Can You Drive For Uber With A Felony?
If you have a felony conviction and are struggling to find work, Uber jobs can be a good option to earn a decent income, while maintaining a flexible schedule.
Currently Uber hires felons.
However, your particular chances of getting a job with Uber or Uber Eats will depend on many specific factors. We will discuss a felon’s chances of becoming a driver for Uber, and lay down the requirements of this job.
Even if you think your chances of getting hired as a felon are slim to none, you should still apply!
The financial incentive is worth it: some drivers make upward of $1,000-2,000 per week. The average driver reportedly makes about $1,300 per week, which is equivalent to $20-25 per hour. Not too shabby! So how can a felon start driving for Uber or Lyft?
UBER needs new drivers, and they want YOU!
Ride sharing is a very competitive business. Lyft, along with its main competitor UBER are very aggressive at recruiting new drivers. Both offer hefty sign-up bonuses of as much as $2,000, depending on your city, for new drivers!
Currently, UBER accepts about 10-15% of applicants with a past felony conviction. That is one out of 10-12 people that can get a great paying job in the fast growing industry.
However, 90% of applicants never take the necessary steps to apply. They fill out the initial application, but never finish it. So if you do apply – finish your application process!
These companies NEED more drivers, especially in new markets, and are very aggressive in their hiring process, and business development. Even more so after UBER’s self-driving program fiasco, which was supposed to be rolled out by 2019, but is now pushed back at least by 3 years!
This means that Uber will be looking to hire 1000’s of new drivers, to provide service to over 330,000,000 US population.
However, with massive push back from riders – complaints of robberies, sexual assault and even murders, both companies are under serious pressure and scrutiny to improve background checks on their drivers.
While both companies claim to run very thorough criminal background checks and be very strict in their driver selection process, the reality is that there are MANY folks who should not be drivers (based on their criminal records), but they are, and make very good money.
Do understand, that our goal is NOT to make it look easy to get a ride sharing job when you have a felony. The majority of people even with low level felonies get denied from this line of work. However, we know many who do get these jobs.
Numerous factors can be at play here, and THE BIG ONE is your location. In some areas, depending on demand for drivers, both Uber and Lyft are more open to considering people with a past criminal history.
Uber Background Check
Overall, the guidelines and process for conducting a background check at Uber are pretty much the same as at Lyft. Sex offenses, violent crimes and drug related charges are grounds for automatic disqualification. Often it does not matter how long ago the crime took place.
On the other hand, based on word of mouth reports from felons, Uber seems to have a more lenient hiring policy for ex-cons. Many people report getting a job with Uber, while at the same time being denied a job at Lyft.
What this means is that you should apply with both companies, because you never know where your luck with catch up with you.
Being deactivated as a driver!
There have also been reported cases of being suddenly deactivated after working for Uber for some time and having a stellar driving record and close to 5 star reviews.
Unfortunately, this is something that can happen, because Uber can choose to run a random background check on any driver at any time. Felons report failing a subsequent background check, after passing the initial one during the hiring process.
There is not much you can do, if you get deactivated as a driver and loose your job. The best word of advice if you are considering getting into the ridesharing economy is to look at it as a part time, temporary gig.
Since you can loose this job at any moment, you should try to be prepared:
– try to have some savings to fall back on
– look for a more stable job as you are working for Uber or Uber Eats.
– enroll into a degree program that can set you up for a more promising career in the future
What you should do if you are hired by Uber
Ok – this is a huge topic, and falls outside the scope of this guide, so I will only cover the basics here.
First of all, you need to always keep in mind that it is VERY easy to lose this job and if this happens – that’s it, THERE IS NO GOING BACK!!!
So follow the tips bellow 100%, and most likely you will not get “deactivated”. I have several friends who were ride share drivers, but for stupid mistakes were deactivated and cannot ever get back in again!
Once you are approved as a driver, you need a CAR – a decent car, or at the very least “newer” and very clean! Some will say “duh!” but trust me on this one.
- Your car must be in very clean/pristine condition: No rust, smoke, falling tail pipes, broken windows, or trash inside. No ripped trim either! If you get several complains for the quality of your car, you will be banned!
Basically you don’t need to have a brand new or even a 2-year old vehicle, but definitely not a clunker.
- Be extra polite with riders: If you get several bad reviews, and your rating falls (there is no hard number, but 4.5 out of 5 stars is bad), you will be banned.
Many drivers now days offer free water bottles to riders, and vacuum their cars every 5-10 rides!!!
