Driving with Uber can be a great side hustle if you do it right. Being able to drive when you want, and not drive when you don’t want is very appealing for those who are just looking to earn some money on the side.
Harry Campbell, friend to PTMoney and founder of The Ride Share Guy website says this about Uber:
“Like with many gigs, there are positives and negatives and Uber specifically has great flexibility so you may find that that part sells itself.”
When you drive with Uber you will be connected to people looking for a ride via the Uber app. You could make more money if you are available to drive when demand is the highest.
Here’s what you need to know about earning money driving with Uber:
Before you can start your ridesharing gig, you need to meet all of Uber’s requirements for a driver-partner. These include:
- You must be at least 21 years of age.
- You must have a valid driver’s license that you have held for at least one year. (If you are 23 or younger, you must have held your driver’s license for at least three years).
- You must have access to a four-door car that is no more than 10-15 years old. (The age requirement varies by location).
- The car must have an in-state license plate with current registration.
- You must complete the background check process.
- You must carry in-state auto insurance.
Though it’s not a specific requirement, you will also need to have a smartphone with data to use the Uber driver app. Without that, you will not be able to connect with passengers.
If you’ve ever ridden in an Uber, you know how the system works. It starts when a passenger requests a ride on the Uber rider’s app. A nearby driver will receive a notification of the requested ride, and a driver will accept the ride. The app gives riders an upfront cost of the ride for full transparency.
When there is a demand for rides (examples could be at the end of a big concert, after several flights come in all at once at the airport, or when all the bars close), the cost of the ride could go up.
Drivers pay a service fee to Uber, but drivers also get to keep tips they receive.
But don’t forget that drivers are considered contractors for Uber. This puts drivers on the hook for gas, wear-and-tear on your vehicle, insurance, and any other associated costs. This can take a bite out of your earnings.
More Rides Could Mean More Money
One way to make money with Uber is to give more rides. Of course, that’s easier said than done. You may not be able to predict when you’ll get the most number of rides in the shortest amount of time. There are a couple of ways to ensure that you are driving smarter (and making more money) rather than just waiting around for fares:
Know Your Local Peak Hours
It can also pay to drive at times when you expect to see more ride requests. If you know that the waterfront in your town is always hopping on summer evenings, then it’s a good idea to plan to drive then.
Don’t Chase Busy Areas
That said, you might only take advantage of busy areas or times that you anticipate (like the day a popular singer is at the local arena) or those that happen to occur nearby. If you chase busy areas across town, it’s might not be as busy by the time you get there, and you’ll have wasted the time and gas.
Bring Snacks–For Yourself
Many Uber drivers offer bottled water and snacks to their rides. This is an excellent way to make the ride a comfortable one for your passengers. But it can be easy to forget your own rumbling tummy. Which means you might find yourself hitting up a fast food restaurant for a snack, which just cuts into your profit and is not great for your waistline.
Coming prepared for your own needs can be an important way to help you pocket as much profit as possible.
See also: Make Money Delivering Food with Doordash
Set a Driver Destination
An excellent way to help monetize trips you’re already taking is to use the Driver Destination feature on the driver app, if available in your area.
With this feature, you can set a destination where you are already headed. The app will match you with passengers who are going near a route to your destination. The app allows you to set up to two destinations per day, which means you could potentially monetize your commute to and from your 9-to-5 without changing a thing about your driving habits.
Of course, setting a destination might limit the number of ride requests you receive, but this feature of the app can be a great way to make earning more convenient.
While Uber can be a great side hustle for anyone with a car, it’s not all profits and roses. To start, the earnings can be unpredictable. While this is common with any kind of independent contractor opportunity, it can be especially true of Uber since you are dependent on other people using the Uber app.
There’s also the weirdness factor in inviting strangers into your car. While the majority of riders are going to be perfectly lovely people just trying to get where they need to go, sometimes drivers will have to deal with aggressive, drunk, or even vomitous passengers.
Coming prepared for any potential rider–which includes having water and snacks available to help those struggling to keep that last tequila shot down, and having vomit bags for those who can’t–can help overcome the worst of the weird passengers.
Will Driving with Uber Be Your Next Side Hustle?
While Uber driving may not be for everyone, it can be a great side hustle for anyone looking for a way to fatten their wallet. Making this hustle work is a matter finding savvy ways to increase your ride number, driving smart, keeping careful track of your mileage and other deductions, and taking advantage of the promotions Uber may offer.
Have you earned money as an Uber driver-partner? Have you ever had an exemplary Uber driver-partner? Tell us about your experience in the comments!