After hearing tons of problems. Watching countless claims on the news. Observing the markets change. I had to check out this company named, Uber.
There’s been a lot of talk about it, but no one within my circles knows much about it. Therefore, let me define it in my own words. Uber is when a vehicle owner goes through the process of becoming a driver to earn income by shuttling people around to a specific destination.
Now, I tried really hard not to say “Taxi” and “Cab.” This was extremely intentional. Using the right language is paramount. Uber is not a taxi or cab.
I repeat, we don’t want to say Uber is another taxi or cab because that’s not accurate. Uber are individuals using their personal vehicles for income. They/we are not employees. The drivers are the equivalent of a subcontractor. Despite the controversy of pay and benefits, the requirements to be a partner and earn money are quite simple.
Here are the general requirements:
1. Be 21 years of age.
2. Need a driver’s license.
3. Pass a background check.
4. Have a newer vehicle and show registration.
5. Possess insurance and show proof.
6. Have a local business license.
7. Complete a vehicle’s inspection.
When I conducted all seven steps–I don’t think I missed any–the whole process lasted no more than a week. It was painless and easy. After my background check cleared, I was emailed an app to download and I was ready to start driving. I was an official Uber Partner.
My first day Uber’ing was a Sunday. It was super busy. I drove from 4pm to 1am. Maybe even later. Time flew by. I made approximately $130 for this one day; and the payout was four days later. To say the least, that hooked me. Every time I saw my phone go off, I felt as if I was fishing and couldn’t turn it down. This was easy money. However, I had to learn quick so I wouldn’t get burnt out.
How not to get burnt out:
1. Set your hours. You may only get one in 2 hours. Therefore, set a lime to not be discouraged and learn from it.
2. Choose the right location for your schedule. Downtown Portland is popular, but I try to stay in Vancouver.
3. Don’t drive looking for rides. Be patient. Don’t waste your gas. Filling up your gas tank every other day gets old.
4. Don’t do it for the money. Use it to have fun and gain great experiences.
When you start driving, enjoy your travels. Picking up new riders can be interesting. Not everyone has Uber’d and is interested in the hype. One way to learn from their perspective is to download the rider app (you can use this to know who else is around). You have some that are well experienced and expect a level of Uber professionalism (watch video for details). Even though it’s your car, allow them to drive the dynamics.
I’ve had the following in my car:
1. A work duo singing 60’s music.
2. Couple in domestic dispute.
3. Wedding parties.
4. Groups going to another bar 2 minutes away.
5. A sweet grandmother talking about her life.
6. An annoying rider continually asking why I was going a specific way.
7. And so many more…
As you see, there’s no telling what you may be in for. You have no idea where you’re going. You don’t choose who you want in your car. Nor should you! I haven’t discriminated but I’ve heard stories about sitting in the front seat isn’t allowed or no dogs- and that’s not true. I welcome it!
When I arrive, I make it a point to ensure I have the right passenger(s). Once they get in the car, the conversation goes like this:
Me: Is this the right location?
Me: I’m going to use Google maps. Is that alright with you?
Them: Yeah, that’s cool.
Me: Alright, then. Here’s the three things you have control of… watch the video below!
Overall, I can say this has been a great experience. I love how I can set my own hours. Uber sends me weekly emails with tips and locations. There isn’t any pressure to drive. You can also make money by referring friends.
Lastly, don’t get butt-hurt over a rude rider. There will be plenty of happy riders that give 5 stars. If you don’t like them, don’t worry. You’ll still be paid. Give them a 1 star and move on. Don’t let that spoil your next adventure.
This is dedicated to all of those asking, “How do I start being an Uber driver?” Well, here’s how you can be an Uber driver and gain some tips and tricks before you start. This isn’t a rulebook for starting, but some knowledge on how to start. Use my experience as a tool. Just remember, have fun while doing it!
Dream Big. Be More. Do More. Live More.
I write this because my business is personal because this service is for the advancement of all humanity. My failures and successes are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA