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How to side hustle with Uber Eats
Inflation is high, gas prices are high, rent feels high. With costs rising, you might be struggling to balance expenses with your monthly income, and building savings—for a home down payment, some much-needed dental work (dang molar #1), or that sweet little labrador puppy—might feel nearly impossible. Fortunately, supplementing your income with an Uber Eats side hustle is actually a relatively simple and flexible option.
Is Uber Eats a good side hustle?
There are lots of different ways to side hustle. But if you’re looking for a side gig you can do on your own time, any hour of the day, and scale up or down based on your availability or need, it’s pretty hard to beat delivering with Uber Eats.
It’s an especially handy side hustle if you don’t have a car—go by scooter, by bike, on foot instead—or if you prefer something low contact. (You don’t have to work inside someone’s home or have random people riding around in your car with you.)
Why delivering with Uber Eats is especially handy for renters
The majority of Americans have variable pay (i.e. are paid hourly wages), and since most Americans rent, it’s quite common for renters to experience variation in monthly income. This can make the first of the month, when rent is due, pretty dang stressful.
It’s easy to make fast cash with Uber Eats
Delivering for Uber Eats is flexible—you don’t have to snag a shift in advance—and it can pay out way faster than a normal old paycheck. For example, if you’re short on money when rent is due, you can quickly log into the app and make enough deliveries to close the gap and avoid a late rent fee (and make some money!).
Or if you’re moving and need to pay a security deposit at your new place before getting a refund from your old place, you can temporarily up your deliveries to pull together the money you need.
Need other ideas to bring in some extra cash? Read our article, How to make fast cash for 20 or more great ideas.
How much you may be able to earn
How much you can earn with Uber Eats varies a lot based on how often you deliver, where you’re located, and the demand for orders in your area. Uber Eat’s payment approach is based on: Base fare + Trip supplement + Promotions + Tips = Total. In some cities, you’ll also receive a per-minute rate.
In addition, Uber Eats customers can tip you if they’d like (and that money is all yours).
Five ways to boost your earnings
Looking for ways to make the most of your side hustle delivering with Uber Eats? Good job you entrepreneur, you! Here are five ways to maximize your earnings.
- Capitalize on Uber Eats delivery offers and promotions. This can mean reaching a set number of trips within a certain time period or driving during busy times. See if Boost and Surge promotions are available when you deliver.
- Use gas efficient wheels (or none at all!). Delivery by bike, scooter, or on foot can obviously help you save on gas (though delivery might take more time). If you deliver a lot by car, do the math–a hybrid or electric car might help you reduce expenses, which means you take more money home.
- Go the, ahem, extra mile. You keep 100% of any tips you earn. Keeping your customers happy and proactively communicating may help you earn more tips.
- Plan your time around meals and commutes. You can increase your chances of getting more delivery requests during rush hour and mealtimes—and by making deliveries in surge zones. (These surge zones show up in the app.)
- Pick up multiple orders from one location. If you can, aim for multiple orders from one pickup location. You’ll get the pick-up fee for each order, in one swoop.
Who can deliver with Uber Eats
Some cities have specific requirements for vehicles, but Uber Eats’ requirements are actually pretty minimal.
|By car||By scooter||By bicycle or on foot|
|You must be:||19 years old or older||19 years old or older||18 years old or older|
|You will need:||A 2-door or 4-door car A valid driver’s license in your name||A motorized scooter under 50cc A valid driver’s license in your name||A government-issued ID|
|You must submit:||Your Social Security number for a background screening||Your Social Security number for a background screening||Your Social Security number for a background screening|
How to actually make an Uber Eats delivery
When you’re ready to go “on shift” (isn’t it great you get to decide when that is?), simply log into the app to see if any orders need pick up and delivery in your area. You’ll click to accept a delivery order, then start making your way to the restaurant, snag the food, and drop it off at a very happy customer’s location. Pretty straightforward. All along the way, the app will guide you every step of the way – from your current location to the pick up spot, from the pick up spot to the drop off spot… you get the idea.
What types of things you’ll deliver
While Uber Eats is named, er, “Eats”, you’ll may pick up and deliver more than food. Depending on the location, there’s actually quite a bit that you might deliver from a restaurant, drugstore or retail store. Here’s an example:
|May deliver||Definitely won’t deliver|
|Piping hot Pad Thai||A cow (or any livestock)|
|A bottle of sriracha||Dynamite (or any hazardous material)|
|Aquanet hairspray (80’s party!)||A large sectional (or any large furniture)|
Pros and cons of a delivery side hustle
As with any type of work, there are a few downsides. If you drive and are trying to deliver during rush hour, you may find yourself sitting in traffic more than you like. When picking up from a restaurant, you must make sure to park in pick-up zones to avoid parking tickets.
Finally, because you’re an independent contractor (aka a small business owner), you need to report your income and expenses for the year and pay any applicable taxes.
Still, delivering with Uber Eats is a smart way to fill gaps in your budget, work on your own schedule, and get your earnings quickly. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get set up, and you’ll be able to see exactly how much you can earn for each delivery and tap into opportunities to earn more.
Do I have to have a car to deliver?
No. You can use a scooter, your legs, or a bike if you like. If you want to drive but don’t have a vehicle, Uber has third party vehicle partners so you can rent a vehicle (comes with insurance and basic maintenance). It’s not available in every location, but most major cities have options.
How long does it take to get approved as a delivery driver?
Once you’ve completed your application and uploaded the required documents, Uber Eats typically gets back to you within 48 hours. To avoid delay, make sure your documents have not expired, that the name you used to apply is the same as the name listed on your documents, and that the document images can actually be read (i.e. clear and legible).
Can you deliver with Uber Eats anywhere?
Well, not everywhere, but pretty close! Uber Eats is available in over 6,000 cities across 45 countries and is growing.
Am I an employee or a contractor if I deliver with Uber Eats?
Uber Eats is a technology platform that allows people who want to earn some side income the chance to deliver orders placed on the app. People who choose to deliver with Uber Eats are not employees of Uber, they’re considered Independent Contractors.
Make sure you account for/set aside taxes (talk with your accountant, read up online about this) so you’re not surprised when you have to pay taxes on your income.
Is there a minimum number of deliveries I have to make?
Nope! You get to pick how often and when you want to deliver. Once a week, ten times a day…it’s up to you. (There’s no maximum either, but of course, common sense rules here–you can’t safely deliver all day and all night!)
Also, just some quick highlights regarding content:
- Earnings language cannot be included unless it is generalized (i.e. your earnings will vary depending on how often you deliver with Uber Eats and the demand for orders in your area).
- “Job” or “career” cannot be included in the copy. Instead, your team can use opportunity; option; alternative; experience; gig; earning opportunity.