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If you’re looking to earn a little extra cash, but have an older car, working as a rideshare driver with companies such as Lyft and Uber may not be an option for you. However, there are still some great ways to earn money with a delivery driving job.
The on-demand delivery industry is rapidly changing, and this creates the potential for part-time work, a decent side gig, or one of the best weekend jobs. There are several different service providers, and in this article, we’ll look at three of the leaders; DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates.
So, how do they compare and which is the best for a delivery driving job? Here we’ll delve into this topic to help you to choose the best gig for your circumstances.
→ Related reading: 9 Companies Offering Flexible Food Delivery Jobs
The Food Delivery Service Basics
Compared to rideshare operations, there is a far more relaxed process to become a food delivery driver. These services simply require their couriers to have a mode of transport. So, even if your vehicle has more than a few miles on it, if it can get you from here to there, you’re good to go.
Of course, each platform has its own requirements, so we will look at this in more detail below.
You can earn money as a driver for Postmates on a mileage rate. It’s calculated as the drive time between the pickup and drop off. Unfortunately, this means that you won’t generate any cash for the time it takes you to travel to the pickup location. However, Postmates does have a high demand premium called “blitz pricing”. This is a bonus multiplier that can really bump up your pay. The boost is automatically triggered on the app and ranges from 1.25x to 1.75x.
Additionally, when an order is complete, the customer can tip you from within the app.
DoorDash has a slightly more complicated way to calculate the delivery fees. There are three components to your pay; an initial $1 payout, a “pay boost”, and 100% of any tips earned. The pay boost varies according to the distance traveled and the complexity of the order. However, the smallest payout you’ll receive for any order is $6. While this doesn’t seem like much, it can really add up when you have several minimum orders delivered to an area at peak periods like lunchtime.
What makes DoorDash stand out is that the app has been designed to make tipping easier. It also encourages patrons to tip, so the probability of tips is high, and many drivers report this translates to an hourly rate of $8 to $15.
Uber Eats drivers can expect an hourly rate of $8 to $12 after you factor in the vehicle expenses. The delivery pay does vary a great deal, so if you want to maximize your earnings, it is vital that you work the lunch and dinner rushes.
The Uber Eats pay is lower than if you were working as an Uber driver, but Uber drivers need a vehicle that meets a very specific list of criteria, which can be a problem if you have an older vehicle.
Working for Uber Eats means that you will be paid for every delivery based on a pickup fee, drop off fee, and mileage. You’ll also receive 100% of any tips your customers leave for you in the app.
Winner: DoorDash (slightly)
As you can see, the pricing structure for all three platforms is remarkably similar. While it may vary by a dollar or two, if you work strategically, it’s possible to maximize your income using DoorDash, Postmates, or Uber Eats.
The DoorDash app is easily one of the best food delivery apps, and it is obvious that a great deal of effort has been made to ensure the service is fun to use. The layout is not overly complicated, and there are only a couple of steps to negotiate for drivers performing common tasks. This means that it is easy to contact a customer or check on order status. The only downside to this app is that it lacks a map. Without a built-in map, you’ll need an alternative, which can be a bit of a pain.
Although this may not seem like much, it can be time-consuming. Every time you receive a new order, you’ll need to switch to your default map app to get directions, unless you know exactly where you need to go and the best way to get there. Other than this, the DoorDash app makes it easy for both the customer and the driver. You can even accept delivery requests on the go with little effort. You can also batch deliveries together when they are near each other. This ability to reorganize your delivery on the go reduces the downtime between deliveries, so you can maximize your earnings.
Like DoorDash, the Postmates app has been designed with a smooth layout and easy to use navigation. The crucial difference is that there is a built-in map. There is an interactive map that makes it easier to navigate city streets and avoid traffic jams. The app features ensure it is easy to deliver several orders in an hour, and just like DoorDash, you can batch your orders to boost your earnings.
The Uber Eats app has a simple step-by-step process that takes you from getting a customer request through to picking up the food and delivering it to your customer. You receive audio notifications through the app, and you just need to tap the screen to accept the request. You’ll then be provided with an order number, customer name, and pick up location. The built-in GPS will help you to navigate to the pickup location, then you can tap “start trip,” and the app will provide you directions to your delivery address. You can also receive special delivery instructions through the app. The app also notifies the customer via text as you get nearer to their location, so they are ready and waiting for you.
