How to become an Uber driver or deliverer
Ever considered turning your car into a taxi so you can make some extra cash? We've got all the info you need to get fully set up as an Uber driver or deliverer.
Working for Uber can be perfect for students. It's well paid, extremely flexible, and you get to drive around all day making chit-chat with strangers. Sounds pretty decent, doesn't it?
One big perk of becoming an Uber driver or deliverer is that you can work as many or as few hours as you like – you're your own boss, and you're under no obligation to stick with it if you find it's not your jam.
However, particularly for drivers, getting initially started can be quite pricey, so it's important you have all the facts first and consider carefully whether it's a viable option for you.
We have all the necessary requirements for you here, as well as info on how to sign up and extra tips for making more cash while you drive or deliver.
What's in this guide?
How to become an Uber driver
First of all, to become an Uber driver, you need to meet the following relevant criteria:
- Are over 21 years old
- Have a full and valid UK driver's licence (an EU licence will need to be converted to a UK licence before you become an Uber driver)
- Have the right to work in the UK.
Depending on the city in which you're based, the required years of driving experience can vary.
You also need to pass the following checks:
- Full medical examination from your GP
- Complete enhanced DBS check – this examines your full criminal record and checks you're safe to work with children and vulnerable adults.
You might be waiting a while before you can get on the road, but the Uber drivers we've spoken to have all said that it's worth the initial sting to get yourself up and running.
Uber driver requirements
Here are the key things you need to become an Uber driver:
A private hire licence
The process of obtaining a private hire licence is pretty pain-free, and Uber does offer you help with the application process (see below for details on Uber's 'Ignition sessions').
The price of a private hire licence varies from council to council, but you can expect to pay around £300, and you'll need to review it every three years.
Bear in mind that it can take a long time to actually receive your licence after applying. It could take several weeks, but the drivers we've spoken to have said it's closer to three or four months. One Uber driver said he waited six months before he got his through!
A private hire-licensed and insured car
If you already have a car that fits the bill, you're way ahead of the game. See Uber's site to check if your car is up to their standard.
If your car didn't make the cut, you can also rent an Uber-approved vehicle on a weekly basis. Rental prices can vary from city to city, but they're generally offered for around £200 per week.
Private hire insurance can be steep, but as with any car insurance, the longer you've been driving and the safer you are as a driver, the cheaper it gets.
For example, the difference between a private hire policy for people who've been driving for three years compared to five can be as much as £100 per month!
An appointment with Uber
Before you can apply for a licence, you'll have a short interview with Uber and will need to attend a free masterclass called an 'Uber Ignition' session.
This is basically a half-day information session where you learn about what it'll be like to work for Uber. Their trained staff will guide you through the whole application process so you can apply for a licence from the local authorities.
It should take about four hours to complete the Ignition session, and it will likely involve the following:
• Guidance on how to get your health and background check
• Advice on obtaining insurance
• Guidance on how to apply for your private hire licence.
Pros and cons of becoming an Uber driver
We spoke to a few Uber drivers around the UK, and these are the perks and pitfalls they claimed came with the job:
Pros of working as an Uber driver
- Getting paid within two to five working days of requests with Flex Pay.
- You can be your own boss.
- No minimum or maximum hours – you work as little or as much as suits you.
- Flexible hours that can fit around studying and social life.
- Relaxing job if you enjoy driving.
- Very sociable job, which is good if you like chatting to people.
- Passenger star ratings help you avoid passengers who might give you trouble or leave you waiting around for them.
- Passenger ratings also (in theory) encourage passengers to behave properly in your car.
- More sanctions for bad riders, which include only being able to cancel (without charge) two minutes after requesting, as well as waiting time charges if a driver is waiting at a pick-up point for longer than two minutes.
- Drivers still get paid in full when a passenger uses any free credit they've acquired as it's covered by Uber (which is just as well, as some people are racking up as much as £1,500 in free rides).
Cons of working as an Uber driver
- They're currently operating in London while appealing TfL's decision to not renew their licence, but if they lose the appeal, they'll need to stop operating in the city – it's worth bearing this in mind if you're planning to drive for Uber in London.
- Outgoings are high (Uber take a 25% cut of everything you earn) so you need to work a fair amount to make a decent income (especially if you're paying to rent a car).
- There can be a long wait to get your private hire licence through.
