If you’re looking for a new side gig in the delivery space, there is an overwhelmingly large number of options available.
There are lots of reasons to consider Uber Eats.
For one, it offers the freedom and independence to make your own schedule. It’s also a great way to discover local restaurants and explore your city.
And if you don’t meet the age and vehicle requirements to drive for Uber, that’s okay. Uber Eats drivers only have to be 19 years old. Plus, your car doesn’t have to meet the cosmetic standards required by traditional Uber drivers.
For current Uber drivers, Uber Eats is an ideal way to supplement and diversify your income. When you’re not getting ride requests or aren’t in the mood to drive passengers around, you can deliver for Uber Eats instead.
If you aren’t an Uber driver because you don’t want passengers in your car or don’t meet the vehicle requirements, Uber Eats is a great substitute.
Whether you’re already on the road delivering food or thinking about signing up to drive for the food delivery service, keep reading. We’ve got 10 great tips for how you can make even more money driving for Uber Eats.
- How Uber Eats Payments Work
- Uber Eats Referral Codes
- Auto-Accepting Orders
- Boost Promotions
- Quest Promotions
- Curbside Delivery
- Declining Requests
- Increase Tips
- Reduce Expenses
- Diversify Income
Understand How Uber Eats Payments Work
In order to maximize your earnings, you have to first understand how payments work and how much Uber Eats drivers make.
Uber Eats’ payment system is different from regular Uber payments. So even if you’re an experienced Uber driver, it’s important to take some time to understand the Uber Eats system.
Like Uber, the exact fees vary from city to city. For the purposes of this example, we’re breaking down how payments work in the city of Denver, Colorado.
As an Uber delivery driver, you’ll earn:
- A pickup fee,
- Drop-off fee
- “Per mile” rate
- “Per minute” rate.
In Denver, you get $1.50 for a pickup plus $1.00 for a drop-off. You also earn $0.12 for every minute the drive takes plus $1.00 for every mile you drive (from the restaurant to the drop-off point).
You’ll make most of your money from the pickup, drop-off, and per mile fees. The per minute fees, while they do add to your total earnings, actually mean that you’ll be spending more on gas and putting more wear and tear on your car. The goal is to spend as little as possible on gas and put as few miles on your car as necessary.
Focus on completing as many deliveries as you can in the shortest amount of time. In most cases, that means opting for quick, local trips rather than delivering orders that are all the way across town.
Drivers also get to keep 100% of all tips.
Use a Referral Code
Uber Eats is currently trying to bring in new drivers, and they’re offering a generous sign-on bonus for new drivers who apply using a referral code.
When you sign up using a referral code, you’ll get an extra bonus, so make sure you use a promo code, otherwise, you’re missing out on free money. Depending on the city you live in, you’ll need to complete a certain amount of deliveries in order to cash in on your code. In some cities, you’ll need to complete 20 orders. In other cities, you’ll need to complete 100.
Once you hit that magic number, you can redeem your code for a cash bonus. The bonus also varies from location to location – in fact, we’ve seen them range drastically from as little as $100 to as much as $1,100.
The rewards don’t stop there. Once you’ve claimed your sign-on referral code, you can share your own referral code and encourage new drivers to work for Uber Eats. As long as those drivers complete a certain amount of deliveries, you can continue to earn bonuses.
Idle time is a waste of time and a waste of money. If you want to stay busy and do as many deliveries as possible, auto-accept orders. The more deliveries you complete, the more money you can make. Auto-accept is a setting that you can turn on in the Uber driver app.
When this setting is enabled, you will automatically accept (obviously) new orders as they come in. You’ll typically receive these new delivery requests right before you complete a delivery, that way, when you hop back in your car you’ll head to straight to the new restaurant instead of sitting around and waiting for a new order.
Drive During “Boosts”
Uber drivers know that the quickest way to make some extra money is to take advantage of surge pricing. Uber Eats offers a similar scenario for high-demand times called “Boost.” A Boost occurs when there are a lot of orders coming in at a certain time in a certain location and not enough drivers to fulfill them.
During a boost, Uber Eats delivery drivers’ earnings are multiplied by a certain factor such as 1.5x or 2x. By taking advantage of Boost hours, you can easily double your hourly income.
You can’t always predict when or where a Boost is going to occur, but when you see one happen in your area, jump on it quickly so you can put some extra cash in your pocket.
From our experience, Boost pricing is most common on the weekends, but it can also be very busy doing inclement weather. Delivery times during big TV events, like football games, are also great for Boosts.
Driving for Uber Eats isn’t quite as much fun as sitting at home playing video games, but their Quest promotions do make it a little more interesting. As a unique way to “gamify” delivery, drivers embark on a quest and attempt to complete a certain amount of deliveries with a specified timeframe.
A typical quest could be something like you need to complete 10 deliveries between 5 pm and midnight. If you complete the quest successfully, you will receive a bonus. Sometimes the bonuses are worth $80.
To see which quests are available when you’re driving, check out the Promotions Hub tab in the partner app.
Quests are just one more way of earning some extra money. Doing a quest is not an excuse to speed or rush through orders. It’s simply a way to get you excited to work hard and encourage you to pick up even small jobs that you might otherwise ignore.
