It’s probably fair to say that 2020 was a difficult year for many industries. Despite the new challenges the pandemic presented the world, food delivery and courier work flourished as people stayed at home—research by Statista has the food delivery and takeaway market up up 23% compared to this time last year.
More people than ever are considering taking up food delivery, whether as a full-time job or to complement other employment they have. It’s ideal for anybody looking for flexible work, but if you’re thinking of signing up you may be wondering—how much can I earn as a food delivery driver? This article will cover everything you need to know for the UK’s largest food delivery businesses, including Deliveroo, JustEat and UberEats.
How Much Can You Earn As A Food Delivery Driver?
According to our research of the UK market, a food delivery driver is likely to earn between £7-£13 per hour, depending on their local area, when they work and the food delivery app they use. In this article we’ll deep dive into earnings potential for all three apps and see which is truly the best for drivers.
When thinking about how much you can earn as a delivery driver, also keep in mind additional expenses you’ll incur when working as a delivery driver like paying for delivery driver insurance.
As always, also consider the number of drivers online at any given time. Picking and choosing your spots can help push your hourly income upwards (especially on busy Friday/Saturday nights), and will inevitably increase you Deliveroo pay, UberEats pay or JustEat pay.
Average Earnings As A Food Delivery Driver
Research by PayScale has the average UK delivery driver earning £8.94 per hour, just a shade over the UK’s National Minimum Wage of £8.72 per hour (as of April 2020).
If you’re looking to optimize your earnings, we’ve put together a guide to help you earn more as a delivery driver. Without a doubt, the best way of all is to make sure you’re not sat around doing nothing—most businesses (whether an app or a single takeaway) will pay you a base hourly rate and a “per drop” rate, so the more deliveries you make the more you’ll earn.
The UK Delivery App Market
As of 2019, JustEat was far and away the largest player in the UK app takeaway market—80% of Brits who regularly ordered takeaways had used JustEat, compared to just 24% on UberEats and 23% on Deliveroo (per GlobalWebIndex. While these numbers may seem stark, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Deliveroo’s UK revenue growth from the year prior in 2019 was an impressive 72% (compared to a relatively tame 25% from the much larger JustEat), which suggests we aren’t a million miles away from seeing genuine competition, and with both Deliveroo and UberEats now partnering with various UK supermarkets and convenience stores the variety of things you can have delivered to your door within an hour by either continues to grow.
Simply put, all three can be a viable option for a driver if the app is available in their local area and the demand is there. Let’s take a look at each app’s benefits and disadvantages.
How Much Does Deliveroo Pay?
Our research indicates it’s realistic to expect between £7-12 per hour driving for Deliveroo, although the company doesn’t publicly advertise the amounts they pay their drivers. You’re more likely to hit the higher end of the bracket during their busiest periods, such as bank holidays, weekends and special occasions (such as Valentine’s Day or New Years Eve).
Deliveroo pays you per drop—typically between £3-£4.50 per drop. If you’re able to pick up more than one order from a single restaurant then this multiplies, making these journeys the most lucrative Deliveroo offers.
Deliveroo does have some good incentives, offering bonuses per drop for operating in busy regions or during some of the hectic periods mentioned above that can help increase your earnings, but these aren’t guaranteed and competition for shifts in these areas is fierce.
Here’s some positive comments from drivers on Indeed regarding pay:
“Can easily make £100 a day in Central London”
“I made about £11 an hour… really good thing to do on the side…”
However, as Deliveroo has grown, competition for drops has increased (a common theme for all the providers) as more and more drivers and riders have joined the company. You may find yourself, especially during slower periods, making 1-2 drops per hour (if that, according to some comments).
“After insurance/fuel average is [around] £2 a delivery”
“pay was very low, about £6.50 per hour, when the basic [rate] was £7.00 per hour”
How Much Does JustEat Pay?
JustEat drivers can earn at least the minimum or living wage rates (£8.72 for age 25 and over), plus additional benefits. In an unprecedented move, JustEat recently announced it will be guaranteeing minimum or living wage to all UK couriers, as well as holiday/sick pay and parental leave/pay. This means if you work as a courier for JustEat you will earn (at minimum) the National Minimum/Living Wage for your age bracket and location, irrespective of whether you’re a full-time, part-time or zero hour courier.
While the direct impact on your earnings as a JustEat driver is unclear until the scheme goes live, one thing seems to be clear—drivers will, on average, earn more. Also, they say on their site that drivers can earn up to £10.20 per hour (regardless of how many deliveries you make).
It isn’t clear what JustEat’s incentive model will look like moving forward (or if they’ll even have one), but the story prior to the change was similar to that of Deliveroo’s drivers, with some having an excellent experience while working and earning and some less so.
