UBER Driver Ridesharing Gig Program Review
By now, most of us are familiar with how Uber works: When people need a ride somewhere, they use the Uber app to summon the nearest driver. If you’re a driver and you happen to be nearby, you’ll get pinged to pick up the passenger, escorting him or her to their destination. There’s a little bit more to it than that, of course—the Uber ratings system, an expectation for you to offer bottled water or mints to passengers, etc.—but that’s the gist. As an Uber driver, you get paid to cart people to and fro, all in your own personal vehicle. You don’t get paid a flat rate for driving for Uber, but rather you’re compensated per gig.
There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility that comes from Uber driving, and to hear some tell it, you can actually make a decent wage through this ridesharing program—but is Uber everything it’s cracked up to be? Is is the best gig for you? We’ll try to help you make that determination in this program overview.
What Do You Need to Drive for Uber?
The main prerequisites for driving for Uber are having a vehicle and a valid driver’s license. There’s certainly no technical training you need to take this gig, which is part of the appeal—Uber makes it accessible for anyone to sign up.
With that said, some people are simply better cut out than others to drive for Uber. If nothing else, you’ll need to know your way around the market. Yes, Google Maps can help, but the bottom line is, if you’re brand new in town and aren’t really familiar with the back roads, Uber isn’t something we’d recommend for you.
Getting Paid to Drive for Uber
When you sign up as an Uber driver, you’re signing on as an independent contractor. You’ll get paid once a week, which is nice, and you’ll have to file 1099 tax return, which isn’t as nice. Regardless, it’s pretty different from being a salaried employee.
But how much will you actually make driving for Uber? That’s a complicated question. For one thing, you’re paid per gig, so the bottom line will depend on how good you are at picking up passengers.
Uber passengers pay a flat rate according to both total miles and total time in the vehicle—but Uber takes a cut of that, 20 percent. On average, an Uber ride costs somewhere between $12 and $15, which means that the driver will pocket somewhere in the vicinity of 10 bucks or so, after Uber takes its cut.
But wait—there are other expenses to keep in consideration. Uber does not compensate drivers for gas, vehicle upkeep, taxes, insurance, or general wear and tear on the vehicle, so all of those things eat into your bottom line. We’re not saying any of this to dissuade you from driving for Uber. Just factor all the expenses into your calculations as you try to decide whether Uber is right for you.
Expert UBER driver Randy Lee Shear covers the end all be all question — is it worth it to drive for modern day UBER? While his answer may surprise you, it is important to understand this topic is relative to your own current walk in life.
Does Driving for Uber Mean You Can Set Your Own Hours?
A big part of the appeal in driving for Uber is the flexibility. You can technically set your own hours, working when you want, as much or as little as you want. To be successful, though, you’re somewhat bound to the hours of peak Uber demand. You’ve got to really do some research into your market to determine when and where you need to be in order to get the most passengers.
Something else to factor in is that Uber sometimes has surge hours—basically, higher prices for those times when there are a lot of passengers but relatively few drivers. You might make more money off the passengers here, but there is also going to be a bigger pool of Uber drivers who all have the same idea. So, it’s not always a good way to boost your revenues.
Again, these are just things to think about as you consider driving for Uber: There can be flexibility here, but if you really want to maximize your revenues, you have to put in the legwork of figuring out when the golden hours are in your market.
What About the Ratings System?
Something else to note about driving for Uber is that all drivers maintain ratings on a 1-5 star scale; each passenger will be asked to rate their experience with you, which goes toward that average. The thing to note here is that you really need to get 5-star ratings. Getting a 4-star score may seem pretty good, until you realize that Uber wants its drivers to average 4.6 or higher—else, you’ll receive warnings about being fired as an Uber driver.
So how do you get 5-star ratings? Study this ‘5 Stars’ skit from Saturday Night Live. Just kidding. There are a lot of factors that come into play, but they really just boil down to being kind and pleasant; avoiding road rage; having a clean vehicle; and always knowing where you’re going. If you can be well-mannered and polite, and not get lost along the way, you’ll probably do alright, generally speaking.
If you are, however, curious about what you can do maintain a high rating, check out our 9 Creative Ways to Get UBER Passengers to Give You a 5-Star Rating post.
Will Uber Provide You with a Car?
We recommend Uber primarily for those who own their vehicle outright. If you don’t have a car and still want to drive for Uber, you can lease a vehicle directly from the company—but this isn’t really advisable in most situations. It simply cuts into your profit margins too much to make Uber driving worth it.
Final Thoughts on Driving for Uber
Uber remains one of the highest profile gigging jobs you can find, and it’s definitely something to look into. Just be aware that it may involve more of a hustle than you first imagine.
One note we’ll make: You’ll have the best bottom line results by augmenting your Uber income with other gigs. You can always drive for Lyft and Uber at the same time, or else spend some time doing work for GrubHub or VidoTek. Uber alone may not cut it, but it can be an important part of your gigging income.