Update 1/14/2015: As of today, Uber is giving experienced rideshare drivers like yourself up to $500 or $1,000 (depending on your city) after you sign up to drive with Uber and complete your first trip. To qualify, you must prove your have driven on another ridesharing platform BEFORE 1/8/15.
It’s not every day that you can make $500 for about 20 minutes worth of work but that’s exactly what happened to me last week. When I was first contemplating driving for Uber and Lyft a couple months ago, I actually started the sign-up process with both companies. But I found that Lyft’s requirements were much easier to fulfill so once I was approved with them, I withdrew my Uber application.
Fast forward a couple months later and Uber is infamously offering $500 for Lyft drivers to take one ride. For me, this was a no brainer. Even though I popped my rideshare cherry with Lyft, they don’t consider me an employee and I don’t consider myself one either. And the best part about this Uber promotion is that there is literally no risk. You sign up, do one ride and then you get $500. If you hate it, then you can quit and you still get to keep your $500. In fact, this promotion might be best for those Uber haters since you can take some of their money and give nothing back in return.
Got My Friend a Referral Bonus
I drive a 2004 Lexus RX 330 and for a while there I was getting a lot of conflicting information about whether or not I’d even be eligible to drive for Uber. I tried to sign up online to get the $500 but they told me I needed a 2006 or newer car. Luckily, one of my friends who was an Uber driver and wanted to refer me, told me that I could do it with a 2004 or newer car. Eventually, my friend hooked me up with an Uber recruiter and I met him in person to take care of everything.
I’m actually a Lyft Mentor now too so we’ll see if they give me an additional $500 for being a mentor. Based on my dealings with the company so far, I have a feeling they’re going to figure out a way to wiggle out of paying me.
My Uber Recruiter
I live in Orange County but the recruiter I met with was actually an LA Uber recruiter. He was already in Long Beach so we agreed to meet in the parking lot outside of my office in Seal Beach. Unlike some of the stories I’d heard about other recruiters, this guy was super nice and we chatted a bit while he took down all of my information. He even told me that I didn’t have to stop driving for Lyft, all I had to do was give Uber a chance. He also mentioned to me that there was a $35/hour incentive for new drivers that would last until June 30. This is how they get you 😉
There was no test drive, no interview and in about 15 minutes I was approved and almost ready to drive for Uber. I guess Uber figures if you’ve already been vetted by Lyft, you’re good enough for Uber. My recruiter then gave me an Uber phone and took a screenshot of my Lyft driver profile and we were all done.
The whole process took about 20 minutes and within a day and a half I was approved and ready to drive for Uber. I still need to take a couple pictures of my car and get a vehicle inspection form (which costs $20!) and send it in to Uber, but they give you a few weeks to complete those tasks.
I gave my first ride and on the very next statement I got my $500 bonus. Now it’s important to note that if you do make more than $600 in bonuses, this income will be reported to the IRS and you will be issued a 1099-MISC by Uber. If you make more than $20,000 and have more than 200 transactions, that amount will also be reported to the IRS and you will be issued a 1099-K. No matter how much or how little you make though, you need to claim that money on your taxes even though it’s not always reported to the IRS (this is called the honor system).
I’ll be covering rideshare taxes in detail in a future podcast. Subscribe to our e-mail list in order to get notified about new articles and podcasts.
Readers, what do you think about Uber’s $500 promotion to attract new Lyft drivers? If you are a Lyft driver, is there any reason not to take the money?
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