With the rising cost of living persuading more people to become Uber drivers, isn't it about time you read our Ultimate Go-To Guide to Uber? We think so, too!


Working for Uber can be perfect for those who are new to the professional driving game, but also for those experienced drivers who want to add a bit of extra income. But it’s important to know precisely what you’re getting yourself into when you sign up with the ride-hailing app.


Read on for our straightforward guide to everything you need to know about Uber. From how it works and what you need to become an Uber driver, to how much you can earn and how to improve your Uber driver rating.


If you do decide to link up with Uber then something you must do is stay on top of important business decisions such as what taxi cab insurance to choose. After all, driving for Uber can be very competitive and if you want to stay ahead of the competition you’ll need to keep your business brain switched on.




Chapter 1: Get to know Uber - how does it work?


Chapter 2: Do you have what it takes to be an Uber driver?


Chapter 3: Balance your options with our Uber pros and cons


Chapter 4: 6 easy steps to becoming an Uber driver


Chapter 5: Answering the big question. How much do Uber drivers make?


Chapter 6: Top tips to improve your Uber driver rating


Get to know Uber - how does it work?


Over the past 10 years, Uber has become the most recognised alternative to the traditional taxi. But how well do you know it? Here are some interesting facts.


  • Uber is available in more than 600 cities in over 80 countries around the world, and this number will only increase.
  • Uber is available in over 40 towns and cities across the UK, with over 60,000 drivers using the platform and an estimated 5 million riders regularly using it.
  • Uber is not like a taxi service which can pick up passengers off the street. Instead, Uber is a car-for-hire service that relies on smartphone technology to match up drivers and riders and manage fares.
  • Uber estimates that in 2019 it created £3.2 billion in economic value for the UK.


Uber was designed to connect drivers with riders, to make it easier for passengers to find a ride and for drivers to make money. Here's how the Uber process works.


  • A rider downloads the Uber app, creates an Uber account and enters their payment details.
  • They use the app to tell Uber their pickup location and what type of ride they’re looking for. For example, an everyday UberX is the go-to option for a quick affordable ride, whereas UberXL is more suitable for larger groups needing more space.
  • Uber matches an available driver to the rider and gives an estimated time of arrival.
  • Uber alerts the rider when the driver has arrived at the pickup location and confirms the driver's details, such as name, photo, and type of car.
  • At the end of the trip payment is automatically calculated and made through the app. At the same time, drivers and riders use the app to rate each other on a scale of 1 to 5. Riders also have the option of adding a tip.


Balance your options with our Uber pros and cons


Whether you want to drive full-time for Uber, or do it part-time as a way to supplement your other income, there are plenty of perks but also pitfalls to the job. Let’s take a look.


Some of the main pros of working as an Uber driver are:


  • Instant earnings if you want. You have the choice to receive your earnings in one of two ways with Uber. Either via a weekly automatic direct deposit into your bank account, or you can cash out your earnings more regularly using Flex Pay.
  • Cashless payment system. With the Uber app automatically handling payment there’s less need for you to worry about carrying cash and change.
  • Convenient working day. The location-based app makes it so much easier to pick up passengers close to where you are. This cuts down on fuel cost, vehicle emissions, and dead time between fares.
  • Potential for surge pricing. During periods of high demand, the app can increase your rates as a result of so-called ‘dynamic pricing’. Perfect for making the most out of rush hour or after large sporting events or big occasions. Read our recent blog on what is surge pricing to learn even more about it.
  • No minimum hours. You can choose to work as little or as long as you want. So, if you’re busy driving with another service, you don’t need to worry about losing out. You could do a full eight hours one day but just two hours the next, it’s really up to you.
  • Flexible hours that can fit around other work and family life. Uber driving makes a great second income that can fit around other commitments. You can turn the app on at any time to work and turn it off just as easily.
  • Passengers are rated. Passenger ratings help you avoid fares where there might be trouble. Or where you might be left waiting around for them.


