What Is UBER? - dummies

What Is UBER?

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

UBER is a smartphone application for ridesharing that pre-calculates the fare, estimates a time of arrival, as well as offers the option to split the cost with additional riders; all while conveniently charging your credit or debit card when the ride is complete.

Although UBER is “fresh” and becoming a popular way to travel cheaply around town, the rideshare concept is not a new one. Essentially taxis have been utilizing this concept for decades now. However, what UBER offers that most regular taxi services do not is technology.

Instead of having to call a cab to come pick you up and not knowing the exact cost, you are now able to easily select a destination and a driver from any smartphone, and you’re good to go. No longer will you have to carry cash for tips or allow strangers to handle your credit card. Every ride is secure, and UBER takes exceptional strides to help keep their customers’ personal information safe.

Even though you can access UBER from the website, the ride cannot be initiated unless the mobile application is downloaded to your smartphone. Good news though! The UBER app is available on all smartphone platforms — this includes Android, Blackberry, Fire Phone, iOS, and even Microsoft Windows Phone.

[Credit: Image courtesy of Uber.]
Credit: Image courtesy of Uber.

In addition to UBER careers and your personal account details, the website also provides a help center for those people who need extra assistance setting up and using the UBER mobile application.

How to use UBER

To use UBER you first must download and install the application from the App Store located on your mobile device. After you launch the newly installed app from the device follow these simple steps to successfully complete your first ride with an UBER driver:

  1. Set up your new UBER account, including your credit or debit card information.

  2. From the app’s home screen a map will display; select your current location for pickup.

  3. At the bottom of the home screen, a list of car options appears. Request the appropriate option and wait for a local driver to accept.

  4. If you choose to go with that driver, enter your destination address and tap Continue.

  5. View the cost, ETA, and route and tap Accept.

  6. For your security, only after the driver picks you up will the UBER application show that driver your destination.

  7. When in route, the UBER application will ask for feedback on the driver and charge your credit/debit card for the ride upon completion.

Your first ride with UBER should now be complete. It’s just that easy!

When choosing a car option, some cost more than others. For instance, an UBER X driver would cost less than an UBER Black driver because of car type. Be aware of your options before finalizing your ride.

How to become an UBER driver

If you have decided you want to become an independent contractor for UBER as one of their drivers, you then need to first determine what kind of UBER driver you and your car will qualify for. The following list explains the driver types and which cars qualify for each classification:

  • UBER X — Economy 4 passengers (including the driver)

  • UBER XL — Large cars, vans, or SUVs 6 passengers (includes driver)

  • UBER Plus/Select — European class

  • UBER Pool — UBER XL that includes a split in the cost with additional riders.

  • UBER Black — Most luxurious and expensive option available, often a luxury SUV or luxury sedan that has been commercially insured as a livery vehicle.

After you have determined your car type, you then will need to determine whether you qualify as a driver. The following stipulations are included in the UBER contact upon signing:

  • The car cannot be any older than 10 years (cars manufactured before 2005.)

  • The car must have insurance that is intended for commercial use and not residential.

  • You must have a clean driving record.

  • Due to possible passenger allergies, the car must NEVER have transported any animal or NEVER been smoked in.

  • The car must remain clean, maintained, and street legal at all times.

  • The driver cannot accept passengers while under the influence of any controlled substance.

If you think you qualify, you can easily apply to become a driver from both the mobile application and website.

If you choose to become an independent contractor through UBER, be aware that you are fully responsible for your own federal and state taxes, as well as your Medicare, Social Security, health insurance, and retirement fund.

On top of Uncle Sam nickel and diming you to death; UBER first takes a 20-percent commission! UBER is more appropriate as a supplemental income at best and not really intended for people looking for a work from home or “get rich quick” scheme.