How Does Uber Work? What To Know To Ride In 2022

Steps to Become an Uber Driver

  1. Fill out the driver application form at Uber.com or on the Uber app, uploading all the requested documents when prompted. If you’re having trouble completing this process, call Uber or visit a local Uber office.
  2. Give your consent for background screening and then wait for a response, which can take up to 10 days.
  3. If your application is successful and your driver status is activated, enable driver mode in the Uber app. Now you can accept rider requests and start making money.

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What Sill Disqualify You From Uber?

Uber runs background checks on all aspiring drivers and won’t accept just anybody. Potential candidates with certain types of criminal convictions will be barred from driving. That can include those awaiting trial for serious offenses. People with restrictions on their driving license or a history of recent driving violations also risk being excluded.

What other features does Uber offer to riders?

Aside from allowing riders to request a trip, there are several other features offered within the Uber app.

Since May 2019, the Uber app offers London public transport information, for example, allowing riders to see if there is an alternative way home. This is especially useful if there is a surge – a price increase due to increased demand – in the area you are in.

It’s also possible to add work and home addresses to your Uber account, as well as other saved places, such as the hotel you’re staying at when on holiday for example. This allows you to select the “Where to?” destination more easily.

You can add “Trusted Contacts” to your Uber account too. Once someone is set up as a Trusted Contact, you can share your trip status with a single tap. It’s also possible to add a family member to your account, allowing them to share your default payment method so you can pay for your loved ones to use Uber, as well as get trip notifications when they use it.

Split Fare is a feature within the Uber app too, allowing you to split the fare with whoever you’re travelling with. A contact will have to accept to Split Fare with you before this will happen though and you will be charged a small fee.

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The Verify your Trip feature meanwhile, enables you to use a PIN to make sure you get in the right car. You will receive a new unique PIN for each trip and you will need to share it with your driver when they pick you up for your trip to start.  

There are other features we’ve not gone into detail on, including Quiet Mode for UberBlack and UberSUV drivers in the US, as well as Uber Jump e-bikes. You can read about Uber Jump e-bikes in our separate story, which details where they are available and how much they cost to use. 

There’s also Uber Eats for ordering food delivery, but we’ll talk more about that further down the page.

New Features in the New Driver App

The new Uber for Drivers app has a host of updates, from small bug fixes to performance improvements.

It also has three major updates that drivers are excited about: the trip planner, a real-time earnings tracker, and a new way to start and end trips … even when you drop out of service.

The New Trip Planner Tool

One of the new rollouts of the app is a trip planner tool which looks ahead to the coming day and anticipates what’s to come.

The tool looks at the area’s history and lets you know when demand will be high — which can earn you more through surge pricing — or when they’re in need of drivers.

Basically, it’s a one-stop shop to let you know the best times of the day to get on the road.

Track Earnings at a Glance

The Real-time Earnings Tracker allows drivers to know, up to the minute, not only what they earned that trip, but what they earned that day, and that week.

For people working toward a goal, the tracker can work as a great motivational tool to let you see exactly how much you’re making with each trip.

From the Uber article introducing the feature:

“The Real-time Earnings Tracker UI includes a series of cards, elements that overlay the app, showing things such as the last trip results and daily earnings.

Drivers can select from three different modes, shown in Figure 1, below, which let them see their earnings in real time, review summaries of previous trips and driving sessions, and celebrate key moments on the platform.”

The feature gives you the control to see earnings on your terms, the way you want to see them.

Want updates every trip?

You got it.

Want summaries of that week?

Easy.

Or, if you prefer, it will just alert you when you hit milestones, so you can celebrate those big wins on the platform.

Start and End Trips … Even With No Service

One of the most exciting new features the app introduced is what they call “Optimistic Mode,” which allows you to conclude a trip, even if the signal drops and you go offline.

Drivers had a major pain point in the past if cell service dropped in the middle of a trip, as the app would have no way of knowing whether or not a trip had concluded.

The new feature will do its best to use the last data point it had in terms of earning, allowing drivers to end the trip even with no service, and once service resumes, the app will do its best to estimate what the final price point would have been.

This can prevent uncomfortable moments with drivers asking riders to stay in the car until service can pick back up and the ride can be concluded.

How Uber Works

Uber is intended to be easier than using a taxi. Here's how the Uber process works.

Before Using Uber

Install the app on your smartphone and create an online Uber account. You'll provide information about the credit card you plan to use to pay for rides, so you never need to bring or handle any cash.

When You Need a Ride

When you need a ride, use the app to tell Uber your pickup location. You can choose from a variety of ride-type options; the most common is UberX. Alternately, you can select Uber Pool if you are willing to share the ride and save some money. (More on Uber ride tiers below.)

Uber will locate drivers in your area, find a driver for you, and tell you how many minutes away your driver is. Rides are commonly three to 10 minutes away in major centers.

