It’s not an overstatement to say that Uber has transformed the way we think about personal transportation. Food for thought: 10 years ago the company was a startup that nobody had heard about, and today we already use the word “Uber” as a verb.
By the end of last year the number of Uber drivers has reached almost 4 million in 63 countries and more than 700 cities around the world. In Australia, Uber is officially the most popular means of private transport, having overtaken taxis. Just three years ago, less than 7% of Australians had used Uber over a three-month period—now this figure is approaching 23% and the demand is still growing by the minute. In this dynamic market, businesses that rent a car for Uber drivers have also gained traction.
If you want to get started with Uber, this blog post is your one-stop-shop with short answers to all your questions. If you’re already an Uber driver and want to learn more, this article will point you in the right direction.
First things first, right? If you’re not already an approved Uber driver, the process starts with a bit of paperwork. Don’t worry, you can get it done in no time if you follow this guide.
Get familiar with the platform and start preparing your personal documents that you’ll need in order to start driving with Uber in Australia.
The regulations have small differences in each state, but the process is more or less the same regardless of where you live in Australia.
Here’s what you need to get started with Uber:
|State||Special licence||Required driving experience|
|NSW||Passenger Transport Licence Code||12 months|
|VIC||Driver Accreditation||6 months|
|WA||F Extension||12 months|
|QLD||Driver’s Authorisation||12 months|
|SA||Driver Accreditation||6 months|
If you already have a full AU driver’s licence and the minimum experience necessary, it can take 3-7 weeks to start driving Uber.
Your application for one of the special licences mentioned above usually takes 2-6 weeks to process and approve, depending on the state you live in. Once you have that, you can sign up to Uber, which takes a further 1-3 days to approve, and around 7 days to complete the security check.
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Most people think about it like this: all you need to earn an income with Uber is a car and a smartphone. While this is 100% true, it’s a bit misleading, because in fact it’s even simpler: you don’t need to have a car, at least you don’t need to be a car owner to drive Uber. Here’s why this is important:
Uber inspects every single car before signing them up to their platform, and their requirements are getting stricter by the minute as the law requires higher and higher standards in passenger transport.
Currently, an eligible car must be less than nine years old, registered in the state where you want to drive it, have four independently opening doors, four passenger seats with seatbelts, and have no damage or missing parts. And although it’s not an official requirement, the best Uber cars also have generous legroom, luggage space and a good fuel economy.
If your car doesn’t meet all of these requirements or it’s approaching nine years of age, check out the next two options before considering to buy a new one:
Renting a car for Uber has a number of benefits over buying one or using your family car for ridesharing. The minimal commitment and low barrier to entry are perhaps the main reasons many drivers choose to rent lately. If you don’t plan to drive Uber for years and years to come, it gives you peace of mind to know that our Uber car rental plan allows you to hand back the car at no cost after a six-week minimum rental period.
However, the perks of renting a car for Uber go way beyond that. Driving a car that’s part of a fleet makes paperwork, maintenance, and time management in general much more streamlined. And this means one thing: you can focus all of your energy on driving and earning an income.
If you want to own a car but also enjoy the flexibility of renting, car leasing may be just what you need. This option has all the features that make renting so convenient, and more.
Our Rent to own Uber car leasing plan is tailor-made for Uber drivers who want to work towards owning their car. You get a maintenance pack with all the essential replacement parts you’ll need for the duration of your contract, as well as the possibility to buy out up to 12 months sooner. Your excess km fees also count as early repayment, so you can think of them as an investment rather than an expense—the more you drive, the sooner you own the car.
What’s the price of all this? Since this option is for drivers thinking long-term, the commitment is somewhat higher. You can go for either a 12- or 26-week minimum rental period, and your joining fee will range from $0 to $990 depending on this period, the model you choose, and whether you’re upgrading from Rent or signing up straight to Rent to own.
It’s going to be your bread and butter so it’s important to know all the app’s basic functions. This quick guide to using the Uber Driver app will get you started by walking you through the most important stages of setting up your account and your first ride:
If you have a friend who’s already an Uber driver, ask them to give you their invite code. Use this code when registering your account and you may get a generous cash bonus. Bear in mind that the conditions and amounts vary by market and the supply-demand balance, or the offer may not be available at all in your area.
During login, the app will ask you to choose your default navigation provider. The pick-up and destination addresses will load into this app automatically each time you accept a ride. You can change this later.
You can either choose Uber’s in-app navigation, Apple/Google Maps, or any other navigation app you have on your phone. We always recommend Waze because it offers real-time traffic data, so you can make informed decisions when planning a route.
On the Account tab in the Uber Driver app, you can update your profile photo and your personal info. This is also where you’ll find the Help button to report any issues you might have had with a trip or the app itself.
You can also use the settings to change your navigation provider, update your payment details, or just to see any compliments you’ve received from your passengers. It’s also constantly updated with your average driver rating for each week.
Ready to start earning? Check out this step-by-step guide before your first Uber trip:
Tip: When the rider gets into the car, always check their name, especially if you’re in a crowded area.
