How Do Uber Drivers Decide How Long to Work?

How Do Uber Drivers Decide How Long to Work?

Uber describes the driving positions with their company as a “partners,” and as a partner, you have the freedom and flexibility to work as much, or as little as you are able to or choose to. Driving for Uber is often used as a source for supplemental income, which means you have regular employment, but use your vehicle and spare time to make extra money.

How do Uber drivers decide how long to work? Drivers get to keep 80% of each trip fare, and the trip rate is predetermined by area. Drivers often factor these things in, along with potential tips and promotional bonuses from Uber to determine what average pay will be per trip and how many trips can be made per hour. From there, determining how many hours to work is just a matter of how much money the driver would like to make.

If you are thinking about getting into the ridesharing driver business, you must ask yourself how often you wish to work and how often you need to work to hit your budget goals. And then you must do your research on what the going trip rate is in your local area. Let’s take a closer look at all Uber has to offer you, and what you have to offer Uber!

How Many Hours Do Uber drivers Work?

The beauty of a job like driving for Uber is that you can work as little or as much as you would like to. Also depending on how much money you are trying to make from the job will help you decide what works best for you, your lifestyle, and your schedule.

On average, a “full-time” driver might work towards a 40-hour workweek. But when you are hustling from place to place with fares, time seems to fly by. Use the system of taking 20% off of the fare price as Uber’s cut. What is left is what you keep!

If this is your main source of income, you may wish to treat it like a full-time position. On the other hand, if you can only dedicate your time (and your vehicle) for a few hours per week, you may wish to be a bit more specific on which ride requests you accept. Take the highest paying requests to maximize your time.

How do you get paid by Uber?

When you create an Uber profile, you submit your bank account number for direct deposit. Uber pays out weekly or you can get paid the same day through an instant cash process for a small fee.

How much do Uber drivers make?

Location, location, location. Oh, and timing. Loving the idea of driving for Uber? Want to make the most for your time? Scoping out the highest paying Uber rates isn’t that hard. But, doing your homework could pay off big time!

One way to get connected to the Uber community is to ask around in your circle of friends or family. The chances are someone you know is driving for Uber. They can offer you a bit of insight into the mysterious world of “ridesharing.”

We have come a long way since the good old days of calling the taxi company for a lift to the airport or other destination. This is a door-to-door service in the comfort of a personal vehicle. Cabs can be stuffy (and stinky). Am I right?

Sure, the convenience of a taxi company is great, but when you are an employee, you are less likely to be as happy as when you are your own boss. Such as in the case of Uber drivers vs. cab drivers.

The Numbers Behind Driving for Uber

So, you want to talk numbers. According to the latest reports, these are the Uber driver earning rates for some of America’s major cities:

  • Per hour: On average, drivers make approximately $25 per hour. This rate does not include tips and bonuses from Uber.
  • Per week: Your pay per week will obviously depend on how much you work and on what the rates are at the time. If we take the $25 per hour estimate and assume you are working 40 hours a week, a driver can come up with $1,000. Not bad, huh?

According to the latest reports, the locations in which Uber drivers make the most money are major cities like New York City and San Francisco, CA.

Of course, they may be pulling in the biggest bucks, but remember that everything in the city costs more. Bigger paychecks don’t necessarily mean bigger wallets. Gas prices are higher there, as are vehicle insurance rates and the cost of living.

So, unless you live outside of the city and simply commute there to work, you may not be walking away with the big bucks. You might just be putting it back into your gas tank etc.

It is difficult to give you an exact figure because rates can fluctuate from city to city, and even fluctuate at certain times of the day, or for special events/holidays. If you want to beef up your paycheck, you can hustle harder and pick up Uber Eats jobs in between your normal Uber schedule!

Overhead Costs of Driving for Uber

Like any small business owner or self-employed person, rideshare drivers have costs to keep their job sustainable. We are going to take a closer look at all aspects of what an Uber driving job means for you, your wallet, and your vehicle.

