If you’re a city dweller, you’ve probably seen Uber on the road and thought to yourself – hey maybe I can do this too. Well, before you start thinking that this is a fun gig, you need to factor a few things to have a better understanding of the earning potential. How much can you actually make driving strangers around town?
This review will highlight the pros and cons to help you decide whether driving for Uber is worth it or not. So let’s jump right into things.
How Does Uber Driving Work
Uber is a well-known rideshare service that uses a smartphone application to connect drivers and customers to get from one place to another. To join as a driver, you need to meet the following requirements.
- Must reach the minimum age to drive in your city
- Have at least 1 to 3 years of driving experiences (age dependant)
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Own a 4 door vehicle
If you’re a potential candidate, then proceed with the following steps;
- Apply via the company’s website or through the official app.
- Answer a few questions for a background check and submit the necessary documents through photos.
- Drive to the nearest hub for vehicle inspection.
Once you pass all these checkpoints, you’ll be officially hired as an Uber driver and can start receiving ride requests from customers.
How Much Can Uber Drivers Make
To answer this question, we must first look at how earnings and fees are calculated. A driver’s earnings can derive from the summation of the followings;
- Standard trip fare – This is basically the sum of a base fare (automatically charged upon pick-up) plus the amounts for each minute and mile covered to complete the trip. These rates vary between cities and you should be able to see that on your driver’s app when receiving a ride request.
- Surge – A numerical factor assigned to hotspots to show where the rider demand is high. When servicing around these areas, you can potentially earn more.
- Cancellations – If a rider cancels the trip after 2 minutes of acceptance, your time driving towards the pickup point will be compensated with a standard cancellation fee.
- Tipping – Tips received from customers who are happy with your service.
- Boost – Also known as promotion, this is basically a reward for completing a certain number of rides within a specific time frame or date. This period varies according to cities and drivers and may not always be available.
- Referral – As an Uber driver, you are given a personal invite code or link to refer new drivers to the fleet. Bonuses will be rewarded to new drivers when they complete a certain number of rides within a time period and you will earn a referral fee as a result of that. The amount may vary but the number usually falls within the range of $400 to $700 dollars.
Most people use social media like YouTube videos to share their referral codes in the video description area. You can also do the same with a blog, writing about your experience as an Uber driver or any other side gigs you’ve participated in before. Use this free WordPress blog if you’re thinking of getting one.
As for fees, these are the deductions you should be expecting;
- Service fee – Fees used to help cover the costs of the Uber app development and customer support.
- Uber’s commission – Uber typically takes about 20% to 25% cut from the rider’s payment to you.
Having considered all the variables, it’s quite obvious that you can’t put a fixed number to the driver’s earning rate. But from what we know based on testimonials and reports, an Uber driver typically makes anywhere between $10 to $35 per hour, before expenses.
The Benefits of Driving for Uber
Now, let’s recap why Uber appeals to most people at first glance.
(1) Very minimal is needed to get started – Besides the fact that you need to own a car, pretty much everything else is basic stuff. As long as you can drive reasonably well and have a good sense of navigation, there’s no reason why you can’t join the fleet.
(2) One of the biggest advantages of working on this gig is time flexibility. There’s no one to report for duty and you can choose to drive (or not) whenever you like. As such, this is a good side hustle for college students, stay at home moms or unemployed individuals.
(3) The Uber service is very popular in big cities/towns as it cuts down the dependence towards crowded public transportation by offering a more customized ride. If you’re familiar with the streets, it’s an added advantage because you can transport people to places faster.
The Downsides of Driving for Uber
Now comes the ugly side of the job, if you haven’t already noticed.
(1) As an Uber driver, you’re considered an independent contractor who doesn’t have access to employment benefits such as retirement plans and paid leave. Every time you aren’t driving, it is a loss of income and that will have a prolonged impact on your savings.
(2) Oversaturation of drivers is a common problem in hotspots. When supply surpasses demand, competition ensues and ride requests may not be accessible for every driver. Hence, the more time you spend waiting on the road, the less money you’ll make.
(3) It may not be obvious at first, but a big factor that will bite into your profit is the vehicle maintenance fee. Fuel, insurance, wear and tear – these are unavoidable expenses to keep your job afloat. The more mileage you cover, the more money you need to spend. After deducting these expenses, your earning is actually less than $10 to $35 per hour.
