Have you been wondering if you can make a good side income driving for Uber? As a father of six, I’m always looking for a good side hustle so I set out to see if Uber was a valid way to make some extra money.
People claim that they can’t make enough money to make a career out of driving for Uber. I wanted to test it out for myself so I signed up as a driver. I love the idea of something flexible that parents can use to earn extra funds and still allow them to work around hectic family schedules.
Getting Started with Uber
The process to get setup with Uber was pretty simple. I signed up online then attended an in-person event to finish the process. They ran a background check, requested some documentation and a vehicle inspection. The entire process went fairly smoothly, despite the fact that I chose to use my electric car, a BMW i3 (more on that later).
Driving for the First Time
With the kids off to school, I put the Uber placard in my window, placed pepper spray in the driver’s door (just in case) and logged into the Uber Partners app on my smartphone to tell them I was ready to drive. Within minutes, I got a notification that someone wanted a ride. I accepted and used the GPS within the app to drive to the pickup location.
My first passenger was an older couple who wanted a ride to the train station, a short 14 minute ride of 7.63 miles and a fare of $14.06.
I can do this, I thought.
One of the biggest concerns people have about driving for Uber is safety. Will they be safe while driving? Since there have been a few high-profile news stories about Uber passengers getting violent, this seemed like a valid concern.
I didn’t find safety to be an issue. I met lots of very nice people and drove in areas I was familiar with.
I did take a few precautions. I kept mace in my door just in case and used a mount for my smartphone so I could stay handsfree.
I learned almost immediately that you MUST have some sort of mount to hold your smartphone in place. I honestly think Uber should make this part of the vehicle inspection. It is simply not safe to be looking at a phone for directions or where to pick someone up without a mount.
Proclip makes vehicle-specific mounts for just about any car and sent us one that was perfect for the i3 coupled with my iPhone. The mount even charges the phone and will accommodate a wide range of cases.
I always stopped driving by about 10pm so that I was taking people out for the night rather than bringing them home. So far I’ve avoided picking up an overly drunk passenger. I think this is a major part of the reason why I have never felt unsafe, but you do make more money if you are willing to drive later at night.
I loved the flexibility Uber offered. I was able to login to drive anytime I wanted and sign out anytime I was done. I found that demand is always highest in the evenings on the weekends here in San Diego. I did try and schedule my driving around those times as much as possible because I knew that I would make more money driving during those times, but I was free to set my own hour and adjust them to fit my schedule.
Demand, while the kids are at school, was a lot more sporadic. I might give several rides back to back and then have nothing for hours. I also found that even though Uber is completely flexible with when I can log in and work, the end time is much more difficult to schedule as you never know where the next ride is going to take you. It might be right next to your kids’ school (which I had happened perfectly once) or your last ride might want you to drive them to the airport which could take hours so you want to make sure you aren’t on a tight time schedule while driving.
Overall, the experience was good and driving for Uber is something I think I’ll continue to do as my schedule allows time for it. I met some great people and it was a really interesting experience. I actually found that it was great for networking and as a work-at-home dad it was a great way to get out of the house.
Interested in driving for Uber? Sign up here.