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.
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 self-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.
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.
How Much Money Do Uber Drivers Make?
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 Uber pricing 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.
First, let’s see if you qualify to become an Uber driver.
Drivers must meet both driver and vehicle requirements, in addition to passing a background check and vehicle inspection, in order to become approved on the Uber platform.
Uber Driver Requirements
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 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.
Background and Driving Record Check
In regards to having a clean criminal history, hopeful drivers will be required to pass a thorough Uber 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 Vehicle Requirements
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.
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 Vehicle Types
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.
How to Sign Up for Uber
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 auto vehicle insurance (or Uber 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.
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.
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 Hub 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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 customer service.
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 by driving for both Uber and Lyft 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.
My Uber Driver Review
I wrote a review about my experience driving for Lyft, which motivated me to turn around and write a review about my experiences driving for Uber too. While I have driven for Lyft for almost a year now, I am still fairly new to Uber. However, I have been on the platform long enough to write a solid review based on my experiences. While Lyft and Uber are very similar in concept, the actual riders and driving experience differ greatly.
When you first download and open the Uber Partner app, you feel very empowered. The design is incredible, and immediately grabs your eye. While the Lyft driver and rider app are both incorporated into one, Uber decided to keep them separate. It is easy to go online; all you do is press the “Go Online” button and it will log you in and immediately begin accepting requests.
When you receive a request, you have 15 seconds to accept the request otherwise it will go to the next closest driver. To ensure you never miss a request, simply turn the sound up all the way. I turn the sound up and plug my phone into the aux port in my car. When the request comes in, I definitely hear it.
Uber gives you the option of either using your own phone or renting one of theirs. Constantly having the Uber app open uses a ton of data, so it is wise to rent one of their phones so you don’t get killed with data charges. They will rent you an
Uber phone for $10 a week, which isn’t actually that bad of a deal considering most cell providers charge $10 for each gigabyte that you exceed your data plan. Lucky for me I have somehow managed to keep my unlimited data, but for those who aren’t as lucky I recommend renting a phone.
The one complaint I do have is that every time I log in or out of the app, my Spotify shuts off and stops playing. I have to go back into Spotify and hit play to make it work again. This sounds like a trivial issue, but it is really annoying when it happens consistently throughout the night.
Partners.uber.com, the Uber driver portal, is well-designed and pretty easy to use. This area has access to all of your documents including financial and vehicle-related ones. Here you can view all of your trip invoices, which include time, distance, fare, etc.. I like the driver portal because I can log in and quickly figure out my total for the night or week.
The one thing I wish that Uber would add to the driver portal is the ability to see how many referral bonuses were awarded to you in a given week. In Lyft’s driver portal, I can see how much I have made on bonuses and see which one of my referral codes is doing well and how many people are using them. This is nice because if you embark on a marketing campaign you can track how well it is doing.
While getting a reply from email@example.com is pretty much impossible, Uber does a great job of organizing regional support groups. Each city has one, and focuses directly on requests from drivers within their city.
I usually get replies from them within the same day of sending the email, which has proven to be incredibly helpful on multiple occasions.
The passengers that you pick are are mostly young professionals. They are driven, intelligent, and fairly well-off. I have had some awesome conversations with these people and almost always pull in at night having learned a thing or two that I didn’t know before.
One thing to note is the professional level that the riders will uphold. While Lyft is friendlier and more laid back, with riders riding in the front seat, Uber riders almost always hop in the back. They are nice and fun, but take a more professional approach to the ride.
As of yet, I have never had any crazy experiences with Uber. Most of the people I have picked up have been business people or people that hadn’t really been drinking. I will add them as they come, as I am sure that it is only a matter of time before I have stories to tell. I have had some crazy stories from my experience driving for Lyft, however. Read about those in my Lyft driver review.
To be blunt, Uber pays better than Lyft. While their fare prices are pretty similar, Uber pays out more on Surge Pricing (equivalent to Lyft’s “Prime Time”) and their referral bonuses are a lot more than Lyft’s. I typically make around $150 a night on Uber, most of which comes from Surge Pricing.
Surge Pricing is the increase that riders are charged when passenger demand far outweighs driver supply. For example, if a normal ride costs $10 and Surge Pricing is at 3X, then the ride would cost three times more, or $30. There is no limit on this, and I have seen it go as high as 15X the normal rate. Yes, this sucks for riders, but it is absolutely amazing for drivers.
Uber riders tip very well. Since there is no way for them to tip through the app, they usually tip at least $5 in cash. I make an average of $30 a night cash in tips. This extra $30 is awesome because it often times pays for my gas for the night, leaving me with even more money in my pocket at the end of the night.
The nice thing about Uber is that you can literally drive whenever you want. All you have to do is press a button and you can start making money. I don’t know of a single job out there that allows you this same freedom.
You can drive for up to 10 hours at a time, then the app will kick you off till you have taken an 8 hour break. This allows Uber to limit the number of tired drivers on the road, simply for liability sake.
Personally, I like to drive for at least 3 hours at a time. I usually get off work on Friday evening at 5 and immediately flip into driver mode. I drive for a few hours, make some extra cash (usually about $50) then I head out with friends. In the case that my friends aren’t doing anything, I simply keep driving till I get tired and usually end up with a couple hundred dollars in my pocket by the end of the night.
Passenger demand is usually pretty volatile. It all depends on when you drive and what is going on during the week. If there is a concert or sports event in town, demand spikes before and after. But during the week usually demand is not very high.
That is why I tend to drive only on the weekends or the night before a major holiday. This ensures that I am not wasting my time waiting around for requests. I drove for Lyft and Uber the night before Christmas Eve and demand was insane. I was on Surge Pricing most of the night, which made for a huge paycheck in the morning.
Again, it all just depends on where you live and when you drive. For the most part though, you can make good money no matter what.
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.
Safely and efficiently transport passengers to and from their locations
Optimizing vehicle position to reduce wait times and increase pickup probability
Regularly clean and service the vehicle being used for rideshare driving
Track mileage, taxes, and other expenses
Drivers must meet the minimum age to drive in your city
Have a valid US driver’s licence, and at least one year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if you are under 23 years old)
Proof of residency in your city, state, or province
Proof of vehicle insurance if you plan to drive your own car
A driver profile photo that is forward-facing, centered, and includes the driver’s full face and top of shoulders, with no sunglasses. Must be a photo only of the driver with no other subject in the frame, well-lit, and in focus; it cannot be a driver’s license photo or other printed photograph
After signing up, you can complete a screening online. It will review your driving record and criminal history.
Vehicle must have 4 doors and be able to transport a minimum of 4 passengers
Vehicle must be 15 model years old or newer
Vehicle’s title cannot be salvaged, reconstructed, or rebuilt.
Vehicles cannot have any cosmetic damage, missing pieces, commercial branding or taxi paint jobs.
Rental vehicles are not allowed on the Uber platform.
Uber Technologies, Inc., commonly known as Uber, is an American multinational ride-hailing company offering services that include peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing, food delivery, and a micromobility system with electric bikes and scooters.