Is Uber Eats Worth It As Side Hustle? How Uber Eats Work

Now part of the growing gig economy – which, as of 2023, includes 40% of U.S. workers and 59 million freelancers – Uber Eats offers flexible, freelance opportunities.

Delivery partners enjoy the freedom to set their hours, choose locations, and receive weekly payments or instant money, along with customer tips and Uber Eats promotions.

Uber Eats is a popular food delivery service operating in over 6,000 cities across 50 countries, but is often debated for its value to drivers. Many of those considering joining as delivery partners often have the question “Is Uber Eats worth it?”

So, is Uber Eats worth it as a side hustle or main job?

For many seeking flexible, supplementary income, Uber Eats presents a viable option, blending independence with earning potential.

We’ll examine the earnings potential, pros, and cons based on current data and reviews from experienced drivers.

So, let’s dig in to find out more!

Is Uber Eats Worth It As A Job

Asking the question, is Uber Eats “worth it?” is kind of like asking if a burger is better than a salad – it depends on your taste, right?

If you’re after something that gives you freedom and fits into your life without too much hassle, then yeah, this hustle is definitely worth considering. You can make anywhere from $15 to $25/hour depending on your area and your expertise. But if you’re looking for big bucks or something super steady, you might want to keep exploring other options. At the end of the day, it’s about what makes sense for you, your schedule, and your wallet.

As this user puts it, it is definitely a great side hustle for most of us that offers extra income and flexibility of work.

Ubereats worth it as a side hustle

Before going into what Uber Eats drivers have to say about it, here are some things about Uber Eats.

What is Uber Eats and How It Works

It started in 2014 as a trial called UberFRESH in Santa Monica, California, offering a set menu for a fixed price.

It grew quickly, adding more cities and restaurants, and in 2015, it became to known as Uber Eats. Now, it is one of the top choices for food delivery across countries.

Ordering food through Uber Eats is easy and user-friendly. Users just need to get the Uber Eats app or visit their website and log in with their Uber account.

Then, they can put in their address to see local restaurants, look at their menus, pick what they want, and order.

A delivery person will be assigned based on the app’s algorithm like the driver’s proximity to the restaurant and several other factors. Then they will take the order from the restaurant and bring it right to the customer’s home.

Since the explosion of food delivery gigs especially in the days of COVID, it has provided flexible earning opportunities to many freelance working drivers.

Extra Reading: How much can you make with Rover pet sitting?

How to Become An Uber Eats Driver

If you’re looking for a way to make extra money, you might find being an Uber Eats driver a good option. Uber Eats is all about linking customers with local restaurants and drivers who bring the food to them.

This option sounds appealing, doesn’t it? But, before diving in, you need to know what it takes to become an Uber Eats driver, the signup steps, and the vehicle options you have.

What You Need to Become an Uber Eats Driver

To drive for Uber Eats, there are several things you need:

  • A valid driver’s license.
  • Be at least 18 years old, or 21 in certain cities.
  • A reliable vehicle.
  • A smartphone for the Uber Eats driver app.
  • Pass a background check, which looks at your driving and criminal history. Uber uses a third-party service, Checkr, for these checks in the U.S., usually done in 3-5 days.

Requirements can differ based on where you live. Some places might ask for a commercial driver’s license or a motorized scooter. It’s best to check Uber Eats’ website for the specific needs in your area.

Signing Up and Vehicle Requirements

The signup process is straightforward. Do it online or through the Uber Driver app.

You’ll enter your personal info, like your name, Social Security number, driver’s license details, and vehicle information.

You also need to upload clear, legible copies of your driver’s license, vehicle insurance, and a profile photo.

After submitting your details, Uber will review them and conduct a background check, which can take up to 72 hours or a few weeks in some areas.

Once approved, you can start accepting delivery requests on the Uber platform. The app gives you navigation tips and updates from restaurants and customers to make your deliveries smooth.

You can choose the vehicle that works best for you.

Car, motorbike, scooter, or bicycle, can be used to deliver food depending on your city’s rules.

