The Ultimate Guide to Making Money as an Uber Driver

Has the thought of driving for Uber ever crossed your mind? Maybe you use Uber frequently, enjoy the experience, and want to test it out as a driver. Or maybe you’re looking for ways to earn money to meet a financial goal and you’ve heard Uber is a lucrative opportunity with low barriers to entry?

Regardless of which category you fall into, it doesn’t hurt to give Uber a test run to see if it’s a good fit. But before you get started, read on to learn more about this money-making opportunity. 

How Much Can You Make Driving Uber? 

As with ridesharing platforms, like Lyft and Hitch, your earnings through Uber are determined by how much you’re willing to drive. Rates vary by your location and take the length of time and distance of the trip into consideration. There’s also a base fare added to these figures to get you to your final fare. 

Peak Periods

During peak periods, Uber rolls out surge pricing so their drivers can earn even more money. Why so? Well, there generally are more riders than there are drivers to handle the incoming trip requests, so higher rates are quoted to customers which means drivers earn more.

You can expect surge pricing to take effect when:

  • There’s a special event, like a concert or sports competition.
  • Inclement weather causes major traffic jams.
  • It’s rush hour and tons of people are looking to reach their next destination in the least amount of time possible. 

Another Tip: Uber sometimes anticipates an increase in demand and notifies its drivers via the mobile app beforehand. Be sure to plan so you can hop on these opportunities and beef up your earnings. You can also find areas with surge pricing by opening the map of your city and looking for areas that are highlighted orange or dark red. 

If you drive in a busy area, you can boost your earnings just by being on hand when surge pricing takes effect. Some drivers have reported making more than they would off a day’s work driving Uber by simply accepting rides during a peak period that only lasted an hour or so. 

Benefits of Driving for Uber

Make Your Schedule

The beauty of this side gig is the ability to work when it’s convenient for you. So, you can choose to make yourself available for riders early in the morning, late at night, during lunch hour, on the weekends, or around the clock. The choice is yours and if at any time you need a break, simply go offline and you won’t receive any requests until you log back on again. 

Generous Sign-up bonus 

Uber offers a generous signup bonus to new drivers. Depending on where you reside, you can earn up to $2,800 if you give a set number of rides within a certain timeframe. To illustrate:

  • Atlanta, GA – earn $1,100 when you give your first 200 rides
  • Chicago, IL – earn $2,500 when you give your first 400 rides
  • Orlando, FL – earn $1,800 when you give your first 200 rides
  • Houston, TX – earn $ 1,000 when you give your first 150 rides
  • Miami, FL – earn $1,000 when you give your first 150 rides
  • New Orleans, LA – earn $1,600 when you give your first 300 rides
  • New York City Suburbs, NY – earn $1,150 when you give your first 150 rides
  • San Francisco, CA – earn $2,800 when you give your first 400 rides 
  • Seattle, Washington – earn $2,100 when you give your first 300 rides
  • Washington, D.C. – earn $2,700 when you give your first 400 rides

Quick Note: When applying, confirm the details of the bonus to ensure you give the minimum amount of rides in the allotted time frame to be eligible for the bonus. 

Flexible Payment Options 

Once you sign on as a driver with Uber, there are two ways to get paid: 

  • Uber Visa Debit Card – issued by GoBank and allows you to cash out up to five times per day without incurring any fees
  • Instant Pay – you can cash out up to five times per day to your debit card, but a $0.50 fee applies per transaction

Either way, you’ll receive your money in a jiffy. And even if you choose not to apply for an Uber Visa Debit Card, the most you’ll spend is $2.50 per day to access your hard-earned cash. If you choose the latter, the better option is to wait until you wrap up the workday and request your earings all at once to minimize the fees incurred. 

Special Promos

Uber changes its special promotions from week to week. However, there are several ways to rake in bonuses simply by picking up the volume. For example, they often award drivers for completing a set number of trips per week or accepting so many rides on a particular day during a busy timeframe in a busy area. 

User-Friendly Mobile App

No need to whip out your laptop or sit down at a PC each time you need to see what’s going on in the wonderful world of Uber. Simply log in to your mobile app, and you’ll be able to see earnings, view special promotions, receive tips, cash out your earnings, accept rides, review passengers, and perform any other function related to Uber, all at the tap of a fingertip. 

