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The Definitive Guide to Uber Eats

Last updated: January 8, 2020
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You’ve probably heard of Uber.

After all, the 120 billion-dollar company is currently the leader of the rideshare industry.

But, giving rides isn’t all they do.

In addition to shuttling people around in more than 600 cities around the world and giving as many as five billion rides a year, the company offers Uber Eats, the company’s effort to dip their toes into the food delivery.

Much like Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash, Uber Eats is a food delivery service powered by independent contractors.

How does the service hold up in comparison to other, similar companies?

And how easy is it to become an Uber Eats driver if you want to make some extra cash?

Well, we have all the answers to those questions and more.

This guide should teach you everything you need to know about Uber Eats.

What is Uber Eats?

Essentially Uber Eats is the company’s attempt to claim a stake in the ever-growing food delivery market.

Experts estimate that the online food delivery market will grow to around $24 billion within the next five years. So, it only makes sense that Uber would want to get a piece of the pie.

Founded in 2014, the company operates similarly to other online food delivery services: They provided an app that gives customers access to menus all over their city. Customers can use the Uber Eats app to place orders to have their meal delivered to their house.

Oftentimes, the restaurants that Uber delivers for do not offer delivery on their own (like fast food favorites like McDonald’s). This is great for customers who want a certain food but can’t order from that local restaurant directly.

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It also presents an opportunity for people with a car (or bike) to make some extra cash.

The company hires independent contractors, much like regular Uber drivers, who are assigned to pick up orders and deliver them to customer homes.

It’s super easy to use for both drivers and customers, so it’s quite popular with both crowds.

Currently, the service is available in more than 400 cities throughout 13 countries including the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

And, according to many reports, Uber Eats is the most popular online food delivery service currently offered in the United States.

Popular U.S. cities include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Austin and a ton more.

To see if Uber is available in your city, visit this page.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of an Uber Eats order depends on a number of factors. The price of your meal, the location, and the time of day all impact your final bill.

Here’s how it works:

When you place an order through this service, you pay for a few different things.

  • Cost of the food: This is the most important part. You pay for the full cost of your meal (unless you happen to have a coupon from the restaurant). This ranges depending on where you order from (and how hungry you are!)
  • Booking fee: This is the fee that Uber charges you for their services. It used to be a flat rate of $4.99 per order. But now, it ranges from $2 to $8 depending on your distance from the restaurant.
  • Taxes: You have to pay taxes on your order, of course. Meal taxes vary from state to state, so the exact cost depends on which city you live in.
  • Tips: This is how Uber Eats drivers make their money, so it’s important that you factor this into the cost.

Remember, if you treat your drivers well, they’ll probably make you a priority if they’re assigned one of your orders in the future. Currently, you tip in cash or through the app.

Ultimately, when you use food to order this service, you should expect to pay full price for your food and a couple of extra dollars for the convenience of it.

But, you can occasionally get a deal on your order by using a promo code. Right now, for example, Uber is offering a Promo Code which will help you save a few bucks on your first order.

What Do Uber Eats Drivers Do?

Delivering food for Uber Eats is similar to driving for them.

Basically, you just log onto the Uber Partner app (the same app used for ridesharing) and wait for orders to come in.

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Then, you can choose whether or not to take the order or reject it.

If you take it, you’re responsible for picking up the order and making sure it gets to the customer’s home safely (and uneaten).

The whole process is cashless, so you don’t have to worry about handling any money (except tips).

Some drivers choose to work as full-time Uber Eats drivers.

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Usually, full-time delivery drivers work in busy areas with a lot of restaurants where people are always ordering food.

Other drivers do this as a part-time gig, taking on orders whenever they have an hour or two of free time.

Certain people work as both Uber Eats delivery drivers AND regular Uber drivers, giving rides sometimes and picking up food orders other times.

If you want to do this, it’s pretty easy to switch from one platform to the other. Once you’re in the Uber system and the company has accepted you as a driver, you’re free to work for both services.

How Much Money Do Uber Eats Drivers Make?

As with most gig-based jobs, the amount you earn directly reflects the amount of time you put in.

So, if you want to make a lot of cash on Uber Eats, you’ll have to deliver a lot of orders.

But, you’re probably wondering how much Uber Eats drivers are paid for each order.

Well, here’s how it works:

The company calculates your pay by totaling pickup fees, drop-off fees, and mileage.

Sometimes, they’ll add in some extra money if you work during busy times. Then, they take a 25% cut and give you the rest.

Let’s look at this a bit closer.

Pickup fees are fixed fee that you’re paid just for retrieving the order from a restaurant. This fee is set ahead of time.

Usually, it’s around $2.50 per order, although it increases in busy cities and when the demand for drivers is higher than normal.

Drop-off fees are similar. This is the amount that the company pays you for getting the order to the customer safely.

Typically, the pickup and drop-off fees are roughly the same amount.

It should be noted here that they’ll occasionally ask you to pick up multiple orders from the same restaurant.

In other words, you’ll pick up two or three pizzas and take them to different houses.

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When you do this, Uber Eats only pays you one pickup fee.

However, they’ll compensate you with two delivery fees for each additional customer.

Mileage is also compensated if you deliver in a vehicle.

The company pays you a certain rate for every mile you drive during your shift.

