Uber is becoming more popular for both passengers and drivers, but before you apply to become a driver, find out what are the factors you need to consider before you do. Read on to learn everything about it.
Who or What is Uber?
Uber Technologies Inc. offer taxi services in 33 countries, but it isn’t in the traditional way of people phoning a number and waiting (hoping) a car turns up. They have turned the way people order taxis around and made it easier.
Their headquarters are in San Francisco, USA and started in 2009.
In the UK, it is in a number of cities and is becoming more popular with both passengers and drivers. At present all of their drivers, or partners as Uber prefer to name them, are treated as self-employed.
However, due to a recent landmark case, an employment tribunal ruled that the Uber drivers in the UK, currently about 40,000, are not self-employed and therefore have rights to the National Living wage, annual leave, sick pay and other employment benefits. This could have a massive impact to both Uber and their ‘Partners’ in the future.
In the court ruling, judges stated that:
“The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous. Drivers do not and cannot negotiate with passengers… They are offered and accept trips strictly on Uber’s terms.”
Union GMB has promised that drivers’ flexibility won’t be affected by the ruling; it’ll just give them employee rights.
Uber have confirmed they are appealing the decision, so for now, Drivers wanting to drive for Uber would still need to consider the expenses needed to get started and ongoing costs.
There is also the news around Uber losing their license to operate in London, Transport for London refused Uber a new private hire license stating that Uber were not fit and proper to operate basing it on public safety and security implications. This will obviously have an impact on the 3.5 million people who use the service as well as the 40,000 drivers too.
Uber have lodged an appeal and are working hard to fulfill the requirements Transport for London are after. Read more detail here.
As yet, there is no news around other areas of the UK, or other countries.
Before going through what it takes to become an Uber driver, lets go through how it works for a wannabe passenger and then the different factors to consider before applying to be an Uber Driver.
How Does It Work as A Passenger?
Uber has had a massive impact on the taxi industry due to the ease of use for the public to use. Passengers set up an account with Uber using their smartphone and Uber’s app. You link your Uber account with either your bank account or your PayPal account and your good to order a taxi.
Uber offer 5 service levels – UberX, UberXL, UberSelect, UberPool (Where 2 or more can share a fare) and UberBlack. These tend to determine the level of car and service, not to mention cost too.
People like using the app as you can see an estimated cost upfront, you also know your drivers name, car and car reg prior to them even turning up. You also get access to a live map showing how far your driver is and an estimated time of arrival.
They are also becoming more popular due to the fact they are cheaper than hailing a black cab or some private hire taxis. The added benefit being that you don’t need to hunt around for a cash point. The number of times I have got to a cash point on a night out and it has ran out of cash. There is none of that with Ubers app. You also get a receipt sent to your email confirming the cost, etc.
It is becoming more and more popular mainly down to the ease of use.
Becoming a Driver for Uber
The beauty of driving for Uber is you can set your own schedule by logging onto their app for drivers and accept jobs that appear. Payments are sent on a weekly basis minus their cut straight into your bank account. They state the role is freelance and flexible, they have also introduced tips which brings them in line with other taxi services.
You will need a full UK driving license, if you have an EU License this will need to be changed prior to signing up for Uber. You also need to be 21 years of age.
You will also require a Private Hire Driving License which is issued by the local council. The cost of this does depend on the local council and the age of the car. There is also a timescale for receiving one.
For example, I live in Birmingham UK. An estimated cost of the license is £525 with a 24 week estimated time of receiving the license. This shows this is a popular area for people wanting to apply for a Private Hire Driving License. Check your area here.
If you already have Private Hire Driving License, this will make the process easy to start up, but it isn’t a necessity to hold the license as they will accept those without it and even help you get one…
What Are the Start Up Costs?
As stated above, if you currently do not hold a Private Hire Driving License then you will be required to apply for and get that license. Uber do have a program called Uber Ignition which is designed to help you get that license.
You will also require a car. Depending on local requirements, the car needs to be 2008 or younger and would need to be able to sit 4 adults. Typically, a Saloon or a MPV would be ideal. A decent boot would be helpful to, especially if your near an airport.
If you haven’t got a car or a car that doesn’t fit the bill, Uber can also help you with that with their Vehicle Solutions Program, this helps you get a car via Rental or Finance options.
You will need your car insurance to include business use, that way you trigger public liability insurance which is a necessity when running this type of service. This can have a massive impact to your insurance costs, so definitely worth shopping around for the best deal.
Signing up with Uber is an online form, they also have a program called ‘Uber Ignition’ which is aimed at helping you apply for and get the Private Hire License from your local council. Costs vary dependent on the council.
They also have a 2-hour training session based around the more practical elements, such as ‘what to do if a passenger falls asleep?’
How Much Can You Make?
Uber claims an average driver working 35-45 hours a week will earn approximately £565, this is after they take their cut. Drivers who joined before April 2016 have 20% taken by Uber, whilst any new drivers hand over 25%. There are plenty of examples of people earning more than that online.
Something to consider with this is the data charges that will go hand in hand with this service. To take fares you will need your Uber App to be active, to track the trip you need to be online. This can drain your data very quickly if you use your own phone meaning an added expense to get more data on your contract. However, for £5 a month Uber will give you a business phone so you can use that to do all your fares, this will mean no added expenses on your own contract as data bolt-ons are not cheaper. If you are doing a lot of hours for Uber, this £5 a month does make sense.
To stay on their books, you are required to take at least one fare per month. Other than that you log on when you want to work and accept fares through the app on the smartphone.
Other Money Making Opportunities
Driving for Uber is a good opportunity to earn money, but it will not be for everyone. The start-up costs can be quite high, depending on the condition of your car and whether you have a Private Hire Driving License.
Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to earn extra money besides Uber like delivering pizzas or the such.
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Thanks for reading this article, have you got any experience with Uber as a driver? If you have please let me know what you think of using Uber.
If you have any questions or comments, then please leave them below. I would love to hear what you think.