Making a bit of extra money is always good, especially if you’re on a tight budget. If you’ve got some more money coming in, it can make it easier to cover the bills.
And one way you could make some extra cash is by becoming an Uber driver. If you’ve not heard of Uber before, it’s like a taxi service where you can order a ride through a smartphone app. All of the drivers have their own cars and they pick up nearby fares.
It’s a flexible way to work and if you’ve already got a job or kids, it could fit around your other commitments. But what do you need to become an Uber driver? We’ll take you through all of the requirements and what you’ll need to know about paying tax.
What you need
You’ll need a Private Hire Vehicle licence (PHV) to be an Uber driver. You can pay for this through your local council and it usually costs around £100, although this can vary depending on where you live.
Make sure you don’t go through a copycat website for this. This could charge you extra as it will apply for a PHV for you – but you can easily do it yourself.
It might go without saying but you’ll also need your own car if you want to drive for Uber. You can’t have an old vehicle – cars must be five years old or less. If you’ve not got a suitable car, Uber does offer finance deals and discounts on new cars – but you need to think about whether this will be worth it if you’re only planning to do a bit of work.
The car insurance will probably work out as more expensive than your regular cover as you’ll need cover for ‘business use’. And again, you need to work out whether this will be worth paying if you’re not looking to do a lot of hours as an Uber driver. Don’t be tempted just to drive around with a standard policy – this could make your car insurance invalid.
What could you earn?
How much you can make from being an Uber driver really depends on how much you want to work. According to Uber, drivers can make an average of £565 for a 35-45 hour week – but if you want to only drive a few hours a week, you won’t get as much as this.
Uber also takes a 25% service fee from anything you earn so make sure you factor this in when you’re working out how much you’ll get. And you’ve also got to think about petrol costs – you’ll have to foot the bill for fuel yourself.
Would you need to pay tax?
If you become an Uber driver, you’ll need to register as self-employed and pay Income Tax on what you earn. This could be set to change at some point, as an ongoing court case could mean that Uber drivers should be employees. But for now, you’ll still need register and pay your own tax.
But if you’re not planning to drive much for Uber, you might not need to pay any Income Tax from April. This is because a new tax break means you can earn £1,000 a year from trading income without having to register as self-employed and pay tax.
If you don’t currently work, you need to think about whether becoming an Uber driver will mean you miss out on certain benefits. But if you start working more, it doesn’t mean you can’t claim anything – find out what benefits are available if you work 16 hours a week or more.