So, if you have to drive a long distance to deliver a particular order, you’ll receive more money to compensate you for gas.

Like the delivery fees, the mileage rate varies depending on your city and the type of vehicle you drive. Most of the time, it’s between $0.50 and $1.25 per mile.

Of course, delivery drivers usually receive tips. The great thing about tips is that Uber keeps their hands off of them.

If the customer gives you anything extra (either in cash or through the app), it’s 100% yours.

And, they also give you the opportunity to earn more income through Surge Pricing and Boost Earnings.

Surge Pricing? Boost Earnings?

Well, Surge Pricing is a program that Uber uses to incentivize drivers to work during busy times.

Like most delivery companies, they experience a rush during lunch and dinner as well as on certain days of the week.

So, if you drive during a Surge time, they’ll multiply all of your earnings by a set rate.

If the Surge rate is 2.5x, for example, they’ll multiply any money you make by the number during the Surge hours.

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If you work for a full shift, then, it’s likely that you’ll make far more money than you would otherwise.

Boost earnings are similar. But, they revolve more around location instead of the time of day.

During Boost periods, drivers are rewarded for working in a certain location when that location is busy.

If there’s a convention or event and a lot of people are expected to place orders, the company wants to encourage their delivery drivers to work in that area.

So, they’ll multiply your earnings as a way to thank you for helping them out when they’re busy.

You can find out where/when boost earnings are taking effect by looking at the map in your Uber app.

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Sometimes, Uber may even notify you via email ahead of time, so check your email regularly to stay on top of boost periods.

Ultimately, delivery drivers make around $12.25 per hour on average.

Of course, you can make more (or less), depending on how often you take advantage of Surge Pricing and Boost Earnings.

How Do I Become an Uber Eats Driver?

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It’s super easy to become an Uber Eats driver. If delivering food for Uber sounds like a way you’d like to make some extra cash, here’s what you do:

Make sure you meet the following driver requirements:

  • You live in a city where Uber Eats is offered.
  • You are at least 19 years of age (or 21 in Canada).
  • You have a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • You have at least 12 months of driving experience.
  • You can lift up to 30 pounds (some of those food orders get heavy).
  • Ability to pass a background check (more on that below).

Make sure your vehicle meets the following requirements:

  • It was manufactured after 1998.
  • It is not reconstructed or built from salvaged parts.
  • It is reliable (you should depend on it to get you from Point A to Point B).

We should note that these vehicle requirements only apply to people who plan to drive. Uber Eats does allow their runners to ride a bike (or even walk) if they live in an area where that’s possible.

They also only apply to food delivery drivers. In other words, if you want to drive for UberX in addition to delivering food, there are a few additional cosmetic requirements your vehicle must meet.

But, as long as you and your vehicle meet the necessary criteria, you’re free to get started.

Here’s what you should do next:

Apply on the Uber Eats website by clicking the “Sign In” button located in the top-right corner.

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Then, enter your phone number and click “Next.”

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After that, you should fill out the application and submit your documents (license, proof of insurance, etc.).

You’ll also have to consent to a background check. Uber conducts background checks on all of their employees to ensure that no one with any major traffic violent or a history of violent crime is working for them.

Luckily, their background check doesn’t involve a credit check, so don’t worry if your credit looks less than stellar.

Typically, the background check takes 5-7 days (according to the company.

But some drivers report that it took as long as a month. Once it’s complete, though, the company will reach out to you via email.

If you’ve passed the test, you’re good to go! All you have to do is download the app, log on, and start taking orders!

Uber Eats Driver Reviews

If you’re considering a delivery gig with Uber, you’re probably wondering what it’s like. Do drivers like working for Uber Eats? Do they hate it?

Well, we took a look at some driver reviews to find out.

At first glance, it appears that the reviews are mixed. Some drivers really enjoy it while others seem to think it’s the worst thing ever.

Drivers like Paul Yeo, for example, say nothing but great things about the platform.

In a video entitled “3 Reasons Why I Love Uber Eats”, Yeo explains that he loves the fact the Uber’s streamlined process allows him to move swiftly from one order to the next.

Of course, this allows drivers to pick up the maximum number of orders per hour without having to worry about waiting periods.

“There’s no wait time like with Postmates,” he says, comparing the service with its competitor.

“When I first started Postmates…I waited at least an hour for a pizza…I could have done at least 2-3 deliveries during that time”.

There are, however, other drivers who haven’t had such positive experiences. In one video, driver HowMuchBitcoin complains that Uber Eats doesn’t compensate their drivers enough for gas. In his opinion, this doesn’t make the job worth it.

In one video, he breaks down his expense list for a shift. Out of the $91.44 he made on a shift, he spent $28.83 to fill his tank up afterward.

“That leaves us with $62.61 which, if you divide that by 8 hours, it comes out to be $7.82,” he says, “That’s below minimum wage.”

So, it sounds like it’s entirely possible to make good money on this app. But, in order to really profit, you’ll have to drive smart, cut down on gas, and work your tail off.

No matter how drivers feel about it, though, it appears that Uber Eats is here to stay. So, whether you’re looking for a full-time job or a way to make some extra cash on the side, this platform will be on the food delivery radar for years to come.

Have more questions about Uber Eats, learn how to contact them to find out more.

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