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Driving for Uber is often presented as an easy way to make money: Sign up, then drive. But the reality is not that simple.
You need to meet certain age, vehicle and insurance requirements, and pass a background check — which can take a few weeks — before you can start earning.
Here’s what you need to know to get started driving for Uber.
Uber driver requirements
You must check at least these boxes to become an Uber driver:
Meet the minimum age to drive for Uber in your city.
Have a valid U.S. driver’s license.
Have at least one year licensed driving experience in the United States (three years if you’re under 25 years old).
Pass a screening process, which will include a review of your driving record and possibly a background check.
Provide proof of residency in your city or state.
Give proof of vehicle insurance, if you’re planning to drive your own car.
Note that Uber drivers can also rent their vehicles, which come with insurance. Find details on Uber's website.
Uber vehicle requirements
In general, Uber vehicles must be in good working condition, have four doors and meet state requirements, such as passing a smog test or having up-to-date registration. Other requirements include:
Pass inspection requirements, which vary by city and state.
Meets vehicle age requirements in your city and state (typically 10 to 15 years old or newer).
Not titled as salvage or rebuilt.
No commercial branding.
Additional requirements may apply to drive for specialized services, such as UberX.
Uber insurance requirements
Uber drivers need to have auto insurance coverage. Minimum insurance requirements vary by state, and some places have special requirements for ridesharing drivers.
Uber also maintains insurance coverage on behalf of its drivers, which kicks in after you’ve accepted a ride request, but may also apply if you’re waiting on a request (if your personal insurance doesn’t cover the incident).
Talk with your insurance provider before signing up as a ridesharing driver — it could cancel your policy if you don’t disclose your new gig. Your personal policy could also leave you with coverage gaps. In that case, consider purchasing rideshare insurance, if it’s available where you live. A commercial auto policy may be required for certain types of Uber drivers.
How much do Uber drivers make?
Drivers can expect to earn between $5 and $20 per hour with Uber, according to SideHusl.com, a review site for money-making platforms.
The amount you make as an Uber driver depends on when, where and how frequently you drive, plus any tips or bonuses you may receive. Note that drivers must pay for gas and vehicle maintenance, and navigate gig worker taxes on their own.
How to maximize earnings as an Uber driver
Familiarize yourself with the various earning and bonus options. Check for guaranteed-pay promotions in your area, which ensure your weekly or hourly earnings as long as you meet certain requirements.
Take advantage of peak hours — when demand for rides is high — through Uber surge pricing. That might mean waiting for rides after a special event or making yourself available to drive during the morning commute.
Maintaining a stellar rating can also boost your earnings, so remember to keep your car clean, be friendly and use a reliable GPS.
Explore other ways to make money on the road
If Uber isn’t for you, you could look into becoming a Lyft driver. If you’d rather transport food or packages than people, some delivery services, like Uber Eats and DoorDash, have looser requirements. For example, you may be allowed to drive an older car or use a scooter instead.
Before signing up for anything, learn more about what it means to work in the gig economy.