Uber Driver FAQ
The ride-sharing industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. People across all legal driving ages are driving for Uber or its rival, Lyft. They do so on either on a part-time or full-time basis. Millions of people have also used this service since it was introduced some years ago.
Are you curious about what driving for Uber looks like as a potential driver or a rider? This article answers some of the frequently asked questions about Uber drivers.
First, something equally important for people considering driving for Uber will be discussed.
8 Things You Need To Know About Uber Driving
1. You may not Earn as Much as Advertised
Many Uber drivers were attracted to driving for this company by the advertised earnings of an average driver. According to a study conducted in 2015, Uber claimed that its drivers earn an average of $19 an hour in 20 cities.
But, Buzzfeed, an independent research body, conducted another study. It revealed that drivers in some states earn far lower than that figure. In those states, the average earning is a little above $13 an hour after taking care of expenses. Uber’s drivers in Detroit had the lowest earning per hour. They earned an average of $8.77 per hour.
You will do yourself a lot of good if you don’t count much on the advertised income. How much you make from Uber driving depend on several factors. The most common determinants are your driving time, expenses, and surge.
As an Uber driver, you are responsible for your expenses. These include repairs, maintenance, insurance, gasoline, and taxes. These things will affect your net income.
2. Understand the Peak Hour in Your Neighborhood
Uber drivers make more money during peak hours. These are usually on weekends when people attend sports games, go clubbing, or go out for picnics. Festive periods are other times when human traffic on the roads increase. Halloween, New Year, Christmas, and Independence Day are some festivities that drive traffic.
When people are going to work or returning home in the evening, the demand for ride-hailing service increases. These peak hours offer drivers the opportunity to earn more. This is because there is an increasing demand for their service.
So, you can boost your earnings if you pay attention to these peak hours. Work during such hours and charge more than the regular fee. Sometimes, the ride-hailing company charges riders as much as twice the normal fee.
3. Know How to Relate with People
Riders rate drivers according to their experience with them. Friendly drivers get better ratings than rude or angry ones. To get a good rating from a passenger, you need to be sociable. Be courteous when dealing with them. Make riders feel comfortable riding in your car.
These are some practical ways you can build a great relationship with your riders. Such endearing qualities will have a positive impact on your rating.
4. Keep Your Car Clean Always
The competition in the business is very stiff. You must stand out of the crowd if you wish to make a meaningful impact as an Uber driver. One of the most effective strategies is maintaining a clean and neat vehicle.
Riders appreciate clean drivers. Your vehicle should be sparkling clean. Keep both the exterior and interior dirt-free.
Visit a carwash with your car regularly. Give it a thorough washing, both inside and out. Depending on where you operate, a daily trip for a wash isn’t a bad idea. Remove dirt or food crumbs from the vehicle each time a passenger alights.
5. You Can Driver for Both Uber and Lyft
You can boost your income by driving for both Lyft and Uber. Most drivers do this. If they don’t get an order from Uber, they may get from Lyft, and vice versa. So, such drivers are hardly idle.
Do you wish to drive for both services? If so, study their mode of operation, charges, and other relevant factors. These could define your career as a driver with either Uber or Lyft.
6. Learn Security Tips
Every job comes with its occupational hazard. Uber driving is not an exception. Every now and then, you may have to contend with assaults: physical, verbal, or sexual.
Your security is your primary responsibility. So, it is important that you learn some valuable security tips. They will help you to ward off assaults and stay longer in the driving business.
Some security experts and veteran Uber drivers offer the following security tips:
- Don’t be aggressive when dealing with riders.
- Be vigilant always.
- Don’t resist a robbery.
- Take self-defense classes.
- Be conscious of your environment.
- Don’t drive into back lanes or alleys.
- Don’t open your door until you are comfortable with the environment and the rider.
- Install a dash cam.
- Avoid night driving if you can.
7. You Are Not An Uber Employee
When you sign up on Uber, you did so as an independent contractor. The company itself refers to you as a “partner driver.” This implies that you are personally responsible for your expenses. The company is not responsible for your taxes either, you pay from your income.
