Want to make money as an Uber driver? Driving for Uber in 2021 is one of the best side hustles you can have. Uber is now in over 600 cities, has provided 6 billion total rides, and users take 15 million rides every day (source). That means there’s huge potential for drivers to cash in and earn good money.
What is Uber?
If you’ve been living under a rock the last 10 years, Uber is a rideshare service that works like taxis do. The Uber service uses a smartphone app you can download for Android or iPhone, where clients can ask for a ride and pay for it using their credit cards.
It’s one of the best ways to make money with your car.
One of the main benefits of using Uber from a customer point of view is the simplicity. Riders just enter their destination and wait for their driver to arrive. No need to use cash, as the driving cost will be billed directly to the client’s credit card. It really is that simple.
Uber’s growth has been phenomenal and has disrupted an entire industry. Uber has raised tons of money to help grow their business, this has helped contribute to the amazing rate of growth that has helped the company explode around the world. Uber is valued at over 75 billion dollars, all without owning a single vehicle (source).
Since Uber has no vehicles, it’s not responsible for buying cars, servicing them, auto insurance, and damages. Not only that but since they don’t directly employ drivers, they’re not responsible for sick pay, health insurance, or retirement accounts.
This savings in expenses is passed onto the consumer and is how they are able to offer rides cheaper than a traditional taxi service.
But what about for drivers, is there a benefit? That’s what I hope to cover in this post.
Uber has become a good source of income for hundreds of drivers worldwide, so you may be asking yourself, how do I become a driver for Uber? Well, as you will see in this article, it’s actually not that hard to achieve.
So let’s run through becoming an Uber driver so you can sign up and start making money.
How to sign up as an Uber driver
To register as a Uber driver, first, you will need to go to their website Uber.com and start a drivers’ profile. There you will be asked for:
- Your email
- Full name
- City of residence
- What kind of vehicle do you drive
The process is quite fast so it will not take you more than a few minutes to complete this section. After creating your account, you will be asked to submit a couple of documents, those being :
- Your driver license
- Car registration form
- Proof of insurance
You will also be asked to provide some further general information so the company can run a background check on you.
Background checks are an extremely important part of Uber’s business model. They need to be as sure as possible that any drivers working for them will not be likely to cause a problem for any of their riders. They need to make their riders feel as safe as possible at all times.
The background check is a standard procedure that takes a few days to be completed. To pass the background check, you will need to have a clean driving record, no DUI or drug-related offenses, no incidents of driving without insurance or license, no involvement in fatal accidents, no history of reckless driving, and no criminal history.
After providing the information, and as long your application does not run into any problems with their background checks, you will be approved as an independent contractor. The company will then provide all the information necessary to be a successful driver.
You then basically need to have a smartphone to use their app and your car – that’s it!
Setting up your car
You need to make sure that your car is set up as best as you possibly can so you and your riders feel safe and comfortable when you are driving.
You now need to treat your vehicle like your office, take good car of it, keep it organized, clean and presentable to make a good impression on the customers.
Ensure that your phone is securely mounted to the dashboard so you can make full use of the app and use a Bluetooth handsfree headset, no talking on the phone while driving!
Now that you know how to set up your car, you need to get used to using the app on your phone, as you’ll be using it to pick up passengers, get directions, and get paid.
How to use the Uber app
When a customer uses the Uber app and selects their pickup spot and destination, you will receive a notification on your phone if the route falls under your established area of service.
If you choose to service the potential booking, a map will appear on your screen and guide you to the customer and then to their desired destination.
The in-app map will show you street by street directions to all your destinations. So as you can see, the app will be your best ally, treat it nicely.
Once the trip is completed, new nearby requests will appear on your screen and it’s up to you to continue driving or call it a day.
The client also has the ability to rate each driver, so reviews will be an important part of being an Uber driver, so keep in mind that great service can help you towards becoming a successful driver.
The app works great for the customer as well. They can see your location, an approximate time for when you will be arriving, your vehicle information, and a picture of you – their driver.
That really offers peace of mind for the individual making the booking, they know exactly who the driver is that they will be meeting, when, and what car to look out for.
Tracking your earnings
The Uber driver’s app will be your best tool for this work because it will not only show you your bookings but it will also help you track your earnings.
After every trip, you will see exactly how much you have earned during the course of the day, as well as summaries and graphs of your earnings.
One of the best benefits of working with Uber is that you don’t need any cash because all payments are made through the app. As mentioned before, the app will show you your exact rates after every trip but there’s even more.
The app will show you the most profitable spots near you, so you’ll always have the possibility to earn as much as possible for each trip.
Planning can really help maximize your day and with a bit of luck, you could really earn some good money if the destinations and schedules of your routes fall into place.
Uber high demand alerts
The app will also send you alerts and updates about local events and promotions in your city. This way you can make the most of busy periods in the area when you have the chance of being more in demand.
For example if there’s a concert or a festival you can really try to service the relevant area as much as possible. The potential demand for your use will be higher due to a higher density of people being in one area on the same occasion.
Payments through Uber
As payment goes, you can add a bank account to get your funds sent to you weekly.
However, if you want to be paid quicker, you can add a debit card. To truly get immediate payment, you’ll need an Uber debit card. With this, you can cash out up to 5 times per day and get your money right away.
Your Uber work schedule
With Uber, there isn’t a work schedule per se, you can work as much as or as little as you want to. So you can drive all day or just a couple of hours a day, it is your choice.
