Everything You Need To Know To Drive For Uber and Uber Eats

What Has Made Uber So Popular?

The reasons that millions of riders have switched from taxis to Uber include the following.

  1. 1

    Hail a Ride with an App

    For smartphone users who are already accustomed to ordering products and services through their smartphones, the Uber experience should be familiar. You install the Uber app on your Android, iOS, or Windows phone. You create an account on Uber, including a credit card to which all your rides will be charged. When you need a ride, request it through the Uber app. GPS lets Uber know your location, of course. The following video guide will help you install the app and create an account:

  2. 2

    You Know Your Ride in Advance

    If there is an Uber driver somewhere nearby, the app will inform you about the cost of the ride, who the driver is, the type of car, and how long you’ll have to wait for the car to arrive. When the car arrives, Uber will send you a text message.

  3. 3

    User (and Driver!) Feedback

    Unlike traditional taxi services, Uber’s rating system provides a significant incentive for their drivers to do their best to satisfy their customers. Uber users get to rate their drivers on politeness, safety, and car cleanliness on a scale from 1 to 5, and they can check the current rating of a particular driver. When rating a trip, a user also has the option of tipping his or her driver via the Uber app. Lower-rated drivers will get fewer tips and probably fewer customers. Interestingly, drivers can also rate users on politeness. Rude or hostile users will probably get poorer service from drivers. Really low-rated drivers or users may even be banned from Uber altogether. Thus, there are incentives for both drivers and riders to make the Uber experience pleasant and satisfying.

Where is Uber Eats available?

Nowadays, you can become an Uber Eats food delivery driver in practically any large city across the USA. For a complete, up-to-date list of large and small cities in the USA where Uber Eats delivers, visit the Uber Eats Cities page.

Here is a shortened list of popular cities where Uber Eats delivers in the US:

  • San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Spokane
  • Phoenix, El Paso, St. Louis, Chicago
  • Chattanooga, Boston, Dallas, Charlotte
  • New York, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee
  • New Orleans, Grand Rapids, Gainesville, Denver, Boston, and many, many more.

Sign Up With Uber Eats

Video

What Costs Does Uber Cover?

As an independent contractor, you are responsible for all of your gas costs, car repair and maintenance costs, and any other car-related expenses. However, there are certain costs that the company does reimburse for its drivers.

For instance, Uber charges riders a fee if there is any damage to the driver’s vehicle, whether interior or exterior. This includes any time that a rider spills something or vomits inside an Uber driver’s car. Uber makes a full assessment of the cost of cleaning and charges the rider. The full collected amount is then given to the driver.

Uber also reimburses drivers for any tolls incurred while they are on driving trips. Toll charges are added to the rider’s fare when they pass through a toll area. Both riders and drivers can see the breakdown in their receipts and statements.

2. Grab a phone mount and a charger

The right gear will go a long way towards a smooth rideshare experience — not just for your passengers, but for you.

The most important accessory? A phone mount. That way, you won’t have to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on your phone. A mount will cost you between $10 and $40.

You might also consider an in-car phone charger, so you don't run out of battery while you’re working. A charger will also run you around $10-$40. And, like the mount, it’s a write-off.

FAQs

Below we’ve listed some of the most frequently asked questions regarding working as an Uber Eats delivery person:

What are the requirements to become a delivery driver?

You’ll need to meet several requirements before even considering becoming a Uber Eats driver. These will vary depending on the transportation method delivery you opt for, as every method has different vehicle requirements.

When deciding on the car delivery, you’ll need to:

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in your city
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a 2-door or 4-door car (if you opt for using your vehicle)

If you decide to deliver by motorized scooter, you’ll have to:

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a scooter under 50cc (if you want to use your vehicle)

For foot and bike delivery, you’ll need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a government-issued ID

Besides these requirements, you’ll also have to pass a standard Uber Eats background check, which reviews your criminal and motor vehicle report.

Are there any Uber Eats discounts for drivers?

Yes, once you become an Uber Eats food delivery driver, you become eligible for several incentives and promotions. These will help you maximize your earnings, so be sure you understand how they work and how they can help you earn more money.

Can I be an Uber rideshare driver and Uber Eats delivery driver simultaneously?

Of course. What’s more, Uber encourages its drivers to deliver food. Indeed, you can receive and complete both rideshare and food delivery requests using the same app. Moreover, you can do both during the same shift to avoid any downtime during your working hours.

Which vehicles can I use to deliver food with Uber Eats?

Delivering by car is only one of many ways to deliver food with Uber Eats. Other than that, you can opt for bike deliveries or scooter deliveries. However, when it comes to driving a scooter, be sure to check whether the town you want to deliver in allows it. The same goes for delivering food on foot.

7. Get familiar with the area

Don’t rely entirely on your GPS: it can lead you astray. It pays off to spend some time learning your way around the old-fashioned way. You’ll be armed with shortcuts, scenic routes, and alternate paths in case a construction site — or an accident — forces you to adjust on the fly.

