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Career Guide | How to Become an Uber Driver

uber driver

Should you become an Uber or Lyft driver and are you missing out?

Passenger fares have never been lower, but the jury is still out on whether the ride-sharing gig is worthwhile for its drivers. We’re going to cover not only how to get in on the ride-share driving business, but how much you can expect to earn as well.

Explore this Guide:

Ride-sharing services are one of the fastest growing companies of our time. Ride-sharing apps appeal to potential drivers because they can come from all walks of life, they can be self-employed, and they get to be in control of their own hours. For passengers the appeal of ride-sharing services is the convenience of hailing and paying for their ride all on their phone.

Ride-hailing companies have really grown into a giant business—Uber alone exists in 63 different countries and is operating in over 700 cities. They’ve also recently broadened their platform to include not just car services but bikes, scooters, food delivery, and even freight. In the future they also hope to add air taxis and driverless cars to their many services.
Needless to say, the ride-sharing app business is growing and here to stay.

You’re probably wondering now how you can get in on this flexible form of self-employment and never answer to a boss again! But before you download the app, quit your job, and hop in your car, hear us out, because becoming a driver for a ride-share business may not pay as well as you’d think.

How to Become an Uber Driver

First, to become an Uber driver you must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in your city
  • Have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if you are under 23 years old)
  • Have a valid US driver’s license
  • Meet vehicle requirements (an eligible 4-door vehicle)

Second, if you meet these requirements then you share the following documents:

  • A valid US driver’s license
  • Proof of residency in your city, state, or province
  • Proof of vehicle insurance if you plan to drive your own car
  • A driver profile photo
  • Must be a forward-facing, centered photo including the driver’s full face and top of shoulders, with no sunglasses
  • Must be a photo only of the driver with no other subject in the frame, well-lit, and in focus; it cannot be a driver’s license photo or other printed photograph

Third, you complete an online screening that reviews your driving record and criminal history. And that’s it! After your application is accepted you can download the uber app and start taking rides.

How to Become an Uber Eats Driver

Uber Eats is a delivery partner that has teamed up with many restaurants that don’t typically have their own delivery services. As an Uber Eats driver you deliver food orders made via the Uber Eats app. Becoming an Uber Eats driver is similar to signing up to become a driver. Once you sign up to be an Uber driver, upload the required documents, and complete the online screening you simply do the following to start receiving delivery requests:

  1. Go to your account
  2. Select vehicle options
  3. Accept delivery terms

However, when delivering for Uber eats you can also use a scooter or bike instead of a car. In order to drive either of these options for your deliveries you have to meet the following requirements.

How to Become a Lyft Driver

Uber’s rival Lyft is a newer ride-hailing company out on the roads right now. To become a Lyft driver you can visit the Lyft website to fill out their application and start their process. You’ll basically have to do the following:

  1. Fill out the application
  2. Vehicle Inspection
  3. Background check
  4. Meet the requirements of your city

How to Become a Driver without a Car

At this point you may be wondering, but how do I become an uber driver without a car? How do I become a lyft driver without a car? If you don’t have your own car to drive with, Uber has partners that can rent a car to drive with. Lyft has something similar with Lyft Express Drive. With this you can use a rental car and return it at any time, with things like insurance and standard maintenance included in the rental price.

How Much Money Do Drivers Actually Make?

How much you can really make as an Uber driver is riddled with caveats. Yes, you can earn good money from driving during surge hours and getting tips from your passengers, but then other things, like all the costs that go into having and running a vehicle, will dent your earnings. Because ride-share drivers are technically self-employed they have to take on all the costs necessary to run their business, and this is where ride-share drivers experience major disappointments in their earnings with apps like Uber.

How Much Uber Drivers Make

There are many people out there that would love a lucrative way to be self-employed, and there are many aspects of businesses like Uber and Lyft that draw in new drivers every year. There are estimated to be about 833,000 Uber driver participants in just one year. Uber has also said that their drivers can earn $75,000 to $90,000 a year, while the typical taxi driver only makes about $30,000 a year.

