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Food Delivery Advice from an Uber Eats Driver Who Made Bank

Sam Lyon pushed the incomes potential of the gig economic system to its limits.

The 26-year-old from Salem, Oregon, made hundreds of in a single month delivering meals for Uber Eats, an app for gig work that’s confirmed particularly standard through the pandemic. He challenged himself to make as a lot cash as doable in June. To do this, he drove 12 hours a day for 30 days straight.

By the top, Lyon made $eight,357 and documented his journey on the video-sharing web site TikTook, the place he goes by the moniker SabbiLyon. Each day, he recorded a brief video to log his progress — amassing greater than 200,000 followers and hundreds of thousands of views alongside the best way.

In an interview with The Penny Hoarder, Lyon broke down his earnings, what he realized and what different supply gig staff can take from his 30-day problem.

eight Pro Tips From Lyon’s Lucrative Month

Before we get began, let’s be clear: What Lyon earned is just not typical. Far from it. Many elements went into his paycheck however none greater than his sheer dedication. He drove 12 hours, the utmost Uber Eats permits, for 30 days with out a single time without work.

His particular problem might not be replicable (and even advisable) in each circumstance. But for those who’re a present or aspiring delivery-app driver, you’ll be able to apply Lyon’s recommendation to maximise your earnings.

1. Set Goals. Even Tiny Ones Help

The very premise of Lyon’s problem is a objective. It gave him one thing to give attention to and the motivation he wanted to make it by way of grueling 12-hour days.

“I think goal setting was huge for my success,” Lyon stated. “Setting markers in what you want to achieve are extremely important.”

After every week or so of driving, he was in a position to see how a lot cash was doable to make given his parameters. So he aimed for a selected goal: $eight,000 by the top of June.To attain that, he would attempt to make at the least 20 deliveries a day. He didn’t fear a lot in regards to the pay of every supply as a result of they ended up averaging about $10 an order.

“I knew I needed to do at least 20 trips to get around that $200-a-day mark,” he stated. “So that was always my goal. Anything after that was icing on the cake.”

Before you begin your gig, have knowledgeable or monetary objective in thoughts. That can hold you on monitor — and hold you from burning out.

Pro Tip

Keep your aspect hustle in examine. Here’s easy methods to create an exit plan to be able to enter the gig economic system, meet your targets and get out.

2. Take a Great Profile Pic

When you’re making your Uber Eats driver profile, don’t blast by way of it pondering you’ll be able to return and alter it later — particularly the picture step.

Your prospects don’t have a lot details about you as a driver. They get a primary identify, possibly a final preliminary, the make and mannequin of your automobile and a tiny, round image of your (hopefully) smiling face.

“Whether we like it or not, people dictate how much they tip and how they treat other people by how presentable they look,” Lyon stated. “Have a good, high-quality profile picture.”

The first image you select is the one you’re caught with. Uber coverage permits drivers to vary their image provided that one thing occurs that alters their look for the reason that unique picture. In that scenario, you’d must contact buyer help.

“Make sure you look approachable,” Lyon stated.


For his Uber Eats profile, Lyon used a selfie taken in his automobile — then realized he couldn’t change the image as soon as it was uploaded. Photo courtesy of Sam Lyon

three. Manage Expectations Based on Your Market

What you earn from Uber Eats is closely decided by your market — the town or metropolitan space you ship in.

Lyon drove primarily in Salem, Oregon. If you have been to do the identical problem in a distinct metropolis, you could make roughly than he did. An ideal instance of this performed out over TikTook. About midway by way of June, one other Uber Eats driver posed a problem to Lyon: Who may earn more money in a day?

“It started off as a beautiful day. The birds were chirping. The sun was shining,” Lyon stated in a video. “The perfect day for two gladiators to enter the arena.”

They each delivered meals for 12 straight hours. The distinction was that the opposite driver lived 45 miles north in Portland, Oregon. That turned out to be an important issue— the challenger made $323 to Lyon’s $268.

An even bigger metropolis doesn’t all the time equate to higher income although, Lyon famous. Heavy site visitors is likelier and will sluggish you down. You could must pay to park to make the supply.

“Depending on what city you’re in, there are a lot of moped Uber drivers, there are a lot of bike Uber drivers. You can’t really compete [in a car] in those urban, downtown areas,” he stated.

“Suburbs are just front porch and then you’re gone.”

four. Learn From the Trends in Your Area

Lyon is a giant proponent of the quantity-over-quality strategy to accepting orders.

