Uber Eats is trying something new: Showing the total amount, including expected tip, when they offer deliveries.
They rolled it out in my market. What was it like taking offers now that I know the total amount that a delivery will pay?
Uber Eats Information and Tipping: An Evolution
As a driver, I have to say Uber Eats has made dramatic improvements.
When I started two and a half years ago, Uber Eats had only recently introduced the ability to tip through the app. Tips were terrible compared to Grubhub and Doordash. Some of this is because Uber started out discouraging tips. It was hard to know HOW to tip.
I had figured out a hack to improve tipping. I learned that you couldn't tip a driver without rating them first. Some drivers then were trying to educate customers how to tip, but I figured out that all I had to do was ask customers to go into the app and rate my delivery.
It's kind of sad when you have to figure out a hack to help people leave tips.
Since then, Uber Eats has improved tremendously. They started allowing customers to tip when placing the order, instead of forcing them to go back into the app to leave a tip. That made a huge difference.
The other issue for drivers has been a lack of information. This too has seen huge improvements. For a long time, you had no idea where you were going or how much you could make when offered a delivery. Personally, that was a deal breaker.
Early this year, Uber Eats started adding information. They showed a map of the customer location. Eventually they added in mileage and estimated time. And they started offering a pay amount.
One thing that was different about that pay amount when compared to Grubhub or Doordash is that the pay amount didn't include the tip. You still didn't know the exact amount you could make.
Adding expected tip to the pay information.
Recently, Uber Eats has been trying something new. I first heard about it on this video from UDM on Youtube. In some markets, they started displaying total pay amount including the expected tip.
This past Thursday, I received this email stating it's rolling out in my market.
Part of the wording makes it look like it's a test, but it also says they plan to roll out nation wide. Which one is it? I'm not sure.
I wrote about my thoughts and talked about them on Episode 83 of the Deliver on Your Business podcast. I felt like more information could be a good thing, but I was concerned about a couple of things.
One is that Uber Eats doesn't have the cherry picking problem that Grubhub and Doordash do. However, once drivers know which deliveries have little or no tip, that will change. Will Uber Eats start obsessing over acceptance rate as the problem develops?
The bigger concern is in the fact that the offer is NOT a guaranteed amount. It's based on the excpected tip – HOWEVER a customer can change (or take away) the tip after the delivery is completed.
That is a problem.
Instacart has had some big problems with tip baiting, and I expect that to become a problem with Uber Eats. Once customers understand that their food isn't being picked up when there's no tip, they'll figure out that they can add a huge tip, get their food delivered, only to take it away after the delivery is done.
Good or bad, the feature is here in my market.
I have concerns over how things could turn out. That probably doesn't matter, Uber Eats has released the feature in my market.
I'm pretty sure it's going to remain that way. Once they've introduced the feature, it's going to be really hard to take it back.
Starting Thursday, getting the full amount listed on the offer was the new normal.
How was it? What is it like?
My first impressions of delivering with Uber Eats while knowing the full amount up front.
I've taken about 45 deliveries under the new system.
Overall, it's been a good experience. I will say that it makes it easier to make decisions on a delivery offer. This is especially true with the information that Uber Eats provides.
I'm sure I passed on some deliveries that would have paid quite nicely. Some customers do still tip after the fact. The hard thing to know is, how many?
For Friday and Sunday, I delivered almost exclusively for Uber Eats, focusing on what it's like and seeing how well I could do. I'll share some of my impressions below.
This makes my fifty cent rule easier to implement
With Grubhub and Doordash, I use a fifty cent rule. A delivery must pay fifty cents a minute or better to be worth taking.
That equates to $30 per hour.
It's an updated version of the 40¢ rule I've written about in the past. Why the increase? I guess it's best to say I felt I was due for a raise.
Now, with Uber Eats, if you know how much you'll earn, the 50 cent rule is easier to evaluate than it is on any other platform. That's because Uber Eats provides a time estimate with each delivery offer.
Here's an example of a $10 offer.
It's pretty simple. Take your offer times 2. Can you get the delivery done in that number of minutes?
In case that's confusing, let's use the screenshot. $10.27 doubled is $20.54. Is it possible to deliver this in 20 minutes or less? The estimate says 16 minutes, so I took it.
Is the minute amount accurate? No, usually not. But it's not often very far off. I'm finding it usually takes about 2-3 minutes more than the estimate. This particular delivery the restaurant was a little behind, and it actually took 20 minutes. Even then, it fit within where I wanted to be.
I still ended up taking some lower paying offers
They were low paying as far as the dollar amount for the delivery.
But I made pretty good money with those deliveries all the same.
Check out the totals on these deliveries:
I took all of those. Why? Because they were quick. $40 in an hour and sixteen minutes. That's $31.68 per hour.
The fifty cent rule helps you find those smaller deliveries that are still worth taking. That's important because if you're just waiting for high dollar offers, you can lose a lot of time between orders.
But it's still important to know your market
I had this offer, and I was actually considering it. It wasn't going to pay my 50 cents a minute, but I had dropped off a delivery and was heading back in the direction this was going to take me. I thought for a second, better to get paid for that drive, right?
It was already borderline, but then I realized where I was picking up.