You might be looking to work full time with Uber or it could be just to earn some extra money outside of your current role employment e.g. weekends or evenings.
Of course, the more hours you put in the likelihood of earning an extra income will become more possible.
Now let’s talk about driver security. The company is committed to ensuring drivers and passengers safety, and their commitments start even before the trip.
The first thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as anonymous passengers at Uber. Each customer needs to create an account before using the service. The account is necessary for all passengers and they need to provide their phone number and payment information before they can request a ride.
What does it mean to you as a driver? You will always know who you are picking up and so will the company. Also, your payment is always assured as the charge for the ride is billed directly to the rider’s credit card.
It’s really important to know that your personal information as driver, can’t be accessed by the clients, just the company, so your personal information stays private and is not shared publicly.
If for any reason you feel insecure with your passenger, you’re in your right to call the police or contact the company. They could sanction the passenger and even ban him or her from using the service again.
The same way works for the driver. Bad reviews could make Uber ban you from using the app, so take that into account. Remember, great reviews equals better job opportunities in the future.
Talking a little more about safety, as a driver, you’ll have access to 24/7 company support, so Uber can answer or try to help you with any complaints, doubts, or problems you may encounter during your work shift.
Uber also have direct connections with local police and law enforcement, so they will be always able to help you, no matter what problem you may have, the company will always have your back.
Driver and passenger ratings
As mentioned before, Uber relies on users feedback in order to maintain your reputation as a driver. This is really important as you want to be a successful driver in order to maximize your potential earnings.
The most important thing about being an Uber driver is the interaction with the passenger. As already mentioned, reviews by both parts are an essential part of your success as a driver.
Customer service is a must, so be as polite and dynamic with the passenger as possible, so you can increase your chances of a good review.
So, how you may treat a rider? First, have in mind that based on Uber rules, the client is always right. It is the same ideology as in any workplace.
This doesn’t mean that the rider can disrespect you, but you need to be as tolerant as possible. Take into account that there is a potential that a percentage of your clients could be alcohol-induced, so be tolerant and patience could be required on a high level, will you need to have a good strong mindset in this type of situation.
Once you have enough reviews, clients will be able to see them, so the more reviews you have – and hopefully the reviews will be as high as possible – the higher the possibilities of getting new clients.
Also, you have the ability to rate your passenger after every trip to help assist the company in keeping track of your safety. Customers with bad reviews could be banned from using the service again in the future.
Benefits of driving for Uber
Driving for Uber also has its benefits. Drivers qualify for access to exclusive discounts on phone plans, car maintenance and fuel cost through Uber’s partners.
They will also help you find health insurance, auto insurance as well as financial management.
As you can see, there are some benefits while working with the company and these will probably grow as the company expands even further.
How much can you make with Uber?
According to Uber, drivers net an average of twenty-five dollars an hour in the United States with an average of 1.3 rides per hour. In a 2014 study, Buzzfeed News followed eight drivers to see what their hourly wages were.
The drivers netted hourly wages of $15.22, $21.17, $27.54, $32.90, $36.88, $37.12, and $38.25. They worked between 5.78 and 42.65 hours per week. Overall, their combined hourly wage during this time was $31.61.
Now it seems like a lot of money to be earned easily, but you have to take into account fuel and car maintenance to calculate how much you will actually make each hour.
What taxes do you need to pay?
What about taxes on your earnings? Uber drivers do pay taxes. Drivers are technically not an employee of Uber and are considered independent contractors.
Every tax year, drivers are sent a 1099 form which says how much money Uber paid out to them during the previous year. You get a copy and the IRS also gets a copy.
A 1099 is different than a W2 form that you may be accustomed to. When you’re a regular employee you receive a W2 where taxes are already deducted from each check.
With a 1099 though, no taxes are paid up front. That might sound good as you start to get paid, but if you’re not saving your money for tax time, it could be a bad wake up call come April 15.
When you’re a regular employee, your employer pays for half of your social security taxes and you pay the other half. But as an independent contractor, you are solely responsible for social security taxes (currently 12.4%).
Tax deductions available to Uber drivers
The good news? There are a lot of tax deductions available so you can lower your tax liability. For example, as an alternative to using actual expenses for fuel and maintenance, the IRS allows you to deduct 54.5 cents for every mile driven for business purposes.
Keep in mind, this isn’t just for the miles you drive your passengers. You can also deduct the number of miles it takes for you to pick up passengers as well.
Other common tax deductions Uber drives can take are:
- Toll fees.
- Car washes.
- Parking fees.
- AAA Roadside Assistance.
- Smartphone costs.
Remember that the only deductions you can take are the ones that are directly related to your job with Uber.
Wrapping it up
Many drivers express that they love being in charge of their working life and the thrill of being their own boss and that driving for Uber has been quite a great experience but they also had experiences with rude passengers, bad weather, and increasing fees.
Uber is part of a new generation of transportation options. The reality is that the world is changing day by day, and people’s needs are changing with it. Companies like Uber are transforming the classic taxi cab approach so you may have read a bit (or maybe a lot) of bad press about Uber and other similar companies.
Being a driver for Uber is not only a way to generate income and have the opportunity to work on your own terms but it’s also a way of contributing to the future of transportation.
Most importantly, with the passing of time, more companies like Uber are joining up the business of “collective transportation for a new generation”.
And thus, showing the world, that maybe we’re observing the first steps of what could be the disappearance of traditional collective or public transportation, the end of the traditional taxis, and watching the rise of a new kind of business, one full of independent workers, available all day, every day.
Until next time,