Uber Eats Review: How much do Uber Eats drivers really make?

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Are you looking for a way to make extra money in your free time?

One side hustle idea is delivering food with Uber Eats. Various restaurants partner with the delivery app and pay you to deliver the order to the customer. But with several delivery services to choose from, is Uber Eats the best option?

This Uber Eats review looks into how you can make up $15 an hour. Plus, you can get advice from actual drivers to maximize your income.

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Summary

Uber Eats is a flexible side hustle to earn money driving your bike, car or scooter. You get to choose which trips you drive and can receive daily payments. The pay is competitive with other food delivery apps. However, you might earn more for your effort being a rideshare driver or pursuing an online side hustle with fewer expenses.

What is Uber Eats?

People have been making money delivering with Uber Eats since 2014. It is part of the better-known Uber rideshare service. Driving with Uber Eats means you deliver food instead of transporting people around town. This can be a less stressful side hustle if you are not comfortable being a rideshare driver.

Right now, maybe you use Uber Eats to order food or drinks for an office, date nights or just because you don’t feel like leaving home. Restaurants need delivery partners to feed their hungry patrons. For this reason, using a delivery app like Uber Eats can give you an idea of how to be a successful driver.

How to Make Money Delivering with Uber Eats

Making money with Uber Eats is similar to other gig economy jobs. You choose which assignments and hours you want to work to make money. Typical part-time food delivery jobs require you to work a shift or a minimum number of hours each week. But Uber Eats is very flexible. Whether you are available for an hour or all day, you can make deliveries when it’s most convenient for you.

To deliver food, log into the Uber Eats app and accept open delivery orders. After completing the delivery, you can accept another delivery gig to continue making money.

Besides locally-owned restaurants and cafes, it’s also common to deliver for national brands including:

  • McDonald’s
  • Five Guys
  • Firehouse Subs
  • Starbucks

Driver Requirements

Uber Eats is available in over 100 cities in roughly 40 states.

These are the requirements:

  • Age requirements: Must be at least 19 years old to deliver by car or scooter (18 years old if delivering by bike).
  • Vehicle requirements: Own an automobile that’s a model year 1999 or newer. Scooters must be 50cc or less. You must have a current driver’s license, vehicle registration and automobile insurance.
  • Physical requirements: Must be able to lift to 30 pounds. Most orders only weigh a few pounds, but you never know when you will need to deliver to a party.

Local laws may require a higher minimum age to deliver in your city. Also, you must have at least one year of driving experience if you plan on driving your car.

Uber Eats lets you deliver by bicycle in select urban areas. But when logging into the app, you will need to state that you ride a bike. This way, you’ll receive shorter trips than scooter and car delivery partners can qualify for.

The Uber Eats driver requirements are more lenient than becoming an Uber driver. For instance, you are not required to be at least 21 years old and own a four-door vehicle. The flexible requirements make Uber Eats a legit way to make money in college.

How to Become a Delivery Partner

Joining Uber Eats is pretty straightforward. Expect the initial onboarding process to take between three and seven days to complete.

Step one is completing an application on the Uber Eats website which takes several minutes. Then you wait with Uber Eats to complete a personal background check. Current rideshare drivers might be able to gain approval within 24 hours because they have already completed the background check. If you plan on driving a car or scooter, you will need to pass a driving record check too. After passing the background checks, you can begin making deliveries.

Some applicants must visit their local Uber office to complete the application process. Having to make an in-person visit can delay the onboarding process. Some drivers report waiting up to one month to complete the background check. And you may visit the office to receive an insulated food bag, if desired.

Delivering with Uber Eats

With Uber Eats, everything you do (from accepting delivery trips to requesting payment) happens in their mobile app.

The Uber Eats mobile app works for Android and Apple devices. You will need a GPS-enabled smartphone to accept delivery gigs. To clarify, the app uses your current location to offer available deliveries. Being in a restaurant district can increase your odds of receiving a trip offer.

When a trip becomes available, you will receive a “ping” that states where the restaurant is. You will only see the name and location of the restaurant. In some cases, the restaurant can be 15 minutes from your current location. Also, you don’t find out the delivery address until after you pick up the food. You may have to drive one mile or even up to ten miles away to deliver the food.

You may decide to decline the request if the restaurant is too far away from your current location. Or you may not want to deliver for a specific restaurant because they have a history of not having the food ready on time.

After accepting a trip, you go to the restaurant, pick up the order and make the delivery. The order information and customer’s address will also be in the app after accepting the assignment.  

Some cities offer curbside delivery so you can send a text message to the customer asking to meet you at your car. Otherwise, you will need to park and walk to the customer’s front door.

How to Get Paid

You request payment inside the Uber Eats app. The standard payment frequency is one payment at the end of each week. Uber now offers a FlexPay option where you can request direct bank deposit payment one day a week. Your earnings will be accessible in your checking account within two or three days.

A quicker (but potentially more expensive) payment option is the debit card. You can request payment up to five times daily to your debit card. To avoid the $0.50 cash out fee, you can get a free Uber debit card.

Uber Eats Driver Pay: How Much Can You Earn?

Based on several Uber Eats driver interviews, you can expect to earn between $10 and $15 an hour before expenses. These expenses include Uber Eats fees, income tax, vehicle maintenance, gas and parking. To earn up to $15 an hour, you will need to accept multiple trips each hour. Most trips pay between $4 and $12 per trip excluding customer tips.

Driver pay can vary by city and time of day, but all Uber Eats drivers get paid by the trip.

