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Driving for Uber Eats: What to Expect After Getting Approved

Last updated: October 9, 2021
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vector graphic showing multiple people driving for uber eats

Wondering what it’s like driving for Uber Eats?

Uber Eats is always busy with many people ordering their food online to be delivered directly to their doorstep.

It’s always a great time to work for a food delivery platform that functions worldwide.

Since you were interested in the process, you applied and completed the process needed to become an Uber Eats driver.

You provided Uber with proof of vehicle registration, a valid driver’s license number, and proof of each year of driving experience.

You made it through the Uber background check.

Now you have questions about using the Uber Eats Driver app and earning quality income.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about driving for Uber Eats.

What is Uber Eats?

Uber Eats is among the most popular food delivery services, similar to Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub.

Customers who want food delivered to them open the customer version of the app.

They find a restaurant, place their order, and then you get pinged for the delivery trip if you’re nearby.

How Does Uber Eats Work for Drivers?

Delivering for Uber Eats is very simple.

Uber Eats provides drivers with the ability to earn money without picking up people.

Instead, you get to drive by yourself, listen to your favorite tunes, stroll into and out of restaurants, and make hand-offs to hungry folk.

With a little time, you’ll easily learn.

Summary of Uber Driving

  • As a driver, you log into the driver version of the Uber delivery app.
  • Your app gets pinged if you are near the restaurant where a customer just placed an order.
  • The app tells you the name of the restaurant and its address.
  • You drive to the restaurant, pick up the food, and then deliver it to your customer.

Video Summary:

Key Concepts to Understand

When starting your career as an Uber Eats driver, there are some key concepts that you should keep in mind.

1. The Overall Experience

Overall, most drivers should enjoy the process of driving for Uber Eats.

Some people use the word “chill” to describe the experience.

Unlike driving for the ridesharing side of the Uber driver app, you’ll never deal with the stress of people in your personal vehicle.

You won’t deal with somebody throwing up in your car.

You won’t deal with demanding business people or anyone eating messily in the backseat.

Of course, you’ll miss out on a few amazing conversations that can happen driving some friendly people around town.

There’s always give and take with any situation.

2. The Uber Eats Driver App

When you open up the Uber driver app, it gives you an option to deliver food, drive passengers, or do both.

If you choose both, you might drive a passenger home and then get pinged to pick food up at a nearby restaurant next.

Since your goal is to deliver food, make sure you have the proper selection marked off for Uber Eats when you turn the app on.

You should get a new delivery trip relatively quickly if you’re driving during breakfast, lunch, or dinner times, or just because you live in a highly-populated city.

At this time, the Uber app reminds drivers to wear their masks, wash their hands constantly, and use disinfectant in their vehicles before and after a shift.

It randomly asks drivers to shoot a picture and upload it to prove they’re wearing the mask.

Pickups and Dropoffs

Each trip provides you with the customer’s name, an Uber Eats fee breakdown, an order number, and an estimate for how long it should take to arrive at the restaurant.

It also lets you know how much money you’ll earn for completing the delivery trip.

vector graphic of a man handing cash to delivery person for uber eats tipping suggestion

Uber Eats Order Types

When picking up a customer’s food for a delivery order, there are two types of delivery options that you can expect:

  1. curbside deliveries
  2. walk-in deliveries

Different cities have their own delivery terms that determine which type of order delivery partners can expect.

To find yours, check out your city on the Uber Eats website, then find your city on the list.

You’ll be able to see which of the two types below are available.

1. Curbside Deliveries

When you pull up to a customer’s location for this type of Uber Eats delivery, they’ll be notified and instructed via the Uber Eats app to meet you outside.

You are able to remain in your vehicle and hand them their order without having to get out.

This type of delivery is much more convenient for you as a driver, since it doesn’t require you to exit your vehicle, search for parking, and get on foot to find the customer’s residence or office.

