Uber: Adventures in Driving
Two years ago when I started this blog, I wasn’t sure how everything was going to go or how I was even going to fund my travels. I have a full time job that pays decent, but I also have all the costs that go with having a family (i.e. house, cars, memberships). My entire adult life I have had to live paycheck to paycheck like the majority of people. With having a wife and two active children, trying to fit a fixed, scheduled part time job that makes good money is very tough. Not impossible, but tough. After struggling the past two years I decided I had enough. I want to travel, with and without my family, and I don’t want to sacrifice my family’s comfort to do so.
After seeing all of the ads on TV for the ride share companies, I decided I would sign up for Uber and try it out. At the moment of this decision the only vehicle I owned, and qualified, was a bit small and made me wonder if it would work well enough. During the time I was contemplating whether or not to use my little car, my wife’s mini-van (that was too old to qualify) broke down and needed a new transmission. At the time, this felt like a knife into my dreams yet again. After a few days, we traded it in to a dealership, for next to nothing, and bought a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox. Now looking at a second car payment, life was going to get even tougher to fund my journeys.
Let it be known, this would actually be a wonderful omen for my family. With a newer and more reliable vehicle, my wife’s stress during her daily commute lessened. My stress over worrying about her in her old van disappeared. After a few weeks, my wife and I discussed the idea of me using her new vehicle to drive for Uber. It is roomy, has leather seats, and even a sun roof. We decided it would be a great vehicle to use. So, I signed up and began sending all the required paperwork. After about a week, I was fully signed up and had received my window sticker to put in my vehicle. I figured I would start that weekend, Saturday night to be exact.
The first day that I drove, I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the car and getting it ready. Being as I live in a somewhat rural area, I didn’t expect to get many, if any fares in the area where I live. So I drove about 20 minutes to the most urban area of my county and started up the app on my phone. Thinking that I would still have to drive around for a while before I got my first fare, I was amazed that in less than two minutes I got my first alert. I pressed the accept button on the screen and headed off to collect my passengers.
Once my first set of passengers was dropped off at their requested destination, I figured I’d be waiting for who knows how long for my next request. Low and behold, before I even made it to the end of the block, I picked up another request. This time, the fare requested to go to Baltimore, 28 miles away! Things were beginning to look up. Perhaps driving closer to my home than expected would work in my benefit. Or perhaps it was beginners luck. Not wanting to push my luck, I chose an urban area with lots of restaurants and stores after dropping off my passengers in Baltimore.
I spent the next three hours picking up and dropping off another 6 fares in and around the Eastern side of Baltimore. I only had one pick up cancel on me. In the total 4 hours I was driving, I transported a total of 8 fares and made $71.15. Not too bad for my first night of driving. I can easily see how so many people have gotten into driving for a ride share company. If you like to drive, it is an easy way to make money when you have the time.
Now that you’ve heard my story about the beginning of my Uber career, let me go into more detail about what is required in order to do so. First off, you start by going to the Uber website and signing up as a driver. If you don’t have a vehicle that qualifies, they have a program through which you can lease or rent vehicles through companies like Enterprise or Hertz. If you are using your own vehicle, you will have to provide them with copies of your driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and a vehicle inspection that is less than 1-year-old. If you have recently purchased a vehicle, the dealership should be able to provide you with this. If you need an inspection, Uber has a list of companies in your area that are certified to do so. During the sign up, Uber will also conduct a background investigation to make sure that you are who you say you are. I have a crystal clear background, minus a few speeding tickets over the years, so I was cleared quickly.
Once you’ve been approved to drive, Uber will contact you to let you know that your trade dress sticker is on its way via mail. This is the sticker that you display in your window showing that you are an Uber Driver. These stickers MUST be on the vehicle due to law. The Uber website stated for me that mine was to be placed in the rear passenger side door window. Being as my vehicle has rear privacy tinted windows, it doesn’t show up very clear. But it is there and visible, kind of.
There is another way that you can make money while driving for Uber. The route of the referral system. It isn’t a guarantee that you’ll make any money, but every opportunity helps. As a driver, you give a referral code to someone and they use it during the sign up process. After the person who signs up with your referral code completes a set number of trips, you will receive a reward. After all, who wouldn’t want to earn more money?
If you are interested in driving with Uber, please use the link below to get started. It is my personal invite link and will go towards a referral for me.
I will update you all in a month or two as to how much I have worked and made in this endeavor. I want to provide as much information for others on this subject as I can. I will also be driving for Lyft and will write a review with my thoughts and experiences. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. This was written with the purpose of providing information on the service available to drivers and riders. All thoughts, words, and opinions are my own, as always. Some links in this article are affiliate links and may produce income for myself and this blog.