8. Learn How to Handle Angry Riders
Now and then, you will come across some angry riders. Some transfer their aggressions to drivers for no clear reason. Some have genuine reasons to be angry. A passenger may be angry that you don’t pick them up at a convenient location, even if you are not at fault.
Learning how to handle such individuals will determine your longevity in this business. Remember that an angry rider may ruin your business. Rather than allow an upset passenger to do this, speak to them as calmly as you can. Apologize for both real and imaginary complaints as much as you can.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following Uber driver faqs will give you a better understanding of how Uber works. Especially before you commit yourself to using the service, either as a driver or a rider.
1. Are Uber Drivers Literate?
Yes. According to an Uber release, the drivers are more educated than most US workers. The company claims that some 37% of its drivers are college graduates. This is higher than the average of 25.1% for the US labor force.
2. How Long do Drivers Work per Week
The majority of Uber drivers don’t work for long in a week. 51% of them work only 15 hours or less weekly. Only about one-fifth of them put in 35 hours or more. This is very low compared to an incredible 81% of chauffeurs and taxi drivers. They work for 35 hours and above weekly.
3. What does the Recruiting Process look like?
Uber operates a very simple recruiting process. The company offers new players an attractive signup bonus. The bonus amount depends on your city. After signing up, you will provide your personal information and that of your vehicle. What if you don’t have a vehicle or you have one that doesn’t meet their requirements? The company will give you one through its Leasing and Car Rental promotions.
You need to submit your Social Security Number (SSN). The company will use this to carry out a background check on you. Then, upload the necessary documents. These are your License, Insurance, and Registration.
After you have done these, simply walk into any of their offices and present your information. Go along with the car and its document. The company will inspect your vehicle for free on the spot. Once your vehicle meets the requirements, the company accepts you as a qualified driver. You can start working as soon as possible.
As a new driver, you stand a chance of winning up to $1,000 sign up bonus if you use a referral code from another driver.
More so, the recruiting process changes from time to time. The company reviews its services from time to time. It adjusts requirements to meet the changes.
4. What Information does an Uber Driver See Before Picking up a Rider?
When placing your order for an Uber ride, you will provide some personal information through the app. The driver will see the supplied information before they pick you up.
Some of these are:
- First name. Uber used to request for the last name as well. But, it stopped requesting it to prevent drivers from cherry-picking passengers based on their gender.
- Your pickup location.
- The estimated duration of the trip.
- Surge rate if there is a surge.
- Vehicle or service requested, e.g. UberBlack, Uberx, UberPool, etc.
- Passenger ratings.
5. How Many Drivers Does Uber Have?
In December 2018, Uber claimed it had some 3.9 million drivers globally. These drivers attend to the needs of some 91 million monthly consumers. The company is operational in over 850 cities across 83 countries.
Each day, these drivers complete some 14 million trips. They have completed about 10 billion trips worldwide. This is since the ride-sharing service came to the scene.
6. Are Uber Drivers Penalized for Cancelling Requests?
Uber doesn’t penalize a driver for cancelling a request. But, if there is a pattern or several cancellations over a short period, the driver’s rating will drop. The company will also issue a warning to the driver. If the pattern continues and the rating drops below 3.7, the driver will be deactivated.
7. Does Uber Train New Drivers?
Aside from showing drivers how to use the Uber app, the company doesn’t offer training for new drivers. They are expected to have a good knowledge of driving and how to operate a car service before they sign up for work.
The reason for their stance about training is not far-fetched. Uber is a Transportation Network Company. So, it is authorized as a dispatcher. Their drivers are the ones responsible for transportation.
8. Does Uber Have Female Drivers?
The ride-sharing company is populated by male drivers, one out of every five drivers is a female.
SherpaShare, a company that assists rideshare drivers, took a survey of more than 1,000 on-demand workers. Their survey some years back shows that some 19% of Uber drivers are women.
9. How Does Uber Vet a Driver?
The ride-sharing service doesn’t accept every Tom, Dick, and Harry to drive for it. Uber conducts a series of background check on a driver and their vehicle before they are allowed to join the company.
