So, you’ve decided to become an Uber driver. However, it’s not quite as simple as signing up and rolling out. You’re not the only one who needs to make the cut. Your vehicle needs to meet Uber’s standards for safety and cleanliness, which means you have to pass an Uber vehicle inspection. Luckily, Uber provides them for free.
What Are Uber’s Vehicle Requirements?
Before you can get your free Uber inspection, you need to make sure you meet the Uber vehicle requirements. Requirements vary for qualified Uber vehicles by city and state depending on local regulations. However, the base requirements include:
- Your car must be a four-door car, truck, or minivan.
- The car must be no more than ten years old, preferably newer.
- Your car must be in good working condition.
- Your car must not have any visible cosmetic damage.
- The car must pass a mandatory vehicle inspection.
- Your car must not have any commercial branding such as logos, decals, or stickers.
As mentioned, your local requirements may necessitate other criteria. Let’s look at the additional requirements for Seattle, for example:
- Your vehicle must have independently opening passenger doors
- Your car must have working windows and air conditioning
- It must have five factory-installed seats with seatbelts
- Aftermarket modifications are not allowed
- It must not be a marked vehicle such as a government car or taxi
- The use of a Ford Crown Victoria is prohibited
- The vehicle cannot be a full-size van, box truck, or another type of cargo vehicle
- Your vehicle must not be salvaged or rebuilt.
Check the Uber website to find out additional requirements for your specific location.
Where and How to Get an Inspection
Uber runs many sites called Uber Greenlight Hubs and Uber Greenlight Spots in cities where the rideshare company is approved to operate. Both new and existing Uber drivers are required to visit these hubs and spots for free Uber inspections – new drivers before you can start, and existing drivers once a year. At these locations, an Uber Expert will conduct a thorough examination of your car against a list of Uber’s requirements. Inspections typically take 30 minutes or less, and upon completion, you’ll either pass or fail. If you fail, you’ll either need to handle any cosmetic or repair problems preventing you from driving or else obtain a different vehicle. If you pass, your Uber Expert will provide you with a form noting that you’re good to roll out as an Uber driver.
What Isn’t Free
If the on-site Uber Expert determines that your vehicle needs repairs or maintenance to pass the inspection, you will be responsible for those costs. In the event Uber doesn’t cover the costs of repairs to your car, you may be able to deduct them on your taxes if claimed as work expenses.
What are Other Uber Driver Requirements?
- You must have current and valid minimum driver’s insurance based on what the minimum coverage requirements are for your state
- The intended driver is required to be on the insurance for the vehicle used.
- You must also be at least 21 years old; sorry to any hopeful teenagers looking to make Uber your after-school job.
- If you’re under the age of 23, you also need to have at least three years of driving experience in the United States
- For those over 23, that requirement is dropped to just one year.
Obviously, you need a valid driver’s license to start with, but Uber even has requirements for your driver’s license photo. In that photo you must be facing forward, not wearing sunglasses, and easily identifiable with your head and shoulders showing. Furthermore, there can’t be anyone else in the frame, but as long as you’re using your standard driver’s license photo, you should be fine.
Lately, the subject safety has been a big priority at Uber. So on top of your free Uber inspection, you’ll find that you need to pass a review as well – also known as a background check. Uber needs to make sure you have a safe driving record and no criminal history to protect the safety of its customers.
Is It Worth It?
With so many requirements, some may be wondering if Uber is worth all the hassle. In truth, it’s not much different from starting any other job in a role involving public interaction and service, where companies have particular standards to uphold. Working for Uber comes with many pros and cons, from the freedom and flexibility of choosing your hours to the issues that arise with being self-employed and shouldering all costs. Whether or not it’s worth it is up to you, and how well the program works out with your career goals.
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MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.