With so many people these days looking for a “side hustle” that they can pursue on their own time and use to add to their regular income, Uber might be the perfect fit. We’ve got a ton of info, tips, and tricks below, but here’s a quick look at if becoming an Uber driver is right for you:
Driving for Uber – Pros and Cons
Work on your own time without any boss to tell you what to do!
Uber states their average driver makes $25 per hour.
Meet people from all over the world.
Become an expert on how to get around in your city.
Get firsthand reviews of everything from restaurants to clubs and tourist attractions.
Dealing with the public means dealing with a few bad apples amongst the overall barrel of good apples.
If you don’t pick the right car, maintenance can really add up.
Some bookwork is required for tax purposes.
Bottom Line: If you drive well, are good with people, and looking for a solid way to make some extra cash, then driving for Uber will be a great fit. Sign up for Uber and read through the rest of our comprehensive guide!
The Uber Intro
You know that you’ve made it big when people start using your company as an analogy for explosive growth and massive disruption of a major industry. For example, you might hear:
“Man, this app is the Uber of the banking world”
“We’re seeing the Uber-ization of insurance”
This crazy fintech story started in 2009 when the company was created by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. It has since grown to serve over 674 cities in 83 countries, and hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers fulfill over 40 million rides monthly! The brand has expanded into many areas including UberFRESH and UberEATS.
Here’s the scene today:
97% of Uber drivers are satisfied with their schedule flexibility
91% are satisfied with their work-life balance
50% drive for Uber less than 10 hours a week, making Uber a great source of part-time income (aka side hustle).
74.9% of riders prefer Uber over taxis
71% feel unsafe in taxis
60% between the ages of 34–55 choose Uber every single time—regardless of price
Because of Uber’s convenience and affordability, 10% of Millennials are putting off buying a car
Read on for tips, tricks, what to watch out for, and everything else you need to become a successful Uber Driver.
Uber Driver Salary and Pay: Is It Worth It?
If you want to know more random Uber facts, we’ll have more on that later in the show, but my guess is that most readers are far more interested in answering one main question:
How does Uber help me?!
Which is quickly followed by:
How much money can I make driving for Uber?
Uber officially states:
“On average, Uber partner drivers earn $25 per hour, or around $50,000 per year, for 40 hours a week—but it’s possible to make even more. Start driving today and earning what you deserve.”
The $25 per hour figure is an approximate Uber driver salary and can vary widely depending on region and how efficient you are as a driver.
So here’s the quick and dirty guide to Uber salaries and pay, including how much cash you can expect to make as an Uber driver. The short answer – as with everything important – is: it depends.
I read more than two dozen firsthand accounts of driving for Uber (and their competitors) in writing this piece and talked to eight drivers who drove in Calgary and Toronto. Their accounts varied substantially from one another, but here’s a peek at what several of them revealed to me:
“Driving in Toronto, I can usually make $80-$100 driving from 3PM to 6PM during rush hour, then if I go out from 11PM to 2AM I can usually rake in another $80-$100. That’s before Uber takes their 20% cut for setting it all up for me. When it rains and surge pricing goes up, that’s when I can really make bank.”
“In Calgary, it can be slow during the day, I might average $15-20 an hour, but during Thursday-Saturday nights I can easily clear $40 per hour if I pay attention to surges. Stampede [author’s note: the Calgary Stampede is a major international event] was crazy, I made thousands of dollars those two weeks.”
While it can be hard to track down exact numbers on Uber, internet articles offer a wide range of wage points (especially in Canada as they break into new markets) I found this article by the CBC that reported:
“We have had great success with bringing on drivers in Ottawa because they have found Uber to be a good earning opportunity,” wrote Uber Canada spokeswoman Susie Heath in an email to CBC. ‘On average Uber partners make $25 an hour in Ottawa and we continuously provide information to partners that empowers them to increase their earnings by working in busy areas and times.’”