But you can only use one type of vehicle at a time. If you need to switch vehicles or cities, you can update this in the app.

Your vehicle should meet some basic standards like being a 1990 model or newer, having valid registration and insurance, and being able to carry at least 30 pounds.

If you’re using a vehicle you don’t own, you must be listed on the vehicle’s insurance policy.

Extra Reading: Apps that pay you to drive.

Pros and Cons of Delivering With Uber Eats

If you’re thinking about becoming an Uber Eats driver, it’s good to know what it’s like and if it’s worth it.

Let’s dive into the pros and cons, based on what drivers and different sources say.

The Upside of Driving for Uber Eats

  1. Flexible Schedule: One of the best things about Uber Eats is you can work whenever you want. You log in to the app, take orders when you feel like it, and log out when you’re done. This means you can work around other commitments like family, school, or another job.
  2. Earning Extra Cash: Driving for Uber Eats can be a good way to make extra money. Reports say drivers can earn about $12 to $20 an hour on average, depending on where you are, how busy it is, and the tips you get. Plus, you can cash out your earnings up to five times a day for a small fee.
  3. Be Your Own Boss: When you drive for Uber Eats, you’re in charge. No boss to report to, no dress code, and you choose where you drive. You can enjoy the freedom and variety, avoiding the typical 9-to-5 job routine.

The Downside of Driving for Uber Eats

  1. Unpredictable Earnings: Your income from Uber Eats can go up and down. It depends on how many orders you get, how far you travel, peak times, and tips. Sometimes you might compete with other drivers, especially during busy times or in areas with lots of drivers.
  2. Vehicle Costs: You’ll be using your own car, scooter, or bike, which means paying for gas, maintenance, and insurance. There’s also the risk of accidents or theft, and these expenses can lower your actual earnings.
  3. Dealing with Tough Situations: As a driver, you’ll face different challenges like bad weather, tricky roads, or difficult customers. Sometimes customers might not answer their phone or give you clear directions, which can be stressful.

So, is Uber Eats worth it? It seems like a great option if you want flexible work and are okay with the ups and downs that come with it. You can earn decently, but make your decision after considering vehicle costs, taxes, and the unpredictable nature of the job.

Extra Reading: How much you can earn with Instacart?

Earning Potential With Uber Eats

When it comes to driving for companies like Uber Eats or other gig apps, a big question is how much money you can really make.

The pay structure of Uber Eats is:

  • Base Pay: Uber Eats sets a guaranteed amount for each order you deliver. This amount typically ranges from $4 to $12 for each delivery, and it mainly depends on the distance you need to travel to complete the delivery.
  • Promotions: Uber Eats regularly offers different kinds of promotional earnings that can add to your standard pay for an order. These can include “trip supplements” and “boosts,” which help increase your earnings. The best part? You don’t have to do anything extra to receive these benefits – they’re automatically included in your pay rate for each order you choose to accept.
  • Tips: While it’s not a requirement, many customers choose to give tips. The good news is, if a customer decides to tip you, you get to keep all of it – 100% of the tips are yours.

But, how much you will earn at the end of the day is not a simple answer because it depends on several factors. But, there are some general ideas and numbers that can give you a sense of what you could earn in this type of job.

Recent Earnings for Uber Eats Drivers

There is a wide range of earnings reported by Uber Eats drivers starting from $10 to up to $30/per hour. But typically, Uber Eats drivers can expect to earn between $18 to $20 per hour before expenses in most areas.

This number is stretchable to $25/hour in most markets with some smart planning and multi-apping a bit.

However, keep in mind that this number is before expenses. If you consider gas, depreciation, and taxes you can approximately deduct 30 to 40% from this number.

So, if you are making $20/hour before expenses, you will be taking home $12-$14/hour depending on what you drive, gad cost, and your tax condition (other income sources).

Many Uber Eats drivers report making over $1000 a week with long hours and smart strategies. However, they are exceptions and not a norm.

