Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, millions of people have lost their jobs and are looking for new ways to earn money. Delivery driving companies are a lucrative way to make fast cash and even build up a sustainable cash flow even after the pandemic starts winding down.
Thousands of delivery drivers across the country make serious money working for companies like Postmates, Uber Eats, and Instacart. The appeal is obvious: drivers make their own hours, work as much as they want, and can instantly access their earned money.
So what does it take to make money being a delivery driver for Postmates, Uber Eats, and Instacart?
Postmates is unique compared to other food delivery services like Uber Eats, in that through the Postmates app, customers can order non-food items from stores like 7-Eleven, Walmart, and Walgreens. If a customer wants a Red Bull and phone charger, they might place a Postmates order at a convenience store. If they want groceries but can’t get out of their house to pick them up, they can pay for grocery delivery from Walmart.
There are thousands of retail and restaurant Postmates partners around the country, and since Postmates has expanded to over 100 metropolitan areas, it’s an ideal delivery service to start with.
You can apply to become a Postmates driver here.
How does Postmates work?
Postmates drivers have total freedom over their schedules and can work when they want and as much or as little as they want. When you sign up, you must put in personal information, pass a background test, and submit a photo of yourself. Postmates then mails you a prepaid debit card to order food for customers at restaurant locations, not partnered with Postmates.
This means that while most of the time, a customer has paid a retailer directly through the app, sometimes their payment does not go straight to the retailer, and instead, you must swipe the debit card to get the goods. You can start driving for Postmates as soon as you pass your background test, which can happen within only a couple of hours, but until you receive your prepaid debit card a few days later, you are limited in what deliveries you can get.
How do you make money on Postmates?
Postmates will not offer you deliveries until you go into the Fleet app and press the start button. The app is more likely to give you work if you drive to an area on the map that is a darker shade of orange or red. Orange and red colors mean that there are more deliveries in those areas than in tan-colored spots.
Postmates will present orders to you through a notification. You have about 30 seconds to decide whether you want to accept the order by pressing the start button. Postmates shows you the name of the retailer or restaurant where the order was placed and how far away it is. You do not see how much you will earn until after the delivery is complete.
Once you have completed your first order, you can instantly cash out with a $0.50 fee, or you can wait and let your money build up. Every Monday, whatever money is still in your account is sent to your connected bank account as a deposit. Deposits can take one to three business days to show up in your bank account. So if you want your money sooner rather than later, do instant cash out on Sunday evenings. The cash-out fee is small if you only use the function once or twice per week.
On average, Postmates delivery drivers make $11 an hour, but earnings can dramatically increase during peak times and if you’re in a city with a lot of restaurant partners or it is a college town.
Uber Eats is another popular food delivery app. Users can choose from a variety of restaurants and fast food joints, most of which include their full menus. You might deliver McDonald’s burgers to one customer and bring several footlong subs from Subway to another.
Most areas have hundreds of restaurant partners from which to choose, and Uber Eats allows users to order from the same restaurant as another user to help you save on delivery fees. The app also has a nice tracking feature that shows the delivery driver’s car moving from the restaurant to the customer’s house in real-time.
If you’re not an Uber rideshare driver, you can apply to drive for Uber Eats here.
How does Uber Eats Work?
Applying to Uber Eats is easy and straightforward. You need to pass a background check similar to Postmates, but if you already drive for Uber ride-sharing, it’s easy to turn on food delivery requests. You can go to partners.uber.com for more information on how to merge ride-sharing with food delivery.
Uber Eats requires that you are at least 19 years old, you have a valid driver’s license, car insurance, and proof of vehicle registration, and that your car is 20 years old or newer. You can also choose to register a bicycle or scooter instead of a car if you live in a large city.
How do you make money on Uber Eats?
Uber Eats starts similarly to Postmates — it does not show you deliveries until you log onto the app and tell it you’re ready to work. You can work as much or as little as you want, and you can choose to refuse orders you’re not interested in.
Drivers are paid for each delivery through an equation that includes a pick-up fee, drop-off fee, and mileage payment that only consists of the miles from the restaurant to the customer. You do not get paid to travel to the restaurant, so if Uber Eats offers delivery at a restaurant that is geographically far away or you know there’s a lot of traffic, it might be better for you to skip it.
You get to keep 100% of your tips, which can come in a while after you deliver the food because customers are allowed a certain amount of time in the app to decide on a tip amount. Uber Eats charges each customer a delivery fee when they order their food, and Uber Eats takes 25% of that fee from the start and gives you the rest.
On average, Uber Eats drivers make $8 to $12 an hour. Earnings can go up depending on when you’re driving, what city you’re working in, and how popular the app is in your area.
Instacart is unique among food delivery platforms. Instead of ordering food from restaurants, users order groceries from a wide range of local grocery store chains. You might deliver a trunkload of groceries from Publix, or a handful of necessities from Costco.
If you become an Instacart shopper, your goal is to shop for the groceries as quickly as possible, communicate changes to the customer through the app, find extra items the customer might add after you start shopping, and then deliver the order within a specific time frame.
You can apply to become an Instacart shopper here.
How does Instacart work?
Instacart employees are called shoppers, not drivers, because they not only deliver the groceries but also shop for and purchase them. That said, Instacart does offer positions that are shopping only. If you’re not interested in being a full-service shopper (who shops and delivers) you can pick an in-store position, and you only have to worry about fulfilling orders and preparing them for Instacart drivers to pick them up for delivery.
Full-service Instacart shoppers choose their own hours and can log in and out of the app as much or little as they want. Unlike Postmates and Uber Eats, you don’t always have to log into the app to see possible batches. The Instacart Shopper app will send you phone notifications when new batches appear in your area. You can choose to mute these notifications for several hours or until the next day if you’re not planning to take any of the incoming batches.
How do you make money on Instacart?
Instacart has a base pay for each batch that starts at either $7 or $10, depending on certain criteria. They pay for your mileage on top of the base pay, and there are add-ons for things like heavy loads or if you do two orders at the same store at once.
Instacart has a notoriously large delivery radius for some stores, but when you are presented with possible batches, you can see the miles from the store to the customer’s house. When you look at your possible batches, you’ll see the potential payout if you accept that order. That amount includes the base pay, mileage, any add-ons, and the customer’s tip.
After you deliver an order, you have the option to cash out what you’ve earned for a $0.50 fee, or you can let it build up until the end of the week. Every Monday morning, Instacart deposits your remaining balance to your connected bank account, which you’ll see one to three business days later. If you decide to cash out early, you can only withdraw your Instacart base pay amount. Customers are allowed to change their tips within three business days, so you are barred from accessing the tips until they are deposited into your bank account every Monday.
Instacart advertises that full-service shoppers can earn up to $22 an hour.
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