Can You Make a Living Off Uber Eats?

It’s easy to sit on your couch enjoying a takeaway meal delivered by Uber Eats because you haven’t had to cook or even go out to collect it, but have you ever wondered if Uber Eats could change your life for the better in another way? Instead of simply enjoying the service that Uber Eats provides, have you ever wondered whether or not you can make a living off Uber Eats?

It’s definitely possible to make a full-time living off Uber Eats, but it will take work like most forms of self-employment. However, Uber Eats can also provide extra income for anyone who has some time to spare and wants to earn more than they currently do from their day job.

How much do you need to make from Uber Eats?

It’s a bit vague to use terms such as “full-time income” or “make a living” because the amount different people need to live on can vary considerably. If you live in a beautiful part of somewhere like California, you’ll need considerably more money to get by each month than someone living in a small town in the Mid-West.

If you have a job where you work entirely online – as I do – you can work from literally anywhere in the world. That means I can live somewhere cheap, and I don’t have to work my *** off to make a living. If I choose to live somewhere more expensive, I need to earn more, which probably means working harder and longer.

Unfortunately, Uber Eats isn’t one of those self-employed gigs where you never have to leave your living room. Although it’s an online platform, you have to go out to work. The potential earnings will also depend on the number of people in your area using the app to order takeaway food.

If you live in a sleepy little town, you’re unlikely to have much opportunity to earn big money. The bigger the population, the bigger the potential earnings. Unfortunately, highly populated areas usually come with a higher cost of living, which means you’ll need to earn more than someone living somewhere cheaper.

You need to decide how much you need to earn to help you decide if you can make a living off Uber Eats. You may be able to live on $1,000 per month if you live for free at home with your parents. But if you live in a rented apartment, you could need $3,000, $4,000, or more each month to make ends meet.

Only you can decide how much you need to earn to live, and how much you need to earn will determine how much work you will need to get from Uber Eats to get by.

How much does Uber Eats pay?

Theoretically, there’s no upper limit to the amount of money you can earn working for Uber Eats. Realistically, however, your potential earnings are limited by several different factors. In general, delivery drivers/riders working for Uber Eats can expect to earn between $10 and $20 per hour. This amount is less than Uber rideshare drivers, who can expect to earn between $15 and $25 per hour after expenses. Factors affecting earnings include:

  • The size of your local population
  • The demographics of your local population
  • How many restaurants have signed to Uber Eats in your area
  • Your chosen model of transport (bicycle, motorcycle, car)
  • How many hours you are prepared to work
  • Rival delivery services where you are
  • How many people are also working for Uber Eats in your area

Of course, before you even begin to consider the above factors, you need to know how much Uber Eats pays to decide if you think the work is worth the potential rewards.

On the face of things, the payment system for Uber Eats is relatively straightforward. The amount you get paid includes a pickup fee, a drop-off fee, and a mileage fee. There’s also a minimum fee for those runs where the distance is less than a mile.

If you’re in a small country like the UK, it’s easy to see exactly how much you will be earning because there are only four rates; London, Birmingham and Manchester, and the Rest of the UK. However, in the United States, you’ll need to find out the rate in your local area as there are so many more, and the differences can be substantial from one area to another.

Uber Eats UK delivery rate card

Hourly rates

The amount you can earn for completing a delivery can look quite attractive, especially if you imagine how many deliveries you could manage in a few hours. However, this isn’t like a regular hourly paid job, which is where the problems begin to occur.

Just because you have logged on to the system doesn’t mean you are now earning. You are only earning while you are picking up and delivering. If you are waiting for a job and one doesn’t come in for an hour, you haven’t earned anything during that hour.

Waiting around earning nothing for a while is bad enough if you are committed to doing Uber Eats as a full-time job. But if you are using your spare time in the evening to do it to earn a little extra money on top of your day job, are you happy to spend an unknown amount of time earning nothing waiting for jobs to come through?

The seven factors listed above will affect the time you will spend not earning any money. If you are the only driver/rider working on a busy evening, you could be rushed off your feet and earn good money. If there are plenty of you on-call and all eager for jobs, the deliveries could be few and far between.

Additional fees

There are a few ways to earn extra from Uber Eats, but don’t get too excited because they will not make you rich.

Boost Feature:

Boost has been designed to help someone working for Uber Eats position themself in the best places at the best times.

Boost adds multipliers to the standard fees, and they are applied to fares at peak times in specific areas. The busier a particular pickup area is expected to be, the higher the Boost. When a Boost is applied, you’ll make more money per delivery when and where demand is expected to be high, and the Boost gets applied to your fares in real-time.

Canceled orders:

When the delivery partner cancels some deliveries, they will not be eligible for the full delivery fee. Of course, there will be times when it’s not possible to find the customer who placed the order, despite your best efforts. In these circumstances, this will not affect the delivery fee.

Batched Orders:

It stands to reason that if you can pick up more than one order at a time from a restaurant for multiple deliveries, you’ll make more money, right? Well, yes and no.

It doesn’t matter how many orders you pick up from a single restaurant at one time. A batch discount will be applied to the benefit of the restaurant, but you, as the delivery person, will only get a single pickup fee because you are only making one pickup.

On the upside, you will get a delivery fee for each delivery, and the mileage fee you get for the second delivery will be paid for the distance between the first and second drop-off locations.

Benefits of working for Uber Eats

There are several upsides to working as an Uber Eats delivery driver or rider. For a start, you are your own boss ­– sort of. You decide when you work and when you don’t, and you can choose to work as much or as little as you like or can afford.

Working for Uber Eats is as flexible as you want it to be, and you can fit it around another job or other life responsibilities you may need to work around.

It’s up to you whether you use a car, motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle, and if you choose to use a bicycle, you’ll be getting a workout while you earn money.

Downsides of working for Uber Eats

While the fees can look attractive at first glance, the amount you can earn varies considerably, and many factors determining how much you can earn are beyond your control.

Even if many of the factors are in your favor, the earnings can be inconsistent and unreliable. Some times of the day, week, month, and years will be better than others, and how many other employees you are competing against for jobs will vary.

Using a bicycle, scooter, or motorcycle will probably be quicker and more profitable, leading to higher potential earnings. Unfortunately, it won’t be much fun doing deliveries when it’s pouring with rain or the streets are covered in snow and ice in the winter.  

Can you make a living off Uber Eats, then?

If it wasn’t possible to make a living from Uber Eats, the business would never have gotten to its current size or anywhere near it. A lot more people will use Uber Eats to boost their income than will use it as their only form of employment.

The good thing about the business is it’s completely transparent. The upsides and the downsides are all reasonably evident to most people, and nobody is trying to make working for Uber Eats out as anything it isn’t. If you need a job and have a phone and a bike, all you need to do is sign up, and you’re on your way to earning some cash. It might not be a career, but it’s an easy way to earn a few dollars, and it can also be a great way of earning a little extra when you need it and when you’re available.