I started driving for Uber about 3-4 months ago and I wanted to share my experience.
I live in a small city that has a university and is near the beach. So there is a good mix of locals, tourists, and college students. I set up an Uber account with the intention of making a little extra money to help with finances. More specifically, I have some medical bills that need to be paid. So far it has been an outstanding experience.
I set up an account through a family member who was already driving for Uber. Because I signed up with a link he sent me, he got a $150 bonus on his account after I gave 30 rides. I had to submit items such as my driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information. They did a background check and verified all of my information. Once all of my information was submitted, they approved me to drive pretty quickly.
When I was ready to drive, I went online on a Friday evening. I started driving towards town and the university. I got my first call pretty quickly. A call shows up on the screen and I have to tap the screen to accept the ride. Once I accept the ride, the app has built-in navigation to guide me to the pickup location. Once I arrive, the rider is notified that I am there. A phone number is available on the screen in case I have to call someone for a more specific location (such as in an apartment complex). I recommend verifying the name of your passenger when they get in the car. They may want you to verify your name as well for safety reasons. I usually introduce myself as they are getting in my car. When you are ready to go, you have to use the slider on the app to start the trip. The app will then navigate you to your destination. When you arrive at the destination, you will need to use the slider on the app again to tell it that the trip is complete. Once the trip is complete, it will tell you how much money you made from the trip. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to calculate so don’t worry if it doesn’t show up right away. The passenger can give you a tip through the app too, which sometimes doesn’t get added until later that night. Occasionally I get cash tips. I don’t focus on tips though, as I’m usually just happy to be making money. I definitely don’t get tips from every ride which is perfectly fine.
The biggest advantage of driving for Uber is that I don’t have to be on a set schedule. I can drive anytime I want. If I don’t feel like driving for a few weeks, that’s fine too. All I have to do is get in my car and go online when I feel like driving. And then go offline when I’m done. I try to pick the busiest time to drive to make the maximum amount of money. I find that the weekends are the best times to drive, especially Friday and Saturday night. On Saturday nights, I’m usually getting the next call before I even drop off the current passenger. When I’m done for the night, Uber has a great feature that allows you to set your destination address. Then the app will try to match you to riders heading in that direction.
The most common types of passengers I get are people who are heading out for an evening of drinking. Or people heading to/from a dinner or event that included drinking alcohol.
A lot of people have concerns about the safety of driving strangers around in their car. It can be a little scary for some people. If you feel really uncomfortable when picking up someone, you could cancel the ride before you start. You might choose to have pepper spray with you just in case, although I haven’t looked into Uber rules regarding that. I’ve talked to people who say they would bring their spouse or significant other along with them, but that is actually against Uber rules. You aren’t allowed to have your own additional passengers. I personally take most of my debit and credit cards and other important items out of my purse before driving. Of course, then I have to remember to put them back the next morning! One time I forgot to put my campus ID back in my purse and wasn’t able to get into the parking lot the next day!
Something that has been extremely helpful to me is finding Facebook Uber groups in my local area. Other Uber drivers share their tips and experiences specific to the local area on these groups. I’ve learned things such as when and where to drive to maximize the amount of money I’m making.
I almost forgot the most important part: how much money you can make doing this. Of course this will be dependent on your area and the day/time you are driving. I’ve made anywhere from $12 an hour to $27 an hour (that is after Uber takes their cut). My average is probably somewhere around $18-$20 an hour. Of course keep in mind that this is taxable income. And I’m putting wear and tear on my vehicle and paying for gas. Uber has something called “surge pricing”. When a particular area is in high demand, Uber raises prices for the customer. This causes the driver to make more money. Surges show up as a red area on the app. Uber added the tip option onto the app and I notice that I make more money now since more people seem to be leaving tips. I’ve also made a bonus because someone signed up through my link. So if you sign up, make sure you tell friends and family to sign up through you if they want to make money too. I’m going to put my link in this article but I encourage you to first ask your friends and family if they have an account. Wouldn’t you rather give someone you know a bonus than some stranger on the internet?
I just want to add that I also set up a Lyft account. I signed up through a friend who gets a $3.50 bonus every time I give a ride, and the best part is that I also get a $3.50 bonus every time I give a ride. The maximum bonus is $350, but they gave me at time limit of a little over a month. So far I’ve only done one ride. I like Lyft but it’s not as busy as Uber. They have recently increased the bonus to $500 instead of $350, which is a really good deal. They also offer rewards for regular drivers, although I’m not that familiar with their programs. At the time you read this article, the amount could have changed. I’m going to post my link for the Lyft bonus too.
Please comment below about your experience with Uber or Lyft!