Make Money Driving For Uber: The Ultimate Side Hustle

Joseph Meyer
Written by
Last update:

Uber – The Ultimate Side Hustle

The Popularity of Uber

Uber has been gaining popularity rapidly. Since its inception in 2009, it has been called “the most important technology company you’ve never heard of” (Business Insider), “the most hyped startup in the history of Silicon Valley” (Bloomberg Business Week), and “the biggest transportation disruptor since the advent of the automobile” (Re/code). And that’s because it’s changing the way we think about transportation.

The Uber app allows users to request transportation from drivers using their Uber accounts. There are different types of Uber cars, and the Uber car service is only available in certain cities. Uber has been expanding rapidly however, and now operates in more than 300 cities all over the world.

Uber isn’t just popular with users. It’s also becoming increasingly popular to become an Uber driver, particularly as a part-time gig.

Benefits of Driving for Uber

Becoming an Uber driver allows you to turn your car into an income source. But beyond the money, being your own boss is the best benefit of joining Uber. It allows you to create your own schedule and build a business on your own terms.

What’s also great about Uber is that there are multiple ways to drive, depending on what you like to do. Some people enjoy meeting new people and the non-driving benefits that Uber has to offer, which makes the Uber platform a great side hustle. Others find it distracting and prefer to get behind the wheel to drive passengers around since it blurs the lines between work and life.

If you’ve never driven with Uber, here are just a few benefits of becoming a driver:

Make money while driving around town.

Enjoy the freedom to work whenever you want.

Set your own schedule and work only when you want to.

Be your own boss and choose your own marketing strategies.

Make extra money for a short period of time if you need cash.

Create a portfolio of your services and provide that to potential employers.

Have fun driving friends and family around town.

What You Need to Know About Driving for Uber

I was at a bar in Puerto Rico with some friends a few months ago, when out of nowhere, Nick, one of my closest friends, looked up at the TV there and exclaimed, “I don’t really understand why everyone loves Uber.” I didn’t either, to be honest, so I went home and did some research.

Turns out, Nick just didn’t get it “ he was a taxi driver, and was therefore pre-disposed to hate Uber, because in most cities, Uber is seen as the taxi killer.

But there was more to Uber than just the convenience of hailing a car through an app. There are two sides to the Uber business, as you will soon discover. You see, while Uber’s core offering is a great ride, there is an opportunity to make a lot of money by driving for Uber.

The Bottom Line

Driving For Uber: Expert Interview with Harry Campbell of

I’ve tested out countless side hustles over the past few years. From generating leads for a real estate conference I organized to writing mentions for a local hotel through TaskRabbit, I’ve tried more than 100 side hustles to date.

The truth is, most of the side hustles I tried took way too much time and delivered very little results. Not to mention, many of them were technically scams.

Question 1: How much do Uber drivers really make these days?

Question 2: What are some of the common misconceptions about Uber drivers, how they earn money, and how much they make?

On my end of year review (question one on the post), when I shared some of the lucrative opportunities I took advantage of, one reader asked me about making money driving for Uber. I had a few gigs here and there, but never really took it seriously. I was never committed to it. And, it took me a while to find out what the real proposition was. So I thought I’d share a few things I learned in the hopes that you can get going.

Know what you’re getting into financially:

When you drive for Uber or Lyft, you drive your own car. The car becomes an extension of your office. It becomes an investment. Depending on whether you own or lease, you might or might not have penalties to pay when you return your car to the dealership. If you own, you also need to pay insurance, maintenance, gas, tolls, and other driving related expenses.

If you’re considering driving for Uber, know what it really means for your budget. One of the most significant ways drivers make money is by using their car like an ATM machine. They’ll drive during the surge times (the highest point of demand) and pay themselves back. I believe I made a lot of the income I made on my tax return in 2015 because I drove in San Francisco during the Game of Thrones season finale, and they had the highest surge ever.

Question 3: What are some of the pitfalls of driving for Uber?

Sometimes, there is no way to tell if a passenger is drunk or if they’ve had an argument before the ride. Then while driving to their destination, they start some kind of argument or start crying. I’ve been in some situations where I really wasn’t sure if it was safe to leave the car while they were driving. Some passengers have even tried to leave without paying. One time was an especially bad situation where I’m pretty sure the drunk guy thought he’d be getting a free ride to his girlfriend’s house from the bar. He didn’t tip, either. I’ve also had some passengers that start screaming at me even though I am following all the listed rules in uber and am very safe. They’ve even been so disruptive that other passengers had to tell them to knock it off.

Question 4: What are some of the biggest benefits of driving for Uber?

When asked whether they enjoyed the flexibility of being able to pick their own hours and work part-time or full-time, 96 percent of drivers agreed or strongly agreed.

Over 80 percent of drivers value the freedom and flexibility. 53 percent of drivers said their top benefit is the freedom.

Question 5: Can an Uber driver also drive for Lyft?

Question 6: What are the insurance considerations for Uber drivers?

Some insurance plans exclude commercial use, which would make the ride sharing driver ineligible for coverage. Some state insurance offices have issued letters clarifying that a ride-sharing driver is not insurable without explicit authorization from the insurer to utilize insurance while driving for Uber. If your insurance does not cover your vehicle for ride sharing, your personal auto liability policy will also not cover you as an Uber driver.

Uber claims that their policy covers drivers when they are using their personal vehicle while providing services for Uber. However, it is important to note that these policies typically have exclusions for businesses, including for-profit driving services. Also note that a personal automobile insurance policy does not provide any coverage while you’re using your vehicle to provide commercial transportation services.

What would happen if you were in an accident while driving for Uber? If an Uber driver collides with another vehicle, passengers, or pedestrians, the accident is covered by the driver’s personal coverage – if the driver has any – and by Uber’s commercial automobile policy. If a person is injured in the collision and sues the Uber driver, his personal auto policy will defend against this action, and Uber’s commercial policy will cover any liability.

Question 7: What advice would you give someone looking into driving for uber?

“Essentially my advice would be to assess what you enjoy doing in your spare time. Then find a way to make money doing it on the side when you’re not working full time.”

“What I realized at Uber was that I enjoyed anything that posed a challenge. If I can’t see myself getting better, then I get bored. With Uber, you’re always learning. The further you progress and the more you learn, the more value you provide. The more value you provide, the better your rating. The better your rating, the more you can make, and the more profitable you become.”

“Because you’re an independent contractor, if you don’t enjoy it, you can change it up. If you want to give a neighborhood a chance, shift your pickups to that location. If you go out of town, you may not be able to make the same amount, but if you can get in the zone with any in-demand area, you’ll be rolling.”

Question 8: What does someone who wants to drive for uber need to get started?

The recommended car is a late-model 4-door vehicle for Uber x and Uber Black. Accepted vehicles include Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Nissan, and even Lamborghinis.

Keep in mind, you’re going to have a lower initial outlay for the vehicle, but if you are driving a lot, you may want to keep the vehicle for longer than year and keep your maintenance costs down.

The more expensive your car, the more money you make. It’s an investment, so get the classiest ride you can afford.

At the very least, you’ll need a smartphone. If you own an iphone, I highly recommend the iRIDE app for the iPhone. Drivers can keep their downtime charged up by playing games. Since the app is integrated with the Uber app, it tracks your earnings and it also provides a support system for Uber drivers.

But to be truly successful as a driver, you’ll need to be connected to the internet the whole time. You need to be on your phone all the time and working on your app. Also, you won’t be able to drive without a device.