If you’re thinking about driving for a gig-sharing app, you might wonder, ‘Is Uber Eats worth it?’ It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular apps, and they’re located in 5,500+ cities, so it has to be good, right?
Everyone must form their opinion about whether driving for Uber Eats makes sense, but I’ve outlined everything you should consider when deciding.
Is Uber Eats Worth It as a Driver?
If you wonder if Uber Eats is worth it, you must know how it works.
It’s a gig-sharing app, so it’s not like you have set hours or a boss to answer to. You operate as an independent contractor, choosing when you work, how much, and which orders you accept.
How Uber Eats Delivery Service Works
The Uber Eats delivery service is run quite well. You don’t have to worry about sales, answering to anyone, or even punching a time clock.
If you decide to drive for Uber Eats, you must get approved. The requirements aren’t hard to meet. Then, after approval, you download the Uber Eats app and log into your account.
When you want to deliver food, you set yourself to be available and monitor orders. Then, when you see an order you want, you accept it. Uber provides the best route to the restaurant and the customer’s house. Your job is to follow the directions, pick up the food, and deliver it with a smile.
In addition to compensation from Uber Eats, you can also make tips. The better customer service you offer, the more you’ll earn. So you are your own boss and in charge of your own income.
Taking advantage of incentives like Quest and Boost can make Uber Eats one of the best paying delivery jobs available.
Uber Eats Driver Details
The number one factor most people are concerned about is compensation. After all, you’re considering Uber Eats to make money.
So how do you get paid?
Compensation for Drivers
Uber pays drivers a flat fee, but it has costs, too, so don’t assume you’ll make however much Uber Eats charges customers. You have to pay a fee to Uber to use their platform to make money.
The good news is you keep 100% of the tips you earn. So the better customer service you provide, the more you can make. Customers can leave a tip when placing the order, pay a tip in cash, or increase/add a tip after you deliver the food.
Tips to increase your tips:
- Provide excellent customer service.
- Through the app, communicate with the customer throughout the pickup and delivery process.
- Provide extras like straws, napkins, and condiments.
- Always be friendly when dropping off their food.
I talked about the company fees or platform fees briefly. Typically, Uber Eats keeps 25% of your earnings if you drive a car or scooter and 30% if you deliver by bike.
Uber Eats calculates your fees based on the pickup fee for the area and order size, mileage, and drop-off fee. Then, they deduct 25% or 30% from that amount for their take on the deal.
Since you’re an independent contractor, you must pay your taxes; Uber Eats won’t withhold anything for you. You’ll be responsible for both employee and self-employment taxes.
Keeping track of your mileage and other expenses is essential since you’re running a business as a food delivery driver. You may deduct some of your expenses on your tax return, but it’s always best to discuss it with your tax advisor.
Most Significant Expenses Drivers Face
Uber Eats drivers must cover their own expenses, and since your car is your office, the costs can be high.
The largest expenses drivers face include the following:
- The cost of purchasing/leasing a car
- Car insurance
- Car maintenance/repairs
- Vehicle depreciation
- Car registration costs
- Cost of a smartphone and the monthly bill for the plan
- Health insurance (if you aren’t employed full-time elsewhere)
- The cost of trading your time for Uber Eats driving versus something else
You must consider the driver requirements when determining if Uber Eats is worth it. Fortunately, they aren’t too extensive, so most people with a clear background and driving history qualify.
Minimum Driver Requirements
- Be at least 19 years old
- Have a reliable car with 2 or 4 doors
- Have a valid driver’s license and car insurance
- Provide your Social Security number and submit to a background check
The background and driving history check is the most significant part of the process. Even if you have a driver’s license, proof you’ve driven for at least a year, are at least 19 years old and have a reliable car, Uber Eats must ensure you qualify with a background check.
They do the background check through Checkr, which can take up to a week to complete. Then, when Uber Eats receives the background check, they review it and decide if you’re eligible.
