Uber Black and Uber SUV are Uber’s high-end car services that give users an on-demand ride in a luxury SUV or sedan. Uber Black rides cost more than twice as much as UberX, XL, and Select rides, so it’s no wonder the highest-earning Uber drivers drive for Uber Black.
There are two significant differences between driving for Uber Black and the other Uber services: Uber Black drivers must have commercial licensing and registration, and Uber Black cars must be late-model luxury vehicles or SUVs. Far more people qualify for the other Uber services like UberX because those services don’t require any special licensing, insurance, or vehicles.
Getting commercial insurance and registration is an expensive and challenging process that requires you to spend time and money, so becoming an Uber Black driver is not for everyone. Uber also limits the number of Uber Black accounts in each market. Learn the requirements for UberBlack below and find out if Uber is accepting new Black accounts in your area.
Uber Black and Black SUV driver requirements
Commercial registration and insurance are the main requirements that distinguish Uber Black from the other Uber services (See Uber driver requirements for the other services).
- Commercial Registration
- Commercial Insurance
- Vehicle Inspection (See the inspection here)
- All required local permits and, stickers, and other designations for commercial vehicles in your state
Do you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive for Uber Black?
It depends on your city and state. In many cities and states Uber does not require Black drivers to have a CDL or a Chauffeur License, but regulations vary. Typically a CDL is only needed to drive larger-capacity vehicles, but your city/state may have special requirements. To see the type of licensing Uber Black requires in your city, visit uber.com/drive/*your-city*/, for example uber.com/drive/los-angeles/.
Uber Black and Uber SUV vehicle requirements
The vehicle requirements for Uber Black and SUV are much more restrictive than the vehicle requirements for other Uber services. Only a handful of larger luxury cars and SUVs qualify for Uber Black service. The vehicle also has to be in excellent condition, with black paint and a black interior.
Which vehicles qualify for Uber Black and SUV?
- Cadillac Escalade ESV
- Chevrolet Suburban
- GMC Yukon XL
- Infiniti QX56, QX80
- Lexus LX
- Lincoln Navigator L
- Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
- Audi A6 and up
- BMW 5 Series and up
- Cadillac XTS
- Infiniti Q70
- Jaguar XF
- Lexus GS
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class and up
Model year requirements for Uber Black: 2012 – 2014 and up
The model year requirement for Uber Black and SUV varies city to city. Los Angeles requires vehicles 2012 or newer, but many other cities require 2014 or newer. Check help.uber.com for the exact year requirement in your city.
The full-sized luxury models like Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and Lexus LS also qualify to be an Uber Black car, but in some markets those cars qualify for an even higher-end service called UberLUX.
Uber has strict standards about the condition of vehicles for UberBlack and SUV
UberBlack has very strict standards for the cosmetic condition of the vehicle that are much more difficult to meet than the cosmetic standards for UberX vehicles.
- Black exterior
- No noticeable dents
- No visible paint scratches
- No stickers
- No paint flaws like oxidation
- No badly repaired body parts
- Must have factory emblems
If you’re looking to buy a car to drive for Uber black, start by looking for cars and auto loans here:
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Two paths to becoming an UberBlack driver: Use your own car, or rent a car from a fleet owner
If you want to drive for UberBlack, there are two primary ways to go about it. You can use your own car and navigate all of the regulations necessary to qualify for Uber Black, or you can work for a vehicle fleet owner who has an Uber Black account and eligible vehicles.
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How to drive for Uber Black with your own car
When most people learn about Uber Black, they might imagine buying their own eligible vehicle and getting started on their own. The reality is that it’s an expensive and challenging process that isn’t a good idea for someone new to the professional driving industry. By becoming and UberBlack driver with your own vehicle, you are committing to starting a business, with all the costs and responsibilities that go along with owning a business.
Steps to become an UberBlack driver on your own profile:
- Get a qualifying vehicle
- Get commercial insurance
- Start a business entity – LLC, S-Corp, etc.
- Acquire all local licensing and permits required
- Be accepted by Uber, only if they are accepting new Black accounts
Getting started with UberBlack is an expensive and time consuming process. And once you go through all of the steps necessary to get started, most commercial drivers find that private work is more regular and lucrative than waiting for Uber rides through the Uber system.
Uber limits the number of UberBlack accounts. Is your area accepting new Uber Black drivers?
Uber limits the number of Black cars that can be active in a market in order to control supply and demand. With the other Uber services, you can apply at any time and get started as soon as you complete the application process. But with the Black and SUV service, you can only start the application process if Uber is accepting new accounts.
If you’re hoping to break into the Black market, you’ll first have to find out if Uber is accepting new Black drivers by contacting Uber support. Don’t go through all the hassle and expense of figuring out commercial registration and insurance if there are no spaces open!
To find out if there are UberBlack positions open in your city, contact Uber.
How to Drive for Uber Black in someone else’s car: Rent from a fleet owner
Chances are high that your market isn’t accepting new Black or SUV accounts, and even if it is, it might no be possible for you to purchase a car and start your own commercial driving business. That doesn’t mean you can’t drive for UberBlack. Your local livery market, which is already operating under all the regulations involved with professional driving, is a big participant in the Uber Black market.
The reality is that most Uber Black vehicles are owned by fleet owners who use their vehicles for all sorts of professional driving services. Uber is one way that fleet owners use their vehicles, and they often rent or lease the cars out to local drivers.
You can find jobs driving Uber Black cars for fleet owners or individuals who have Uber Black accounts. Typically you pay a weekly fee and the owner covers insurance expenses. The fleet owner then adds you as a driver on their UberBlack account, and you rent the car on a weekly or daily basis. Many offer a fare split system where you and the company split fares 50/50, or some other fraction.
How to get a job as an Uber Black driver for a fleet owner
- Search the Craigslist.org jobs section for Uber Black jobs
- Contact the fleet owner and apply
- Do background and driving record screening with Uber
- The fleet owner will add you to their Uber Black account
- Pay the weekly rental/lease fee to the fleet owner
Some perks of driving under a fleet owner: Most fleet owners cover vehicle maintenance. Some offer gas credit cards. Some provide private client work and Uber Black fills the gaps between private work.
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Vehicle transitioning: When your car gets too old for Black
After a vehicle becomes too old, it no longer qualifies as an Uber Black car and gets re-classified as a lower-cost service. Uber calls the aging out process ‘transitioning.’ You can replace your car with a newer one and retain your status as a Black driver, but only if you replace it before the date provided by Uber. If you wait too long, you won’t be able to replace your older car and still be a Black driver.
Want to drive for Uber Black? Start with a fleet owner, or start with UberX
It’s tempting to try to jump right into driving for Uber Black, but the investment you’ll need to make into your commercial licensing and insurance is so high that it would be smarter to drive for a fleet owner first, see if you like the job, then decide if it’s worth the investment to meet the Uber Black requirements on your own. You might end up driving full time for the fleet owner, or doing the work required to get your own Uber Black account.
I also recommend getting started with UberX if you’ve never driven professionally before. You’ll be in control of your vehicle and your account, and you’ll quickly be able to tell if you like driving as a profession, and you’ll find out if you want to become a professional driver.
Other professional driving opportunities
- GroundLink: Black-car service with schedule and on-demand rides
- Blacklane: Professional rides with a focus on airport trips