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The world is fast becoming a global market. Facebook; the world’s largest source of information and news is updated daily by billions of individuals. Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace, is managed by thousands of sellers. Even at Airbnb, arguably the world’s largest home rental service, the management, and maintenance are conducted by several homeowners.
Do you see a pattern emerging? Gone are the days when one single entity or company tried to render a particular service to the whole world. With a population of over 7 billion and still counting, this is an impossibility.
In order to cater for transportation worldwide, a company called Uber came up with a similar concept. Whereby, they provide a platform which hosts various drivers in different part of the world and connects these drivers to passengers (people going from one place to another).
Beginners Guide To Uber Driving
This article provides the ultimate guide to the system of operation, how Uber works, and how to join the Uber family. There are also tips on how to increase your earnings as a driver on the Uber platform.
How Uber Works?
Uber is a global taxi technology company and their aim is to seamlessly connect drivers and riders/passengers in real time. Drivers can either make use of their car or rent a car from Uber/car rental company. This flexible arrangement gives the driver freedom in terms “work schedule”.
Unlike traditional cab services where passengers call or flag down taxi cabs, they see on the road. The Uber app allows passengers to request a driver whenever needed. Upon this request, Uber drivers within proximity are then notified.
The brilliance of Uber is evinced in the kind of open system it operates. The system encourages rating the service you just received and this rating system is visible to future clients. This means that drivers will go above and beyond in order to keep their rating high. Whether or not rating increases a driver’s chances of getting more request is a mystery most drivers are yet to unravel.
Furthermore, Uber makes the interaction between riders and drivers extremely easy. Uber fares are generally lower than conventional taxis and slightly higher than public transport systems. As a customer, you enjoy the luxury of an affordable, safe, and classy ride. All payments are done through the Uber app, so there aren’t any money-changing-hands when driving services are offered.
The best part is that Uber takes a meager 20% commission of earnings made on all trips. Evidently, this is how Uber is able to remain in the market up to this date.
As a driver, there are certain requirements you must meet before you start earning money with Uber. Apart from having a car and an internet-enabled smartphone phone in your possession.
Uber requires that your car is inspected thoroughly before you begin (usually they require 2001 or newer cars).
In addition, Uber wants to make sure you’re not a psychopath or crazy driver, so they require you to do a criminal background check. This regulation gives customers peace of mind since they know that the drivers are safe to ride with.
Furthermore, Uber requires that you have a personal auto insurance, but once you begin work on the platform, Uber provides you with primary liability insurance worth up to $1 million. In a way, the additional insurance cost is covered by Uber, although that expense is being accounted for by taking a percentage of the amount you get on each trip.
Uber has a feedback system through which drivers are rated after each trip. The rating scale is from 1 to 5 and if your rating drops below 4.6, you get red- flagged for your low rating. This system helps in ensuring drivers are always on their best behavior while driving a passenger.
Uber also requires that all drivers be at least 21 years of age and have a clean driving record.
To get started on Uber, you are required to fill a form online and sign a standard driving agreement. New drivers occasionally get up to $100 bonuses for completing at least 20 rides.
How to Ensure Good Rating on Uber
As earlier stated, your job largely depends on getting stellar reviews. Not only you risk the chance of getting deactivated if your driver rating slips below 4.6, clients tend to avoid drivers with lower ratings. However, you only need to worry when Uber warns you of possibly being deactivated.
As a driver, even though you provide excellent services, unfortunate things happen to good people. You might get bad reviews from passengers who are difficult to please or passengers that simply don’t like you, your face, your name etc. There can also be technical errors while you are being rated. Whatever the case, you should ensure that your driver’s rating never goes below 4.7.
Some of the essential things you can do to boost your Uber driver ratings are detailed below.