Anyone with a serious criminal history won’t qualify and won’t be eligible for the waitlist. However, if you have minor infractions, such as misdemeanors or more than three speeding tickets, you might be waitlisted until enough time has passed.
Criminal issues require a 7-year timespan between the incident and Uber Eats approval, and driving infractions have a 3-year timespan.
Benefits of Being an Uber Eats Driver
There are good and bad sides to working as an Uber Eats driver. First, let’s consider the good.
Flexible Pay Day
Uber Eats pays weekly, but if you have an emergency and need funds now, you can access your funds within two hours after earning them through Instant Pay. Of course, there is a small fee to access your funds early, but it’s nice to know you can have them when you need them.
When you drive for Uber Eats, you are your own boss. You can work as much or as little as you want. They don’t require you to work a certain number of shifts or tell you what hours to work. Instead, you can play around with the days and times you work to see when it is most beneficial for you to work financially.
Minimal Vehicle Requirements
Unlike Uber drivers, Uber Eats drivers aren’t required to drive a certain type of car or have a car that’s a particular year. Instead, they only require a reliable car to deliver food to customers safely. This makes it much easier to start a side gig without too many restrictions.
A Great Source of Income [Secondary Income]
Uber Eats income usually isn’t enough to live off, especially if you have a family, but it can be great supplemental income. So whether you work a full-time job and want a little extra money for fun, to meet specific goals, or need additional income, Uber Eats is a great source.
Because you can work when you want, you can work a lot when you need the money, and relax when you don’t. If you want to optimize your earnings and make the most of your time, some drivers drive for both Uber Eats and Uber simultaneously.
You Are Your Own Boss
If the thought of answering to another boss after a long day at your full-time job doesn’t excite you, driving for Uber Eats might since you are the boss. All Uber Eats requires from drivers is that you pick up the orders you accept, deliver them on time, and be courteous to customers.
If you have good reviews and handle the app properly, you don’t have to answer to anyone except yourself.
No Dress Code When Working
Uber Eats doesn’t even tell you what to wear. Since you’ll be in front of customers, you want it to be appropriate, of course, but anything casual is fine.
Uber Eats Pro Rewards Program
Uber Eats recently released a rewards program to help drivers further. The rewards are points that help you climb tiers.
Each tier offers more rewards or discounts on services, including:
- Gym memberships
- Roadside assistance
- Tuition coverage
- Car maintenance
Uber Eats Pro has four levels. Everyone starts in the Green level and can work their way up to higher tiers with the following points:
- Blue: 0 to 399 points
- Gold: 400 points
- Platinum: 800 points
- Diamond: 1,200 points
The higher the tier, the more significant the discounts or rewards.
Here’s how to earn points:
- 1 point for every delivery
- 2 points for working lunch hours, 12 PM to 2 PM
- 6 points for working dinner hours, 5 PM to 9 PM
Opportunities for Driver Bonuses
Uber Eats often runs promotions too. When they need more drivers in an area, especially when there are events, they’ll pay more per delivery to encourage more people to drive during that time.
Typical Problems Uber Drivers Face
While there are a lot of good sides to being an Uber Eats driver, there are problems drivers face that you should understand.
The Challenge of Double Orders
Sometimes, you get lucky enough to get two orders at the same restaurant. This is a great way to maximize your time and minimize your miles. In a perfect world, you pick up orders simultaneously and deliver them to your customers.
But, the problem many drivers have is the first order is ready, but the second is behind. So, now you have the problem of deciding whether to wait and let the first order get cold, leave to deliver the first order and come back for the second, or cancel the second order.
It’s a balancing act you must be comfortable handling to ensure you get your deliveries out and keep customers happy.
The Challenge of Curbside Deliveries
Curbside deliveries became common after the pandemic, but most people are comfortable answering their doors nowadays.
However, you might encounter situations where you can’t get to the customer’s door. Either they have a gated community or live in a complex that requires a key or code to get through the door.
This puts you at the mercy of the customer to respond to you instantly and get the food from you. In addition, it could set you behind on your other deliveries if they don’t respond or take too long.
