One question keeps coming up in my closed Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms (have you joined yet? It’s a free, inspiring, online community for all the single mamas!): “How can I make more money?” Sometimes, the question is: “How the effing eff can I make some more money NOW?”
In short, my answer: SIDE. HUSTLE.
One side hustle in particular has interested me recently: Uber’s food delivery service, UberEATS. Its popularity is catching on fairly quickly in larger cities, and even in some smaller towns.
With all the hype, I wanted to know, is UberEATS a good side hustle for single moms?
The answer depends on several factors, so I did a little research to help you decide for yourself.
How does UberEATS work?
The concept is actually very simple. Customers within an UberEATS service area (find out if your city participates here) simply download the app, choose from local and nearby chain restaurants, and place their orders. They are given an estimated delivery time, a total, and they check out online. Once the order is placed, customers can watch the driver (that’s you!) on an animated map to follow the status of their order until it arrives at their door.
For drivers, the process is even easier. Just log on for your “shift” whenever you feel like it – you can choose to work on a weekend, evenings after work, or even for only an hour during your lunch break. Hello, flexibility! While making money! Mom’s dream come true! Once you’re logged on, you’ll be pinged every time an order comes in.
You have a 30-second window to accept the trip once you’re notified. Then, just head to the restaurant, pick up the prepared food, and follow the GPS directions on the UberEATS app. Once you arrive at the customer’s location, follow the instructions on the app to either drop off the food curbside, or take it straight to the customer’s door.
The highest demand for deliveries occurs around lunch (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. – 9: 30 p.m.). It’s a smart move to stay near higher-populated areas of town, like downtown, to be the first to accept an order. These areas are also more likely to have higher rates in busier times, which means you’ll earn more money for the same delivery you’d already be making! (More on that later!)
All UberEATS transactions occur on the app, so you won’t be handling payments. You’re paid a pick-up fee, a drop-off fee, and for mileage. Uber takes 25% of this payout. Customers can even tip you in the app – and you keep 100% of that amount. Cha-ching!
If you show up at a customer’s location and they don’t come out, or are uncontactable for 5 minutes, you can cancel the order, list the explanation, and you’ll get a $5 cancellation fee for your trouble.
UberEats driver reviews
UberEATS operates on a ratings system. Unlike Uber’s 5-star ratings system, UberEATS allows customers to give drivers a thumbs up or thumbs down, along with an explanation for their rating. Read on for ways to boost your customer ratings!
Requirements for UberEATS drivers
Compared with the approval process for becoming an Uber driver, the requirements for UberEATS drivers are much more relaxed. In addition to a background check (it’s evidently SUPER fast). If you’re older than 19, have any car from 1997 or newer (this varies slightly by city), and can legally drive, you’re in! You’ll also need to pass a background check, but the company they use, Check, promises to be very quick to approve – often within 24 hours, which means you’re on the road working ASAP.
To qualify to drive for UberEATS, you’ll need:
- A valid drivers license
- Car insurance (liability-only is fine)
- Proof of registration
- The ability to lift up to 30 pounds
You don’t actually need a car – people use mopeds, bikes and some even walk to deliver orders. It all depends on where you live.
Many Uber drivers turn to UberEATs on slower shifts to make extra cash. If you’re cleared to drive for Uber, you’re automatically cleared to drive for UberEATS, so it may be your best bet to apply for both.
Read more about the process to apply for Uber driving here.
Pros and cons of driving for UberEATS
- If you’re hesitant about driving strangers, UberEATS could be a better alternative to driving for its rideshare counterpart, Uber. With no passengers, the only thing you’ll have to chauffeur is a tasty meal.
- New drivers are eligible for a sign-on bonus. Just be sure to have the bonus code with you when you sign up as a driver – the codes aren’t retroactive, so there’s no going back if you forget to enter it.
- No waiting for payday. You can get paid whenever you want with Uber’s Instant Pay system, starting immediately after your first trip, and the program allows you to cash out up to 5x daily!
- Sometimes there are guaranteed hourly rates. In order to qualify for these rates, you’ll have to accept 80% of the trips you are pinged for in a given time frame, say, between the hours of 5-9 p.m., for instance.
- There’s the potential for long waits at restaurants to pick up the food, and drivers report that it can be difficult to find where exactly to deliver the food.
- Since UberEATS has no set radius, so you could end up driving all over town — including to sketchy neighborhoods.
- You’re paid for each trip, not for the time it takes to make the deliveries, so getting stuck in bad traffic can be the kiss of death.
UberEATS driver tips and tricks
Bring the right gear
Uber doesn’t provide delivery bags, which can be an issue when it comes to keeping orders hot or cold. One pro tip is to buy your own insulated grocery bags, like these from Amazon. Bonus: they’re the perfect reusable bag for your own groceries. And since all of your business is conducted through the app, make sure to keep a car charger with you (this one is great), as well as this great car phone mount.
Stay up-to-date with UberEATS news
Always check your email for UberEATS newsletters — the company sends its drivers special offers and tips, including which locations are expected to have boosted rates, which days the “free delivery” promotions are running, and when drivers can earn bonuses. I can’t stress enough how important it is to know when free delivery promos are happening in your area. Delivery volume typically increases A TON on these days. Same goes for rainy days – deliveries tend to increase when there’s crappy weather.
Earn UberEats driver bonuses
And speaking of bonuses, Quest promotions are extra cash incentives for drivers who complete orders in a set amount of time. An example could be: “Take 10 trips between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday to earn an extra $50.” You can also recommend people with your personalized UberEATS referral code for eaters. Plus, for recommending drivers, you can earn anywhere from a $50-$500 bonus once they start driving (Here‘s a code for when YOU start driving!).
Get strategic with your location
Don’t turn on your app until you’re in a central location – the timeframe for accepting an order is short and you’ll be penalized in ratings if you are “on” but not accepting orders. If you know certain areas of town are more populated or have more restaurants, start there. Once you get your strategy and routine down, the rest is easy as pie.
Share in the comments: Have you ever driven for UberEATS? What has been your experience?
Some of the links in this and other posts generate a commission. I never recommend products that I don’t truly believe in. Seriously – I get asked to write about stuff all the time and turn down hard cash if I’m not feeling it.
GUEST WRITER HOLLY
Holly Johnson is a financial expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting and travel. In addition to serving as contributing editor for The Simple Dollar, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love.”