How much you earn per trip depends on these five factors:

  • Pickup fee: Initial payment for arriving at the restaurant. Most trips pay between $1.50 and $2.50.
  • Mileage: Uber Eats pays a flat fee per mile between the restaurant and drop-off location. They base the distance on the shortest route, not the actual miles you drive.
  • Time: The driving time between the restaurant and the drop-off location.
  • Drop-off fee: You collect another fee for dropping the order off.
  • Customer tip: Customers can leave an optional tip using the Uber Eats app.

Uber Eats deducts a service fee from the gross earnings, and you keep the difference. The exact amounts can differ but expect Uber Eats to keep 25% of your earnings.

You don’t get paid for the time it takes to drive to the restaurant or waiting for the restaurant to complete order. For instance, if a customer orders a milkshake, the restaurant may not begin making it until you arrive. Thus, it is less likely to melt before reaching them. But long waits or drive times can cause you to earn less than minimum wage. This is a common complaint even the best food delivery apps.

Still, even if you only work an hour shift, Uber Eats can be an easy way to earn $10 a day.

Uber Eats Bonuses

There are three ways you can earn more per trip without relying on customer tips or accepting more rides.

Boosts

During peak demand times, you can earn more by delivering food within a certain area. Uber Eats calls this bonus a “boost.” If a boost is active, you will see the bonus area highlighted on the city map in the Uber Eats app.

Quests

Sometimes, Uber Eats offers quests that pay a bonus when you complete a certain number of trips within a specific amount of time. If you complete the required number of trips, you earn a cash bonus.

Multiple Orders

If there are multiple orders for the same restaurant, you might have the option of accepting more than one trip at a time. Although you only earn one pickup fee, you earn mileage and drop-off fees from each customer.

Do Uber Eats Drivers Get Tips?

Yes. Uber Eats drivers can receive tips through the mobile app. But customers are not required to leave a tip. Many drivers state that customer tipping is uncommon so you shouldn’t expect one with most deliveries. You might be more likely to receive a tip by delivering food from upscale restaurants instead of fast food chains like McDonald’s.

However, there are several ways you can increase your chances of receiving a tip by trying to provide the best customer service possible.

Financial coach, Whitney Hansen, recommends attaching a small business card to the food bag. The business card can thank the customer for their order and state how your Uber Eats income is helping you achieve a specific goal.

Advice for New Uber Eats Drivers

Driving with Uber Eats isn’t difficult but following some of these suggestions experienced drivers share can help you earn more money.

Order from Uber Eats Before Driving

Before you accept your first assignment, try ordering a meal through Uber Eats. This lets you see how Uber Eats works from a customer’s viewpoint. You can see first-hand how the driver delivers your food and their level of customer service. Then you can adopt the habits they performed well to improve your odds of receiving a tip.

Track Your Mileage and Expenses

Like many side hustles, Uber Eats considers you an independent contractor. That means they don’t withhold income taxes from your payments like most traditional employers. Instead, you receive a Tax Form 1099 each tax season that reports your annual earnings. This entire amount is subject to federal and state income taxes.

Tracking the mileage driven and expenses like parking and tolls help reduce your taxable income. These tax deductions help lower your tax bills and indirectly boost your side hustle income.

Buy Insulated Food Bags

Josh Overmyer recommends buying insulated food bags. These bags help keep food either warm or cold. Delivering the food as fresh as possible increases the likelihood of receiving a tip.

Uber will provide these bags for a security deposit of about $7 each. Another option is buying a bag online from Amazon or other stores.

Drive During Boost Times

Whitney Hansen also recommends driving during boost times. You will earn more per trip.

You may need to avoid certain restaurants in areas where the delays from extra customer volume and road traffic can negate your bonus income. Learning these areas comes from experience. As you complete more trips, you will know which areas help you make the most money.

Consider Rideshare Driving Between Uber Eats Trips

Like any side hustle, there will be periods of the day when there are very few food orders. You might consider driving with Lyft or Uber in between trips. Rideshare driving can also earn more per trip if you are willing to transport people.

You might follow this strategy to minimize your downtime. It can also be a good option when the only Uber Eats pings for restaurants are further away than you are willing to drive.

If you plan on being a rideshare driver and also an Uber Eats driver, you should carefully choose your food deliveries. Josh Overmyer used to do both side hustles at once. He received a bad rideshare driver rating one time because the passenger didn’t like the aroma from the previous Uber Eats food order that was still in the car.

Avoid Time-Consuming Restaurants

Mastering this tip can require driving a few trips and knowing your local geography.

There are three reasons why you might decline certain trips:

  • You must drive 10 or 15 minutes to arrive at the restaurant
  • The restaurant is notorious for long wait times
  • Parking is difficult or expensive

Remember that you don’t start making money until you pick up the food. Making some money is better than not making anything at all. However, time-consuming trips may not be an effective use of your time.

Positives and Negatives for Uber Eats

Like anything, there are pros and cons to delivering with Uber Eats.

Pros for Uber Eats

  • Flexible hours
  • Daily payout
  • Can deliver for multiple restaurants
  • Lenient driver and vehicle requirements

Cons for Uber Eats

  • Don’t get paid for waiting for the restaurant to complete an order
  • Can only be busy certain days and hours of the week
  • Won’t always receive a customer tip
  • Not available in every city

The Bottom Line

Delivering food with Uber Eats can be less stressful than being a rideshare driver. Still, there are vehicle expenses that you must factor into your income. But if you are comfortable using your vehicle to deliver food, this can be an engaging way to make extra money.

Are you going to become an Uber Eats delivery partner? Why or why not? Let us know why on our Facebook page.

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