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Is Uber Eats Worth It for Drivers In 2023? Our Surprising Findings

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Key Takeaways

  • Uber Eats offers flexibility with control over work schedules, suiting those looking for part-time work.
  • Earnings vary by location and depend on factors like customer tips and trip supplements.
  • Challenges include irregular income, traffic navigation, vehicle maintenance, and varied customer interactions.
  • Compared to other delivery services, Uber Eats offers comparable income potential and driver satisfaction.

Has it ever crossed your mind to become a delivery driver with Uber Eats?

The most popular gig work in the country is making deliveries. Whether you’re taking on the side hustle for the extra income or expanding your financial flexibility, taking up a role as an Uber Eats delivery driver could be your best bet.

If you’re still wondering, “Is Uber Eats worth it?” our guide will navigate you through the role’s benefits, income average, challenges, and demands to make an informed decision.

Defining “Worth It” – A Primer

Before we get into the details of driving with Uber Eats, we first need to define “Worth It”. This is a wildly subjective term, so it might mean something different to me than it does to you.

We will use the term “worth it” in the most general sense, meaning is driving with Uber Eats a good way to make extra money while working with a flexible schedule.

We’ll cross-reference how much a driver can make against the most commonly-desired goals, such as what the work entails, the flexibility of the schedule, the work available to drivers, and the general satisfaction that drivers get while doing deliveries.

Watch the video below from our own Sam Choi to give yourself a primer on why people even think about driving with a delivery service like Uber Eats in the first place:

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Overview of Uber Eats Deliveries As a Driver

Before applying for Uber Eats as a driver, you need to know what the job entails and its responsibilities. In essence, it’s like any other food delivery service where you pick up the food from a nearby restaurant and drop it off to customers.

Your job is to also ensure that the food matches the customer’s order. In a lot of cases, Uber Eats delivery drivers are also UberX drivers.

Some Uber delivery services allow you to meet curbside or outside with a customer to deliver their food. Other services will require drivers to meet the customer directly at their door.

As an Uber Eats driver, you can set your schedule to your preference in advance or on a work day. Overall, the job needs organizational, customer service, and time management skills.

If you’re capable of weaving through crowded streets while maintaining a friendly conversation with the customer regarding their order’s ETA, you can consider a role as an Uber Eats driver.

How Hard it is to Get Started With Uber Eats?

It is not hard to apply to become an Uber Eats driver. The process is very straightforward, but does require drivers to meet some standard criteria:

  • Be at least 19 years old (18 if you’re delivering by bike).
  • Have a valid driver’s license.
  • Provide proof of car insurance and vehicle registration.
  • Own a smartphone capable of running the Uber Eats driver app (Android or iPhone).

Additionally, there are a few vehicle specifications that need to be met:

  • The vehicle should be a 1998 model or newer.
  • It must have two or four doors.
  • Your driving record should reflect at least one year of driving experience in the United States.

If a driver can meet the criteria above, they can move onto the final step in the application process – passing a background check – a necessary safety component that Uber has found to be highly effective.

This check will look into your personal and criminal history, and any criminal offenses in the last seven years could disqualify you from becoming a driver. This background scrutiny is similar to what companies like Postmates also conduct.

Overall, if you meet the listed criteria and pass the background check, you’re well on your way to making deliveries with Uber Eats.

How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make?

The average Uber Eats driver income varies between $18 and $25 per hour. Your hourly salary will typically increase if you’re from locations like Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Portland, and Houston.

Location aside, your Uber Eats earnings can vary based on several other factors, like customer tips, the base fare, and trip supplements.

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

Additional Fees

Uber Eats implements multiple additional fees and payments during your working hours. One of them includes the Boost feature. If you work during a Boost allotted time, which is an expected busy shift, you get a multiplier, increasing your income.

Besides multipliers, cancellations also impact your pay. For instance, if a delivery partner cancels an order, you might not receive the delivery fee. This scenario differs if you can’t find the customer. In this case, your delivery fee won’t be affected.

