Uber Black and SUV are high-end services that offer an on-demand ride in a luxury SUV or sedan.
Uber Black costs more than twice as much as UberX, so it’s no wonder that some of the highest-earning Uber drivers are Uber Black drivers.
But becoming an Uber Black driver isn’t as simple as buying the right car. Uber Black vehicles must have commercial registration and insurance, and meet state licensing requirements for commercial livery services.
Uber X and Uber XL don’t require commercial registration, so it’s easy for anyone to become an UberX driver. That’s not the case with Uber Black.
The other major limitation is that Uber limits the number of Uber Black accounts in each market. So even if you meet all the extra requirements, Uber may not be accepting new Uber Black drivers in your area.
Most Uber Black vehicles are actually rented from a fleet owner. It’s similar to being a limo or taxi driver—you pay a flat fee to rent the vehicle and keep any earnings.
Want to be an Uber Black driver? Read on to learn more about Uber Black requirements and realistic ways to get started.
- Uber Black Driver & Vehicle Requirements
- Uber Black vs Uber Premier
- Earnings Potential: How Much Drivers Can Make
- Use Your Own Vehicle for Uber Black
- Drive for Uber Black Through a Fleet Owner
Uber Black and SUV driver requirements
Commercial registration and insurance are the main requirements that distinguish Uber Black.
- Commercial Registration
- Commercial Insurance
- All required local permits and, stickers, and other designations for commercial vehicles in your state
- Click here to apply to Uber
Do you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive for Uber Black?
Uber does not require Uber Black drivers to have a CDL or a Chauffeur License. Typically a CDL is only needed to drive larger-capacity vehicles, but your city/state may have special requirements.
Uber Black and SUV vehicle requirements
The vehicle requirements for Uber Black and SUV are much more restrictive than the vehicle requirements for other Uber services.
Uber Black vehicles must be 6 years old or newer. Model year requirements may vary from city to city. Check Uber’s vehicle search tool for the requirements in your city.
The vehicle also has to be in excellent condition, with black paint and a black interior.
Example of qualifying SUVs:
- Cadillac Escalade
- Chevrolet Suburban
- GMC Yukon XL
- Infiniti QX56, QX80
- Lexus LX
- Lincoln Navigator L
- Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Example of qualifying sedans:
- Audi A6 and up
- BMW 5 Series and up
- Tesla Model X,Y, S
- Cadillac XTS
- Infiniti Q70
- Jaguar XF
- Lexus GS
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class and up
Uber has strict standards about the condition of vehicles for UberBlack and SUV
UberBlack has strict standards for the cosmetic condition of the vehicle that are 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
Uber Black vs Uber Premier
Uber Premier has replaced Uber Black as the most expensive Uber service in many cities. The difference between the two is that Uber Premier doesn’t require commercial registration and strict local licensing.
It is much easier to qualify for Uber Premier. You only have to have a qualifying vehicle with a minimum star rating of 4.85 after 250 trips.
Earnings potential: How much Uber Black drivers can make
As the most expensive Uber service, Uber Black has higher earnings potential than other Uber services. A successful Uber Black driver in a busy market will likely be among the highest-paid Uber drivers.
It’s hard to attach a per-hour or per-year dollar figure to Uber Black earnings, but $1000+ per week is achievable.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the rate card for Uber Black and UberX drivers in Los Angeles. The mileage rate that Uber Black drivers earn is more than 3.5x higher than UberX.
(Note that in many markets drivers are paid with the upfront fare model)
There are other factors to consider when you compare the earnings potential of an Uber black driver with the earnings potential of a regular Uber driver.
Uber Black is significantly more expensive than other Uber services, so it typically sees much lower volume than UberX.
As a result, an Uber Black driver may only do a few highly-paid rides per day, while an UberX driver is doing back-to-back lower-paid rides.
Uber Black comes with higher vehicle costs. The vehicles are generally more expensive to purchase, and most Uber Black drivers use SUVs with low gas mileage.
Commercial insurance and regulatory costs from running a corporate entity are other costs you’ll only get with Uber Black.
How to drive for Uber Black with a personal vehicle
Many drivers make the simple plan to buy an eligible vehicle and drive for Uber Black. But the reality is that it’s an expensive and challenging process that isn’t always a good idea for someone new to the professional driving industry.
By becoming an Uber Black driver with your own vehicle, you to additional costs and the regulatory responsibilities of a commercial driver.
That said, it is possible to become a solo Uber Black driver.
Steps to become an Uber Black driver with your own vehicle:
- Check to see if Uber is accepting new Uber Black accounts by contacting Uber
- Start a business entity: LLC, S-Corp, etc.
- Get commercial insurance
- Get a qualifying vehicle
- Get all required local licensing and permits
- Begin the application process
- After background screening, begin driving
Is your area accepting new Uber Black drivers?
You can only start the application process if Uber is accepting new accounts. Uber limits the number of Black cars that can be active in a market to control supply and demand.
To find out if Uber is accepting new Uber Black drivers, you have to contact Uber support or visit an in-person Greenlight Hub. Don’t go through all of the Uber Black hassle sif there are no spaces open!
Contact Uber to find out if there are Uber Black openings in your city
Drive for Uber Black through a fleet owner
The majority of Uber Black drivers don’t drive with their own vehicle. Instead, drivers rent or lease the vehicle from a fleet owner.
After you pass Uber’s background screening, a fleet owner can add you as a driver to their Uber Black fleet account.
You are free to use the Uber app just like any other driver, but your access to the fleet vehicle and your pay depends on what you arrange with the fleet owner.
There are a few common payment arrangements for fleet drivers.
In one arrangement, drivers pay a weekly fee to rent the vehicle and keep any earnings. A slow week can be unprofitable, but a busy week with high-paying clients can be extra lucrative.
Another payment arrangement is to work shifts for a set hourly wage. Shift work is less flexible but provides guaranteed earnings. Hourly work means you’ll earn on slow days, but most of the upside will go to the fleet owner on busy days.
How to find Uber Black driving opportunities
Most fleet owners advertise driver openings online, on sites like Craigslist. Here are some common steps to find an Uber Black driving gig.
- Search the Craigslist.org transportation section for “Uber Black”
- Contact the fleet owner and discuss the terms
- Do background and driving record screening with Uber
- The fleet owner will add you to their Uber Black account
- Agree on payment terms and begin driving
In the transportation category on Craigslist in Los Angeles, a search for “uber black” turns up many different listings offering Uber Black driving arrangements.
Below is an example of an Uber Black driving opportunity where the driver pays a weekly rental fee for the vehicle and keeps all earnings.
The ad below is for hourly shift work. Drivers may get guaranteed earnings, but lose flexibility.
Even though it might not be possible to purchase a car and start your own commercial driving business, driving with Uber Black through a fleet owner can be a good driving job.
Perks of driving under a fleet owner: Most fleet owners cover vehicle maintenance and insurance. Some provide private client work, and Uber Black fills the gaps between private work.
Want to drive for Uber Black? Start by driving with a fleet owner
It’s tempting to try to jump right into driving for Uber Black by buying an eligible vehicle, but the time & money investment is very high. And often, cities aren’t accepting new Uber Black accounts.
Start by driving with a local fleet owner to get a feel for the business. You may find that the local market is lucrative. In that case, consider starting your own Uber Black enterprise.
But you might also find that it’s not worth investing in Uber Black if your local market isn’t busy enough.
Or try UberX first
Another good option is to start with UberX using a vehicle you already own, or a rental. You might be happy with your income as an UberX driver, or you might decide that you want to step up to Uber Black.