How to Become an Uber or Lyft Driver

How to Become an Uber or Lyft Driver

Lyft and Uber Vehicle Requirements

When you request a ride from Lyft and Uber, you won’t be picked up in a small, two-door car. That’s because neither rideshare company allows drivers to use two-door subcompact vehicles. Anyone who wants to drive for Lyft and/or Uber must meet certain requirements and pass a vehicle inspection before they’ll be approved. Here in California, basic vehicle requirements for Lyft and Uber are:

  • Uber requires all vehicles to be 15 years old or newer. Lyft does allow 2004 and 2003 vehicles in the Bay Area and some smaller cities.
  • The vehicle must have four doors.
  • It must be in good condition with no visible damage.
  • The vehicle must display a California license plate.
  • No salvage vehicles, vehicles with advertising on them or dark tinted windows.
  • Many subcompacts aren’t permitted either, even with four doors. Lyft provides a current list of ineligible subcompacts.

Both companies also require that all vehicles pass an inspection. They mandate one every year or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Lyft and Uber Vehicle Insurance Requirements

Along with requiring every driver to carry their own insurance, both Lyft and Uber provide additional insurance for drivers when they are on the app. If a driver gets into an accident while not driving for Uber or Lyft, then they would be covered under their personal insurance.

When drivers are on the app and awaiting a ride (no passenger yet), Uber and Lyft have the same policy limits:

  • $50,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident

When a driver is on their way to pick up a passenger or is on a trip, both Uber and Lyft offer:

  • $1,000,000 third-party liability
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
  • Contingent comprehensive and collision

Where they differ is in the amount of the comprehensive and collision deductible. Uber offers drivers a $1,000 deductible. Lyft’s deductible is $2,500.


5. Get your car inspected

All Uber and Lyft vehicles must pass a vehicle inspection. Then, potential drivers need to upload the inspection to their profiles.  

In some cities and states, certain cars only need to be inspected annually. Cities with stricter rules require drivers to have their vehicles inspected quarterly. Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy blog and podcast, suggests completing the vehicle inspection as soon as possible to speed up the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

With the details of the requirements and application process out of the way, let’s get into some of the most common questions people have when considering driving with Uber.

Can you become an Uber driver with a criminal reco

Can you become an Uber driver with a criminal record?

Besides a Motor Vehicle Report, the background check for Uber also checks you for a criminal record.

Most offenses will at least prevent you from driving for some time, and other offenses last your entire life.

Pretty much any serious criminal conviction—felonies, violent crimes, sexual offenses, etc—will disqualify you from becoming a driver no matter how long ago they happened.

Lesser offenses like speeding tickets can disqualify you for a while but will go away eventually, at which time you can reapply.

Will scratches on my car prevent me from using it to become an Uber driver?

Minor scratches on your car probably won’t prevent you from becoming an Uber driver, but it depends on the extent of the damage.

If the scratches are barely noticeable and not yet rusted, you will probably pass the inspection.

But Uber clearly states that vehicles cannot have missing pieces or cosmetic damage, so to be safe you should fix any visible damage.

Besides preventing you from driving, it might also cause riders to give you a lower rating.

Is it worth buying a car with the intention to become an Uber driver?

The answer to this question depends on a few details.

If you are only buying a car for Uber, then it is probably not the smartest decision.

Making $15 per hour probably won’t justify purchasing a new car that you don’t otherwise need.

But if you need a car anyways, then becoming an Uber driver can be a great strategy for offsetting some of your vehicle expenses, especially in the beginning.

You can continue working your normal job and drive for Uber whenever you have extra time.

It will help cover your new expenses such as insurance, finance payments, and car maintenance.

However, if you do need a car, check out our list of the best cars for Uber.

How to Become an Uber Driver

Now that you have a basic idea of the requirements for driving with Uber, let’s get into some of the detailed steps for how to sign up.

Understanding these steps and having the right documents ready to go will make it as smooth as possible.

Documents You’ll Need

Uber will need proof that you meet the vehicle and personal requirements to become a driver.