The company’s requirements include:
- Minimum age requirement: 21 years.
- The driver must use a 4-door vehicle.
- A minimum of one year driving experience. If you are under 23 years old, you must have a minimum of three years driving experience.
- A valid driver’s license.
- Proof of vehicle insurance.
- Proof of vehicle registration.
- Motor Vehicle Records.
- Social Security Trace.
- Up to 7 years of multi-state criminal database.
- No reckless driving or driving under the influence.
- Criminal background check. Driver must have no misdemeanors or felonies within a specific time frame.
- Background check on the National Sex Offender Registry.
You can’t drive for this company if you fail this background check.
10. What are the Risks Associated with Uber Driving
Driving for Uber is rewarding. The extra income makes it a worthy side business. But, like every other profession, the job has some occupational hazards.
You may be exposed to the following risks as an Uber driver:
- Assault by passengers: Sometimes, drivers are at the risk of being assaulted by riders. In January 2019, an Uber driver, Tolleson, was attacked by a passenger. He picked up the passenger who later made a failed attempt to kill him. But, the driver sustained a slit throat and several lacerations on his hands. This came less than a week after a Lyft driver was stabbed. The pregnant woman died together with her unborn baby.
- Financial risks: Uber drivers also suffer financial risks. They are not officially employed by the company. So, they don’t receive compensations whenever they suffer physical harm while on duty. They are also responsible for vehicle maintenance, gas, and other expenses they incur. Most drivers have vehicle insurance. But, this doesn’t cover drivers who are using their vehicles for commercial purposes on Lyft or Uber.
11. How Safe are Uber Riders?
Uber drivers are not the only ones with risk concerns. Riders are also at risk. There are instances where riders are attacked physically.
Riders have reported they were abandoned by drivers. Some have reported cases of verbal abuse.
There are reported cases of sexual assault of Uber passengers as well.
In 2016, a West Hollywood woman sued the company for negligence after she was raped by a driver in 2014. A boy was also reportedly sexually assaulted by an Uber driver in Canada, according to the Police. This also happened in 2016.
The Sun newspaper reported 32 sexual assaults of passengers by Uber drivers over 12 months. So, Uber riders also face some risks too.
The company is making frantic efforts to boost the security of both its drivers and riders. It currently increased its entry requirements and conduct background checks on prospective drivers. This is to ensure that only competent and responsible drivers are employed.
Drivers are also encouraged to learn some basic safety tips to make them more secure while discharging their duties.
12. What are Uber Types?
As a driver or rider, you can choose from different Uber services offered by the company. The available options are:
- UberBlack: UberBlack is a special class of Uber driving. It caters to the transportation needs of rich people who want to travel in style. The vehicles are usually black and contain all the features that befit the riders. Mercedes 500 series, BMW 5-7 Series, Chevy Tahoe, and Range Rover are some of the vehicles used for this service. The passengers pay more than the regular fees for the special services offered by UberBlack.
- UberPool: This service allows a rider to share their ride with someone else. They split the cost.
- UberSelect: Up to four riders are allowed to use this service. The drivers use some of the best names in the auto world. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi top the list of vehicles approved for this Uber service. The cars must be clean and have leather seats. It is more expensive to hire this service than UberX. But, it is cheaper than UberBlack.
- UberX: Up to four riders can use the service. It is the least expensive of all the Uber services. Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, and Ford Explorer are some of the vehicles used for it. In Europe, it is commonly referred to as UberPop.
- UberXL: A minivan or an SUV is the preferred vehicle for UberXL. Up to 6 passengers can use the service at once. It is a bit more expensive than UberX. Is your family or a group of friends going for a party or a hangout? If so, this is the ideal Uber service because it offers more space than most of the other services.
- UberSUV: New SUVs are the vehicles used for this service. It is designed for rich riders. The vehicles must have black leather seats. Their drivers are expected to dress professionally. Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Toyota Sequoia, and GMC Yukon, are some of the expensive cars that Uber recommends for use.