Driver Perks 

As if generous new driver bonuses and frequent promotions weren’t enough to keep driver’s happy, Uber has also gone the extra mile to offer even more perks, including: 

  • A discount of up to 15 percent on a routine oil change or a new set of tires at Advance Auto Parts, Firestone, Jiffy Lube,  Maaco, Meineke, Midas, Sears Auto Center, and Valvoline
  • Savings between 8 and 22 percent on your phone service with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon
  • Special pricing on QuickBooks Self-Employed and Turbo Tax Self-Employed
  • Free assistance searching for the optimal health insurance plan through Stride Health

Built-in Coverage

When driving for Uber, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re covered. They offer the following protections to their drivers:

  • $100,000 injury coverage per accident along with $50,000 injury coverage per person and $25,000 for property damage when you’re online but haven’t yet accepted a trip request 
  • Up to $1 million in liability coverage when you’re en route to pick up a passenger, along with uninsured or underinsured motorist injury coverage
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage contingent upon the vehicle’s cash vehicle (accompanied by a $1,000 deductible) when you’re en route to pick up a passenger
  • Up to $1 million in liability coverage during a trip (when a rider’s in your vehicle)

Plus, there’s 24/7 support available should you encounter any pressing issues that need to be resolved right away. 

Rental Car Partners 

What if you want to drive Uber but don’t have a car? Or maybe your car isn’t in good enough shape to hit the road and cart passengers around? No problem as Uber has you covered with vehicle partners that offer hourly, weekly, and extended rentals so you can start earning money on your terms. Even better, insurance is always included so you won’t have to worry about shelling out a wad of cash to cover steep supplemental rental car insurance. 

Rental car partners include: 

  • Fair: Offers weekly or extended rental options to Uber drivers 
  • Getaround: Offers hourly and weekly rental options to Uber drivers
  • Hertz: Offers weekly rental options to Uber drivers

Getting Started as a Uber Driver

Qualification Criteria

Ready to get started as an Uber driver? Before you move forward with the application process, it’s a good idea to confirm you meet the qualification criteria. While requirements vary by state, you generally should:

  • Be the minimum age or older as required in your city to drive
  • Possess a valid driver’s license that was issued in the US
  • Have one year of driving experience under your belt (or 3 if you’re not yet 23 years of age)
  • Have a vehicle that meets the model age requirement in your state, has four doors, and is not salvaged

Documentation Requirements 

When applying to drive with Uber, be prepared to provide the following documentation: 

  • A valid driver’s license issued in the U.S.
  • Headshot that shows your entire face
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of auto insurance coverage (if you’ll be using your vehicle)

Requested documentation can be uploaded to the online portal during the application process. 

How to Sign Up to Drive for Uber

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documentation and are ready to move forward, visit the website or download the mobile app to move forward. The entire process will only take a few minutes of your time and you’ll be on your way to hitting the road and making money as an Uber driver in record time. 

Here’s an overview of the registration process:

  • Step 1: Use the fillable form to indicate if you have a vehicle or will need to rent one to work as an Uber driver. (If you plan to drive your own, you’ll need to indicate if it’s a personal vehicle, taxi, or livery vehicle). Also, be sure to fill in your name, phone number, city, and unique password to set up your account. 
  • Step 2: Confirm your vehicle meets the minimum requirements. 
  • Step 3: Input your Social Security number so Uber can initiate a background check. (You’ll also need to agree and acknowledge you’ve reviewed the background check disclosure and authorization).
  • Step 4: Upload the required documentation mentioned earlier. 
  • Step 5: Await review by members of Team Uber.

Upon approval of your application and receipt of the required documents, you’ll need to undergo a driver screening. The entire process is handled online and analyzes your criminal history and driving record to ensure you’re a good fit for the passengers you’ll be serving. 

Bonus Tips for Success

Scope Out the Scene

Head to the places with the highest demand. As mentioned earlier, surge pricing allows you to earn top dollar by giving rides, and you won’t have to hang out in idle parking lots waiting for pings. They’ll be more than enough work to keep you busy. 

Be Friendly

And don’t forget to keep your ears open while making conversation. You never know who may step foot into your ride. It could be your next employer or client. 

Offer Water and Snacks

Want to impress your passengers? Grab an inexpensive batch of water and throw in a few snacks for your rides. Doing so is sure to perk up your passengers and earn you that 5-star review. (And don’t forget to keep track of your purchases so you can deduct them when you file your tax return)

Keep Your Ride Tidy 

No one likes a smelly, filthy, and hot ride. Make sure your car smells fresh, is free of trash, and offers a comfortable temperature at all times to earn those awesome driver reviews. 

Give Uber Eats a Try

Want to earn even more driving for Uber? The good news is it’s easier than ever with Uber Eats. It’s also a great option if you’d prefer not to cart passengers from place to place. Simply accept the ping, pick up the meal, drop it off, and get paid. That’s it. 

Even better, you don’t need a car to get started with Uber Eats. You can pick up food and make deliveries by bike, scooter, or foot if you’d prefer the exercise. Pay varies by location, so be sure to visit the website or mobile app to inquire about the earning potential in your area. 

The Bottom Line 

Whether you choose to drive riders with Uber or deliver food with Uber Eats, this is a side hustle worth considering if you want to earn some fast cash. But keep in mind that the income potential is limited to how much you can drive along with the demand, so it’s best to keep your eyes and ears peeled open for more stable, long-term opportunities.