“When you’re starting, accept every single order and then find your own trends in your own area,” he stated.

Once you get a way of these traits, you’ll be able to then experiment to attempt to maximize your pay.

“See what kind of restaurants you like and which ones you want to avoid, he said”

Some Uber Eats drivers move on smaller orders in hopes to land bigger ones. But that may backfire for inexperienced drivers. Lyon stated he put that technique to the take a look at and located, on common, he was making $10 an order regardless of how selective he was being.

In the time it could take him to land a giant order, he says he may have been delivering three smaller orders.

“Not only that — that’s three orders. That’s three different tips, too,” he stated.

Results could range in your market. The key’s to adapt to your locale.

5. Occupy Your Downtime

Downtime between orders journeys up many new supply drivers. You’re delivering meals all day, in spite of everything. You may be tempted to undergo the drive-thru for your self. But idle spending can eat into your earnings.

Lyon vowed to not fall into that temptation. He carried solely $20 in money, and that was strictly for gasoline. If he had downtime, he’d take heed to podcasts or observe Spanish — whereas positioning himself for his subsequent order.

“If I was delivering to a suburb, my downtime would be spent driving the extra mile or two to be parked next to a McDonalds, an Applebees, a Red Robin.”

And to chop down on prices, his personal meals was home made.

“I would go home and spend 30 minutes to an hour preparing food and eating before going back on the road,” he stated. “I did not have any fast food during that 30 days.”

6. Don’t Waste Time With Referral Bonuses

Referral bonuses are “definitely not worth the time,” based on Lyon.

Uber Eats offers drivers a referral code that they’ll share with different individuals to get them to start out delivering, too. Once the brand new driver completes a specific amount of deliveries, the recruiter earns cash. But the quantity fluctuates relying in the marketplace. Sometimes it’s $200 per 50 journeys. Other instances, it’s $10 per 50 journeys.

The app exhibits you potential earnings based mostly on the quantity you’ll have earned if all of the individuals you invited accomplished their first 50 journeys.

“In pending invites, I would make $1,320,” Lyon stated as he learn off of the stats in his driver profile. “In successful invites, I made $0.”

And that’s coming from somebody who had a whole lot of hundreds of followers on TikTook.

7. Indulge Odd Requests. They Could Lead to Big Tips

A man checks his phone in his car.
Lyon encourages indulging prospects’ odd requests, as it will probably result in a giant tip. Photo courtsey of Sam Lyon

Of the a whole lot of orders Lyon accomplished in June, he obtained some fairly bizarre requests from prospects. One individual requested if he may ship a pack of cigarettes together with the meals order. Lyon advised the man that he didn’t have the cash on him to purchase the cigarettes on his personal, pondering it could finish there.

“You can stop by here. I’ll put the money downstairs and you can come grab it,” the client responded.

Lyon went for it.

“You know what? Why not? I’ll do it. I picked up the money and got him the cigarettes. When I got back, he paid me the change as well. And I made a quick $20 [tip],” he stated.

Lyon entertained nearly each odd request he obtained. They often led to massive ideas.

“My days were long,” he stated. “I would do all that stuff to kind of break it up and have fun.”

eight. Track Your Expenses

When the paychecks from your aspect gig begin rolling in, it’s straightforward to suppose all that cash is revenue. However, fairly a little bit of it really goes towards bills and taxes. It’s one of many largest pains of being a 1099 employee.

“I would definitely keep in mind you will have to pay those taxes later. It’s not automatically coming out of what you earned,” Lyon stated. “Personally, I set aside 30% of what I make. That way, I have a little bit of wiggle room.”

And for those who’re retaining monitor of bills like gasoline and automobile depreciation, you’ll be able to issue that into the quantity you’re withholding for Uncle Sam. Lyon’s system was fairly easy. He had a hard and fast quantity for gasoline, $20 a day. That totalled $599. He had one oil change ($49), and in addition factored in his automobile’s depreciation ($500) based mostly on the miles he drove.

It breaks down like this: His complete earnings have been $eight,357. His bills account for $1,148, and he put aside an estimated 30% of the distinction for taxes, about $2,100. That introduced his precise income to roughly $5,100.

Setting apart 30% might sound steep, nevertheless it’s often an overestimate. Lyon, like most taxpayers, would quite have a refund come tax time than a hefty tax invoice.

Adam Hardy is a workers author at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economic system, entrepreneurship and distinctive methods to generate profits. Read his ​newest articles right here, or say hello on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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