need to meet:
- Vehicle must be no more than 15 years old
- Must be a 4-door vehicle
- Good mechanical condition without cosmetic damage
- Must not contain commercial branding
- Vehicle must be registered and insured
- Must have seatbelts
Additionally, you’ll be required to present the following documents when applying:
- Valid U.S. driver’s license
- Proof of residency in your city, state, or province
- Proof of current car insurance
- Driver profile photo
After you’ve met all of these requirements, you have another decision to make — which vehicle service you’d like to enlist in.
Uber offers several vehicle services that range from the most basic vehicles to larger and more luxurious vehicles. Depending on which vehicle you own, you may be able to drive for more than one vehicle tier.
The most basic vehicle option, which is also the most popular, is UberX. Most newer cars will meet the minimum requirements to drive for UberX. If you have larger or more luxurious vehicles, then you can qualify for more premium Uber services, which also end up paying you more for each fare.
Here are a few of those premium options your city may offer.
- UberXL: Larger vehicles that can fit more people
- UberSELECT: Mid-tier luxury sedans that demand higher fares
- UberBLACK: Luxurious vehicles with black exterior and leather interior
- UberSUV: High-end luxurious vehicles that can also fit more people
Some of these more premium options may require commercial insurance and a high driver rating, so make sure you check your city’s requirements when signing up.
If you think you’re ready to take the leap, let’s walk through the sign-up process. To begin the Uber driver application process, you’ll need to go to Uber.com to submit legal driving documents, provide your Social Security number, and consent to a background check.
Let’s go over each step.
1. Head to Uber.com and begin filling out your personal information.
2. Decide which program your car qualifies for and confirm that you meet all of the vehicle requirements.
3. Upload your vehicle documents including photos of your state driver’s license, proof of vehicle insurance, and vehicle registration.
4. Upload a quality driver profile photo. Your profile picture should be your entire face, shoulders up, without sunglasses or a hat.
5. Provide your Social Security number and consent to a background check.
6. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to receive the results of your background check. This may take between five and seven days to process.
If you pass your background check and meet all of the driver requirements, then Uber will give you further onboarding instructions including setting up your vehicle inspection.
In order to get your vehicle on the road, you’ll first need to undergo a vehicle inspection. Vehicle inspections must be conducted once per year by a certified and Uber-approved mechanic.
Inspections are free for drivers, but only on an annual basis. If you require more than one inspection per year, then you’ll need to pay around $20.
Uber vehicle inspections can be conducted at Greenlight locations within your city, or at any other approved mechanic.
To locate where you can get your vehicle inspected, simply Google “Uber inspection locations + YOUR CITY NAME.” One of the first listings should be what you’re looking for.
To give you an idea, the page you navigate to should include a map like the one shown below.
Before you show up to get your vehicle inspected, you need to print out the following inspection form and make sure that your vehicle meets all of the requirements. You wouldn’t want to show up and not pass your inspection just for one small thing that you could have easily taken care of beforehand.
After you pass your vehicle inspection, you’re all set to hit the road. Now it’s just a matter of putting in the hours and hustling to maximize your earnings.
Is Uber Right For You?
Becoming an Uber driver is a quick and painless process. Before taking the leap, you should first really think about whether or not become a rideshare driver for Uber is right for you.
If you think you have what it takes, then sign up, start driving, and begin pulling in some extra cash with your new side hustle.
See you on the road!
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