When it comes to apps that pay you to drive, one of the most popular categories is food delivery apps.
The rise of the gig economy has created so many new opportunities to make extra money on the side, especially if you have access to a vehicle or bike.
Uber Eats is an undeniable titan in the food delivery space, making it an obvious choice for anyone looking to make extra cash on the side.
So, If you’re considering driving for an app like Uber Eats for your next side hustle, it’s time to break down the ins-and-outs of the app, including everything from what to expect while on the job to how much money you can make.
Delivering food for Uber can be lucrative, today, we’re trying to answer the ultimate question: is Uber Eats worth it?
Let’s find out!
Uber Eats Driver Review
Name: Uber Eats
Description: Uber Eats lets you deliver food by car, bike, or scooter to customers in your city to make extra cash on the side.
Operating System: Android, IOS
Application Category: Gig Apps
Author: Selena Fulham
What Is Uber Eats?
Uber Eats is a food delivery app that connects local restaurants and popular chains to hungry people.
It’s actually the most widely available delivery app, servicing more than 320,000 restaurants in over 6,000 cities across the globe.
As you probably know, Uber Eats enlists the help of everyday people (you) who can sign up as drivers/couriers on the app to pick up the food and bring it to the customers door– all while getting paid.
Working for Uber Eats gives you the luxury of choosing your own hours and making some extra cash, and getting started is quick and easy!
However, it’s important to understand what the job entails, your earning potential, and how you can maximzie your time working for Uber Eats.
How Does Uber Eats Work? – What To Expect On The Job
If you’re wondering what to expect on your first shift as an Uber Eats courier, here’s a rundown of a typical delivery from start to finish:
Just note: you need to make sure you adjust your driver settings to only receive delivery requests.
If you’re signed up to drive passengers as well as Uber Eats, you may receive both requests at once.
If you want to make sure you’re only doing food deliveries, you can contact Uber support and ask to have profiles set up on your account, so you can choose whether you’re completing rides, deliveries, or doing a combination of both.
Anyways, here’s how the process of making money as an Uber Eats driver works:
1. Meet Uber Eats Driver Requirements
Uber Eats is one of the easiest delivery apps to get started with, especially if you’re already registered as an Uber driver.
In this case, you just have to opt-in to the delivery feature as mentioned and accept the terms to start receiving requests.
These are the current Uber Eats driver requirements (the same requirements as regular Uber):
- You must be 19 years of age or older (18 if you deliver with a bike or scooter, which is an option in some cities).
- You must have a valid driver’s license for more than a year.
- Your car must be insured and your name must be listed on the insurance.
- You must drive a vehicle with 2 or 4 doors.
- Your vehicle can’t be older than 20 years and can’t have any noticeable damage.
As you can see, there are also a few requirement variations for scooters or bikes:
Uber also asks you to complete a background check and there may be some extra requirements based on your city, but these will all be listed when you go to register.
Again, this part is important: Uber Eats driver requirements vary by city so check your specific location to see your specific requirements.
Once Uber reviews your application, completes the background check, and clears you, you’re ready to make some money delivering for Uber Eats!
2. Start Accepting Deliveries
Once you’re approved to drive for Uber Eats, all you have to do is head to your Driving Preferences in your Settings, and hit Deliveries to start receiving requests.
The Uber app will then highlight available delivery requests in your area.
You can tap on deliveries to learn more info, like what restaurant or fast food chain the order is coming from, what’s included in the order, and the distance you have to deliver after.
At the start, you might not have the greatest idea about what restaurants are slow in your area, what deliveries are worth it, or how to work optimally.
However, don’t be scared to start out slow and to work on optimizing your routes over time.
3. Pickup Your Delivery
Once you see an order you like, you can tap on the order and accept it within the app before driving there.
Note, this commute time isn’t factored into your pay, but if you’re in a restaurant hotspot, it shouldn’t take you very long to get there.
The restaurant will be expecting you, but let them know why you’re there upon arrival and double check the order name and number to make sure you’ve got the right food.
The food will have already been paid for through the app, so you don’t have to worry about using a credit card to complete payment upon arrival.
If the food isn’t immediately ready when you arrive, you can notify the customer in the app by changing the status to not ready under order details.
This is a good idea because you want to keep the customer up to date and to ensure they know the restaurant is slow, not you (which could negatively impact your tip).
4. Make The Delivery
A basic customer service tip is to try and keep hot and cold food items separate during transport to maintain food quality.
This will ensure the customer is happy and you get a good rating (and hopefully a tip!).
When you arrive at their location, the app provides you with details to find the customer, including intercom and floor numbers.
Right now, Uber Eats is encouraging contactless orders, meaning food is to be left at the door– but you should message the customer through the app to let them know the food has been delivered.
If your delivery isn’t contactless, it helps to advise the customer to meet you outside a couple minutes prior to arrival, which will save you from waiting too long outside of their building.
