As an Uber driver, you have complete control over your work schedule and income. Some people love the flexibility of driving for Uber so much, they’ve made it their full-time job, replacing their previous income entirely.
In short, the ride-sharing economy is booming. Passengers love being able to summon a ride whenever they need one and are happy to pay for the convenience.
For those who are budget-constricted, the ability to share rides with UberPOOL is a lifesaver. And drivers are earning great money in exchange for being the providers of convenient and comfortable transportation.
While lots of people want to drive for Uber, not everyone is eligible.
If you’re considering signing up to drive for Uber but aren’t sure what’s required or how to get started, keep reading.
By the end of this article, you’ll know all you need to about Uber’s application process, including their online screening process, vehicle and insurance requirements, their inspection process, and which levels of Uber services you’ll be able to offer.
In order to drive for Uber, you must meet their minimum requirements regarding everything from your age to having appropriate in-state insurance.
- Have a valid in-state driver’s license
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a minimum of one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (if you’re under 23, you need to have at least three years of licensed driving experience)
- Have a photo to use as part of your driver profile
- Have use of an eligible 4-door vehicle (more on eligibility below)
- Have in-state license plates with current registration
- Have proof of in-state vehicle insurance with your name on the policy, if you are planning to drive your own car
- Have a Social Security number
- Pass the online screening
If you don’t meet any one of the criteria, you’ll be rejected, so use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need before applying to work for Uber.
As part of your application, you will be required to undergo an Uber driver screening online.
This screening will review your criminal record and driving history. If you have a history of reckless driving or a driving record full of insurance claims, you will likely not pass the online screening. You can check your driving history here: https://www.dmv.org/driving-record/faq.php
Uber uses a company called Checkr for the initial screening and for annual background and driving check refreshes on their drivers.
They may also run additional checks to comply with new local laws or if the background check standards have changed. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when Uber will run its annual check.
The official driving record and criminal history check are paid for by Uber. If you aren’t sure you’ll pass, you can pay to check your background and driving history before applying.
Uber does not perform a credit check so if you already have a vehicle that meets Uber vehicle requirements, your credit score and background will be irrelevant.
Uber does not drug test its drivers, but the police officers in your state might if you are pulled over for a traffic infraction.
The requirements for your vehicle will depend on where you are based. While Uber itself accepts most vehicles that are 10 years old or younger, your city may have different model year requirements.
You can check your city’s requirements by looking up the name of your city and “drive for Uber.” Look for the closest result from their official site. Don’t use third-party sites as the end-all be-all, as Uber may have updated their requirements and the third-party sites may be outdated.
The basic requirements for an Uber-eligible vehicle are that it must be 10 years old or younger, have four doors, and have seat belts for at least four passengers, not including the driver. Two-door vehicles are never accepted by Uber, nor are vehicles older than the age requirement, no matter how great their condition might be.
Vehicles with a salvage title or a “restored” title are also not accepted.
When Your Vehicle Isn’t Eligible
If your vehicle doesn’t meet Uber’s vehicle requirements, don’t worry. You don’t need to rush out and buy a new car before applying.
Apply to Uber first and choose the “I need a car” option on the application. This will enable you to go through the application and background check process before spending on a new vehicle. Once you’re approved, you can deal with buying, renting, or leasing an acceptable car.
If you’d prefer to lease a car in the short-term, a short-term vehicle rental option like Turo is a popular peer-to-peer car rental service for Uber drivers. Getaround is another option to look into as well.
Using Hyrecar will save you from a long-term lease or having to buy a new car. Uber also offers approved car rental options through there Xchange program.
If you prefer to own your Uber vehicle, make sure to carefully comply with Uber’s requirements for your city and buy the newest car you can afford. Doing so will enable you to drive for longer with the same car before it ages out.
Regardless of whether you’re renting, leasing, or own the vehicle you intend to drive for Uber, it must pass an Uber vehicle inspection. This can be completed at an Uber activation center or any state-licensed auto repair shop in your area.
Uber will conduct the inspection for free at their centers or it will cost approximately $30 at your local auto repair shop. The Uber vehicle inspection checks the safety and mechanical features of your car, including the condition of your seat belts, lights, brakes, and tires.
Some cities will give you a 30-day grace period to complete the inspection and others require it prior to accepting your first passenger. You can see what the Uber Vehicle Inspection will entail by looking at the inspection form.
The vehicle you plan to use for Uber must have license plates that match the state you intend to drive in as well as up-to-date registration tags. If your city lies on the border of another state, your vehicle may be eligible for an exception.
Some states will require you to display a decal on your vehicle, indicating that you are an Uber driver. Check uber.com to see if you need to display the Uber decal.
As an Uber driver, you will need to have appropriate ridesharing car insurance. This is referred to as liability insurance, or sometimes as gap insurance, depending on who you talk to.
Your normal car insurance will not cover incidents that occur when your personal vehicle is being used to transport paying passengers. Uber offers ridesharing car insurance for drivers, but make sure to fully research your options before committing to one.
There are several different services and levels of service that Uber provides and as a driver, you can choose from among the services you are eligible to provide. Your vehicle type will determine your options.
- Uber Eats — The most flexible of all Uber options and a good starting point if you don’t meet the more stringent requirements to be an Uber driver. You can work for Uber Eats with a car, scooter, or even just a bicycle in certain cities. You’ll receive a delivery order that you pick up from the business — generally a store or restaurant — and deliver it to the eater. You’ll have to leave your vehicle to pick up the delivery from inside the business and again to hand-deliver the item to the customer’s door.
