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To Uber or not to Uber? Discover the nitty-gritty of Uber driving

by Lynsey Sutherland

3 min read

Offering flexibility, autonomy and easy access to work, on-demand services like Uber are attracting entrepreneurs across Australia. But just like any job, there are ups and downs to Uber driving.

According to Roy Morgan Research, more than 989,000 Australians travelled by Uber between December and July of last year. That’s a big market to tap into, but is working for an on-demand service all it’s cracked up to be?

PRO: high safety standards

Uber takes safety seriously for both the passenger and the driver. To make sure you’re able to relax behind the wheel, both parties are required to provide their personal details – so you’ll never make anonymous pick-ups.

The app also offers its own navigation system to help you stay on track and, because it uses GPS to log your trips, the company always knows who you’re driving and where you’re going. This encourages accountability and good behaviour.

PRO: surge pricing opportunities

On holidays and special occasions, Uber drivers sometimes have the chance to snag exceptionally high fares.

These are normally available on days when taxis and drivers are likely to be scarce or very popular, allowing drivers an opportunity to make over the odds.

Keep an eye on large conferences or concerts in your area, and be prepared to work over holidays or during unsociable hours to take advantage of surge pricing.

PRO: choose your own work hours

One of the biggest advantages of driving for an on-demand company is choosing your own work hours. Maybe you have children or you’re working around another job – either way, Uber allows you to monetise your spare time.

If you’re juggling more than one job or running your own small business on the side, stay on top of your finances on the go with online accounting software like QuickBooks Online.

CON: ineffective rating systems

Having a good rating is absolutely essential for anyone hoping to get work through Uber. In an ideal world, you would expect a high score every time you did a good job. Sadly, it may not always work that way.

Sometimes drivers are marked down for circumstances beyond their control and unfortunately there’s not much that can be done to combat an unfair rating.

CON: car responsibility

It’s also worth thinking about the kind of wear and tear your car might suffer over time. From spilled drinks to worn seats or small breakages, there are lots of minor ways in which your car’s value will depreciate over time.

When working for an one-demand service like Uber, all wear and tear repairs are your own responsibility.

CON: little interaction with co-workers

Drivers of traditional hire cars or taxis may also spend the majority of their time on the road, but they tend to have a base start and end time. They can also catch up with colleagues, talk to a central manager, and share tips and advice.

On-demand drivers don’t have access to such a network. By and large, you’re on your own – with only customers to interact with.

The freelance feeling

There’s an element of Uber driving that can be both a pro and a con: the fact that you’re entirely freelance.

This means you may have the opportunity to take more control over what you earn. On the other hand, you can only work when people want Uber drivers – and this will be something you need to seriously consider.

Driving for a company like Uber won’t suit everyone, but if you’re happy to work alone, love being on the road and enjoy meeting new people, it might be just the money spinner you need.

Not sure whether Uber is right for you but keen to earn a little extra? Check out some other ways you could turn your hobby into a business.

To read more articles related to self-employed advice, visit here.

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