Wondering if you can earn money driving for Uber? If you are like me, you have probably seen ads like this online or on Facebook:
As an experiment, I applied to become a driver (partner) to see if I could actually make $20 per hour driving for Uber. This is my experience.
The application process was very easy. Once I submitted all of my information and passed the background check, I received a link to download the app along with a welcome email which included some basic information about the company and a 16-minute video, but no specific instructions on how to get started or how to make money.
My first night on the road, I drove from 6 pm to 10 pm. I took five fares and made a total of $39.59. After Uber took their cut ($7.92). My take home pay was $31.67.
I drove on and off part – time for the next couple of weeks and made a total of $118.28. After the 4th week, I decided to throw in the towel. I figured I had better things to do than to drive strangers around town for less than $10 per hour (I don’t care how drunk they were), so I stopped driving.
A couple of weeks went by and I got a couple of text messages from my city team – they wanted to know why wasn’t I driving and did I have any questions.
After ignoring the first couple of text messages, I decided to send them an email. I told them I only made $17 the last time I drove and did they have any suggestions on how I could make more money.
Someone from the support team sent me response. He said the best times to drive are between the hours of 10pm – 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Although, I appreciated the information, I couldn’t help but wonder why this tidbit was not included in the welcome email.
The Next Couple of Weeks
At this point, I wasn’t completely sold on driving for Uber, but I decided I would continue with my experiment and see if I could truly make $20 per hour. I drove the following week, during the suggested times and days. I made a little over $300. Not bad.
A week later, I received my weekly summary report. Along with my earning, the report included a detailed breakdown of the exact hours and days to drive to maximize my earning potential. (I guess they have their reasons, but it seemed to me that this information should have definitely been included in the welcome email).
Using the report, I drove for a couple more weeks, and I did in fact make more money. I didn’t work all of the suggested hours and days, but my hourly wage ranged between $17.61 – $21.00.
It’s important to note that this is still before accounting for other expenses such as insurance, car maintenance, and gas.
Do’s and Don’ts to Earn More Money
Here are the tips and tricks I learned along the way to make more money driving for Uber: Download as PDF
- Do Drive During High Demand Times
Although, there are more drivers on the road during high demand hours, you can earn significantly more money because the fares go up when a lot of people need rides.
- Don’t Totally Ignore Uber Messages
Uber sends out emails and text messages to keep drivers updated about special events like concerts, sports, festivals, etc. Don’t ignore these messages. You could be leaving money on the table. Demand increases greatly during these times. Uber charges surge fares based on the number of people looking for a ride to the number of available drivers. I have seen fares get as high as 10x the regular rate.
- Do Ask Questions
If you have questions, concerns, issues with the app or just need assistance, don’t hesitate to ask for help. From my experience, it feels as if Uber really wants to support the drivers and help them make as much money as they can.
Email the support staff or ask other Uber drivers in your area for assistance. Most drivers are more than happy to share their tips and tricks. You can also find answers on forums like: UberPeople.net.
- Don’t Drive Around Unnecessarily
Driving around in an attempt to get a “ping” will not only burn a lot of gas, but it will add more wear and tear to your car. For best results, park in a central area in your city that’s usually busy like:
- The Airport
- Near Hotels/Convention Centers
- Bus stations
- Bar strips/Night clubs
- Casinos, etc.
- Do Use the Passenger App
The passenger app has more up-to-date information on surge fares than the driver app. More importantly, you can use it to see how many drivers are in an particular area. This will make it easier for you to select areas with less competition.
- Don’t Chase the Surge
This is something I learned the hard way. If you are more than 5 minutes away from the surge area, don’t bother. Chasing the surge can be a waste of your time and your gas. Since other drivers are also heading to that area, by the time you get there the surge will more than likely be over.
- Do Stage Yourself Before Surge Time
Surge fares generally happen:
- When the bars/clubs close.
- When large events like a concert, game or job fair end.
- During bad weather.
- On Holidays like New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, July 4th, etc.
- During large conventions.
- Around 5pm (closing time for many large companies).
You can take advantage of this by going to the anticipated area 5 to 15 minutes ahead of time.
- Don‘t Try to Manipulate the System
There are many tutorials and blog posts online that claim to show drivers how to manipulate the system by consistently canceling rides in an effort to drive fares up. This is a violation of the contract that Uber has with it’s drivers. Doing so can put you at risk of having your account deactivated. No account = no money.
- Do Interact with Your Passengers
Interact with your passengers. Even though, Uber discourages tipping, you will find that many passengers like to tip. The average tip is around $5, but many will tip as much as $20.00.
Here are a few simple things that you can do to encourage tipping:
- Be professional and well groomed.
- Make sure your car is clean.
- Pick up your passengers on time.
- Apologize if the navigation is off.
- Ask your passengers what type of music they want to hear, etc.