If these numbers were true to what most drivers are actually making then why would almost half of all drivers only stay in the business for less than a year before dropping out of the game? It is because most Uber drivers don’t end up seeing earnings this high.

In reality Uber drivers make an average of $15.68 per hour, which means Uber drivers make about $7.84 per ride, and about $109.76 per week if they work all 7 days. Surveys done by Earnest have also found that Uber drivers make $364 per month on average, which would mean that Uber drivers make an average of $4,368 per year. Uber does give drivers the ability to earn extra with surge pricing. This is when passengers fees go up during higher density hours.

How Much Lyft Drivers Make

Lyft drivers make pretty similar numbers but the difference might be just enough to make you switch apps. Lyft drivers make an average of $17.50 per hour. This means that on average they make about $8.75 per ride, and about $122.50 per week if they work every day. Earnest also found that Lyft drivers tend to make an average of $377 per month, which would mean that Lyft drivers make an average of $4,524 per year.

earning stats

Average Earnings by City

Not all cities are created equal when it comes to the demand for ride-hailing services. How much work you can get and how much you’ll get paid on average will depending on what city you work in. But remember, many of the best cities to work in for ride-share drivers are also more expensive cities to live in, and a higher cost of living will affect your earnings as well.

The 10 BEST cities for ride-share drivers are . . .
  1. Honolulu, Hawaii at $25.55 an hour
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Long Island, New York
  4. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
  5. Westchester County, New York
  6. San Jose, California
  7. New York City
  8. Minneapolis, Montana
  9. San Francisco, California
  10. Cincinnati, Ohio at $19.18 an hour
The 10 WORST cities for ride-share drivers are . . .
  1. Buffalo, New York at $9.74 an hour
  2. San Antonio, Texas
  3. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  4. Oklahoma, Oklahoma
  5. Indianapolis, Indiana
  6. Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida
  7. Springfield, Missouri
  8. Houston, Texas
  9. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
  10. Akron, Ohio at $4.94 an hour

As you can see, drivers in some of the bottom tier cities aren’t even making minimum wage.

Average Earnings by Vehicle Class

If you were wondering how much drivers tend to make according to their vehicle class we found that information too. Overall they found that most drivers make the following according to what class of vehicle they’re driving:

  • UberX = $13.70 an hour
  • UberXL = $14.84 an hour
  • UberSELECT = $14.85 an hour
  • UberBLACK = $24.87 an hour

It would then seem like the higher class your vehicle is the better you’ll get paid, but you have to remember that you are the one paying for the more luxurious car. Passengers also pay more to ride in the higher-end vehicle types, which will affect how much demand there is each day for the vehicle class you offer.

The Cons of Being an Uber or Lyft Driver

There are actually many reasons these promising numbers don’t become a reality for most Uber drivers. First of all, there is the nature of how Uber drivers are employed (or technically not employed) which affects their pay and benefits (or the lack thereof). Then there are the many other costs that fall on the driver to pay and manage on their own. Finally there is the matter of location that dictates how much work is even available in a driver’s area.

Independent Contractors

Drivers are considered independent contractors, which means that they technically are self-employed. Sounds great right? Who doesn’t want to be their own boss? But there are a number of disadvantages to being self-employed.

Since drivers are independent contractors they have to take care of their own benefits, like insurance, and they are also in charge of all the costs of maintaining their vehicle. Below are some other cons to being an independent contractor for Uber:

  • Because you aren’t a W-2 employee, Uber is not required by any laws to pay its drivers minimum wage.
  • Because you aren’t a W-2 employee, you have to cover your own Social Security and Medicare taxes. Officially employed W-2 workers will typically only pay part of these taxes with each paycheck, while their employer pays the rest.
  • You are considered self-employed, but you still work for a business that will control and regulate aspects of your “self-employment” and control the percentage you get paid.
Demands on Your Own Pocket

Because you are only getting a percentage of your earnings, while the ride-sharing company takes the rest, this makes the personal costs of running your driving business all the more impactful on your wallet.