16 minutes is not realistic with this particular Dairy Queen. I know, I've been through there many times. What can I say? I like the dipped ice cream cones.
Just getting through the drive through in sixteen minutes is optimistic at this particular location. The whole point here is, the minutes that they show are helpful based on normal situations. You need to know which restaurants are slower so you can adapt.
And yes, I passed on this one.
Your first time delivering one of these orders could freak you out a little.
Here's one of my first deliveries under the new setup.
The offer screen said $13.79. Okay, not bad.
I get done and look at my earnings report. $5.79???
This has to do with the one hour that it takes after completing the delivery in which the customer can update the tip. Or remove it. In other words, Uber Eats only displays their portion of the pay immediately after the delivery.
The tip doesn't show up for another hour.
If you're not ready for this, it can scare you a little. Don't worry, do like you've always done with Uber Eats, wait an hour, the tip will show up.
Unless of course the customer changes their mind.
Uber Eats is capping the ‘expected tip' at $8.
My first delivery, the offer was $11.99. When I completed it, the pay was listed as $3.99. That's the Uber Eats portion as I mentioned above. Okay, cool, $8 tip.
Two deliveries later, I get a $13.79 offer. Payout from Uber Eats was $5.79. Hmmmm, another $8 tip? Exactly? That's a weird coincidence.
But then when the tip shows up in the pay summary an hour after the delivery, payouts were $14.39 ($11.99 offer) and $15 ($13.79 offer).
This is starting to feel like Doordash, you know? “Some deliveries may pay out more.” And the common denominator? The offer was always $8 more than the Uber Eats portion of the pay.
I have yet to see any offer that was more than $8 above the Uber Eats portion of the payment. With one exception, every delivery that had an offer exactly $8 more than the Uber Eats pay ended up paying more than offered (one delivery did actually have an $8 even tip).
The ONLY deliveries to pay different than the offers were deliveries that were exactly $8 more than the pay from Uber Eats.
I think we have a pattern. (Related: we examined the next 200 deliveries after the offer amounts started including the expected tip, and the data shows that Uber Eats is definitely hiding part of the tips beyond $8.
No one has pulled or reduced their tip yet.
The biggest concern that I've had with this change has been tip baiting.
That said, it's going to take a few weeks before that becomes an issue, if it ever does. That's because it takes time for customers to figure out that drivers now have an idea that there wasn't a tip on the order.
No one has increased their tip that I can tell.
I wanted to pat myself on the back. My service must have been awesome if no one's reducing their tips, right?
But if it were that awesome, they'd be tipping more once they saw how awesome the service was, wouldn't they?
But that hasn't happened either. The only time I received more than the offer amount was what I mentioned above, when the tip was more than $8. That tells me that the difference in my pay had nothing to do with customers increasing the tip. It just means Uber Eats hid part of the larger tips.
Customer service has less to do with the tip than we may have thought on Uber Eats.
Most customers are tipping ahead of time now on Uber Eats. Very very few are going back and changing the tip afterwards.
I know a lot of people have thought that if we go really crazy and offer awesome service, that will translate into more tips.
I'm sure it does. Sometimes.
But probably not nearly as much as we probably think.
Now, 45 deliveries isn't enough to judge anything by. In research terms that's what you call a very small sample size. But the fact that not a single delivery had a change up OR down out of 45 deliveries tells me that very very few people are going to go back into the app to change the tip amount.
And you and I both know that's far more likely to happen when service is really crappy than when it's really awesome.
So far I've been paid about 6% more than I was offered.
The deliveries I took offered a total or $384.28.
The actual pay was $408.16.
To be honest, I didn't expect to see that. All of that difference came on deliveries where the tip was more than $8.
I kind of wonder if part of the reasoning for Uber Eats doing that is to make up for the times when the customer does reduce or eliminate the tip? That's hard to say
I do wonder how many good deliveries I passed on.
There's always that thought in the back of my mind that there are still a lot of people on Uber Eats who are used to the old days and who tip after the delivery.
I do believe that with Grubhub and Doordash, if you get a $3 offer, there's a very good chance $3 is all you will get. I do believe the chances are higher that a $3 offer on Uber Eats will result in an additional tip.
The question is, how much higher?
I just have to decide, how often do I want to take some of those offers to find out?
Prior to this change, 95 out of my last 100 deliveries tipped. It seemed that it was a lot more than 5% of the offers I saw coming in seemed low enough to not have a tip. So maybe there are some good paying surprises out there.
It's just that I have to ask the question – is it worth taking the risk? Maybe sometime I should focus on the lower paying orders, just to have something to write about?
The jury is still out.
I did make more from an average hourly standpoint than I've been making recently.
Is that because of the new system or the luck of the draw? It's impossible to tell.
I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed the previous setup. I don't know why. Maybe it was because there were more pleasant surprises out there? There was a bit more of a sense of freedom and maybe of adventure.
A part of me is kinda sad that it's going away.
Another part of me says, hey, I made just under $31 per hour (before expenses) on Uber Eats orders since the new system went into place. The rest of the month I averaged $26.82 per hour.
It will be interesting to see if I continue to earn more now that I know the tip amount ahead of time.