Many of the Uber drivers I talked to admitted that they weren’t necessarily factoring in their full expenses into these numbers, so as a personal finance geek I feel obligated to say that you should probably be thinking about the cost of gas, insurance, and maintenance costs on your vehicle. Choosing the right type of fuel-efficient car could really make a difference in your net pay from what I was able to deduce. (If you’re wondering which car might win the “Best Uber Car” title, check out which cars are most commonly used by taxi drivers, including mainstays such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Ford Fusion, Toyota Corolla, and various hybrid/electric versions.)
Obviously, not all times of the day are created equal when it comes to earning cash with Uber. The rideshare company is one of the clearest cases geeky economist-types have when looking at pure supply-and-demand markets. What you need to know as a driver is that when there are lots of other drivers out there and few passengers (say 2PM on an average weekday), then you won’t get as many opportunities to pick people up, nor benefit from surge pricing.
On the other hand, if you can strategically target busy times and places when people will be needing rides most often, you can earn dramatically more money. I’ve also noticed that if you get in on the ground floor in a new Uber city (of which there are several in Canada), you can make a lot of money in the first 12 months or so since there are so few drivers in the market, and many passengers want to try the app that they’ve heard so much about.
Please note – although some drivers are searching for an Uber promo code or sign-up bonus, one does not currently exist, at least not in Canada.
Taxes on Canadian Uber Drivers
Many Uber drivers in Canada mistakenly think that they have found a tax-free way to make money. It’s important to realize that this is not true, and according to a recent CBC article, income from Uber is quickly becoming a favourite target for Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) auditors to go after.
While this may sound a bit scary at first, it’s really just the same as if you earned a side income anywhere else. The slight difference is that if you went to say, Subway, and worked a couple of shifts a week, income taxes would get taken off before your paycheque was deposited in your account. With Uber, you are considered an independent contractor (impressive title eh?) and NOT an Uber employee.
As independent contractors, drivers must report their earnings by filling out the tax form T2125 (similar to if you were to make money from Airbnb) to make sure they pay the least amount of taxes possible and keep their paperwork in tip-top shape, Uber drivers should keep receipts for any expenses and a detailed log of when they used their vehicle for Uber, and when they used it for personal use. This probably sounds kind of boring and daunting, but we’ve got your back. If you skim down, we recommend some apps that veteran Uber drivers use to do 90%+ of this work for them.
Another new tax consideration as of July 1st, 2017 is that ALL Uber drivers earning a salary must now register for an HST number (Ontario) or a GST number (Alberta). I assume that as Uber comes into other provinces this will be standard there as well. The rule used to be that if you made less than $30,000 per year from Uber, you didn’t need to worry about GST/HST – but that has changed.
The basic idea is that since taxis and other services have to charge GST or HST (depending on your province) Uber drivers should have to as well. The good news is that this won’t affect your income in any way, it will simply mean that this sales tax will be added to the Uber app (just like at the cash register in a store). Here is Uber’s step-by-step breakdown of the new GST/HST rules.
- Get an HST/GST number – this is no longer optional.
- The HST/GST will be added to each trip on the Uber app, and then included in your weekly payment. You then need to remit (aka: give to the government) that money every year or every three months (quarterly). Uber drivers can do this on their own, but it is also fairly cheap to get a tax professional to take care of it on your behalf.
- When you file your taxes at the end of the year you’ll need to file your HST/GST return. You may qualify for Input Tax Credits (ITC) which can help you get some of that HST/GST money back, and again, a tax professional is your best bet there unless you want to do a little reading and file your own taxes.
I know this whole taxes thing is rough (as an online writer I’m in the exact same independent contractor boat) but on the bright side perhaps they’ll use your tax money to smooth out the roads that you’ll be driving on!
Tips for Earning More Money as an Uber Driver
Every Uber driver who I talked to seemed to have their own unique set of “tricks” and “hacks” that allowed them to boost their earnings. Here were the most common replies:
1) Make the most of Uber Surge Pricing
If you’ve used Uber from the passenger side of the equation (if you haven’t, click here to get an instant $20 worth of free rides) you know that at times when you badly want a ride somewhere, you might have to pay a little more. If this was slightly annoying to you, consider why Uber does this: to make sure that you get a ride!
