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Does Uber Eats Pay Enough to be My Main Hustle? (FAQ Series)

When you are thinking about delivering for different delivery apps, you will be asking yourself, does Uber Eats pay enough? Is there enough potential to make decent profits as an independent contractor working exclusively or primarily on Uber Eats deliveries?

I can't answer that. Every person is different, every situation is different and every market is different. Uber Eats can be great in one city and not so good in another. Uber Eats can be fantastic for someone else in my city but not as much for me, all depending on what you are looking for.

How do you know if they pay enough?

Does Uber Eats pay enough to be my main hustle?
Does Uber Eats pay enough to be my main hustle?

First, you have to determine what “enough” means.

Does Uber Eats pay enough? To answer that, you have to know what ‘enough' is.

One of the most important things you need to do as an independent contractor is to understand your financial requirements. Understand first off that you are an independent contractor, so there is no minimum wage, no hourly wage . Uber Eats doesn't pay overtime. You also have to understand that what you are paid for Uber Eats deliveries is not the same as what you earn. As an independent contractor for Uber Eats, your earnings are measured by your profits. You are on your own for expenses, and your car costs you a lot more than just the gas you purchase to make deliveries.

If you want to compare earnings with Uber Eats or any other delivery option in the gig economy to a regular job, you have to understand that you typically need to earn about 50% more per hour to have the same earning power. This is because you have your expenses, taxes, and an overall lack of benefits like paid time off.

So rather than looking back after you made the money and asking if it was enough, start out by setting your goal as to what enough is, and go from there.

Is Uber Eats Busy Enough in Your Market?

There is no one ‘better' option. In every city, market share for delivery companies differs. This report by Second Measure shows the differences of market share for different cities. According to their report, Uber Eats is dominant in Miami with a 48% market share, but not as strong in San Francisco with only a 10% market share.

The other factor may be market saturation. A city can be strong in market share but may have over hired for their market. If there are too many drivers, you may not get as many delivery opportunities.

Are the delivery offers profitable in your market?

I tend to use a 40 cent rule when evaluating delivery offers. I try to calculate the amount of time a delivery will take and determine whether or not the delivery will pay 40 cents a minute or better.

This is difficult to do with Uber Eats. As of this writing, most offers on Uber Eats do not let you know where the delivery is going. Not knowing the tip amount also can make a difference. With Uber Eats probably more than anyone, you ahve to play the averages.

One of the important factors is going to be if they are offering any promotions. Uber Eats will offer a number of incentives to get drivers out there. They might offer Quests (giving you a bonus for completing a certain number of deliveries) or boosts (paying an extra percentage for each delivery in an area). My experience is that when these incentives are strong, Uber Eats is a better alternative. When they are mostly paying out just their typical base pay, it's hard to make enough doing Uber Eats only.

What Do you Think?

Does Uber Eats pay enough for you? If you haven't delivered for them, sometimes the only real option is to give it a try. See how it works. Learn how the promotions work, experience how busy they are in y our market.

They can be the best option for some drivers in some markets. For other drivers, they might be a non-option. It really depends on first, how much is enough, and whether you can be busy enough in your market.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

About the Author

Ron Walter made the move from business manager at a non-profit to full time gig economy delivery in 2018 to take advantage of the flexibility of self-employment. He applied his thirty years experience managing and owning small businesses to treat his independent contractor role as the business it is.

Realizing his experience could help other drivers, he founded to encourage delivery drivers to be the boss of their own gig economy business.

Ron has been quoted in several national outlets including Business Insider, the New York Times, CNN and Market Watch.