Love the thrill of the road? You can turn over a sizable profit as an Uber driver. But there are some key considerations and rules you should factor in before you hit the road to earn your first buck.

Click through to learn about driving for Uber and the list of Uber car requirements for drivers.

What is Uber?

Uber is a ride-sharing technology platform that allows passengers to inexpensively hitch a ride from drivers located near them through a companion mobile application. The passenger will be alerted when his driver is at the pick-up destination with an app notification containing identifying information about the Uber driver and car.

Once a passenger has entered the car, Uber rides resemble traditional taxi cab rides that get passengers from a point A to a point B in a given locale. The only difference is that Uber drivers aren’t taxi cab drivers. They’re ordinary people who come from a variety of backgrounds and professions.

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

Vehicle qualifications for Uber

Uber offers several levels of service to its riders. Each one caters to a specific need such as affordability, luxury, and the number of passengers: UberX, UberBLACK, UberPlus/UberSELECT, UberXL, UberSUV, and UberLUX. The following are the vehicle requirements for the three most requested levels of service.

UberX vehicle requirements

UberX is the most commonly used service that Uber offers. The rideshare service describes it as “everyday cars for everyday use,” while it maintains the promise that it will be “better, faster, and cheaper than a taxi.” The requirements for this level are fairly liberal and include the following:

  • It must seat at least four passengers, not including the driver
  • The model of the vehicle should be 2000 or newer, though this varies from city to city:
    • In Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco it is 2000 or newer
    • For those in New York City, cars are required to be 2011 or newer
    • Those wanting to drive in Philadelphia and Pittsburg should have a vehicle that is 2007 or newer with 100,000 miles or less on the clock
    • Those in Chicago should have a car produced in the year 2001 or newer
    • In some cities, your car will have to be 2005 or newer to qualify

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

UberXL vehicle requirements

UberXL is the next level of service and is intended for those times when a rider needs a bit more space. This service is for those who own either an SUV or minivan and comes with a higher fare price than UberX. Correspondingly, the requirements aren’t much stricter:

  • The car must seat at least six passengers, not including the driver
  • The model of the vehicle should be 2000 or newer, though this varies from city to city:
    • In Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco it is 2000 or newer
    • For those in New York City, vehicles are required to be 2011 or newer
    • Those wanting to drive for Uber in Philadelphia and Pittsburg should have a car that is 2007 or newer with 100,000 miles or less on the clock
    • Those in Chicago should have a vehicle produced in the year 2001 or newer
    • In select cities, your vehicle will have to be 2005 or newer to qualify.

Keep in mind that these are the current guidelines and might change at any time. Periodically, the restriction list for Uber gets updated with additional cars or vehicle types – so it is advisable to continue to keep yourself updated on the requirements set by the rideshare service.

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

UberSELECT / UberPLUS vehicle requirements

This premium service is only available in select states and cities but will expand to more locales soon enough. Commonly known as UberSELECT, it also operates under the name UberPLUS in other markets.

UberSELECT / UberPLUS is a more expensive option than both UberX and UberXL, and the fare prices correspond to the higher level of service. Likewise, the requirements become a little more stringent at this level of service:

  • An entry-level four-door luxury sedan is required
  • The car must have a leather interior
  • Must seat a minimum of four passengers, not including the driver
  • Only vehicles 2007 or newer will be accepted intoUberSELECT / UberPLUS.

Recommended cars for UberPlus/UberSelect: Audi A3 and up, BMW 3 Series and above, all Lincolns, Mercedes C-Class and up, Volvo S60, Acura, Cadillac, Genesis, all Infinitis.

Vehicle requirements for UberBLACK

Think of this as the luxury version of UberX. Riders who chose this level of service can expect to be picked up by a black-on-black luxury sedan–or in rare cases, an SUV. Since this is above the normal level of service, drivers who qualify should “dress to impress” and be well-mannered at all times.

  • Must be able to seat four passengers comfortably
  • The car must be a luxury sedan (model and year requirements vary by city)
  • Must be a 2010 or newer, black exterior with black interior, and immaculate condition

Recommended cars for UberBLACK: Audi A6/A7/A8, BMW 5-Series and 7-Series, Lexus LS, Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF/XJ, Mercedes-Benz S/G/GL/GLC Class, Volvo S80/XC90, Range Rover, Porsche Macan/Cayenne/Panamera, Cadillac Escalade.

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

Why should you drive for Uber?

Unlike taxi drivers, Uber drivers don’t have to rent a car from a cab company because they transport passengers in their vehicle. (However, you can choose to rent or lease a car through Uber). You may also be eligible to deduct car-related expenses for Uber driving.

Moreover, the cashless payment system means you get paid instantly and usually don’t have to worry about passenger non-payment, swiping credit cards or doling out change at the end of a ride. Finally, Uber drivers have the flexibility to accept ride requests whenever it suits their agenda rather than when it suits their employer’s schedule.

The convenience, autonomy and money-making opportunities presented by the platform have made driving for Uber an outstanding side, part-time or even full-time gig.

Who can drive for Uber?

Either the self-employed or the traditionally employed can drive for Uber. This flexibility means that you can drive for Uber during evenings or weekends while holding down a full-time job. Or, you can dedicate your full workweek to driving for Uber. Keep in mind that as an Uber driver, independent contractor is your employment classification – not an employee of Uber.

Your work status means that you will be responsible for your own federal (and, if applicable, state) income taxes, self-employment taxes and health insurance. You will additionally need a smartphone to accept ride requests and car insurance. Consider getting rideshare insurance to fill the gap in coverage between your personal car insurance and the commercial insurance provided by Uber to drivers.

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

What are the Uber driver requirements?

You must meet the following criteria related to driver age, driving experience, licensure and Uber car requirements to drive for Uber:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license and at least a year of driving experience in America or three years if you’re under the age of 23
  • Use an eligible 4-door car
  • Have a clean criminal and driving record (Uber will perform a screening of your driving and criminal history after you sign up)
  • Supply the following documents as proof that you meet the above Uber car requirements before your first drive:
    • Copy of your U.S. driver’s license and registration
    • Proof of car insurance
    • A clear, well-lit, forward-facing driver photo that will be used in your driver profile.

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

How do I stay safe as an Uber driver?

Follow these tips to stay safe on the road as an Uber driver:

  • Only pick up passengers within the app. Using the app ensures that you are transporting registered users of the Uber platform
  • Always confirm the name of the passenger before they get in the vehicle, to avoid picking up the wrong the right person
  • Don’t divulge personal information to passengers. The Uber app anonymizes your phone number, so there’s no need to give it out
  • Rate your passengers after each trip. Be sure to report in detail any behavior that would seem to violate the terms of the platform
  • Use built-in platform safety features like “Share My Trip” to keep friends or family members in the loop as to your trip status.
Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari is a freelance technical writer and small business owner whose insights have appeared in diverse digital publications. She has a passion for leveraging technology to reveal simple solutions for everyday business finance complexities. Visit www.scribmint.com to learn more about her work.
Manasa Reddigari

Latest posts by Manasa Reddigari (see all)