Ya, okay, so you've heard of Uber. It's that ummm, well, like a taxi service, right? C'mon ladies and gentlemen, this is the 21st century! Taxis were so 1983. So then, I'm here to bring you up to speed on this really great concept that you can either use to catch a ride or pickup as a part time (or full time) job and earn a paycheck.

It is kind of what you thought. This company provides a service to the public in which one can request transportation for a fee. Your driver has been verified through Uber to carry a valid in state driver license and current vehicle insurance and registration. The vehicle has passed a mechanical and safety inspection by an Uber approved mechanic or body shop and payment for your ride is a seamless process done right through an app on your mobile device.

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That's it. Catch a ride, pay for it, be on your way.

For drivers, it can be a little bit more complicated. Of course, the sign-up process is pretty quick and easy so long as you have all your verifications in order, and the app does everything but the driving for you. But, how exactly can you leverage Uber as a side gig? You're even welcome to work full-time if you have the time. So, there must be a few tricks to becoming a successful freelance contractor/driver.

Sure there are! Follow these tips to ensure a lucrative and gainful experience driving for Uber...

The real trick is in setting your own hours.

Freelance work can be as glorious and full of freedom as you want it to be. It is important to remember that you are still working to make money though - so make it count. Manage your time well and the payment rewards will be on par with your goals, or better!

This type of contract work is going to be what you make it, no matter what. The service is available to anybody that has signed up on the platform, so all you need to do is log on when you're ready to 'work' and you will be on your way. The real trick is in setting your own hours. This may seem like something you could do in the middle of your afternoon while you're just killing some time out and about, but you will manage your time (and income) better if you have some kind of schedule to adhere to.

Set your own hours, but be honest with yourself. Only work when you know you can be completely available for a set amount of time. Try to set some kind of time frame each day/week/month that suits openings in your schedule best. Remember, you're trying to make extra money, and you are not trying to be so tired doing it that it actually feels like a real job.

Also, try to setup a region according to your own general activities so you can maneuver your schedule around things you need to get done for yourself too. If you have a shopping trip coming up, maybe there is someone that needs a ride going that direction. Perhaps you'll be in town for a meeting. Login before you head home to see if someone is looking for a ride. You might even notice repeat riders in your locale. This could generate business if you have your schedules synced.

With that said, try to make regulars. This will help you remain close to your allocated region and pick up more regulars in that same area. Make new friends and build your social networks. It will reflect in your earnings, too! Don't forget to learn who and where other drivers are in your city. Who knows, you might need a ride yourself one late evening or an early morning trip to the airport. It's always nice to have a solid network.

Otherwise, some more obvious yet also necessarily pertinent details to running your own freelance driving business include your vehicle. Keep the gas tank topped off at all times. Just be prepared. If you're working on a schedule (like you should be), at least fill the tank before you begin your route(s). It's professional and your riders will notice.

Keep your vehicle in tip top shape. You do not want unexpected repairs popping up when you are supposed to be on your way to a pickup. Save 5-10% of your income earnings generated from driving for your car. At least! Depending on how much you drive, it may be wise to save more.

While you're making repairs, buy an air freshener. Make sure you vacuum out the back seat after taking your dog to the vet and keep the kids' toys stowed away in the trunk. Remember to leave room for your rider to place luggage, groceries, or other items they may be carrying with them.

You should also be saving taxable income from your earnings. This should be a no-brainer but some of you may not realize that you will be asked to report this income at the end of the year. Stash away at least 10% of your pay to make that payment at tax season. Don't forget that you can also write off expenses for your business. Save receipts for gas, repairs/maintenance, and other costs related to your work.

Be professional. It's easy to pull up to the curb and allow some stranger to get in your car for a trip around the block. Take it a step further and dress the part. You don't have to wear a tuxedo, but don't wear sweat pants either. Open the door for the ladies, gentlemen. In this day in age, chivalry goes a long way, it could even land you a great tip.

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Finally, there are a few perks for Uber drivers. Streamline your business with driver-partners' discounts at the pump and other routine maintenance offers from places like Auto Zone and Jiffy Lube. If you have a phone service plan with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, you can save up to 18% on your bill, even sharing the savings with your immediate family. Uber also partners with Pandora to give you and your riders free music. It's available to you whether you're 'on or off trip'.

Driving for Uber can actually be fun. Stick to your schedule, keep yourself and your car in good shape and make some friends, all while earning some extra cash!

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