As you can see, the stats aren’t all that impressive when compared to other hourly wages in most major US cities. Given today’s state of the economy, it’s impossible to sustain with this kind of income for the long term and it makes no difference working part-time at McDonald’s.
(4) Picking up strangers doesn’t always lead to friendly encounters. Many Uber drivers have had their fair share dealing with rude, drunk and weird customers. If you’re a female driver, you need to be more vigilant in these situations. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this because you don’t get to choose your customers.
If you don’t fancy picking up passengers, then consider delivery gig tasks instead. Here are some options to look into;
AirTasker – Get paid to perform specific tasks for clients. The pay rate range between $5 to $10K per task. Only based in Australia.
Amazon Flex – Deliver Amazon orders to customers’ homes near you. The pay rate is between $18 to $25 per hour.
Doordash – Deliver food to customers’ homes. The pay rate is between $6 to $18 per ride.
Instacart – Deliver groceries to customers. The pay rate is between $10 to $20 per hour.
Postmates – Deliver takeaways, groceries, and packages. The pay rate is between $6 to $20 per hour.
Shipt Shopper – Deliver groceries to customers. The pay rate is between $15 to $25 per order.
TaskRabbit – Deliver services and completing tasks for clients. The pay rate is $8 to $43 per hour
(5) Uber driving as a job lacks financial security in many ways. First, your daily earnings are influenced by the app’s algorithm such as surge factor and promotion period. Then you need to weather harsh climates like snow and storms or worse, economic crises that can halt customer demand completely.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, for example, streets are empty and people aren’t going anywhere. The transportation industry is one of the first few to be affected and like it or not, you’re one of them.
For a number of years now, Uber has continuously faced protests from drivers who feel they aren’t being treated fairly, but their voices haven’t made significant changes so far. Many people are still unhappy and the job prospect looks even more grim moving forward.
So, Is Driving Uber Worth Your Time?
For the short term, driving Uber can provide a supplemental income and make you more productive during your free time. But I wouldn’t count on it to generate a stable income because the nature of the job is too volatile.
If you have that much time driving around, why not invest some of it to build an online business instead? With a low-cost model like affiliate marketing, you can start as early as today. Feel free to join this comprehensive training platform and I’ll personally walk you through the process.
What do you think? Is driving Uber worth it? Please share your comments down below.
I actually think it’s worth it, but the costs are nothing to ignore and you’re right to be concerned about them. I would say it’s good if you live in a place with great demand, or else you probably be waiting in your car and spending a lot of time on another ride.
One thing I despise about Uber is, there is no guaranteed minimum hourly rate. I’ve got some hours where I made $0 and somewhere I made $100. I would say my average was about $10-$15 an hour where I live, or anywhere from $20–50+ an hour when I would make the trip up to San Francisco to work (which was definitely worth it).
Being in a place with great demand is key because nothing is crazier than being online with no rides and waiting for half an hour or more. There are also a lot of amazing bonus opportunities and prime time (where they jack up rates 2–5x as normal) and you’ll earn a good income with those.
Thanks for sharing your Uber experience with us, Joshua! 🙂
Becoming an Uber driver sounds fun and if you enjoy driving around, I guess it shouldn’t be too difficult getting along with the daily routine. I have a list of driving jobs to consider during retirement and I would love to give Uber a try. I hope to make the most out of it.
I knew driving Uber is a popular gig, but I never found out the earning figures until I read this review. Doesn’t seem much after taking into account vehicle maintenance which I’m sure is going to cost a lot for a work like this.
Well, I’ve often wondered how Uber works, and now I know. I don’t think I would take an Uber job unless it was one of the ones making deliveries. I’d rather deal with goods than people.
It sounds to me like it would be hard to make much or to be able to figure out how much you would be making for a certain period. That makes it hard to budget if you don’t know your income. If you have some kind of stable job and just used Uber to fill in during slack times, I think that would make it more valuable.
David nelson says
I drive for Uber for like three months and I must say, it was a good working experience meeting new people in town. I didn’t come across anyone who’s too weird and had wished I could spend more time but duty called and I had to stop. The stat you have given is very accurate though. On good days, I only earned slightly more than the average.