- Get a Dash Camera!!! Most ride share service drivers now have dash-cams, to protect themselves from frivolous/meritless accusations or in case of an accident, to have hard proof.
Felons need a dash-cam much more so than regular drivers, because if you get wrongly accused, you will be “guilty by default” without video evidence. Definitely stay away from cams under $100 … This video footage may be a deciding factor in your life, so spend $200-300 on a great cam to be sure that you have the evidence when/if you need it!
You need a dash cam that films in front of your car as well as inside (with secondary rear view camera) the car. Don’t buy cheap cams – they are garbage, and often will not make a recording, that you need (even if they appear to be working). I made a mistake of getting a cheap dash camera, and when I needed it, there were no videos, while the camera was rolling 🙁
- You need a smart phone to install the ride sharing app, so you can drive customers. Everything happens through this app, so I recommend a decent Android phone or an iPhone 5s or newer. Your phone will also be your navigation!
Along with a phone you will need a decent car-mount to place it on. Here, I recommend a magnetic mount like Schoshe, which makes it very easy to take the phone off and put it back on with one hand, in less than 1/2 second! Don’t get operated mounts, as they are a driving hazard.
As for the phone itself, it’s very personal, and depends on you provider (AT&T / Sprint / T-Mobile / Verizon / Prepaid). With Sprint / Verizon, you pretty much can only use carrier phones (no unlocked options). For AT&T / T-Mobile, I recommend an unlocked phone, like Blu Life One X2 or Blu R1HD or Sony XA or Unlocked iPhone 5s or newer.
Moreover, an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to change carriers, and you won’t get stuck in a two year contract.
How to behave with passengers
- Never ask for tips! While Lyft allows tipping, you should never ask for tips. First, most people will leave tips anyway through the app. Second, if they did not leave a tip – that is fine – many people are just cheap. However, if you ask for it or complain, you WILL get bad review. Once again – just a handful of bad reviews and you are off the job forever!
- Don’t tell them that you are a felon! Ok, so I am all for transparency, but if you want to make someone very scared of you – tell them you have a conviction, while you drive them … J/K … never do that.
- NO ROAD RAGE If you drive aggressively, you will most likely be fired the first day! All ride sharing service companies are very strict about safety. One or two complains about dangerous driving is enough to get you deactivated! There is no going back, once you are out.
- Don’t make awkward conversations with riders. Many people don’t like talking with strangers – just drive them and that’s it… unless you get a talkative type. Then just keep a casual conversation going without being too personal.
- Be on time Many people are in a hurry, and use ride sharing for fast inexpensive transportation. Don’t come 15 minutes late for your pickup. If you want to eat lunch – turn off the app and you will not get any ride requests at that time.
- Don’t smoke in the car Riders often think of themselves as hip and cool, and today smoking is NOT considered cool. So definitely don’t smoke in the car with the rider in it, but also don’t smoke in the car when alone. I do smoke, but I hate the smell of cigarettes. So when I need to, I just pull over, and get out.
Here is a good “training video” if you are considering getting int this line of work:
Once you are setup and ready to start driving for Uber
Ok, assuming you get the job and set everything up with you car, phone, app, camera, etc, – you first ride should be during off-peak day hours… like between 11am and 3pm. Pick up and drive a few clients, and be EXTRA nice and polite. Ask your riders how their day goes, offer water, etc.
Mention that you are new and that this is your first day, and ask – would they care to give you some tips (as in ADVICE). This will open up the conversation and make time go by fast. This will also make your passenger have positive emotions about you – increasing your chances of getting tips and good reviews.
Additionally, in the beginning, you should also have your friends ride with you (through the app) and give you initial positive ratings.
Lastly, you may find yourself strapped for cash, and having to pay for car repairs, gas, incidentals, etc. In this case, consider applying for a bad credit credit card (chances are you have poor credit:)) and paying for what you need this way. Just be careful not to run up a huge balance that you will not be able to pay back, which will further ruin your credit.
Ok – this should about cover it for now – if you want more advice – hit some Lyft / Uber forums – they are a good place to start.
If you do not qualify (felonies that are less than 7 years old), you should still try to apply, unless 7 years is coming up soon. Also, check out our trucking jobs guide, as truck companies can be much more lenient with hiring felons.
Let us know in comments below if you were able to get a driver job with a felony.
UPDATE ON UBER: As of 2018, Uber began doing repeat criminal background checks on all existing drivers, through a new service called Checkr. Here are types of convictions that will prevent felons from getting a driving gig at Uber:
“Driver candidates cannot have a conviction for a felony, violent crime or sexual offenses, or a registration on the US Department of Justice National Sex Offender public website”.
