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How to become an Uber driver – a freelance guide

5-minute read

A self-employed Uber driving greeting a customer
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

20 May 2024

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Love setting your own hours, chatting with new people, and cruising down the open road? Then maybe becoming an Uber driver is your calling.

Whether you’re looking for part-time, flexible work to fit around other commitments or you want to make driving your whole career, this guide covers everything you need to apply for Uber.

How much does an Uber driver make?

If you’re thinking about becoming an Uber driver, how much money you’ll make is bound to be on your mind. As with any freelance job in the gig economy, this can fluctuate. However, put the average UK Uber driver salary at £36,500.

Each trip you make as an Uber driver pays you a standard trip payment, which can differ based on your location. But there’s ways you can optimise your work to earn even more money.

As an Uber driver, you’ll be able to check when and where there’s high demand for rides – meaning riders are more likely to be charged ‘surge prices’, so you earn more money each trip.

Uber occasionally lets drivers set themselves challenges to complete a certain number of trips, rewarding you when you achieve your goal, so keep an eye out for this in the app.

Over time, you’ll become more aware of peak times and popular areas to pick up trips. In London, for example, you’ll often earn around 44 per cent more working between Friday and Sunday than on weekdays.

How to apply for Uber

But how do you become an Uber driver? To be an Uber driver, you need to be at least 21 years of age with a valid UK driving licence. You can sign up to be a driver easily on their website as long as you provide some supporting documents:

  • a full UK driving licence
  • proof of your identity
  • bank statement (either under your name or a business you own)
  • profile picture
  • private hire driving licence (or a PCO licence if you’re in London)
  • DVLA electronic counterpart check code

Uber also has a compulsory virtual onboarding programme that teaches you how to properly use the app. After you’ve completed this, you’ll need to book an appointment at one of Uber’s Greenlight Hubs.

Your in-person appointment is what activates your Uber Driver account. Here you’ll provide your licences, bank statements, and National Insurance number. You’ll also have a picture taken to be associated with your Uber account.

What do you need to be a taxi driver?

You’ll need to own your own vehicle to be an Uber driver. This will need to be a four-door car or minivan in good condition, with additional requirements depending on the type of Uber ride you’re offering – such as fully electric vehicles for Uber Green rides and accessibility requirements for Uber Assist.

Depending on the area you want to operate in, there may also be a minimum number of years driving experience.

You’ll also need the following documents to support your vehicle application:

  • insurance certificate
  • insurance supporting documents
  • private hire vehicle licence (PHV)
  • vehicle logbook

How to get a taxi driver licence

To become a taxi or Uber driver, you’ll need a PHV licence. These are typically issued for three years and you can be prosecuted for working without one.

As well as a driving licence, you may also be required to have a criminal record check, a medical exam, or even a separate driving test to prove your knowledge. This will depend on where you want to work.

You’ll also need to get a vehicle licence and an operator licence – all three licences need to be issued from the same authority. This will be either the local council where you plan to work, or Transport for London if you plan to work there.

Once you have these licences, you’ll be able to continue with the Uber application process.

Read more: Do I need a business licence in the UK?

How long does it take to become an Uber driver?

How long it takes to officially become an Uber driver will depend on a number of factors. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on various elements such as the speed of processing applications at your local council and at Uber.

If there’s a shortage of drivers in your area, meaning your role is more in demand, the application process can be a lot quicker.

How many hours can a taxi driver work?

One of the main benefits of the gig economy is that you can choose your own hours. The same goes for driving an Uber, but there are limits on how many hours you can work.

Uber policy states that drivers can drive a maximum of 10 hours within a 24-hour period. After those 10 hours, drivers must take a break of at least 6 hours before they can start driving again.

Depending on the authority you’re working in, there may be additional rules surrounding how many hours you can work.

Of course, your safety (and the safety of your passengers) is the most important thing. And while self-employed workers, such as Uber drivers, aren’t required to abide by the working time directive, this can offer solid guidance on how to stay rested and safe.

As with any self-employed role, you need to make sure you’re registered to pay VAT. However, you only need to do this if you’re earning more than the VAT registration threshold. Remember that this reflects your total income, including earnings from any jobs outside of driving an Uber.

You may be able to deduct certain expenses from your VAT, such as fuel and repairs, so remember to keep copies of your receipts.

You can still be an Uber driver even if you don’t meet the VAT registration threshold, just make sure to select the small business option on your Uber tax profile.

As a self-employed person, you’ll be required to complete a Self Assessment each year, filing a tax return to report your income. You need to make sure that you’re correctly reporting your Uber driver income to HMRC, as HMRC can now access this information from platforms such as Uber – so it’s important to stay on top of your finances and track how much you’re earning.

Read more: HMRC reporting changes – will your side hustle be taxed?

Insurance for Uber drivers

Another thing that’s important for Uber drivers is getting insurance. As you’re working with the public, public liability insurance can help in case you cause injury or property damage. But it’s a good idea to build this out with further cover, such as contents insurance to protect your equipment.

Fortunately, Simply Business can help you build a tailored Uber driver insurance policy to help protect you while you’re working.

Are you thinking of becoming an Uber driver? Tell us how you’ve found the application process in the comments below.

Photo: Odua Images/
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business specialising in side hustles – as well as all things freelance, social media, and ecommerce. She’s been writing professionally for nine years. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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