The Uber business model has revolutionized the taxi industry, and while some countries are late to adopt Uber and other similar business models, the trend isn’t going anywhere. For people looking to own their own businesses, this presents a very interesting opportunity. While it is very easy to get started, there are a few important things to note before venturing down this path to start your own business driving for Uber.
Are you qualified?
Each country has its own rules for becoming an Uber driver, so make sure to check your specific country requirements, but here are the minimum requirements for people in the U.S., according to the Uber website:
- 21 years of age or older with 3 or more years of US driving experience
- Or, 23 years of age or older with 1 or more years of US driving experience
- A valid driver’s license
- Valid vehicle registration
- A clean driving record and criminal history
After signing up, complete a background check online. The check will scan the last seven years of your driving record to ensure you’ve had:
- No DUI or drug-related offenses
- No fatal accidents
- No history of reckless driving
- No criminal record
In addition, your vehicle must meet minimum requirements that Uber sets – these requirements vary by city. In general, you’ll need to have a car that meets these requirements:
- Model year 2008 or newer
- 4 doors
- Good condition
- No commercial branding
- Must pass vehicle inspection
If you want to drive UberXL, UberBlack, or one of the other types of programs, the car requirements will be stricter – review the Uber site for full details.
Assuming you meet these requirements, actually becoming an Uber driver is pretty easy – just signup on their website and they’ll walk you through the rest. The bigger question, is do you actually want to go through with it?
Pros and Cons of driving for Uber
As with any business venture there will be pros and cons associated with the endeavor, and it’s important to understand those before deciding on whether or not to jump in. Here are some pros and cons for you to think through, although you’re encouraged to come up with your own list as well.
- You can set your own hours & work as much or as little as you want
- You get to meet a lot of interesting people
- Great tax write-offs
- Wear and tear on your car
- Dealing with rude passengers
- Limited earnings potential
The last con on the list is probably the most concerning one, so let’s dive into it a little more. A few years back Buzzfeed actually did a whole report on what Uber drivers actually make (you can find it here). They concluded that drivers make an average of around $22. Uber claims drivers make an average of $25 hour. These totals include deductions for vehicle related expenses, but if you’re curious about the types of vehicle maintenance you might be looking at, check out this check list from Kwik Fit. Since your car is your business, it’s important that you keep it in top running condition. Now, back to the hourly earnings… let’s split the difference and say $23.50 an hour. Since there are only 24 hours in a day, theoretically your maximum daily earnings would be $564. If you worked 24 hours a day for 365 days a year, the maximum you could possibly make would be a little over $200,000. Now… no one can work that much, so let’s look at a more realistic scenario. If you’re working a normal 40 hour work week, 52 weeks a year, that would put your yearly income at a little under $50,000.
While not a horrible income, an Uber business isn’t going to make you wealthy either. For some people the flexibility and joys of being their own boss are more important than making a bunch of money, and Uber can definitely deliver on that. But, no one should go into the Uber driving business expecting to get rich. If money is a driving motivator for you starting your own business, there are many better business opportunities out there for you.