Take Advantage of Curbside Delivery
In some cities, Uber Eats only offers curbside delivery, that means less time spent on each delivery. With curbside delivery, your customer is expected to meet you outside. You don’t have to get out of your car to drop off their food at their front door or inside their office – you just need to pull up at the address.
To speed up curbside delivery even more, use a hands-free device in your car to text your customer. Let them know you are nearby and that they should meet you outside in 5 minutes.
If you pull up at the delivery address and they aren’t there to pick up their order, call them. Every moment you waste waiting for them is time that you’re taking away from the next delivery.
For drivers who work in a city that isn’t strictly curbside, it still might be worth it to ask the customer if they want to come meet you outside. Some customers might not be receptive to that, but it’s worth a try.
Don’t be pushy when it comes to asking customers to meet you curbside. If you call or text and the customer asks you to come to the door, it’s best to do as they say. Otherwise, you risk getting a poor rating and even worse, no tip.
Figure Out What Requests to Decline
It’s important to keep your acceptance rate high, but sometimes it makes more sense to decline low paying jobs. When you look back on how the earnings are calculated, there’s no doubt about it – it’s always best to focus on short, quick trips.
But you’re better off doing a low paying delivery than no delivery at all. When it’s not busy, take any orders that you can get using Auto-Accept. If it’s busy and you’re confident that you’ll get a better paying request quickly, you might want to turn down those lower paying jobs.
One Uber Eats driver on Reddit offers a great suggestion – take the time to learn which restaurants are slow and decline those requests. In other words, if you know that a restaurant is slow to fill an order, don’t waste your time on that delivery. The slow service will only eat into time you can spend doing your next delivery.
Long waits at the pickup location or waiting for the next delivery order are a huge waste of time and money. If there are only a handful of requests, take a low paying one when that’s the only one available. Some money is better than no money at all.
Be Professional and Friendly
It goes without saying that you should always be polite and friendly when you’re on the job. And when tips can make a big difference in your earnings, there’s even more of a reason to maintain a good attitude.
Unfortunately, Uber Eats customers aren’t exactly known for tipping. So if you want to earn a gratuity, you’re going to have to work extra hard to get one.
You have to go above and beyond what is expected of you. That means you have to be friendly. Dress appropriately and look neat and professional. As you’re handing the order over to the customer, read it off to them to confirm that it’s correct.
Some drivers have a tendency to hand off the food and rush out of there. Instead of rushing away, pause for a minute. Give the customer a chance to give you a tip. They’re not going to chase you down to tip you, so make it easy for them. Sometimes all it takes is a brief pause for them to reach into their wallet for a few dollars.
Whatever you do, don’t be pushy. Acting like you deserve a tip is a surefire way not to get one.
Provide excellent service at all times. Your customers might not tip you, but they might pay it forward and be prepared to tip the next driver on the next order. That might not do much for you at the moment, but your friendly, professional service may encourage them to tip in the future.
Track and Reduce Expenses
In order to track and improve your earnings, you need to be able to track your expenses. That includes knowing how much you spend on gas, vehicle maintenance, and other fees.
Uber Eats drivers work as independent contractors, not as employees of the company. So you are responsible for all of your upfront expenses. But you’re also able to deduct those expenses at tax time.
You can use an app like Stride Tax to help you track expenses. It’s a helpful tool that you can analyze from week to week. It’s also great when it comes time to file your taxes. With a tracking report and legitimate receipts to prove your expenses, you can save huge amounts of money at tax time.
By tracking your expenses, you can also see where you might be able to reduce costs and save a few bucks. Every dollar that you save on expenses means more money in your pocket at the end of the week.
Use Other Apps During Down Times
The trick to making money driving for Uber Eats, Uber, or any other similar gig is to stay busy. And as an Uber Eats driver, the best way to do that is to have a way to make money with other apps when there are no orders coming in.
With an eligible vehicle, you can diversify your income by signing up to drive for Uber and drive for Lyft. If driving passengers around isn’t your thing, sign up for other delivery apps. GrubHub, Doordash, and Postmates are all good options that can provide income when you’re experiencing downtime with Uber Eats.
Having some alternative options is a good idea, regardless of what kind of independent gig you have. The way to make money is to stay busy picking up orders, picking up passengers, or dropping off deliveries. Time wasted means money lost, so diversify your gigs by having at least two or three that you can juggle at all times.
There are lots of ways you can maximize your earnings with Uber Eats. Take the time to understand the payment system. You make the most amount by picking up and dropping orders off, so doing quick, short orders is usually best. When you’re not busy, accept every order that comes your way.
When you first sign up, get your referral code so you can earn your sign-on bonus. Continue to use that referral code to invite new delivery partners and you can continue to earn bonuses as time goes on.
Drive during “boost” times in order to make more money per order. Make it a little bit more fun and challenging by completing quests and you can earn some decent bonuses.
Take advantage of curbside delivery to save you time. Learn which restaurants to avoid so you can figure out which order requests to decline. Track and reduce expenses so you know your actual earnings and can take the appropriate deductions at tax time.
When Uber Eats is slow, make use of other apps, such as GrubHub or Doordash. And above all else, be polite, friendly, and courteous to your customers. Tips are a great way to increase your earnings, so go above and beyond and you might be able to earn a gratuity here and there.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.