2. Walk-In Drop-Off Deliveries

This type of delivery falls in line with most other typical food deliveries.

After arriving at a customer’s location, you’ll walk into the office, lobby, or up to the door and meet them to hand them their food.

It’s always best to let the customer know as you’re arriving, so they don’t have to endure any long waits for their food.

This is a small customer service detail that can help boost your tips.

How to Get Uber Eats Requests as an Uber Driver

Once you have opted in to Uber Eats, you’ll start receiving delivery requests once your account is approved for Uber Eats deliveries.

When I opted in through my driver app, it took about 3 days for my approval to go through.

Open up the app and tap “GO” to start receiving requests.

When you’re online, you’ll receive delivery opportunities through your Uber Driver app when local users place nearby food orders.

You’ll soon be matched to an order from a local restaurant near you, which you’ll have about 15 seconds to accept.

In some cases, you may be given a multi-restaurant trip.

This just means that you’ll receive a second request while picking up an order, if you’re close to a restaurant that another user is requesting from.

As a note, Uber Eats drivers cannot deliver alcohol unlike some other companies. If you’d like to do that, you’ll have to check out this list of our favorite alcohol delivery apps.

Pickups From Restaurants

Hopefully, you’re arriving at a restaurant with a parking lot.

Park and walk into the restaurant.

If they don’t have convenient parking, then make sure you take the time to find a safe place to park on the street.

It’s not worth rushing this step and ending up getting towed or receiving a parking ticket that cuts into your profits.

Here’s what to do when you arrive:

  • When you walk into the restaurant, look for an area to skip the line and wait for the delivery. Many restaurants have Uber Eats signs to walk up to.
  • Ask the person at the counter for the order and give the name on the app.
  • Wait for the restaurant to deliver the food to you.
  • Get back in your car and drive to the customer.

Most restaurants involved in the Uber Eats merchant program work to have Uber Eats orders ready when drivers arrive at the location.

This readiness doesn’t always happen, so you may need to wait for a while.

Navigating to Destination

For navigation, you can use Uber’s built-in map system, or you can tell the app to open up Waze or Google Maps automatically.

The newer version of the Uber map system works relatively well compared to yesteryear.

Related: Waze vs Google Maps – Which navigation app is better for Uber Eats drivers?

Drop Off Food to Customers

You get the option to rate the restaurant after picking up the food order.

Hop back into your car and set sail for the customer’s location.

Again, use your favorite map system to arrange your coordinates.

A customer can select between three delivery methods:

  1. Deliver the food to the customer’s hands
  2. Leave the food at the customer’s front door (contactless delivery)
  3. Meet the driver at the car for the food handoff

The app gives you the option to take a quick picture of the order as a means of proof that you delivered the customer’s food.

Complete your Uber Eats delivery trip by swiping the “delivered” option.

Hopefully, your customer gave you a nice tip.

You’ll see suggestions pop up on trips within 60 minutes of dropping off a food order.

Scheduling and Shifts

Your Uber Eats scheduling and shift obligations are simple: you decide!

vector graphic showing a city with deliveries waiting to be picked up and the text

Do Uber Eats Drivers Pick When They Work?

They sure do.

Some delivery apps have scheduling involved.

An example of this is DoorDash.

While riders can schedule Uber deliveries, as an Uber Eats driver, you can just turn it on whenever you feel like it and make some cash.

How Often Do Uber Eats Drivers Work?

Uber Eats drivers work as often as they want to.

You can work up to 15 hours a day.

How Long are Shifts for Uber Eats Drivers?

The only limitation Uber places on your Uber Eats shifts is that you can’t work more than 12 hours consecutively.

If your app stays on for 12 continuous hours, then Uber shuts it off.

It won’t let you back on to work again until 10 hours pass by.

The same thing happens after 15 hours of mixing the act of turning the app and turning it off.

For example, if you work for six hours and then take a 3-hour break, you can turn it back on and work another six consecutive hours.

