The complete guide to Uber driving

    How to drive for Uber and be successful at it? The complete guide
    1000 500 Balazs Szekely

    It’s not an overstatement to say that Uber has transformed the way we think about personal transportation. Food for thought: 10 years ago the company was a startup that nobody had heard about, and today we already use the word “Uber” as a verb.

    By the end of last year the number of Uber drivers has reached almost 4 million in 63 countries and more than 700 cities around the world. In Australia, Uber is officially the most popular means of private transport, having overtaken taxis. Just three years ago, less than 7% of Australians had used Uber over a three-month period—now this figure is approaching 23% and the demand is still growing by the minute. In this dynamic market, businesses that rent a car for Uber drivers have also gained traction.

    If you want to get started with Uber, this blog post is your one-stop-shop that has short answers to all your questions. If you’re already an Uber driver and want to learn more, this points you in the right direction to learn more.

    Table of contents

    How to be an Uber driver in Australia?

    How to get a car for Uber?

    How to use the Uber Driver app?

    1. How to download the Uber Driver app?
    2. How to use navigation in the Uber Driver app?
    3. How to set up your Uber account?
    4. How to take your first trip with Uber?
    5. How to monitor your Uber earnings?
    6. What is Uber surge pricing?
    7. How to find trips toward a destination?

    How to get a 5-star Uber rating?

    How to maximise your Uber earnings?

    1. Work smart, not hard
    2. Don’t chase the surge – predict it
    3. Get more tips with Uber
    4. Cash in on the Splend Referral Program

    About Splend

    How to be an Uber driver in Australia?

    First things first, right? If you’re not already an approved Uber driver, the process starts with a bit of paperwork. Don’t worry, you can get it done in no time if you follow this guide.

    Get familiar with the platform and start preparing your personal documents that you’ll need in order to start driving with Uber in Australia.

    Uber requirements for drivers in Australia

    The regulations have small differences in each state, but the process is more or less the same regardless of where you live in Australia.

    Here’s what you need to get started with Uber:

    1. An Uber-approved car
    2. A full AU driver’s licence, issued in your state
    3. A special driver’s licence or accreditation that allows you to transport passengers
    StateSpecial licenceRequired driving experience
    NSWPassenger Transport Licence Code12 months
    VICDriver Accreditation6 months
    ACTD ConditionN/A
    WAF Extension12 months
    QLDDriver’s Authorisation12 months
    SADriver Accreditation6 months

    In-depth reading

    How long does it take to become an Uber driver?

    If you already have a full AU driver’s licence and the minimum experience necessary, it can take 3-7 weeks to start driving Uber.

    Your application for one of the special licences mentioned above usually takes 2-6 weeks to process and approve, depending on the state you live in. Once you have that, you can sign up to Uber, which takes a further 1-3 days to approve, and around 7 days to complete the security check.

    We’re here to help

    At Splend we are ridesharing specialists. We can lead you through the steps to get started with ridesharing and set you up with an Uber-ready car.

    How to get a car for Uber?

    Most people think about it like this: all you need to earn an income with Uber is a car and a smartphone. While this is 100% true, it’s a bit misleading, because in fact it’s even more simple: you don’t need to have a car, at least you don’t need to be a car owner to drive Uber. Here’s why this is important:

    Uber car requirements

    Uber inspects every single car before signing them up to their platform, and their requirements are getting stricter by the minute as the law requires higher and higher standards in passenger transport.

    Currently, an eligible car must be less than nine years old, registered in the state where you want to drive it, have four independently opening doors, four passenger seats with seatbelts, and have no damage or missing parts. And although it’s not an official requirement, the best Uber cars also have generous legroom, luggage space and a good fuel economy.

    If your car doesn’t meet all of these requirements or it’s approaching nine years of age, check out the next two options before considering to buy a new one:

    Uber car rentals

    Renting a car for Uber has a number of benefits over buying one or using your family car for ridesharing. The minimal commitment and low barrier to entry are perhaps the main reasons many drivers choose to rent lately. If you don’t plan to drive Uber for years and years to come, it gives you peace of mind to know that our Uber car rental plan allows you to hand back the car at no cost after a six-week minimum rental period.

    However, the perks of renting a car for Uber go way beyond that. Driving a car that’s part of a fleet makes paperwork, maintenance, and time management in general much more streamlined. And this means one thing: you can focus all of your energy on driving and earning an income.

    With Splend, you can drive a new-model car full-time for just $269 per week. We don’t ask for a deposit, only a $275 joining fee to cover your application and car delivery costs.

    Uber car leasing

    If you want to own a car but also enjoy the flexibility of renting, car leasing may be just what you need. This option has all the features that make renting so convenient, and more.

