According to the numbers, the future promises big things for meal delivery.
What’s driving this expansion? Millennials and Gen Zers mostly; 63% of meal delivery consumers fall into the 18–29 age bracket. Even better, as this group ages, they will likely bring these purchasing habits with them, passing them on to their children.
In this blog post you’ll discover why you should make Uber Eats part of your meal-delivery game. Topics include
- Why should you consider Uber Eats?
- Other reasons to become an Uber Eats driver.
- Signing up as a driver for Uber Eats.
- What happens once you are approved?
- Receiving tips on the Uber Eats app.
- Incentives for Uber Eats drivers.
- Using a bicycle for delivering Uber Eats.
- Uber Eats driver advice for earning more.
- Make Gridwise part of your Uber Eats toolbox.
Why should you consider Uber Eats?
We’ve already presented numbers showing DoorDash’s substantially better market share. Bigger is not always better, though.
According to a Gridwise blog post from July, DoorDash vs.Grubhub: Which Is Better for Drivers in 2022?, DoorDash drivers averaged $15.28 per hour; Grubhub drivers came in at $15.49 per hour ( figures collected through the Gridwise app). Earlier in the year, though, Gridwise published Q1 Uber Eats numbers in another blog post, What Does Uber Eats Driver Pay Look Like in 2022?, showing Uber Eats drivers earning $15.84 per hour.
Other reasons to become an Uber Eats driver
There are other benefits to Uber Eats.
- Uber Eats may be the more dominant meal delivery service in your area. Market share numbers on a national level don’t always translate to market share at a local level. There are some regional markets where Uber Eats plays a more dominant role.
- If you already work as a rideshare driver for Uber and would like to work for Uber Eats, too, then signing up will be even simpler for you.
- You might be one of the many gig drivers who multi-app, running more than one app at a time. If you are multi-apping meal delivery services, then Uber Eats deserves a place in the lineup. (For extra insight into multi-apping, take a look at the Gridwise post The Art of Multi-apping: How-Tos and Strategies for Gig Drivers).
- If you rent a car through Uber for your rideshare gig, you can use the rental car for Uber Eats without violating the rental agreement. The terms of rental agreements through Lyft or Uber typically preclude you from using that rental car for other gig services.
- Uber Eats also allows you to deliver on a bicycle. This is highly profitable, depending on your market (we’ll talk about this later).
Signing up as a driver for Uber Eats
Everything starts with the Uber Eats driver app. You can sign up on a laptop or desktop computer, but eventually you’ll have to download the Uber Eats delivery app anyway. From there, it involves answering a few questions and supplying the requested information.
According to the Uber website, these are their qualifications:
Delivery by car
- be at least 19 years old
- have a two-door or a four-door car
- possess a valid driver’s license in your name
- possess a Social Security number, so Uber Eats can run a background screening
Delivery by scooter
- be at least 19 years old
- have a motorized scooter with an engine under 50cc
- possess a valid driver’s license
- possess a Social Security number, so Uber Eats can run a background screening
- indicate that you will be delivering by scooter, under the transportation method
Delivery by bicycle or on foot
- be at least 18 years old
- possess a government-issued ID (no driver’s license is required)
- possess a Social Security number so Uber Eats can run a background screening
- choose delivery by bicycle or foot (only in certain cities), under transportation method
Upload a photo of yourself (the standard mug shot), driver’s license or government ID, and proof of vehicle insurance and registration if applicable—you might also need to submit a vehicle inspection.
Approval takes three to ten days.
What happens once you are approved?
There are meal delivery services that limit the number of drivers active in any given area. If you try to get on and that service has already reached driver capacity in your area, you won’t be allowed onto the app. Not so with Uber Eats. You can log on at any time.
You then get offers for orders that need delivering. The offer on the Uber driver app includes the restaurant’s location for order pickup, the general area (cross streets) of the delivery location, the estimated time the delivery requires, and how much you will earn. This figure is a total number, including the delivery price, any incentive bonus, and the customer tip.