  • Phone bill –  Since you must constantly have your phone on while working for Uber, you may want to factor in the price (or part of it) of your cell phone bill.
  • Gas – Prices for a gallon of gas can vary greatly. It seems to change more than the weather. Your best bet for estimating how much you will spend on gas while driving for Uber is to go with the highest price you have seen in your area in the past few months.
  • Repairs and maintenance – What vehicle repairs and maintenance will you need to factor in as part of your cost of driving for Uber? Consider the cost of regular maintenance, such as oil changes, tune-ups, and tire rotation/changes. If you are driving full time and/or overtime, you may wish to add in the additional cost of repairs you may face due to extensive driving.
  • Detailing and Cleaning – Keeping your vehicle clean is important when you are being paid to transport people. Estimate the cost of cleaning products, if you are doing the job yourself. Or the cost of your favorite detail shop.
  • Vehicle value depreciation – Driving your personal vehicle for work will inevitably put miles on your odometer, and extra stress on your car. Factoring in the vehicle value depreciation, you may run into is important.
  • Tolls – You are responsible for paying any and all tolls upfront though they will be added to the price of each trip and reimbursed.
  • Insurance – Ask about discounts your insurance company might offer, like safe driver or aftermarket security alarm systems.
  • Extra insurance – Towing and roadside assistance can be costly if you do not plan ahead for unexpected things to happen. Simply calling someone to change a flat tire on the side of the highway might set you back upwards of $750. Depending on what type of tire it is, and possibly how far they have to travel to get to you.

If you are in an accident while driving for Uber, if the damage is extreme, you may have to pay for the additional cost of towing. Enrolling in a service like AAA can pay for itself in one use. Plus, AAA members often receive special discounts at many locations, including hotels and even some movie theaters.

After you have figured out your average cost, you can deduct it from your estimated wages to calculate how much you will be profiting by driving your personal vehicle for Uber.

Flat Tires and Other Roadside Issues

Most drivers are familiar with the depressing hiss or wobble that a flat tire makes. But, during normal circumstances, we only need to worry about ourselves, and maybe a passenger, or two. Those are usually friends, family or our kids. If you were on your way somewhere important, a flat tire could be an unwelcome block in the road for you.

On the other hand, when you are essentially a taxi driver (not what your kids think of you), they are counting on you to get them to their destination on time. Car troubles have now become your (and their) problem that needs quick thinking and fast-acting to save the day.

How Does Uber Work?

Signing up to drive for Uber is easy. You can even qualify for a sign-on bonus through this promotional link (Bonus amount will be determined for the market you wish to drive in).

To become active on the Uber app and to start receiving ride requests in your area, follow the instructions carefully. Your consent must be given to Uber for conducting background and driving record screening. They would like to know a bit about your history.

When creating your profile, you will be asked to submit a photo of yourself. Upload a clear picture of your face so that once your profile is active, potential riders can use the photo to help identify you. Remember that they are trusting you and putting their safety in your hands. For optimal rider safety, they must be able to match your profile picture to your face when you arrive to pick them up.

Review Uber’s terms and policies and click the button to accept them (of course only if you agree to the terms.)

Get High Ratings and Tips

Similar to other service industry jobs, the better service you provide, the bigger the tip you are most likely to receive from the customer. Tips add up and can become the icing on your paycheck cake.

In addition to more money, giving your customers quality service will reflect in your driver reviews. Other customers see your rating when you accept their ride. While five-star ratings are the best, repeated bad/negative reviews can set you up for termination from Uber.

What can you do to improve your ratings and tips? Here are some creative ideas that your passengers will love!

  • Keep it clean! Only you can help stop the spread of germs left by your previous customers. And also stop spreading to yourself and your family. When you keep up on the cleanliness of your vehicle, you will vacuum seats and floors, as well as clean the windows and finish up with some Armor All protectant to make it shine!
  • What’s that smell? Keep your car clean and odor-free. Use a lite air freshener like Febreze for automobiles. This way you won’t be simply trading unwanted odors for heavily scented freshener scents that can trigger allergies and cause headaches for your passengers.
  • I hate this song! Taste in music can be a very personal thing. A song that you really enjoy can remind someone of sad memories, or simply be a genre they hate. Should you decide to play music in your vehicle while working for Uber, consider asking your riders if they prefer a certain style of music. Small kindnesses can mean a lot.
  • Safe drivers! Driving is a privilege, not a right. And, as a driver, you have certain responsibilities to obey laws. Beyond obeying laws that are enforced is being a courteous human being.

