Should you or shouldn't you?
Jan 31, 2024
It is one of the most common questions and one which lots of riders have strong views on so let’s dig into the detail.
But first of all, we need to work out what we mean by multi-apping.
Most riders (more than 80% by our estimates) have accounts on different platforms (Uber, Deliveroo, Just Eat and Stuart being the most popular). Given the risk of apps breaking (ahem, Just Eat), accounts being frozen or simply orders drying up, spreading your risk and signing up for all the platforms is a no-brainer.
So can you go online on multiple apps at the same time?
You are an independent contractor and you are entitled to ‘make yourself available’ (i.e. go online) on multiple apps at the same time. For many riders this is an important part of maximising your earnings.
The only way to make any money in this sector is to find the ‘good’ orders. The more orders you see the more likely you are to be able to sort the bangers from the turds.
That said, it isn’t without it’s downsides - running multiple apps will drain your phone battery and at busy times managing them can be a headache (for amateurs like me at any rate).
But can I accept multiple orders at the same time?
Yes (pretty much).
The answer to this used to be an unambiguous no and in the early days platforms did a lot to try to prevent it. But a lot has changed since then.
For example in October 2022 Uber Eats updated their terms to say:
There is no obligation of exclusivity in these Terms. …you are free to perform delivery services for such third parties... You may do this work, provide these services, or hold yourself out as available to do this work or provide these services, at the same time as you: (a) are using and/or are “online” in the Courier App; and/or (b) in the process of performing Delivery Services using the Courier App
Deliveroo are a bit less clear, simply stating:
Throughout the term of this Agreement you are free to work for any other party including competitors of Deliveroo.
Just Eat updated their terms in May 2023 to clarify that we:
Are free to work for other businesses, including our direct competitors.
So Uber explicitly allow multi-apping and both Just Eat and Deliveroo say we can work for competitors without mentioning any restrictions.
Are there any risks of doing so?
Although the platforms might technically allow multi-apping they sometimes suspend riders for taking too long on deliveries.
Interestingly I re-read the Uber terms and I couldn’t see anything about having to do deliveries within a certain time. I assume that if you pick up an uber eats order and then pop to the cinema on the way to the customer then Uber will at some point do something (although based on customer reviews this might actually happen sometimes). Has anyone ever been suspended by uber for slow deliveries?
Deliveroo require us to make deliveries within a reasonable time period while Just Eat expect us to provide the service in a timely… manner.
Neither of these companies specify what that means. We know that Deliveroo have an internal estimate of how long each order is expected to take and used to show this to riders but decided to stop doing that some time ago (even when I submitted a Data Subject Access Request). Effectively we are being held to a performance standard without being told what the standard is. If this ever ended up in court I think they might struggle to show what ‘reasonable’ meant.
Do you multi-app?
In general I don’t. I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve got lucky and had different requests going in the same direction at the same time - it feels good but it’s rare.
More often than not I find trying to accept multiple orders at the same time is stressful and doesn’t result in much higher earnings.
What do you think?