How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make In 2021? Your Complete Guide
Are you someone who typically works as a Lyft or Uber rideshare driver?
Perhaps you’re someone looking for a way to enter the gig economy but don’t want to shuttle passengers around.
Regardless of the case, it’s possible for you to pad your income thanks to Uber Eats.
- But exactly how much do Uber Eats drivers make?
- Is it worth your time to drive for the service?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about your earning potential while working as a delivery driver for Uber Eats.
We’ll look at how the company 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.
What Is Uber Eats and How Does It Work for Drivers?
Of course, for this system to work, there needs to be someone who picks up the food at the local restaurant and delivers it to the customer.
The restaurants don’t rely on their own employees to make the delivery.
Instead, they rely on the independent contractors that Uber provides as its outsourced delivery partner.
That’s where you come in.
If you live in certain cities, you can also use alternative forms of transportation, including:
After downloading the Uber Eats app and signing up, you’ll receive an order and be directed to a restaurant.
You’re then in charge of picking up the food order and delivering it to the customer.
Although this seems rather straightforward, there are multiple factors that go into determining how much you can earn as an Uber Eats delivery driver.
Related: Does Lyft offer food delivery?
What Is the Pay Structure for Drivers?
There are five factors that go into determining the rate of pay for food delivery drivers:
- Pick-up fee
- Drop-off fee
- Mileage rate
- Minute rate
- Fare reduction and boost multiplier
Below, we’ll give you a breakdown of what goes into these five criteria.
1) Pick-Up Fee
The pick-up fee is a flat rate that you receive every time you pick up an order from a restaurant.
It’s possible that you can pick up multiple orders at the same time from a single pick-up location.
In these cases, a multiplier may be applied to this amount.
2) Drop-Off Fee
The drop-off fee is perhaps better known as the delivery fee.
If you successfully complete a food order, you’ll receive a flat rate.
Note that this payout occurs each time you drop off food at a particular location.
So, even if you pick up multiple deliveries at a restaurant, you’ll receive the drop-off fee every time you reach a new customer.
3) Mileage Rate
This portion of your payout considers the mileage between pickup and dropoff points.
The Uber app, however, uses the most efficient rate.
It does not track the distance that you actually travel.
It also does not consider the mileage that you travel while getting to your next pickup point.
You should also note that this rate is only applicable in certain cities, such as New York and Los Angeles.
You may want to look into whether Uber offers mileage pay in your respective city.
When you sign up to drive, you’ll receive more information about your delivery location and respective pay rates.
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4) Minute Rate
The Uber food delivery app will also track how long it takes you to complete orders, from the first restaurant to the final dropoff.
You’ll receive a payout for the time spent fulfilling these delivery requests.
This too is similar to the mileage rate.
It’s based on estimated time spent traveling, not the actual time.
So if you hit traffic or are stuck waiting for food at a restaurant, you’ll be out of luck.
The minute rate is also only available in certain cities.
5) Fare Reduction and Boost Multiplier
The last criteria determining your Uber Eats pay is the fare reduction portion.
Depending on the city in which you deliver and the form of transportation that you use to fulfill the request, Uber Eats may pay you less.
For example, if you’re a delivery person who uses a car in New York, you’ll receive more per mile than someone using a scooter in Fresno, California.
A boost multiplier takes place when drivers are not in high supply.
In these cases, you may receive more money to encourage you to drive.
It’s essentially a food-related version of Surge pricing.
Uber will outline what the multiplier is before you accept.
Once you accept and successfully complete the ride, your net fare will be multiplied by the multiplier.
Upon delivering food, the customer has the option to provide a tip.
Any tips that you earn are in addition to your standard pay rate.
Drivers are entitled to 100% of the tips that they earn.
However, Uber Eats tells customers that tips are not expected.
You’ll also need to pay taxes on tips.
In addition to prompt delivery, check out these things you can do to boost your earnings while driving.
How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make?
Determining the actual rate of pay for Uber drivers can be challenging, as it can depend on where you live, your mode of transportation, and other uncontrollable factors like whether you hit traffic.
Uber’s website doesn’t list a proposed hourly pay rate. Instead, it chooses to emphasize other benefits like flexible schedules.
Having said that, we browsed Glassdoor to try to help answer, “How much do Uber Eats drivers make?”
Many reviews said that they earned less than minimum wage when driving for Uber Eats.
The majority of reviewers claimed to earn around $3.50 per delivery.
By the time you factor in wait times and other delays, this broke down to less than minimum wage.
This is legal because you work as an independent contractor, not an employee.
Uber Eats Driver Expenses
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.
Or if you have an Uber lease, you’ll also be making payments on that.
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
Insurance 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 maintain 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.
Uber Eats Driver Pay Reviews
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about how much Uber Eats drivers make.
How do taxes factor into pay rates?
Uber does not withhold taxes from pay rates.
While this may seem appealing in the short term, it’s not beneficial in the long run.
You’re going to end up having to pay twice as much in Social Security and Medicare taxes, thanks to the self-employment tax.
If you factor in the fact that you’re already making less than or near minimum wage, you’ll find that your rate of pay is significantly low.
Do you have to drive for Uber to drive for Uber Eats?
No, it’s completely possible for you to drive for one platform and not the other.
If you’re interested in driving for Uber Eats but don’t want to deal with the ridesharing portion, there’s nothing requiring you to do so.
Does Uber cover your expenses?
As mentioned, you’ll get paid based on estimated mileage traveled and minutes spent completing an order.
However, that’s the closest Uber comes to covering your expenses.
You’ll need to pay for things such as gas, vehicle maintenance, and car insurance.
These expenses are deductible from your taxes, so you’ll want to make sure that you track them diligently.
How do Uber Eats drivers get paid?
If you link your bank account with the Uber Eats app, the company will deposit your funds automatically.
Drivers also have the option to cash out with Instant Pay, which they can find in their app.
Instant Pay allows you to transfer funds to a debit card.
Drivers can cash out five times per day.
Should You Consider Driving for Uber Eats?
If you’re looking for ways to earn supplemental income in a part-time role, Uber Eats may be an intriguing option.
However, you may want to do a bit of research before trying it out.
Consider the type of transportation you’ll be using and where you’ll be delivering, as these factors can impact your pay rate.
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 (like tracking earnings for tax purposes).
It appears for the moment, however, that you’re better off driving for Uber or Lyft if you want to make money.
You may also want to be particularly mindful about only driving when a boost multiplier is in place.
Otherwise, your earnings could be below the minimum wage.
Be mindful of this when starting out, as you could potentially earn more working for other food delivery companies.
Since Uber Eats is just one of many food delivery apps out there.
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