So be sure to have these required documents scanned before starting the signup process:

  • Driver’s license
  • Your vehicle’s registration
  • Your vehicle’s insurance with your name on the policy
  • A passed background check (performed in the process with Checkr)
  • Profile photo
  • Licensing certificate (if your city/region requires it)

Be sure that you are uploading original documents and that they are visible and easy to read.

Rejected documents will only slow down the process.

The Application Process

If you meet the requirements for being an Uber driver, the signup process is pretty simple and takes just a few minutes.

The more comfortable you are with using your computer and smartphone—downloading apps, uploading documents, etc—the easier the process will be.

But the basic application process is as follows:

But the basic application process is as follows:

  • Create an account and give details about yourself and your car
  • Provide Uber with the required documents
  • Download the app and wait for your final approval

Some of those steps can take a long time, depending on your specific circumstances.

For example, having the wrong kind of offense pop up on your background check will disqualify you.

And having an expired document will also delay the process.

But generally speaking, the application process is that simple.

2. Ensure your car meets the vehicle requirements

Riders don’t want to be stuck on the highway with a broken-down car. It’s important for vehicles to meet specific requirements as rideshare cars.

Uber vehicle requirements

Vehicle requirements may vary across cities and states. In general, your vehicle must be no older than 15 years. You also can’t use a rental vehicle or a salvaged, rebuilt, or reconstructed vehicle, and it must have four doors.

Uber vehicles should be in good condition – meaning no cosmetic damage or commercial branding. All vehicles must pass an inspection.  

Lyft vehicle requirements

Lyft vehicles must also have four doors, and they must be able to open and close from both inside and outside of the car. Passengers must be able to unlock and lock their own doors, and there must be at least five seat belts.   

Engine, suspension, steering and brakes must be working properly. All the lights should function – including high- and low-beam headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and reverse lights.

Lyft goes into further detail, requiring that drivers’ tires have sufficient tread, the wipers and horn work, and the front seats move forward and backward. Air conditioning and heat should be working properly too.

Windows and mirrors can’t have cracks, and windows need to work right. Tailpipe and mufflers should be within the state standards and shouldn’t be modified. Lyft cars also can’t have body damage or dents.

How Do You Qualify to Be an Uber Driver?

There are a few basic requirements that you’ll need if you want to sign up to become an Uber driver. You must meet the minimum age to drive in your city and have at least one year of driving experience (or three years if you’re under age 23). You also must have a valid driver’s license and an eligible vehicle with four doors. Moreover, when you sign up, you’ll have to provide the company with proof of residency, proof of insurance, and registration, as well as a profile photo.

What Taxes Do Uber Drivers Pay?

Unless stated otherwise in your local laws, Uber drivers are treated as independent contractors by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This means that taxes won’t automatically be taken out of your income and that it is your responsibility to declare your earnings and settle any tax bills.

Uber usually helps out its self-employed drivers by providing them with a tax summary and, when applicable, a 1099-K tax document to fill out and send to the IRS.

What are the vehicle requirements to drive for Uber?

To drive for Uber, your vehicle must meet the following requirements: 

  • Must have 4 doors and be able to hold at least 4 passengers (not including the driver) 
  • Cannot be older than 15 years. In some cities, vehicles must be newer than this. 
  • Rental vehicles are only allowed if they are from an approved Uber lender 
  • Must not have any cosmetic damage, missing parts, or commercial branding 
  • You must be listed as an insured driver on the vehicle’s insurance policy 

Uber Black car requirements include: 

  • They must have the model year of 2010 or newer 
  • They must be in excellent condition 
  • They must have a black exterior and interior 

What Are Uber Driver Requirements?

As long as you can pass Uber’s background check, you shouldn’t find it difficult to become an Uber driver (unless your city imposes some difficult requirements of its own).

Install the Uber app on your smartphone and create an account on Uber, including the bank account into which your earnings will be paid.

When you’re ready to start picking up passengers, tell the Uber app that you’re going online. Then wait.