Unlike rideshare, Uber Eats does not track acceptance rates. Drivers are free to choose which orders they want to pick up and deliver; a subject addressed later in this blog.
That said, Uber Eats does tell drivers on the Uber support page that “It is important to maintain a high acceptance rate to provide a reliable service to restaurants and customers.” You may want to be careful about turning down lots of orders.
Once you accept an order, you drive to the restaurant and pick it up. Once pickup is complete, you’ll swipe the app and then receive the exact address for the delivery.
The customer can indicate if they want the order left on the doorstep or if they want you to knock on the door. Once the order is delivered, you swipe the app again and the process is completed. Off to the next order you go.
Receiving tips on the Uber Eats App
Tipping is one of the drawbacks of Uber Eats. The Uber Eats app prompts the customer to enter a tip amount when they place the order. The amount the app shows the driver for earnings includes that tip. The Uber Eats app, however, allows the customer one hour to change it. If there is a problem with the order, the customer might reduce or eliminate the tip.
There is also tip baiting, in which customers indicate a handsome tip to lure the driver into providing extraordinary service or accepting an order that requires a long drive. After the meal is delivered, the customer then reduces or eliminates the tip. Tip baiting is not that common, but it does happen. As an Uber Eats driver, it will make you groan.
Incentives for Uber Eats drivers
There are three bonus structures for Uber Eats to incentivise drivers.
Uber Eats offers quest incentives for completing a specific amount of deliveries within a given period. An example of a quest incentive might be that you complete 10 meal deliveries between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm on a Saturday and receive a $50 bonus. You are typically informed of quest incentives ahead of time.
Surge pricing for Uber Eats works the same way it does for other gig-driving jobs. When demand for meal deliveries is high, Uber Eats offers a surge bonus to attract additional drivers. Peak times for Uber Eats often are:
- Lunch: 11:00 am–1:00 pm
- Dinner: 5:30 pm–9:00 pm
- Days: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, or when there is a special event, such as Thursday night football games on television
Boost incentives are like Surge pricing, except that they are based on location rather than time. The Uber Eats app will show boost incentives for specific areas, perhaps a college or university campus or a business park during the lunch hour.
For additional tips on earning more as an Uber Eats driver, check out the Gridwise blogpost How to Make $1,000 a Week with Uber Eats.
Using a bicycle to deliver Uber Eats
The major meal delivery services allow the use of bicycles in specific areas. Some people deliver for Uber Eats and limits their delivery to bicycle-only. One “driver” explains in a blog post on his site that using a bicycle is ideal in densely populated urban areas. He selects only those deliveries he can reach within minutes on a bike. Despite the congestion of downtown areas, bicycles allow Uber Eats delivery people to avoid a big problem: traffic. Your pay depends on how many deliveries you can make. Some claim earnings on the Uber Eats delivery app ranging between $30.00 and $40.00 an hour.
“If you can complete 5 deliveries per hour and make $6 per delivery, you’ll make $30 per hour. Hit 6 deliveries per hour at $8 per delivery and you’ll make $48 per hour. Most likely, you’ll be somewhere in between those two numbers (assuming you’re strategic about which orders you accept and how you do your deliveries).”
According to the numbers from Gridwise, Uber Eats drivers were earning an average of $9.37 per trip.
The biker also noted that Uber Eats does not supply delivery drivers with insulated bags. Some of the other meal delivery services do. They purchased a branded Uber Eats delivery bag. Amazon carries a wide selection of bags, including the types favored by bicycle delivery drivers.
Other drivers include Uber Eats as part of their multi-apping strategy along with Uber. As we mentioned earlier, both activities are for Uber, so you can also take advantage of renting a car through Uber. Check out the Gridwise blog post, Gig Driver Guide: Renting a Car for Rideshare or Delivery.