Another factor worth considering is customer tipping. Customers are encouraged to tip their drivers, boosting their income per order. On average, you could expect a $4 tip for every order.

Promotions

Uber Eats driver promotions are a critical factor in your payment structure. These promotions encourage drivers to come near on-demand sites to earn more.

For example, you can earn $100 if you complete 30 trips in three days. You can also rake in $150 for delivering 45 orders in four days.

Base Fare

The base fare is one of the most critical aspects of the Uber Eats pay model. It involves calculating the costs of distance during pick-up and drop-off.

Uber estimates the distance fee using a per-mile rate. You must use the most fuel-efficient route since the mileage fee applies to that trajectory.

Trip Supplement

If you complete longer rides, you can expect to get higher pay for those orders. Now, this might not drastically affect your salary since these trips usually cover expenses like tolls rather than award you with extra income. Still, the reimbursement does allow you to save more of your earnings.

Timing

Uber Eats has a peak pay service that usually appears red on your app’s map screen. During those high-demand times, you can expect to earn more than average.

This is likely due to surge pricing and promotions. It differs from Boost promotions because it’s unexpected.

What Is Driving for Uber Eats Like?

Driving for Uber Eats is presented as a convenient option for those looking to supplement their income during their free time. There’s a high degree of flexibility for drivers, who are not required to set their schedules in advance, offering the freedom to work as little or as much as they want.

In terms of the physical demands of the job, driving for Uber Eats is relatively low impact. It requires no heavy lifting, with the most physical activity involving light walking to and from the vehicle to the customer’s location.

However, a key component of the role is providing excellent customer service, which is essential when interacting with customers at the drop-off point. This emphasis on service highlights the importance of the driver’s role in the overall customer experience with the platform.

Flexibility and Independence As a Driver

One benefit that sets apart Uber Eats is that it’s one of the best food delivery services to work for in terms of flexibility and independence.

As a delivery driver for the giant ridesharing company, you have full control over your work schedule. You can choose which shifts you want to work in, whether they’re during peak hours or not.

Unlike 9-to-5s, you’re not tied to standard work hours, which gives you independence. Plus, you can do Uber Eats practically anywhere.

Now, would this independence balance well with a consistent income?

It could work that way. According to a research article from the University of Chicago, Uber drivers typically earn more than twice what they would make in less flexible work arrangements.

Besides that, your Uber Eats delivery role can be a side hustle for extra money rather than your main source of income.

Subsequently, you’ll have a consistent stream of income, providing enhanced financial flexibility in times of unexpected payments.

The Demands and Challenges of Being an Uber Eats Driver

Despite being an exceptional role to earn extra cash, an Uber Eats driver’s job responsibilities are not without their demands and challenges.

Vector image with person holding phone and showing the ways how to contact uber eats and wondering is uber eats worth it

1. Irregular Income

Uber Eats is not a standard job with insurance benefits. On top of that, the role doesn’t come with a consistent salary. While Uber Eats can give you a primary source of income, it’s not as reliable as other stable jobs.

2. Navigating Traffic

You might run into a situation where the Uber app malfunctions. The software’s navigation system may not be updated to the current Google Maps route. If so, you’ll likely not receive the optimized shortest delivery route, wasting your time and fuel.

3. Vehicle Maintenance

As you drive through several orders, you can’t expect your vehicle to come out unscathed. You’ll have to consider the costs of maintaining your vehicle so you don’t run into issues while making deliveries.

4. Food Handling

Accidents tend to happen when delivering food. The order may have fallen from your motorcycle or toppled over during a turn. Either way, this can affect your delivery time, tip, and overall earning potential that day.

5. Customer Interaction

Dealing with angry customers takes skill and patience that some Uber Eats drivers aren’t equipped with. That could result in a dropped rating. Consistently low ratings can affect your position in the company.

6. Technical Costs

Some of the technical costs worth considering as an Uber Eats delivery rider include:

  • Vehicle rental
  • Phone bill
  • Taxes
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Vehicle repair
  • Medical expenses
  • Fuel costs

One of the most notable costs on this list is the fuel expense. Uber Eats has started charging customers a surcharge between $0.35 and $0.45 to account for rising gas prices.