It’s also a good idea to pick up navigational knowledge that a GPS can’t teach you. If you get familiar with the local terrain, you’ll learn which streets are full of cyclists during the day, and which offer poor visibility at night.

Essential information for Uber drivers

As you may already know, Uber and Uber Eats drivers aren’t employees; rather, they’re independent contractors.

As an independent contractor, you are responsible for most benefits that an employer would usually provide if you were an employee. These include: 

  • Health insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Minimum wage protection (except in a few cities)
  • Paid time off (vacation, sick days, and holidays)
  • Pension plan 
  • Tax withholding 

There’s an ongoing struggle between the gig economy companies and government jurisdictions in the many locations where the companies operate. Government officials in some of these areas, along with many gig workers, would like to see drivers be classified as employees.

But that discussion is still ongoing, and in the meantime, rideshare and delivery drivers need benefits. If you drive for Uber or Uber Eats and lack proper coverage for things like health insurance or accident protection, read this blog post about a benefits program tailored to gig drivers’ needs.

How to get ahead of other Uber or Uber Eats drivers

Whether you decide to drive with Uber, or decide to go with another rideshare or delivery company, the one thing that will consistently be a big help is Gridwise. You can track your earnings on all the platforms you use, and keep a record of your total mileage so you know how much to deduct at tax time. 

The information is presented in easy-to-read, graphic format like this: 

And that’s not all. In the Gridwise app, you’ll find deals and discounts for rideshare and delivery drivers and easy access to the Gridwise blog. You won’t want to leave home without this amazing app, so

What you need to qualify as a driver

Here are the criteria for becoming an Uber rideshare driver.

Requirements for you: 

  • Be the minimum age required to drive in your city
  • Have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S., or three years of licensed driving experience is you’re under 23 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Present proof of residency in the state where you plan to drive
  • Have proof of auto insurance, if you choose to use your own vehicle
  • Have a smartphone capable of handling the Uber app (iOS 8 or higher, Android 4.0 or higher)

Requirements for your vehicle:

  • Must have four doors, and able to transport a minimum of four passengers
  • Can be a car, truck, SUV, or minivan
  • Vehicle must be 10 to 15 years old or newer (check your city for exact requirements)

Additional vehicle requirements (can vary by city)

  • Five factory-installed seats and seat belts
  • Working windows and air conditioning
  • No vans, box trucks, or similar vehicles
  • Cannot have any cosmetic damage, missing pieces, commercial branding, or taxi paint jobs 
  • No salvaged or rebuilt vehicles
  • No aftermarket seating modifications, such as installed seats, seat belts, or BedRyder systems

These requirements apply mainly to UberX, which is the basic Uber service. There are higher levels of Uber services, such as Uber XL, Uber Premium, Uber Comfort, and Uber Premier. You can learn more about those levels of service here. In most cases, your vehicle will have to meet even higher standards.

For Uber Eats the requirements will be slightly different, depending on your city. If you’re in a designated area, you may be able to make Uber Eats delivery by bicycle or scooter.

If you don’t want to use your own vehicle (for rideshare or Eats), you may be able to rent a vehicle through Uber. Even though you can’t drive for Uber with a car you rent on your own behalf, they will rent or lease vehicles that meet their requirements, usually through a car rental company that has an agreement with Uber. Vehicle programs vary from one city to the next. 

Check the Uber website for details about your location. You’ll get this opportunity if and when you apply to be a driver. Check on “I need a car,” and you will be sent to the appropriate web page.

Before you apply to be an Uber driver, there are a few more details you’ll want to investigate. One of them is the background check. This blog post tells you all about it, including how long it will take, and what you can do if it takes longer than you expect.

Insurance is the other item that drivers need to attend to. Uber will provide some level of protection for you, but you’re also required to have your own policy on your car. Furthermore, you need to let your insurance company know that you’re working as a rideshare driver, and pay an extra amount for a commercial rider. Don’t try to sidestep this; the risk isn’t worth it. If you don’t tell the company that you’re driving for Uber, and you have an accident, they have the right to waive your policy—which could have disastrous results.

FAQs About Driving for Uber

Q: Safety: How Does Uber Manage Safety Concerns for Both Drivers and Riders?

A: Due to the nature of Uber’s model, there can be some hesitation when it comes to using the platform, for both drivers and riders. Some of the safety features available for drivers include:

  • Easy access to emergency assistance through the app
  • “Follow My Ride” which allows you to share your whereabouts with your friends and family so they can track your trips in real-time.
  • GPS tracking of all your trips, making it easy to pull up information should anything happen while you’re on the road
  • Driver and rider ratings. If a rider displays unacceptable behavior that you feel you should warn fellow drivers about, you’re always able to report your experience through ratings and through Uber’s easy customer service functionalities.
  • Trusted insurance providers allow you to confidently insure your vehicle for your business uses.