Comparison with Other Gig Economy Jobs

In the broader gig economy, Uber Eats is one of many options. Others include ride-sharing (like Uber and Lyft), other food delivery services (like DoorDash), and freelance platforms (like Fiverr or Upwork)).

Comparing earnings from driving for Uber Eats with other gig economy jobs requires considering various factors such as flexibility, earning potential, and the nature of the work.

Uber Eats, as a food delivery platform, offers notable flexibility, allowing drivers to choose their working hours and delivery zones.

This flexibility is a common attribute in gig economy jobs, but the earning potential can differ significantly. Earnings in these roles vary based on factors like demand, skill level, and time commitment.

Gig Economy JobApproximate Earnings
Uber Eats (Food Delivery)$18 to $20 per hour
Freelance Writing (Upwork, Fiverr)$15 to $50 per hour (varies with expertise)
Ride-Sharing (Uber, Lyft)$15 to $25 per hour (fluctuates with surge pricing)
Other Food Delivery (DoorDash, Grubhub)$10 to $20 per hour
Grocery Delivery (Instacart)$15 to $25 per hour
Task-Oriented Services (TaskRabbit)$15 to $45 per task (depends on task complexity)
Online Tutoring/Teaching$20 to $60 per hour (depends on subject and qualifications)

Ultimately, deciding whether working for Uber Eats is worth it depends on your personal situation, financial needs, and preferences.

More often than not, most gig workers try multiple apps before settling on a winner because it is highly area-dependent. Many experienced drivers also do multi-apping to get the best of all the apps.

When Does Uber Eats Pay

Generally, the Uber Eats pays you weekly through direct deposit. You need to link your bank account with them and they will send your last week’s (Monday to Sunday) earnings each Tuesday free of cost.

Fast Pay Feature:

But sometimes, life throws a curveball, and you might need cash before your weekly payday. That’s where Uber Eats’s Instant Pay comes in. Think of Instant Pay as your financial lifesaver. This option is generally available after your first delivery (unlike Instacart instant pay which requires 5 deliveries).

You have two options to access instant pay.

Your Personal Debit Card:

  • Each time you cash out, there’s a small fee of $0.85.
  • The system works with most cards from Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
  • You have the option to cash out as many as 6 times every day.

The Uber Pro Card:

  • This is a Debit Mastercard combined with a bank account.
  • Enjoy the convenience of free automatic payouts after each trip you complete.
  • Plus, you get cash back benefits on gas, EV charging, and other expenses.

Note: While using this feature with a personal debit card be careful not to use it too much as the fees can add up.

User Reviews With Firsthand Experience

If you’re thinking about driving for Uber Eats and wondering if it’s worth it, you might want to hear from people who’ve done it. What’s it like? How much money can you make? Is the schedule flexible? Is the app easy to use? What kind of challenges will you face?

We’ve looked at what current and former Uber Eats drivers have said on sites like Indeed, Reddit, and Quora. Their real-life experiences offer a glimpse into the ups and downs of the job.

The Good Stuff About Driving for Uber Eats

Many drivers love the flexibility. You’re basically your own boss, picking when and how much you work, and choosing which orders to take. You get to see new places, meet various people, and sometimes, the work can be pretty exciting, especially when it’s busy.

A driver from New York shared:

“I’ve been doing Uber Eats since 2018. I love that I can start and stop working whenever I want. The money’s good, too most of the times.”

Here is another user who loves its flexibility.

loves flexibility

And someone from Norfolk mentioned:

“It’s great to set my own schedule. UberEats even helps with car rentals and health insurance.”

Drivers often find the app user-friendly, making the deliveries smoother. Plus, the extra tips and bonuses can be a nice bonus.

For example, a Portland driver said:

“The app’s easy to use and gives great directions. I can work in my free time.”

For many people, it’s a worth-it gig to pay their bills in their in-between job times, like this one:

great for in between jobs

But it’s not always perfect…

The Not-So-Great Parts of Being an Uber Eats Driver

Some drivers talk about the downsides, like not making enough money, high costs of running their vehicle, waiting too long at restaurants, and dealing with difficult customers. There can also be stress when there aren’t enough orders or the pay for a delivery isn’t great.