Therefore, if you have a misdemeanor conviction, you will most likely be ok. However, there have been many cases where people with past misdemeanors have lost their jobs after a repeat background check.
uber just deactivated my account and I’m not sure how they even got my info as it was on a 410/second chance probation which is supposed to mean, after completing all of the probation requirements that you are not convicted, or that it won’tshow up on your record hence the “second chance”.. So I’m actually blown away. Not to mention. I’m also going through an autoimmune disease and this is the best way for me to work right now while I’m dealing with my symptoms. Actually starting to work again after losing my full time job, because of covid19 pandemic, felt so good. Really good.
now I’m on my couc lost and really scared. I can’t believe it’s legal for them to okay you as a driver then fire you later. maybe when they have too many drivers they weed them out.
I applied for all the apps. DoorDash , Grubhub, denied me for “failed background check”. I was able to deliver for UberEats for 1 month before I was suddenly deactivated during a delivery. I now deliver for a more righteous company.
This reflect defenseless discrimination. A convicted felon does not have a right to work. Everyone should be able to earn a honest living, not be impeded by unfair hiring policies by a company worth billions.
We aren’t constitutionally protected. And we are talking about the most basic type of work: delivery. Anybody can deliver food, packages, groceries. Why are we finding it hard to maintain a source of income from these companies? What steps can be taken to change minds about us? Lawsuits? Protest? Strikes? Maybe all 3. But. I advocate 1st to seek to assert rights violated.
In my case I had 4 degree where i paid 250$ for the offence more then 24 years , I get a email back saying contact Lyft, so far I try and no respond ..
What if you were convicted of a crime you did not do? Do they at least give opportunity of explanation? Many people lose cases simply because the other side could lie better than you could tell the truth. Now days prosecutors do anything to win and lying seems to work best instead of presenting facts.
Everyone knows court appointed lawyers are not there to actually represent people. They are simply there to show on record representation was present. They are not there to defend anybody if anything they help the prosecutor. They earn minimal rate so their paycheck is bigger according to how many cases they handle. The prisons need bodies to get paid.
Cases are determined by money, who’s lie is more believable and facts very rarely play a huge role if any role at all. Fact is rarely even involved in cases. From what I’ve seen speculation is the new way of justice.
We all know thousands are imprisoned and innocent and very few get the attention to file suit and very few felony charges are expungeable. Innocent or guilty.
No matter what,…… charges are never deleted from a record even if it is a mistake or typo they will not remove it. So what is your option then? Welfare.
You’d be surprised how many hard working, innocent people are caught off guard by a bogus allegation to lose in court and their life is destroyed. Nobody cares about these people. That’s why its so easy for the system to railroad them in the first place. Prison is a big money industry and people are just bodies that carry a soul temporary.
Dont lyft and uber drivers get assaulted/ robbed/ raped by criminal riders sometimes? Or do those only use taxicabs?
Uber changed their policy. They no longer hire felons. So if it shows up in your background check, it doesn’t matter if it’s for opening your neighbor’s mail, you’re considered to violent to hire. If it doesn’t show up you’re good.
I had worked for both Uber first drive for 2.5 years and was diactivated, then Lyft for 18 months and was also deactivated, I have a Federal Felony “white collar”, these companies like many others do not care what kind of felony you have or when it is from is a felony and your out and the few companies that say publicly that they will hire a felon they never do, also the article mention get a degree on something guest what most degrees require a state or federal license that will no accept a felon period.
In reply to all that have mentioned ‘slipping through cracks’, ‘past catching up’ or similar inane comments – take time to read my entire posting, please. I didn’t slip through any cracks and nothing caught-up with me. I was fully forthcoming about all past incidents and background in my initial interview. The ‘past’ we’re talking about, in my case, is over 30 years ago, sans any subsequent, police contact. That, taken in consideration with fact of my having been gainfully employed and successful in all areas of life ever since – including a year with UBER with highest star, customer satisfaction rating and numerous additional praise directly from customer’s themselves says enough. Dismissal based on past, already acknowledged and known convictions is outright, groundless discrimination. This is a very serious issue directly impacting many people’s lives (customers as well as drivers). If one’s going to comment at least remain factual, present a cogent argument for your position; not simply express feelings or opinion on the subject. Opting out of further notifications to replies on this, taking this last opportunity at attempting to dispel some of the ignorance seen in some of the comments here. Good luck to all. Don’t allow other’s ignorance to impede your progress. Nothing going to change we’ve just got to play hand dealt best we’re able.