Hey everyone! Today I have a special guest post from none other than my hubby, Rhema!! Ridesharing has become such a popular side hustle these days that I wanted to cover how you can do it for profit on the blog.
My husband has been driving for Uber for over a year and the extra earnings have truly helped us get ahead financially. He’s been able to pay off his car loan, help put our son in private school, boost our savings, and so much more. If you’re looking for a flexible and easy way to make extra money this year, you should definitely consider driving for Uber but before you make that decision, we want to make sure you understand exactly how this side hustle works and what you need to get started before you decide if it’s right for you.
2017 was the first full year that I have driven for Uber, and it has been a big help for me and my family’s finances.
I started it back in 2016 but only did it for half the year. One day my wife and I were sitting at the table discussing side hustles I could try and she told me to give Uber a shot and I’m glad I did.
Initially, I got started driving for Uber in order to save money for Christmas and help pay down my credit cards. My goal was to earn $250 per month. Once I quickly reached those goals, I decided to keep going. I get a ton of questions about driving for Uber all the time and realize there’s too much misinformation (or lack of information) out there so thought I’d share my true experience and everything I know about building a successful side business with Uber.
Table of Contents
- Getting Started
- My Hesitation in the Beginning
- Rating System
- Make Your Own Schedule
- Getting Paid
- Uber Eats
- What I’ve Enjoyed
- What I Don’t Like So Much
- Final Word
All Uber drivers have to be 21-years old and have at least one year of driving experience in the US. For Uber X and Uber Pool, which are the most popular options for drivers, there are some minimum requirements to know before you can hit the road.
UberX – seats up to 4 passengers. Uber X cars are typically regular sedans like the Toyota Prius and Honda Accord
UberXL – seats 6 passengers. UberXL cars are SUVs and minivans. XL costs more than UberX
UberPOOL – the least expensive Uber. With Pool, you share your Uber with another Uber user and split the cost. Read more about POOL.
Uber requires vehicles to be 2002 or newer. The car or minivan needs to have four doors. Your vehicle needs to be in good condition with no cosmetic damage. Your car can’t have commercial branding on it, and you must also pass a vehicle inspection If your car can check off these boxes you will need to go into your app and upload some documents.
Uber needs a copy of your Driver’s License and insurance. They will also need to inspect your car before you begin driving.
Inspection can be done at a Greenlight Hub or Uber has a group of qualified inspection centers located in your area. Most inspections will cost around $20 to complete.
They look for the basic things when doing the inspection. Quality tire tread depth, brakes and emergency brakes, windshield wipers, and working lights among other things. These are great things to inspect your car anyway.
After all your documents are loaded including your inspection and a criminal and driving background check, it should be three to seven days until you can hit the road. Mine was only three days before the company messaged me and told me I was good to go.
I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about getting started with Uber, and it took them messaging me frequently to get out there and drive three times before I actually took my first trip.
The company even offered me $10-$20 to take my first trip on a certain day and I didn’t do it, I was too nervous. Even though I’d went through the whole onboarding process, I still felt like it would be awkward to let a stranger in my car.
I didn’t know how they would act if they would hurt me, and I guess I just had all these horrible over-exaggerated thoughts in my head.
It took Uber messaging me saying “if you don’t take a trip within the next few days, your account can be suspended and you might not be able to get it again” to light the fire under my butt to just jump out there and try it. Plus, I needed the money so that was added motivation.
After Uber’s nudges, I actually did get out there and complete my first trip. Now, 1100 trips and 18 months later, and things are completely different.
The 15 to 20 hours I put in a week are not nerve-wracking, awkward, or negative at all I feel I’m a social person and like meeting new people so I got over the bad feeling I was having pretty quick. People have been ridesharing, renting car companies, and calling taxis long before Uber so I realized it wasn’t as awkward as I was making it out to be.
Most of my passengers have been friendly and this includes the late-night bar pickups. I tend to drive mostly at night since I work a full-time job most days.Rating System
Uber has a few rating systems that are located in the app. They want you to stay above a certain percentage considering the number of trips you accept and cancel.
They also want you to have a high rating from passengers since riders can rate you and their experience in your car after the trip.
If you fall below a certain point in any of these categories, Uber may have you go offline for a bit until they feel it’s time for you to get back online to try your luck again.
This system helps ensure customer service and satisfaction and as long as you are willing to provide riders with that and accept trips regularly when you go online, you’ll be perfectly fine. The passenger rating goes from 1-5 and I’m at a 4.9.Make Your Own Schedule
Yes! This alone is why I love driving for Uber. The app gives you the freedom to work when and how long you want. If you only have free time in the morning before your night shift, no problem.
If you only have time after your day job like me, that can work too. I work about 40 hours per week at my 9-5 and sometimes more if I have to stay late. My job is open 7 days a week and I usually work 5 days so my off days vary.
With this current set up, I couldn’t possibly find another part-time job that would consider hiring me because I have no idea when I can work. On evenings and off days when I’m up to it, I drive for Uber and make the extra cash I need.
Uber offers drivers the option to make more money on top of the regular amount they make each week on trips. During certain times of the day like rush hour, for example, the demand for a ride is high so Uber offers drivers a surge pricing which can be 1.5X, 2X or even more the normal pricing of a ride home.
Uber may even offer a few dollars on top of the surge and normal fare if it falls in a certain time frame as well. For example, the company is consistently offering an extra $3 per trip between 7-9AM or 5-7PM.