The idea behind surge charges is that Uber is trying to get more drivers out on the road to help with all of the requests. In order to make that happen, they obviously have to offer to pay more money! Consequently, if you’re trying to maximize your dollars per hour as an Uber driver, surges are your best friend. Learning to anticipate surges by checking weather reports (rain and cold make walking much less attractive), seeing what major events are in town, and being willing to offer rides to folks who have been consuming various adult substances, can really boost your take-home pay.
When the price surges by 1.5X – that’s an automatic 50% bonus/pay raise for you! If you time it perfectly, you can even snag 3X from time to time, and one Uber driver I talked to had some outrageous stories about New Year’s Eve and a couple of other times when she actually got paid 7X! Obviously maximizing these opportunities can make a big difference to your overall paycheque. I also picked up an interesting tip from one Uber driver who claimed that if they turned off the app right before an obvious surge time (say bar-close) and then turned it on again, they were offered surge pricing much more consistently.
2) Prepare for the shift: food and bathrooms
I have to admit that I never thought about this before, but obviously, the more time you spend and gasoline you burn searching for decent food that doesn’t cost a mint, as well as public restrooms, the less time you have to be driving! Getting to know your “sweet spot ride zone” means that you can map out where the cleanest & most accessible restrooms are in order to maximize your time behind the wheel. Similarly, packing a lunch means that you can save a few bucks, and eat when you have a natural downtime instead of trying to squish in a high-fat meal on the go.
3) Don’t drive unless you have to: suburbs
Be careful about accepting a ride from someone who you have to drive a long way to pick up (suburbs etc). Oftentimes these riders can get impatient and just cancel the Uber request when you’ve already driven a long way and taken yourself out of your “sweet spot ride zone”.
4) Create a mental or physical map of free parking zones
By understanding where to best “hang out” you can stay close to where the action is, while at the same time minimizing the hit to your gas and car maintenance budget. Remember, the less gas and brake pads you burn, the higher your profit margin!
5) Use the passenger app to determine how much competition there is
If you want to know where you should be posting up, try turning on the customer-facing app in order to tell how much competition there is. Remember though that just because there are a lot of drivers in the area doesn’t necessarily mean it’s oversupplied. You’d rather have 10 cars and 100 customers than 2 cars and 4 customers, right?
6) Pay attention to your driver rating
If you are completely new to Uber you might not know what an Uber rating is. At the end of every ride, the Uber app requires both the driver and the passenger to rate each other (before seeing what the other one rated them). This gives both participants a healthy dose of accountability.
Obviously the higher your rating, the more often you will be selected to drive. It’s important to pay attention to this right from Day One. It didn’t surprise me that many drivers who I talked to believed that prior reviews had an effect on future reviews. When you consider how our basic human psychology works, we tend to “anchor” our thoughts and expectations upon first impressions. If the first impression of you is a “5-Star Review” then you get off on the right foot! This anchoring effect is likely responsible for more generous tipping as well.
Again, there was a wide variety of answers when it came to how to best boost your driver rating, but some consistent ones were unsurprising (just think about what you want from a rider’s perspective). You can give yourself a major leg up by having a super clean car (it also sets a respectful tone for riders), providing a competent and smooth ride that doesn’t jolt passengers or take them out of their way. Many customers also respond to easy-to-provide amenities such as car chargers (both Android and Apple), as well as water, mints, gum, etc. One driver I talked to even included a brief reading selection (“I just had these magazines sitting around anyway”) and drove a newer model car that provided free Wi-Fi! Finally, while some riders couldn’t really care less about personal appearance or attitude as long as you get them from A to B, the highest-rated drivers appeared to take real pride in a professional look and feel.
Now that Uber allows in-app tipping, these same rules of thumb for keeping a high driver rating double as a roadmap to maximizing your tipping income.
Uber Driver Requirements
Because they are such a well-known brand, Uber obviously wants to do their best to make sure that customers get a good experience as often as possible. To ensure this, Uber driver requirements in Canada are as follows (some cities or provinces have extra requirements, but these are applicable across Canada):
- The vast majority of people can drive with Uber, all you need is to be the minimum age in your province and be legally allowed to drive in Canada.
- You must share with Uber your Driver’s License, and proof of residency in your city/province.
