How I turned R350 into R6 000 worth of UberEATS credits

by Luke Preston | 5/06/2017

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I love free food, and I love side projects. So when I stumbled across Josh Berg's post on HackerNoon about how he accumulated $1000 in UberEATS credits, I was intrigued if I could do something similar in a South African setting myself.

The premise is simple; encourage enough people to use your unique UberEATS referral code, and you'll earn yourself some free food in the process.

Let's back it up for a few minutes, though.

If you didn't know, UberEATS is part of the ride-hailing service Uber (wow, that was a hard parallel to draw), allowing you to order food within your vacinity off their (very slick) app and have it delivered to your door. Like many others, they have a referral system to, to encourage new users to sign up. As a current user you can share your unique referral code with first time users, and if they sign up they get R100 off their first UberEATS order. Nice! [Edit: Uber has since changed this to R50 off your first two orders]. It's win-win too because as the person sharing the code, you also get a R50 vouchers/credits. Get enough of these credits and you could enjoy free food for a while, right?

So how to get lots people to sign up and in turn get more vouchers for yourself? Well, it's pretty simple and below I'll show you all the steps I took - turning R350 into R6 000 worth of UberEATS vouchers.

Step 1

Buy a domain, monthly hosting and setup a simple website

Buying a domain and organising hosting is very easy, and if you haven't done it before, don't stress, it isn't hard at all. Personally, I use Texo Webhosting for all my websites and domains. Seriously, these guys constantly blow me away with their customer service and speed. Use them, you won't regret it.

Within a matter of minutes, I bought for R89 and a simple monthly hosting package for R65. 

Total spent so far - R154.

Next up. Create a simple website where you can proudly display your unique referral code. 

I'm a huge fan of Mobirise and I've used it many times before to create simple, yet stunning websites for side projects I've started in the past. I can't overstate how easy it is to use - you can work offline, it's drag and drop based with lots of customisation and voila you can literally have a slick website built in minutes. Yes minutes, I promise! Of course, Wordpress is also easy but personally knowing both intimately, I can promise you that Mobirise is just so much easier and simpler, especially for this type of project.

The only slightly confusing bit is that in order to get your site up and running you'll need to be familiar with and have access to your domain's cPanel in order to upload all the files from Mobirise. If you're not familiar with this, perhaps ask a developer to do it for you. If you go with Texo for hosting though, I'm pretty sure if you ask nicely they would do it for you - they're that keen to help.

Step 2

Attract people to your website

Now that you have your website up and running, it's time to tell people about it, right? You want as many people to use your referral code as possible so you can cash in on that free food, yes? 

You could start off by telling all your friends, family and colleagues about your genius free-food idea, and that's great. However, you're going to run out of people pretty quickly. How to get the word out then? Easy - Google Adwords.

Setting yourself up on Google Adwords is very easy, and again, in minutes I had an ad campaign up and running to display in Google's search engine results pages.

Before that though I took a few minutes to do a little research about what the fine, hungry people of South Africa are searching for in Google when it comes to UberEATS. 

Enter Google Keyword Planner

A few minutes later I had a small list of low competition keywords I could target in my Adwords campaign. Low competition is key here - it means you spend less money when your ads are shown. 

With my keywords in place in my ad, making sure I was targeting the right Google users, and without wanting to spend a lot of money (that would defeat the whole purpose of this project - free food) I set my campaign to run for the month of March only and with a maximum spend of R200 or roughly R6.50 per day.

Total spent so far - R354.

So did it work?

It did! In total, for March, 120 people used my referral code - or 120 new people signed up for UberEATS - translating into R6 000 worth of vouchers for me.

The website itself attracted 1 373 users with a total of 1 755 pageviews. Yep, average session duration is super low and bounce rate is super high, but I expected that due to the nature of the site and the ad traffic source.

The Adwords campaign spent a total of R205 in the March period garnering 1 451 clicks and 9 328 impressions with a click through rate (CTR) of 15.56% which is pretty decent.

Now, you might be thinking, "Holy moly! I could use R6 000 in free food!" But there are a few caveats:

  1. You can't use R6 000 all at once i.e. spending the full R6 000 in free food from one vendor. That'd be silly and Uber knows this. Hence I could only ever get R50 off each singular order. A better way to look at it is, free delivery, as the restaurant generally all charge R20 delivery fee.
  2. About halfway through the month, Uber changed the referral system from 'get R100 off your first order' to, 'get R50 off your first two orders'. I had to change my site slightly as initially, the selling point was, 'get a free meal from UberEATS'. This was technically possible with the initial R100 voucher but not with the subsequent R50 offer. 

So, if you're a heavy user of UberEATS, spending more than R350 a month on deliveries setting up something like this might actually make financial sense (hey, if you make an offer I might just sell you mine). 

For me, though, it was just an experiment and a pretty successful one at that. I did get a few fairly cheap UberEATS lunches, which regardless of the Uber controversy right now, is a very slick service. If you haven't used it before, you should totally try it

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