I’ve been a fan of the sharing economy for a while now. Though I’ve participated, by staying at an Airbnb, and taking rides with Uber, I’ve never been able to participate on the other side – that is, the moneymaking side. I live in a small apartment with no extra space to rent, and I don’t own a car. Essentially I have few assets that can be easily shared. Until recently that is.
In Toronto and a handful of other cities, Uber operates a service called UberEATS, an app which lets you order food from a wealth of local restaurants and have it delivered straight to your door by Uber’s driver partners.
Previously only open to drivers for delivering the food, four months ago Uber began recruiting cyclists as delivery partners. This happened to align well with my moving downtown about a month ago, and I was thrilled when I found out I could finally capitalize on the opportunities offered by the sharing economy.
The Registration Process
Uber’s registration process is about as easy and convenient as it is to use the app. As a cyclist, I did not have to provide insurance, and there were no vehicle inspections – I didn’t even need to prove I had a bike.
First, I created an account on the Uber Partner site, and selected “biking” as the service I wanted to provide. Then I took a photo of a couple pieces of my ID and submitted. The next day, I had to go to the Uber Toronto office (which is conveniently a 10-minute walk from my apartment) and verify my identity in person. Then they collected more of my information to conduct a background check. Three business days later, I received confirmation that I had been admitted as a delivery partner, and returned to the office once more to collect an UberEATS delivery bag, which a $25 refundable deposit was deducted from my account to cover. That was earlier today.
After that, I got home, changed, logged in to the Uber Partner app, strapped on my delivery bag, and was ready to go!
The First Trip
Feeling a bit nervous and having no idea how long it would take to get my first trip offer, I went “online” on the app. I started scrolling through Instagram, and not even a minute later – BUZZ! I had my first delivery opportunity!
The app integrates really nicely with Google Maps, such that I was able to quickly launch turn-by-turn navigation to the restaurant, which was just around the corner from me. With Google Maps instructing me through my headphones, I quickly found the place, parked my bike and went inside with my bag. The bag was very useful for identifying myself to the restaurant staff, and they handed me a bag with some good-looking takeout in it. Using the app, I quickly verified that I had the right order and all of the contents, and then tapped a button to confirm I had picked up the food.
Next, the app told me where I had to deliver the food. I loaded it carefully in my bag, and was off to Sherbourne and Dundas with Google feeding me instructions all along the way. Ten minutes later, I arrived at the building and used the Uber Partner app to call the customer, who told me what number to buzz her at and what apartment to go to. I greeted her with a smile, handed over her dinner, and tapped one last button in the app to confirm the food was delivered.
About a minute later, I was able to see my completed trip in the app, as well as my payout – $7.20! Wahoo! It wasn’t a lot of money, but considering I love biking and regularly do it without getting paid, the reward felt pretty good.
I did one more trip this evening that saw me head out on a nice ride to Bloor and Ossington, and made another $8 in the process. A successful first night I’d say! Altogether I made about $15 and biked about 17km over an hour and a half.
Will I Keep Doing it?
Absolutely! Biking is my absolute favourite thing in the whole world. I love biking through the countryside, in cities, through new neighbourhoods, along the water, with people or just by myself. I bike for fun, for exercise, for adventure, and even just to kill time. Biking is an investment in my health, my experiences, and my knowledge of my city, and every new route I take connects me to it in new ways. If I can get all these benefits and get paid, there’s really nothing better.
Of course, the income I’ll make from UberEATS won’t be substantial. I still make much more money at my full-time job, so this is just icing on the cake. I’m actually planning to put the money to good use – investing in more gear for my bike! I’m going to get a couple packs to strap on the back so next summer I can go on some long-distance biking/camping treks.
Has my post inspired you to take the plunge into the sharing economy? If so, use my invite code when you register with Uber and we’ll both get free credits! It’s GA48RQCTUE.
Disclaimer: the views and experiences shared in this blog are solely my own.