Delivering with Uber Eats on Bike
September 07, 2020
During the many quarantine hours of 2020, I brainstormed some ways to stay active. I had recently bought a new bike, already clocking a couple hundred kilometres on it! I started to notice a bunch of other bikers delivering food which left me thinking “why can’t I do this too?”. I was living in Waterloo at the time which has a sizable student population and decent biking infrastructure.
The registration process was fairly painless, the same as any other job, finished in 2 days. I got my used road bike from Kijiji, a cooler backpack, and a combo bike lock from the dollar store just to prevent any opportunists while I picked up / dropped off food. Note that some sort of insulated bag is needed for deliveries and no they do not give you one for free.
As simple as deliveries sound, it definitely did not stop me from being extremely nervous and having a disastrous first order. I started by going to uptown where there are plenty of restaurants; I anxiously waited for 30 minutes. RING RING RING, I got my first order and the alarm at max volume terrifies me. I panic and get confused by the directions, I drop my phone, and my wheel pops and loses air. There’s no way I can complete this order now so I cancel.
I fix my bike the next day and this time I keep myself under control. It doesn’t take long to get used the process but there are still a few annoyances:
- Finding the right apartment complex in a herd of 8 buildings
- Requesting food to be delivered to their door but not providing a way into the apartment
- Delivering pizza
- Some places are named different from the actual physical restaurant
- Chicken Chicken is located in Pizza Pizza
- Cheese Cakes & Desserts is located in Aunty’s Kitchen
The pay is not so great, about minimum wage ($14/hr) after tips. Before tips, I averaged around $3.50 per delivery that were about 4 km away. When there is a surge in demand, the app tells you hot spots and will add an extra dollar or two to incentivize to you help out. I made about $60 in my first week, which is pretty cool because I feel like I’m being paid to exercise. My main takeaway from this is that drivers are entirely reliant on tips to get by. Fortunately most people I delivered to tipped.
To be fair, you’re not constantly delivering. For one hour of work, you might be only be actively delivering for half of that. That way you could be doing any downtime activity like reading that you’d normally be doing at home.
Note that I only did this for a maximum of 2 hours a day around 7 PM on weekdays. The experience may vary more outside of those days.
One of the biggest advantages of Uber Eats compared to other delivery apps from what I’ve read is that you can set your own hours. You just tap to go online or offline in the app.
Delivering during a pandemic has been quite stress free. Most deliveries are dropped off at the door and you don’t need to wait for the food as it’ll be ready at the restaurant when you arrive. They also send you some free masks which is pretty cool.
Am I still delivering?
Overall I think it’s a pretty good way to get paid to exercise and would recommend it to anyone. Unfortunately I moved to Toronto and my bike is broken so I’m not delivering at the moment. However I do plan on delivering again once that’s resolved!