5. Get Paid
Uber Eats calculates your delivery fare based on several factors.
The formula they use is: Earnings = base fare + trip supplement + promotions + tip.
Here’s what these terms actually mean:
- Base Fare – Considers pay for pickup, dropoff, time, and distance.
- Trip Supplement – This can be added to ensure a trip is worth your time. Uber usually adds this if they notice the time and delivery distance ended up being higher than expected.
- Promotions – Uber charges surge pricing during busy periods. Sometimes, they also mark certain orders as having Boost pay, so this is just a higher multiple on your delivery fare.
- Tips – Uber Eats couriers keep 100% of the tips they receive.
Note that base fare will vary from one city to another.
Thankfully, Uber Eats gives you an estimate of the payment in the request, so you can have an idea of how much you will make on any given delivery.
Payout occurs automatically as long as you’ve connected your bank to Uber, so you won’t have to wait longer than a couple days to see your earnings.
How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make?
Okay, time to really breakdown if Uber Eats is worth driving for or not.
The thing is, when it comes to maximizing profits with Uber Eats, the general consensus is that you need to be strategic about when and where you’re driving.
Driving during meal times (i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner, post-bar) will give you the highest number of orders in the shortest period of time.
Additionally, working from a busy city or suburban area with lots of restaurants will limit travel time and give you the opportunity to do stacked pickups (which we cover later on).
Our friend Grant uses his bike to deliver for Uber Eats and DoorDash in Toronto, CA, where he reports making anywhere from $15-$25 an hour, and busier nights with consistent orders will earn him about $20 an hour.
Looking at reports from US Uber Eats drivers, the average rates are pretty similar if you account for the currency conversion.
Again, this is just an average number, but you need to learn how to work more efficiently and the ins and outs of your city to maximize your earning potential.
How Much Can You Make With Uber Eats In A Week?
If you’re curious about the side hustle potential of Uber Eats over the course of a week, we can do a bit of quick math to get some ideas.
Of course, this obviously depends on how often you’re driving/if you’re driving around the hours of school or a day job, but we can still give a general estimate.
Grant gave us a snapshot of his weekly earnings, from which he made CA $126.81 for 21 trips.
The app says he was online for just under 9 hours, but this includes time spent waiting for an order to come in (during which you can do other things), not just time delivering.
Grant is also only delivering from about 5pm to midnight, so he’s not putting in the maximum amount of hours.
Uber Eats only lets you drive for a maximum of 12 hours in one day, so if you’re doing that for 7 days a week, at a rate of $14 USD, you would be making $1,176 in a week (not including boosts and other promotions).
This is a screenshot from Reddit from a NYC Uber Eats courier, and you can see they earned almost $1,200 in a single week.
However, driving for 12 hours a days//7 days a week isn’t feasible for most people, especially if you’re looking into this as a side-hustle.
If you’re like Grant and only want to deliver in the evenings, you’ll be putting in about 6 -7 hours of time a night, where you can easily make $100 if it’s busy enough.
So depending on how many days you work, you’ll probably be making anywhere from $100-$700 a week with Uber Eats on the side.
Other Factors to Consider
At this point, you may be thinking, “the money seems great! What do I have to lose?”.
Well, unfortunately, there are some hidden costs associated with being a delivery driver– and if you work for Uber Eats, you will be responsible for covering all of these yourself.
Before you jump into this new side-hustle, you may want to consider the following:
1. Vehicle Depreciation
Inevitably, you’re going to be doing some serious mileage driving for Uber Eats, which can take a toll on your vehicle and lead to costly repairs earlier than expected.
This is one of the most major costs of being a delivery driver, which is why Grant and many others prefer delivering by bike or scooter.
2. Fuel Costs
Another inevitable expense of working for Uber Eats, or any gig app that involves driving, is fuel costs.
Uber Eats doesn’t pay you for fuel, so every time you fill up, you’re eating into your total earnings.
Again, you can learn to minimize this slightly by working during less busy times and sticking to a central core of restaurants to hopefully get closer orders.
You can also try the GetUpside app to earn cashback on gas to lessen the sting a bit.
3. Tax Implications
Working for Uber Eats makes you an independent contractor, which means paying Self-Employed taxes (the equivalent of Social Security taxes).
Depending on the yearly rate, this will be around 15% of your net earnings, which means you can deduct the expenses you incur while on the job.
In addition to this, you will have to pay income taxes as well– so expect to set aside about 25-30% of your net income to cover both of the above annually.
Luckily, there are many things you can deduct as expenses to your business, including:
- Mileage ($0.58 deducted from every business mile).
- Service fees charged by the app.
- Parking and tolls.
- Cell Phone – if you have a separate phone for Uber Eats you can deduct 100% of the phone cost and your data plan, but if you use a personal phone you will have to calculate the exact use for business.
