March 6, 2018

Uber Driver Requirements

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When looking for a part-time job - or, if you prefer a more modern term, a side hustle - you may want something that sounds simple. Something that doesn't require you to go through a lot of training. Something that features a skill you have already mastered.

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Since no one seems to be hiring for things like watching reality TV while eating Cheetos, you're going to have to aim a bit higher. Driving for a ridesharing company like Uber represents a more realistic idea. After all, you probably already own a vehicle, drive daily, and have extra time late at night and on the weekends, which coincides with the peak hours for ridesharing.

However, the Uber driver requirements aren't as simple as signing up on your smartphone and starting to drive a few minutes later. You'll have to fulfill a few different requirements before determining whether you can drive for Uber.

Here are nine tips to help you figure out whether the requirements for driving for Uber will result in the side hustle of your dreams ... which, admittedly, will leave you less time for eating Cheetos. (At least your waistline will thank you.)

1. The Basics

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Before tackling some of the more stringent requirements for becoming an Uber driver, here are the basics.

  • Age: You must be 21 years old or older.
  • 4-Door Car: Only four-door cars will work for Uber vehicles.
  • Driver's License: This one probably goes without saying, but you must have a valid driver's license in the state in which you'll operate.
  • Social Security Number: As with any job, you will need a Social Security number.
  • Waiting Period: Don't expect to begin driving immediately. The background check will take several days, and you have to have all documents approved and accepted before you can begin working. For most people, it takes seven to 14 days from the time they fill out an application until they can begin driving.
  • Pay: You can expect to make an average of $12 to $15 per hour driving for Uber. Some people make as much as $20 hourly; others make as little as $10 per hour. If your car uses a lot of gas, you'll make less, for example. If you are able to drive during times of the highest demand, you will make more. You'll link a payment method to your Uber account, so the company can pay you through your desired method.
  • Check Your City: Uber doesn't operate just anywhere. Check with the Uber web site to make sure the service is available in your city.

2. What You Won't Have to Do

Driving and employment requirements for Uber are a bit more laid-back than for other jobs. While you will have to fill out personal information for taxation purposes, and you'll have to prove some things about your driving record, there are a few things you won't have to do.

  • No Drug Test: Uber doesn't require a drug test before allowing you to begin driving.
  • No Driving Test: You will not have to pass a separate driver's test to work for Uber. Whatever requirements you have to fulfill in your state to hold a driver's license are good enough for Uber.
  • No Security Deposit: As you must provide your own vehicle and your own insurance, Uber does not require any sort of upfront security deposit for its drivers.
  • No Car Purchase Required: If you don't own a vehicle, you still could become an Uber driver. The company will help you with ideas for renting or leasing a vehicle.
  • No Set Hours: One of the best things about working for Uber is that you don't have to commit to certain hours. You can work when you want.
  • No Maps: As you pick up a customer, you'll receive turn-by-turn directions on your smartphone, so you don't need to have intimate knowledge of every street or address in your city.
  • No Need to Make Change: Most riders will pay for their trips digitally through the Uber app, and the transaction is monitored and handled by Uber. Should a rider pay cash, any change is repaid to the rider through the Uber app, rather than by the driver.

3. Internet Access

You'll need Internet access either through a computer or through a smartphone. Uber doesn't have physical offices in every city in which it operates, so applications and correspondence are performed online between you and Uber.

You need the ability to check e-mails on a regular basis, as well as use the Uber Partner dashboard software to work for the company. The application process is done completely online as well. The number and type of forms you'll have to complete will depend on the state in which you're operating.

The company will communicate with you digitally, either through e-mails or through messages in the dashboard. If you're missing any documents required by Uber, for example, you'll receive a notification digitally.

So you don't necessarily have to have Internet access at your home, but you need to be able to check e-mail through your smartphone, or you need to be able to gain access to the dashboard and e-mail through a public computer, such as at a library. You'll need to check your e-mail and dashboard software more often during the application process, as that's when the company will communicate with you most frequently.

You'll also need to have the ability to upload photos of your driver's license, vehicle insurance, and vehicle registration. You may need to scan these items, or if you have a high-quality camera in your smartphone, you may be able to shoot a photo of these items and upload that.

4. Smartphone

Once you are approved as a driver, you will need to have a smartphone to carry in your vehicle. This allows you to remain connected to Uber while driving and to receive assignments.

If you don't own a smartphone, Uber can help you find one to purchase.

5. Basic Vehicle Requirements

In most cities in the United States, you will need a model year of car of 2007 or newer. However, some cities have different rules, so check with the Uber web site for additional details on the vehicle requirements. You will have to have the vehicle inspected before you can begin driving.

You also will have to cover any vehicle expenses. After all, you are using your car, not Uber's car, so things like gasoline, oil changes, detailing, and repairs are your responsibility.

Uber doesn't care if multiple Uber drivers use the same car, driving at different times. You just each have to be properly insured.

6. Current Registration and License Plates

You'll need to prove that your vehicle has a current registration as well as up-to-date license plates for the state in which you'll drive. You can have personal or commercial license plates. You'll have to provide a copy of the registration as part of your application process. However, the registration doesn't have to be in your name.

If you'll be driving in a city that is along a state border, meaning you will often drive in more than one state, Uber does make some exceptions to this rule.

7. Current Insurance

You must hold current vehicle insurance to drive for Uber. The insurance you hold must be valid the state in which you'll be driving.

Unlike the registration, your insurance must be in your name, which must appear on the insurance card itself or on the declaration page of the insurance policy. In other words, you must be insured to drive the vehicle you'll use for Uber, but you don't need to have the vehicle registered in your name.

Check with your insurance company before you begin driving for Uber, as you may need a certain type of policy to cover you when driving for a ridesharing company. Some insurance companies even offer special policies aimed at ridesharing drivers.

8. Driving Experience

For those 23 years old and older, you only need to have one year experience as a licensed driver in the United States. This experience doesn't have to be recent either. As long as you have been a licensed driver for at least one year in the past, you can start driving for Uber once your license becomes active again.

For those 22 or younger, you must have three years of experience as a licensed driver in the United States.

Unfortunately, Uber does not recognize international driving experience. However, exceptions will be made from time to time for military members and foreign students.

9. Background Check

Uber will send all applicants through a background check with a third-party company. This background check will look at things like your driving record over the past several years, including major accidents and ticketed violations.

If you have been convicted of a significant crime (even if it's not related to a driving offense) or if you've had a driving-related arrest (such as for a DWI), you most likely will fail the background check. If you've had repeated moving violations or speeding tickets, your application probably will be on shaky ground too.

But if you've been a decent driver with a relatively clean background history, you'll probably be driving for Uber before you know it. We'll all keep our fingers crossed that your first Uber client isn't one who becomes carsick from riding in the backseat.

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