Uber then shuts you down because a total of 15 hours went by.

The reason for this rule is to force workaholic Uber drivers to take a break.

You have to get some sleep once in a while.

Payments and Earnings

vector graphic of an uber eats driver riding a bike and money icons flying out behind him to show how much do uber eats drivers make

Checking Payments

Since transactions and credit card payments are handled directly through the Uber Eats app, the delivery process is very simple for delivery partners.

As soon as your delivery is complete, you’ll see how much you made from the order added to the “Total Earnings” section on your Earnings tab.

Tips from customers may be applied later if they don’t tip immediately.

Driver pay is based on the total cost of the order, which can vary based on a few factors, similar to the cost of an Uber ride.

These include the app’s pick-up fee, drop-off fee, delivery fee, and mileage fee.

Surge pricing can also apply if demand for delivery in a particular location is high, and small cart fees can apply if users order less than a minimum amount.

In most cases, you should receive a direct deposit in your bank account by the following Tuesday, and the funds will be available for use by the next day.

However, Uber Eats delivery partners who register their debit card with Uber Instant Pay can cash out up to five times per day.

How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make?

As an Uber Eats driver, you can expect to earn somewhere between $15 and $20 per hour.

It’s going to depend on whether you hit bonuses, how many trips you average per hour, and other such variations from trip to trip.

For example, some shifts give you bonuses for driving a certain number of trips.

One such bonus that pops up periodically is to receive a $50 compensation if you complete 20 delivery trips during your shift.

Your per-hour earnings for that specific shift will rise significantly if you hit that bonus.

If you don’t make the bonus, no one probably wants to hear your language on the way home.

Depending on whether you’re a part-time or full-time Uber Eats driver, you might make anywhere from $200 as a side hustle to over $1,000 per week full-time.

How Do Uber Eats Drivers Get Paid?

You can decide to transfer your earnings from the Uber platform to a bank account or your Uber debit card.

Debit card transfers are usually immediately available in your bank account but check with your bank to see if that option is available.

When Do Uber Eats Drivers Get Paid?

Riders get paid via the Uber Instant Pay option, you can cash out up to five times per day whenever you have more than a buck in your Uber app.

Does Uber Eats Reimburse Expenses for Drivers?

No, you’re an independent contractor when operating as an Uber Eats driver.

You must document all your expenses and claim them against your taxes when filing each April.

You should keep track of the mileage you drive as well.

The IRS allows you to either take the mileage deduction or deduct all your expenses, such as car insurance, phone charges, car repairs, and gas.

You can only take one of those two options.

Ensure that all of your Uber tax information is correct by comparing them when doing your tax return to see which path saves you the most money.

Does Uber Eats or Uber Rideshare Pay More?

According to Ryan Green, founder of the Gridwise app, Uber Rideshare drivers earn more than Uber Eats drivers.

In fact, one of his studies suggests that generally speaking, food delivery drivers earn about $0.50 to $4 less per hour than rideshare drivers in major cities.

Is Driving for Uber Eats a Hard Job?

Driving for Uber Eats isn’t a challenging way to earn income.

However, it does oftentimes cause you to think through issues that you would not normally think about.

Is Uber Eats Work Mentally Challenging?

Food delivery is not generally a difficult job from a mental standpoint.

You’ll sometimes encounter demanding customers or restaurant workers.

Try to navigate those situations as best you can.

If you find it hard to find restaurant parking, that can cause mental strife.

Is Uber Eats Work Hard Physically?

No, it’s not a difficult job from a physical standpoint.

Compared to a construction worker lugging heavy 4×4’s in the hot summer sun, driving for Uber Eats is a walk in the park.

Pros and Cons of Driving for Uber Eats

As with any type of work, advantages and disadvantages exist.

You’ll enjoy some aspects of driving for Uber Eats.

You’ll classify some parts of the job as negative experiences.