Don’t Engage Your Passengers in Unsolicited Discussions
Your job as a driver is to keep your eyes on the road and talk only when is necessary. A driver who talks too much might create a bad experience for the Rider. Some passengers prefer to have a quiet ride — they just want the drivers to pay maximum attention to safety regulations while driving. Even if the passenger asks you questions, keep the answers as brief as possible. Don’t go on about your personal story, or life lessons. Only engage in lengthy discussions if the passenger leads the way.
Keep Your Car Clean
Make sure that the exterior and more importantly, the inner compartment of your car is neat. Dusty seats, windows, floors are definitely going to leave a customer dissatisfied and this can lead to lower ratings. On the other hand, a sparkling car will impress the customer and you might even be tipped as a result.
Know your way around or Follow the Fastest Route Indicated by the GPS
Once a trip takes longer than the actual estimate, passengers begin to suspect foul play. Make sure you use the fastest and shortest route indicated by the GPS as this will make your passengers feel good about their expense.
Use Text Messages, don’t Make Calls
Most Uber passengers prefer a text message to calls. Only call when you are having a very hard time getting the precise location of your passenger.
Don’t Smoke in Your Car
Some passengers are asthmatic. Some are recovering nicotine addicts. You might even be carrying a DEA agent. It is just best to avoid it totally.
Mount Your Phone
It is unprofessional to handle your phone while driving. Many passengers feel unsafe and insecure when they experience this. If you do this continually, they’ll give you a bad rating for trying to kill them.
Maintain Your Car
Broken mirrors, faulty gears, smoking cars, and other general issues might put off your passenger. Make sure you maintain your car and keep it in good shape at all times.
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs will not only get you deactivated but can also cost you your drivers license in some countries. Why put yourself and other people in danger, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Don’t do that, Ever.
As an Uber driver, you should totally avoid poor ratings. A one-star rating will impact your overall rating.
Reasons for low rating
Some of the major reasons for a one-star rating includes;
- Arguing with passengers on sensitive topics such as race, politics, religion, routes, drop-off etc.
- Overwhelming your passenger with petty talks.
- Driving without obeying traffic rules and regulation.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Flirting with passengers
- Dirty and Smelly Car
- Poor navigation
- Talking on phone
- Farting in car
- Reminding your passenger to give you a tip or a batch
Anything that creates a bad experience for the Rider will earn you a poor rating.
How to Maximise Your Earnings Driving for Uber?
The average income for Uber drivers is about $18 dollars per hour, that’s way more than the minimum wage in many countries. However, we all want to augment our earnings, no matter how much we already earn. There are some things you can do to increase your earnings.
Having an Extra Phone Charger
When you save the life of your passenger’s phone, you instantly become a hero! And as you know, a hero deserves credit. If you are able to provide this extra service for your client, the customer automatically feels obliged to give you extra money in form of a tip.
Have Sweets or Water Available
Even though it is not required by law, it is very much advisable. Offering a mint, chewing gum or a bottle of water is a sign of friendship and when they accept your offer, the effect is always the same; more tip.
Ignore the Herd
Uber often gives a recommendation of times and location where there is a surge in demand. For example, morning commute routes, busy night bars, and stadiums after a major game. As good as this might sound, the bad news is that other drivers get the same info. Hence, drivers visit this location in droves and it becomes densely populated. The law of demand and supply sets in, reducing the price for a fare.
When you ignore these ‘hot spots’ and target areas with a dearth of Uber drivers, the prices go up and you earn more in the process.
Use the Uber Passenger App
The Uber passenger app includes some features which might prove to be very beneficial. For example, you can see where other drivers are in your vicinity, and with this, you can avoid areas where the competition is fierce. Also, the Passenger app has more updated information on surge fees when compared to the driver app.
Ride a good car
Good cars like the Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Spark, Honda Civic, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, etc. are very fuel efficient. When you drive these cars, you reduce the expenditure on fuel.
Furthermore, they are designed to give your clients maximum comfort while in transit. The feeling they get is priceless!.
