I signed up for Uber Eats to get a free $200 cash bonus. There was a promotion, through Swagbucks, to get $200 free when you signed up as a new Uber Eats driver and made just 1 delivery. (That promotion is still going live. Find details in article on how to sign up.)
My family orders in Uber Eats all the time, and I’m a bit of a hustler, so I thought why not? It’s $200 to drive a few miles and drop off one bag of food; I can do that.
It sounded like an easier way to make extra money than some of my other sidelines. I sell my kids’ old clothes. I flip thrift store finds. I blog. And I belong to a dozen shopping apps, survey sites, and reward sites like InboxDollars, Upromise, Rakuten, and Ibotta. For my day job, I even work in content marketing for Swagbucks – the motherlode of cash back consumer rewards.
What It’s Like to Make an Uber Eats Delivery
If you want to know more about the logistics, step-by-step, to be an Uber Eats driver, scroll down. Otherwise here’s the Uber Eats driver experience.
It’s less embarrassing than it sounds.
It sounds snotty because it is snotty: I was embarrassed to be a delivery driver with Uber. It sounded like a down-on-your-luck sort of gig that other people did. More specifically, a gig that I paid other people to do for me. What if someone I knew saw me and thought I was in dire straits?
I preferred boujee gigs I could do at home from my phone, like re-selling Stuart Weitzman shoes on Poshmark or taking surveys about cruise packages or favorite juice flavors.
But here’s the deal. I pick up food orders for myself all of the time, so why not drop one off for someone else? There are millions of gig economy hustlers. Odds are slim I’ll run into someone I know, and if I do, who cares? I wore my regular street clothes anyway. I didn’t wear a special UberEats shirt or carry an Uber Eats delivery bag.
Making $200 for the delivery of 1 bag of food is a much better payoff than selling designer heels for a $30 markup. And besides, you can be a food delivery driver in a dirty, old car. Your vehicle doesn’t have to be new or clean. It just has to do the job. Like my dirty, old Forester covered in cracker crumbs and melted crayon wax.
It’s easier than it sounds.
For some reason, I was intimidated at the idea. What if I did something wrong? I just pick up someone’s food at a restaurant and then bring it to their door? No training? No check-in? How do they know I’m not just stealing someone’s order?
I can assure you that no one bats an eye.
I picked up and delivered one order for a Chad N. from Noodles & Co. There were other people inside the restaurant picking up orders too, and I had no clue who the food delivery drivers were vs regular customers getting their own food.
It was eye-opening and humbling to find out what it was like to be on the other end of an Uber Eats delivery.
Firstly, I had no idea how much Chad N. was tipping me. It said I was to pick up his bowl of pasta at Noodles & Co, and then drop it off at an address down the road. It showed my potential earning potential of $4 with tip included. Did that mean Chad N. was tipping me $4 or a nickel? I had no idea what percent he was offering me. (I suspect this is to dissuade you from spitting in the food of cheapskates.)
Then, Google Maps brought me to a residential home on a frontage road when in fact the correct address for my Chad N. was at the local news station Kare 11.
I brought my order to the backdoor off of the parking lot. An employee said he would fetch Chad N. for me while I waited outside. I won’t say that employee was surly. But I did feel that our dialogue was not the exchange of equals. I was addressed the way you might talk to a clueless service person who wants to show up and wander around a private building.
Because of icy roads, poor GPS navigation, and having to hunt for Chad N., the whole experience of delivering one bowl of pasta took 44 minutes.
It’s Worth it to Get the Free $200.
The experience of making one UberEats delivery is worth it to get the free $200. And I kind of think that anyone who orders in Uber Eats, Shipt, Instacart, or any other gig economy delivery service, should try it.
If I were to make another Uber Eats delivery, I would change things up. I would take a more lucrative delivery (i.e. deliver dinner for 4) and deliver weekday evenings vs weekdays around noon when it’s just commuters who want a sandwich and bowl of soup at their desk.
Also, I might look up the address from my laptop before heading out the door. Until you physically collect the bag of food, you only know the intersection. But it’s worth taking the time to see what that intersection looks like. Is it off of a frontage road? What are the landmarks? This would save time and prevent u-turn loops.
How to Work for Uber Eats and Get a Free $200 Bonus
Here are the mechanics of what you need to do to sign up for Uber Eats as a driver and get the free $200.
#1 | Sign Up for Uber Eats from Swagbucks
This part was pretty straightforward. You need to sign up, from Swagbucks, to work for Uber Eats.
- I signed up for Uber Eats from Swagbucks.com so I could get the bonus.
- Create a free Swagbucks account if you don’t have one – that takes fewer than 30 seconds.
- Then visit the Uber Eats driver offer. Just search “UberEats” in the Search bar.
- Select Get 20000 SB and it will take you to the UberEats signup page. Your visit from Swagbucks is automatically tracked. Your visit will get credited to your Swagbucks account so you can get the signup bonus.
20,000 SB is equal to $200. SB is the currency that you earn on Swagbucks. 100 SB is $1. You can cash out your SB for PayPal, a check in the mail, or gift cards to Amazon, Target, or other popular stores.
Search UberEats in the search bar.