Q: What are the best practices for picking up a rider?

A: Once you’ve accepted the trip, a rider’s specific location will be indicated with an arrow. If you anticipate that your rider will be difficult to find, you may want to contact your rider and request that they use the Spotlight feature, which allows you to easily see an illuminated color that is specific to your ride.

Other tips to ensure a great rider experience is to pick them up on the side of the road on which they are waiting, making it a seamless experience right from the start. Once the rider approaches your vehicle, it is best practice to greet them by name to confirm that they are the correct driver. Once inside your vehicle, allow them to get settled and buckled in before starting to drive. From there, start a friendly conversation and make the customer experience as good as possible!

Q: I can’t find my rider, what do I do?

A: The standard wait time for a rider to meet you at the indicated destination is 5 minutes (less for UberPOOL rides). If you are unable to find or communicate with your rider, you can cancel the trip. At this point, the rider will be charged a cancellation fee which is then paid out to you to accommodate for your time spent waiting.

Q: Can I bring someone else along with me while I’m online and accepting Uber trip requests?

A: As part of Uber’s commitment to rider and driver safety, drivers are not allowed to have other passengers in the vehicle besides the official Uber rider(s).

Q: I feel much safer when I have a video camera or dash camera installed. Is this allowed while driving for Uber?

A: As long as your city’s laws allow this, you are permitted to install and actively use a video recording device in your vehicle while online and driving with Uber.

Q: I’ve gotten in an accident while on a trip with a rider. What should I do?

A: There are three basic steps to follow if you’ve been in an accident while completing a trip with an Uber passenger:

  1. Check the safety and wellbeing of yourself and your passenger(s)
  2. If the situation calls for it, contact the police and ambulance.
  3. Notify Uber when an accident has occurred. You can do this through the Trip Issues tab in the Uber app.

Q: I’ve moved and want to drive in a different city. Is this possible?

A: Since your Uber driver application is approved based on the city that you indicated during your application, your new city means that you will have to make some adjustments and reapply under the new circumstances. Luckily, though, you don’t have to go through the entire process all over again. Instead, head to Uber here and request a change to your account and submit for review.

How do I start driving for Uber?

Getting set up to drive for Uber is a pretty simple process, but you — and the vehicle you plan to drive — must meet some basic requirements set by Uber.

Uber driver requirements

To drive for Uber, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet your city’s minimum age for rideshare drivers
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Drive an eligible four-door vehicle
  • Have at least one year of driving experience if you’re 23 or older and at least three years if you’re under 23
  • Pass a background check
  • Get a vehicle inspection if your area requires one

In addition, many states and cities also set certain requirements of their own for rideshare drivers.

Uber vehicle requirements

Your vehicle must meet the specifications for the Uber tier you plan to drive in. This criteria can also vary by location, so it’s important to check Uber’s website for the requirements in your area.

In general, here’s what you can expect.

  • UberX — To work as an Uber X driver, your vehicle must have four doors that open independently and five factory-installed seats and seat belts with no aftermarket modifications. Your car must also have air conditioning and windows that open and close. And depending on where you live, Uber doesn’t allow drivers to use salvaged or rebuilt vehicles, vans, box trucks, taxi cabs, government cars or other marked vehicles.
  • UberXL — To drive in the Uber XL tier, your vehicle must meet the Uber X requirements, plus have seven factory-installed seats and seat belts instead of five.
  • Uber Black — Uber Black drivers must maintain a rating of 4.85 or higher and drive a vehicle that’s no more than five years old. It must have a black exterior with black leather or vegan leather interior and seat at least four passengers. All windows and air conditioning must work properly, and the car must be in good condition with no cosmetic damage, missing pieces or visible stains. Uber Black drivers must have commercial insurance.
  • Uber Black SUV — To drive in the Uber Black SUV tier, your vehicle must meet the Uber Black requirements, plus seat at least six passengers instead of four.

Uber application process

You need to complete a few simple steps before you can start driving for Uber.

  1. Sign up online. Provide some information about yourself and your car.
  2. Upload the required documents. Uber needs copies of your driver’s license, registration, proof of residency, proof of insurance and a driver profile photo. You’ll also need information for a background check, which includes a review of your driving history and whether you have a criminal record. Major driving violations, such as a DUI, or several minor violations could disqualify you, as will convictions for felonies, violent crimes or sexual offenses.
  3. Get the app. If you’re approved to be an Uber driver, you get access to the driver app, which is where you log in to get matched with nearby riders.

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The Bottom Line

Is driving for Uber right for you? In certain states and cities, Uber offers a flexible way to earn money.

As the driver, you decide how much and which hours you drive, meaning that you can easily work for Uber as a part-time or full-time business, or fit it into your school or existing work schedule. You’ll need a vehicle that’s no more than 15 years old and should have a smartphone so you can use the app. But before you hit the road, make sure you familiarize yourself with the company’s policies and invest in a good dashcam to keep your riders in check.

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