UberX Driver

UberX Driver

UberX drivers are cab drivers for Uber, the mobile ride sharing platform. The demand for UberX drivers is increasing by the hour as Uber along with other ridesharing services continues to redefine the transportation industry. There are different levels of Uber drivers. UberX drivers are the drivers who charge the lowest fares, but they’re also the drivers most in demand. It’s also easier to become an UberX driver than any other type of Uber driver because there are fewer restrictions on the type of car that you drive. For example, an UberX driver can drive any car model as long as it’s four doors and year 2000 or newer (in some cities there are tighter restrictions on model years).  

UberBlack is the “premium” service. Drivers for UberBlack charge higher fares, but they must have a commercial drivers license, drive certain (more expensive) vehicle models, have newer cars as well as an airport permit. Becoming an UberX driver is the simplest way to break into the taxi and limousine business, and it’s quite simple. Below is an introductory guide on how to become an UberX driver as well as some tips on how to maximize your profit. 

Qualifications

To become an UberX driver, there are some basic qualifications.

First, you need to be at least twenty-one years old.

Second, you need to have had a driver’s license for three years or longer.

Third, you need a car and car insurance. Uber does not provide you with a vehicle. Uber does provide insurance, but only while you’re working, i.e. when there’s a passenger in the car or when you’re driving to a passenger. You need your own car insurance to supplement the coverage that Uber provides. Note: the car insurance must be in the same state that you’ll be driving in.

Fourth, you need a smart phone with Internet connection to work the Uber app.

Fifth, you need a social security number.

Sixth, you need to submit to a background check that will search for DWI’s, felonies or misdemeanors on your record as well as accident reports, license suspensions or any history of reckless driving. You’ll need a clear record to drive for Uber. 

In certain areas, additional qualifications are required. In New York City, for example, you need a TLC license, the same license that yellow cab drivers are required to have. The TLC accreditation process involves taking a defensive driving course, passing a drug test, getting a physical examination and applying for TLC license plates. Uber provides a free, one day preparation session in which you can take a defensive driving course and be examined by a doctor. You also need to schedule an in person appointment with the TLC and take a wheelchair accessibility training class and an FH-V (“For Hire Vehicle”) training class. If everything in this process goes smoothly, you can get a TLC license in a matter of weeks, although doing so will set you back around $1500 for all the fees involved. Also, TLC plates will cost you around $84 per year. 

How To Find Passengers      

The beauty of Uber is that you’ll be able to find a passenger any time you’d like to work. You simply open the Uber app on your smart phone, hit a button, and the app assigns you a passenger.

Great video about how Uber works from a driver's perspective. 

How To Get A Car

As mentioned above, you need your own car and car insurance. You can go the traditional route and lease or buy a car directly from a dealership, or you can rent a car by the week from companies like Hertz of Enterprise. Hertz and Uber have an agreement in certain areas such as L.A. that allows drivers to rent a car for $180 a week. Included in that charge is vehicle insurance, vehicle upkeep, around the clock roadside assistance and no mileage limit. Check with your local Uber representative to see if any car rental deals are available in your area. 

Salary and Lifestyle

One of the perks of driving for UberX is that you can work however many hours you want and whenever you want. According to Uber.com, the median salary for an UberX driver is $19.04 per hour. If you work full time—40 hours per week—at this rate, you’ll be making $761 per week, $3,046.40 per month and $36,556.80 per year. Not bad! If you work part time—20 hours per week—you might be able to generate $15,000 in extra income every year. That said, you have to deduct your vehicle payments, insurance payments and gas payments from your salary. (Also taxes.) If your car and gas payments are high, you might be severely limiting your income potential. 

One great way to reduce gas fees is to drive a Hybrid with optimal gas mileage such as a Toyota Prius, or even drive an electric car. As electric car technology becomes more advanced, electric cars are probably the way to go, especially if you can find free charging stations. As time goes on, accessibility to charging stations will increase, perhaps exponentially. But for now, a Prius is a great option. A Prius will give you 50 miles per gallon. Another good option is a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid which gets 45 miles per gallon. This car qualifies for UberBlack as well. 

Another way to make more income is to get an Airport Permit. The cost of this permit varies depending on where you live, but it shouldn’t be more than a few hundred bucks. Trips to the airport are often longer than normal trips, so you’ll receive a larger fare. And every time somebody travels by plane, that person has to drive, or be driven, to the airport. The demand for taxis to the airport is very high. 

Another way to make more money is to stay alert for surge pricing. Uber charges surge pricing when demand for rides outweighs the number of Uber drivers on the road. During surge pricing hours, fares can be doubled, tripled or even multiplied by sixteen! Often when it rains or snows, surge pricing is in effect. Also during rush hour surge pricing often kicks in. 

Pros and Cons

+ You set your own hours, which is especially great if you’d like to work part time.

+You get to drive around all day which is great if you like to drive. 

+You can make some good money especially if you work during surge pricing hours. 

+You have a car for your own personal use and the payments on that car are potentially tax deductible. Consult an accountant if you plan on deducting those payments.  

-Customers can be unpleasant to deal with. 

-People order a car and then cancel. Uber does charge $10 if a customer cancels after five minutes. 

-Once you’ve driven to a passenger, you can spend a lot of time sitting around and waiting for that passenger. Uber recently started charging “waiting time” that kicks in two minutes after a driver has arrived at the pick up location. 

-Traffic. 

Wrap Up 

If you like driving, consider driving for Uber or any other of the ridesharing companies such as Lyft, Gett or Villa. 

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