Uber: How to Become an Uber Driver and Work For One of The Fastest Growing Companies In The World
Uber Technologies Inc., commonly known in the real world as Uber, is an American multinational online transportation company that currently operates in 480 cities worldwide, they have been shown on the news a lot, for various reasons and you must have heard of them, used the service yourself or at least know of a friend that has “ordered an Uber”
If not, then where have you been hiding? In this in-depth article, we will talk about Uber as a company and how to become an Uber driver. Driving for Uber is a great income earning idea.
Uber has now covered more than 2 billion rides! That means there is huge potential for you to cash in and earn yourself some extra some money.
The service uses a mobile phone application with the same name, you can download for Android or iPhone, where clients can ask for a ride and pay for it using their credit cards. It is really simple for the consumer to use, enter your collection area, delivery area and wait for your driver to arrive – no need to even handle any cash, 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 – you have probably seen the headlines in the news – a lot of taxi drivers have been and are still upset with Uber and the way it has cut travel costs for daily commuters who would in the past use “normal” taxi services, some of the negatives that have been touched upon are because of the low costs involved, for the sake of the theme of this website – earning money – will we concentrate solely on the possible earning potential that being an Uber driver offers to individuals looking to earn an additional income outside of their current employment roles.
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. After lots of financing rounds, which have brought in billions of dollars of outside investment, some reports place the value of the company at over $60 billion, that is a huge value to be placed on a company, especially considering the short amount of time that the company has actually been operating and the best part of the companies strategy ? They do not even own one vehicle!
It is amazing to think that the world’s biggest taxi company does not even own one vehicle, similar to how Air BnB, the world’s largest “hotel” website does not even own any hotels or property, these types of companies have redefined how business’s are being established and structured.
As Uber does not own any vehicles they are therefore not responsible for any repair or maintenance costs which may occur, the driver is responsible for the upkeep of their own car e.g. mechanical problems, tyre repairs etc. which will result in huge savings for the company and as they do not directly employ any drivers they are not responsible for any sick pay, employment benefits etc. again, this leads to huge savings and investors love this approach and are therefore happy to plough investment money into the company.
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 get started asap.
To register as a Uber driver, first, you will need to go to their website www.uber.com and start a driver’s profile. There you will be asked for:
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 :
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 make their riders feel as safe as possible at all times.
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, provided with the Uber drivers app and 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!
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.
This video gives you an idea on how to best set up your car :
You now need to treat your vehicle like your office, take good car of it , keep it organised, 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 Bluetooth handsfree headset, no talking on the phone whilst driving!
So now we know how best to set up your car, you will need to get used to using the app on your phone, you will be using it a lot and it will become your work partner.
So how does the app work?
When a customer uses the Uber app and selects their collection point and destination point, you will receive a notification to 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. 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 you help you towards becoming a successful driver.
The app works great for the customer as well, they can see your location, an approx 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.
The Uber driver’s app will be your best tool for this work because it will not only show you your bookings etc. 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 fares 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 maximise 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.
The app will also send you alerts and updates about local events and promotions in your city so you can make the most of busy periods in the area when you have the chance of being more in demand e.g if their is a music concert on or a festival you can really try to service the relevant area as much as possible as the potential demand for your use will be higher due to a higher density of people being in one area on the same occasion. 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.
As payment goes, you decide when you get paid, either at the end of the day or at the end of each trip. You will need an Uber debit card (it’s free) and there’s no minimum amount you can withdraw at a time. Once again, your best tool? it’s going to be the app – it’s going to basically be your one and only office friend, so get used to using it a lot throughout out your driving day – just don’t start talking to it too much – it could be classed as a sign of madness….
So now we know how to sign up and start the process to become a driver, but what about the benefits and the income? and what about your working schedule ? Let’s talk about your work schedule first. There isn’t a work schedule per say, you can work as much as or as little as you want to. So you can drive all day or just a couple 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. Off course, the more hours you put in the likely hood of earning an extra income will become more possible.
Now let’s talk about driver security and benefits. 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 compulsory 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 is directly to the riders 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.
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.
Driving for Uber also has its benefits. Drivers qualify for access to exclusive discounts on phone plans, car maintenance and fuel cost trough 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 to grow as the company expands even further.
Now, you may still have some doubts about payment, fares, benefits and security, so the next few paragraphs will focus on helping you understand the pros of working with Uber as well as some others facts. Let’s starts with fares. 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. Buzzfeed News made an independent study with eight drivers in 2014 to see how much their hourly wages were. The eight 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 (Buzzfeed News, 2014).
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 after you have minused these expenditures. Most of Uber drivers consider themselves aspart-timeme drivers” meaning that they only drive a couple of hours a day. So if you decide to make it a part time or a full time job, reality is that you will have potential to make some money when planning correctly, using the app the make the most of the available routes on offer and taking advantage of busy periods e.g. shows, festivals etc. Another fact you may take into account to account is Uber’s commission on your wages, but it is variable between cities, you could factor in approx 20% in deductions on average though. Taking into account that there is no way to predict weather and events, there is not an exact way of predicting how much money you will make, but by putting in the time and effort the potential to earn a good wage is possible.
Lets talk a bit more about Uber’s driver requirements. According to the company official webpage and the site idrivewithuber.com , a community of worldwide Uber drivers, the following are the currents requirements regarding age and experience needed to be a driver for the company:
The background check is a standard procedure done by a company called Hirease and it 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 offences, no incidents of driving without insurance or license, no involvement in fatal accidents, no history of reckless driving and no criminal history.
If you’re going to use your own car (the best way to maximize your profits), your car should pass Uber’s vehicle inspection. Once everything it’s done, you will be ready to start working as a driver. There are city- specific regulations and requirements, so be sure to take a look at them.
