Students in the UK face an average monthly shortfall of £267, which provides a clear sign that the maintenance loans on offer clearly don’t cover the full cost of studying at university. As such, students have been known to do some weird and wonderful things to supplement their income, from babysitting snakes and renting out their rooms, to gambling and taking part in clinical trials.
Though finding a part-time job may seem a less exciting way of earning money as a student, it’s more secure, offers a regular income and can look great on your CV. But if you want to take on a part-time student job where you’re in control, why not consider becoming an Uber driver? Read on to find out why, as well as how to get started working for them.
Why become an Uber driver?
There are many benefits to being an Uber driver, including:
- Being your own boss
- Flexible hours, allowing you to work around studying and socialising
- No minimum or maximum working hours
- Perfect for those who like driving and talking to people
- Passenger star ratings theoretically encourage customers to behave decently during journeys, while also enabling you to avoid those who may be difficult
- Decent pay — Uber state you can earn £565 for a 35-45 hour week, meaning you’d still get a lot of money if you only worked part-time
- Flex Pay means you get paid within two to five working days, while Uber will remunerate you even if a passenger uses free credit they’ve obtained
That said, like any job, being an Uber driver isn’t the perfect occupation and there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of:
- Uber takes around a 25% cut of your earnings
- Outgoings — such as insurance, car rental costs and petrol — can be high
- There are no provisions like holiday pay, sick leave and pension contribution, though you can pay £2 a week for IPSE membership, which covers up to two weeks of sickness
- Tipping is rare
- Filing your own taxes
- Just because a passenger has a good rating, this doesn’t guarantee that they won’t be rowdy
Basic Uber eligibility specifications
Before you can even apply to become an Uber driver, you need to see if you’re eligible. That means meeting these basic Uber driver requirements:
- Have a valid UK driver’s licence — an EU licence must be converted before onboarding
- Be at least 21
- Have at least three years’ driving experience
- Depending on where you’ll be working, you must prove that you’ve been driving in the area for a certain amount of time
- Proof of entitlement to work in the UK, such as a passport
Uber driver requirements
If you fit the criteria, there are some additional steps you will need to take before you can officially become an Uber driver:
- Get a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licence — you’ll do this through a council with whom Uber is licensed. In order to receive your licence you may also have to undergo an English language assessment, a DBS background check and a topographical test, as well as submitting proof of address, a DVLA Check Code and your passport. The cost of obtaining your licence will depend on whether you pass these tests the first time around, and whether you already have the necessary documentation. You should expect to have your application processed between 12 to 16 weeks. For London drivers, be sure to check out our guide to applying for a Public Carriage Office (PCO) license.
- Obtain an Uber-approved car. If you were driving in London, you would need a PCO-approved vehicle that complies with the Central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) regulations. This is what we specialise in here at Hirebrid, hiring out fully-licensed, road-ready PCO cars. Alternatively, you can also participate in our rent to buy PCO car programme.
- Own an approved smartphone or tablet with which to take bookings.
Once you’ve activated your account and undertaken a short onboarding course — this is simple and typically takes no longer than two hours — you’ve officially become an Uber driver, and you can get started right away!