Before long, the app will notify you about a passenger requesting a ride and show you a map with the passenger’s GPS coordinates. You pick up the passenger and take the person to his or her destination. Aware that the passenger can rate you afterward, you do your best to make the passenger feel welcome, comfortable, and satisfied.

Make sure you understand clearly where your pick up location is to avoid late arrivals

You just keep repeating this process, being notified about passengers and taking them to their destinations, until you’re done for the day. Then you tell the Uber app that you’re going offline. You can rate your passengers on their behavior.

Uber will deposit the money that you’ve earned into your bank account.

FAQs About Driving for Uber

Q: Safety: How Does Uber Manage Safety Concerns for Both Drivers and Riders?

A: Due to the nature of Uber’s model, there can be some hesitation when it comes to using the platform, for both drivers and riders. Some of the safety features available for drivers include:

  • Easy access to emergency assistance through the app
  • “Follow My Ride” which allows you to share your whereabouts with your friends and family so they can track your trips in real-time.
  • GPS tracking of all your trips, making it easy to pull up information should anything happen while you’re on the road
  • Driver and rider ratings. If a rider displays unacceptable behavior that you feel you should warn fellow drivers about, you’re always able to report your experience through ratings and through Uber’s easy customer service functionalities.
  • Trusted insurance providers allow you to confidently insure your vehicle for your business uses.

Q: What are the best practices for picking up a rider?

A: Once you’ve accepted the trip, a rider’s specific location will be indicated with an arrow. If you anticipate that your rider will be difficult to find, you may want to contact your rider and request that they use the Spotlight feature, which allows you to easily see an illuminated color that is specific to your ride.

Other tips to ensure a great rider experience is to pick them up on the side of the road on which they are waiting, making it a seamless experience right from the start. Once the rider approaches your vehicle, it is best practice to greet them by name to confirm that they are the correct driver. Once inside your vehicle, allow them to get settled and buckled in before starting to drive. From there, start a friendly conversation and make the customer experience as good as possible!

Q: I can’t find my rider, what do I do?

A: The standard wait time for a rider to meet you at the indicated destination is 5 minutes (less for UberPOOL rides). If you are unable to find or communicate with your rider, you can cancel the trip. At this point, the rider will be charged a cancellation fee which is then paid out to you to accommodate for your time spent waiting.

Q: Can I bring someone else along with me while I’m online and accepting Uber trip requests?

A: As part of Uber’s commitment to rider and driver safety, drivers are not allowed to have other passengers in the vehicle besides the official Uber rider(s).

Q: I feel much safer when I have a video camera or dash camera installed. Is this allowed while driving for Uber?

A: As long as your city’s laws allow this, you are permitted to install and actively use a video recording device in your vehicle while online and driving with Uber.

Q: I’ve gotten in an accident while on a trip with a rider. What should I do?

A: There are three basic steps to follow if you’ve been in an accident while completing a trip with an Uber passenger:

  1. Check the safety and wellbeing of yourself and your passenger(s)
  2. If the situation calls for it, contact the police and ambulance.
  3. Notify Uber when an accident has occurred. You can do this through the Trip Issues tab in the Uber app.

Q: I’ve moved and want to drive in a different city. Is this possible?

A: Since your Uber driver application is approved based on the city that you indicated during your application, your new city means that you will have to make some adjustments and reapply under the new circumstances. Luckily, though, you don’t have to go through the entire process all over again. Instead, head to Uber here and request a change to your account and submit for review.

Vehicle Inspection Requirements

In order to drive for Uber, your vehicle must undergo a thorough inspection. Uber has car inspection sites across the states – called Uber Greenlight locations – but it also partners with Jiffy Lube (113 Kain Street, Ottawa, IL) and Midas (4224 Mahoney Drive, Peru, IL), so you can get your vehicle inspection nearby.  Before your vehicle qualifies for Uber service, an inspection must show that it has five seats and seatbelts, windows that are in good working order, and air conditioning. The inspection will also include checks on your lights, brakes, steering, horn, speedometer, tires, and bumpers. 

Once you meet the driver and vehicle requirements and pass the vehicle inspection, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an Uber driver.


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