You might assume that Uber Eats and other independent contract delivery platforms can deliver anywhere at any time. However, that’s not entirely true, and military bases are one of those gray areas.
There’s isn’t a cut and dry, yes or no answer here because there are so many variables to consider. What is the current threat level on the military base? Is the base under some sort of military exercise? What are the local conditions?
Military bases are federal installations and whatever is going on at any given military base at any given time, isn’t always something that the local community knows anything about. The military base isn’t required to notify local officials of anything that’s going on at the time unless it directly affects everyone.
In other words, what may be fine one day, won’t be fine the next and so forth and so on.
As you’d expect, the information here will also apply for delivering to military bases for other food delivery services like GrubHub, and Doordash.
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Tips to Consider When Delivering on a Military Installation
The vast majority of military bases around the country have security checkpoints at all ingress and egress points on the installation.
If you’ve delivered to gated communities before, you probably know a bit of what to expect. You’re not going to drive onto a military base without encountering armed security.
You may think of them as security guards but they are MPs (Military Police) or SPs (Shore Patrol for Navy Personnel, but it amounts to the same thing). Most likely, they will be carrying holstered, military-issued 9mm handguns.
In many cases, they will be armed with M16A4s or the current weapons that are issued to military personnel on gate duty. It will look intimidating, especially if you’re just there to deliver steamed shrimp, some scallops, and fried fish.
Tip 1: Get To Know the People Guarding the Front Gate
Get to know the men and women that guard the gates. Be polite, friendly, and open with them. Get to know them on a name basis, which isn’t hard because their last name will be plastered on the front of their cammie blouse.
Remember, just because they are armed to the teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t human. They wake up every morning and put their pants on just like you do. So there’s no reason to be unnerved by their hardware. Besides, acting nervous is a good way to get your entire vehicle searched and you as well.
Tip 2: Unless You’re Military, You Can’t Just Walk Onto a Military Base.
You don’t have a right to enter a military base/installation. So if you’re considering your rights in terms of search and seizure and things to that effect, much of that goes out the window when you cross over into federal territory.
Don’t flip out if they tell you to step out of the vehicle. Just do so, hands where they can see them and let them do their job. The base may be on alert or any number of things that you have no idea about.
Tip 3: Talk to Your Customer if Run Into Problems Getting On-base.
Talk to the customer and let them know that you don’t have access to the base on your own and see if they are fine to meet you at the base entrance, rather than you having to try and get through security.
Those who are new on base may not have any idea that Uber Eats delivery drivers can’t just waltz onto base whenever they want to. They may order food without a clue as to how easy it is or isn’t to get onto the base, or whether their driver will have access.
So it’s important to contact the customer and work things out through them. If you do not have base access, let them know that you don’t and they will either have to meet you at the gate or come up with an alternate plan so that you can successfully deliver.
Tip 4: If You Deliver Near a Base, Eventually You’ll Get an Order To Deliver There.
Contact the base. You can usually do this by getting the direct phone number for the visitor’s center or the guardhouse at the gate. Explain to them that you have an order and find out what the established parameters are for civilian access to the base, especially if the order is at night, after regular work hours.
It’s also a good idea to contact the base if you decide to become a delivery driver for Uber Eats, especially if you live close to the base, as you are bound to get an order from there eventually, and knowing the requirements ahead of time is always a plus.
Oftentimes, a base will allow delivery drivers access to on-base housing, which is the residential area within the boundaries of a military installation. Military barracks are a possibility as well, in terms of where you are and where you aren’t allowed to go.
Dealing with On-Base, Military Customers
Customers who live on base get up every day and leave or enter the base with their military decals and military ID. They tend to forget that it’s so easy for them but not necessarily everyone else.
You may find that some military customers don’t tip well or are irritated by the slow delivery service. Don’t let it bother you but simply explain how difficult it is for you to access the base. If they leave you a poor review, you can respond directly to the review in the Uber Eats app and clear the air.
Remember, be respectful and carefully lay out the difficulties of a civilian getting on base. Outside of that, there is nothing more you can do other than no longer accepting orders that come from on-base. However, you’ll often find that if you follow the above tips, things will improve over time.
Delivering with Uber Eats (as well as DoorDash, Grubhub and other apps) onto any military installation is never a cut and dry process. Every base is different, in subtle ways if not large ones. Some bases are highly restrictive, and customers will simply have to meet you in an authorized area or off base.
Some military bases are more open and the above-listed tips can give you a distinct advantage over competing Uber Eats drivers, especially if you live close to the base and deliveries there are frequent