Go to the Earnings tab in the Uber Driver app to see your total earnings, a weekly breakdown, as well as a full report for each day.
The Earnings tab is also where you find the hours you’ve worked and each individual trip you’ve done in the past couple of days.
Uber fare prices are higher than normal during peak hours and in high-demand neighbourhoods. It’s called surge pricing and it kicks in when there are more riders than drivers in a certain area. Uber’s goal is to attract more drivers to these places and restore the supply-demand balance so passengers don’t have to wait too long for a car.
In the Driver app, this will appear on the home screen, and if you zoom in, it will show how much the surge is on a particular street. Say, the surge is 1.5, you’ll get 1.5 times the normal rate for a ride from that area.
Tap the search button in the top left corner of the main screen. Here you can filter trips towards a destination. This means you’ll only get trips going in that general direction.
This is useful when you’re starting your shift and want to get to your favourite spot, and also when you’re done for the day and want to earn some money on the way home.
Part of why ridesharing is so popular is the increased service and car quality compared to taxis. Uber keeps quality in check with a simple self-regulating system where passengers rate their rides on a scale of one to five stars.
Since it’s optional, most passengers only do it when they have a good reason—in real life, this means you’ll need to go the extra mile for good ratings.
Riders consider many aspects when it comes to rating their rides, such as communication, the quality and cleanliness of your car, and your driving style.
You start out with a perfect five-star score. As of the latest public information from Uber, the overall score is an average of the last 500 individual ratings you’ve received. That’s why it’s not too relevant before your first 50-100 rides, so don’t freak out if you see your rating fluctuate in the first few weeks.
Your passengers can see your overall rating as soon as you accept the ride.
If your rating falls dramatically, Uber will send you notifications to warn you of the possible consequences, as well as some tips to improve your rating. If it continues to fall and reaches below the minimum for your area, they may even deactivate your account.
Uber claims they only use this as a last resort and they may reactivate your account provided that you follow their instructions and take the steps they require to improve the quality of your service.
Uber doesn’t automatically deactivate your account once you reach a certain rating, but if you’re below the average for your area, you’re at risk of losing access to the app either temporarily or permanently.
It’s difficult to say what this number is in your city, but Uber says 4.6 stars is an important watershed. More often than not, this is the point where they will start asking questions and consider deactivating your Uber account.
Once you have a low Uber rating it can be tough to climb back up, but far from impossible. One thing is certain, though. Since ratings are optional, you’ll have to stand out to make sure your riders actually press the button. A neutral experience often means no rating, good or bad—people simply forget to rate their drivers.
The good news is that the smallest gestures can go a long way and mean the difference between five stars and nothing.
Driving Uber means you can be your own boss, but apart from the freedom, this also brings along some responsibilities. Like the issue of working out a strategy so you can earn as much as possible with the least amount of effort.
Check out how much Uber drivers earn in Australia and take a look at our list of tips to maximise your Uber earnings:
The best Uber drivers always find the quickest routes from A to B. This way you’ll earn good ratings and tips, not to mention saving time for yourself. It adds up if you can chisel just a minute or two off each ride. At the end of the week you’ll see a big difference.
Tip: Your car may have built-in navigation, but unless it’s regularly updated and shows real-time traffic data, you’re better off using a good third-party app such as Waze.
Often, by the time you arrive to the surge area, drivers who were nearby will have already picked up all the passengers and you’d just wasted fuel chasing the surge. Surging in the most part is predictable if you’re aware of these factors:
Make it a habit to keep an eye on the surge even when you’re not working. Thinking ahead and targeting areas with frequent surges will increase your earnings over time. Farepilot is also a great tool designed for rideshare drivers to help predict high demand.
UberX passengers and UberEATS clients can tip their drivers after each successful trip. They have one-touch options to leave you a tip of $1, $3, $5, but if they feel especially generous, they can set a higher amount of up to $50 manually.
The problem is that tips are not easy money in the digital age. Although your clients only have to press a button, that’s still more effort and a lot more conscious decision than saying “keep the change.” It kind of makes you miss the days of cash payments. Don’t worry, though. We’ve prepared you a guide on how to earn more tips with Uber.
If you’re already a Splend member, don’t be shy: spread the word and we’ll reward you with bonuses through our referral program.
If someone you know would be interested in earning a flexible income driving Uber, give them your referral code and ask them to use it when signing up. This earns you $150 if your friend signs up to Rent or Rent to own and your friend will get $50 off their membership fee. It’s a win-win!
Best of all, you can repeat this as many times as you want, since we have no cap on our referral bonuses. Take a look at our tips to boost your income with the Splend Referral program.
We enable people to make money by driving for on-demand apps such as Uber.
We’re more than a car rental company. In addition to new-model cars and all the essentials to start earning money with Uber as quickly as possible, our members enjoy driver training and dedicated support via a personal account manager, as well as member benefits such as partner discounts and exclusive events.