- You must share with Uber the registration and insurance for your car.
- A few minutes after signing up, Uber will complete an online screening of your criminal history and driving record.
Most drivers are approved within minutes and are ready to hit the road and start making money on their own schedule and their own terms. At no point are you ever forced to pick up a passenger – it’s all completely up to you! A couple of drivers also told me that it’s worth spending some time with the Uber app and watching Uber’s instructional videos (you can watch them on fast forward if you want).
One driver recommended that the official Uber requirements should include having taken at least ten rides in an Uber. When I asked why, he responded that it was important to see the app from the passenger’s perspective, and simply stated that every Uber driver should take a few rides to see what the competition was like and what the best practices were. He had learned a lot when he did this himself, reporting that it was an opportunity to experience different driver “vibes” and to steal best practices that they had developed over time. He also stated that he particularly liked to take rides when he visited West Coast US cities because many of those drivers had years of experience informing their decisions.
A recent survey by the USA (where Uber has been operating far longer than in Canada) Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the reason most Uber drivers choose to hit the road is that 87% want to be their own boss. As someone who writes online as a side hustle, I can definitely understand the allure of this boss-less existence! Other major motivators were the ability to control your work-life balance, and of course, to earn a higher income.
As you might expect, I came across a wide variety of experiences throughout interviewing more than two dozen Uber drivers. Almost all of them told me that they were initially leery about allowing strangers into their car, but after a while, it became much more “normal” and the vast majority of passengers were “good people”.
Some drivers like to make small talk more than others. Several of the “chattier” interviewees thought that their gift for gab was the reason they made tips and had good driver scores, while other drives swore by their finding that you had to react to each passenger differently because some simply wanted a quiet, private ride, and others were more in the mood for a vocal human experience. In my personal opinion, I think you’re best just asking a couple of quick icebreaker questions, and letting those inform your approach going forward. As a passenger, I know that many rookie Uber drivers are nervous, and end up rambling a bit in their quest to get a “5-star review” from you. In general, if people wish to engage in conversation, it’s best not to go on at length about yourself, but ask your passengers about their story. Most people like talking about themselves and being given modest complimentary feedback!
Nearly all of the drivers loved the absolute freedom of using Uber. Several drivers talked about how they signed up almost entirely to make more money, but as they got more experience and grew more comfortable behind the wheel, they found themselves turning the app on simply as a leisure time activity. It was an easy way to meet people and learn some stuff and pass a couple of hours from time to time.
9 Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Become an Uber Driver
No one wants to look like it’s their first day on the job – even when it is!
Learn from other people’s mistakes instead of having to learn the hard way. Here are nine rookie errors to avoid in your quest to become a top-flight Uber driver:
1) Watch the Uber instructional video below before setting out for the first time (you can watch it on fast-forward if you want, but don’t be that guy who thinks he doesn’t have to follow the instructions only to do something really dumb on the first day).
2) Invest in the right tech. You need cell phone chargers for Android and Apple phones – plus one for your own phone. Your vehicle also needs to be equipped with a sturdy cell phone mount.
3) Don’t be unsafe. No matter what your passenger or inner daredevil says, don’t break rules. This could cost you passengers, earnings, fines, your Uber driver account, and of course, the use of various body parts!
4) Relying too much on Waze, Google Maps, or Uber’s GPS. I get that it’s hard to be an expert on all parts of a city – which is why many experienced drivers talk about focusing on certain zones of their cities at the beginning and expanding outward as they become more confident. Taking a couple of hours to memorize streets in your city, and then a few minutes of Waze-scanning before you hit the road daily, can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Using apps to help you out isn’t a problem, but the more you rely on your app the less your eyes are on the road, and the less professional you look as a driver!
5) Giving friends a ride can quickly become a slippery slope. Now that you’re a pro driver, friends might think that it’s cool to ask for complimentary rides at bar close. I’m not saying that you should never do your friends/family a solid, but just realize that every time you take that ride, you lose a revenue opportunity and make them slightly more dependent on you. Lines in the sand are key.
