Some background, I’m a mid-40s guy; during the pandemic, I was working from home. I signed up for Uber Eats around January 2021 as a way to get out of the apartment and get some extra money on weekends as restaurants were closed except for pick-up and delivery.
Quick tip: you can get cash back every time you fill up your gas tank by using the Upside app. It's free and pays out straight to your bank.
I’ve been doing Uber Eats walker for about a year now. These are some of the things I’ve learned.
If you’re thinking of starting, there’s a lot of information out there on places like Reddit and quite a few YouTube videos.
Know Your Area
Know where the major restaurants are and what the major streets are ideally.
If you’re walking, one thing that’s going to slow you down is intersections and construction. So know where the sidewalks are blocked and which intersections take a while to cross. Speaking of crossing the street, It’s good to know which side your destination is on. Generally, the even street numbers are on the north or west side, but not always.
Know where any Ghost Kitchens are in your area, as well as what restaurants are in mall food courts in your area. Uber Eats takes orders from food courts, drug stores and convenience stores too.
If you don’t know the term Ghost Kitchen, it means a restaurant making food under several names. This is done In order to show up in Uber Eats for more food types when people are looking for specific foods like burgers, pizza or ice cream.
Even if you’re not that old, stretch before you head out. Realise that you’re going to be walking probably several kilometres a day, and most of us (especially since the covid lockdowns) aren’t used to that. Plus you’re also carrying a few pounds of food in a bag, likely. So do a few legs stretches before heading out and maybe when you get back in.
You’re probably going to be sore the first couple of times you do a five-hour shift. Know your limits, no point in getting injured and having to take a day or two off because you’re too sore.
Hydrate in Summer and Try to Keep Warm in Winter
Know some places you can rest in. Most downtown areas have some malls you can cut into when you get a break between orders.
On Especially Hot Days, Consider Going out at Night
Generally, Toronto is pretty safe, and there are a lot less traffic and people strolling on the sidewalks, meaning you can move faster on your route. So yes, doing UberEats at night is a good option too.
Decide what your goal for the day is.
Try to have an idea of what you want to accomplish in a day. Maybe it’s $50 or eight trips. Because it takes time for you to start getting orders once you go online, you might waste a lot of time just waiting around for that first ping. Some days, there won’t be many orders, so decide when you want to take a break. Say, no orders for 45 minutes? Are you going to keep waiting (because you know as soon as you pack it in, you’ll start getting orders).
There will be slow days, and there will be days nobody is tipping much. There will be days when the weather is just terrible. Decide at what point you just to call it a day.
The Uber Eats App
It Does Glitch Occasionally
I’ve had one case where it wouldn’t let me validate the Covid-19 checklist, after speaking with support, their advice was
- Restart your phone or
- Reinstall the Uber Eats app
Fortunately just restarting the phone fixed it.
Usually, you can use it as a guide, but again if you know the area, you can save time by taking shortcuts. Again, do know the area, if there’s road construction (one of the two seasons in Toronto as they say) you can waste time trying to navigate sidewalks. You can cut through a park (not recommended with a car) or down a one-way street to save time.
Follow the Destinations It Tells You To Go
The app seems to gets confused if you have two deliveries and you go to the other one first. Just follow where it tells you to go.
Cancel Oversized Orders
If you get an order that is too big (like a large pizza that doesn’t fit into your bag), you can open the order, select “Report issue” and pick “oversized.”
You do lose the pay, but better than carrying a pizza box 15 minutes outside in the winter so that it arrives cold and the customer gives you a bad rating.
New July 2022: Uber has added a “coffee break” icon to the app. Basically if you want to take a break, you can press the coffee cup in the lower right corner. I’m not quite sure how it’s different from just going offline, but after about 10 minutes, you get a pop-up asking if you want to continue pausing or going offline.
Equipment for Ubering
Get Proper Footwear
That includes shoes with treads. invest in some. Your job is to deliver food orders accurately and safely. Walking on sidewalks in Toronto in winter you need something with a grip, last thing you want to do is either slip and drop the food (a bowl of Ramen soup can make quite a mess), slip and ended up bruised and taking time off, or well both.
Speaking of winter, running shoes aren’t bad as long as you have heavy socks and can keep the snow out of your shoes.
Dress for the Weather, and Know When Not To Go Out
Get some cheap gloves from Walmart. Your gloves just need to keep your hands warm and still let you pick up food. They’re going to end up smelling of, most likely deep-fried food. These are just work gloves, not fashion accessories.
Speaking of accessories, here are some food delivery accessories, you might want to pick up.
Get a Good Phone Case
You’re going to be walking on the pavement and taking your phone out all the time to check updates and directions. The last thing you want to do is drop it.
Save on gas & groceries: the Upside app gives you cash back when you fill up your tank, buy groceries, or eat out.
I splurged on an Otterbox case it’s not the cheapest case, I’d totally recommend it for the dozens of times it’s saved my phone in the last two years. The Otterbox gives good protection and are easy to grip, so it doesn’t feel like it could slide out of my hand. These cost around $50 but if think that your phone is probably worth around a grand or more, spending another $50 on a case to protect it doesn’t seem like that much of an expense.
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