    Not only are laws enforced by the local police department, but Uber will also do so. In the case that you break Uber’s driving regulations, you will be banned from using the app to accept ridesharing trips with them in the future.
  • Read the vibe.  No one is asking you to be a psychic, just that you are aware of the vibes from your passenger. For example, if you pull up to your passenger’s address to pick them up and you can automatically tell that they are arguing with someone. They aggressively walk away with their bags and get into your back seat with tears running down their cheeks. What are you thinking? How do you react? Treating people how you would want to be treated is a pretty good guideline for dealing with the public and their issues that may affect your life.
  • Put your phone down. Refraining from using your phone while driving with passengers in your vehicle is in your best interest and will make your customers more likely to trust you and your driving. Using your mobile phone while driving is dangerous and against the law.
  • Going the extra mile.  Improving your Uber driver rating is easy to do if you are willing to go the extra mile for your customers. Driving for a company like this is supposed to be more personable than taking a professional taxi or car service.

Going the extra mile does not mean driving your clients around for free. It means the little things like offering to assist them with luggage or opening their door for them. Take pride in your work and show your appreciation for them accepting you as a driver.

Rating Your Riders

Did you know that everyone using the Uber app has a profile in which they can receive ratings? We just reviewed some details about driver’s ratings. Passengers are rated by their drivers, considering categories such as friendliness, being on time for pickup, and by not being a backseat driver!

Customers are rated from 1-5 stars by their drivers. When riders are reviewed, it will show up along with their ride requests. You can decide on your own if you want to accept the request, or you can use the ratings as a guideline.

Of course, ratings are based on the opinions of other drivers. Opinions are not facts. You can take them or leave them.

Perks of Driving for Uber

Life is what you make it. If you wake up and are determined to see the best in things and consider work an opportunity vs. a responsibility, you will love the perks of being an Uber driver.

See the City! Get paid while you explore your city. How cool is that? See your city in a way you never have before. A great bonus if you are living in a new town. Expand your possibilities and your adventures by checking out some neighboring areas through ride requests.

Going out of town for a while? There is no need to stop working while you are away. Check-in with Uber and adjust your setting to your destination spot. This truly is the best job for those that enjoy getting out of the town they live in.

Meet New People! Greet the world, meet the world, one person at a time. Passengers you pick up and drop off have the potential to broaden your horizons and see the world through their eyes. You may be a blessing to them, in return.

Master of the Map! We may be able to follow the instructions of our GPS system, but it is not until we have experienced driving routes over and over again that we learn the map.

Be Your Own Boss! If you have a hard time working a 9-5, being stuck in a cubicle, and having to follow the rules and regulations of the office, you will love being your own boss! Pick up, or reject any rides that come your way.

Peace of Mind! If you or your loved ones have concerns about your safety and wellbeing while working with the public in such a personal manner, you can all have peace of mind in knowing that Uber has your best interests at heart. The cashless payment and follow my ride option help enhance safety.

Insurance Coverage! While you are “on the clock” with Uber, you, your vehicle, and your passengers are covered by insurance through Uber! There is a $1,000 deductible, though.

Using Your Experience! Take advantage of your experience as an Uber driver and put it to use in other ways. When you are not accepting ride requests, maybe you can get a gig as a part-time tour guide!

Qualifications of Becoming an Uber Driver

Can anyone become an Uber driver? What do I need to get started? How do I apply? These are frequently asked questions that we will answer in this section.

Age: To become an Uber driver, you must be of legal driving age in your state. But the restrictions are stricter than simply being of legal driving age, you must be 21 or older, with at least 1 year of driving experience.

If you are younger than 21, you can still drive for Uber Eats. The age requirement is lower if you are transporting food and not riders. You can be 19 years old to drive for Uber Eats, or 18 to deliver with a bicycle (where available.)


  • Car – To be eligible to work for Uber, you must own, lease, or otherwise have access to a vehicle that is less than 10 years old. Your vehicle must be insured under your name and must have more than 2 doors. A 2-door vehicle would be too inconvenient for riders to get in and out of.
  • Scooter – Scoot around town, feel the breeze all while making some money! Of course, you will not be able to use the Uber app, since you can’t transport people. Uber Eats is perfect for you, though!
  • Bicycle –  Delivering Uber Eats on a bicycle is very popular. Simply attach a rack or basket to your bicycle, and voila! you have the perfect transportation device for getting food from restaurants to customers.

    Don’t forget your helmet, reflectors, horn, and to look both ways. Safety first! Your safety is more important than delivering tacos to the person on Maple St. The best thing about delivering on a bike is that you can do it if you don’t have a driver’s license or a vehicle. Teenagers can start enterprising at the age of 18 with Uber Eats!
  • Walking – Whether you do not have a driver’s license/vehicle, or you simply have the opportunity available and don’t mind getting exercise while you’re working. Uber Eats can be delivered on foot in major cities or downtown areas.

