Recently, I became an Uber Eats driver for a month to see how much I can earn.
At the end of the month, I learned that the job of an Uber Eats Driver is good for anyone looking to make additional income whether you’re a student looking to make some cash between classes, or somebody who was laid off and needs something temporary, Uber Eats is a great opportunity to earn money while working on your own terms.
However, I also learned that doing Uber Eats is viable side hustle, only if you utilize as many tips and tricks as possible.
Maximizing your Earning potential with Uber Eats Driver
When I first started Uber Eats, I was making less than $100 for a day’s work. As I slowly learned the art, I found and formulated a number of tips and tricks to help increase my income to make over $300 per day.
1. Use The Reservation System
Uber Eats’ reservation system is a valuable tool for both new and old drivers alike.
This feature allows you to secure specific shifts and delivery routes in advance for supermarkets, ensuring you have a guaranteed opportunity to work and earn something. This is particularly beneficial during busy times, such as mornings and evenings when demand for grocery delivery is high.
Scheduled reservations at Walmart, Vons, and BevMo not only provide you with a sense of structure in your work schedule but can also enable you to plan your personal life around your driving hours more effectively.
This predictability can lead to better work-life balance and reduce the stress of trying to find available orders in real time.
Just be sure that you take orders from supermarkets that are worth both your time and effort because oftentimes routes with over nine stops usually mean that there are only one to two items to be delivered, meanwhile routes with fewer stops usually mean more products are to be delivered.
2. Discover Areas With High Activity
Understanding your delivery area is essential for maximizing your earnings as an Uber Eats driver.
Spend time exploring neighborhoods, busy streets, and restaurants within certain areas either close to you or away from you. Keep an eye out for popular restaurants that tend to utilize Uber Eats and Postmates, as they tend to generate more orders for drivers.
Make mental notes or even create a map of high-activity zones.
By doing so, you will be able to make educated guesses on when and where you can start doing deliveries and you can possibly be more accurate than what the app predicts.
Additionally, you should familiarize yourself with efficient delivery routes that can save you time and gas, because sometimes five minutes can make or break a difference.
3. Use The Whole Day To Your Advantage
A popular misconception about delivering for Uber Eats is how much one can make within a certain amount of time. Often times we hear success stories of people making $2000 in a week, but in reality, Uber Eats drivers have to deliver for the whole day every day in order to earn that kind of amount.
So if you are just starting out as an Uber Eats driver and want to make a lot of money, the best go-to strategy is to start delivering as early as possible and as much as possible. By working through different parts of the day, you can increase your overall earnings, because it is easier trying to earn $100 in eight hours rather than four. Here is a brief summary of what the most popular shift looks like:
Morning hours are a great time for deliveries because most grocery deliveries occur in the mornings and there are a lot of people who order coffee and breakfast just to get through their shifts.
Targeting this window can help you kickstart your earnings and can keep you busy enough until you hit Lunchtime.
Lunch orders are popular among office workers and anybody who is craving something specific on their lunch breaks.
Being available during the lunch rush can lead to a steady stream of orders, however depending on your location it can be hit or miss.
Evenings are typically the busiest period for food delivery.
Whether it’s large families, groups of friends, lazy couples, or people who can’t leave because they have the perfect parking spot, you are going to get a variety of people using the app.
The demand tends to peak during this time, so it is a great time to do deliveries, however, if you specifically start at this time then don’t expect to make $100+.
Late-night deliveries can be fruitful, especially on weekends when people are up late and craving late-night snacks.
However, be prepared to hit up every fast food establishment and ghost kitchen known to mankind, because those are the only things that are open late-night.
While there is a demand for late-night deliveries, the tendency for tipping drastically gets lower thus making it a debatable shift to get into.
4. Be Productive During Slump Hours
Slow periods is an inevitable experience for every Uber Eats driver, but they don’t have to be dull and unproductive. Instead of idly waiting for orders, use this downtime wisely by being productive. Whether if you have errands to run, or just want to finally get around to cleaning and organizing your vehicle, there are several ways to make the most of your time during these quieter uneventful hours.
If you already have a clean vehicle and are just super productive at completing errands, then try hitting the gym in your downtime or research some passive income ideas so you are always making money no matter what. Always strive for self-improvement when you have the chance, because it will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will also improve your physical and mental health.
5. Use The Cash Back Feature For Refilling Gas
One of the best tips and tricks for Uber Eats drivers, the cashback feature that the app offers is something that can pay off in the long haul. By simply linking your credit card with Upside, Uber Eats drivers can get a percentage of their spending back on gas and vehicle maintenance. The best part is, that the app can show the best deals around your area.
