8 things you need to know if you want to drive for Uber

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Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

Why is everyone so excited about earning money with Uber?

You decide when you are available to drive, whether it is only to earn an income on weekends or for certain hours of the day or in the week.

What can I potentially earn and is it difficult to get paid by riders?

Uber drivers earn most of the fee. The fact that you get paid via the Uber platform and not directly by your guests, is a huge benefit. You don’t have to receive or hold cash in the car (which is a security risk) or have the problems of riders not paying for their ride.

Is there anything illegal about using your car to earn an income?

As long as you hold a valid licence, maintain a clean record with the traffic authorities and declare your extra income for income tax purposes, there is nothing wrong with using your car to earn an income.  If the car does not belong to you, you need to have the approval of the owner to use it for this purpose (preferably in writing). The insurance must then also be in your name.

I heard that Uber offers insurance, why must I still have my car insured?

Uber offers a certain kind of commercial (business) insurance as part of the deal.  You must still have your own insurance for anything else they don’t cover.

Must I declare my extra income to SARS?

Yes. Uber drivers can deduct certain vehicle related expenses as long as they keep a detailed logbook of all the private and business kilometres they drive.

Read more: 5 jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago

Check with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) or a registered Tax Practitioner on the format of this logbook,  if you need to submit any additional tax returns due to this additional income and also what percentage of your income you must keep aside for tax.

Apart from the extra income, will I have any costs?

Uber drivers must have their car and tyres well maintained and the car cleaned at their own cost. You must also have a bookkeeping system in place to keep track of your income and expenses.

How safe is it to be an Uber driver?

Safety can be an issue if you pick up clients who you are not comfortable with but that is mostly limited by the two way rating system Uber uses (after each ride,  you rate the riders,  and they rate you).  Uber also limits safety risk by making sure you have all the details of the rider while your details remain private to them.  Driving late at night may be unsafe.

What is the downside of being an Uber driver?

Drunk people can be obnoxious or aggressive. Uber drivers who work long hours,  can get tired. It is a big responsibility to drive people around.  Ensure you are always rested otherwise it can negatively affect your Uber rating. 

Read more:
Is Uber dangerous to women? Here are 9 safety tips to consider

To become an Uber driver, you have to:

• Be 21 years and older  
• Own a smartphone 
• Have a bank account 
• Own or rent a 4-door car with air conditioning and in safe condition, not older than 2013 (certain older but classic style cars may be approved)  
• Have comprehensive insurance; and
• Act responsibly, be on time and act professional so that you can maintain a high rating with Uber,  which is necessary to remain a driver.

If you are still interested, visit www.uber.com and study the process and requirements thoroughly before you make your final decision.

Update: Please note that every Uber or any e-hailing company needs an operating license to take persons for reward on South African roads.

WATCH: 7 ways to stay safe in an Uber

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