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Uber Eats Review – Is This Delivery Driving Job For You?


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Uber Eats Logo

Our rating

4.1/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upNo car necessary
  • thumbs-upPotential for fairly high pay
  • thumbs-upDelivery fees increase with distance

Cons

  • thumbs-downDrivers are independent contractors
  • thumbs-downSignificant overhead costs
  • thumbs-downNot viable everywhere


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Additional Resources

Uber Eats is a popular local delivery app with a dense network of local merchants, many of which are small, independently owned businesses. These include restaurants, grocery stores, drugstores, liquor stores, and general-purpose retailers.

Operating in more than 100 metropolitan areas around the United States, Uber Eats is powered by a growing army of relatively well-compensated independent contractors capable of delivering most products an hour or less after they’re ordered.

If you’re looking to monetize your spare time by tapping into the gig economy as a delivery driver, Uber Eats is a great way to earn some extra cash. All you need is a car, bike, or scooter and a willingness to out-hustle your fellow couriers. According to the company, Uber Eats workers can earn $25 per hour or more in some markets at periods of peak demand.

Intrigued by the prospect of earning extra income with Uber Eats, one of the premier grocery and food delivery apps on the market? Read on to learn what to expect from the platform, what to watch out for, and how to maximize your earning potential.

Uber Eats become a driver

How Uber Eats Works for Delivery Employees

If you’re willing to brave traffic, the elements, and the myriad pitfalls of the service industry, working as a Postmate driver is a great way to earn extra income outside of your day job, help pay the bills as you work toward a degree, or simply to fill the gaps between full-time positions.

As an Uber Eats courier, you’re classified as an independent contractor and aren’t entitled to a minimum wage or other protections afforded full-time employees. But during peak delivery times, drivers can make $25 per hour or more. Although these results aren’t typical, they’re not bad for a job that doesn’t require a four-year college degree or even much on-the-job training.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

To make it through the initial round of the delivery agent application process, applicants need to meet some basic eligibility requirements:

  • Live in or near an Uber Eats market, although you can work in any of the company’s active markets once admitted to the app
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Own a functional bike, car, truck, scooter, or motorcycle, with valid vehicle insurance if required (Uber Eats also provides liability insurance up to $1 million per incident for each delivery person at no cost to the worker)
  • Have a valid driver’s license, even if you’re only delivering by bike

Uber Eats applicants often have previous delivery experience. That could mean they’ve worked directly for a restaurant, delivered for a logistics company like UPS or FedEx, or picked up hours with direct competitors like Instacart or Grubhub. But it isn’t a prerequisite.

Application and Hiring Process

Uber Eats’ initial application takes just a few minutes. You need to enter some basic biographical and contact information, including your full name, address, vehicle type, and the make and model of your mobile device.

You also need to provide your driver’s license number and Social Security number, and consent to a background check and driving history check (for Uber Eats drivers with motor vehicles). Uber Eats doesn’t divulge what it looks for with these checks, but it’s safe to assume a recent felony conviction or pattern of vehicle accidents would be grounds for disqualification.

If you pass your background check, you’ll need to upload a profile photo and then wait for your Uber Eats delivery bag and prepaid debit card to arrive in the mail. You’ll pay for most pickups with this card. Once your card arrives, you’ll need to complete some final tasks and sign into the Uber Eats driver app for the first time.

Uber Eats onboarding flow

Scheduling and Making Deliveries

If you’re approved to work as a delivery person, you can get to work right away. Whenever you want to make deliveries, simply indicate that you’re available in the app. When you open the app, you’ll see whether Blitz Pricing is in effect in your area (more on that below).

The delivery process is straightforward. For each accepted delivery, you’re shown the order’s complete contents and told where to pick it up. In most cases, the merchant receives the order well before your arrival and has it ready for you as you walk in.

However, it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure this is the case and to check that the order is complete and correct once you arrive. Always ask for an itemized receipt from the merchant. It can come in handy if the customer disputes the accuracy of an order.

Under normal circumstances, you pay for pay-on-pickup orders with your Uber Eats debit card. Adding funds to this card is easy. If you find you’re out of funds when you arrive at the merchant, you should be able to execute a reload in a minute or two, with minimal impact on delivery timing.

For orders paid in advance, you simply confirm the order with the merchant and leave without exchanging any funds. You then take the goods to the customer, accept payment, and move on to the next delivery.

Payment

For each completed delivery, you’ll receive a payment broken down as follows:

  • A variable amount for each completed pickup
  • A variable amount for each completed dropoff
  • A variable amount (paid by the minute) for time spent waiting for the merchant to fill the order (if applicable)
  • A variable per-mile rate covering the distance between the pickup and dropoff locations
  • 100% of tips from the customer

Your entire account balance pays out via weekly direct deposits. Payments for activity during the prior Monday-to-Sunday period hit your linked account by midweek in most cases. If you need funds sooner, you can cash out to a linked bank account using the Instant Deposit feature.