6) Contacting passengers too often before they get into your vehicle. No one likes waiting and wasting time, but preemptively contacting every passenger one or more times before they step foot in your ride is a great way to ruin the convenient awesomeness of Uber. If someone is not there when you pull up, wait a couple of minutes and then send a quick text. One of the reasons ridesharing apps exploded in popularity is that people don’t really want to talk on their phones, deal with bad connections, etc.
7) As mentioned in the tips section above, failing to know your key area inside and out can really bite into your profit margin. Knowing the best places to get a quick gas up, use a clean restroom, or park for free, can save you both time and money. Since time = money… well, hopefully, you’re starting to see the pattern here.
8) Asking for tips. Now that Uber allows tipping (yay!) some drivers mistakenly believe they can really boost their earnings by straight out asking for a little extra. Not only are people less likely to tip you in this situation (ask any server), but you’re going to take a ratings hit as well. That can have several negative spin-offs. The app asks if folks want to tip – let it do the work for you!
9) Having a messy car. This one is so common sense, I almost didn’t put it on the list. That said, about 5% of the Ubers I get into still haven’t gotten the message. Nothing says, “I don’t really care about your comfort and cash,” more than getting into a dirty car. The best Uber drivers I talked to even had a small cleaning kit in their trunks, with one even having small bags to lay out for that bar-close rush (for obvious reasons). Cars don’t have to be pristine (bonus if they are), but general cleanliness is a deal-breaker for most.
Uber Driver Sign Up: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Create an account by going to Uber’s website on a desktop, laptop, or phone. The simple application form will ask you to choose from a few Uber driver options. Pick one, and move on to the next step.
- Uber will ask you for some info about yourself and your car (since vehicle requirements differ from region to region).
- Uber will ask you to upload pictures of your license, registration, proof of information, and the necessary ID documents to begin a driver screening (background check).
- In some areas (such as Ontario) your vehicle will need to be taken to a Canadian Tire or Midas for an Uber safety inspection. Again, this requirement is regional.
- Wait a few days for Uber approval.
- Download the app (if you haven’t done so already), turn it on, and simply follow the directions to start driving. Read up on the above tips while you’re waiting for approval.
Is It Safe to Be an Uber Driver?
Whenever you type a question like “is it safe to drive for Uber” into Google, you’re inevitably going to get hit with a ton of one-off news headlines that have shock words built into them. There will be attention-grabbing stories about an Uber driver getting assaulted etc. Headlines are built to get you to click or buy, not to convey basic facts.
The truth is that yes, driving for Uber does entail a slight amount of risk. It sounds cliche, but literally getting out of bed in the morning also entails a slight amount of risk. The measurement of safety occurs on a spectrum. Given the recent spate of school violence, is it safe to be a teacher? Remember to contextualize safety concerns.
Now, all of that being said, driving other people around is a bit riskier than your average pencil-pushing job. The problem is that we don’t have any hard data on exactly how safe or unsafe it is to drive for Uber (or other ridesharing apps for that matter) because no one releases any statistics on it. Also, management of these companies has admitted that they are reluctant to delve too far into this safety world, because the more they do, the easier it could be in court one day for a crafty lawyer to say that Uber drivers are actually employees of Uber as opposed to independent contractors who use the Uber app. While that legal distinction probably doesn’t matter much to you and certainly doesn’t have much to do with safety, it is very important for a number of legal reasons.
Truthfully, we’re not sure exactly how dangerous being a driver for a ridesharing app is. What we do know is that taxi driving is more dangerous than most professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the USA stated that according to their data from 1998-2007, annual homicide rates for taxi drivers in the USA was 9 in 100,000. In Canada, a study by Statistics Canada from 1997-2011 showed that taxi drivers in Canada had an annual homicide rate of 3.2 per 100,000 people. While that number is high relative to other professions in Canada, it obviously reflects a much less violent overall culture in Canada than in the USA. To put that number in perspective, you are safer on average, as a taxi driver across Canada, than you are being a resident of Manitoba or Saskatchewan. I think most Manitobans and Saskatchewanians(?) would say they feel pretty safe (including myself).