- You need to do your own taxes.
- Car insurance is particularly expensive for young people.
- Tipping is not common.
- No company benefits such as a pension, holiday pay, sick leave, etc. You can pay an additional £2 per week for IPSE membership, but this only covers you for sickness if you're unable to work for two weeks or more.
- Passenger ratings can't guarantee that they won't get in drunk and throw up in your car.
How to become an Uber Eats deliverer
Unlike driving Ubers, you don't necessarily need to drive a car to deliver Uber Eats. You can also use a scooter/motorbike or bicycle.
If you're hoping to deliver by car or scooter/motorbike, you'll need a driver's licence and vehicle insurance (including cover for food deliveries). By bicycle, you'll need a driver's licence or National ID.
Many of the pros of delivering Uber Eats are the same as driving Ubers, like the option of Flex Pay – as a deliverer, you can receive payment within 48 hours which is great if you're hoping to make money quickly.
To get started, you'll need to register, consent to a safety screening and upload the required documents. Once you've been approved as a deliverer, you can log in whenever suits you, start making deliveries and watch your bank balance grow.
How old do you need to be to work for Uber Eats?
If you're under 21, you might be too young to drive Uber taxis, but the good news is you can sign up to deliver Uber Eats if you're 18 or over.
As long as you're ok with getting a bit of food envy, this opportunity's ideal for students.
How much money you can make working for Uber
Earnings of Uber drivers
With Uber, your income is based on how much you work – and at times when demand is higher than usual, you'll earn more. Uber takes a 25% service fee from your fare and you can expect to pay around 20% of your earnings to go towards fuel on top of that.
Rates will differ from city to city, so it's worth contacting Uber for an accurate idea of how much you can earn in your part of the country.
It's also important to note that, as you'd be working for yourself, you wouldn't be protected by any minimum wage law. It's up to you to make sure you pick up enough passengers to keep your income safely above minimum wage (or living wage if you're 25 years or older).
As you're self-employed when working with Uber, you'd have to set aside your own 20% income tax and declare it in a self-assessment tax return in April each year.
Need more info on UK taxes? Check out our guide to tax facts.
How to make even more money as an Uber driver
Many Uber drivers say they will work as few as 10 hours per week, but note that you will have to work a fair bit more than that for the money to be worthwhile.
According to one driver we spoke to, splashing out the extra cash for a flashier car (qualifying you as an Uber Exec driver) is worth it in the long run.
Ahmet, an Uber Exec driver from London, told Save the Student:
Although you take the initial hit in having to buy a more expensive car to join Uber Exec, you take home way more money per ride than you do with UberX, meaning it works out better in the long run.
Earnings of Uber Eats deliverers
|London||Birmingham or Manchester||Rest of the UK|
|Picking up order||£1.40||£1.40||£1.90|
|Dropping off order||£1.10||£1.10||£0.65|
|Distance travelled for order (per mile)||£1.50||£1.50||£1.50|
|Minimum fee before Uber service fee*||£3.50||£3.50||£4|
* If you earn less than the minimum fee for your area for a delivery, the earnings will be topped up to the minimum amount before the service fee is applied.
Service fees for Uber Eats deliveries
|London||Rest of the UK|
Is it worth working with Uber?
Uber is a great option for a part-time job for students.
But from what we can see (and from what we've heard from drivers), if you don't already have a suitable car, it's worth thinking about whether this is the right option for you.
The extra expense of getting your own wheels as a driver means you'll end up spending the first few years of your time at Uber driving just to pay off your car!
When we asked Ahmet if he'd recommend becoming an Uber driver to other students, he was really positive. He told us:
I would really, really recommend driving for Uber... it's a great way to make some pocket money on the side.
Every time I’d go to my friend’s house in Harrow, I’d get a good fare on the way out there since it’s on the outskirts of London. We would just chill and play some FIFA on the PlayStation, then before I'd leave, I’d just open up the app and be able to make some money on my way home.
Sounds pretty ideal!
And, since we chatted to Ahmet, Uber introduced a system to make it easier for drivers to find passengers heading in the same direction as them.
Drivers can select up to two destinations a day. This means they're paired up with riders who are going in the same direction as them (in case they are heading home or need to make an appointment).
Not sure if Uber's right for you? See our top business ideas for more ways to be your own boss...