    Our Rent to own Uber car leasing plan is tailor-made for Uber drivers who want to work towards owning their car. You get a maintenance pack with all the essential replacement parts you’ll need for the duration of your contract, as well as the possibility to buy out up to 12 months sooner. Your excess km fees also count as early repayment, so you can think of them as an investment rather than an expense—the more you drive, the sooner you own the car.

    What’s the price of all this? Since this option is for drivers thinking long-term, the commitment is somewhat higher. You can go for either a 12- or 26-week minimum rental period, and your joining fee will range from $0 to $990 depending on this period, the model you choose, and whether you’re upgrading from Rent or signing up straight to Rent to own.

    Check out our Rent to own FAQ to learn more.

    How to use the Uber Driver app?

    It’s going to be your bread and butter so it’s important to know all the app’s basic functions. This quick guide to using the Uber Driver app will get you started by walking you through the most important stages of setting up your account and your first ride:

    1. How to download the Uber Driver app?

    Look for the Uber Driver app in the App Store or Google Play and hit Install. Register with your email address or sign in if you already have an account.

    If you have a friend who’s already an Uber driver, ask them to give you their invite code. Use this code when registering your account and you may get a generous cash bonus. Bear in mind that the conditions and amounts vary by market and the supply-demand balance, or the offer may not be available at all in your area.

    2. How to use navigation in the Uber Driver app?

    During login, the app will ask you to choose your default navigation provider. The pick-up and destination addresses will load into this app automatically each time you accept a ride. You can change this later.

    You can either choose Uber’s in-app navigation, Apple/Google Maps, or any other navigation app you have on your phone. We always recommend Waze because it offers real-time traffic data, so you can make informed decisions when planning a route.

    3. How to set up your Uber account?

    On the Account tab in the Uber Driver app, you can update your profile photo and your personal info. This is also where you’ll find the Help button to report any issues you might have had with a trip or the app itself.

    You can also use the settings to change your navigation provider, update your payment details, or just to see any compliments you’ve received from your passengers. It’s also constantly updated with your average driver rating for each week.

    4. How to take your first trip with Uber?

    Ready to start earning? Check out this step-by-step guide before your first Uber trip:

    1. Open the Uber Driver app and tap the blue Go button to go online and find a ride.
    2. When a request pops up on your screen, you have 15 seconds to accept it. You’ll see the passenger’s current location on the map, their rating, and the estimated distance and time to get there. This appears in an infobox in the bottom third of the screen.
    3. Tap the info box to accept, or the X button at the top to decline the ride. Once you accept, you’ll see the passenger’s name and the full destination address.
    4. Press Start navigation in the bottom left corner of the screen to pop the pickup location over to your navigation app. A red circle will appear on your screen, which is a shortcut to switch back to the Uber Driver app. Press it once you’re nearby, pick up your passenger, and then pull the green Start trip slider to the right before driving off.
    5. Use the Start navigation option the same way when driving to the destination. Pull the red Complete UberX slider to the right to finish the trip, rate your rider, and find a new request.
    6. To finish your shift or take a break, pull up the white bar at the bottom and tap Go offline.

    Tip: When the rider gets into the car, always check their name, especially if you’re in a crowded area.

    5. How to monitor your Uber earnings?

    Go to the Earnings tab in the Uber Driver app to see your total earnings, a weekly breakdown, as well as a full report for each day.

    The Earnings tab is also where you find the hours you’ve worked and each individual trip you’ve done in the past couple of days.

    6. What is Uber surge pricing?

    Uber fare prices are higher than normal during peak hours and in high-demand neighbourhoods. It’s called surge pricing and it kicks in when there are more riders than drivers in a certain area. Uber’s goal is to attract more drivers to these places and restore the supply-demand balance so passengers don’t have to wait too long for a car.

    In the Driver app, this will appear on the home screen, and if you zoom in, it will show how much the surge is on a particular street. Say, the surge is 1.5, you’ll get 1.5 times the normal rate for a ride from that area.

    7. How to find trips toward a destination?

    Tap the search button in the top left corner of the main screen. Here you can filter trips towards a destination. This means you’ll only get trips going in that general direction.

    This is useful when you’re starting your shift and want to get to your favourite spot, and also when you’re done for the day and want to earn some money on the way home.

    How to get a 5-star Uber rating?

    Part of why ridesharing is so popular is the increased service and car quality compared to taxis. Uber keeps quality in check with a simple self-regulating system where passengers rate their rides on a scale of one to five stars.

    Since it’s optional, most passengers only do it when they have a good reason—in real life, this means you’ll need to go the extra mile for good ratings.

    How does the Uber star rating work?

    Riders consider many aspects when it comes to rating their rides, such as communication, the quality and cleanliness of your car, and your driving style.

    You start out with a perfect five-star score. As of the latest public information from Uber, the overall score is an average of the last 500 individual ratings you’ve received. That’s why it’s not too relevant before your first 50-100 rides, so don’t freak out if you see your rating fluctuate in the first few weeks.

    Your passengers can see your overall rating as soon as you accept the ride.

    What happens if your Uber rating is low?

    If your rating falls dramatically, Uber will send you notifications to warn you of the possible consequences, as well as some tips to improve your rating. If it continues to fall and reaches below the minimum for your area, they may even deactivate your account.

    Uber claims they only use this as a last resort and they may reactivate your account provided that you follow their instructions and take the steps they require to improve the quality of your service.

    At what rating does Uber deactivate my account?

    Uber doesn’t automatically deactivate your account once you reach a certain rating, but if you’re below the average for your area, you’re at risk of losing access to the app either temporarily or permanently.

    It’s difficult to say what this number is in your city, but Uber says 4.6 stars is an important watershed. More often than not, this is the point where they will start asking questions and consider deactivating your Uber account.

    How do I improve my Uber rating?

    Once you have a low Uber rating it can be tough to climb back up, but far from impossible. One thing is certain, though. Since ratings are optional, you’ll have to stand out to make sure your riders actually press the button. A neutral experience often means no rating, good or bad—people simply forget to rate their drivers.

    The good news is that the smallest gestures can go a long way and mean the difference between five stars and nothing.

    How to maximise your Uber earnings?

    Driving Uber means you can be your own boss, but apart from the freedom, this also brings along some responsibilities. Like the issue of working out a strategy so you can earn as much as possible with the least amount of effort.

    Check out how much Uber drivers earn in Australia and take a look at our list of tips to maximise your Uber earnings:

    1. Work smart, not hard

    The best Uber drivers always find the quickest routes from A to B. This way you’ll earn good ratings and tips, not to mention saving time for yourself. It adds up if you can chisel just a minute or two off each ride. At the end of the week you’ll see a big difference.

    Tip: Your car may have built-in navigation, but unless it’s regularly updated and shows real-time traffic data, you’re better off using a good third-party app such as Waze.

    2. Don’t chase the surge – predict it

    Often, by the time you arrive to the surge area, drivers who were nearby will have already picked up all the passengers and you’d just wasted fuel chasing the surge. Surging in the most part is predictable if you’re aware of these factors:

    • Surge hotspots in your city
    • Weather conditions like excessive rain or heat waves
    • Disruptions to public transport
    • Major events

    Make it a habit to keep an eye on the surge even when you’re not working. Thinking ahead and targeting areas with frequent surges will increase your earnings over time. Farepilot is also a great tool designed for rideshare drivers to help predict high demand.

    3. Get more tips with Uber

    UberX passengers and UberEATS clients can tip their drivers after each successful trip. They have one-touch options to leave you a tip of $1, $3, $5, but if they feel especially generous, they can set a higher amount of up to $50 manually.

    The problem is that tips are not easy money in the digital age. Although your clients only have to press a button, that’s still more effort and a lot more conscious decision than saying “keep the change.” It kind of makes you miss the days of cash payments. Don’t worry, though. We’ve prepared you a guide on how to earn more tips with Uber.

    4. Cash in on the Splend Referral Program

    If you’re already a Splend member, don’t be shy: spread the word and we’ll reward you with bonuses through our referral program.

    If someone you know would be interested in earning a flexible income driving Uber, give them your referral code and ask them to use it when signing up. This earns you $150 if your friend signs up to Rent or Rent to own and your friend will get $50 off their membership fee. It’s a win-win!

    Best of all, you can repeat this as many times as you want, since we have no cap on our referral bonuses. Take a look at our tips to boost your income with the Splend Referral program.

    About Splend

    We enable people to make money by driving for on-demand apps such as Uber.

    We’re more than a car rental company. In addition to new-model cars and all the essentials to start earning money with Uber as quickly as possible, our members enjoy driver training and dedicated support via a personal account manager, as well as member benefits such as partner discounts and exclusive events.

    For more information about Splend, drop by to your local Member Support Centre, email us or say hello on 1800 775 363.

    AUTHOR

    Balazs Szekely

    Maker by nature, writer by profession, and a petrolhead at heart, Balazs is our very own content creator who brings Splend’s voice to life. He’s been a wordsmith his entire career, having seen it all from the print media to radio through online publishing and marketing copywriting. He’s fascinated by things he has yet to fully understand such as photography, ice hockey, and the bizarre art of aquascaping. In his free time you may find him mixing up cocktails for his friends or away from home on a city break. Drop him a line at balazs.szekely@splend.com

    All stories by: Balazs Szekely