Uber Eats driver advice for earning more
As with any gig driving job, there is a success strategy for Uber Eats. Perfecting that strategy can maximize your earnings. Here are some suggestions on tactics. Always remember that an effective strategy varies depending on what type of meal delivery driver you are and your market.
Understand the food culture in your market
The restaurant scene, with all its variations, is evolving as you read this. Restaurants are not the only players in today’s prepared meal business. There are countless food trucks, pop-up stands, and other outlets. A Los Angeles Times article describes several warehouses in LA that host multiple “ghost kitchens.” These are kitchens servicing the meal delivery market only (and sometimes the pickup market). There are also numerous brands that operate from the kitchens of established restaurants. The Modern Shipper website reports that the kitchens of about 1,250 Applebee’s restaurants host Cosmic Wings, a concept with an exclusive delivery agreement with Uber Eats. There are many others, according to an article on CNBC.com. For example:
- Wingstop offers Thighstop.
- Chuck E. Cheese operates Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings.
- Hooters has three virtual brands: Hootie’s Burger Bar, Hootie’s Bait and Tackle, and Hootie’s Chicken Tenders.
They have no bricks and mortar, no storefront. It is all delivery, backed by aggressive digital marketing to get the word out.
The message: do a little research in your market and know what’s coming out of the back door of some of these restaurants or warehouses. Cruise by every once in a while and see if you can pick up an order.
Make Uber Eats part of a multi-apping strategy
There are many high-earning gig drivers who believe multi-apping is key to their success. Determine which apps are dominant in your market and work with all of them. Be aware of surge bonuses and quest incentives with the Uber Eats delivery app, though. If you are working toward a quest incentive, you will likely want to stay with Uber Eats until you meet the goal. Want to learn more about multi-apping? Don’t forget! Check out the Gridwise blog post, The Art of Multi-apping: How-Tos And Strategies For Gig Drivers.
Keep your delivery circle as small as possible
Take a lesson from the Financial Panther and realize that the more deliveries you complete, the more you earn. A larger ticket may pay more but can eat into your time because of the extra driving. Draw a tight circle around an area that you know from experience is profitable and stick with it. A small delivery circle also means you’ll save on gas.
Be familiar with restaurants that are notorious for making you wait for the order
Time is money, and you don’t get paid to wait around for an understaffed or chaotic kitchen to get an order ready. If a restaurant has kept you waiting, remember that next time you see an order from them and pass.
Work those tips
Drivers routinely report that as much as half of their Uber Eats earnings come from tips. Make sure you deliver promptly. Smile for the Ring camera, even if you drop the food off at the doorstep, push the doorbell, and walk away. Take a cue from the grocery delivery drivers who leave a handwritten note card with each order. You can pre-write them with a generic message the night before.
Check all orders
Getting the wrong item is a frequent complaint of meal delivery customers. Even the best restaurants make mistakes. Check the order when you pick it up, before you leave. Make sure somebody didn’t confuse chili-cheese fries with regular fries. More important, ensure you have the correct order, not someone else’s.
PRO TIP: Once you have checked the order, message the customer that you have done so and are on your way. Communication is key.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Restaurants change, and markets evolve. Mix it up, try new things, and tweak successful strategies. Especially in this environment of ghost kitchens, it’s easy for something to slide by unnoticed. If you can casually ask the customer what they like, you may find a new restaurant or kitchen you didn’t know about. Again, it may be worth driving by if you can pick up an order.
There are blogs and YouTube videos available on improving meal delivery earnings. Follow them regularly. Check out the pages of Gridwise for updates, too. Take time to read Gridwise blog posts.
Make Gridwise part of your Uber Eats toolbox
If you drive for Uber Eats, make sure you track your earnings, miles, and expenses. You can do all that in one place with Gridwise while getting more out of your mileage deduction with Gridwise’s mileage tracker. You’ll also get crucial info on peak times to do food delivery.
If gas costs are still eating into your profits, you can get up to $50/month off with Gridwise Gas!
And have fun out there!