blog title graphic, thinking about becoming an uber driver?

Are You Thinking About Becoming an Uber Driver?

I just got home from taking my first couple of trips with Uber. Man was it a THRILL! It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was super nervous, but my riders were pretty cool. It truly was a breeze.

I’m going to be sharing with you my tips and experience from the cradle to the grave. That being from the moment I was thinking about becoming an Uber driver, to signing up, then completing my first couple of trips.

I started thinking about signing up for Uber because my job was really starting to be and interference with my life. I hung in there as long as I could before I finally made the decision to become an Uber driver.

uber applicationAbout a month before I made that decision I went ahead and signed up. The application was really simple! It was like 1, 2, 3 steps and BAM your partner! Then, it’s as easy as pie to upload your documents because you can do it right from your smartphone. You’re actually just taking a picture of your driver license, car registration, and insurance card.

I let the application sit for about a month, like on the back burner. Something happened at work that triggered my 2 weeks notice. That day I went ahead and made the final decision.

I knew I’m going out on a limb here. But I have made some good financial decisions in my life that if it were to fail, I have some time to go ahead and find another job. I really like the idea of being an Uber driver because you’re a partner, a contractor for Uber. This is like having your own business!

During the two weeks before the end of my employment I knew I had to get everything ready so that I could start driving the very next day after the last day of my job. I went ahead and jumped onto Amazon and eBay for supplies.

Things You Need to be an Uber Driver

checklistThere are a certain amount of things you will want to get before you get started. Remember, I said this is going to be your own business. So you have to treat it as so. Here are the things that you’re going to need to be a successful Uber driver:

  • Charger for your car – you’ll need one for your personal use to keep your phone plugged in. As you know, the navigation will drain the battery. However you also want it for your riders in case they need to use it for their phone. This will attract more 5 star ratings.
  • A USB cable with multiple connections – Instead of buying multiple charger cables you can buy one with multiple connections that can accommodate all phone types.
  • A 6 ft aux cable – you want something so that your riders can feel comfortable in your car and connect to their own music. And you want something long enough to reach them.
  • A phone mount – this is much safer to have instead of trying to hold your phone or keep your phone on your lap to watch your navigation.
  • vomit bagsVomit bags – no explanation necessary. No unnecessary cleanups.
  • A Bluetooth headset – so it is probably the law in your state too. If you’re going to be in the car and use the phone it needs to be with a hands-free headset.
  • A handheld vacuum cleaner – this is to clean up messes that your riders might leave behind such as crumbs, dog hair, etc. I recommend a wet vac in case someone spills a drink on the floorboard. This will save you time from needing to run to a gas station for a vacuum cleaner. Remember, you only make money when you’re online and making trips.
  • A sign that says you accept tips (optional) – there is a tips feature on the riders app, but you can also have a sign so that they know that tips are welcomed.
  • Sunglasses -You want to look professional in your car. You don’t want to have to depend on the sun visor while you’re driving through traffic on a sunny day. It looks better, more professional, and it will protect your eyes better having sunglasses.

The Opportunity

If you didn’t know already, you will have the opportunity to earn money by referring others to drive with Uber. This is pretty cool! You get a link with your own personal code in it that you can give to others. If they use it when they sign up you get a bonus. There is this awesome Uber driver, called The Simple Driver, who makes $1,000s a month by just referring people. He uses a website, which is something that I personally recommended people to do. This website you’re on is actually a vessel for people to learn how to work online.

The Simple Driver goes on about showing you the idea of how you can build a website and attract visitors so that you can earn more money. Working with Uber full-time may drive a pretty good income but if you really want to make it an extraordinary opportunity out of it, you have got to combine the two.

the elevator to success is out of order. You will have to use the stairs. Another reason why I like The Simple Driver is because he emphasized the idea that Uber is not just the end goal. It’s a stepping stone for you to get from point A to point B. Point A is where you are right now, and point B is the end goal. I’m sure you all have goals. Such as myself is to work full-time online. That’s why I Uber works really great for me!

Requirements for Uber

First thing you should know is you will need to upload your documents. Get your stuff in order. Make sure your registration is up to date. Make sure your car insurance is up-to-date. Most cities, like mine I’m in Philadelphia, it is necessary that you get an inspection on your vehicle. In my state we already have to do this, and we have to have our inspection stickers on our windshields.

Save yourself some time up front by downloading the Uber Driver App as soon as possible. You can find the app in your Google Play Store, or for iPhone users, I’m not sure what it’s called, maybe the App Store. The reason why I say this is because there’s so much helpful information on the actual app, and you should familiarize yourself with it.