It’s good to keep an eye on the app and the weekly emails the company sends out because they break down when these hourly promotions take place.
The map on the app also lights up red with the areas of your city that are surging and how high the potential earnings can be.
One other promotion to look out for is the weekday and weekend bonuses. Uber tends to offer a cash bonus if you complete a certain number of trips Monday-Thursday and another bonus for trips completed Friday-Sunday. This is called Quest.
For example, one week Uber might offer to pay you $50 if you complete 25 trips from Monday to Thursday. That averages out 6-7 trips per day which is doable for part-timers. The thing is, these promotions are always different so drivers never know what to expect, but it does provide nice motivation to accept more trips and boost your earnings.Getting Paid
Now the fun part, compensation. Uber pays out weekly (usually on Wednesdays) and gives you a few options to get paid if you wish to cash out sooner than that. You can get your money deposited weekly by getting direct deposit set up.
You can also do the instant pay route to get your money. Most Visa, MasterCard, and Discover debit cards are eligible for instant pay. Drivers can usually request to get the money instantly, but in some cases, it still can take 1-3 days to receive the money depending on your bank.
Drivers can cash out whenever they want, up to 5 times a day, as long as you have at least $1 in available earnings.
When you transfer your funds to a debit card it does charge a $0.50 fee which will just be charged to your Uber account. So the next time you take a trip you’ll have that .50 deducted from your earnings and you will be back positive after that.
If you want to avoid the $0.50 charge, just wait for your earnings to be sent to you on Wednesdays each week and avoid Instant Pay.
For those who do not have a debit card, Uber does offer an Uber Go Bankcard that you can order right in the app.Uber Eats
In addition to driving for Uber, you can also make some money by delivering for Uber Eats. You basically become a delivery driver, but you’re not just restricted to one restaurant.
Orders come to your phone already paid for so all you have to do is give the restaurant the order number and you’ll be on your way. This is a great way to make some money with Uber especially if you’re not quite yet comfortable with giving customers rides.
You earn a flat fee for picking up the food and also get paid for the mileage and time it takes you to get from the restaurant to the customers home.
Uber doesn’t want the distance between the restaurant and the customer’s home to be too long so the distance between the two is never over 15 minutes. Mcdonald’s is the most popular restaurant that allows Uber Eats in my area so believe it or not, that’s what most of my food delivery trips are for.
Even with Mcdonald’s on this list, Uber Eats is definitely not better than Uber in my opinion. I’ve made a lot more money with Uber because the trips are longer.What I’ve Enjoyed
I love the extra money that Uber allows me to make. Uber has helped fund trips to Vegas and Orlando, and I was able to pay my car loan off a whole year early with the double payments I was able to make each month in 2017!
Speaking of Vegas, I told one of my passengers I was going to Vegas for the first time back when I was saving up just to make conversation and they gave me a $100 tip! This passenger said they had some luck in Vegas the week prior and wished me well on my first trip out there.
That was just one of many tips that I received during my first full year as an Uber driver but it was definitely the biggest to date.
I’ve also enjoyed conversation with the hundreds of people from all different walks of life that I have met so far while driving. I’ve given rides to pilots, servers, business owners, DJ’s, nurses, and even a recording artist just to name a few.
There are also other perks and discounts that come with being an Uber driver. Jiffy Lube offers Uber Partners a 15% discount on any maintenance work they do to your vehicle. I take my vehicle to Jiffy Lube for my mandatory six-month inspection and it comes out under $20 which is great. They always do a solid job there and inform me about any additional problems my car may have.What I Don’t Like So Much
I didn’t like how long it took Uber to introduce the ability to tip in the app. I love that the app allows customers to give you a little extra for your customer service but just not how long it took Uber to add that feature. The in-app tipping was one of the first changes Uber has done during their 180 Days Of Change campaign.
Other changes have been charging customers for wait times, better pick up locations, and notifications for a 45 minute or longer trip. Beforehand, you didn’t know you had a long trip until you got to the customer’s doorstep.
I applaud them for recognizing what the drivers need and making the change.
I’m also not crazy about putting a ton of mileage on my car while driving for Uber, but it’s been worth it, given the amount I’ve been able to earn to provide a profit and properly maintain my car.
I drive a 2006 Scion that is very good on gas. I can easily fill it up for $20 most days. So far, due to the minimal amount of work I have gotten done on my car I would say this has been a great side hustle for me. All I’ve really done is keep up with my oil changes, brake work, and other major fluid changes. My car has held it together pretty well but Uber drivers have to consider mileage, maintenance, and taxes when they think about getting starting.
Saving for taxes is not my favorite but it comes with the territory. Since Uber doesn’t deduct any taxes from my earnings, I set a portion of what I make aside each week so I can send it to the IRS.
I’d recommend all new Uber drivers talk to their accountant or a tax professional as soon as possible to make sure they’re saving enough for taxes and deducting the right expenses.Final Word
This side hustle would be great for anybody who has a dependable car, likes to drive, and is in need of making some flexible extra income. If you like to make an extra couple hundred a week and meet new people while you’re at it, Uber is perfect for you. Some people even do this as a full-time job.
The company has other perks including the option to lease or rent a car, also phone service discounts and health insurance options as well. Overall, Uber has so many positives and I feel they far outway the negatives. I’m sure they will only get better with time, and they are well worth giving a try! Click here to sign up for Uber and learn more.