    Nothing required but a will to work, and a decent pair of shoes. The downside to delivering on foot? Just the obvious fact that you will have to carry your delivery from the restaurant to its destination.

Uber Eats

Uber started the food delivery service called “Uber Eats” in August of 2014. This service gives us delivery access to literally just about any local restaurant or fast food we can think of. Cravings conquered with the click of a button. No longer are we limited to the few places that offer delivery like the local pizza joint or Chinese food spots.

From a driving standpoint, this option opens up more possibilities for you. When you are delivering food instead of human cargo, you have the option of accepting multiple deliveries at one time. If your pickups and deliveries are in close proximity to each other, you can easily double down on jobs and money!

One qualification required to drive for Uber Eats is that you must be able to lift at least 30 lbs. I suppose some people order heavy-duty food! If you aren’t into heavy lifting, carry on with your regular Uber passengers while you get back to the gym and work out till you are ready.

A sweet bonus of delivering food is that you get to visit all types of different food joints all over town. You get to experience the hot spots, and conveniently grab a bite to eat, should you get hungry while you are working. Call ahead so that your order will be ready when you arrive to pick up the order for delivery.

Refer a Friend to Uber

Once you have become established with Uber and start building your profile up, you can think about sharing the wealth (or adding to your own) by referring a friend to be an Uber driver, too. When you are asked by friends, family, acquaintances how they can become as successful as you, send them the referral link.

Offering to refer them to Uber gives them a chance to get their foot in the door, with the help of a trusted Uber “partner.” It also gives you the opportunity to get a few extra bucks.

If their referral and profile are accepted, you can earn a little bonus. But if you get enough referrals to go through you can turn your little bonus into a big one.

Expand your chances of getting those referral bonuses by expanding the audience you offer your referral to. Got a Facebook profile? You can share your referral link on your timeline to give the opportunity to your contacts.

Anyone you refer receives a sign-up bonus (amount specific to the market they wish to drive in) to get them started and you will get a referral bonus as well. It’s a win-win situation!

Much More Than a Taxi

Uber is expanding and growing. Hop on over to their website to check out the cool things Uber is doing with transportation ride-sharing options.

You can now use Uber to grow your own business by using their truck freight shipping. Got something you need to be transported? With the click of a button, you can handle your freight shipping fiasco. All shipments are tracked from start to finish, to give you peace of mind.

On the flip side, if you are a truck driver and are looking for work, just create an Uber profile, and you can start scanning through work requests and choosing the ones that best suit your needs. Be your own boss! Pick up extra cash with Uber.

In addition to land transportation, Uber is working on delivering a service to you that is described as Urban Aerial Transportation. Uber Elevate will change the way we travel. We aren’t quite there yet. But you can expect to hear more about it in the coming months. Uber Air is expected to hit the market by 2023.

Uber Overseas

Have you always dreamed of having the opportunity to travel for work? Well, now you can! Did you know that Uber is established in over 60 countries? If you are an Uber driver with an urge to see the world from your car window, the world is your oyster!

You may not receive the typical relocation pay by the company you work for, but if that isn’t an issue for you, then perhaps it is the opportunity of a lifetime. Expand your horizons and earn those stamps on your passport!

Of course, to take advantage of this, you will need to follow the same Uber guidelines as to when you first applied with them. You will need a vehicle and a driver’s license that is valid in the new location.

You can avoid those requirements if you are able to choose an area where you can work for Uber Eats and deliver food on a bicycle! What better way to experience a new country and have guaranteed work?

After you get yourself settled and acquainted with the area, you can determine if you would like to spend more time there, or if you want to be a rolling stone and go where the wind takes you.

Should you fall in love with this new town, you can take the time to buy a vehicle and get your driver’s license so you can also take advantage of driving for Uber. Navigating yourself in a new city can be a challenge, but if you are up for a challenge, you could enjoy it.

Dan Ferrantelli

I'm Dan Ferrantelli. I discovered rideshare through my wife and daughter who used the service a full year before I decided to try it. Now I am a part-time Uber & Lyft driver and love sharing my experiences with others. I'm also an entrepreneur who has developed several businesses and I have a passion to write! I hope you enjoy the articles I post. Kind feedback is always welcome.

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