Gig work isn’t a new concept for truckers. Long before this work trend got its name, truckers were operating independently as owner operators. They’re used to dealing with brokers and logistics companies. After all, they are their lifeline.
It was only a matter of time before big tech made its way into trucking. With the launch of Uber Freight, owner operators and carriers now have one more option for finding and booking loads. But how does their carrier program work? What are the driver requirements?
What is Uber Freight and How Does it Work?
Uber Freight is like regular Uber, but for truck drivers. It connects drivers with freight shipping companies, allowing carriers to book loads directly through their app.
Uber Freight was launched in 2017, and the company continues to invest in its expansion.
The process of finding, booking and delivering loads is really no different than when working with other brokers. Uber Freight is technology-focused, and the intention is to streamline the booking process so that drivers can get moving (and get paid) more quickly.
Here’s what you need to know about Uber Freight as a driver to better understand if it is a worthwhile addition to your business.
Booking a Load
Uber Freight drivers book loads through the Uber Freight load board in the app. Robust search filters make it easy to find suitable loads. Tapping a load can provide you with more information.
Booking is as easy as tapping a button.
Once you arrive at the delivery point, the app will send you a notification, and you’ll have to go through several steps to submit proof of delivery.
Here’s how it works:
When you receive the notification from the app, tap it.
Once your trailer has been unloaded tap the button to complete delivery and let Uber Freight know that your trailer is empty.
Upload the POD. Use your phone’s camera to take a clear picture of the proof of delivery. Submit ASAP (within 24 hours) to ensure timely payment.
Add any other documentation as needed.
You can choose to upload your documents later if you’re unable to do so right away. The app will remind you to submit your documents.
When drivers run into problems before, during or after an active load, they can get help from Uber Freight’s support team. Just tap the headset icon in the app to get in touch with someone.
In-app support can also help with:
Changes to an assignment
Uber Freight’s Tracking Policy
Uber Freight’s tracking policy requires the following status updates from drivers:
Dispatched 3 hours before the pickup
Arrived at the pickup
Left the pickup
Arrived at the delivery location
The company requires that all status updates be provided through an automated system, such as the web portal, Uber Freight app, third-party data aggregators or ELD integration.
Using an automated tracking source will help improve your driver scorecard and reduce the number of tracking calls you receive.
How Does Pricing and Payment Work?
Uber Freight’s prices are generated automatically using their proprietary algorithm, which uses real-time market data. In some cases, drivers can bid on loads. If a big is accepted, Uber Freight will still try to negotiate to get the price as close to their expected price as possible.
Carriers are paid through ACH direct deposit or using a factoring company. In order to get paid, you’ll need to make sure that you have submitted an acceptable proof of delivery (POD). Payments are released to carriers the Wednesday or Friday after an acceptable POD has been submitted.
You can view load payment statuses via the app or web portal.
Lumper and Detention Compensation
If you have a valid lumper receipt, Uber Freight will reimburse you for lumpers. But you’ll need to submit your receipts within 24 hours of delivery to be reimbursed. And if lumper services are not allowed at the facility, your request will be rejected.
Detention requests must also be submitted within 24 hours of a delivery. Uber Freight’s detention requirements are as follows:
Be on time to the scheduled appointment.
Submit your in-app request within 24 hours of delivery along with a signed BOL that includes documented in and out times for all completed stops.
Your trailer must be odorless and clean.
Equipment must be compliant with load requirements.
How to Become an Uber Freight Driver?
Uber Freight Equipment Requirements
Uber Freight has strict requirements for equipment. To haul loads, you must have one of the following:
Reefer: 53’ trailer; 43,500lb. weight capacity
Dry Van: 53’ trailer; 45,000lb. weight capacity; vent at front and rear
Flatbed: 48’ or 53’ trailer; 48,000lb. weight capacity
All plated trailers must:
Have interior walls without wood paneling
Have swing doors
Be at least 102” wide
Be food-grade and damage-free
Uber Freight Driver Requirements
There are several steps you need to take to become an Uber Freight driver. When signing up for an account, you’ll need to provide the following:
Proof of insurance
You can’t have an unsatisfactory or conditional safety rating. You’ll also need to agree to their contract. Drivers can only be added after an account is approved.
