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How to become an Uber driver in the UK

If you’re interested in a new career opportunity or just want to make some extra money on the side, becoming an Uber driver may just be the answer you are looking for.

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How do I become an Uber driver?

It is no secret that Uber drivers can take advantage of the flexibility of working whenever and wherever it suits them. Not many jobs provide this level of autonomy and freedom. This line of work can be tailored to suit your specific needs. Most notably, Uber drivers have a great opportunity to make additional money along with any existing commitments they may already be involved with.

Furthermore, there is the potential to vastly increase earning opportunities through longer trips. As these require more time and larger distances covered – they also attract higher fees. We also should not forget to mention the fact that by accepting trips during peak periods, you can make even more money from the increased charges.

Below we have highlighted the key steps you must take in order to become an Uber driver. Additionally, we have listed the required documents and main processes for these.

Uber driver and vehicle requirements

To become an authorised Uber driver, you will need the following:

  • An up to date smartphone or tablet
  • The Uber smartphone app
  • A private hire licence
  • An eligible vehicle
  • An active bank account to receive your earnings

You will need to obtain a private hire license to operate an Uber taxi service. This license must be from a local authority or council that has granted Uber permission to operate in its jurisdiction. Depending on where you are located in the UK, the amount of time it takes to obtain a private hire license will vary, in addition to the fee you will have to pay. So, keep this in mind before starting your journey to becoming an Uber driver. Many taxi drivers who are already working as a private hire driver through another company or on a self-employed basis are likely to already have the necessary license in question.

Helpfully, Uber does offer its own guide on how you can get a private hire licence in the UK, as well as specifically in London. To obtain a private hire driver’s license, you will need to undergo an enhanced DBS background check. This security check is available from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Both you as an Uber driver and the vehicle you will be using must meet the eligibility criteria.

Drivers must meet the following requirements:

  • Be aged 21 years or older
  • Hold a valid UK driver’s licence (EU licences must be converted prior to going through the onboarding process)
  • Have the necessary driving experience. The number of years varies depending on the city you will be offering an Uber service in e.g. London requires a minimum of three years’ driving experience.

Any car that is used for Uber should be from no earlier than 2008. It doesn’t matter if your vehicle is from 2005 and in perfect shape. Additionally, the local Uber team in each town/city can provide you with extra information for any other vehicle standards that must be met in order to operate within a specific district.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own car either. Uber provides an answer to this through their own Vehicle Solutions programme. The programme offers a whole range of rental and finance options for those interested. Uber also has a partner company called PartnerPoint, they offer drivers deals on renting and leasing cars.

Okay, so you’ve got your private hire license ready. You will also need the following documents for yourself and your vehicle.

Personal documents:

  • National Insurance number
  • Original plastic UK driving licence
  • Electronic Counterpart code
  • PCO Paper Licence (you will need to bring this with you to your scheduled visit)

Vehicle documents:

  • PHV licence
  • Log book / new keepers slip
  • MOT (this should be issued within the last six months)
  • Private hire insurance certificate

It’s useful to know that the vehicle documents listed above can either be brought with you to your appointment, or you can upload these at a later stage once you have collected them all. So do not panic if you can’t get something right away, as long as you’re in the process of getting it that’s the key part.

Attend the in-person appointment

The next stage is to schedule and attend the in-person appointment. At this time, you will be able to activate your Uber account. Before attending this appointment, you must bring all the necessary documents. You can schedule this appointment at a suitable time and date online.

Uber has a number of offices throughout the UK, these include Brighton, Cardiff, London and Manchester. For a full up-to-date list, please click here.

Getting Uber insurance

Uber offers eligible drivers and delivery partners a number of insurance options through AXA.

You can also compare taxi insurance options too. After you have purchased adequate cover, you must upload your Insurance Certificate or Temporary Cover Note to Uber’s platform.

What support is available for Uber drivers?

The Uber smartphone app offers partners driving directions through its GPS, along with offering workers access to 24/7 support. After all, it is in Uber’s best interest that drivers succeed at their new role and remain happy.

If you wish to contact Uber support, you can do so by using the app or the company’s helpline. If this isn’t enough, support is also available online. For those that would prefer to speak to someone in person, in-person support can be arranged at an Uber Greenlight Hub.

Riders (customers) are also able to give Uber drivers feedback through the profile and rating system. There are a number of ways you can ensure you maintain an excellent Uber driver rating. Uber also offers UberENGAGE for driver feedback, where drivers are represented by other experienced partners local to each area.

Advantages and disadvantages of becoming an Uber driver

If you’re still unsure about whether you should pursue this career path, we have listed a number of advantages and disadvantages to becoming an Uber driver. This should help clarify whether this choice is right for your personal circumstances. By speaking to a number of Uber drivers in the UK, we have gathered the most obvious perks and drawbacks they experienced within the job.

Advantages of working as an Uber driver

  • You are your own boss, giving you significant autonomy.
  • No minimum or maximum hours – you decide how many hours you wish to work as an Uber driver.
  • Flexible hours allow you to manage your schedule with studying and/or a social life.
  • Getting paid within two to five working days of requests through Flex Pay.
  • Drivers are still paid in full even when a passenger uses any free credit they have acquired as this will be covered by Uber.
  • A relaxed job if you enjoy driving.
  • A very sociable job, this is great if you enjoy meeting and talking to new people.
  • The passenger star rating system helps drivers avoid riders who may give you trouble or leave you waiting around for them.
  • The passenger rating system also encourages customers to behave appropriately whilst they are in your vehicle.
  • Sanctions for bad customers, this includes only being able to cancel (without charge) two minutes after making the ride request. Waiting time charges are also applicable if a driver is wating for an extended period of time at a pick up point for more than two minutes.

Disadvantages of working as an Uber driver

  • Large fees paid to Uber – the company takes a 25% cut on everything you earn which could mean working longer hours for a substantial amount of income, especially if you are leasing a car.
  • It could take a long time to obtain your private hire license depending on the local authority you apply through.
  • You will have to complete your own tax return as you will be self-employed.
  • Insurance costs are significantly more expensive for younger Uber drivers.
  • Tipping is not commonplace in the UK.
  • There are no extra company perks such as annual leave, sick leave or a private pension. Although you can pay an extra £2 per week for IPSE membership, but this will only cover you for sickness if you’re unable to work for two weeks or more.
  • Passenger ratings do not provide a guarantee that a customer will not get drunk and become sick whilst riding in your vehicle.

This is just a quick list of some of the most well-known pros and cons when working for Uber. It is by no means exhaustive and the private hire taxi profession is very similar to working for Uber with slight differences in the set up. Your day to day activities will be more or less the same. Should you decide to become an Uber driver after reading this guide, we wish you every success in your new journey. It will take time to accomplish this goal but for many the rewards will be more than worth the effort.