Small Business Advice

How much do you make with Uber Eats?

If you're thinking about becoming an Uber Eats driver in 2022, here's what to expect.

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As of January 2022, the average salary for an Uber Eats delivery driver in the U.S. is $40,176 per year, according to Zip Recruiter. This works out to just about $19.32 per hour and $3,348 per month after deduction of operation costs, which typically include gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance. If you’re thinking of joining Uber Eats as a driver in 2022, then those are the key numbers to keep in mind.

That said, the salary range for Uber Eats drivers is pretty wide, with some making as much as $80,500 and others as low as $14,500. A majority of Uber Eats delivery drivers fall in the $27,000 to $44,500 bracket. The exact amounts that drivers make depend on location, skill level and experience.

How does Uber Eats work?

In simple terms, Uber Eats is a platform for food delivery service. It allows restaurants to supply food orders to their remote customers without having to do the actual delivery. Instead, Uber Eats drivers pick up the orders from restaurants and deliver the food to customers at a fee.

The customer’s work is pretty straightforward. They simply access the Uber Eats app, browse through hundreds or thousands of available restaurants, categorized either by name or cuisine. And then tap on a restaurant to order a particular food.

An Uber Eats driver who is nearby will claim the order, pick it up and deliver it to the customer. The customer is able to track the delivery process in real-time through the app, thus enhancing the customer-driver interaction.

Since you can do Uber Eats part-time, it has grown into one of the most popular side gigs for people looking to supplement their income. It doesn’t require a lot of commitment, and can be a great way of making some extra bucks for paying off a debt, vacation, wedding, retirement or any other special occasion.

The question that most people ask before venturing is: How much do Uber Eats drivers make? The typical Uber Eats driver makes just over $19.32 per hour. But this will vary depending on the city where you operate. In NYC, for example, the average Uber Eats delivery driver makes $23.62 an hour while in St. Louis they make $13.30.

How does Uber Eats calculate pay for drivers?

Uber Eats calculates drivers’ pay based on three things: fares, promotions and tips. The mileage and time spent delivering food ultimately determine how much Uber Eats drivers make. Here’s a sample of how the pay is broken down:

uber eats pay
Image source: Financial Panther

Fares

Three things go into Uber Eats fares for its delivery drivers: base fare, fare reduction and boost multiplier.

Base fare is calculated based on order pick-up, order drop-off, time spent delivering the order and the distance traveled to deliver the order.

Order pick-up fee: this is a flat rate that you get every time you accept and pick up an order from a restaurant. If you decide to pick up multiple orders from a single pick-up location, then Uber Eats will use a multiplier to calculate the final amount due to you.

Order drop-off fee: this is the delivery fee that an Uber Eats driver gets. It is a flat rate that you receive when you successfully complete an order; i.e., when the food gets to the customer. Even if you picked up multiple orders, you’ll earn a fee for every one of them that you complete.

Minute rate: the Uber Eats app tracks the amount of time you take to complete your orders; from the time you pick up the first order to the time you drop off the final one. You receive a fee for fulfilling these customer requests. The minute rate is important because it may (indirectly) take into account the amount of time you spend stuck in traffic or waiting for orders in restaurants. However, keep in mind that it’s only available in certain cities like New York and California.

Mileage rate: just like the minute rate which is based on time, Uber Eats also pays drivers based on mileage. This metric considers the distance (in miles) between your pick-up and drop-off points. But you should know that the mileage is more or less an estimate, not the actual distance travelled. Again, it’s only available in certain cities.

Fare reduction is an Uber Eats payment criteria that’s based on your form of transportation and the city in which you operate. Some types of vehicles and cities earn more than others. For example, you’ll earn more if you use a car to deliver food in New York City than someone who uses a scooter to deliver food in Kansas.

An Uber Eats boost multiplier is the same concept as Surge for Uber rideshare services. You essentially earn it when there are many food orders but few delivery drivers available. To encourage you to accept and make deliveries, Uber Eats pays more for every order you accept. The app will notify you of the multiplier before you accept the delivery.

Promotions

These are additional ways that can increase your earnings. Uber Eats promotions include referrals for new drivers, in which case you earn a bonus every time a new driver signs up for Uber Eats delivery through you. Additionally, you can get promotional earnings using Uber Quest. This is where Uber pays you extra for completing a certain number of food deliveries in a certain amount of time. For example, Uber Eats may have a promo weekend where you earn an extra $40 for completing at least 10 deliveries within that weekend.

Tips

As a delivery driver, you get 100% of the tips that Uber Eats customers leave. First, Uber Eats tells its customers that tips are not expected. Therefore, any gratuities are purely out of customers’ generosity. Secondly, Uber Eats tips are subject to tax. Thus, you have to include them in your taxable income.