Instead of all the proceeds of your business going to you and your business, the ride-share app companies take a cut, and they get to decide how big a cut they get. Below are just a few examples of all the costs you have to pay out of your own pocket to run your driving business:

insurance

Insurance

Not only do you have to pay for your own health insurance—since ride-share companies won’t consider you an employee and provide any benefits—but you also have to pay for your own car insurance.


car payments

Car payments

Ride-share companies won’t provide you with a vehicle the way that other taxi companies do for their employees. Providing yourself with a vehicle to drive and work in is also all on you.


vehicle maintenance

Vehicle maintenance

Any maintenance, repairs, and general upkeep that your vehicle will need in order for you to drive is completely your own responsibility. And since you are driving your vehicle for your work it is going to need much more regular maintenance.


gas

Gas

You are not reimbursed for what you spend on gas. Business insider found that drivers can spend up to $150 on gas just in a week, and the more you work, the more you’ll be spending on gas each week.


tolls

Tolls

If you drive through any tolls your passenger will likely pay an added amount on their fare, but you will be responsible for taking care of the toll fee upfront.



Overall

A recent study was done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018 and they found that ride-share drivers may not be any better off than taxi drivers. They found that self-employed drivers only made up 35% of the driving business, and at an average $14 an hour they’re not even making a taxi driver’s salary of $30,000 a year. Because of this it seems ride-share driving truly does belong in the gig economy as more of a part-time job for extra cash, than a full-time occupation.

If working for yourself means a lot to you and the projected numbers we’ve outlined don’t look that bad, then maybe ride-share driving is still the gig for you. You can also always take advantage of Check City Title Loans to help your car stay in business. But it may also be a side gig that needs some revamping by those in charge in order to be made truly worth-while for the drivers once again.


Sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs.”

“How Much Do Nurses Make?”

How Much Do Nurses Make?

How Much Do Teachers Make?

How Much Do YouTubers Make?

Technology Policy Institute: Studying the Global Information Economy. “The Competitive Effects of the Sharing Economy: How is Uber Changing Taxis?”

Economy Policy Institute. “Uber and the labor market Uber drivers’ compensation, wages, and the scale of Uber and the gig economy.”

New York Times. “With Uber’s I.P.O., Dara Khosrowshahi Is Taking Travis Kalanick’s Company Public.”

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

Top 7 Most Commonly Forgotten Car Maintenance Items

car maintenance
 
Keeping ahead of car maintenance won’t just help your car run longer, it will help it run better too. The following are 8 of the most commonly forgotten car maintenance items that you need to be doing throughout the life of a car.

  1. Don’t let your brakes wear down
  2. Rotate and replace your tires
  3. Check your gas cap
  4. Keep your car in the garage
  5. Stay on top of oil changes
  6. Replace your air filter
  7. Change your windshield wipers out

There are a lot of reasons car maintenance is important. Maintaining your vehicle properly will help it keep it’s value in case you ever need to sell your car. Cars depreciate in value over time just by driving them, but their value will depreciate even faster if you don’t practice basic car maintenance. Keeping up with basic car maintenance also helps your car run better and live longer. Cars also get problems over time. They get older and need their parts tuned up or replaced. By keeping up with car maintenance you can mitigate depreciation and the effects of normal wear and tear.

Naturally people are conditioned to the thought process of, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” so they let a lot of these maintenance items slip because there isn’t currently a problem with their vehicle. Similar to the way most people don’t visit the dentist unless they feel like they might have a cavity. But it’s important to have a yearly dental checkup even when everything seems fine, and the same goes for your car’s care. This routine maintenance will end up saving you money in the long run and allow you to build more equity in your vehicle which will come in handy if you ever need an auto title loan.

#1: Don’t let your brakes wear down

Breaks are an important part of car safety. Have you ever felt your car start shaking and hear grinding as you brake? That’s a sign that your brakes are just about to fail. You don’t want to risk getting anywhere near this level. Change them when they squeal or get too thin. Don’t continue to drive on them when you know they need replaced.

