Making Money as an Uber Driver

I am always looking for new ways to make money on my own schedule with as little commitment as possible and that is how I originally came across the idea of Uber driving as a part-time side gig. The stealthy and wealthy man loves the idea of being able to turn his vehicle into a money making machine and turn on an app that can bring in income any time that you please, day and night. I have been driving Uber for a little over a year now and it has become my third biggest source of income, behind my full-time job and Airbnb rental. During my time as an Uber driver, I have learned a few key things that will help you on your journey, but first, I want to give a quick introduction to Uber driving and answer some of the most common questions that I get asked by friends, acquaintances and random strangers.

What is Uber?

Uber is a peer-to-peer car sharing service that allows drivers who meet certain requirements to accept and give rides the same way that a traditional town car or taxi would provide services. For riders, the benefit is obvious, as they can typically get a ride very quickly in a newer car, don’t have to pay with cash, can track the driver’s progress toward picking them up and typically will pay less than a traditional taxi, shuttle or town car service. As an Uber driver, you drive your own car and manage your own hours, choosing when you want to drive or not drive. When you are signed up as an Uber driver, you will download the Uber Partner app and be able to drive after you have met all of the requirements and completed the registration process. To start driving, you simply turn on the Uber app and you will be notified when an Uber user is looking for a ride. It will tell you the distance to the rider’s pickup point and give you the address where you will be meeting them. The app handles tracking of the price of the ride, payment processing, ratings and any additional fees that you need to charge for cleaning or other additional items.

Uber Driver Partner App in Action
Uber Driver Partner App in Action

What are the requirements to drive for Uber?

To drive for Uber, you must meet a number of requirements and go through a registration and inspection process. The basic requirements include that you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have access to a 4-door car that is less than 10 years old (currently model year 2006 or newer). This number is slightly different in certain areas like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
  • Have valid in-state auto insurance
  • Have a valid drivers license in the state that you are going to drive and will need to have been a registered driver in that state for at least a year
  • Have In-state plates with a current, valid registration (temporary registration/plates are accepted)
  • Have a valid social security number on file with Uber
  • Pass a background check conducted through a third-party licensed by Uber
  • Pass a driving record check conducted through a third-party licensed by Uber – the background and driving record check took about five days to complete from the time that I signed up.
  • Pass a vehicle inspection at a local auto shop – for my inspection, I went to Firestone Auto Service Center around the corner from my house and it took about 45 minutes.

For more information on the requirements to drive with Uber, you can go to the Uber Driver Jobs page.

How do you sign up to drive with Uber?

To sign up as an Uber driver, you can click on this link (aff) and provide them with some basic information. This will start the process, then you will have to wait a bit for the background and driving record check. In the meantime, you can take your car to an inspection location and get your vehicle inspection completed.

How much money can you make with Uber?

So the big question that I’m sure you are asking is “how much do uber drivers make?” There are a lot of different numbers that you will see out there. Uber currently claims $19.04 average earnings for drivers. I have heard as low as $10 per hour and as high as $50+ per hour depending on the type of service (UberBlack, UberSelect, UberXL, etc.) and city in which the driver is located. I can only speak to my personal experience, which I have tracked in great detail since I started driving with Uber in early 2015. I am certainly not a full-time driver, which I’ll discuss in more detail below, but over the past 13 months or so, I have averaged $23.26 per hour. This is in Phoenix, Arizona and the time that I have driven includes MLB Spring Training, a Super Bowl and a PGA Golf Tournament, so I may have enjoyed slightly more demand at times than some drivers in other cities. Regardless, for a part-time side gig to make extra money, Uber has been very valuable to me, even after the expenses that go along with it.

What kind of insurance do Uber drivers need?

This is sort of a gray area when it comes to driving Uber. Most insurances will cover aspects of Uber driving, but it will depend entirely on the specifics of your insurance coverage for your vehicle. The best place to start with this is to review Uber’s information page on insurance

for Uber drivers, then check with your own insurance agent to make sure that you are covered. There may be additional insurance fees that you have to pay for driving Uber, so you should certainly factor this into your expected earnings when deciding whether or not to drive Uber.

How do you get paid by Uber?

