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The Great(er) Uber Eats Challenge – Day 3 is in the Books

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I tell drivers to have a lot of options. I say not to get so invested in just one delivery platform that you are overly dependent on them and that major changes with that platform could derail you.

And yet my earnings have ranged between 70 and 80 percent coming from one platform: Grubhub. Could I do as well focusing on another platform? Could I do well at all?

This week I decided to give it a try, with one of the unlikeliest candidates as my primary source of earning. How could I do focusing on Uber Eats? This is the great Uber Eats challenge (I call it great(er) because I did a four day stint before, so this time I wanted to give them the whole week).

My third day of the great(er) Uber Eats Challenge
My third day of the great(er) Uber Eats Challenge

Hitting the half way point

After yesterday's six hours on delivery, I'm at 20.75 hours. I won't get into a play by play on deliveries as much, but talk about the particular milestone. I know, I'm more than half way through the week, but I took Tuesday off.

Half way through the week, I've earned $502.64 in 20.75 hours. I've driven 268 miles, a little bit more than I would have liked to have done. I've completed 55 deliveries, or 2.65 per hour. My normal is about 2.35. Overall I've earned $24.22 per hour, with a profit per hour of $20.99. For the last six months, my average profit per hour in the first four days of the week has been $21.49. So I'm slightly below average there.

I SHOULD be a little below average right now. I expect that I would be with Grubhub. We're comparing to September through February – usually the busiest months for delivery. Between football and bad weather, and comparing it to a week of gorgeous weather when things should be slower, that's not bad.

A slow night and hitting the end of a four day Quest

For the first four days of the week, I had a quest in which Uber Eats would pay a $66 bonus if I completed 45 deliveries. I came into the day needing 14 deliveries to make that goal. That shouldn't be a problem, right? And to be honest, it wasn't, but it did add an interesting dynamic to the night.

The day started off well and I kept pretty busy and pretty consistent through the lunch hour and early afternoon. I did end up taking a delivery to someone working at the Uber greenlight hub – not that it means anything at all but it was interesting in light of the fact that I just got notice they're closing the hub for awhile starting today due to Coronavirus concerns.

In fact it went so well, I took a couple hours off to run some personal errands and get some lunch. Later on I started wondering if that was a good decision because I killed some momentum. Last night was slow for a Thursday. The weather was starting to cool off, so I expected to be busier, but I had more downtime between orders than I expected.

Why was it so slow?

Thursday nights are usually fairly steady. So this surprised me a little that things slowed down as much as they did. I had about 40 minutes of idle time where I was just waiting for orders.

The funny thing is, Uber Eats was offering a $2.50 per hour surge. I don't have inside information on how they determine the surges, but my experience says it seems to be based on current demand, not on a set schedule. That tells me there were a lot of orders. The slowness tells me the the surge did what was intended – it drew drivers out of the woodwork so the area was saturated with drivers. I think there were a lot of offers, but there were more drivers.

I think the other factor was related to the Quest. If you're not famiar with quests on Uber Eats, they will offer a bonus for completing so many orders in a time frame. In my market lately, the quests have been for Monday through Thursdays, and Fridays through Sundays. For me, I was going after getting 45 deliveries by the end of Thursday (technically by 4 AM today, Friday) and once that was accomplished, I got $66. I think it's very possible there were a lot of drivers out there who like me were working on getting those last deliveries completed.

Wrapping up a quest added some interesting dynamics for me.

One thing that was different about last night was that I was less inclined to multi-app.

Normally when I'm on a Grubhub block, if there's much of a pause at all between orders, I'm firing up the other apps and looking for orders. I was that way yesterday when there were slow times. But last night was different.

The main reason? I didn't want to be out til midnight trying to get that last delivery. I had 40 minutes of idle time waiting for orders. That's rare, I NEVER sit that long between orders. I didn't want to have delivering on another platform prevent me from taking an order. So while the $66 was better in the big picture, I think it did slow me down a little.

The other thing is, it created a dilemma when I finished that 45th delivery. I finished that around 8. I planned on being out until 9. What do I do now? There was an optional bonus quest – $10 for completing five more deliveries. But that could keep me out much later. I'm an old man, I don't want to be out THAT late. I think at that point, I was just satisfied that I completed the thing early enough, so I decided to call it a day and head home.

Heading into the weekend.

Here's where I'm the most interested to see what it will be like.

Twice before, I've focused heavily on Uber Eats for the first part of the week. The first time I was shocked to find I wasn't making any less. The second time around I was still a little amazed, if nothing else it was discovering that the first week's results weren't a fluke. This is the third time around, so I'm not surprised to see it consistent with the other two weeks.

But now we're getting into the weekend. I make good money on weekend nights. It's a little scarier to let go of my normal way of doing things on those nights. It's one thing to experiment during the early part of the week. That's the slower time anyway, right? If it goes bad, I have time to recover.

But it's a little scary to trust Uber Eats when it's bread and butter time.

And it's a little exciting. If it's gone this well early on, how good can it be during crunch time?

I've been extremely happy with the results so far. I won't lie, the quest has been a nice infusion. However, boosts and surges have been the lowest that I've seen due to the weather being so nice. How good can it be during peak times?

And it's snowing out as I write…

This is gonna be fun.

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Day Two of the Great(er) Uber Eats Challenge
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Being a Delivery Driver During the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic