My Uber Eats experience

I started doing Uber eats in June 2019 and it has been one of my more favored side hustles both during the debt free journey and then the house saving journey.

I understand there are a lot of opinions on Uber Eats so I decided to write this based on my personal experience on it – bearing in mind I am not employed by Uber Eats and in no way have been sponsored or paid to do this.

Firstly, how did I get into it?

Well, I actually heard about it on the radio. I still had around $40K debt at that point and I was just thinking of ways to get it paid off fast. So, when I heard about one the radio producers becoming a part time Uber eats driver in March and figured I could do it too!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t actually sign up just yet because Uber eats hadn’t come to Hamilton – dam!

I tried to sign up to deliver easy and menu log instead (this is your classic send a CV type of sign up and incidentally I haven’t ever heard back from either of them despite many follow ups.)

When I read in the paper that Uber eats was coming to Hamilton I knew this was the time to sign up! I jumped on line and did a wee bit of a google search and found out how to sign up via the app (seriously just type into google “how to become an uber eats driver” and the link comes up)

Please do not be fooled – the sign-up process isn’t easy. Yes, I know it says its easy but it really isn’t! It requests all sorts of documents from you like driver’s license photos, rego, warrant and most important is the insurance. Please have a chat with your insurance company or an insurance broker about the right kind of insurance for this because I can’t tell you sorry.

It will then ask you to pay for the criminal record check, yes, I know its costly and annoying but they just trying to make sure you aren’t an axe murderer or something. It will be something you have to do once a year so factor that into your costs. I also chose to purchase the official uber eats bag as well, so that’s another startup cost to factor in.

If at any time you get stuck, simply use the chat function to talk to someone. But send them a message every single day – I am not kidding or exaggerating. They will take a very long time to come back to you but if you keep hounding them it will happen a lot faster.

The “quick and simple” sign up process took me about 2 and a half weeks total to complete – but I was ready to go!

By ready to go I mean my app and account is now active and I can go online at any time. What I love about Uber eats is that not only do you get to choose when you go online, you can literally just decide and hit the “go” button. You don’t have to tell someone ahead of time and you don’t have to do specific shifts either, you just get to choose when you have some free time and online you go! The downside to this of course is that you can be online for a couple of hours and get heaps of trips, or you get nothing… but I feel that’s the price you pay for the convenience.

How do I earn the “real cash” doing Uber eats?

Over the years I have learnt quite a few tips and tricks when it comes to timing of Uber Eats and I can tell you that if you think this is a side hustle that is a simple 9-5 on a Saturday then you will need to keep looking. I have sacrificed many Friday and Saturday nights to go online with Uber to earn the numbers I do – that and Sunday afternoon/evenings.

The other factor that helps is rain… for some reason there are lots of trips when its raining. You also get surges (where you get paid 1.2x more than normal) and you get extra pick up pay ($1-$2 per delivery). I usually like to make sure I am online for 10 hours a week, as it can get a bit addictive to do “just one more trip”. I also live quite close to a bunch of restaurants so I can do things at home while waiting for trips to pop up on my app. When a restaurant sends out a uber trip it usually goes to the driver that is the closest to that restaurant, so the closer you are to a set of restaurants the more likely you are to receive the trips first.

What’s the pay rate?

If you are looking at working out how much/hour you make with Uber Eats then you will need to do a bit of a mindset change because this is very much a gig economy job – meaning that you get paid per trip as opposed to per hour. As I mentioned above, there are so many different factors that apply when you are doing a delivery that it can become very hard to work out how much per hour you are being paid.

When I first started, we got paid $1 for a pick up and $1.50 for a delivery and then you get paid per KM in the middle. Now the pay seems rather random but when a trip flashes up on your phone it will tell you how much you will be paid for it. I have never had a pay less than $5.50 for a trip – and some trips are only 600m down the road.

This is how I split my uber weekly pay:

30%     Tax

10%     Petrol

10%     Investment

10%     Charity Donation

40%     Current savings goal

How do you pay tax?

The biggest trick to paying tax is make sure you record all your trips as well as how many km’s you are doing for Uber Eats, then at the end of the financial year (March 31st) I will file my own IR3 tax return. You can claim certain expenses against the income so I always find that I have a leftover sum of tax money that I can then transfer to my savings goal – or spend on myself.

So, is it worth it?  

The golden question, the one that everyone asks me all the time. And honestly, I can’t answer this on your behalf as “worth it” is a subjective point of view. For me it is worth it. The ease of using the app coupled with not having to think too hard about it (you just drive to this place to collect the food, then deliver it to that place) makes the financial return a good one. I get to just turn on the app when I have some free time, and then get paid weekly which helps give me a little boost. So yep, for me it is 100% worth it.