By Melodie Veldhuizen
Are you unemployed at the moment but own your own vehicle? There are many other people without a vehicle who have to go to work every day or who due to circumstances (for instance the car has to be serviced) need alternative transport for a day or two.
An Uber driver could provide a transport solution to a person in need and at the same time earn an income. The advantages are that you can work as you prefer in any place and at any time, choose how you want to be paid, and determine your own schedule.
Excellent driving skills: As a driver to whom his client’s safety is foremost, you will at all times apply the skills you acquired during your driver’s training. A good driver drives fast where he can but he can drive slowly when he must. Avoid an aggressive driving style such as sounding your hooter, flashing your lights, giving somebody the finger and using foul language. Anticipate other people’s actions and react accordingly.
Professionalism: You yourself are responsible for observing your work ethics and high professional standards. As an Uber driver you are running your own business, so to speak, which requires basic business skills, organisational ability, decision-making capabilities and time management expertise. You will have to make decisions about the best routes to use, be able to plan your daily schedule and also be able to make fast decisions abour matters that could pop up during a trip. Flexibility and adaptability are essential as you could for instance receive a call after you have already committed yourself to a trip and have already planned your schedule for the day. Professionalism also includes self-motivation. Because you are your own boss, you yourself decide how much you are going to work or want to work and how much you want to earn per day. Be honest and courteous by not taking unnecessary roundabouts or driving in such a way that you have to stop at every traffic light or to extend time and distance to make your client pay more.
People skills: It is extremely important to communicate and interact with all types of people. You must have the ability to evaluate you client within seconds to determine, for instance, whether he or she likes to talk or prefer not be questioned. Be sensitive to a person’s frame of mind – a person on their way to hospital to visit a loved one may not be in a mood for small talk. It is extremely important to win his or her confidence so that he or she can feel safe and at ease. Therefore, treat everybody with respect, courtesy and friendliness. In addition you must be able to stay calm in all circumstances such as heavy traffic or a crisis. Every client, trip and situation is uniue and unpredictable. Although you cannot control other people’s behaviour, you are in control of your own reaction to their behaviour. This includes your client’s actions, other drivers, unfavourable weather conditions and heavy traffic, traffic jams and accidents (which can ruin your planning). Be patient and control your emotions. If, for instance, you are transporting a client who is blind or using a wheelchair, ask courteously whether he or she needs help and what type of help is required.
Communication skills: Efficient and honest communication is essential. To an Uber driver this means, inter alia, to give direction indications or to answer questions about the vicinity. Involve your client in a conversation if it looks as if he wants to chat, but also respect reservedness. A thick skin may be necessary at times in order not to take an angry or irritated client’s attitude personally. Good listening skills and the ability to show empathy when a person shares his frustrations with you could come in handy. Sometimes it is necessary to stay modest and even to apologise although you feel you haven’t done anything wrong.
Research and planning: It is important for you to know the most important mainroads and shortcuts in your vicinity. Keep up to date with the most popular and well-known places of interest in your neighbourhood such as bars, restaurants, museums and other places of importance such as hospitals, guest houses and shopping centres. This will ensure that you get your client to his destination fast and also to answer their questions. When a client makes an appointment make sure that you key in the correct address on your GPS or Google Maps so that you do not waste time unnecessarily.
- How to register as as Uber driver in South Africa
To register you have to go though the process electronically step by step. Only the basic information is given here.
Register on this website: https://www.uber.com/za/en/drive/requirements/. You need an email address in order to register. Details required at registration are your name and surname, password and cell-phone number. Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
Electronic copies of the following documents are required at registration:
A valid South African professional driver’s permit (PrDP); driver’s profile photo; driver’s evaluation certificate (a requirement only in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Gqeberha); safety screening certificate. The following are also required: Uber operators card (double disc); commercial vehicle insurance; operating licence obtainable from the Department of Transport.
Driver’s evaluation and background check/screening test (BCG)
This must be done before registration because the certificates must be attached during registration. With a view to client safety it is essential that prospective Uber drivers undergo a screening test to see if he has a criminal record. In order to ensure the safety of Uber drivers and their passengers all Uber drivers are expected to complete a driver’s evaluation and background check (BCG). There are several bodies that do this evaluation and the costs vary between R140,00 and R160,00. For more information see: https://www.uber.com/za/en/drive/requirements/
- Requirements for vehicles in South Africa
You may only use your own vehicle as an Uber if it complies with the following requirement: Uber reserves the right to revise the criteria below regualarly and without prior notice. The vehicle can be inspected at any Tiger Wheel and Tyre (TWT) or DEKRA to make sure that it complies with all the minimum requirements.
Hatcback is acceptable on UberGo.
5-door hatchback (not older than 2013 model)
4-door sedans (not older than 2013 model)
From 1 January 2022 only sedans 5 years and younger (2017 model) will be acceptable for UberX requests.
Automatic braking system (ABS), airbags for drivers and passengers
The vehicle must be in a good condition without any visible damage.
If you do not have your own vehicle you can rent a vehicle or join a vehicle fleet. https://www.uber.com/za/en/drive/vehicle-solutions/
As soon as you have taken all the above-mentioned steps, you can activate your account and start earning money.
Uber rates differ from town to town. For the calculation of rates, see https://www.uber.com/za/en/drive/requirements/.
Decide beforehand to what extent you want to enforce rules in your own vehicle, such as the adjustment of seat belts, the opening and closing of windows, and smoking and eating in your car. Bring these rules to your clients’ attention in time.
- For telephonic enquiries: 080 017 2956
It sounds like a tedious process to register as an Uber driver, but you and every Uber client will be grateful and feel safe with all these safety precautions.
It is only less tedious than to apply for any other job but at least you don’t have to struggle with red tape, a quota system and the requirement of previous experience and in addition you’re your own boss.