Uber entered the on-demand food delivery space with UberEATS, a service inside the Uber app, along with a standalone UberEATS app that allows Uber users to order food from local restaurants. EATS at first only allowed customers choose from a fixed Instant Delivery menu containing only a few pre-prepared items. Now some cities offer full-menu service that’s similar to Postmates and DoorDash.
If you’re interested in driving for UberEATS, this article will tell you what the job is like, how much UberEATS drivers get paid, and how you can sign up to drive for UberEATS.
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There are two different varieties of UberEATS service
- UberEATS Instant Delivery – EATS drivers pick up pre-prepared meals from distribution centers and store them in a warm bag. Drivers have to schedule shifts, and service hours are typically limited to lunch and dinner time hours. Customers order from a fixed menu.
- Full restaurant delivery – Similar to Postmates and DoorDash, this is on-demand delivery from restaurants. Customers can choose any menu item from a restaurant and drivers pick up food at the restaurant and bring the food to customers.
The UberEATS instant-delivery experience for drivers is like this:
- UberEATS drivers can be 19 years old and drive a car that is 1996 or newer
- UberEATS drivers pick up food from a distribution center, store it in their car, and deliver it
- Schedule your UberEATS shifts about a week in advance using a web page Uber sends to you
- Sign into the app with an UberEATS vehicle profile
- Arrive at a distribution center and pick up food
- Receive food requests through the Uber app, deliver items to customer location
- Pays is ~$3/delivery, with a minimum of $10 – $20/hour
- No in-app tipping – just like regular Uber. You can accept unsolicited tips
- You can’t drive for UberEATS and UberX at the same time
How to become an UberEATS driver
You can apply directly with UberEATS on the UberEATS website without becoming an UberX driver. In the earlier days of EATS, only active UberX drivers could drive for EATS, so this is good news for those of you who don’t have a car that qualifies for UberX.
UberEATS driver requirements
Apply to drive for UberEATS on the EATS website.
- You must be 19 years old or older (21 years old in Canada)
- You must have a driver’s license, regular insurance, and proof of vehicle registration
- 1 year of driving experience
- Expect to lift up to 30 pounds
Note: These requirements are for UberEATS in markets that allow you to apply directly with eats. You may find that some markets require you to also be an UberX driver.
If you already are an Uber driver, there are two ways to become an UberEATS driver:
- Receive an invitation from Uber to drive for UberEATS
- Reach out to Uber and ask to drive for UberEATS
UberEATS is invite-only in the opening phases of the service in most markets, but once it’s off the ground, any Uber driver in good standing can email Uber and request to become a driver. That’s what I did. I never received an invitation to drive for UberEATS, but when I emailed Uber to ask to become an EATS driver, I got a very fast response containing instructions I needed to get started. Uber sent me this UberEATS training video that explains what the UberEATS experience is like for drivers. The next step for me is to complete a local orientation.
UberEATS scheduling: Some markets make you sign up for shifts in advance
One of the biggest differences between UberEATS and UberX is that you have to schedule your UberEATS shift ahead of time. Unlike UberX, you can’t just sign in and out of UberEATS whenever you want because a lot more planning and logistics go into a day of UberEATS than regular Uber service.
Note: Not all markets require scheduling, and UberEATS is changing very quickly. If your market works differently, please leave a comment so I can update this post!
After you become an UberEATS driver, you’ll be sent a weekly sign up page that allows you to select days, times, and locations that you’re available. You’ll only have to work in a special area of your city, so you don’t have to worry about delivery requests sending you all over.
Shifts are limited: Signing up for shifts doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a shift. If Uber approves your shifts, you will receive a text message 24 hours before the shift begins containing a location to pick up the food and the time you need to arrive. If you don’t get a text message confirmation, you don’t get a shift.
Pick up your stock of food at a distribution site
Uber’s text message informing you of your approved shift will give the address of a distribution site and a time to arrive. When you arrive, you’ll check in by entering the email address you use to sign into your Uber account. Next, you’ll be given your meals in an insulated bag. Cold food will have cooling packs inside, and hot food bags have a heater that connects to the 12v charger port in your car.
If you sell out of meals, you can return to the distribution site to pick up more. If you still have meals when your shift ends, you have to return them to the distribution center.