The Challenge of Missing Items
It’s your job to check orders before you leave the restaurant if you want to provide great customer service.
However, if you check the order and the items are missing, you must contact the customer and ask them how to proceed. Some will cancel the order, and others might want you to wait.
The key is communication. If you inform your customers of the issue and let them decide, they’ll be happy with your service. But, it could put you behind if they decide they want you to wait for the items, which can mean lower pay.
How to Sign Up as an Uber Eats Driver
Fortunately, it’s easy to sign up as an Uber Eats driver; however, it is a little time-consuming.
The Sign-Up Process
To sign up for Uber Eats, you’ll enter basic information about yourself and your car online. Next, you’ll sign a disclosure and provide your Social Security number to have your background and driving record checked.
The background check slows things down, as it can take up to a week for Uber Eats to receive and review it. They’ll email you when they’ve approved or declined your application. If approved, you can start delivering immediately.
If you are referred to Uber Eats by another driver and use their code, you might be eligible for a sign-on bonus. Uber Eats often changes its promotions and bonuses, so check back frequently and sign up when the bonuses are the most lucrative.
Completing Your First Delivery
Taking your first delivery is exciting but can also be overwhelming. Here’s what to expect.
- Open the Uber app
- Click ‘Go’ to put yourself online and available
- Watch for orders to come through and accept one
- Pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver to the customer using the GPS Uber Eats provides
- Get paid
Taking advantage of incentives like Quest and Boost can make Uber Eats one of the best paying delivery jobs available.
Pros & Cons of Driving for Uber Eats
- It’s easy to qualify if you have a good driving history, no criminal record, and a reliable car.
- You can set your own schedule and be your own boss.
- It’s a low-stress way to earn money because you only deal with people for a minute or two when delivering the food.
- Uber Eats often runs promotions or surges to increase your earnings.
- It can be hard on your car, especially if you drive long distances.
- You must cover the cost of maintenance and repairs on your car and any other expenses.
- There’s no guarantee you’ll make money on each shift.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, is Uber Eats worth it? There are many reasons why it can or cannot be worth it, depending on your situation. See what other interested drivers are wondering about Uber Eats below.
Can you drive for both Uber Eats and Uber at the same time?
Yes, Uber allows you to drive for Uber and Uber Eats simultaneously. Just remember to turn yourself off from one or the other when you accept a rider or food delivery.
How can drivers maximize their pay as Uber Eats drivers?
The best way to ensure you make the most money as an Uber Eats driver is to do the following:
- Work during the busiest hours in your area (usually lunch or dinner)
- Work weekends
- Track the busiest spots in your area and position yourself there, so you have access to the orders
- Provide excellent customer service
- Cancel orders that are too behind and won’t allow you to be productive
How much physical labor does Uber Eats require?
Fortunately, there’s no heavy lifting with Uber Eats. However, you must be comfortable driving for long periods and getting in and out of the car to pick up orders and deliver them to customers. It’s not a physically demanding job, but it can sometimes be tiring.
Is Uber Eats better as a full-time or part-time side gig?
Uber Eats is best utilized as a part-time side gig. It can be lucrative if you need supplemental income or want to fill your free time with food delivery. However, as a full-time gig, it could be challenging to make ends meet.
What happens if your order cancels?
If the customer cancels and you haven’t picked up the food, you can wait for another order. However, if you picked it up, you should safely discard the food, and Uber will pay you the pickup fee.
Are drivers negatively impacted when gas prices rise?
Gas is one of the most significant expenses of Uber Eats drivers, so higher gas prices affect them. The key is finding ways to save money on gas by using gas-saving apps like Upside or a rewards credit card that pays cash back for gas purchases.
So, Is Uber Eats Worth It?
Uber Eats can be worth it if you know how to work the system. Don’t accept just any order, and don’t get taken advantage of by restaurants that are always behind on orders. Get to know your area and where you can make the most money, and driving for Uber Eats can be worth it.