I’m an experienced rider for Deliveroo and Uber Eats and this guide is designed to help people thinking of riding for them. I do bicycle deliveries in the UK, but much of this will apply to motorcycle riders and riders in other countries.
It’s not a job.
The first thing to understand is that riding for Deliveroo or Uber Eats is not a job. This surprises some people, but riders are self employed and therefore there are no guaranteed earnings, and realistically an upper limit on what you can earn. This has both positives and negatives, which I’ll outline in this article, and it’s important to understand these in order to decide if it’s right for you.
There’s no commitment.
The main implication of being self employed is that there is no commitment either way between you and and Deliveroo or Uber Eats. The companies have no obligation to provide you with work and you have no obligation to do work for them. The downside of this is that if there are few orders or too many riders you cannot make any money. The upside is that if you decide that you don’t want to work, for any reason at all, you don’t have to.
This means that, in my view, riding for Deliveroo or Uber Eats is ideal for people who don’t need a guaranteed income or need lots of flexibility. Students, people topping up their main income, and even retired people. On the other hand, if you have financial commitments, and don’t have a job, it may put you in a worse position than other options. Remember, it’s not a job and your guaranteed income is £0.
How much can you earn?
This will depend on where you work, but I’m going to go through the factors that will affect this and give you some typical examples, which should give you a reasonable idea. Deliveroo and Uber Eats operate different payment systems, so I’ll explain them separately. I’ll also explain why you should ride for both Deliveroo and Uber Eats if you can.
Note: If you want to compare these earnings to a normal salary you should multiply that salary by approximately 10%, to account for the 5.6 weeks paid holiday which you would be entitled to in employment.
Deliveroo: How much can I earn?
Deliveroo operates two payment rates. A ‘drop’ rate, which is a set amount per delivery, and an ‘hourly’ rate, which is a guaranteed amount for each hour (or part of an hour) for which you are online plus an amount per drop. These rates depend on the city in which you work, but the rates don’t vary that much by city and will be around £4 per drop (drop rate) or £6 per hour plus £1 per drop (hourly rate).
The second part of working out how much you can earn is how many deliveries you can do. Typically, there will be a slight surplus of riders compared to deliveries so you won’t get jobs continuously. When it is really busy and there are continuous jobs the typical number of deliveries you can do per hour will be between 2 and 3. 2.5 deliveries per hour is typical in my experience and this is actually the rate Deliveroo have used to compensate me when the app has been down.
So at a rate of 2.5 deliveries per hour your typical best hourly pay for the drop rate would be, 2.5 deliveries X £4 per drop = £10 per hour, and for the hourly rate, £6 per hour + 2.5 deliveries X £1 per drop = £8.50 per hour. In reality your drops per hour will go up and down depending on the delivery length and pickup duration. But as an example, for two weeks worked only at the busiest times I averaged 2.8 deliveries per hour, at my £4 drop rate that is £11.20 per hour. Conversely I have also worked in a city where even at the supposedly peak times there was often only one delivery per hour, I’m sure you can do the maths for that situation!
The basic rate of pay can also be supplemented by bonuses and tips. Sometimes Deliveroo will offer an extra amount per drop. Typically this is £0.5 to £1, but can be up to £2. Tips are infrequent, and will depend on where you live, but will typically add a few % onto your pay. Your drops per hour (and therefore your pay) can also be increased at busy times by double deliveries, where you will pick up two deliveries at once. The rate Deliveroo pays for these deliveries has dropped, so they now pay less than for two individual orders, but you will still spend less time picking up and it can work out better.
Further to hourly rates, the amount you earn in total will depend on how much work there is over the course of a whole week. This will very much depend on where you work, but typically there is good work for a couple of hours at lunchtimes and 5 to 6 hours in the evenings as well as lunchtime onwards at weekends. So if you are prepared to work in the evenings and weekends there is a good chance you will be able to make an amount of money equivalent to a full time wage.
Uber Eats: How much can I earn?
Much of the information on drop rates and availability of work is the same for Uber Eats as for Deliveroo. The main difference is the payment structure. Uber Eats operates only on a payment per drop basis and payments contain a mileage based component. An Uber Eats delivery payment is composed of a pickup fee, a mileage fee, and a dropoff fee. Like Deliveroo, Uber Eats fees vary depending on the city, but will be around £2 for pickup, £1.50 per mile, and £1 for dropoff. However, the main factor determining Uber Eats fees are ‘boosts’, which act as a multiplier. Boosts vary throughout the day, week and with pickup location. Boost multipliers can range from 0X to over 2X, greatly affecting the rate of pay. An example of identical trips with different boosts is shown below.