Note that while you’ll always receive 100% of customer tips, you won’t receive all the fees the customer pays. Uber Eats keeps a significant cut of customer-paid fees to cover its own expenses.

Uber Eats does its best to exclude cash-only merchants from its platform, but screening isn’t 100% accurate. If you find yourself at a cash-only business, you can notify Uber Eats support and pawn the transaction off on Uber Eats itself.

You never have to pay for deliveries out of your own pocket and shouldn’t do so under any circumstances, no matter how much the merchant pressures you.

Alternatives to Uber Eats

Uber Eats doesn’t have a lock on the local delivery market, of course. Opportunities to earn money by delivering everyday goods abound, thanks to:

Uber Eats driver requirements

Advantages of Uber Eats

Uber Eats’ top advantages for drivers include not requiring a car to work on the platform, potentially attractive pay, delivery fees proportional to distance, and demand pricing during busy periods.

  • No Car Necessary. If you’re an avid bike commuter, there’s a place for you at Uber Eats. The platform permits bike-only delivery agents in all its markets, allowing people who don’t own cars to earn some extra cash. Other platforms, including TaskRabbit and Bite Squad, require you to have your own car or at least be comfortable with driving one.
  • Pay Can Be Attractive. Uber Eats brags that its delivery people can make $25 or more per hour, including tips. Although this isn’t guaranteed, and you probably shouldn’t expect to earn so much on your very first shift, your earning power is higher here than in most other service-industry jobs — and on many competing grocery food delivery services.
  • Delivery Fees May Rise With Delivery Distance. To account for higher out-of-pocket fuel costs and greater time investments, Uber Eats may compensate delivery people more for longer deliveries, increasing the likelihood they’ll accept out-of-the-way jobs. Some competing platforms’ delivery fees are proportional to the size of the order, not the distance. That means drivers on long-distance deliveries must hope for higher tips, which aren’t always forthcoming.
  • Demand Pricing Is an Additional Earning Incentive. Uber Eats pricing changes in response to demand, offering a powerful incentive for idle drivers to get out to delivery hot spots during peak hours and make money. By jacking up delivery fees by 50% or more, Uber Eats ensures its workers are compensated fairly during rush periods when they have to work harder. It also increases the likelihood of faster delivery for customers because there are more drivers on the clock.

Disadvantage of Uber Eats

Uber Eats’ disadvantages include workers’ independent contractor status, potentially high overhead for those with gas-powered vehicles, and limited availability in smaller cities and metro areas.

  • Delivery People Are Independent Contractors. All Uber Eats delivery people work as independent contractors. They’re responsible for tracking their own tax liabilities and paying their own expenses, such as fuel and car insurance. They also have to eat the cost of an illness or injury because Uber Eats doesn’t offer workers’ compensation, sick days, or paid time off. And they also don’t have much in the way of job security — they can be kicked off the app basically at will.
  • Overhead Can Eat Into Earnings. Uber Eats delivery perople, particularly couriers using their own cars, deal with fairly high overhead costs that can eat into their ability to make extra money. They’re responsible for the cost of fuel, vehicle insurance, parking, and possibly other expenses.
  • Not Viable in Many Locations. Uber Eats operates chiefly in metropolitan areas. If you’re out in the boonies, Uber Eats isn’t a viable extra-income option. Larger logistics firms, such as Amazon, and regional grocery delivery services often have a presence in rural areas. But they’re not guaranteed to pay as well or schedule workers as flexibly as Uber Eats.
Uber Eats paid to deliver

How Driving for Uber Eats Stacks Up

How does driving for the Uber Eats app compare to driving for other popular delivery apps like Instacart? Let’s take a closer look.

Uber EatsInstacart
Potential PayUp to $25/hourMinimum $10/order
Vehicle OptionsCar, bike, scooter, footCar, but in-store options are available as well
Independent Contractor?YesDepends on position — drivers are ICs
Items DeliveredRestaurant food, groceries, sundriesMostly groceries

Final Word

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median U.S. hourly wage paid by private employers was right around $30 per hour as of early 2021. Many jobs that pay more than $25 per hour require a four-year (or longer) degree, union membership, or many years of workplace experience.

Workers without these advantages, including millions of adults who string together multiple retail and food service jobs to support their families, often make far less — under $10 per hour, in many cases.

From this perspective, working as an Uber Eats courier is an attractive proposition, even if it’s not a full-time gig. All you need is a bike or car, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to move quickly when the job demands it. That’s less than many other sharing economy gigs require and might be enough on its own to make Uber Eats worth it in your book.

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Uber Eats Logo

Our rating

4.1/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upNo car necessary
  • thumbs-upPotential for fairly high pay
  • thumbs-upDelivery fees increase with distance

Cons

  • thumbs-downDrivers are independent contractors
  • thumbs-downSignificant overhead costs
  • thumbs-downNot viable everywhere
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

FEATURED PROMOTION