I would hasten to add that Uber drivers have many safety advantages over taxi drivers, thus making them substantially less likely to be attacked (logically speaking, if not backed up by data). These “driving for Uber experiences” include:
- Uber drivers never handle money. Most people who would ever request an Uber know this. Consequently, they are much less likely to be identified as being “on the job” by random people and are a much less lucrative target for robbery than cash-holding cab drivers.
- Uber drivers get to pick their own passengers and can choose solely to pick up folks who have many 5-star ratings if they prefer. At the very least there is a feedback mechanism for bad passengers. When people create Uber accounts, they are forced to state their name and phone number before they request a ride. This obviously discourages people from doing dumb stuff because there is a blatant record.
- Uber now includes a service called “share my trip” where family and friends can automatically track you using the GPS in the Uber app. Uber has a 24/7 support team and has reportedly even brought behavioural scientists on full-time to try and make the process as safe as possible.
In response to recent safety accusations, Uber released the following statement as part of a larger article on medium:
“…that’s why we have a dedicated Trust and Safety team, overseen by Joe Sullivan (whose entire career has been focused in this field, first as a federal prosecutor and then at eBay, Facebook, and now Uber) and run by Phil Cardenas (the former head of Trust and Safety at Airbnb).
This team exists to reduce safety incidents, and its success is judged on that one metric. Because even one incident is too many. It’s why Uber has invested heavily in technology to improve safety for everyone before, during, and after each ride.”
To be honest, from everything I’ve read about Uber and safety (way, way too many hours) I would actually be more worried about traffic accidents in certain areas (especially if you rely too much on looking at GPS apps) than I would be about violent people.
Here were the top safety tips from experienced Uber drivers:
1) Use a dashcam to record what’s going on in your vehicle. Then have a visible sign that lets folks know they are being filmed. People on camera behave better. It’s why the gas station I worked at as a kid (and many others I’m sure) had a camera on even though the recorder broke years before – just the fact a camera has a shining green light on it tells people they should be on their best behaviour.
If you’re wondering if this is legal, Ben Bloom, a Toronto-based lawyer specializing in privacy law stated, “In Canada, there’s no law that prevents somebody from installing a dash cam and recording while they drive.” Bloom goes on to say that Uber drivers need to advise passengers they are being recorded. Passengers can request a copy of the recording, but if you disable the microphone component this would eliminate that requirement. Ultimately, I think that the dashcam would be much more valuable as a deterrent for the average inebriated person than as a legal safety net.
2) Be selective. As a big guy, I enjoy the pros and cons of size. Pro: Uber passengers are very unlikely to make unwanted sexual advances toward me or assault me in any way. Con: Airplanes.
Consequently, I can’t say I have any idea what it’s like to interact with people who are physically threatening to me when it’s dark out. That said, I think the fact that Uber allows drivers to look at potential passengers before committing to providing service is a major mark in their favour. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of crimes are committed by young men. If you wanted to lower your already-very-low chances of anything criminal occurring during your Uber shift, simply don’t pick up anyone without several great reviews, or that is a young male travelling during “peak adult beverage time”.
3) Memorize a couple of go-to conflict avoidance lines. One that two drivers mentioned went along the lines of, “Look man, I’d love to let you have a drink in the backseat, but if I get caught, I instantly lose my job. I hate to be a jerk, I hate the rules too, but I just don’t have a choice, I need this job too badly.”
4) Instead of looking for an Uber number to call in case of conflict, you’re best off emailing. The general email is firstname.lastname@example.org (most drivers stated that they got a response within 24 hours). You should also get a local Uber page/email when you sign up, for example: email@example.com. Finally, once you go into the app and fill out the help form, it helps to know that you should keep your message as brief and concise as possible. Dates, times, amounts, period. Several online forums seemed to support the consensus that longer emails = canned responses and no action taken.
UberEATS: Deliver Food – Not People
One cool perk about UberEATS is that you don’t even need a car to do it! Want to get some exercise while you earn some cash on the side? Just hop on a bike, turn on the app, and voila – get paid to pedal! As a bonus, other than a little chain oil, there are no gas and maintenance costs for you to worry about. Obviously, this service is geared towards more population-dense urban neighbourhoods as opposed to sprawling suburbs.