Uber will alert you when the ride has arrived. The Uber app will show you the driver's details, such as name, photo, and type of car so you know what to look for.

During and After the Ride

Enjoy your ride. The app handles payment, so just step out of the car when you arrive at your destination and thank your driver. You'll be asked via the app to rate your driver on a scale of 1 to 5 (politeness, safety, cleanliness). Similarly, the driver rates you from 1 to 5 (politeness). You have the option of adding a tip.

The entire trip is tracked through the Uber app for accountability and ease.

S3studio / Getty Images

Uber Driver Percentile Pay by Location

The following data shows the percentile distributions of Uber driver earnings in several different locations. Note that median earnings appear in the 50% column.

Location 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
Connecticut $27,211 $33,402 $40,202 $49,102 $57,205
New York City $30,183 $37,102 $44,702 $54,602 $63,615
Kentucky $23,730 $29,102 $35,002 $42,702 $49,712
San Francisco $31,409 $38,602 $46,502 $56,702 $65,989
Wyoming $22,403 $27,502 $33,102 $40,402 $47,048

Driver and Passenger Ratings

Part of Uber's appeal is that drivers are under tremendous pressure to deliver pleasant, safe, prompt, and clean experiences for passengers. Every passenger rates every driver on every trip, and drivers are required to maintain an average customer rating of 4.6 out of 5.0. (Minimums vary by city.) Uber deactivates drivers who fall below this standard.

Uber does not disclose this to passengers directly, but every driver gets to see your rating when deciding whether to pick you up. And yes, every driver rates you right after you leave the Uber vehicle at the dropoff point. This is to protect future drivers from having to deal with rude, violent, aggressive, and drunk/impaired passengers. If your rating is too low, Uber can bar you from using the service temporarily or permanently.

To encourage kinder, gentler Uber rider behavior (stop slamming doors!), the app displays rider ratings right underneath names in the Uber app's menu.

Horrocks / Getty Images

What About Uber Eats?

Uber rideshare drivers also have the option to deliver orders through Uber Eats. This entails opting in, accepting delivery orders and then transporting food and beverages to customers.

Choosing to deliver food can boost an Uber driver’s pay, especially on days when rides are slow. Uber encourages its drivers to diversify their payment options, depending on demand.

Uber Eats pays drivers a delivery fare based on pick-up, drop-off and distance. There is also a similar surge pricing for food delivery known as “Boost” that will increase pay at certain times of the day.

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Tips for Uber Drivers

If you focus on these next three points, you have an increased chance of enjoying driving more and getting quality tips from riders.

1. Go Above and Beyond for Riders

As mentioned above, driving for Uber places you in the customer service business.

Some Uber drivers look at themselves merely as drivers.

That’s a mistake.

You’ll perform a better job, get higher ratings, and gain increased tips if you take the time to go above and beyond for your passengers.

Pay attention to what’s needed at any given moment.

For example, hop out of the car and open the door for an elderly person or someone carrying a large package.

Help anyone going to the airport by putting their luggage into your trunk.

2. Listen to your Passengers

Listen to their special needs or requests.

Put yourself second sometimes, even if you think a passenger requests something a little selfish.

That doesn’t mean you need to put yourself or your car at risk, however.

Just be willing to help riders by listening to and granting reasonable requests.

3. Trust your Gut

Take action if your gut tells you that you’re dealing with a very unreasonable person.

It’s OK to pull over and end the trip early if you’re worried about your safety in any way.

Start Driving With Uber Ride Share

For most side hustlers, Uber is worth it. But alternatives to driving with Uber are on the rise. Finally how much is Uber worth depends from your ability to be a successful driver.

Your earnings are a result of smart work and strategies to save money.

How Uber Works for Riders

Uber looks different depending on whether you are a driver or a rider.

Let’s start with how Uber works for riders.

The Uber Process

Uber makes the process for requesting and getting a ride simple.

1. Requesting a Ride

Download the Uber app to your iPhone or Android smartphone if you haven’t already.

Open the app.

You’ll see a “Where to?” field—type in the address of where you’re going.

Immediately, you’ll see whether drivers are available and how much your trip will cost you.

Uber bases prices on distance and the time involved.

Confirm that you’ll accept the price and that you want to start the trip.

Suggested: How much does Uber cost?

2. The Pickup Process

You’ll see who your driver is.

The app shows their name and the type of vehicle they’re driving.

Uber tells you how long it should take for them to arrive.

There’s also a map where you can follow their car as they approach.

Once the driver arrives, the app notifies you that it’s time to get into your ride.

3. During the Ride

Expect a different ride each time.

Some drivers are chatty and will talk with you.

Others don’t like to talk too much.

Also, you don’t need to talk if you don’t want to.

It’s your ride, so you’re free to speak with your driver, sleep, or watch a movie on your mobile device.

4. The Dropoff Process

Often, your driver will ask you where you want them to let you out.