As an Uber driver, you will know what your current earnings are at all times through the Uber Partner application. This shows you how much you have earned after fees for the rides that you have given during the session in which you are driving. Unfortunately, you do not get paid immediately by Uber, which to some is seen as a downside of driving. Pay periods are one week long (Monday to Monday). After the pay period, Uber will calculate your earnings, then email you a Partner Payment Summary. You can also access this summary through your Uber Driver dashboard to see details of the rides you gave, your earnings and how many hours you spent driving. Uber will then process your payment on the Wednesday after the pay period ends and you will receive your payment via direct deposit into your bank account, typically on Thursday morning. So there is essentially a four day waiting period after your weekly earnings have been completed. In my opinion, this is not bad at all for a side gig where you set your own schedule.

Uber Driver Partner Earnings Statement
Uber Driver Partner Earnings Statement

My experience as an Uber driver

I cannot speak to full-time Uber driving as that is not my career of choice, but in my experience, part-time Uber driving is one of the most perfect side gigs for the stealthy and wealthy lifestyle. It requires you to set aside your ego a bit about being what is essentially a new age cabby. You get paid for the exact amount that you choose to hustle. The beauty of Uber driving is that it gives you an opportunity to turn on the money making machine any time that you feel you aren’t doing anything more important.

I started driving Uber as more of an experiment in the week before Phoenix was hosting the Super Bowl and the PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open. Needless to say, this was going to be a very big week in Phoenix in terms of demand for rides. I started the registration and inspection process about 12 days before the events and was pleasantly surprised with how easily I got approved as a driver. During the week of the “big game” I drove 18.4 hours and earned $716.33 for an hourly rate of $38.93. The best part of it was that I had an absolute blast while doing it. I drove families, people in town for business, an NFL broadcaster and an NFL Pro Bowl Running Back (can’t tell you who, but let’s just say that the ride was LEGENDARY). During that week, as well as the year since, I have not once had a passenger who was rude or confrontational (knock on wood).

After the hustle and bustle of that first week died down, I worked my way into a more regular schedule of part-time Uber driving. I live on one side of Sky Harbor Airport and work on the other side, so one of my most common driving times is on my way to work in the morning. I have found that if I sign into the Uber partner app about 30 minutes before I would normally leave my house for work, there is nearly always someone who needs to get to the airport from my neighborhood. I pick them up, drop them off at the airport, then head into work. This actually cuts down on my commute because it helps me to avoid traffic and pays me about $10-15 each morning. Most days, if I am not in a hurry on my way home, I will sign into the Uber Partner app and give a few rides. This all adds up to about $100 per week for less than 5 hours of work, typically at times when I would be in my car anyway.

The other time that I have driven a lot with Uber is on weekend mornings. It’s just a personal preference, but I typically choose not to drive late at night. Even though it is one of the best times for making money with Uber, I just don’t like to stay up late at night driving around the crazy drunk people who are trying to get to lord knows where from the bars and nightclubs. I do, however take advantage of their walk of shame (Uber of shame…is that a thing now?) the next morning. I have found that driving on Saturday, Sunday and even Monday mornings starting around 6:00 AM is a highly profitable time. There are less drivers out fighting for rides and there is far more demand than you would expect. People are typically in pretty good spirits and have fun stories to tell from the night before. I am usually done driving before Noon and have a nice chunk of change in my pocket to pay for anything that I decide to take on for that day.

Overall, I have been very happy with the addition of Uber to my side gigs to make extra money. It’s a fun experience, I like being in my car anyway and I have the ability to make money whenever I feel like it. At times, I find myself sitting around the house with extra time on my hands and realizing that instead of binge watching Netflix, I could drive for an hour or two and make enough money to pay for my next few days to a week of expenses. Having this level of money making power on top of my existing financial plans is pretty huge for my goals of being financially free.

Should you drive for Uber?

I have recommended Uber driving for a lot of people, but just like any other side gig, you have to decide if it fits with your goals, priorities and current situation. It is definitely a good source of income, but make sure that you consider all of the costs associated with it such as depreciation on your car, data usage on your cell phone, gas, car maintenance and the like. A lot of these expenses can be partially offset by tax deductions, but they are still real. I would definitely consider these very carefully if you are in a position where you would have to lease, purchase or borrow a car to be able to meet the requirements for Uber driving.

If Uber driving passes that sniff test, then I say go for it. Let me know how your experience goes and be sure to share any of your success stories, crazy rider tales, tips and tricks with me!

Affiliate Disclaimer: My goal with this blog is to share what I have learned and let other people choose to join me on the stealthy and wealthy path. When I believe in a product, I will recommend it on this site, sometimes using affiliate links that reward me financially when someone signs up. In this case, if you sign up using my link, you and I will both receive a bonus. Following all affiliate links on this site, you will see “(aff)”. 

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