Going online – Signing into your UberEATS profile
Once you complete EATS training and get approved to start, a new UberEATS account will be added to your profile. To start your UberEATS shift, sign in, tap ‘select a vehicle,’ and choose the vehicle profile that has the ‘EATS’ license plate number.
Getting UberEATS delivery requests
UberEATS delivery requests come in the same way that regular Uber requests do: Requests come in, and you get 30 seconds to accept requests. After you accept the request, you see the customer’s location. You’ll then receive an automated text message that gives you order details. You’ll only receive requests for food that you already have, so don’t worry about having to run back to the distribution site in the middle of an order for an item you’re not carrying. You won’t see order details inside the app, which seems quite far behind the features that other delivery apps like DoorDash and Postmates have.
Here’s where deliveries can get tricky in the app: You have to use the ‘Slide to begin trip’ and ‘Slide to end trip’ buttons, just like regular Uber. But instead of sliding to begin the trip when you actually begin the delivery, you slide to begin the trip when you arrive at the customer. And, after you slide to begin, you immediately slide to end the trip. It’s not very intuitive, but once you do a delivery or two, you’ll get the hang of it.
Dropping off deliveries
Uber emphasizes in training that you’re not to walk the delivery up to the customer if it’s possible. Deliveries are curbside only, so you’ll never need to enter an office, home, or building. When you arrive at the customer’s location, they’ll be notified with a text that you’ve arrived, and you can call and let them know the food is there. Hand their food through the window and hope they hand you a tip in return — but don’t ask for one! Uber tells you not to directly ask for tips.
Cancellation policy: Same as regular Uber. If you show up at the customer’s location and they don’t come out for five minutes, you can cancel the order and get a $5 cancellation fee.
How much do you get paid for UberEats deliveries?
Uber wouldn’t give me a firm answer about EATS driver pay, but they did tell me that drivers get paid per delivery, and there is a guaranteed $10 – $20/hour depending on the market and the day of the week. After poking around online, I found that drivers get around $3/delivery, and then Uber supplements your pay if you don’t reach the minimum of $10 – $20/hour.
So if you only get two $3 deliveries in an hour and the hourly guarantee is $10, you’ll get a $4 supplement. $6 in delivery fees + $4 supplement = $10/hour guaranteed.
Payments show up under ‘miscellaneous payments’ in your weekly driver summary.
Tipping – Same as Uber
The UberEATS app doesn’t allow tipping, and Uber says not to solicit tips. If you do receive an unsolicited tip, you can accept it. Tipping delivery drivers is an expected practice in most cities, so I expect that EATS drivers will get a cash tip for nearly every delivery.
Can you drive for UberX and UberEATS at the same time?
It depends on the market you’re driving in. In some markets, you can only receive delivery requests while you’re driving for UberEATS, You are still able to drive for UberX before or after your shift, but not during it. That means if you have downtime between deliveries, you can’t expect regular Uber rides to fill the time. Luckily the hourly guarantee will still compensate you during the downtime.
In some markets, you can drive for X and EATS at the same time if you’re opted into the EATS program. You can get an UberEATS, complete it, then get an X request immediately afterward.
How to opt out of UberEATS
Some UberX drivers are automatically opted into UberEATS and are surprised to get food delivery while they’re out driving for UberX. You don’t need to accept EATS requests while you’re out driving for regular Uber, but you can stop the requests from coming in by opting out of EATS.
To opt out of UberEATS, contact Uber and let them know you don’t want EATS request while you’re doing regular Uber. You can also ask for an EATS-only profile for the days where you only want to do food delivery.
Is driving for UberEATS a good job? A few big benefits
I’m still waiting to complete EATS orientation, so I can’t say personally whether I know it’s a good job or not, but from what I’ve read, it seems like a good way to make a guaranteed hourly wage in slower mid-day and mid-week hours.
Because service is limited to specific areas, you know you won’t be taken all over town with no guaranteed return fares, and you know that you won’t get a $0 hour. If UberEATS is in your area, it’s worth a try.
Some big benefits of EATS
- You can drive for EATS at 19 years old. You have to be 21 or older for UberX
- The vehicle requirements are much more lenient. Just about any working car will qualify.