- Don’t Forget to Take Break
If you plan on driving 6 hours or more, take a break. Sitting in your car for long periods of time can make your body stiff, sore and tight. As hard as it can be, especially when it gets busy, force yourself to break. Get out of your car stretch and move around. It will make a world of difference. This will help you feel new energy and revitalize your body.
- Do Keep Snacks & Water in the Car
Keep snacks and water in your car. This will help you to stay hydrated and keep your energy up so that you can maximize your driving hours. As well as, not have to waste time and money buying food on the road.
- Do Utilize the Weekly Summary Report
Review the weekly summary report. As I mentioned, this report contains a breakdown of the best days and hours to work in order to make more money. Utilize this information, it will make a big difference in your paycheck.
- Do Signup for The Partner Fuel Card
As soon as you qualify, sign up for the partner fuel card. The card saves you 1.5 percent on fuel purchases. Plus you can use it to save on additional items.
- Don’t Overdo It
Don’t push it. Don’t drive if you are tired, sick or having a bad day. It’s not worth it. Passengers can tell. Plus it will effect your performance and rating. Your safety, your passengers safety and the safety of others on the road are more important.
- Do Refer New Drivers
Uber has a easy referral program that allows you to earn extra money just by signing up new drivers! This is my link if you are interested in driving for Uber. You will get your own referral link once you are approved to drive. What’s even better is that you can start referring other drivers right away.
- Do Keep Track of Your Expenses
Since you are an independent contractor, it’s your responsibility to pay your own taxes. The good news is that unlike W-2 jobs, you can deduct all of your expenses. Be sure to keep track of your receipts and other expenses. Click here for a list of free expense tracking apps.
Although, this won’t help you make money right away, it will help you keep more cash in your pockets during tax time.
Items that you can deduct include:
- Phone bill
- Car Maintenance
- Professional fees, etc.
To ensure you don’t miss any deductions, you can download a copy of the IRS Publication 587 or you may want to contact your tax person.
Why Driving for Uber is Good
In my personal opinion, working for Uber is a great way to make extra money. It’s one of the easiest side gigs I have ever had. The coolest thing about driving for Uber is that you can turn the app on or off anytime.
- You can work when you want.
- You get paid weekly.
- The work is easy.
- All you need is a smartphone and newish four-door car to get started.
- You get to meet a lot of interesting people in your community.
- Uber is providing a viable service to the community. In fact, DUI rates have declined in many cities that use Uber heavily.
- There is no commitment. You can easily take off for a week, or even a month or two, if you like. (There aren’t many job opportunities that will allow you take off without notice and then let you come back and start working again).
- If you need to make more money, you can just drive more hours.
Of course, no job is perfect, and that’s true when it comes to driving for Uber. Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks is the relentless wear and tear on your car.
Also, if you are not a people person, don’t bother. You will be dealing with people from all walks of life. Some can be really cool and appreciative. Some will sit in the backseat and talk your ear off. Others will stay silent the entire ride. And there will be those who will be hard to please.
Other drawbacks include:
- You don’t have any benefits or job security.
- You have no control over the rating system. Someone can give you a low rating, just because.
- Uber has set really high expectations for their service. Some riders expect a lot from their drivers.
- You are an independent contractors, so all of your expenses are paid from your profits.
- There is a high probability someone will puke in your car, if you plan on driving at night.
Frequently Asked Questions
How you get paid?
Your check is deposited into your account each week automatically. Or you can get paid daily.
Is driving for Uber safe?
- Although, there is a concern for personal safety simply because you are allowing strangers to get into your car. You are however, in complete control. You can be selective about when and where you choose to drive. You can also decline to pick up a passenger if you feel unsafe.
- Uber’s app operates on a cashless system, so you aren’t a real target for thieves. As an added security, all riders are required to register through the app with their personal and credit card information for identity verification purposes.
- Uber drivers rate passengers just as the riders rate their drivers, so passengers with complaints are barred from the service. On a personal note, I was never paired with a passenger that was rated lower than 3 stars. Overall, most passengers were ordinary people looking for a convenient and safe way to get from point A to point B.
Driving for Uber as a Woman
I can honestly say I never had a bad experience or felt threatened in any way. Many of my passengers were women. Most of them seemed to really appreciate having a female driver. Especially the ones who are out partying late at night.
Driving for Uber is a great option for anyone who wants or needs a flexible way to earn extra income.
- You can drive once a week.
- Only work on Wednesdays.
- Only work during the day or during the night.
- You can work while the kids are in school.
- You can work during your lunch break, before or after work.
Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, fund your dream business or change careers. Becoming a Uber driver is a fun and easy way to make money. I met a driver that was using it as a way to fund his retirement account. How smart!
Want to start driving for Uber? You can get signed up today and be out on the road within a week or so picking up your first passenger. Here’s my referral link again. I’ll make money for referring you once you start driving, so thanks in advance! Get started today and will receive a $100 Bonus.