Let’s take a look at both the pros and cons of working as an Uber Eats driver.

Pros of Driving for Uber Eats

  • You work for yourself as your own boss
  • Set your own schedule
  • Most customers help you earn more by leaving tips
  • You won’t experience rude riders or awkward discussions with weird riders
  • Decide to work longer hours when you need to earn more money
  • Explore your city and learn about what’s around you
  • You can get paid every single day

Cons of Driving for Uber Eats

  • Busy restaurants sometimes make you wait for a long time when picking up
  • You’ll experience significant car expenses, such as gas, new tires, and repairs
  • Finding a public restroom can sometimes cause frustration
  • You might not find parking at restaurants
  • Traffic sometimes causes you to perform fewer trips per hour
  • Some customers stiff you on the tips
  • You might encounter rude restaurant employees
  • Base pay doesn’t exist

The Hidden Frustrations of Uber Eats

As mentioned above, you’re sure to discover some undesirable aspects of working as an Uber Eats driver.

Here are three specific situations to be aware of.

1. Waiting to Be Matched With Orders

Depending on the time of day, you’ll have lulls where you don’t get delivery requests.

It’s frustrating to sit by the side of the road realizing that you’re not making any money because you haven’t received a trip in 36 minutes.

You should mentally prepare for situations that seem like forever since Uber last matched you with a customer order.

It can turn into a demoralizing situation if you let your mind take over.

Don’t let your brain spiral you out of control when this happens.

Remember that you’re not alone.

Every single Uber Eats driver encounters this problem at one time or another.

Bring something productive to do for those frustrating 20 or 30 minutes when nothing’s happening.

Read a book if you enjoy that.

Load a fun movie on your phone.

Are you going back to school?

Bring your study materials.

Remember that you won’t have any passengers.

Just throw your study materials in the back seat without worrying about the mess when the next trip tone pings.

2. Waiting at Restaurants for Food

This one can become particularly frustrating.

You just got pinged on a new trip, you drove as carefully as possible (but quickly) to the restaurant, found parking as fast as you could, speed-walked into the restaurant, and then you’re told the bad news: “yeah, buddy, your order is gonna take a bit longer.”

These are dreaded words for an Uber Eats driver!

It’s incredible how some restaurant employees interpret the phrase “a bit longer.”

You think they mean two minutes, only to find out that they meant 15 long, agonizing minutes.

Yes, this can turn into an unbearable situation because your mind turns to your customer.

You might start asking yourself questions like:

  • Will they get mad that I’m so late?
  • Will they blame me for this?
  • What if they stiff me on the tip because this restaurant can’t get their act together?

The best thing to do at this point is to call or text the customer to let them know what’s happening.

At the very least, they should understand that you aren’t the reason their food arrives later than they expected it to.

3. Waiting at Doors for Customers

Driving for Uber Eats comes with one last immense frustration that happens sometimes.

You make it to the customer’s destination, and the customer checks out on you.

If they selected the option to meet you at your car, you’re sitting there for what seems like forever waiting for them to rip themselves away from some Netflix movie.

At this point, you’re wishing you were home watching that movie with your spouse and children (hey, just being honest here).

Or, they indicated that you’re supposed to take the food to their door.

You walk the ten steps up their apartment stairs and knock on the door.

You wait. You wait a little longer.

You knock again. You text them. Then, you call them.

Finally, the customer opens the door and says, “Sorry, dude, have you been out here a long time?”

The good thing is, you can set your app to indicate that you haven’t found a customer, and a timeline of 10 minutes will start.

If the customer doesn’t claim their food within 10 minutes, you can leave it or take it with you and dispose of it.

How has COVID-19 Impacted Uber Eats Driving?

One positive way that COVID-19 impacted Uber Eats is that it’s become busier than ever.

While the rideshare side of the app took a decline in passengers, everyone that stays home more uses the Uber Eats app to fill their stomachs.