Some of the worst things about working as an Uber driver are:


  • Uber takes a cut of your earnings. Uber takes a 25% cut of the majority of rides accepted via the app, so you need to work a fair amount to make a decent income.
  • Working unsociable hours could become a habit. The most profitable times to work will be on bank holidays and weekends. Be aware that if you’re working as an Uber driver as a side hustle, you don’t want it to take over your life.
  • Having to keep track of changing terms and conditions. Keeping up to date with the latest Uber rules concerning rewards, expenses and fares can be time consuming.
  • General wear and tear on your car. This can lead to significant maintenance and repair bills.
  • Passenger ratings don't guarantee a stress-free journey. Ratings can’t tell you the whole story. If a seemingly good passenger still creates a mess in your cab, you could get some compensation by claiming an Uber cleaning fee through the app. For more details, read this helpful Taxi Insurer guide asking ‘what is the Uber cleaning fee?’.
  • Risk of low Uber ratings from passengers. Passengers may unfairly give you a low rating, resulting in a drop in your average rating and making you less attractive to future passengers. If your ratings go too low then you could be removed from the platform.


We discuss whether you should be a taxi driver or an Uber driver in more detail elsewhere on the blog.


Do you have what it takes to be an Uber driver?


Uber can be a great way to be your own boss and make money. But before you become an Uber driver, you need to meet certain criteria. These include:


  • Being at least 21 years old.
  • Having a full and valid UK driver's licence. If you have an EU licence this will need to be converted to a UK licence before you can drive for Uber.
  • Having at least three years driving experience. Although this may vary depending on the city you’re based in.
  • Having the right to work in the UK.
  • Having an approved smartphone or tablet.
  • Having a private hire licence from a council that Uber is licensed by.
  • Having private hire insurance that allows you to transport passengers for hire and reward.
  • Having a vehicle that meets Uber’s standards for the UK.


You also need to pass the following checks:


  • A full medical check-up with your GP.
  • A complete enhanced background check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This will check if you have a criminal record and whether you're suitable to work with children and vulnerable adults.


Depending on how much of this you have done before, you might be waiting a while before you can get on the road, but it’s certainly worth it. Once you’re up and running you’ll get earning quickly.


6 easy steps to becoming an Uber driver


man booking taxi


Follow these six easy steps if you want to start driving and earning through Uber.


Step 1:  Sign up online


All you need to sign up online is a smartphone and a valid email address. Uber really makes it as easy as possible to earn while you drive.


Step 2:  Get a private hire licence


In order to be able to use the Uber app as a driver you need to have a private hire licence. If you don’t already have one, then Uber's Ignition Programme promises to make the application process as pain-free as possible.


Although the process is fairly straightforward, it isn’t cheap. You should expect to pay around £300 for your licence, but this does vary from council to council.


However, the licence should last for 3 years. So, it is in fact very good value for what you receive in return.


Be aware that the sooner you make your licence application the better. There is a backlog of applications in some places, and it can take several weeks or even months to get your licence approved.


Step 3:  Get a private hire-licensed and insured car


If you want to drive for Uber then be aware that not just any car will fit the bill. Uber has some pretty strict requirements as to the standard of the car you need to drive. Your vehicle must be:


  • The right age to meet the requirements of your local licensing authority.
  • A 4-door car or minivan.
  • In good condition with no cosmetic damage.
  • Clear of any commercial branding.
  • Licensed to carry a minimum of 4 passengers.


Find the vehicle makes and models that are eligible for driving with Uber in your city with this easy-to-use list from Uber.


For those drivers looking to work in London there are additional vehicle requirements. Take a look at Uber’s vehicle requirements here.


When it comes to taxi cab insurance for your new Uber role, you’ll want to call a specialist. Speak to the team at the Taxi Insurer about which taxi cab insurance is right for you and how to get the best deal for your requirements and budget.


Step 4:  Upload your documents


To guarantee everyone’s safety, you need to provide certain documents to Uber. These are:


  • Proof of identity.
  • Valid UK driver's licence.
  • DVLA Electronic Counterpart Check Code.
  • Private Hire Driver Licence.
  • Private hire vehicle licence.
  • MOT test certificate.
  • Private hire insurance certificate and supporting documents.
  • Bank Statement for the bank account used to receive payments from Uber.
  • Driver profile photo.


