What It’s Like Driving For Uber

Update: Get a $150 credit now when you sign up to be an Uber driver!

One of Lauren’s biggest complaints is that I come home from work and watch sports for several hours. On Sundays, she commandeers the TV during the most important parts of games because “you’ve been watching football for 8 straight hours,” as if that’s a valid reason. Well, I found an alternative that keeps me busy, entertained, and earns a little cash on the side! It’s not as passive as some other ways to earn money each month, but it is a lot of fun! Uber has everything I look for: super flexible hours (work only when you want), interaction with people, and the more you put in, the more you get out.

What It's Like Driving For Uber

The Approval Process

At the prodding of a friend, and after reading a lot about it on The Rideshare Guy, I signed up to be an Uber driver. Or rather, I started the process of becoming an Uber driver. The first step was getting a background check, which took a few days, and once I was approved, I got my car inspected. It took about an hour and cost $20, but it was well worth it. I’m now confident I don’t have any major issues with my car, and am aware of a small one that I should get fixed at some point in the next few months.

I uploaded my inspection documentation, my license and registration, and a few pictures of my car, and waited. And waited. After about a week, I emailed asking about the status, was told it could be a few more days, and waited some more. After another few emails, I finally got approved to take my first trip.

Preparing My Car

I cleaned the inside and outside of the car, brought along some charging cables (iPhone and Android), and hit the road. We just bought a handheld vacuum, which came in handy (and will save me time and money in the future if I drive regularly). There are certain points in life where I consider having “made it.” Having a dustbuster is one of them.

Hitting The Road

My first night (a Wednesday), I left the house at around 7:30, and drove a few blocks away to the restaurant area, hoping to pick up the after-dinner crowd. After about 10 minutes, I got my first ride, from someone not at a restaurant. Go figure. I plugged in her destination (a comedy club), took off, and started to make some conversation. Of all the people I drove the first night, this was easily the best. It was a 15 minute trip, the conversation flowed freely, and we were going to a popular part of town where I was sure to pick up more people.

I’ve read stories about forgetting to start the trip, but somehow, I let it happen to me. I was too focused on the directions and forgot to hit the start button until the very end of the trip. I cost myself $7, but after requesting a fare review and explained that it was my first trip ever, Uber credited me with the difference.

After dropping off the first passenger, I had to wait nearly 15 minutes for my next ride. From speaking to other Uber drivers, that seems like a long wait. A couple of short rides later and some more waiting around, I decided to pack it up and start heading home. Of course, as soon as I did that, I got alerted that there was another ride available, so I took it. 3 drunk people entered the car, I started driving to their place, while one asked if I wanted to rob a bank. I said “not tonight,” and he said, “Of course not tonight!” as if I was the crazy one.

Again, as soon as I dropped them off, I got another ride. I took it, hoping that it would bring me closer to home. Nope, 3 girls were going out to a hotel for a fun night out. Another good ride, and as luck would have it, as soon as I dropped them off, I got pinged that there someone at the hotel who needed a ride. Awesome! They got in and directed me to within a few blocks of home. Amazing!

But there was an issue with that last trip. The total came out to $6.66! I don’t like that vibe, so I contacted Uber and they gladly changed the price to $6.65 for the sake of everyone’s luck. Success!

Lessons Learned

Overall, I had a great time, but did learn a few lessons. Lesson one: Start the trip! This was a dumb mistake but luckily, I got it out of the way early. Lesson two: Get a phone mount. I was constantly looking down and the audio wasn’t working properly the whole time, so I decided to buy a phone mount for the car. This way I just have to glance and I won’t be as distracted. Well worth the money and in my mind, it’s a necessity. Lesson three: Stay in one spot. I got a bit antsy waiting for passengers, so I tried moving around a bit. This didn’t work and cost me gas, so lesson learned. Better to not get a ride in one place than not get a ride and waste gas in the process. Lesson four: Start later in the night. I started way too early and the first hour or so was very slow compared to later in the night. Maybe it was a one-time thing, but I don’t see a reason to leave the house before 8pm. I need my sleep so I don’t anticipate driving until 11 or 12 every night, but I will pick my spots so I’m more profitable while I’m out there.

Overall, it was a great first night and I enjoyed the experience. I will definitely be back on the road soon and will do some lessons learned posts!

4 Responses to What It’s Like Driving For Uber

  1. Ah man, I still remember my first week driving – seems like ages ago! It definitely takes some getting used to but the observations you’ve already made will help you big time. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to get a ride back to my house at the end of the night though too haha.

  2. I’ve been seeing this uber thing come up more often. Is this a legal thing or more of an underground taxi thing? No judgement, just underground taxis have been in the news a bit around here lately.

    • It’s definitely not underground, but it’s certainly not good for the taxi industry. It allows people to get a cheaper rate on a taxi in most cases, all from a smartphone app (and it’s cashless). Couldn’t be simpler!

  3. Evan says:

    That is awesome! So how much did you make out there? How much gas did you burn?