#2: Rotate and replace your tires

Your tread will wear out unevenly depending on the tire’s location. To redistribute that wear, have your tires rotated every six months. Tire rotation is one of the cheaper repairs you can get, costing anywhere between 24 and 120 dollars.
vehicle maintenance
Eventually you’ll also need to replace your tires. ‘Worn out’ doesn’t mean until your tires pop or become completely bald. In fact, the closer your tires get to bald, the more likely you are to get a blow-out, not to mention losing all traction on slippery roads.

Your state likely has a legal limit for how short your tire tread can be. Find out what’s legal for your state and keep an eye on your tread depth. If you deal with wet roads it’s a good idea to replace your tires when they have 4/32 inchesof remaining tread depth. Replace tires that are worn out to make sure you make it safely from point A to point B.

#3: Check your gas cap

Over the years, your gas cap can lose its seal as the rubber warps, breaks, or just wears down. This can cause you to lose gas mileage and can often turn your “check engine light” on. It can also cause moisture to get into your gas tank and hurt your engine’s performance.

Most gas caps are designed to last up to 100,000 miles. When you see your gas cap is getting old, pick up a new one and swap it out. They are usually cheap and easy to replace yourself.

#4: Keep your car in the garage

This isn’t a traditional maintenance item, but it is an important one that many forget about. A car is an investment, and exposing it to the outside elements for years can do a number to your car, and not just to the paint job. Keeping your car outdoors will depreciate it’s value over time much faster than if you keep it inside a garage.

Clean out the garage and make space to fit your cars into designated spots inside. Garages are often full of junk you’ll never use again anyway. Sell the junk, keep what you need, and organize what you keep better to get the most out of your garage space.

How to Organize Your Garage
    1. Remove everything from the garage.
    2. Get rid of things and put everything else into categories.
      • Examples of categories: Seasonal (like Christmas decorations), Biking, Tools, Gardening
    3. Clean the garage.
      • Sweep and wash the floors and walls, paint, and do any other renovations your garage might need.
    4. Install organization units.
      • Overhead storage on the ceiling
      •  Cabinets
      • Storage bins
      • Peg boards
      •  Shelving
      • Wall hooks and racks
      • Work bench and table
    5. Move all your things back into the garage now with everything in a planned out place, along with your car that now fits!

#5: Stay on top of oil changes

Depending on what kind of oil you get, you’ll only need to come in once every 7,500 to 10,000 miles to change your oil. Whatever the recommendation your oil gives you, stick to it. The consequence of not doing so is dirty oil passing through your engine. The more debris that makes it through means more damage to the engine.

Also, if you’re not keeping track of your oil levels, your engine could be burning more oil than you’re putting in. Should your oil run too low, your engine could seize up because temperatures run too hot. Not only does your oil keep the engine lubricated, but it also helps transfer heat out.

#6: Replace your air filter

Your engine requires a proper mixture of air and gasoline to run most efficiently. Your car sucks in enough air to mix with the fuel as it moves through the engine. The last thing you want to come in with that air is any dirt or debris from the earth. The debris will hurt the inside of your engine.

An air filter is placed in the way of all incoming air to catch all the debris. The filter can get so dirty that it actually blocks air flow, changing the air-gasoline mixture and reducing your engine’s effectiveness. You can usually tell that your filter is too dirty because the dirt looks caked onto the fibers. Change it before it reaches that point.

Generally you should change your air filter between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. If you drive on a lot of unpaved, dirt roads than you may need to change it more frequently.

#7: Change your windshield wipers out

Too often drivers don’t think about their windshield wipers because they only use them when it rains. They’ll go well over a year without changing their wipers. In the meantime, the rubber on the blades have started to crack, rip, and break, making them ineffective.

When they start missing large sections of water, making lots of squeaking sounds, or smearing your window instead of cleaning it, you know it’s time to change them. As a general rule you should replace your windshield wipers every 6 to 12 months.
 
Basic car maintenance and upkeep is an important thing for every car owner to get used to. If you take proper care of your vehicle you can rely on your car more. It will also help your car live longer and run better throughout its life. Then, when it eventually comes time to sell or trade in your car, it will have much more value than if you slacked on basic car maintenance. Keeping up with car maintenance can also help you out if you ever need a title loan.

READ MORE
Watch a video from Lowes about “How to Organize Your Garage.”

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