- Supplies – this can include anything that helps you on the job, from a phone holder to a GPS system.
- Roadside assistance.
- Car washes and maintenance.
It’s good to get in the habit of tracking all of these things as you go.
We recommend using an app like Hurdlr to track your mileage while delivering and any other business expenses, which will save you some time when tax season approaches.
You can checkout our Hurdlr review for more info!
Tips to Earn More
If you don’t think Uber Eats is worth it because of the hourly earnings and various costs, there are some ways you can be strategic and make even more money on your delivery runs:
1. Double-Up On Uber And Uber Eats
Uber actually lets you receive requests for food deliveries and passenger drop-offs at the same time, so you can eliminate time between requests and maximize your trips by doing a combination of both.
2. Work Peak Times
As mentioned previously, being strategic about when you hit the road will earn you more money and save you from wasting time waiting for requests.
Focus your driving on high-traffic meal times, like lunch, dinner, post-bar, and weekend breakfasts, when you know there will be an influx of orders.
3. Consider Being A Bike Courier
Being a bike courier is an easy way to avoid serious depreciation and eliminate fuel costs.
Granted, this strategy only really applies if you live in a city where things are stacked close together.
However, a bike costs significantly less than a car to purchase and maintain–the fuels costs alone will save you tons of cash.
It may also be a faster mode of transportation if you live in a city with bumper to bumper traffic during rush hour, not to mention it’s a great way to get some exercise into your busy day.
Plus, who doesn’t love getting paid to work out!
Extra Reading – Get Paid To Lose Weight.
4. Stack Orders
Uber Eats actually provides you the opportunity to complete multiple deliveries at once, saving time while increasing your earnings.
While you’re picking up your first food order, you’ll get a notification for another pickup at a nearby restaurant.
If you accept, the app will offer directions to the second pickup location, then you will be instructed to drop-off the orders in the same sequence you picked them up.
Uber Eats will usually apply a multiplier to the rate, depending on your city, to account for distance between restaurants and drop-off locations. So you’ll make a little bit more and spend less time picking up orders overall.
5. Double-Up On Delivery Apps
If you’re up for it, you can run multiple food delivery apps simultaneously and work more efficiently.
Most people will work for Uber Eats and DoorDash at the same time, but you have to be careful since with DoorDash you usually work on shift and have to be timely with your deliveries.
However, you can pause your shift for a total of 35 minutes, which will allow you to squeeze in some Uber Eats deliveries.
You may also find that Doordash isn’t as busy, depending on your city– so you may not need much planning at all to fit the both into your time.
You can also try delivering for an app like Postmates.
Uber recently acquired the service, but is keeping the platform independent from its own.
Ultimately, this is just another opportunity to double up on apps and make more deliveries, so it could be worth a shot if you’re open to more work!
Pros And Cons Of Being An Uber Eats Driver
Your own delivery driving experience will vary greatly depending on requirements and the overall demand in your city, but here are a few of the general pros and cons of working for Uber Eats:
- Flexible work hours: With Uber Eats, you don’t have to schedule a shift, so you can work whenever is most convenient for you.
- Instant payout: Funds are transferred to your account immediately depending on how you’ve set up your payments, so you can be rewarded instantly for your work.
- Combining passengers and food: This feature helps you make the most out of your time and avoid lulls, without having to switch between apps.
- Tax implications: Being self-employed inevitably means tracking your earnings and deductibles and paying out during tax season, which can be an additional burden if you’re already not making much.
- Vehicle costs: Cars are expensive! Gas, maintenance, cleaning fees, and overall depreciation will take a significant chunk out of your earnings.
- Low rates and hard work: Food delivery is a competitive market, and Uber has been known to lower delivery rates to keep up with its competitors. If you want to make the most out of your deliveries, you’ll be putting in the work when others don’t want to– which may mean saying goodbye to your own meal times and weekends.
Verdict: Is Uber Eats Worth It?
If you have some extra time on your hands, delivering for Uber Eats may be a good way for you to make some cash on the side.
However, there is a learning curve to making money with Uber Eats, and you need to learn how to navigate your city efficiently and which orders are worth taking.
If you want to give it a shot, I suggest tracking your earnings and expenses right from the get go.
It won’t take you long to figure out what your bottom line is and if it’s a good long term side-hustle for you.
If you can implement any of the ‘Tips to Earn More’ listed above, it may take a little extra work, but you can make the most out of delivery driving.
Hopefully this article will help you decide if delivering food with Uber Eats is right for you!
Looking for more money making gig ideas? Checkout:
Selena Fulham knows how valuable having a side hustle can be. She’s a freelance content writer with a focus on SaaS, B2B technology, social media, and the art of making money online. Currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Selena can usually be found either drinking coffee, hiking up a mountain, or snowboarding down it.