What about taxes on your earnings? Uber drivers do pay taxes. The good news? There are a lot of tax deductions. For example, in the United States, as an alternative of using actual expenses for fuel and maintenance, the IRS allows you to deduct $0.565 for every mile driven for business purposes as an estimated cost. Taxes and deductions will vary based on your location, but you may always look out for them. There is another fact you need to know about, recruitment bonuses can actually add to your income as an Uber driver! You may have heard that Uber pays drivers a recruitment bonus when you get new clients to sign up for their service. Getting new passengers will help the company but also help yourself because those new clients could be yours! So have that in mind if you decide to become a driver.
As an Uber driver, you may be sure that your car is in optimal condition before taking the streets to work. The company gives the option of car rental via an external company like Hertz, but here is the thing, if you want to make Uber your main income source, it makes more sense to use your use your own car, at least from a financial point of view. Renting a car can decrease your income in a substantial way, so take that into account before choosing this option, you really need to keep your costs as low as possible to enhance your earning potential. Car regulations varies between each city, but a constant rule is that the car shouldn’t be older than a 2001 model. Before applying to be a driver, verify your local requirements.
Let’s take a look on one of the must attracting facts about driving for Uber : Flexibility. The company reports that the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 82% of Independent contractors in the United States prefer their work arrangement to a traditional 9-to-5 gig. That’s the new reality of the working world, every day more people want to be their own boss and Uber has presented an opportunity for them to do just that.
Now let’s review some personal experiences. The first experience comes from Martin, an Uber driver and contributor to the site studenomics.com, recalling his first weekend as a driver:
“I started off on Friday evening. I was training my buddy at the gym (always hustling to make a buck) and we had finished the workout. I decided to turn my phone on since the gym was located in a prime area for such a program. Boom. Within a few minutes, I had my first call. I jumped up and down. I ran to go pick up the passenger. I brought my buddy along for the ride (big mistake). By the third call, a gentleman freaked out on me for having an extra passenger. I went on to drive until 2am because the requests wouldn’t stop pouring in.
Saturday I went for the night rush. I wasn’t free until later in the evening. I started at about 11 and then calls went on all night again. There was just one problem. My phone died. I didn’t have a car charger. With 1% left, I picked up my brother and his buddy who were wasted at a night club to drive them home. I got home, charged my phone for a bit, and went back on the road. I did a huge call. Well, I thought I did. I forgot to press “begin ride.”
On Monday I turned the app on after my grappling class. Surprisingly calls came in. The rides varied from folks rushing to work to Tinder dates.”
Taking his experience, Martin recommends that you read Uber’s rules so that you don’t get in trouble and having a smartphone car charger always with you.
Let’s take two more experiences into account, both of them posted on the site indeed.com by current employees drivers from California, one of the most popular cities for Uber. Both of the experiences shared are anonymous but they specify their working zone. This one comes from the Los Angeles County: “Meeting different people. Networking and views of the city I’ve never seen. I learned what it means to become a self-employed person. I managed myself along with receiving leads for people that needed to travel safe and in a timely manner. My co-workers travelled the city as I did. The hardest part of the job was not wanting to stop driving. The most enjoyable part of the job was meeting new people.”
This last experience comes from the San Francisco Bay Area: “Well not so new any more, and I just wanted to say I love working for Uber, it can be tiring at time, it is busy if you want to stay busy, you make your own schedule, they have great incentives,….. no co-workers , the hardest part would be rude and disrespectful people that you take sometimes… but 85% of them are nice, so they make up for the 15% that should keep their bad behaviour at home……Otherwise , Thanks Uber for giving me a job, a car, and a life back….”
As you can now see, the driver experience is different for each person and whilst then could be a potential ugly side influenced by potential “hard work” clients , but more importantly, by the zone you choose as your working area, more affluent working areas could be easier on your ear, or it could be the exact opposite, people with money might treat you with no respect as your just their “driver”, who knows. it is all purely trial and error and as with all jobs there will be up’s and down’s in your driving experience.
Many other 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. It is really important to notice that the past accounts come from people that currently work for Uber, so they are paid by the company and also are compensated for promoting the service and attracting new customer. But if you read across the internet in general, a high percentage of reviews seem to be positive.
Important note : It must be taken into account that the driver is in charge of all car maintenance and general fixes and that the money used comes from their Uber driving incomes.
Uber is part of a new generation of transportation options. We must face the reality 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. Traditional taxis drivers all over the world had taken to the streets to protest against the company’s expansion plan, but it is time to be real. Collective transport tendencies are changing, and Uber represents just that, collective transport or “taxis” for a new generation, it has made life much easier for the consumer, instead of walking on the street at night trying to locate a taxi with no cash, you now simply use an app on your phone from the comfort of your chair in your restaurant and that provides peace of mind for the individual waiting for their driver to arrive.
Being a driver for Uber is not only a way to generate income and having the opportunity to work in your own terms but it’s also a way of contributing to the future of transportation. Every day, new clients are joining up to the service as an alternative to using their cars and with them comes a job opportunity to hundreds if not thousands of people out there that are currently unemployed, giving them an income source. Most importantly, with the past of time, more companies like Uber are joining up the business of “collective transportation for a new generation”, showing the world, that maybe we are observing the first steps of what could be the disappearance of traditional collective or public transportation, the decline of the traditional taxi and watching the rise of a new kind of business, one full of independent workers, available every day, all day.
We are definitely experiencing the evolution of transportation.
Bhuiyan, Johana. 2014. What Uber Drivers Really Make (According To Their Pay Stubs). BuzzfeedNews.