Furthermore, as an Independent contractor, you are to cover half of your medical and security taxes yourself. This has been an issue in recent years, so if you’ve already driven for Uber, it’s worth looking into your eligibility for an employee misclassification lawsuit.
The Untold Story
This article has since discussed what being an Uber driver entails. However, there are some less popular things you should know.
As an Uber driver, you are an independent contractor. This means you are excluded from some benefits enjoyed by people working for companies. To earn $74,000 in annual income, you will have to earn about $19 dollars per hour (excluding Uber’s 20% commission) working about 80 hours a week.
However, to take it a step further, there are other expenses incurred that will drastically reduce that earning. To get started you will need to purchase or rent a car, get a good phone, have a valid driver’s license, etc. All these cost more money.
Let’s assume you make $62,500 in fares, after paying Uber its 20% commission, you are left with $50,000. However, you have to pay your taxes to the Internal Revenue Service IRS.
Your tax is removed from your taxable income, which is your Net income minus expenses. Some of the expenses that IRS allows you to deduct include the actual cost of operating your car (gasoline, servicing), parking fees and toll levies, etc. After estimating your income, you can figure out how much you owe IRS. Furthermore, as an Independent contractor, you are to cover half of your medical and security taxes yourself.
If the actual expenses of operating your car amount to $10,000, you are left with $40,000.
You’ll pay about $5,652 SECA tax using the standard rate. After you take the standard deductions and exemptions, you’ll be left with about &27,000 taxable income, and out of this, you will pay about 13% in federal income tax or about $3,600. You’ll also be required to pay for your health insurance (1% of income) and your car insurance. Altogether, this is about $9,500 in taxes (25% of your earnings).
This means that out of the $62,000 you earn in a year, you’ll spend about $27,000 on Uber’s commission, taxes, health insurance, and car insurance. This leaves you with about $35,000 profit yearly. As an independent contractor, you are not entitled to a paid vacation, sick leave, free company coffee, or any other perk.
Learn From Experienced Drivers
Join Uber drivers online social groups to learn from experienced drivers. I will recommend joining Uber & Lyft (Drivers N Riders) Trip Stories/Experiences — to learn from experienced drivers as well as share your own experiences as they happen.
Trust Your Instinct
If you are not comfortable picking up a Rider or starting a trip due to personal reasons i.e. allergies, experience, long trip etc. It is best to cancel a trip when you are not comfortable with a passenger or a trip.
Get Puke Bags
Always have puke bags available in your car. Especially if you are driving on Friday nights.
Install a Dash Cam
Buy a dashcam and install it in your car. It might come in handle someday as a source of evidence in case of a false allegation, altercation etc. Remember not every Rider is sane. Some passengers are out for no good.
Have Child Car Seats
It is recommended to have a child car seats in your car in case you have a child passenger. Although, in some cities, it is the passenger’s responsibility, not the driver to have a child car seat.
It is important to know Uber pricing for your city. You can find out how much Uber pays for your Rideshare plan here
Always reach out to Uber support if you have any question or have issues with your fare. You can reach support either by messaging or calling. Just head to “HELP” in the Uber app navigation (through account tab or by clicking the trip and scrolling down to help ).
Phone: +1 800-593 -7069
Uber recommends using their own GPS. However, it is not 100% perfect, simply because it is not updated regularly – you might run into a closed road (due to construction), no entry roads etc. I will recommend having two GPS opened to avoid navigation problems. Check out this 10 best GPS and navigation app options for Android.
Uber provides you with the opportunity to be your own boss. You can wake up in the morning and decide to skip work. You can choose to close work early. You ultimately earn as you work and you can earn as much as $5,000 a month Ubering.
There are many pros and cons of working with Uber and they have been properly evinced here. It’s totally up to you to decide if you want in or not. If, however, you decide to be an Uber driver, you have scaled the first hurdle.
This Beginners Guide To Uber Driving you just read should be digested properly by you and applied to work. Within months, you will make more than you ever imagined. So, congratulations in advance, happy driving!!!