This feature can significantly reduce your expenses and boost your overall earnings. If you keep track of your spending, you can be strategic when and where you want to refuel on gas and fix your car, making being an Uber Eats Driver more a beneficial side hustle than you think!
6. If You Live In California, Drive More To Benefit From Prop 22
Proposition 22 in California was a game-changer for app delivery drivers all around, especially Uber Eats drivers. It provided certain benefits and protections, such as limited healthcare subsidies and wage guarantees.
However, the biggest benefit is the mileage reimbursement for all active deliveries, so a great Uber Eats driver tip is to increase your driving hours in order to fully benefit Prop 22. The payout for the reimbursement is on a biweekly basis and Prop 22 has the potential to significantly improve your financial security as an Uber Eats driver in California.
7. It’s Okay To Reject Orders
As an Uber Eats driver, you have the freedom to accept or decline orders. While it’s tempting to accept every order that comes your way, it’s essential to evaluate the fare and distance before making a decision. Anyone who has done Uber Eats for a while will tell you that Uber Eats will send you some absurdly low order requests.
Remember that you’re in control of your Uber Eats driving experience, so prioritize orders that align with your earnings goals and time.
It is 100% okay to reject dumb and low fares. Oftentimes, if you reject an order because of the low fare, Uber will eventually adjust it to something reasonable until somebody picks it up. So always remember that you and your time are valuable.
8. Cup Holders Are Your Best Friend
When it comes to transporting food orders safely, cup holders are and forever will be a lifesaver. Many restaurants that sell drinks don’t often have a super secure drink dispenser so securing them in cup holders helps prevent spills and accidents during transit.
Ensure that your vehicle has an adequate number of cup holders, or consider purchasing additional holders if needed. This simple investment can save you from potential order mishaps and improve your customers’ overall experience.
9. Always Carry Extra Storage
In relation to the previous point, it is absolutely important that you carry extra storage cases in your car whenever you are doing Uber Eats. Reusable eco bags, fruit boxes, laundry baskets, or any other items that can securely hold food orders can ultimately make your delivery experience fast and stress-free.
Having various container options on hand allows you to accommodate different types of orders, from small fragile items to super big orders. By embracing eco-friendly practices and carrying suitable containers, you not only contribute to a positive image of being an Uber Eats driver, but you also enhance your reputation as a responsible driver
10. Basic Customer Service Goes A Long Way
Uber Eats doesn’t offer an official training program, so there are a significant amount of drivers whose customer service skills are not as high as some would expect them to be. Effective communication with customers can sometimes make a big difference in their overall experience.
If you encounter delays or issues with an order, don’t hesitate to send a message through the Uber Eats app to inform the customer. By updating them with any issues in advance, you can manage their expectations, prevent frustrations, and reduce the chances of negative feedback.
Let’s be honest here, Who hasn’t wished their Uber Eats driver would send them a quick little heads up if they ran into a problem? Remember that customer satisfaction plays a crucial role in your overall success as an Uber Eats driver and sometimes basic customer service can make a huge difference.
11. Always Double-Check Orders
Order accuracy is paramount in the food delivery business. Before leaving the restaurant, take a moment to carefully inspect the order and ensure that all items listed on the receipt are present. It happens more than you think and there will be times when the people working at the restaurant will make a mistake for whatever reason.
By taking your time to verify the order’s contents, you will be able to catch any mistakes should the restaurant make any, and it will ensure that the rest of your delivery will be smooth, easy, and conflict-free!
12. Avoid High Traffic Areas
Now this one is a little bit debatable because some of the best restaurants that get the most orders are often located in high-traffic areas. While you might be getting high fares and orders, if you are stuck in traffic for one to two hours at a time then is it really worth it?
The fact that traffic congestion can significantly impact your efficiency and earnings as an Uber Eats driver is something not a lot of drivers think about when they see a high fare. So to minimize the negative effects of traffic, a generally good tip is to avoid high-traffic areas during peak hours whenever possible and plan effective routes and shortcuts that you know are going to help.
13. Rainy Days Are Great Opportunities
Driving on rainy days can present an excellent opportunity for Uber Eats Drivers as it is an unexpected trick to increase one’s earnings. Bad weather often leads to an increase in food delivery orders, because people prefer to stay home rather than venture out.