My first pic attempt that failed.
My first pic attempt that failed.

Once you’re in the app, it’s pretty user-friendly, go ahead and upload a profile pic. A mindful note, it needs to be a picture that does not have any people in the background, and it needs to show your head and shoulders. I messed up on this for my first attempt on the profile pic because it had these things wrong in it.

When you get a chance be sure to check out the driver app simulator. This is so helpful! It is a real virtual session of what it really looks like. And after working my first day in Uber, that simulator helped me out so much in really knowing how to operate the app my first time using it.

Also check out this video, with an uber driver picking up his girlfriend. To show you how you actually pick up and drop off your first rider.

Back to The  Inspections Process

If you don’t know where to get an inspection at, you can actually find this information on the app. If you go to the section that says “documents” that you need, there will be a link that shows all the different partners that offer these inspections. It says that you can find a free authorized Center, but I could not advise on this because I was not be able to find one for myself.

I just went to my local Pep Boys, which the app said that they do it, and got the inspections there. I actually failed in my first go-around! They said that I needed to change my outer tie rods, and I was missing a couple of light bulbs. I’m glad I learned about the light bulbs so I was able to avoid an unnecessary stop by the police. On the contrary, it was really discouraging to learn that I needed outer tie rods.

fixing your own carYou wouldn’t be surprised, but they were charging me somewhere in the ballpark of $500 to get all of this done! People, we are in a technology age, and you can figure out how to do everything online. I went on YouTube and found a video on how to change my outer tie rods, and got it done. The parts costed me like $50 at my neighborhood AutoZone.

Through the inspections process, they also recommended that I changed my brakes. It was not a necessary procedure in order to pass the inspections, but it was good information to know. I will be changing those brakes here within the next couple of weeks. Need to be safe on the road.

Keep in mind, we are business owners as Uber drivers. And you really have to start seeking out cost-effective methods when finding solutions. In addition, I simply told the Pep Boys that I was a partner with Uber, and they gave me a 10% discount on my inspections.

An update, I went ahead and changed those tie rods and went back to Pep Boys to redo the inspections. Needless to say I passed. And this time I actually Googled “Pep Boys Coupons” and there was a 15% off coupon that I could use in the store. Remember the savings people!

putting oil in carWhile I was there, I went ahead and bought all of the fluids that I would need to continuously keep all of my fluids topped off in my vehicle. As you know, driving with Uber is going to cause a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle. You need to maintain your vehicle as a commercial vehicle now.

This means that you will want to check your fluids often and make sure they’re topped off. You want to keep track of the tread on your tires. You want to keep track of the width of your brakes. Remember what I said about YouTube, you can find how to do everything on there. You don’t have to spend $100s on maintaining your vehicle.

If you do, be sure to keep all of your receipts so that you can use it as a deductible on your future tax returns. Speaking of tax deductions. Be sure to save your receipts for everything you purchase for your business. This includes things like supplies or gas receipts. You also need to track your mileage. I’ve recommended to download the app called MileIQ.

inspection sticker
inspection sticker on a windshield

Once I got the inspection stickers on the windshield of my car, I took a picture of it right through the Uber app and uploaded my inspections requirement. It’s not hard, it will take a little patience to get everything in order. But with your patience and effort you can get it all done and get ready for your first trip.

If you could see my car before today it was a wrecking ball. I have five kids and these guys don’t follow the rules! Oh it was terrible! It took me nearly 3 hours to clean my car. Make sure that you get your car cleaned out before your first ride.

Update: today, my 2nd day, I got a compliment on how clean I keep my car. 🙂

You will learn after a little bit of research that as a new business owner and partner with Uber you’re going to be working for ratings. You need to try and get as many five-star ratings as you can so that you can look good as well as continue your contract with Uber.

How to Get 5 Star Ratings?

review starsIt starts with a clean car. Then some of the things that I said in a list of the things to buy earlier. You’ll need these things to accommodate your riders. Things like the aux cable so that they can play their own music, or a phone charger that fits their phone. We all know how much we hate to have a dead battery.

The other things I mentioned like the vacuum cleaner, and vomit bags are just to keep your car clean. Going back to myself cleaning my car today, I cleaned and conditioned all of my leather seats, I vacuumed my car and trunk. I unloaded everything in the trunk (remember 5 kids). This was fishing equipment, baseball equipment, dolls, baby stuff, shoes, and strollers. OMG, it was so much stuff!

