Should You Drive For UberBlack?

So let’s say you’ve got a nice new car and it’s in great shape. This should be enough to drive for UberBLACK, right? Well, not quite. Harry here with the Rideshare Guy and today I’m going to answer a question that I get super frequently, all the time, over at the Rideshare Guy.

Take a look at my video on Uber Black, then check out the video transcript below to see all the points I cover.

“Can I or should I drive for UberBLACK?” Now, I totally get it. It’s tempting to look at the UberBLACK and SUV rates and see $2 a mile, $3 a mile, and you sort of want a piece of that as a driver. But first off you have to understand that UberBLACK and UberSUV is actually Uber’s commercial vehicle platform.

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UberBlack and SUV are Uber’s commercial platforms

In order to drive for UberBLACK you have to have commercial insurance which costs around three to five thousand dollars a year. And you have to have taxi or limo licensing. So these are two big requirements that you do not need as an uberX driver, uberXL, UberSelect. Basically, all the other non-commercial platforms don’t require that.

Now, complicating things a little bit further is that Uber actually limits the number of BLACK and SUV cars that can operate in each market. For UberX there’s no limit, as you may have noticed. But for UberBLACK there is a limit. And most cities are no longer taking new applications for UberBLACK or UberSUV drivers. Plus, as you can imagine since UberBLACK and SUV is so much more expensive, it’s not nearly as busy as uberX, right? There’s a lot more downtime, which is good and bad.

How do you actually become an UberBlack driver?

Let’s say you get all that and you still want to get in on UberBLACK and get a shot. How do you do it? So the easiest way is actually to go through what they call a fleet owner. Now, a fleet owner is someone who back in the day got that UberBLACK license and got a car, you know, with commercial insurance. They got that all on the platform and set up. And basically they have a license to operate on UberBLACK and UberSUV. And like I said, there’s a limited number of these licenses.

And what these fleet owners do, typically they’ll have a fleet of cars. You pay them, you can rent a car from them and drive for UberBLACK. And you’ll pay them a weekly fee, maybe around $500 a week, and they cover all the maintenance and the car and all that. All you’re responsible for is that weekly fee every single week. Or, you know, sometimes it’s a little more flexible.

If you’re looking for one of these fleet owners, no, they don’t necessarily advertise in the traditional places. You know, it’s going to be tough. You probably can’t go to Uber and find them, but I’ve seen them advertising on Craig’slist and Facebook. I’ve even seen signs on the street looking for drivers. You know, there’s really no great repository for looking and finding these UberBLACK driving type jobs.

Creative ways to find fleet owner’s who will rent you an UberBlack vehicle

You might have to do some searching. Get creative, right? Go talk to existing BLACK car drivers, see what their experience is like. You know, they tend to hang out in areas. You can look on the map and see where they’re hanging out. They might be around the nice hotels or even at LAX. And go talk to them about their experience. See if there’s openings at the fleet owner that they’re working for. Or maybe they’re not working for a fleet owner, but you can learn a little bit about it that way.

For the most part though, UberBLACK and UberSUV is really a bit of a different animal because of, you know, sort of those two big requirements that you need all the extra licensing . And also just the fact that it’s hard to do it right now on your own as an individual driver. It’s going to be very difficult. I’ve heard of some sort of black market dealings where you can go and buy these licenses from another fleet owner. But that, I’m sure, is pretty expensive.

It’s tough to work for UberBlack, and it may be a dying segment of transport

Since you have to work through a fleet owner, as you can imagine there are some that are more flexible than others. But it’s probably not as flexible as just doing uberX or doing UberSelect on your own. So you do have the opportunity though, for example, to do private rides on UberBLACK and SUV and build up your clientele that way and work for UberBLACK.

There’s other sort of limo operators that you can work with so you have more options in that capacity. But I definitely feel like that’s a decreasing business model now, especially just even though it is limited, especially with the fact that when UberBLACK and uberX first came onto the scene in 2013 it was maybe only double or triple the price. Now it’s five to six times cheaper to take an uberX than an UberBLACK or an UberSUV.

You can imagine, probably, that a lot of those UberBLACK customers, you know, maybe now they say, “Hey, you know, in the past I took it but now it’s just so much cheaper to take an X, and the experience is not five times better.” Kind of like that first class versus coach when you’re flying plane. I think we’ve definitely seen that hurt a lot of the market, and that’s what I’ve heard from BLACK car drivers.

There may be a decent opportunity if you can find the right fleet owner, of even find one in the first place. But, honestly, I think you’re probably better off doing uberX on your own. Or UberSelect maybe even, or uberXL, because that’s definitely an area where you have more control. The barrier to entry is not as high and you can get a little bit more creative there. I think there’s just a better opportunity there for someone who’s really entrepreneurial and kind of really looking to take things to the next level.

If you guys do have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below. Or send me an email. All right, drive safe everyone!

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