For people who have been laid off from their jobs, prefer to work from home, or just want to make some extra money, driving for Uber can be a great option. You probably know someone (or someone who knows someone) who drives for them.
However, there are some requirements before you can start driving for Uber. First things first: you’re going to need a smartphone since the main way the company works is through their app which alerts drivers to people in the area who have requested a ride.
You must be over 21 years old (sorry teenagers who just got their license!) and have a valid driver’s license. Uber has some specifications when it comes to what kind of car you can drive, but luckily they aren’t overly rigid. The car you drive to pick up passengers must be a four-door sedan and can’t be older than 2001. In some cities, for instance the Big Apple, the car must be 2011 or newer. If you have an older luxury car, like a classic Mercedes, Uber may make an exception. The car also needs to be insured, but Uber will take care of additional commercial insurance once you start working for them.
You may be wondering: “How does Uber ensure the safety of its passengers? I mean, they’re getting into the car of someone they don’t know at all.” The answer to this very valid question is that Uber will perform criminal background checks on those applying to be drivers. It’s best for everyone involved that a person doesn’t get into a car with someone who frequently drives under the influence of alcohol or throws them a ski mask and informs them that they’re about to rob a bank. Just being a bit sarcastic there, but the point remains – criminal background checks, while they can be a nuisance for the applicant, are very important!
There’s also an interview you have to go through before driving for the company, but this is similar to any other job interview. Something unique to Uber is their rating system. After dropping off a passenger, they will rate you on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, and you can also rate them on the same scale. If you provide amicable, professional service, this isn’t something you need to worry about.
Most people will be gracious and generally grateful that you gave them a ride – you don’t need to be some super charismatic conversationalist or anything like that. Uber prefers its drivers keep their rating at 4.6 stars or higher – if your rating hits 4.2 or lower, you will be called in to talk to management and possibly not be able to drive for them anymore. On the other hand, if you have a really irritating or rude passenger, feel free to give them a poor rating, which will cause other drivers to be less eager to pick them up (your Uber driver brethren will certainly be grateful!).
The great thing about driving for Uber is that you can plan your own schedule. If you’re busy or sick, simply turn the app on your phone off and you won’t be notified of potential jobs. It’s a good idea, though, to know the best times to drive. You’ll want to be working at the busiest times so that you can make the most money possible. Uber calls these “surge” times, and driving at these times adds a “surge multiplier” to your earnings.
How much money can a person make driving for Uber? The company itself claims that around $25 an hour is the median for a driver averaging 1.3 rides each hour. This is pretty good money relative to other jobs. Keep in mind, however, that this number doesn’t take into account things like car insurance or bridge tolls. Also, some drivers have disputed this number. In truth, how much you can make seems to vary based on the current time and how many passengers you can get each working day. $25 an hour, and even more in some cases, is certainly possible. Some drivers advise handing out some candy (which you can buy in bulk) to try and secure a tip from your passenger, increasing your daily earnings.
If you’re looking for some good money, have a vehicle that fits the company’s requirements, enjoy cruising around, and hopefully meeting some interesting, friendly folks, Uber is a good choice for you. There’s a reason that the company is growing so quickly these days!