As technology has evolved, it has opened up many new opportunities for people to make extra money. You are no longer stuck with having to work in an office or a work site from 9 until 5 every day. With mobile technology, people find that they can work when they want, make some money, and provide valuable services.
Driving an Uber has become one of the most popular of these new occupations. In the past, providing passenger service was the purview of taxi services and public transportation. That is no longer the case. With the infrastructure that the Uber app has created, anyone can become a driver. All you need is a car and the app, and you’re ready to go. It sounds like a great concept, and it’s one that many people, including yourself, might be considering. However, it’s not quite as simple as it might seem on the surface. Here are some things you need to consider before becoming an Uber driver.
Your Car Must Meet Certain Specifications
Unfortunately, you can’t just pull out the old beater that’s been collecting dust in your garage and start using it to drive for Uber. The car you use must meet certain requirements before you can apply. For one, it must be no more than 15 years old. It also must have room for at least four passengers and have four doors, including the driver’s side. Some drivers use rental cars, but the driver must rent the cars from a lender that Uber approves.
There is also the black Uber category. Since this is considered a higher scale, your vehicle cannot be more than ten years old, and the interior must be black. It must also be in impeccable physical condition. No matter what category you want to drive, your vehicle must have no physical defects and no branding on its exterior or interior.
Be Realistic About Your Potential Revenue
One of the best things about being an Uber driver is flexibility. You can work as little or as often as you want. If you have a free afternoon, you can simply sign on and start picking up passengers. Some people take it up as a full-time job, and others do it to supplement their regular income.
No matter how you choose to approach driving an Uber, you must be realistic about how much money you will make. You certainly won’t get rich, but if you play your cards right, you could build a nice extra income. Uber says that drivers make, on average, about $19 an hour. However, this doesn’t include all of your expenses, such as your mileage and maintenance of your car. Some studies have shown that the actual rate is closer to $14 an hour. If you are just doing short shifts, it may not be as efficient as doing longer shifts and longer drives. How much you will make depends on how many rides you provide and how you schedule yourself.
If you are considering applying to be an Uber driver, then you most likely have a car. This means that you also have insurance for that vehicle. However, it’s important to know upfront that the auto insurance for your personal vehicle will not cover you if you are in an accident while you are driving for Uber. The last thing you want is to get in an accident and think that you are covered when in fact, you are not.
The fact is that driving an Uber comes with more risk. You are on the road more often, and you are carrying passengers more often. As a company, Uber offers insurance for drivers, but it is low level and will not cover all accidents. Therefore, you need to have an extra commercial auto insurance policy to be fully covered. Otherwise, you will find out the hard way that you are not properly protected.
You Will Need to Provide Excellent Customer Service
One of the best ways to make more money as an Uber driver is to get customers to keep coming back. They will find you on the app and make a request. Plus, the more 5-star ratings you get, the more clients you will get as they seek higher-ranked drivers. Drivers who provide good customer service are also more likely to get tipped.
What constitutes good customer service when you are only making sure that people get from Point A to B? For starters, you should be friendly at all times. Feel free to make conversation, but understand when the client wants to be left alone. Your car should be clean and smell nice at all times. Plus, you want to make sure that you have reliable phone chargers for every type of phone. Clients will appreciate that, especially if they’ve been on the go all day or have just gotten off a long flight. Some drivers also offer cold water or other beverages.
Know Your Area
There are several reasons that you want to know your area as well as possible. For one, knowing the most efficient routes is a good thing. Yes, you can use a GPS easily, but sometimes there is traffic or construction, and you will want to take an alternate route. In addition, your clients will appreciate your efficiency, and it will help save you gas as well.
You need to know where the best spots for gas are. That means planning out pickups and dropoffs near those gas stations so that you can fill up as affordably as possible. The less you spend on gas, the more revenue that stays in your pocket. Knowing your area also means understanding where and when the hot spots are. That could be nightclubs on the weekends or big yearly events such as festivals and golf tournaments where many tourists will be looking for rides. The more you know where you can grab an advantage, the better.
Driving for Uber is a great option for those looking to make some extra cash. However, it’s important to go into this endeavor with your eyes open about what it entails. If you enjoy driving and meeting new people and can be as efficient as possible, you will pocket more money and get more satisfaction from the job.