UberEATS is quickly expanding all over Canada and now has over one hundred restaurants in Toronto alone (including McDonald’s). Now operating in Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Montreal, and Ottawa (in addition to the GTA), UberEATS has become one of Uber’s best-performing niches. The National Post reported that in massive cities like Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo, UberEATS was actually outpacing the original passenger focus of the app!
Basically, the app allows customers to simply log in, check out menus, and order through their Uber account, from restaurants that Uber partner drivers with. It’s perfect for a lot of non-chain restaurants that don’t offer delivery services of their own.
Jason Droege, VP of UberEverything, recently stated in the New York Times, “There’s a global trend towards Delivery […] As people use mobile phones more and more for everything in their lives, we’re starting to see a secular change in how people eat.”
Uber Insurance for Your Car and Your Passenger
If you thought that your personal driver insurance covered you for accidents that occurred while driving for Uber – think again.
The good news is that as of July 7, 2016, Uber began purchasing rideshare insurance coverage that covers all rides in Ontario. This comes on the heels of a similar coverage being put forth in Alberta. The potentially bad news was that before this, many Uber drivers were actually invalidating their insurance policies if they didn’t tell their insurance providers they were basically running a commercial enterprise out of their car (which would have resulted in them paying much higher insurance fees). I would think that this insurance coverage precedent has been established in two provinces, and will be the standard to follow as Uber spreads throughout Canada.
It’s important to read the fine print when looking at Uber’s specific insurance policy for your region. For example, in Ontario, Uber’s insurance kicks in as soon as you turn on the app, while in Alberta, coverage only starts once you accept a ride. If you’re driving around in Alberta with the app on, but no passenger selected yet – and then proceed to get into an accident – it appears that you’ve hit a grey area that everyone is still sorting out.
The details of the Ontario agreement with Intact Insurance are as follows:
- Third-party liability coverage of up to $2 million per incident. (Standard on personal auto coverage.)
- Statutory Ontario accident benefits.
- $2 million of Uninsured Automobile Coverage. Protects vehicle occupants who are injured by a hit-and-run driver, an uninsured motorist, or an inadequately insured motorist. It also covers damage to your vehicle caused by an identified uninsured driver.
- Direct Compensation – Property Damage Coverage. This statutory coverage pays for repairs to a driver’s vehicle, as well as related expenses, in the event of an accident that is not entirely the driver’s fault.
- Contingent Collision and Comprehensive. This covers loss or physical damage to the rideshare driver’s vehicle up to the actual cash value of the vehicle with a $1,000 deductible. This coverage only applies if the vehicle is also insured for collision and comprehensive coverage on the auto policy of the vehicle owner when not used for ridesharing.
- Coverage between trips. During the time that a ridesharing partner is available through the Uber app but has not yet accepted a trip, we maintain coverage that provides $1 million of third-party liability and uninsured automobile coverage along with all of the other coverages listed above.
For Uber passengers, there is little detail to worry about. Uber has you covered should anything happen to you during your ride.
Becoming an Uber Driver: Top 7 Apps
1) The Uber Driver app… duh. You might think this common sense, but a lot of people are in such a hurry to get the cash flowing, they forgot to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of this app. No faster way to a bad review!
2) Waze vs Google Maps. When it comes to navigational maps that supplement the Uber Driver app, both Waze and Google Maps have their supporters. Basically, it boils down to the simplicity of Google vs the live updates on Waze that report on everything from construction to police activity. Why not test them both out and see which one you engage with most?
3) A mileage tracking app like Strive Drive. There are many competitors for this purpose, but tracking your mileage allows you to quickly pull things for your mileage log book at the end of your Uber shift – essential for tax purposes.
4) A few different weather radar map apps. Remember, bad weather often equals surge pricing!
5) The Uber Passenger app. Want to check out if your area is flooded with competition? Here’s your cheat sheet.
6) An accounting app such as Wave or Xero that allows you to easily track expenses on the go, and generate records for you or your accountant when tax time arrives.
7) An airport arrival app – or quick link to your airports’ arrival times. Airport passengers often surge at certain times. Know when – and beat the rush.