Comparing Uber Eats with Other Delivery Services

Uber Eats is among the key players in food delivery services. Standing closely by the ranks are other market giants like DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub. Here’s how they compare based on critical factors like income potential and market presence.

1. Income Potential

Among all food delivery services in the US, Instacart and Grubhub top the list in terms of income potential.

While Uber Eats offers an average $18 to $25 per hour payment average, Instacart gives personal shoppers around $18 to $43. Grubhub has an average hourly $18 to $26 rate for its drivers.

2. Market Presence

As per Statista analysis, Uber Eats currently owns a sizable 23% market share of food delivery services. DoorDash holds the largest chunk, taking over 65% of the industry.

Other notable mentions include Grubhub and Postmates, each accounting for 9% and 2%, respectively.

3. Driver Satisfaction

Uber Eats ranks high among its competitors in terms of driver satisfaction. If we look at the Driver app interface for instance, you’ll notice that it’s more straightforward compared to Grubhub, but not as clean as DoorDash.

Overall, Uber Eats is similar to DoorDash in this comparison category. Both food delivery services are better than Grubhub in aspects like food drop-off.

Regarding pay, Uber Eats drivers primarily rely on customer tips. DoorDash and Grubhub offer better earning potential, increasing their overall driver satisfaction.

Community and Driver Support

Whether you’re a potential Uber Eats driver inquiring about background checks or want to access resources, the food delivery app has you covered.

The platform holds a wealth of knowledge of articles and FAQs for Uber Eats drivers to get their answers from.

You can ask for in-person assistance by visiting a Greenlight location. Be sure to create a booking beforehand from the Driver app.

Alternatively, you can access the platform’s 24/7 phone support from the “Call Support” setting in the app.

Uber Eats has also done its part in community support, whether by delivering free Passover meals or partnering with Feeding America and World Central Kitchen.

Real Driver Experiences and Testimonials

The best method to decide whether or not you want the job is to witness other drivers’ experiences. Here are some to consider:

“I make my own schedule. I can travel and still work. Very convenient being that I can pay my bills and have a flexible schedule to handle my business.” – Uber Eats in Florida

“It’s a great way to make extra money, be your own boss, and make your own schedule. The gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle can add up though. I recommend doing this full-time” – Uber Eats in Ohio

“Typical day at Uber Eats consists of a lot of traveling, handling food with care, and dealing with a lot of different people. Some who are not very pleasant and some who are.” – Uber Eats in Brooklyn.

Pros and Cons Summary

Still haven’t made your decision? Use our pros and cons list below to weigh your decision more clearly.

Pros of Driving with Uber Eats

It allows you to work outdoors rather than stay cooped up in a desk job.

Gives you a higher chance to interact and connect with others

Encourages flexibility

Flexible work attire

Convenient payout schedule

Adequate earning potential

Cons of Driving with Uber Eats

Navigating through busy streets

Faulty navigation system

High potential for accidents

High expenses of vehicle maintenance and fuel

Unsteady income

My Personal Thoughts – Is Uber Eats Worth It?

As an Uber Eats driver myself, I believe the platform is worth using. While there are a handful or downsides like expenses and depreciation, it is a very flexible way to earn money on-demand.

Additionally, there are various ways to increase the amount you earn, such as working during peak hours, taking advantage of promotions like Boost and SURGE pricing, and promoting referral codes to those interested in also applying to drive.

Additionally, the job offers a sense of independence and the satisfaction of earning tips directly from customers. It’s a fitting side hustle that complements my financial goals without the constraints of a traditional job.

Is Uber Eats a Better Full-time Job or a Side Job?

Uber Eats is primarily designed as a part-time opportunity, ideal for those seeking additional income alongside their main job. It suits individuals looking for flexible work that meets basic requirements and can be done alongside other commitments.

Uber Eats aims to have a ready pool of drivers available throughout the day, which aligns well with the typical part-time work schedule.

Thoughts From Other Drivers – Is Uber Eats Worth It?