So if you know for a fact that there is going to be a rainy weekend or just some bizarre weather that never happens in your city, take advantage of it and delivery as much as humanely possible. Of course, be sure to prepare accordingly and exercise caution when driving in different weather conditions.
14. Be Wary Of Hip & Trendy Restaurants
While delivering for trendy or popular restaurants might seem appealing, it’s essential to exercise caution. These hot spots often attract customers from various parts of town, meaning that those with money to spend will be sure to order from their favorite restaurant in the comfort of their homes in the mountains of god knows where.
Accepting orders from these trendy spots, can possibly lead to longer delivery distances and potentially lower earnings per hour. While it’s okay to accept orders from trendy places, do so strategically and factor in the potential trade-offs in terms of time and distance, because an eight-dollar fare is not worth driving up mountains and into excluded parts of your city.
15. Sign Up/Try Out Other Delivery Apps
Uber Eats is just one of several food delivery apps available to drivers. A great trick to diversify your income and ensure a steady flow of orders is considering signing up for other platforms like DoorDash and Grubhub.
By maintaining a steady and organized way to work with multiple apps, it can allow to you deliver more throughout the day and minimize any potential downtown. Keep in mind that managing multiple apps can be demanding and tricky at first, so be sure to balance your workload effectively and prioritize platforms that offer the best opportunities in your area.
16. Track Your Expenses
As an independent contractor, you’ll need to track your expenses for tax purposes. This includes costs associated with your vehicle, such as gas, maintenance, insurance, and even car payments if applicable. So if you plan on doing Uber Eats for several months then be sure to put aside about 15% of your earnings strictly for tax purposes.
Tracking your expenses is not only essential for tax purposes, but it is also for understanding your true profit margins and making informed decisions about your driving strategy and how much you can spend on your off time.
17. Follow Customer Instructions When Applicable
Customers often provide specific delivery instructions through the Uber Eats/Postmates app. These instructions can range from gate codes to requests for contactless delivery. It’s crucial to follow these instructions when feasible, as it enhances the customer experience and can lead to higher tips and ratings.
However, not every customer is going to have specific instructions so be sure to check if there are any instructions. If you are having trouble trying to deliver the customer’s food for whatever reason, be sure to contact them so that you and the customer don’t waste any time.
18. Be Short and concise When Talking to Uber Eats Customer Service
While Uber Eats customer service can be a valuable resource when encountering issues on the job, 99% of the time they are going to be the most incapable waste of space that ever existed. From personal experience, the best way to communicate with them is by keeping all of your inquiries short and to the point.
Being short and concise when explaining problems or seeking assistance will make your experience talking to Uber Eats support 100 times easier. Avoid unnecessary elaboration to ensure a streamlined process that is frustration-free.
19. Never 100% Rely On Uber Eats Maps
While the Uber Eats app provides its own navigation tools, it is wise to not always listen to Uber Maps, because it can be flawed at times. From not taking account of addresses correctly, traffic patterns, or traffic in real-time, Uber Maps is good for about 85% of the time you are delivering.
So if you ever run into a delivery where Uber Maps is getting wild and inaccurate, be sure to have a backup navigation app like Google Maps or Waze to help guide you. By having a reliable backup navigation system, you can confidently navigate to your destinations, minimize delays, and maintain efficiency during deliveries.
20. Work Until You Get Gas Money
Setting a financial goal for each shift can be an effective strategy for managing your expenses and ensuring that you maintain profitability. One practical goal is to work until you’ve earned enough money to cover the cost of refilling your gas tank for the day.
Setting financial milestones like covering your gas expenses is an effective way to manage your finances as an Uber Eats driver and maintain a sustainable income. By having a clear goal in mind, you can adjust your work hours and efforts accordingly to meet it.
21. Take A Chance On Small Orders
Large orders typically result in higher earnings for Uber Eats drivers, a handy tip to earning more is to not overlook the potential of smaller orders. While these orders often require less time, effort, and shorter travel distances, there are a number of drivers out there who don’t want to spend their time delivering a drink from Starbucks.
This sentiment is completely understandable if the fare is too low, however, if the fare is reasonable enough, then try delivering small orders, because sometimes the smallest orders will surprise you in tips.
Becoming a successful Uber Eats driver involves a combination of strategic planning, efficient execution, and a dedication to excellent customer service.
By following these tips and tricks, new Uber Eats drivers can enhance their earnings, maintain high customer ratings, and make the most of their time on the road. At the end of the day, consistency and adaptability are key factors in achieving success in the competitive gig economy.