Select Partner with Uber Eats. Then select “Get 20000 SB”.
#2 | Answer the Screening Questions to be an Uber Eats Driver
Then I went through the signup questions on Uber Eats to be a driver. The fine print on Uber Eats said it could take up to 7 days to pass a background check, but I was approved in under an hour.
- I provided my name, birthdate, address, and social security number. I also had to fill out a W-9, a tax form associated with contractor employees. It was pretty easy. The sections I needed to fill in were highlighted, and I was able to type in my name in the signature field. You’ll also need to provide payment information (i.e. routing number and bank account) so Uber Eats can deposit your earnings.
- Submit a photo of your driver’s license. (Just take a pic with your phone.)
- Then I had to provide proof of my driver’s insurance.
This is is the first signup page on Uber Eats. The straightforward questions are short and sweet and it’s a quick process.
I think that third step is where a lot of people may get stuck. Maybe you don’t know where your auto insurance card is. Calling the insurance company sounds like a pain. So does logging in – especially if you don’t remember your password. Even if you’ve forgotten your site password, it takes fewer than 5 minutes to reset it and then request a digital copy of your insurance card.
Admittedly, I had to ask (nag) my husband for a copy of my Geico card. He produced an expired card 2 days later, and I had to reach out to Geico online. So a good tip is to make sure you have your valid driver’s license and current car insurance card handy when you start the signup process.
#3 | Download the Uber Eats App on Your Smartphone
Download the “Uber – Driver: Drive & Deliver” app to your phone and login. You’ll need to provide the password that you used to set up your account online.
Also, each time you log in you’ll need to snap a photo of yourself to verify your identity.
#4 | Set Your Status to GO
You’ll be offline (and not available for deliveries) when you log into the Uber Eats food delivery app. If you want to pick up deliveries, set your status to GO. Just tap the blue GO button.
#5 | Make a Food Delivery
Now you can sit back and wait for delivery requests to come through. You can tap on a potential delivery to accept it.
Here’s a sampling of what you’ll see when you’re shown delivery requests you can accept or decline. (I did not make this particular delivery.)
Uber Eats Delivery Information You’re Shown Upfront
- Your potential earnings (including tip) for making the delivery.
- How far (miles) you’ll need to drive to pick up the order from the restaurant and then bring it to the eater’s address.
- Name and address of the restaurant.
- Intersection where the eater lives.
You won’t know whether or not it’s an apartment building or single family home, or even a business or a residence. After you accept the order, you’ll be shown the orderer’s name. Then drive to the restaurant and pick up the order. There’s likely a special place where delivery app orders are placed.
After You Get the Food Order from the Restaurant
- The UberEats app will show you the orderer’s full address.
- You’ll see any special request notes from the orderer, like “Call my cell when you get here.”
- Drive to the address and drop off the food.
- Log into the app and tap the popup to say that the delivery is complete.
That’s it. Depending on weather, traffic, and distance, it could take you anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to make a delivery.
You can only pick up 1 food delivery at a time, though. Let’s say 3 different orders come in – all on the same block and for the same restaurant. Uber Eats will let you select 1 order to deliver. Probably a good idea for the customer experience so that people aren’t winding up with soggy food.
I myself picked up the first, local order that came my way. It was an order for a Chad N. from Noodles & Company – only a few miles away. It said my earning potential was $4, but for a short delivery and a large $200 bonus for making just one drop-off, I took it.
#6 Get Your $200 Bonus from Swagbucks
You have to wait 7-10 days after making your first delivery to get the $200 reward from Swagbucks.
- Within a couple of days, you’ll see the Uber Eats signup and delivery recorded in your account activity. Go to your account settings and select “Activity”. You’ll see a list of all the activities you’ve completed on Swagbucks.
- Select “Visited”. This will show you the activities you’ve visited or clicked on, but where any reward is still pending credit.
- After about 5 days, you’ll see “Uber Eats Driver Delivery Person” listed at the top of your Activity. It will be listed as a Pending Activity. There will be a line entry noting the date when you made your first delivery.
I made my first delivery around noon on December 31st. I was credited the $200 on January 7th. And I cashed those funds the same day. I selected a Target gift card for my rewards, and have spent those funds on new sheets, a velvet comforter, and an expansion set of Magna Tiles for my kids.
I made $6 total from Uber Eats. I didn’t try to cash out my earnings that same day. But apparently you can cash out up to 5 times a day if you have a balance of at least $1. I got my earnings automatically deposited after about 7 days.
Final Thoughts on Driving for Uber Eats
If it’s a local order, it’s definitely worth making one UberEats delivery to get the $200 bonus from Swagbucks. Getting paid $200 for an hour of my time, in total, is like making $416,000 a year.
But I only made one delivery. I have a very small picture of what it’s like delivering with Uber Eats.
And I don’t know what it’s like to rely on Uber Eats as a more regular source of income. You’d have to log into the UberEats app several times a day and pick up a lot more delivery requests to make any serious money at it.
I definitely didn’t dislike the experience, but I think I’ll stick being an Uber Eats eater, not driver. Unless, of course, they offer me another sweet promo for making my second Uber Eats delivery.