- Uber Express POOL — One of the newest and cheapest Uber ride options requires passengers to walk to pick up and drop-off points, enabling you to avoid the many detours and side trips required to pick up and drop people off at their exact addresses.
- UberPOOL — A shared door-to-door ride service that enables riders to save money by sharing rides. You can increase your hourly rate by increasing the number of rides per hour and decreasing the amount of time you are without a passenger.
- UberX — The standard Uber option that allows you to pick up anywhere from one to four passengers in a sedan. You can earn an additional $10 for each infant car seat your passengers need you to transport.
- UberXL — The Uber option which allows you to pick up anywhere from one to six passengers in a van or SUV. You will need a six-seater vehicle in order to drive for UberXL.
- UberSELECT — If you have a higher-end sedan or SUV, you could be eligible to pick up UberSELECT passengers. You’ll need to acquire enough positive Uber passenger reviews before you can drive for this service. UberSELECT vehicles include everything from Hyundais to BMWs, as long as the car has leather or vinyl seats with no tears.
- UberSUV — In order to qualify as a UberSUV driver, you need to have a luxury SUV like a Cadillac Escalade Platinum or a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. You will also need a commercial driving license and insurance and to maintain a high Uber driver rating..
- UberBLACK — If you have a black luxury car, a high Uber driver rating, and a commercial driving license and insurance, UberBLACK is for you. Some cities require UberBLACK drivers to have airport permits.
- UberWAV — Uber’s option for those drivers who are certified to safely drive and assist people with disabilities by a third party and who have a vehicle suited to transport motorized vehicles or scooters.
Higher-end Uber drivers like UberSUV or UberBLACK can always choose to accept lower-paying UberPOOL or UberX passengers, but this doesn’t work in reverse.
So try to get Uber approval for as fancy a service as you can to give yourself lots of options for earning money with Uber.
UberX Car Requirements
The most commonly used service that Uber offers it is also the cheapest. The rideshare service describes it as “everyday cars for everyday use,” while it maintains the promise that it will be “better, faster, and cheaper than a taxi.” All of which is certainly the case. The requirements for this level aren’t incredibly stringent, as outlined below:
UberX Car Requirements:
- It must seat at least four passengers, not including the driver.
- Must be a 4-door vehicle.
- The model of the vehicle should be 2004 or newer, though this varies from city to city.
Recommended cars for UberX: Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Mazda3 and Mazda6, Toyota Camry and Corolla, Ford Focus, Nissan Altima, Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Cobalt.
UberXL Vehicle Requirements
The next level of service from the rideshare firm, UberXL is “for those times when you need a bit more space.” This service is for those who own either an SUV or minivan and comes with a higher price than UberX. Similarly, the requirements aren’t much stricter.
UberXL Car Requirements:
- The car must seat at least six passengers, not including the driver.
- The model of the vehicle should be 2004 or newer, though this varies from city to city.
Recommended cars for UberXL: GMC Acadia, Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Ford Explorer, Ford Expedition, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Suburban.
UberSELECT Vehicle Requirements
This service is only available in certain states and cities, but will no doubt expand to more soon enough.
It is a more expensive option than both UberX and UberXL and comes with fare prices that reflect that. The requirements are, as you might expect, a little tighter for this level of service.
UberSELECT Car Requirements:
- An entry-level 4-door luxury sedan with a leather interior.
- Must seat at four passengers, not including the driver.
- Vehicle model year 2004 or newer.
Recommended cars for UberSELECT: Audi A3 and up, BMW 3 Series and up, all Lincolns, Mercedes C-Class and up, Volvo S60, Acura, Cadillac, Hyundai Genesis, all Infinitis.
UberBLACK and UberSUV
These are higher-grade versions of UberX and UberXL, respectively. Those who hope to drive for this level of service will require a black high-end luxury sedan or SUV. This comes with one of the highest fares available with Uber and driving standards are also expected to meet this level of quality. To get your passenger from start to finish in style, you will be required to meet the following specifications.
UberBLACK and UberSUV Car Requirements:
- Sedan or full-size SUV.
- Black exterior and interior.
- Vehicle should be at least 2014 or newer.
- Must seat at least four passengers (sedan) or six passengers (SUV).
- Driver is required to have commercial registration and insurance.
- Airport permit is required.
Recommended cars for UberBLACK: Audi A6/A7, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Recommended cars for UberSUV: Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban, Lincoln Navigator, GMC Yukon XL.
This is the top-of-the-range service. They describe it as offering the “finest cars with prices to match,” and only allow drivers with a vehicle from one of the world’s most luxury brands to cater to its passengers, who are looking for that little something extra in their service.
UberLUX Car Requirements:
- Those who drive for this service are required to have commercial insurance.
- Vehicle is required to be 2010 or newer.
- This service is only available in select cities such as Miami, Los Angeles, and NYC.
Recommended cars for UberLUX: Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Porsche Panamera, Tesla Model S, Range Rover.
Uber Driver Earnings
How much you can make as an Uber driver will depend on where you are driving and your availability.
Some cities have a greater demand for drivers and higher fares. Drivers across the U.S. can expect to average between $10–$25 an hour.
Drivers in busy cities like New York or San Francisco can expect to earn on the higher end, and drivers in places where most people have their own cars, like Nashville, will likely earn on the lower end.
No matter where you live or which Uber service you choose to drive for, working for as a ridesharing driver is a great way to make money with complete control over your schedule and workload.