Everyone has heard of Uber. After all, it’s the company that almost made taxis obsolete. Many people are itching to get in on the action and start raking in money, but they must understand what goes into becoming a driver and what they can drive after signing up.
Usually, pickup trucks are made for hauling heavy loads — not people. Still, you can use them to drive for Uber. As long as you meet its eligibility requirements and you pick up work in the right place, you stand to make a lot of money.
A Glance at Uber’s Eligibility Requirements
Many assume they can open the app, create an account and start raking in earnings. In reality, Uber has a whole checklist you must pass before you can start driving.
These are the qualifications for Ubering with a pickup truck:
● Seats: You must have room for four passengers at minimum. You need five factory-installed seats and seatbelts to drive UberX — the most popular and least specialized option.
● Doors: Your truck needs four or more doors. The exception to this rule is rear-hinged types — they don’t count because the passengers can’t get out on their own. It’s a safety and liability concern.
● Age: Your vehicle must be roughly 15 years old or newer to drive for UberX. If you want to be eligible for Uber Comfort, it has to be 5-7 years old. The specifics change depending on where you live, but it only varies slightly.
● Condition: Pickup trucks with out-of-state registrations must pass an inspection. Even if this rule doesn’t apply to you, your vehicle must still be in good shape and have no noticeable cosmetic damage.
● Modifications: Uber is strict about aftermarket modification, which rules out drivers who used a lift kit, added seat belts or installed truck bed seats. This is a safety and liability concern.
● Parts: Your truck is only eligible if it functions as it should. For example, your air conditioner and power windows must work right.
● Junk: Vehicles can’t be salvaged or rebuilt. This is part of the “no cosmetic damage” rule.
Uber is pretty strict about its rules, and there’s no way to get around them. While some things are easily fixable, most aren’t — meaning you’ll have to use a different vehicle to be eligible.
A Deeper Look at Uber’s Eligibility Requirements
Some rules change depending on where you live since laws vary state by state. Still, you can only drive for Uber if you meet all its requirements. If your truck becomes ineligible after you start — if it gets too old or you add aftermarket modifications — you won’t be able to drive anyone anymore.
Let’s say you signed up when your truck was 15 years old and it’s been a year — Uber usually lets you keep driving until the end of your current insurance policy. After that, it blocks you from accepting new trips. Luckily, you can always get back into your account because the app won’t outright deactivate you.
Can You Make Money Ubering With a Pickup Truck?
Most Uber drivers know how it feels to spend long stretches without a trip. Even worse, they know what it’s like to get stuck in traffic and drive for ages just to get stiffed on the tip. In reality, only 1% of passengers tip after every single trip.
The base, distance and time rates are often minimal, but many drivers rely on them since tips aren’t guaranteed. Since Uber rides only last roughly 5.4 miles on average, most drivers fit in as many trips as possible. Admittedly, this strategy doesn’t work when you have a gas-guzzling truck.
The typical fuel economy of a pickup truck is 15-20 miles per gallon, but it varies since short-bed trucks get better gas mileage than their long-bed counterparts. Still, you’ll only get a few dozen trips in before you run on fumes. Once you factor in the price of refueling, you might find that Uber driving costs more money than it makes.
The Reality of Driving for Uber in a Truck
Some pickup trucks are eligible for specialized trips, meaning they can make more money. For example, a 2016 Ram 2500 can drive for Uber Comfort because it can seat up to six people. It’s newer and has more space, so it’s more sought after by passengers.
Depending on whether you live in a rural or urban area, people might enjoy getting picked up in a truck. After all, it’s one of the few vehicles that can withstand winter storms and dirt roads without a problem. Although they can’t request one, you still stand to be successful.
Uber drivers make roughly $22-$25 hourly on average. That number sounds pretty good until you realize you aren’t working a regular workweek. Truthfully, the amount you earn will be higher if you’re in a semi-urban area with long stretches of road.
Ubering With a Pickup Truck
If your pickup truck passes Uber’s strict requirements, you can start driving in no time. Of course, you’ll get more money from the arrangement if you have a newer, more spacious vehicle. It all comes down to a numbers game — as long as you watch what you’re spending and are strategic about where you work, you could be really successful.