In the real world, just because you have the right tools and the knowledge to use them does not necessarily mean you can turn professional overnight. As one Liverpool fan found out, just because you brought Portsmouth from League Two back into the Premiership on FIFA 15 does not qualify you to manage your favourite club. However, third-party booking apps like Uber would have you believe that all it takes is a car and a valid driving license to start making money with them. Is it really that simple?
Let’s take a quick look at what you need to do to become an Uber driver in Singapore.
1. What are the minimum requirements?
Unlike taxi drivers, it’s actually quite easy to qualify to be an Uber driver in Singapore. All you need to be is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, at least 25 years old and holding a valid Class 3/3A license for a continuous period of at least 1 year.
All Uber drivers need to register a limo car company with ACRA. This is easily done online and doesn’t take more than 20 minutes. It’ll cost you about $65 though.
If you’re planning to apply to be an UberExec driver – that is, Uber’s private limousine service – then you also need to have at least two years of professional driving experience as well.
That’s it, really. There’s no need to apply for a vocational license, or attend any training unlike taxi drivers. Oh, but you do need to have your own vehicle.
2. What are your vehicle requirements?
Most cars are eligible for UberX, that’s how basic the requirements are. Essentially, UberX cars need to have four doors, are less than 10 years old (2006 or newer), have a capacity of 1.4L or larger, and be in good working condition.
Basically, just about any car that isn’t a Chery QQ. Which isn’t saying very much, honestly.
For UberExec, the eligible models are understandably much more limited. Only BMW 5 or 7 series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and S-class, or Audi A6/A7/A8 are eligible. Oh, and Toyota’s minivans, the Alphard and her sporty cousin the Vellfire, as well.
All vehicles must be black, and no older than 2010.
Your vehicle needs be a commercially registered (Z10) car with commercial insurance coverage. If you’re planning to use your own private car as an Uber car, then you need to get it converted to a commercial car. You can do this through LTA. Essentially what you’ll be doing is transferring ownership of the car from yourself to your company.
Obviously, you don’t have to own your Uber car. If you did already own a BMW 7 Series, you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time providing professional driving services for others. Because of the perceived hassle of converting a private car to a commercial one, or simply because Singaporeans don’t want to wear out their own expensive cars prematurely, most Uber drivers rent their car. Uber has a list of Preferred Rental Partners, although it’s not a requirement to lease your car from one of them.
3. What are your insurance requirements?
We talked about getting commercial insurance coverage on your vehicle. Uber suggests negotiating with your insurance company to retain your No-Claim Discount when making the change from private car insurance to commercial insurance.
Alternatively, when you rent a car, you should check that your rented car already has comprehensive commercial insurance, including service and maintenance.
4. What are the costs you have to prepare for as a potential Uber driver?
As we mentioned earlier, you will need to pay to register a sole proprietorship for your new “limo car company”. That should set you back by $65.
Assuming you’re planning to drive your own private car, your comprehensive commercial car insurance should cost you around $2,500 depending on the insurer. Of course, this amount may vary depending on how good your negotiating skills are regarding the NCD.
You will also need to transfer ownership of your car from yourself to your company. This can be done through LTA and it will cost you $15.
If you choose to go the rental route, you can expect to pay about $50 to $55 a day. But of course you’ll save on the insurance costs.
5. What about other costs after you start driving?
Well, depending on how much you plan to drive, and what model of car you drive, your petrol costs could range between $35 or $65 a day. So be sure to apply for the best petrol credit card, it’ll definitely go a long way in lowering your costs.
Ultimately, driving with Uber, if you believe the hype, is all about earning what you deserve. Since there are no minimum driving restrictions, you’re not obliged to work harder than you want to. I guess, at the end of the day, the true cost is how much of your own personal time you’re willing to spend in order to maximise your earnings.
Are you currently an Uber driver or a former Uber driver? We want to hear about your experiences!