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Did you know that, according to data from Intuit, gig economy workers already make up an incredible 34% of the workforce in the US, and that figure is expected to grow to 43% by 2020?
The growth of the gig economy is creating more and more ways for people to pick up side hustles and start making money from home or online, which means now is the perfect time to ditch the 9-to-5 and start working for yourself.
The reason that I personally love the gig economy so much is that it empowers people to make money on their own, without a boss. It puts you in control of your own income. It puts you in the ‘driver’s seat’, so to speak, of your own life.
And speaking of being in the driver’s seat, Uber – an employer of more than 2 million self-employed drivers across the world – is very much the poster child for the gig economy.
That’s why, today, I’m going to be diving into a complete Drive for Uber review. I’m going to be telling you all about:
- What Uber is
- How Uber works
- Uber requirements
- How much Uber drivers Earn
And much more! Ready? Let’s start with the basics.
What is Uber?
Uber (Uber Technologies Inc.) is a tech company that revolutionized the taxi and food delivery industries when it was founded back in 2009.
Uber created the first mainstream taxi app, a smartphone app that connects customers to taxi drivers at the push of a button. Because of its success, the name ‘Uber’ has become synonymous with this app and a part of the mainstream global lexicon.
Since their inception, they’ve expanded rapidly to become the leading taxi provider in more than 400 cities across the world, stealing a huge amount of the market share from traditional regional taxi service providers in the process.
Unlike traditional taxi companies, Uber drivers are always self-employed. They don’t have regular contracts. Rather, they can work whenever they want, completely flexible, and be paid based on the number of hours worked each week.
This flexible approach provides a myriad of benefits for both drivers and customers. Contrary to popular belief, taxi journeys booked through Uber are usually cheaper than traditional taxi services.
Drive for Uber: Pros And Cons
Like any job, driving for Uber isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are both pros and cons of being an Uber driver. To help you decide whether or not it’s the right job for you, let’s take a look at some of them.
Pros of Driving for Uber
- 100% flexible working hours. You can drive 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This also means you can fit it in as a side income around your full-time day job.
- No boss, uniforms, or workplace. A lot of people like the sense of freedom that comes with working for themselves.
- Opportunities to meet new people. As an Uber driver, you’ll interact with a full spectrum of personalities and meet all sorts of interesting people.
- Work from the comfort of your own car.
- Relaxing work that takes you across the city and lets you explore new places.
Cons of Driving for Uber
- As you’ll be self-employed as an independent contractor, you have to take care of your own tax.
- You’ll have little income stability as your paycheck will vary depending on how many jobs you pick up week to week. This means it’s more important to budget correctly as you won’t have a steady income.
- In some cities, demand for drivers can be low at certain times of day, so you may have to work hours you’d prefer to avoid.
- You’re responsible for your own car maintenance, so do your best to reduce your car maintenance costs.
- Aside from the income, being self-employed as a driver for uber lacks other employment benefits such as health insurance and pension payments.
- You’re at the mercy of passenger reviews as your rating is crucial.
Of all of the cons above, the last is probably the biggest complaint voiced by most driver partners. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what your rating is and why it’s important.
Your Uber Driver Rating & Why It’s Important
Your Uber Driver Rating is the average rating you’ve received across all your rides. At the end of each journey, your passenger is invited to rate your service via the Uber app.
A lot of the time, your passenger won’t fill this in at all. If they don’t, this doesn’t affect your rating, but if they do, it’s factored into your total average rating.
When your total average rating falls below 4.6, Uber will deem this unsatisfactory and you’ll be at risk of deactivation.
In other words, if you don’t maintain a good rating, you’ll be fired from the platform.
That might seem worrying, but despite the fact that 4.6 seems pretty high, it’s actually not. You’d have to be a pretty poor driver to drop below that threshold as only 2-3% of drivers have a rating of less than 4.6. The vast majority have a better rating.
So what can you do to make sure you maintain a good rating? Well, it basically comes down to not giving your riders cause for complaint.
This article provides some great insight into this and talks about exactly how the rating system works and what the most frequent rider complaints are, but here’s the gist of it:
- Bad route/city knowledge is the top cause for passenger complaint and low ratings, so use a GPS.
- A bad attitude is the second most common complaint, so be polite and friendly.
- Poor driving is the third, so drive safely.
- Car quality is the fourth, so keep your car clean and comfortable.
- Using your phone while driving is the fifth, so don’t do it.
Uber Driver Requirements
Ok, now that we’ve covered what Uber is and talked a little bit about why you might want to drive for them, let’s look at what requirements you’ll need to meet to be able to do that.
According to the official Uber website, here’s what you need to become a driver partner:
- Meet the legally required minimum driving age in your city
- A valid driver’s license
- Be able to provide proof of residency
- Have at least 1 year of driving experience
- Clear a background check
- Car insurance (if you want to drive your own vehicle)
The background check will include a criminal check and you’ll be disqualified if you’ve had 3 or more minor traffic incidents like speed tickets within the past 3 years. There’s a bunch of other stuff that will disqualify you to, which you can find the details of here.
This same article also outlines the different car requirements for different types of different types of Uber cars, so check that out if you plan on driving your own car and want more information.
The standard car requirements, though, are as follows:
- The vehicle has 4 doors and room for 4 passengers
- It must be no more than 15 years old (this varies by city and may be lower)
- You should have valid in-state car insurance, a valid registration and number plates
- It must pass an Uber vehicle inspection
That’s pretty much all you need to know about requirements, now let’s move on to the big question…
How Much Do Uber Drivers Get Paid?