That said, Uber Eats costs are tax deductible. Make sure to deduct all eligible costs and lower your tax burden as much as possible.

How do Uber Eats drivers get paid?

Uber Eats pays delivery drivers in two different ways: via Instant Pay or through a direct deposit. When you use Instant Pay your money shows up in your bank account immediately. However, it may take up to three days for the money to be available.

The biggest advantage of Uber’s instant pay is that you can cash out up to 5 times per day. The money will go to your checking account, then you can use your debit card to access it once it’s available. Instant Pay allows most of the common cards, including MasterCard, Visa and Discovery.

However, these cards are not free; you’ll be hit with a 50-cent fee every time you withdraw funds. In case you’re looking for a free debit card to use, try the Nearside debit card with cash back rewards. It’s completely free to apply for and use, and comes with no maintenance fees.

The other alternative to Uber Instant Pay is setting up a weekly direct deposit via ACH. In this case, your Uber Eats payment is processed on Wednesday evening and then deposited into your account on Thursday. Depending on your bank’s processing time, the money may be available that same Thursday or it may take until Friday before it shows up in your bank account.

Uber Eats delivery requirements

You don’t have to own a car to work as an Uber Eats delivery driver. You can use a scooter, bicycle or even make deliveries on food. Requirements vary depending on what you use.

Requirements for delivery by car

  • Meet the minimum driving age requirement for your city.
  • Have a valid driver’s license.
  • Submit your Social Security Number to Uber for a background check.
  • Have a 2-door or 4-door vehicle for making food deliveries.

Requirements for delivery by scooter

  • Be at least 19 years old.
  • Submit your Social Security Number to Uber for a background check.
  • Have a motorized scooter with a maximum 50cc engine.
  • Have a valid driver’s license.
  • Remember to check “Delivery by scooter” when signing up on the Uber Eats app.

Requirements for delivery by bicycle or on foot

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a valid government-issued ID
  • Submit your Social Security Number to Uber for a background check.
  • Remember to select “Delivery by bicycle” or “Delivery by bicycle or foot” (whichever applies to your city) when signing up on the Uber Eats app.

How to become an Uber Eats driver

Compared to traditional food delivery, Uber Eats is different because you work for yourself and can therefore choose your own working hours. You just have to sign up and then create a schedule that works for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to become an Uber Eats driver if you’ve never driven for Uber before:

Step 1: Sign up for Uber Eats using the Uber Eats app

This is a straightforward step. Simply download and install the Uber Eats app on your mobile device. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android.

You will need to consent to Uber’s background check, after which you’ll be asked to upload a photo ID alongside other documentation. That’s all it takes to activate your driver’s account.

Step 2: Start accepting deliveries

Once your Uber Eats account is activated, you can start accepting food deliveries. To do that, open the Uber Eats app and tap the “GO'' button, which is located at the bottom of the screen.

The app will give you delivery terms to review. Tap the blue, flashing button at the bottom of the screen within 15 seconds to accept the delivery.

Step 3: Complete the delivery

The Uber Eats app will suggest the shortest or easiest way from the restaurant to the customer’s location. Should you run into any issues, you can contact in-app support at any time for help. Remember to use Surge, Boost and Quest to earn more money whenever they are available.

Does Uber Eats pay for gas?

Unfortunately, Uber Eats does not pay for gas; you have to do that yourself. Needless to say, it’s one of the biggest costs when working with Uber Eats. However, you can offset the high fuel prices through efficient driving and using a vehicle with high mileage per gallon of gas. And don’t forget to deduct all eligible expenses to keep your costs of operation as low as possible.

Apart from gas, you’re also responsible for all vehicle maintenance costs, car insurance costs, registration costs, titles, taxes and auto loan payments (in case you have them). These are the most common expenses that will eat into your profits as an Uber Eats driver. But keep in mind that you can always use a scooter or bicycle to make deliveries should you find that the costs associated with car delivery are too high.

What is the best time to do Uber Eats?

Evenings are generally the busiest times of the day for food delivery services. You’ll also find the most work on holidays and whenever there are large sporting events like the Super Bowl. Apart from the fact that people order take out more during such periods, Uber Eats also offers promotional discounts whenever there are events to encourage orders. Surge and Boost often peak at such times, offering Uber Eats drivers great opportunities to multiply their earnings.

Is it worth it to become an Uber Eats driver?

Delivering food with Uber Eats is worth it, particularly if you live and operate in a large city. In NYC, for example, the average annual salary for an Uber Eats driver is $40,059, which is just shy of the average salary in the U.S. ($53,490). Some Uber Eats drivers make well over $80,000. It all depends on whether you’re willing to work holidays, weekends and evenings; and of course, your location will be the biggest determining factor.

Overall, Uber Eats makes more sense as a side gig to supplement your income. Just make sure to do enough research before taking the leap.



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