The challenging part might happen when you get to the restaurants, and you have to keep putting a mask on to go in.

You also probably wear a mask when delivering to your customers.

You could also potentially have a higher exposure to the virus when visiting so many different locations and people.

Is Uber Eats Worth It?

Whether driving for Uber Eats becomes a positive venture is up to you.

Demand is high at this point in our world’s history.

If you live in a decent-sized town, you shouldn’t have any problems staying relatively busy during your shifts.

One way to maximize your earnings is to pay attention to surge pricing and incentives like boost times or bonus quest promotions.

Whether you need to earn $100 to $200 to supplement your income or make $1,000 per week, Uber Eats is worth your time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Once you apply for Uber Eats and are approved to drive, it’s easy to start making money on the road, and your work schedule is completely up to you.

To learn more about courier requirements, read these FAQs:

1. I am already an Uber driver. Do I meet Uber Eats requirements?

If you’ve already been fully approved as a rideshare driver for Uber — even if it’s just for a basic service like UberX — you do meet all Uber Eats requirements.

If you want to start delivering food between your ride requests, you simply need to go to the “Driver Preferences” section of your Uber Driver app and toggle on Uber Eats requests.

2. Am I eligible to become an Uber driver if I meet Uber Eats requirements?

Unfortunately, Uber Eats drivers do not automatically qualify to drive for Uber.

Uber driver requirements are more strict, so even if you and your vehicle are otherwise qualified, you’ll still minimally need to complete a vehicle inspection before you’re approved to take on rideshare requests.

3. I don’t own a vehicle or a bike. Can I deliver on foot?

Unfortunately, Uber Eats does not support walking deliveries, so you must have a car, scooter, or bike to qualify as a courier.

As a note, Uber Eats bicycle delivery is only available in certain markets.

If you are still interested in on-foot deliveries, you can consider Grubhub and DoorDash, both of which accept walkers in select cities.

4. Can I drive for multiple food delivery apps at once?

Just as you can drive for Uber and Lyft at the same time, it is possible to drive (or even bike) for multiple food delivery apps — such as Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubhub — all at once.

This can help you maximize your earnings and get back-to-back delivery requests.

Just make sure to go offline your other apps once you accept a food order on one, as you don’t want constant notifications when you’re already busy with a pick-up or drop-off.

5. Do I need to pass a 19-point vehicle inspection to start delivering with Uber Eats?

Uber Eats drivers typically aren’t required to complete the annual Uber vehicle inspection, since you won’t be transporting any riders, though local regulations may differ.

If you are asked to complete an inspection, you can contact Uber support to make sure the request is accurate before you waste any time.

6. Do the driver requirements vary based on my city?

The requirements can vary based on your city, but they don’t tend to vary a lot.

The most common variation is in the type of delivery vehicle allowed.

Somewhere like New York City or San Francisco, for instance, will allow delivery by bike.

A car-dependent city like Nashville, on the other hand, won’t allow bike delivery because it simply isn’t practical or safe.

8. Can I deliver for Uber Eats and drive for Uber?

Yes, you can. In fact, Uber encourages eligible drivers to do this.

You can make both types of deliveries using the Uber driver app (though customers have to use a separate Uber Eats app to place orders).

You can even opt to receive both passenger and Uber Eats delivery requests during the same shift.

This could mean that right after you drop off a passenger, you head to pick up an Uber Eats food order.

You do have the option to disable this feature if you prefer just to deliver food or transport passengers, but we recommend having both enabled to maximize your potential earnings.

Of course, you won’t be able to transport passengers if you’re not old enough or if your car doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.

Still, it’s very common to find UberX drivers who have the right age and vehicle to make both Uber Eats deliveries and passenger transport requests.

Wrapping Up

How do you now feel about driving for Uber Eats?

If you’re ready to head out there to start earning more money for your family, then get in your car or grab a bike or scooter and get into the delivery mood!

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