You can direct them to the exact spot, thank them for the ride, and hop out of the car.

After the Ride

The driver ends the ride officially on their driver version of the app.

Your app notifies you that the ride ended.

1. Tipping your Driver

The app asks you how much you want to tip your driver.

You have the option of selecting a preset percentage, such as 15%, for example, or just entering your own figure.

You also have the option not to tip.

However, you should know that drivers depend heavily on tips to make enough money to make the job worthwhile.

Think of it like not tipping your waiter.

Suggested: How much to tip Uber drivers

2. Rating your Driver

After your dropoff, the app then suggests the Uber rider rating process.

The app asks you to rate your driver.

Uber pays close attention to these ratings.

If a driver’s ratings go too low, then drivers might face an Uber deactivation, dropping them from the job.

Unless your driver was horrible, be mindful of giving less than five stars and affecting your driver’s ability to earn their income.

What Are Uber Driver Requirements?

As long as you can pass Uber’s background check, you shouldn’t find it difficult to become an Uber driver (unless your city imposes some difficult requirements of its own).

Install the Uber app on your smartphone and create an account on Uber, including the bank account into which your earnings will be paid.

When you’re ready to start picking up passengers, tell the Uber app that you’re going online. Then wait.

Before long, the app will notify you about a passenger requesting a ride and show you a map with the passenger’s GPS coordinates. You pick up the passenger and take the person to his or her destination. Aware that the passenger can rate you afterward, you do your best to make the passenger feel welcome, comfortable, and satisfied.

Make sure you understand clearly where your pick up location is to avoid late arrivals

You just keep repeating this process, being notified about passengers and taking them to their destinations, until you’re done for the day. Then you tell the Uber app that you’re going offline. You can rate your passengers on their behavior.

Uber will deposit the money that you’ve earned into your bank account.

5. The Best Car To Drive For Uber

In addition to what we said about the Uber pay, you should know that Uber driver salary depends on the type of car driven. Working as an Uber driver with a luxury car will be paid differently than a normal car you see swarming the city streets on any given day.

The minimum fare you make for a XL goes up quicker compared to UberX. In addition with Uber XL you generally get a better quality of clients that tip better than UberX riders.

According to the U.S. News and World Report the list of the best cars for Uber and Lyft Drivers in 2020 includes:

  1. Toyota Camry Hybrid version
  2. Toyota Camry
  3. Honda Civic
  4. Honda Accord Hybrid version
  5. Honda Accord
  6. Mazda6
  7. Ford Fusion
  8. Honda Insight
  9. Ford Fusion Hybrid version
  10. Volkswagen Jetta
  11. Subaru Legacy
  12. Subaru Impreza

So, is Uber profitable for drivers? Even if you do not have the right car, by using our money gas saving tips and keeping a diligent track of your miles, you can boost your driving income.

Indeed as a rideshare driver, your biggest tax deductions will be the costs related to your car.

How much does Uber cost?

It depends on a variety of factors, such as distance, time of day (i.e., heavy traffic or light traffic) and whether any extraordinary events are taking place in the area at the time. For instance, there’s almost always a fare increase on New Year’s Eve and other busy days.

How Uber Commission and Fees Work

It’s not that difficult to understand the way Uber fees and commissions work.

For instance, when it comes to fees, the passengers are the ones who have to pay a booking fee, as well as per minute and mile fee for their ride. After the ride, you as a driver would be paid the majority of the fare you made. And you only get “the majority” and not all of it because Uber is going to get their cut, respectively the “Service Fee”.

More than 25%

The amount that Uber says it charges their drivers is 25%, but it actually takes a little more than that from their earnings. This is all due to the fact that some additional fees are taken by rideshare companies, resulting in a higher percentage for the cut.

In the past, Uber drivers had to drive around 2.36 miles to make $10 before fees, but nowadays, the prices were lowered by Uber. As a result, a driver will have to drive 4.71 miles to make the same amount of cash.

Fees

Also, there is the booking fee and a safe rides fee for every Uber ride, which is between $1 and $3. These fees vary by city, but the driver cannot actually see these in their bank account, as this goes directly to Uber.

So, the commission taken by Uber is higher if the ride fare is lower, meaning the rideshare drivers would make less. So, in the end, even if Uber claims to take 25% of its drivers, it will actually take up to 42.75%. If you are doing short rides, then it won’t be too profitable for you.

>> Read More: Loans for Uber Drivers

Are there alternatives to Uber?

There are several ride-hailing services available in app stores, but the most popular one aside from Uber is probably Lyft. All these apps function nearly identically, though each one may offer a few unique features.

We have a separate feature on Uber alternatives for those in London, which you can read here.

How much do Lyft drivers make?

Though Lyft’s business model is like Uber’s, Lyft drivers can earn weekly bonuses, referral bonuses and can receive their payouts whenever they want.

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