A Denver driver mentioned:

“After a while, you might end up waiting hours for an order that only pays $5 for a 10-mile trip. It’s tough on your car and can be really stressful.”

Here is another user who doesn’t find it worth effort after gas costs.

Ubereats not worth it after gas costs

And a driver from Chicago said:

“The job was okay at first, but now the pay for each trip is too low. It doesn’t feel worth it.”

Some drivers feel that they’re not treated very well by Uber Eats, the restaurants, or even the customers. They might feel undervalued and find it hard to get help from Uber Eats when they need it.

A driver from Seattle shared:

“Sometimes you make good money, but it feels like the app only gives good deliveries to certain drivers at a time.”

And one from Miami noted:

“It’s an easy job, but there aren’t many benefits.”

Being an Uber Eats driver has its good and bad sides. It can be a fun way to make extra cash and enjoy a flexible schedule.

But it can also be tough, tiring, and sometimes not pay as much as you’d like.

It really depends on what you’re looking for and your situation. Think about all these points before deciding to join Uber Eats as a driver.

Uber Eats Alternatives

Looking for alternatives to Uber Eats for food delivery driving? There are several other services out there, each with its own features and benefits.

Let’s compare some popular options to Uber Eats and see what they offer. We’ll make a chart at the end to summarize the key points.


DoorDash is a big player in the U.S. food delivery market and is really popular in suburban areas. It’s in over 4000 cities in the U.S. and Canada and offers a wide variety of cuisines.


  • No minimum order fee, so you can take any order.
  • Group ordering feature can lead to bigger orders and tips.
  • Can deliver alcohol from stores (if you have the right license).
  • DashPass subscription service might increase customer orders.


  • Higher delivery fees can put off customers.
  • Base pay per delivery can be low.
  • Controversial tipping policy; tips may not always add up to more pay.

Extra Reading: How much DoorDash Drivers Earn?


Grubhub is one of the older delivery platforms and has a large selection of restaurants. It’s in over 3,200 cities in the U.S. and owns several other delivery apps.


  • Higher base pay for drivers.
  • Tips are shown upfront before you accept an order.
  • Loyalty program (Perks) can attract more customers.


  • Service fees can discourage customers.
  • Strict policy about accepting 90% of orders.
  • Doesn’t offer alcohol delivery.


Owned by DoorDash, Caviar focuses on higher-end and local restaurants. It’s in over 13 cities in the U.S. and targets a more upscale market.


  • Customers tend to tip well.
  • Extra pay during busy peak hours.
  • Pay includes distance traveled, not just time.


  • Limited to a few cities and fewer restaurant choices.
  • Lower order volume, which can mean fewer delivery opportunities.

So, is Uber Eats worth it compared to these alternatives? It really depends on your location, the type of vehicle you use, and your personal preferences. Each platform has its unique advantages and challenges.

Extra Reading: DoorDash vs Instacart earning.

Try Grocery Delivery

You can opt for other gig jobs that require you to shop and deliver groceries with Instacart. Here you need to spend more time on each order, but the pay is also higher.

There is also the option of just doing deliveries and not shopping. So, you can give it a go when you are not getting enough orders on Uber Eats.

Each of these platforms offers a different experience for drivers. If you’re considering driving for extra cash, think about what’s most important to you – whether it’s higher pay, more flexibility, or a specific type of customer or restaurant.

What works best for one driver might not be the best choice for another.

Whether driving for Uber Eats is a good idea depends on you – what you want, what you like, and your situation. In some markets, it’s a great way to earn extra cash in their free time, while not so lucrative in other markets.

My advice will be to try multiple of these apps and give at least two weeks to an app and find out which ones make you more money on average. You can also figure out if different apps have different peak times, and then you can work on them at the best possible times.

Like this user suggests multi-apping can get you better earnings.

Ubereats with multi-apping is good option

For example, grocery deliveries almost dry up in the afternoon but there are enough lunch orders with food delivery apps. But in the evening if there is high completion among drivers on food delivery apps, you can pivot to grocery delivery apps.

