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How Did My First Day on the Great(er) Uber Eats Challenge Go?

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This week I ditched Grubhub. I didn't schedule any blocks with anyone else but made the decision to go all in on Uber Eats. You can read more about my decision here. I'll share my progress as I see if I can make enough money as a full time UberEatser

I'll be honest, I kind of knew what to expect. A few weeks ago I wasn't able to schedule any Grubhub blocks for the first part of the week so I decided to grab a 40-delivery Quest on Uber Eats. BACK THEN I was surprised, almost shocked, at how it went. But having done this twice now, I knew what to expect. Monday didn't disappoint.

This is my report on day one of the Great Uber Eats Experiment
The great Uber Eats Experiment

Getting started

There is both a freedom and a curse to not being tied to a schedule. With Grubhub, at least in my market, you can't get much more than long distance Taco Bell offers when you're not on a schedule (unless it's super busy out there). But once you're on the schedule, there's an added stress to where you either have to be ready to go or you decide to drop a block and wait an hour or two to get started.

Uber Eats is a totally different animal. No schedule, just log on whenever. I do my newsletter usually on Monday mornings and most of my work on the blog is in the morning. On the one hand it's nice having a little more freedom and a little less stress. On the other hand, I know myself enough to know that I have to be careful not to get too complacent and miss the better delivery times.

It all started off with a $3 Burger King Offer

I don't know if the whole country is moved over to the new pay model yet. I think the new structure is part of why I'm able to do well. Not so much the pay model itself, but the change that lets you see where you're going and how much you're being paid.

My first offer comes in before I get out of the driveway. It's a Burger King, less than a mile away. Three Dollars.

If this were Grubhub, that would be a hell no. If this were Doordash, not gonna happen.

I took it.

Here's the difference between Uber Eats and the others when they give you an up front price. With Uber Eats, that price does not include the tip.

Now, I know, with Burger King, there's a chance there won't BE a tip. And if there is a tip, it's going to be small. But the secret I've been learning with Uber Eats, especially if you're on a Quest, is that short and quick is the key to making money. This offer was that.

And here's the crazy thing. If you've delivered Burger King for Grubhub or Doordash, you can generally expect they don't start making the food until you arrive. But for whatever reason, the food was ready when I got there. Was this an anomoly or is the arrangement different with Uber Eats? I don't know. But the whole delivery was completed 12 minutes after I accepted the offer.

That $3 Delivery turned into $27.95 profit per hour.

Here's the most important part of that equation: 12 minutes. There was a $1.63 tip. Even then, it's only $4.63, but when it's a fifth of an hour, that isn't too terrible.

Here's the other thing that factored into that profit per hour. I took a 45 delivery, $66 quest. In other words, I get $66 once I complete 45 deliveries between yesterday and Thursday. That adds up to $1.46 per delivery. We tend to poo-poo that low an amount per delivery, but again, keep in mind it was 12 minutes. That's a $7.30 per hour pace for this particular delivery. Overall, once I take out my car expense (25 cents per mile) I end up with a $5.59 profit ($3 plus $1.63 tip plus $1.46 quest minus 50 cents), which adds up to $27.95 per hour.

Even if there was no tip (always a possibility on McDonalds and Burger King orders in particular) it's STILL a $19.80 profit per hour. That's the key to ultra quick deliveries.

But it's not that good because of the new pay model.

I do want to point something out though. This is still a big reduction from the old pay model. In the past, in my market it was $1.63 plus 78¢ a mile and 7.8¢ per minute (both measurements being from the restaurant to the customer). So that would have been $1.63 plus $0.84 plus $0.82, or $3.29. Barely over the old $3.25 minimum.

That's not a huge difference, right?

But notice how the Boost was applied. There was a 1.3 boost going on. In the old model, that would have been 1.3 times the total delivery fee. $3.29 x 1.3 = $4.28. NOW we're talking about a huge difference.

In fact, on this delivery, the boost really doesn't make a difference. Notice they came up with a base fare of $1.95. THAT is the amount they multiply against the boost. So once they add the boost, it's still less than the $3 minimum, so they added a trip supplement. It could have been a 1.5 boost and it still would have paid $3.

In the end, the fare paid by Uber Eats for the day was nearly 40% LESS than what it would have been under the old pay model. That's a pretty dramatic difference.

My method of selecting offers

So here was my philosophy on accepting offers:

Accept the lowballs, reject the high offers.

You're shaking your head right now, aren't you? That's backwards.

It's backwards with everyone else but I'm finding it works beautifully with Uber Eats.

