How to become an Uber driver in the UK

how-to-become-an-uber-driver

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. We have created this guide to help you better understand the process of becoming an Uber driver, step by step. We will provide you with all the necessary information you need to make this a reality, no matter what your motivation.

If you are a sociable and outgoing individual who enjoys meeting new people, working for Uber is a great choice. This type of taxi work can be suited to fit around your personal schedule. For many taxi drivers, Uber will likely be a full-time occupation, whereas others will see it as part-time working, allowing them to make some extra money on the side.

Did you know that Uber is available in more than 700 cities across the world? This includes 40 plus locations in the UK. The company oversees an estimated 14 million trips each day.

Our guide will help you sign up to Uber, explain what driver and vehicle requirements there are, how to obtain the necessary Uber insurance and much more. We hope to provide you with a comprehensive answer on how you can become an Uber driver.

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.

Sign up to Uber

To start with, you will need to sign up to the Uber app online. To do this, you will be required to complete a short form which will ask you for your personal information. The form will also ask you to confirm if you have a car or not. Make some tea and set aside some time during the day to go through this.

Next, you will need to download the Uber application onto your smartphone. This can be done from your mobile phone’s app store. As long as you have a modern iPhone or Android mobile, you should be able to download this. The Uber app is free to download.

It is also worth noting that there is the option for signing up for and attending an Uber Ignition appointment. At this meeting you will be given information based on your personal requirements. For example, a list of required items and documents you must provide.

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.

How do I become an Uber driver in London?

London, Leeds, Manchester and Merseyside are just some of the most popular areas in the UK that Uber operates in. Uber’s services are also used extensively in the East and North East of England, in addition to the Midlands.

For anyone who is specifically interested in operating an Uber taxi service in London, additional specific requirements must be met to operate in the capital city as an Uber driver.

Along with the standard Uber requirements mentioned above, you must also have a Transport for London (TfL) private hire license. This will sometimes be referred to as a PCO license, or Public Carriage Office.

You will have the option to apply for this on its own, alternatively you can apply for a London PCO through Uber’s Ignition programme. Depending on if you already have a private hire license, there are a number of different sessions available. This includes an introductory session, and applicants will also have extra support sessions available to them to help them through the entire process.

pen-icon

You may also wish to consider PCO insurance as a viable alternative to Uber or private hire insurance

Uber Ignition is a free to use programme that provides the relevant information to help drivers get the relevant TfL licence. The programme offers in-person support at a centre in London.

Part of the application process for a private hire license involves a medical assessment and English language test. For more information on these, as well as the steps required, there is detailed information available on the Uber London Ignition page.

Did you know that nearly 40% of Uber trips start or finish within 200m of a tube/train station in central London? Also, the average pickup time is less than 3.5 minutes.

Uber was awarded a short-term licence to operate in London in 2018 for 15 months. Since this was granted, it has been extended but there is an ongoing legal challenge surrounding this. This is worth noting because there is a small possibility, although unlikely, that Uber may be banned from operating in London in the future. Our news section will keep you updated on the latest developments.

Getting Uber insurance

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

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

Start driving as an Uber partner

Anyone who is a driver and is working for Uber will be referred to as a ‘partner’, according to the company. Passengers are referred to as ‘riders’. If you wish to accept a trip and collect a passenger, it’s fairly easy. You must follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open the Uber app on your smartphone or tablet
  • Select ‘Go’
  • The application will partner you with a nearby rider (passenger)
  • Collect the rider from his/her location

By swiping on the Uber app, you can accept a request for a journey made by the customer. Although you are paid for each journey you complete, you will actually receive your earnings (excluding Uber’s fees) on a weekly basis. These will be sent to you via automatic deposits. This is why it is essential that you have an active back account for this money to be transferred into.

For those that have multiple sources of income and exceed £85,000 in annual turnover, they must be VAT registered. This is the current VAT registration threshold. Further information can be found regarding this on Uber’s tax information page.

As an Uber driver, you will also have the opportunity to further maximise your earning potential through Uber Eats. This is the company’s dedicated food delivery service. Bespoke Uber Eats food delivery insurance is also available for this type of work. This allows you to collect food from eateries (restaurants and takeaways) and deliver it to customers.

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.

What are the next steps?

At the start of this article, we endeavoured to comprehensively answer the question ‘How do I become an Uber driver?’ This guide has covered the main processes and required steps on how to become a fully authorised Uber driver, from obtaining your private hire license to accepting your first rider requests.

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.