As the pandemic recedes and life returns to normal, demand for rideshare services has skyrocketed. If you’re considering becoming an Uber driver, it’s important to know if you meet the qualifications. And it’s equally vital to know what could disqualify you. Uber is looking for more in its drivers than simply owning the right kind of cars. Here’s what you need to know.
Is this the right time to drive for Uber?
If you’ve been thinking about driving for Uber, there are some good reasons to do it now. According to Forbes, rideshare companies are struggling to find enough drivers to keep up with their customers. With more people resuming normal activities, spending on rides is rising. From February to March, demand rose by 30 percent. However, the supply of drivers hasn’t grown as quickly as the demand.
To meet this need, Uber announced in April it would distribute $250 million to tempt new and returning drivers. The money will be used as temporary incentives and guarantees. For example, the company offered a $1,100 bonus to each driver in Austin who completed 115 trips.
If that sounds too good to pass up, you’ll first need to know if you’re eligible to drive.
Uber’s requirements for drivers
According to Uber, applying to be a driver takes only three steps. Sign up online, submit the required documents, and download the app.
Of course, applying isn’t quite that simple, but Uber’s expectations for drivers are pretty straightforward. You must meet the minimum age to drive in your city and have at least one year of experience driving with a license (this jumps to three years for people under 23 years old). You also need a valid U.S. driver’s license and an eligible vehicle with four doors.
Potential drivers must submit a handful of documents, including proof of residency, auto insurance, and driver’s license. They also need a photo of themselves for their profile.
The company says that after potential drivers sign up, they must complete an online screening. This includes a review of their driving record and criminal history. Uber also periodically screens drivers as long as they work for the company.
So, what can disqualify you?
That final step of the process is where applicants are likeliest to run into problems. According to the law firm Bogin, Munns, & Munns, Uber’s screening process looks at your number of driving violations. A driver with three or more moving violations in the past three years will be denied. These are minor violations, such as speeding or failure to yield the right of way.
A single serious moving violation — such as a conviction for reckless driving, speeding more than 20 mph over the posted limit, or driving under the influence — also disqualifies applicants, depending upon when the violation occurred. If the serious offense was more than seven years ago, it won’t be counted against you.
But other serious offenses disqualify applicants no matter how long ago they happened. For example, anyone convicted of a sex offense or other felony will never be able to drive for Uber.
Rideshare companies such as Uber are scrambling to attract people looking for flexible jobs. If you’re interested in trying your hand at the gig economy and you meet all the qualifications, this might be the right time to apply.