Uber Freight Insurance Requirements
To drive for Uber Freight, you must meet their insurance requirements and show proof of your insurance when signing up for an account.
To meet their insurance requirements, you must have:
A minimum of $1 million in auto liability
A minimum of $100,000 in cargo liability
Coverage for reefer breakdowns if you’re a reefer carrier
The Pros and Cons of Driving With Uber Freight
Booking a Load is Easy
It’s easy to find and book a load through the Uber Freight load board. The app allows you to search for and sort loads by:
Length of the haul
Rate per mile
These filters make it easier to find a load that meets your requirements. Once you’ve found a load that you want to book, all you have to do is:
Tap the load to see more details.
Tap the “Book Load” button at the bottom of the page.
You can also book back-to-back loads if you want, but availability will be dependent on the other load’s delivery time, the distance between each location and the amount of time spent at each facility.
In some cases, bidding is available for loads. In this case, you can either submit a bid or book the load. If you want to bid, all you have to do is enter the rate you want. The app will let you know if your bid was accepted or rejected.
Reloads can Keep Your Truck Moving
Uber Freight gives drivers tools to keep their trucks moving and minimize empty miles. When you book a load, you’ll be able to see a list of backhauls or reloads, which are loads available for pickup near your delivery location. These can be booked after your load, so you can move from one job to the next.
You can tap a reload to view more information about it and book it if you want.
While there are some potential benefits to driving for Uber Freight, there are some drawbacks that truckers need to consider.
Inaccurate Load Information
Some Uber Freight drivers have had issues with loads stating that they’re a certain weight, and once the truck is loaded, it turns out to be more than the listed amount.
Drivers shouldn’t haul more than they’re being paid for. Drivers who find that a load is heavier than advertised can argue with Uber to get paid their fair share. However, it won’t be easy. Expect to spend hours going back and forth with Uber Freight to get paid a fair rate in these situations.
It’s not uncommon for drivers to run into issues with incorrect load information, and unfortunately, many carriers and drivers are not properly compensated for these inaccuracies.
Getting Detention Pay is a Hassle
Getting Uber Freight to pay detention is a hassle, and this is an issue that’s not unique to Uber Freight. Still, it’s an issue that should be noted.
The company only pays detention on a case-by-case basis, which usually means that requests are rejected.
Even when they’re not, Uber Freight will only pay for up to 5 hours of detention. Some drivers have been stranded for days because Uber Freight provided the wrong information in the load details.
Support is Lacking
When you do run into issues during a load (which is common in the trucking business), support is supposed to be just a tap away. It is, theoretically, but getting actual help is a chore.
In most cases, the call center folks don’t have an immediate answer. They simply submit a support ticket. And if drivers don’t follow up with phone calls and emails, that ticket will likely just sit there.
Uber Freight does have performance expectations, and if you don’t meet these expectations, you could lose your ability to haul loads.
As a carrier, you’ll be expected to maintain:
At least a 95% on-time performance score for pickups and deliveries.
At least an 85% tracking automation rate.
No more than a 5% last-minute cancellation rate.
For your on-time performance score and last-minute cancellation rate, Uber Freight looks at your last 40 loads that you’ve booked. For your tracking automation rate, they look at your last 10 loads.
Uber Freight does offer some tips to help you improve your scores if you’re struggling, but these expectations are something you should keep in mind when signing up for an account. Make sure that you’ll be able to fulfill loads on-time before you take a job.
Uber Freight is one of the more popular shipping platforms for carriers, and it continues to attract new drivers despite these drawbacks. If you can look past these faults, Uber Freight does offer a streamlined way to find loads and – more importantly – get paid.