Can I Become an Uber Driver In My Canadian City?
So far the story of Uber in Canada has been one of two steps forward, and one step back. The company recently announced that after a new round of regulations, it is pulling out of Quebec. After much lobbying by the taxi industry, Quebec was looking to impose many new rules on Uber drivers and now stands to lose roughly fifty office jobs, and leave 10,000+ drivers looking for new streams of income. London, Ontario has also recently shown Uber the door for the time being. I’m not sure how much longer provincial governments and taxi lobbies will be able to keep this stand against ride-sharing services with an increase in public pressure. I would think sooner rather than later, this will begin to become a central issue with younger professional voters who have experienced the ease, customer service, and price advantages of Uber in other cities.
After a similar set of negotiations took place in Calgary, Uber was forced into a tactical withdrawal but has now returned to one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. Other Canadian cities that have embraced the modern world of ride-sharing include:
- Niagara Region
- Red Deer
- More than 40 smaller cities across Canada.
In a recent CBC interview, Jeff Weshler, Uber Canada’s General Manager for Regional Expansion stated, “Uber wants to be everywhere and we are constantly evaluating new opportunities.”
One uniquely positive story about Uber in Canada occurred in the relatively small city (pop. 36,000) of Innisfil, Ontario. Innisfil’s city council recently decided that using Uber as their core public transit solution was the way to go! I really like the general idea and think it’s a great option for 10,000-60,000 person cities going forward.
The main idea here is that the town will subsidize Uber drivers to drive to specific destinations in town, thus making them substantially cheaper. The widespread, low-density development of cities like Innisfil can make buses impractical and taxis simply unaffordable for many residents. I really hope this idea catches on in similar centres across Canada.
As Uber tries to come to an agreement with London, Ontario and the province of Quebec, its next two natural targets would seem to be Winnipeg, Manitoba and the entire province of British Columbia. Vancouver currently has the distinction of being the largest city in North America without Uber drivers. When you consider the populations of smaller urban populations such as Victoria, Surrey, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Prince George, Coquitlam and Abottsford, Uber would stand to gain a lot by making headway in this rapidly-expanding province.
Uber vs Lyft vs Taxis in Canada
There is a reason why taxis dislike Uber and Lyft so much: profit margins!
Before ridesharing apps came along, taxi companies and governments shared the bonanza that was the monopoly taxis enjoyed. A small number of taxi license holders paid the government a royal sum for the privilege of fleecing the general market. After all, what was the average passenger to do – there was no other option besides another similarly-overpriced taxi available!
There is tons of data to show that in cities where Uber has come into the market, taxi usage and costs have come down. This effect is only enhanced when Lyft or a regional competitor enters the same market. I have heard only good things about Lyft in the USA, but I have to admit to never using the service simply because Uber has always lived up to my expectations. I like the idea that Uber has someone to play the Burger King to their McDonald’s though. Hopefully, Lyft keeps pushing Uber to be efficient and innovative (so that we can avoid a taxi-like monopoly).
For Canadian drivers and passengers, Lyft remains a rumor as Lyft does not currently operate in Canada. So far Lyft has focused on specific American cities, but there have been several rumors about the company approaching Toronto city officials about their entry into the GTA. For now, those Lyft in Canada rumors remain just that – rumors. Obviously, for the time being in Canada, the Uber vs Lyft debate has been pretty one-sided, and consumers in places like Vancouver and Winnipeg are just hoping for one ridesharing service – let alone two!
Uber Review: Ultimately Is Being an Uber Driver Worth It?
After reading this article you should know exactly what you’re getting by becoming an Uber driver. It’s a great, convenient way to make some cash on the side. You can really supercharge your earnings with our tips and tricks, but at the end of the day you probably won’t get rich, and you may have to deal with an idiot every once in a while.
The bottom line of this Uber driver review is that if you’re into driving, learning about your city, meeting new people, and making some decent coin – all on YOUR schedule – then working for yourself with Uber should be a perfect fit!
If you’re a bit of an introvert, get nervous in traffic, and generally don’t like dealing with the public, then there is probably a better side hustle out there for you somewhere.