Here’s a few things JustEat drivers said positively about their experience on Indeed:
“so simple… I usually get around £15-£20 an hour”
”good money if you put the time in… loads better than Deliveroo”
We expect it’s unusual to earn £15-£20 per hour, however, especially now. And as delivery driving became more popular, it seems like drivers were earning less than they had in, say, 2017/18—this might become somewhat redundant once they move to a guaranteed minimum wage, but is still worth noting as the scheme is rolled out in the UK through 2021 (starting in London):
“of the promised £120 per day… actually an average of £60 (if you’re lucky)”
“they advertise you can earn £120 a day… lucky to make that in 3”
How Much Does UberEats Pay?
Our research indicates UberEats drivers earn between £7-£14 per hour in the UK, making it one of the more competitive delivery apps out there.
Compared to working out what you might earn with Deliveroo or the old JustEat payment terms, estimating your earnings with UberEats is exceptionally easy—they provide a pay matrix online. You’re guaranteed your minimum fee even after Uber’s service charge, so if the 20%-30% takes you below that Uber will top you up. It’s also worth noting that UberEats is the only provider out of the three to take a cut of its drivers fees.
Note, these rates have come down starting in February 2022 to reflect the High Court ruling that changes how Uber pays. For example, the guaranteed minimum for London and Manchester used to be £3.50—it’s now down 20% to £2.80. For the rest of the UK, the minimum has dropped 25% from £4 to £3. They say: “Your take home rates (base, per mile and per minute) will stay the same, but you will notice that the rates on your earning statements will appear lower than today by 25% . This is because the rates drivers receive under the new model don’t include the Service fee that Uber charges today.” So, while it looks like the pay is lower, in fact it is not, because Uber used to take a service fee off of the higher rates; now they just pay a lower rate but don’t take a service fee.
Uber, like Deliveroo, has incentives for drivers operating during busier times or in specific areas. It’s called Boost and acts a multiplier for your earnings if you’re in a “Boost Zone”, which can be seen through your UberEats driver app. Uber also has a driver-friendly “instant cashout”, allowing drivers to receive their pay for their completed work within minutes of request.
There are plenty of positive comments out there about drivers earnings with UberEats—here’s a few we found online:
“easily earn over £500 per week [working] 40 hours”
“it can be very profitable during peak hours”
Be careful of quiet periods, however—the way UberEats pays you means you could end up earning well below minimum wage for a shift.
“Dead periods lasting months, when you earn way below minimum wage”
“5 hours free… you will make MAYBE £30”
Be Careful Of Hidden Costs
If you’re going to be using your vehicle to deliver anything, it’s important to consider the costs you’re taking on to earn money. You’ll have to pay for your own fuel and sign up for a potentially expensive Courier Insurance policy—and that isn’t even considering the extra mileage and increased risk of an accident you’ll be taking on.
Insurance, especially, is something that drivers can often forget to think about when signing up as a courier. If you’re going to be working full-time, a monthly Courier Car Insurance policy can set you back over £200 a month—which may be a tough pill to swallow during quieter periods.
Mileage and wear and tear is important to factor in too: considering the average UK road user averaged just over 20 miles per day in 2019 (and some delivery drivers reported driving north of 100 miles per day) you’ll need to consider the impact on your vehicle’s value if and when you decide to sell or trade it in.
Deliveroo vs JustEat vs UberEats Pay Comparison: The Final Verdict
As of writing, JustEat’s incoming model, guaranteeing (at least) National Minimum Wage to its couriers seems to be the safest bet for drivers. However, depending on how their incentives/per drop pay ends up looking, you may find higher upside working for Deliveroo or UberEats.
Of these two, our research indicated drivers generally earned more with UberEats, although this was not anywhere near consistent, and some drivers certainly earned more through Deliveroo.
Your best bet will be to try as many different delivery/courier apps as possible and find which works best for you in your area. There’s nothing stopping you from being signed up to all three (although you aren’t allowed to be logged in to multiple at the same time) so try them all out and see which works best—many drivers end up discovering that using a combination of the three, depending on which is busier/quieter, tends to work best.
Our guides to signing up and getting properly insured with all three providers could be a good starting point, whether you’ve decided which one you’d like to work for or are still considering your options:
How to become a Deliveroo driver
Head to the Deliveroo website to begin the sign-up process. You’ll need a scooter, bike or car (with correct licensing/equipment), a Smartphone (iOS 12/Android 6 or above), proof of your right to work in the UK and to be over the age of 18.
After that, check out our guide to insurance for Deliveroo drivers to make sure you’re properly insured.
How to become an UberEats driver
Head over to Uber’s “deliver” website to begin the process of becoming an UberEats driver. You’ll need to have proof of your vehicle of choice (bike, motorbike, car, etc.), have your UberEats Insurance sorted beforehand and be able to submit your documents, before finally passing Uber’s background check.
Finding the right insurance
Courier Insurance can be an extremely complicated business—our partners at QuoteZone aim to take the hassle of things out of the equation. Fill out a quote form and they’ll connect you with a number of insurance businesses that are happy to cover your work as a courier.
For more information please see the list of Which food delivery is best to work for