Working as an Uber driver is one of the buzziest careers in America.
With uberX, essentially anyone with a car can sign up to be a driver.
And Uber makes it pretty easy to do.
The first step is to head on over to this website. If you’re at least 21 years old, have a licence, personal auto insurance, and a four-door car in good condition, you can sign up to be a driver.
The next step is passing Uber’s background check. You’ll need to provide the company with standard information like your address, driver’s licence number, and social security number.
If you pass the background test, Uber requires you to take an online training course that covers standard operating procedures, how to get 5 stars, and what not to do. Upon completing the course, Uber will send you a phone.
From start to finish, the registration process takes about two weeks.
Driving for Uber can be an incredibly lucrative career, according to Uber.
Back in May, Uber released data showing at least half of its New York City uberX drivers earn more than $US90,000 a year. In San Francisco, Uber claims its uberX drivers can earn up to $US70,000 a year.
But it turns out Uber’s data is based on a sample of uberX drivers who drive over 40 hours per week, according to The Washington Post. That figure also excludes the cost of gas, insurance, parking, maintenance, repairs, and paying for tolls.
For example, one uberX driver in New Jersey who drove 12 hours in one day says he made $US180 in gross fares. So that’s $US15 an hour. But accounting for tolls, Uber’s 20% cut, gas, car insurance, vehicle financing, and self employment taxes, the driver really only made $US54.50 for 12 hours of driving. So that’s just $US4.54 an hour — far below minimum wage.
If you want to make a living off of Uber, you’re going to have to drive an insane number of hours.
In order to make $US75,000 a year driving uberX in San Francisco, you’d have to work 3,000 hours per year, which is effectively a 58-hour work week, financial journalist Felix Salmon concluded.
“I would have to work 80-120 hours a week to make ends meet,” an uberX driver wrote on Quora. “But at least Uber gives me the opportunity to work that much. Most companies will only hire you for low pay at only 35-40 hours a week.”
Being a part-time driver for uberX sounds like a much more attractive option than being a full-time driver, even though there’s no way you’d ever earn $US90,000 a year.
“If you have a Monday-to-Friday day job, but it’s not enough to make ends meet, then you could probably earn an extra $US400 per week, net of gas, by working 16 hours a week on Friday and Saturday nights,” Salmon wrote on Medium. “That’s $US20,800 per year.”