Let me put it another way. I accepted based on distance. As I mentioned earlier, Uber Eats doesn't include the tip amount in the offer. Typically, the higher the offer amount, the longer the distance you have to drive. I've learned the hard way that a $10 offer usually means there's a long drive involved. The extra $6 or so on the offer doesn't compensate well for the extra half hour and ten miles it takes to complete the delivery. So the important thing is, avoid the long trips.

Uber Eats is now showing a map on the offer screen. Sometimes. I don't know how it works on iPhones, but on Android phones if you're not in the app when it comes up, you see only the minutes to the restaurant and how much they are offering. You can usually get to the map but it's cumbersome. If you have a delivery in progress and an offer comes in, you don't get a map.

BUT… you know that when the offer amount is low, the distance is short.

So how was the rest of the day?

It was a good day.

I started out about 11 and ran til 3, and then worked about 6 to 9. In the end it was a little less than 7 hours.

One way I could see the method of how I took orders work was, I was getting a LOT of deliveries done. In 6.72 hours I completed 21 deliveries. 18 were for Uber Eats, I did pick up three Grubhub deliveries. Overall it was 19 minutes per delivery.

I think that's why I've been able to be more profitable on Uber Eats deliveries. The thing is, I'm getting less per delivery on average. Uber themselves are paying far more for the same time and distances than either Grubhub or Doordash, however the tips are still far behind. But the thing is, when you can get 40% more deliveries done in the same amount of time, that makes up a lot of ground.

Starting out for lunch.

The one thing you know if you have delivered Uber Eats is that it can be kind of discouraging starting out. I got done with that first delivery and had $3. Woo woo. My second delivery was $4.23 and my third one was $5.07. I've made $12.30 and have driven 11 miles in that first 62 minutes. When I average a half mile per dollar, that's not a good start, right? I track every delivery, and my spreadsheet gives me a running total of profit per hour. After that third delivery it shows I'm making $7.79 per hour after car expense.

That's depressing.

But you have to remember if you do this, Uber doesn't tell you your tips for an hour or more after the delivery. So by the time tips came in and you figure in the $1.46 per trip on the Quest (assuming I make 45 in time) it eventually comes out to $17.34 per hour for that first hour. That's still lower than I like but it's not terrible.

Over lunch, I completed 11 deliveries in 3.75 hours, just a bit less than 3 per hour. It came out to $70.50 in that time frame ($18.80 per hour) – that bumped up to $23.08 once you figure in the $1.46 per delivery once the Quest is completed. After figuring in vehicle cost it came out to $20.15 profit per hour. That's right where I like to be.

Dinner was a bit slower than I've experienced.

I try to focus on downtown, especially with Uber Eats. There's a lot of restaurants and probably a lot of drivers who are intimidated by downtown. That makes a good combination. It's also easier to find the short deliveries.

Usually I drive into downtown via a route that runs by a lot of restaurants. The app was silent getting in. I finally got a short quick McDonalds order that took about 10 minutes, and then it got quiet again. I actually snagged a block of time on Grubhub because it was just that quiet and picked up an order at a notoriously slow pizza place. As I was pulling close to the pizza place (with pickup time still 20 minutes out) another McDonalds order came in, so I ran and did that real quick, getting back to the Grubhub pizza order just as the pizza was coming out. That worked out nicely.

I ended up taking 2 more Grubhub orders to fill out the block, and things finally started picking up. I do find a little more dead time on Uber Eats than I do on Doordash and Grubhub, and it's interesting how there's not a real pattern to when it happens.

When all was said and done, I had done 10 total deliveries (7 with Uber Eats and 3 with Grubhub) in three hours. I made $91.05 in that time (and then figure in $10.22 for the Quest for the 7 deliveries). Profit per hour for dinner was $31.38. I'll take that on any night.

The bottom line at the end of the day.

Overall, I had 21 deliveries in just under 7 hours. Eighteen were for Uber Eats, and that's a really good pace for having to complete 45 deliveries in four days. My total amount was $186.94 and I drove a total of 105 miles. That's a slightly higher ratio of miles per dollar than I like, though part of that involved driving home between dinner and lunch. Profit per hour for the day was $23.71.

Even if there were no quest, it still comes out to $19.94 per hour. That's pretty respectable for a Monday night. Over the last three months I've averaged $20.60 profit per hour on Monday nights where I've focused on Grubhub primarily. Here's the crazy thing. This was a slow day compared to the other two times I did primarily Uber Eats on Monday. Those two Mondays I averaged $24.62 profit per hour and $27.63 (the latter on a snow day).

It's starting to look like at least Mondays are better days for doing Uber Eats.

I won't be reporting tomorrow. I usually take Tuesdays off to focus on other things. (That and the first Uber Eats experiment, I only profited $10.63 per hour on Tuesday. But that was as much because I took some REALLY long deliveries…

Until the next report…

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