You want to keep your trunk cleaned out, with a lot of space, in case you are to get a passenger that is going to the airport and needs to store their luggage. Going forward I plan to clean my car this way at least once a week. I would encourage you to do the same.

My First Trip!

I waited to the day of, and the last minute, to get my decals for my car. You will need to have these decals, one on your front windshield, and one on your rear windshield, to be in compliance with state regulations. Once I picked that up, I went ahead and drove to the airport for my first trip.

I learned through my research on tips to be an Uber driver, that airports are a gold mine. Not only by other drivers, but I initially learned it from an old-timer who shot a really informative video about how lucrative it is to work the airports.

I pulled into the airport. I was a nervous wreck. I also learned early on in my research, on the Uber app, that you need to go to a designated area in the airport. Specifically for Uber or Lyft drivers. Once I found the parking lot I parked my car.

In less than a minute I got the first ping. My first Uber trip! Man, was I nervous. I proceeded to go and pick up the passenger. Once I met him, it was pretty easy going from there. I simply took him to his destination, had a great conversation, then wished him farewell. Like one minute later another ping came on my phone.

man drivingThis was my second trip, so I proceeded to pick him up. By this point, I was feeling pretty comfortable, as I have already broken the ice. I made it my last trip, because I just wanted to get my feet wet that evening, and went home after dropping him off.

I was so excited! This wasn’t so bad after all. I must say, it was pretty painless. I would totally encourage you to drive as an Uber driver. You can do it part-time or full-time. As you know, the flexibility is wonderful.

Do your research, get your car ready, get all your documents in order, and you’re ready to drive. Apart from gathering all of the little tools that you will need on a daily basis. These things don’t have to be necessary on your first day. However I would recommend it to make your work more seamless.

Have an Exit Strategy

This is not the be-all-and-end-all. I’m sure you didn’t grow up or at some point in your life think hey I want to be an Uber driver. Needless to say it’s a pretty lucrative occupation. The flexibility is undescribable.

“I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about.” – Jay-ZMy point is that there’s something else that you wanted to seek out in your life. There is a passion that burns inside of you that you want to do. I don’t know if it’s work from home, or a specific type of business that you want to run, or even a trade or occupation that you want to get educated and seek out as a career. Uber can definitely help you as a stepping stone to any of these things.

The objective is to make your money, to replace your income, or make enough to make ends meet. Then spend your time and energy on that one thing that you want to make your end goal. Myself for example, I want to work from home. I want to build an online business.

There’s so much opportunity online. One of them being affiliate marketing, that I plan on taking full advantage of. This website here for instance, I built. I work on blogging, and I apply all of the SEO (search engine optimization) tips to drive traffic in order to monetize my blog.

I hope that all of this information has been helpful to you. I would love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions or concerns, I would also like to help you out with those. Go ahead and,

Leave them in the comments below! 🙂

Jonathan
Owner, HowToWorkOnline.Org

8 thoughts on “Are You Thinking About Becoming an Uber Driver?

  1. It is neat that you can get started working driving people to places pretty quickly and that it only takes uploading some documents. Do you think that the process was easy using the app and did you think that driving with uber can be a lifetime side job or even full time job?

    1. Hey Jon, great questions! Yes, the process was relatively easy. It did take me some time because I did not have my paperwork in order such as my insurance, registration, and inspections. 

      I was new to the State of Pennsylvania, and had to become familiar with the requirements for vehicle inspections. My previous home state of Florida does not have these requirements. Basically, you just have to make sure your car is in top shape (i.e. brakes, tires, no check engine lights, etc.)

      Overall, it took about 1-2 weeks to get on the road, but if you already have these things up to par, then you are all set. You might be able to just sign and drive. The only next requirement is to pick up a couple of windshield decals from the local hub. 

      Driving for Uber

      At first I did not know what to think, about how lucrative this business opportunity would be; as either a side job or full time job. At best, I knew it would be a side gig. Surprisingly, the market in my city offers an abundance of riders, so I have been able to do it full time. 

      I think anyone in most major cities will be able to pull this off as full time. If your market does allow for it, I would take full advantage of it. No more boss, no more schedule; the flexibility is so valuable. 

      I have definitely grown as  a person, and truly have been enjoying my experience as an Uber driver. 

  2. Maybe you guys already knew this so let me just remind you that if you are interested in becoming an Uber driver, get a car that’s brand new and not a second-hand car that brings a lot of trouble. With a brand new car, you skip the head ache of having to service the vehicle yourself once a part of it breaks down. Plus, you will save a lot of money on maintenance. You won’t notice it at first, but as time goes by, the costs of maintenance will surely eat your profits up to the point that you are no longer making money.

    1. Gomer, you bring up a valid point. I tend to do all of my repairs and maintenance myself, so I do not spend a lot of money in this area. YouTube offers an array of repair videos to help a DIYer to do easy things such as changing your brakes, and oil change. They even offer videos for things such as motor mounts, serpentine belts, and suspension components. 

      If you are not someone who is willing to do the work yourself, then this may be true. I cannot imagine paying for all of the repairs I have performed in the last year and a half, at a shop. I would have spent thousands. I would like to break down all of the repairs/would be shop costs, to truly figure out the difference.  

      I think you might be able to manage it, if you knew a reputable and affordable shop or mechanic. Neighborhood mechanics offer cheap prices, but you might feel more secure having your work under warranty. Not saying a neighborhood mechanic could not be responsible, or reliable in making sure the job is done correctly. But personally, I prefer to use a reputable shop or dealership, where I know I can bring it back if something was done incorrectly. 

      The only other thing I would recommend is putting your repairs on a no interest credit card. Of course you would have to take advantage of a promotional offer, but you could save a lot of money this way. Because you could make the payments over the length of time, instead of up front. 

      It would definitely balance itself out, if you are doing the responsible thing and putting 10 percent of your earnings in a separate savings account. The fact is you have to pay taxes. The other thing is, I put away around $1500 last year for this purpose, and only ended up paying around $300 for taxes (after deductions). The difference could have paid off that credit card I mentioned. Do you see where I am going with this?

      Nonetheless, nice comment Gomer!

  3. Hi Jonathan Matos.
    Your post was really great. I have inspired by your experience as a Uber driver. You have provided how to work as an Uber driver and described the processes of getting this job first to last.
    I have learned many important tips that will help me in the future. If I involved in this work I will definitely follow the instructions that you provided. I am gonna share your post because it is so informative.
    Thank you so much for sharing such a helpful post.

    1. Thank you Monalisha! I am still driving for Uber to this day. I enjoy it a lot, but I do not plan on being an Uber driver forever. I think that this opportunity should be a stepping stone for many others as well. 

      First, I recommend others to fire your boss. I do not like to be employed by anyone else. It is such a relief to make your own schedule, and be your own boss. This is best thing about being an Uber driver. 

      Second, I believe people should reach their hand out to making money from referrals, and the best way to do that is to build a website and blog. I have seen people make $1,000s this way. 

      I think people should follow their passion. Whatever that it is, and don’t be tied down by a 9 to 5. Do not allow your boss to get the last say. You don’t have to. 

      Our time is valuable, and no one should suffer because they don’t like to go to work. Life is hard as it is; trying to save money and pay bills. We do not need the added stress. 

      Anyone can drive for Uber or Lyft these days. There are so many rental options available too, worth looking into. 

  4. This was a super informative article on how to become and then have success at working as an Uber driver. This is a phenomenon that has swept the globe in many mid to big sized cities that I have been to over the past few years I had always wondered how it works, and now I know.

    There is a lot of considerations that you have included, so as a user of Uber it is comforting to know that they have some standards regarding safety of the vehicles and insurance requirements, etc. The idea of making some extra money doing this is popular and I can see why.

    Do you recommend having a newer car if you are going to become an Uber driver? The reason I ask is that otherwise, repairs could eat up your earnings fast. Also, what is the pay that you get, as in is it per kilometer or mile, and is there any allowance for waiting periods which can happen from time-time with some customers?

    1. Dave, great questions! I have never tried it with a newer car, but I imagine it may be less stress as you mentioned, because of repairs and such. Then again, I have been driving for over a year and most of the repairs I have needed have been regular wear and tear items, such as suspension components, and tires. 

      I have changed my motor mounts too, but those also come with age, because I just changed out the ones that have been on since the vehicle was manufactured. As you can see, these are all regular wear and tire items. If anything, they just go out quicker than normal use of the vehicle. 

      Something else to point out would be my oil changes. My maintenance booklet says to change the oil every 5,000 miles if driving as a taxi, instead of the normal 7,500 miles. My vehicle uses synthetic blend oil. 

      The pay has been pretty good, despite the rumors going around the media currently. A lot of Uber drivers are stirred up over compensation. I don’t know if you have heard. However, the break down is as follows (roughly):

      $1 pick up fee

      $.70 a mile

      $.20 per minute

      I do not believe you get paid extra for waiting, but you do get the standard per minute rate. The numbers look small, but over time, distance, and amount of rides you do, they can build up. 

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