Recently, Uber Eats delivery drivers began getting unusually low payouts for orders—as low as $1.44. Base payouts are typically around $3, so drivers wonder why pay is dipping to absurd new lows.
UPDATE: The low payouts—<$2.50 for an order or <$1.50 for an add on—were most likely caused by a glitch. Trip supplements and tip info were left out of upfront payments. After completing the order, the actual payouts were much higher than the low upfront estimates.
However, base pay continues to be low on Uber Eats.
If you accepted all of those orders and completed them in the estimated time, your pay would be around $6 per hour!
Is there a glitch with the Uber Eats order system? Is Uber testing a new pay model? Or are economic factors driving prices down lower than ever before?
Read on to see more examples of low pay on Uber Eats, why it’s happening, and what factors can lead to low delivery pay even when Uber isn’t actively lowering pay for drivers.
More examples of extremely low pay on Uber Eats
Below are Uber Eats drivers who experienced unusually low minimum payouts.
This driver in San Diego got an offer for only $1.98. Far below the normal minimum pay.
Only $1.44?? That’s the lowest we’ve ever seen, and it isn’t even an order add-on.
Are these low payouts a glitch?
Order minimums are typically around $3, so some drivers think that these low payouts may be a glitch.
One driver said, “Yes, it was a glitch. The trip supplements and upfront tip estimates were not being included in the total shown to drivers. I cleaned up that day on orders that had been kicking around and still showed up as $2-3, but in reality were $15-20.”
Uber may be testing new order minimums
If these low payouts aren’t a glitch, it likely means that Uber is testing new order minimums. The lowest base pay for most orders was around $3, but now it looks like it maybe closer to $2.
Uber is closing in on profitability, so it’s not a surprise that they are experimenting with lower driver pay to improve their bottom line.
What is the lowest base pay on Uber Eats?
Uber doesn’t say what the lowest base pay is, but in most cities, the lowest payout from Uber is typically around $3.
To quickly refresh you on how payouts work for Uber Eats, the payout formula is: Base fare + trip supplement + promotions + tips
Uber says that base fare includes your pay for pickup, drop-off, time, and distance. But it isn’t a permanent, set figure and the minimum is subject to change.
Without any trip supplement, promotions (like Quest and Boost), or tips, drivers are paid only the base fare.
In the past, delivery pay was calculated using a formula that had specific rates for pickups, drop-offs, time, and distance. The current model doesn’t specify rates for pickups and drop-offs. What you see upfront is what you get.
What is average pay on Uber Eats?
According to our study of the top driver data sources, the average Uber Eats pay is around $15—$20 per hour.
But earnings can climb way higher or dive way lower than the average. Earnings are also highly market dependent: A driver in a busy city like San Francisco has higher earnings potential than a driver in a much smaller market.
The time of day, day of week, and time of year are also important factors that can affect earnings.
- Real data shows how much Uber Eats drivers really make
- The best days and times to drive for delivery apps
What can you do about low pay?
You might not be able to change Uber’s delivery payout system, but there are things you can do to boost your earnings.
Cherry pick orders: Skip the bad ones! You are free to decline any order, so feel free to skip orders that don’t meet your earnings criteria.
“No tip no trip” is a good rule of thumb. If it’s obvious that an order is base pay without a tip, skip it.
Remember that your acceptance rate doesn’t really matter—declining orders will not lead to deactivation.
But one potential consequence is that you may lose some upfront info if your acceptance rate drops too low.
What are you supposed to do when order after order is only $3 or less? You can only decline so many orders before it feels like you’re wasting your time.
Drive for other apps: The best strategy is to sign up for as many delivery & gig apps as you can and follow the money. You are rarely rewarded for loyalty in the gig economy.
If you get 10 terrible Uber Eats orders in a row, hop onto DoorDash or Instacart and see if you can do better.
Is this a sign of the economic times? Is Uber Eats still viable?
Delivery drivers are used to the occasionally low-paying order, but Uber Eats might not stay viable as a gig if this surge of low paying orders continues.
Low base pay from Uber is one issue, and an increase in non-tipping customers is another.
Tips from customers are included in the up front pay estimate, so if a delivery is only paying $2–$3, you know that the customer didn’t tip.
The occasionally non-tipping customer isn’t unusual, but back-to-back orders with low base pay and no tips is bad news for delivery drivers.
Base pay less than $3 is still a new phenomenon, so we will have to see if delivery drivers accept the new lower pay, or flee to other gig apps & jobs.