Uber Eats is a platform that has changed the way people order food. The food delivery service lets people get food from local restaurants just by pressing a couple of buttons. An Uber Eats delivery driver then goes to the restaurant, picks up the food, and brings it to the customer.
With Uber heavily promoting Uber Eats through the regular Uber app, there’s a high demand for orders. This also means a high demand for drivers to work for the service. To fill these positions, Uber has used its existing network of Uber drivers, who can make deliveries for Uber Eats using the same app they use to pick up passengers. At the same time, Uber Eats has offered new opportunities to drivers who are too young to drive for the regular Uber service (Uber Eats drivers only have to be 19).
But how much do Uber Eats drivers make? Is it worth your time to drive for the service? In this article, we’re going to give you the answers. We’ll look at how Uber Eats pays drivers, some common driver expenses that can eat into profits, and some reviews of the service from real Uber Eats drivers. This way, you can decide if working for Uber Eats is right for you.
To start off, let’s look at how Uber Eats calculates driver pay. Each delivery request comes with a flat fee. The fee varies based mainly on the distance between the restaurant and the customer’s location. Specifically, the amount you get breaks down into three components:
- Pickup fee — This is a fixed fee for picking up at the restaurant.
- Drop-off fee — This is a fixed fee for dropping the order off at the customer’s location.
- Distance traveled — Uber pays a per mile rate based on the distance from the pickup location to the drop-off location. This fee varies based on the type of vehicle you’re using to deliver (i.e., you’ll get more for using a car than for a scooter), as well as the city in which you’re making deliveries.
These all combine to create the delivery fee. Of course, you won’t see the full amount that the customer pays. This is because Uber Eats charges a commission for all orders (they call it a “service fee”). The amount of this fee varies based on your city. Whatever is left over after this commission is what you earn for a delivery.
Beyond this, there are a few other factors that can increase your earnings. To start, you’ll earn an extra drop-off fee when you pick up two or more orders in one stop. There’s also the Boost multiplier, which is the Uber Eats version of surge pricing. When Boost pricing is in effect, the amount you earn increases by a multiplier. It could be as low as 1.15x or as high as 3x. It all depends on how much demand there is for Uber Eats orders.
The next way to increase your earnings is through tips. Uber Eats customers have the option to leave a tip within the app after each order. They can also give delivery partners cash tips if they wish. To boost your chances of getting a tip, always provide the best customer service you can.
Finally, certain local incentive programs may increase your earnings from time to time. These include hourly guarantees and guaranteed earnings per trip. Keep an eye on the Uber driver app and the email address associated with your account to learn about these promotions when they’re active in your area.
When looking at how much Uber Eats drivers make, it’s crucial to consider driver expenses. When you work as an Uber Eats driver, you’re an independent contractor. This means that Uber does not reimburse you for any expenses that you incur in the course of making deliveries. What kind of expenses are you likely to incur? Here are a few common ones:
If you’re using a motorized vehicle to make deliveries for Uber Eats, then you have to pay for gas. This is something that unfortunately is getting more and more expensive. You can offset your costs by choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle and driving in an efficient manner. For more tips, check out these 16 ways rideshare drivers can save money on gas. But no matter how efficiently you drive, gas expenses will eat into your profits.
2. Vehicle Maintenance
You can’t make deliveries if your vehicle isn’t in reliable, working condition. This requires maintenance like oil changes, new tires, and replacement of worn out parts. If you’re skilled, you can save some money in this area by doing the work yourself, but this isn’t an option for many people. Plus, all the extra miles you drive for Uber Eats will increase wear and tear on your car (meaning it will need maintenance more frequently).
3. Auto Loan Payments
If you’re making deliveries with a car, then you’re likely making payments on an auto loan. Driving for Uber Eats doesn’t have an effect on the amount of these payments, but you still need to count them as one of your expenses since the vehicle you’re using is essential for your delivery job.
4. Car Insurance
This is another expense that you have to pay by law no matter what you use your car to do. Driving for Uber Eats is nice in that there are fewer risks involved than if you were transporting passengers around (which means that you probably don’t need any special insurance). But you still have to have state minimum coverage. Don’t forget about this expense when figuring out how much you make from Uber Eats.
5. Vehicle Registration, Title, and Taxes
The last set of expenses on our list will vary in amount based on your state. In all cases, though, you’ll have to pay them (unless you’re making deliveries on a bicycle or by foot).
As you can see, more expenses go into making Uber Eats deliveries than most drivers typically realize. Be sure to keep track of these expenses, as you can likely deduct them at tax time.
Speaking of which, you’ll also have to pay taxes on your Uber Eats earnings. Since you’re an independent contractor, Uber doesn’t take out any taxes from what you earn. You have to pay these taxes yourself when you go to file, so be sure to set some money aside. To learn more about how to do this, consult our guide to self-employment taxes.
When looking at how much Uber Eats drivers make, the best source available is what real drivers have to say about working for the company. This information is easily available on sites like Glassdoor, so we decided to take a look.
We discovered that Uber Eats drivers have somewhat mixed opinions about driving for the service. In fact, the number one complaint drivers had was the poor pay. Let’s look at some real quotes from reviewers regarding driver pay.
“Very disappointing. Driving 12 hrs, 22 deliveries and making like $7.00 an hour. 22 deliveries and 2 tippers. and greatly appreciate those 2 customers.”
“Without boost and quest you are basically delivering for almost free. Especially after schools opened your distances like 1 block away which you only make like $3.49 for each delivery but during rush hour you have to wait over 20 minutes for food plus you usually do not get any tips either from college kids.”
“The pay breaks down to less than minimum wage at $7.50 in average an hour because most customers don’t tip. Uber pays a SMALL amount for your drive and only starts paying once you have picked up the food but does not take into consideration the drive it took you to get the food.”
Even the one 5-star review we found mentioned, “Higher reimbursement for each trip would be better.”
Based on driver feedback, then, it appears that driving for Uber Eats is not worthwhile from a financial perspective. Of course, it’s important to remember that the reviews on Glassdoor do not represent the experience of all drivers. There could well be some drivers who are quite satisfied with Uber Eats pay and haven’t felt compelled to leave reviews (or don’t even know about sites like Glassdoor).
Still, seeing reviews like this makes it appear that there are better ways to make extra cash than delivering for Uber Eats.
Uber Eats Drivers Don’t Make Much
Overall, Uber Eats drivers earn less than minimum wage. This comes mostly from a lack of compensation for drivers’ time (such as long waits to pick up orders) and the fact that Uber Eats doesn’t automatically add tips to orders in the Uber Eats app.
There are certainly exceptions to these low earnings, especially if drivers can make deliveries on foot or by bike, or find other other ways to cut down on their expenses and boost their tips. It appears for the moment, however, that you’re better off driving for Uber or Lyft if you want to make money.
Uber Eats is just one of many food delivery apps out there. We also suggest checking out our guides to becoming a DoorDash driver and Postmates driver for other ways to make money delivering food orders.