Tips To Make Money On Uber Eats

If you’re thinking about driving for Uber Eats and wondering if it’s worth it, there are ways to make good money with this popular food delivery app. Some drivers earn a lot each month, while others might only make a little.

Here are some tips to help you earn more as an Uber Eats driver.

Use Uber Eats Payment Incentives

First, you need to understand how you get paid. Uber Eats pays you for picking up food, dropping it off, and for how far you drive to deliver it.

The app shows you how much you might earn for each delivery before you decide to take it. Plus, you get to keep all the tips customers give you.

Uber Eats also offers extra ways to make money, like:

  • Surge Pricing: When it’s really busy, Uber Eats pays more for deliveries. You can see these busy areas in the app – they’re marked in red or yellow.
  • Boosts: Sometimes, Uber Eats offers higher pay to deliver in certain areas or at certain times.
  • Quests: These are challenges where you can earn extra for completing a set number of deliveries in a certain time.

To make the most out of these, keep an eye on the app and plan when and where you’re going to drive.

Driving at the Best Times

Driving during busy times can mean more money. Usually, lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.) on weekdays, and all day on weekends are good times to drive.

But this can vary, so it’s worth trying different times to see what works best in your area.

Here is a user who just do it on weekends or rush hours and find it a great side gig:

Good earnings on weekends and rush hours

Picking the Right Deliveries

You get to choose which orders to accept. Some tips for picking the best ones:

  • Stay away from really long trips that take you far from busy areas.
  • Skip restaurants that usually make you wait a long time.
  • Look for orders that are nearby, have a short delivery distance, and might have good tips.

Keeping Track of Your Driving Costs

Remember to track your mileage and expenses as Uber Eats does not track mileage. This can help you with taxes, as you can deduct things like:

  • The miles you drive (In 2023, it’s $0.65 per mile).
  • Your gas, maintenance, and phone costs.
  • Any supplies you buy for deliveries, like bags or phone mounts.

You’ll need to keep good records of all this for your taxes.

Getting Referral Bonuses

Uber Eats will pay you a bonus for getting new drivers or customers to sign up. You can find your referral code in the app and share it with friends or on your social media.

Being Extra Friendly

Good service often leads to more tips and better ratings. So, be polite, dress neatly, and handle the food carefully. After you deliver, you can ask customers to rate and tip you in the app. Some drivers even mention giving a handwritten note often leads to better ratings and tips.

Trying Curbside Delivery

In 2023, Uber Eats added curbside delivery. Customers can come to your car to get their food, which can save you time. Just park safely, tap “I’m parked” in the app, and wait for the customer. It can help you save time and get more jobs during your shift.

Using these tips can help you make more money with Uber Eats.

Final Words On Uber Eats

In wrapping up the debate on whether Uber Eats is a good choice for you, it really comes down to what fits into your life and what you’re looking for in a side gig.

If you love the idea of being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and zipping around town bringing people their meals, then Uber Eats could be a great match. It’s pretty easy to get started, and you don’t need much more than your vehicle and some free time.

But let’s be real – it’s not all about cruising around and enjoying the scenery. There are some real considerations, like the wear and tear on your car, the gas money, and the fact that some days are just slow, leaving you with less in your pocket than you hoped.

Plus, the income isn’t always steady, which can be tricky if you’re relying on it to pay the bills.

Like other gigs out there, Uber Eats might not make you rich. But you can work around your main job, your studies, or family commitments. It’s perfect for squeezing in between the other important parts of your life.

I agree with this user who says don’t treat it like a job but as an option to earn extra dollars during peak earning hours and you will not be disappointed.

UberEats is not a job

It’s not about underestimating those who pursue it full-time, but for many of us, dedicating 60 to 70 hours a week and facing frequent slow periods isn’t sustainable.

Plus, over time, the repetitive nature of the job can impact many people’s health health.

It’s more practical to view this as an additional income stream and only consider it as a primary occupation in urgent situations.

More ways to make money:

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