It’s important to refer to Uber’s guidance on uploading documents. They give lots of helpful tips on uploading information and even have videos you can watch if you get stuck. 


Step 5:  Complete the Edume course


Before you can activate your driver account and start earning money with Uber, you have to complete their virtual onboarding course Edume. It helps to familiarise yourself with the app and teaches you how to work as an Uber driver.


Step 6:  Activate your account and get earning


You can now book an appointment at your local Greenlight Hub to get your profile picture taken and activate your account.


Answering the big question. How much do Uber drivers make?


Wondering how much do Uber drivers make? Well, you’ve come to the right place.


As you would expect, your income is largely based on your location and how much you’re prepared to work. You’ll also earn more during busy times when demand is higher than usual.


While rates will differ from city to city, it’s worth being aware that Uber has pledged to pay all drivers at least the National Living Wage. This means that if your earnings after deductions (including vehicle expenses and other charges) are lower than the current National Living Wage of £9.50 an hour, Uber will top it up.


This is a useful safety net to be aware of, but for more details on this important question then read our recent article. We found that drivers tend to earn around £15 an hour which equates to an annual salary of around £20,000.


Uber drivers in London and other big cities like Manchester and Birmingham can earn more. But for more details on earning potential in your local area, it’s worth contacting Uber directly.


Remember that Uber takes a 25% service fee from your fare and you can expect to pay around 20% of your earnings towards outgoings such as fuel and taxi cab insurance. And don’t forget, as an Uber worker, you'll have to declare any income in a self-assessment tax return and pay tax.


The good news is that if a rider tips you then you’ll receive 100% of the tip, rather than giving a slice to Uber. Uber has lots of information on its site about how tipping works in the Uber app.


For more on how to increase your tips, paying tax on your tips and tipping rates from around the world, read this quick guide to taxi tipping. How does your local area fare when it comes to tips?


How to improve your Uber driver rating


One of the most important ways to protect your earning potential as an Uber driver is to maintain a high Uber driver rating. Basically, the higher your driver rating, the higher your fares will be and the more likely you are to get the best fares, receive tips and earn other opportunities.


If you want to be assured of the highest driver ratings, then follow our top tips for successful Uber fares:


  1. Check your fuel levels and be prepared: Uber is all about quick and easy trips for riders. If you’re having to pull over for fuel or don’t seem to know where you’re going then that’s a bad start.
  2. Know the quickest and most effective route: Being aware of where the traffic is heaviest and how to get the passenger to their destination in the quickest and most efficient way will leave a good impression. If you’re at all unsure then always follow directions from your satnav.
  3. Drive safely and smoothly: No passenger will react well to feeling unsafe when riding with you. Accelerate and brake smoothly and always go hands-free if you have to use your phone.
  4. Keep conversation light and know when to keep quiet: Some people love to chat, while others don’t. It’s your job to notice the signs and react accordingly. You’ve guessed it, there’s also a Taxi Insurer guide on how to make conversation with passengers!
  5. Maintain your car: A well maintained and clean car will always help keep your driving rating spotless. Pay close attention to handles, buttons, seats and windows. You may wish to provide masks as well.
  6. Be professional: Just because a rider is using Uber, doesn’t mean they’re expecting an unprofessional service. From greeting them politely to having the right taxi cab insurance in place, you should always be aiming to exceed their expectations.
  7. Rate your customers promptly: If you’re looking for a good driver rating then being prompt and generous with your passenger rating could work in your favour.


Stay ahead of the competition with taxi cab insurance from Taxi Insurer


birdseye view of bridge


From keeping up to date about any changes that could affect your Uber driving to what taxi cab insurance to go for, it’s always important to get expert advice for everything that affects your business.


So that’s our ultimate guide to Uber. From keeping your driver rating up to staying on top of the stresses of business through specialist taxi cab insurance, there’s lots to keep you busy here.


If there’s something we’ve missed, drop us a line to let us know.