If you’re looking for a way to make money on the side without a lot of up-front expenses and a flexible schedule then being an Uber Eats Walker might be just what you’re looking for.
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.
Update April 2022: Uber Eats now discourages people from doing delivery by foot. We hope this is a temporary issue and will update this if UberEats releases an official statement if walking continues to be an option.
The Basics of Uber Eats Delivery
As a walker, you’ll get a base amount per delivery plus tips from customers.
We’re going to break this down into four sections: picking a location, knowing your location, tips for pick-up and delivery.
Becoming an Uber Eats walker can provide you with a flexible way to make a bit of extra money without a lot of upfront costs.
If you haven’t done delivery before, there’s a fair bit to learn, but after a few shifts your feel pretty comfortable doing it.
The first step is to download the Uber app and apply. Uner has a pretty good guide to getting started. There are some minimum requirements like being legally able to in the country and a background check. You’ll need to upload some documents like a picture of your driver’s licence, but you should be ready to go in a day or so.
As far as equipment, beyond some comfortable shoes (you’ll be doing a lot of walking on payment), you should get an insulated bad, some restaurants will actually not let you pick up without one. You can buy one from Uber or from a store, including several from Amazon.
Once you’re signed up and have a bag, you’re ready to get started. To sum up, your job is safely picking up orders from restaurants, delivering them to the customer in the shortest amount of time.
For each order, you will make a base fee, plus any surge pricing and tips. For more on how your total is calculated, see this article.
The Uber Eats App
The app is pretty straightforward, but there are some things to keep in mind.
- Always follow the order of stops. If it says to one restaurant for a pickup and then a second one, do it in that order, the app gets confused if you try to pick up from one place before the other out of sequence. Usually, this isn’t a problem as if you get multiple pickups and deliveries, the app will send you there in the most efficient route.
- The route the map shows is still not always the fastest. Originally the map was designed for drivers, but since spring 2021 it now takes walking and cycling into account. The map has got better for walkers, but still look at where you’re going before blindly following the path it sets out, usually if you’re on foot you can find a more direct route to your destination.
- The App is not perfect. You will have times when it freezes or does other odd things. The first thing to try is restarting your phone, which will fix problems most of the time. If not you might have to reinstall the app.
Picking an Area To Deliver In
Because you’re going to be walking, you want a place that has a fair number of restaurants that do delivery and have housing within a short walking distance. The ideal location would be near a main street or intersection with hopefully condos or apartments close by.
Know your location
You’re going to want to pick somewhere where you know your way around. That means the major streets, what restaurants are around, what kind of food they serve and what their hours are.
Tips For Restaurants
There are a few things to keep in mind with restaurants that will affect your earnings.
- Which ones are slow. Since you’re paid by the order (and tips), if you’re waiting for an order to be prepared, you’re losing money potentially. While some forums mention McDonald’s and some other fast-food chains as being slow, you’ll have to find out which ones based on your own experience. I’ve found cases where one chain location already has orders ready but in another, I’m always waiting.
- What they sell and any special requirements. Things like pizza or liquids (think soup or Pho, both can leak) need to be handled a bit more carefully.
- What the hours are. If you’re staking out a spot waiting for the orders to come in, no point picking places that are closed.
- What other names do they use? In order to get their name to show up for more searches in Uber Eats, more restaurants are operating under several names, like Joe’s Pub (which has always had fish and chips on the menu) might also be “Seaside Fish & Chips” in Uber Eats. It’s confusing the first time you see that, but just follow the GPS and hopefully, most of them have invested in some signage with their other aliases.
Also, along with the streets, you’ll have to learn what the entry procedures are. Many condominiums have some kind of security.
Condominiums have policies, so just show the order number to the front desk, most will just wave you through to the elevators, but others will ask you to meet the tenant in the lobby, or have a table set up for food deliveries.
Also, you might not know, but Uber Eats also does pick-ups from drug stores and convenience stores. This was a surprise to me the first time I got a pick-up order from Rexall (a Canadian drug-store chain) as well as 7-11s other places you won’t think would be on Uber.
Just treat a pick-up there like anywhere else, walk in and show your Uber order number to the cashier – usually they keep the order in a bag near the counter.
Making the Pick-up
When arriving to make the pick-up, a few things to keep in mind:
- If the order is not ready on arrival, mark it as “not ready” so the customer sees you’re waiting for it.
- You can/should cancel orders if too large for your carrying bag or taking too long.
- Some larger items, like large pizzas, can fit in bags if the bag is turned on the side where it expands, but don’t carry out of the bag as might get cold if have to walk a far distance.
- Make sure you have the entire order – some orders are two bags or more. I’ve had a restaurant call me back because part of the order wasn’t packed – fortunately, I was only a few blocks away from the resturant.
Completing the Delivery
During the pandemic, many buildings (including hospitals) want you to leave food in a dropoff area, usually beside the security desk.
Follow this as it will save you time. If a customer asks you to drop them off at the unit, tell them security has said to leave at the desk/pick-up location. Sometimes this depends on the day or even who is at the desk for that shift – just do what they say, will save you time and hassle.
Save on gas & groceries: the Upside app gives you cash back when you fill up your tank, buy groceries, or eat out.
- Follow instructions customers leave. Sometimes customers will ask you to do (or don’t) know when dropping off an order, try to follow their instructions whenever possible. However, during the pandemic, many buildings are asking that residents pick up deliveries in a delivery area, usually in the lobby. If building staff tell you to leave in one of these areas, just let the resident know, they’ll usually understand as these rules are posted in the building.
- Get a clear picture. When dropping off, Uber asks for a picture, try to make it obvious where the location is, like include the door number if possible in the photo.
- Leave a friendly/helpful message with the drop-off. Along with the photo something like “Hi, your order is at the front desk” or similar tells the customer where they can pick up, and hopefully leaves a good impression that might lead to a tip.
- Ask the customer for the PIN number as soon as the app tells you. Uber Eats sometimes asks for a PIN code, text the customer as soon as the app tells you to ask for it as sometimes the customer has to find it. It’s a 4-5 digit set of numbers.
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