In addition to boosts, Uber Eats also offers other incentives such as minimum guaranteed hourly pay and one-off incentives. These are generally only used if there is particular demand for riders though. An example of a on-off payment is shown below.
As well as the differences in pay, depending on which city you work in, there are large differences in the availability of work with Uber Eats compared to Deliveroo. In general, as Uber Eats is smaller than Deliveroo, the demand for riders is much more variable. As I say, it will depend where you work, but to really maximise your earnings you should try to sign up for both Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
Maximise earnings by riding for Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
There really is no reason not to have an account with both Deliveroo and Uber Eats. As a self employed rider they both state that you can use your own equipment, providing it meets their standards. Therefore you can (and I do) use a deliveroo bag for Uber Eats orders. (Note: It’s not advisable to do this the other way round as Uber Eats bags are typically smaller than those required by Deliveroo.)
By using both services to get jobs you maximise the work available to you. If it’s quiet you can be online with both and reduce your (unpaid) downtime. If it’s busy you can go with whoever is paying more.
A note on booking shifts with Deliveroo
In most cities Deliveroo now operates a system of booking shifts. This means that the week is divided into shifts with a maximum number of riders who can work during them. These shifts are signed up for using the app, and whilst there is no actual commitment to ride a particular shift, riders who ride when they said they would and work the busiest shifts get priority in booking shifts for the next week. Having worked in areas with and without booking, my preference is for booking as it means there is less likely to be a lack of work due to too many people working.
Note: Hourly rate riders always work on a booking system.
What is riding for Deliveroo or Uber Eats like?
The first thing people usually ask is, “is it hard work?”. In my opinion it’s as much work as you make it. It is not necessary to ride fast (though it makes you a bit more money) as most deliveries are between 5-10 minutes cycling. The customer won’t notice a few minutes difference on a total time between order and delivery of 30-40 minutes. As a rider you don’t have much responsibility as everything should be dealt with through the official channels. Any problems during work are dealt with through the rider support phone line. Broken bike? Call rider support. Food fallen in the canal? Call rider support. Annoyed customer decided the food took too long and they don’t want it after all? Call rider support and tell the customer to call customer services. Basically, as a rider, your only responsibility is to transport the food and be courteous at either end.
So outside of transporting food around, riding for Deliveroo can be pretty much how you like it.
How do I get started?
The first step is to go to the application website for Deliveroo or Uber Eats. Use any of the links on this page and you could be eligible for up to £100 bonus, which is handy whilst you find your feet. If you are at all interested, I would strongly urge you to start the signup and give it a go. As I stated at the beginning, there is no commitment.
As a self employed courier you are expected to provide your own bicycle or motorbike, but I suspect you won’t have got this far if you don’t. Self employment also means that technically, though equipment is obtained from Deliveroo or Uber Eats (and looks like a uniform), the delivery box and any other equipment belongs to the rider.
After you sign up, the companies will guide you through the process of getting you on the road. You will need to complete online training regarding rider safety and food safety (among other things), but it is not difficult. Any problems during sign up can be sorted quickly and easily by phone or email.
You could be on the road in as little as a week after signing up if everything goes smoothly.
My tips for riding with Deliveroo or Uber Eats.
These are a few tips which I have picked up, which will help you if you decide to sign up.
- If the order isn’t ready when you go to pick it up make sure to ask for a specific waiting time. If they say ‘just a minute’ it’s probably 5. If they say a ‘few minutes’ it’s probably 10-15, and if they offer you a seat or a drink then who knows.. A 10-15 minute wait is costing you significant lost earnings, so get unassigned if you think it could be anything over 5 minutes.
- Before you set off with the delivery take your time to work out where you’re going and how to get there. If you can accurately remember your route and destination you can work more quickly than having to use a map.
- Take your time packing the food. Not minutes, but also not just shoving it in as it comes. This will make the food less likely to be damaged and customers won’t look at you funny when you’re struggling to get out all those bags you carelessly put in.
- Be prepared to work in the rain. This is the best time to make money if you can put up with getting wet. Fewer riders work and more people are ordering food which = orders for you!
If you have any questions, or are a rider who has any comments or would like to add anything, please comment below or get in touch using the contact us form.