In answering this question, we went directly to the front lines. The comments on whether UberEats is worth it as a job reflect a variety of experiences and opinions, with several recurring themes:

vector graphic showing a hand holding an uber eats driver app in front of a city skyline

Nature of Work

This category delves into how drivers perceive the role of an Uber Eats driver, whether as a flexible gig or a traditional job, and the value they place on the autonomy it offers.

  • Gig vs. Job: Many view UberEats as a gig rather than a secure job. It’s a source of income but doesn’t offer the stability or benefits of traditional employment.
  • Flexibility: A major advantage highlighted is the flexibility UberEats offers, allowing drivers to work on their terms and schedule, which is a significant positive aspect for many.

Financial Aspects

Financial discussions focus on the variability of earnings across different markets, the potential income versus the associated costs, and the general consensus on UberEats as a supplementary income rather than a primary one.

  • Market Variability: Earnings and experiences vary significantly depending on the market. Some areas are oversaturated with drivers, leading to lower earnings, while others may offer more lucrative opportunities.
  • Time and Earnings: There’s a consensus that the potential to make money exists, especially if one is selective about the orders they accept and works during peak hours. However, the time commitment can be significant, and earnings are inconsistent.
  • Side Hustle vs. Full-time: A common sentiment is that UberEats is more suitable as a side hustle rather than a full-time job, with many drivers emphasizing its utility for supplemental income.
  • Cost Considerations: The cost of gas and vehicle wear are concerns, particularly with fluctuations in fuel prices. Some drivers use the gig to bridge gaps between jobs or as a temporary reprieve from traditional work.
  • Earnings Potential: There are reports of decent earnings in some comments, with some drivers making upwards of $25/hour in the right conditions, although this is not the general experience for all.
  • Tips and Customer Interaction: Tips can significantly impact earnings, and interactions with customers can vary, affecting job satisfaction.

Operational Experience

Here, drivers express their encounters with the day-to-day challenges of UberEats delivery, from customer service issues to the practicalities of order fulfillment.

  • Operational Challenges: Drivers discuss operational issues such as dealing with customer service, missing items, and curbside delivery problems, which can affect the overall experience.

Personal Circumstances

This category captures how drivers’ personal situations—like the need for multi-app strategies and personal financial goals—affect their view of the worthiness of UberEats as a gig option.

  • Multi-apping: To maximize earnings, some drivers suggest using multiple gig apps simultaneously, which can help achieve a living wage.
  • Personal Goals and Circumstances: The value of UberEats as a job is subjective and depends on personal goals, financial needs, and other individual circumstances.

Key Takeaway

The overarching theme is that whether UberEats is worth it highly depends on individual circumstances, market conditions, personal goals, and the trade-offs between flexibility, stability, and income.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Actually Make Money With Uber Eats?

The food delivery platform does provide drivers with adequate earning potential. Even though you do receive extra cash, you’ll have to account for the expenses that follow, including vehicle maintenance and fuel costs.

How Does Uber Eats Pay?

You can choose between a few payment options with Uber Eats. If you prefer cashouts, ask for the Uber Pro card. It will automatically cash out your earnings after every delivery. You can also opt for Instant Pay by going to the Driver app, clicking “Earnings,” and “Cash out.”

Conclusion: Is Uber Eats Right for You?

After going through all the facts and figures involved in working with Uber Eats, is it right for you? Well, that primarily depends on your career and earning goals. If you’re searching for a side hustle that’ll allow you to earn a bit of cash, you can consider the ridesharing app.

The gig job is relatively easy to incorporate or work around your life and current job. If you want a steady income from one main job, Uber Eats isn’t the best option for you. While earnings tend to increase during certain peak times and locations, these aren’t a guarantee for consistent high income.

Other critical factors worth considering are the hefty expenses and potentially crowded road conditions ahead. You’ll want to reflect well on these challenges so you can find a workaround.

Aside from that, working with Uber Eats is an exceptional opportunity, whether you’re searching for a side income or a chance to meet new people and go out more often.