Finding a definitive answer about how much you can actually make working for Uber is difficult as there are a lot of variables to consider.
Uber’s official website advertises that drivers can earn $25 per hour, but actual drivers report that their actual earning are a lot less than this. What you can actually earn as an Uber driver is dependent on a number of factors including:
In some locations across the US, Uber is much more widely used, making it easier for drivers to earn a consistent wage during the hours they work. Uber drivers working in large cities like NYC earn more on average than drivers working in less developed areas and small towns.
Demand for Uber drivers varies depending on the time of day. Drivers that consistently work during evenings and weekends report earnings of $20 per hour+. In addition to this, working during times when the price is ‘surging’ can increase your income substantially.
Obviously, the number of total hours you clock will play a big part in how much you earn. If you work 8 hours a day and fill a big chunk of that with journeys, you should be able to make a full-time income.
Your rating and acceptance will play a part in how many rides get sent through to you. Therefore, the higher the rating, the more journeys you’ll complete, and the more you’ll earn per hour.
How to Maximize your Income as an Uber As An Uber Driver
If you’re considering starting a career, or just a side hustle as an Uber driver, then the amount you can earn is probably the thing you are most focused on.
As Driving for Uber doesn’t offer you a set income, it’s always a good idea to do what you can to maximize your income when you’re working.
The good news is that this is quite easy to do when working with Uber. Some things you can try include:
It might seem a bit cliche, but a smile goes a long way when it comes to driving for Uber, or any ridesharing app. If you’re friendly, polite and make your customers feel comfortable during their ride, they’re more likely to give you a good review which will help you to secure more rides.
As well as this, most people choose to tip taxi drivers, so if you’re customers have an overwhelmingly positive experience riding with you, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to boost your incomes with tips.
Have a High Acceptance Rate
With Uber, the more jobs you accept, the easier it will become to get more rides going forward. If you’re accepting over 80% of rides when you’re online, this can help you to secure more rides, but if you constantly reject jobs, it can negatively impact your account.
Drive for Uber Eats
Uber also has a partner app, UberEats, which focuses on delivering food from local restaurants to customers. If you’re having a long day, and you don’t feel like driving people around and chatting, then you could boost your income by delivering instead.
Once you’ve been accepted as an Uber driver, signing up to become a delivery driver for Uber Eats is really easy, so it’s worth doing, even if you don’t plan on using the app very often.
Work More Hours
If you have a lot of free time, and you’re really keen on earning some extra dollars, then working more can help you to maximize your Uber driver income.
The app allows drivers to work for up to 10 hours at a time before you’ll be obliged to take an 8-hour break, so it’s easy to work a lot of hours if you really want to.
How to Apply to Be an Uber Driver
Signing up to be an Uber is quite easy, given that you meet all of the requirements we mentioned earlier. To get started you first need to sign up for an account on their website
You’ll then be asked to fill out some details and choose whether you do or don’t need a car. If you have your own car, it’s a little easier to get started, if you need to hire a car from Uber, the process may be slightly longer.
Once you’ve ensured that your vehicle meets your cities requirements you can begin uploading documents to your account.
Uber will be asked you to upload clear copies of documents like your driver’s license and car insurance.
Once your documents have been reviewed and approved, you can then download the app and fill in your payment information, so you can start getting paid for your rides.
At this point, you should be ready to get in your car, hit ‘go online’ and accept your first ride.
Reviews from Uber drivers
Ubers gets relatively good ratings across the various reviewing platforms, as you can see here:
Glassdoor: 4.2 / 5
Indeed: 3.8 / 5
iTunes: 4.6 / 5
The overarching opinion from most Uber reviews available online is that the app works well and it truly is a job that you can do on your own schedule. Some of the most positive comments about working as an Uber driver include:
“I highly recommend driving for Uber. The app is easy to use and you can drive whenever you want, making Uber one of the best employers you could ask for.”
“As a student, it was convenient to work the hours that worked around my schedule. Good if you want to get a couple drives in before class and in-between classes.”
“Easy way to make extra income. Make your own schedule, work when you want. A way to meet a lot of new people. Drive around the city and discover new places.”
However, as with most things, there were also some negative comments about driving for Uber. Most of the common complaints focused on the lack of demand for drivers.
In some cases, drivers complained that there weren’t enough jobs available, and therefore their income was much lower than the average income advertised by Uber.
Another common complaint was regarding how much data and battery the Uber App uses, however, most people recommend renting a cell phone from the company for $10 per week, which covers all data costs.
Alternatives to Uber
Since the rising popularity of ride-sharing and app-based travel options, a lot of companies have opened up worldwide as competitors to Uber.
The most well-known alternative to Uber is Lyft an US-based ride-sharing app, which follows a similar business model. Lyft is contained to the US only, unlike Uber which is available in countries around the world.
If you’re looking for ways to make money using your car, there are some alternatives to Uber that you could try. Some of the best apps for ridesharing and delivery include:
There are also lots of other ways to make money using your car, if you’re keen to make the most of your car.
On the whole, Uber is a good company to work for if you’re looking for a legitimate side hustle that you can do on your own schedule.
Although some drivers might argue that the money could be better, most are happy with the extra income driving for Uber provides and content with the amount of work available.
Based on other reviews online, Uber seems to be the superior ride-sharing app at the moment although some people do prefer to drive for Lyft.
You can find about more about the driving to Lyft here.
Also, we always love to find out more about the apps we review, so feel free to share your experiences working with Uber in the comments!