While all three platforms have a great app, the best has to be Postmates. Everything you need is contained in the app, including a built-in map and navigation. This makes it easier to efficiently pick up and deliver your orders, so you can make more deliveries and more money.
The Process of Becoming a Driver
As we’ve discussed above, it is far harder to qualify as a rideshare driver than it is to make deliveries due to the less restrictive vehicle requirements. Most services don’t have a vehicle age restriction like rideshare companies. However, there are still some regulations, which we will explore in more detail to see how they stack up.
The requirements for becoming a DoorDash driver are not as rigorous as they are for becoming an Uber or Lyft driver. You will need a smartphone and some mode of transport, but this can be a car, scooter, bicycle, motorcycle, or truck. You also need to have a clean driving record and background to maintain safety. So, you will need to consent to a background check that includes providing your social security number. Of course, if you’re using a car, truck, motorcycle, or scooter, you’ll need to have a valid U.S driver’s license with up to date insurance that shows your name on it.
The Postmates sign up process is smooth. There are a few basic requirements, and the application can be completed within a few minutes. You need to have a functional mode of transportation, a license, and valid insurance. Again, you’ll need to have your social security number on hand to complete the process.
If you’re already an Uber driver, then there is no additional work needed to deliver with Uber Eats, you just need to opt in to start seeing jobs. However, if you’re new to Uber, you can become a delivery only driver, so you don’t need to meet the stringent Uber drive share requirements. You need to have a vehicle that is from 1996 or newer and have a year of driving experience. In some cities, you can use a motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter. Unlike DoorDash or Postmates, you need to be 19, rather than 18 years old.
Winner: Tie between Postmates and DoorDash
Uber Eats is more restrictive to qualify as a delivery driver, but both DoorDash and Postmates offer a similar process. Providing you’re 18 or older and can meet the basic criteria; you can sign up quickly and start earning.
As a driver, you need to know that the platform you’re using offers help for any issues you encounter. All of these platforms have customer support for both customers and drivers, but there are some differences between them, which may affect which platform you choose to use.
DoorDash has arranged its customer service information into FAQs. Each of the questions explores common issues that newer drivers experience and covers some of the more rare situations. You can view the questions in categories so that it is easier to find an answer to your specific issue. However, there is no call-in option for DoorDash customer service. This can create some frustration as it is not possible to speak to an actual person.
Postmates also has a FAQs page for driving-related queries that are arranged by category. However, this is supplemented with a customer service hotline. So, if you’re struggling to find the answer to your question or you have an urgent issue, you can call in to get help.
Most of Uber Eats customer service tools are accessed within the app. There is a team of live support staff who can help you in real-time. You just need to open up the app, tap on your profile, and then select “help.” From this point, you can get help for any specific issue. There is also a help option for orders in progress or past orders, but you can also use the “help” tab that is linked to your account and payment options. If you are having a more complex issue, then it is also possible to use phone support. You may receive a follow-up message through the app, directing you to the app support, but it is possible to speak to an Uber support team member. If you’re calling from the phone number linked to your account, you won’t even need to verify additional information. Uber Eats also allows you to contact customer support via email. This allows you to send a private message, but you should avoid sending sensitive information for internet security.
Winner: Uber Eats
While Postmates and DoorDash do offer decent customer service, Uber Eats does have superior customer service for drivers. You can not only navigate help for issues using the app, but there is also an option to call into the hotline or send a private message through email.
So, Which is Best?
As you can see, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats all offer some great benefits for delivery drivers. The choice between them is a matter of personal preference. While DoorDash does offer blitz pricing to earn bonuses, the app does lack a built-in map, which can become frustrating unless you know your city like the back of your hand. Postmates has a built-in map, and a hotline for customer service issues, but you may be more reliant on tips to increase your income. Finally, Uber Eats has a more comprehensive support package, but there are more restrictions to qualify as a delivery driver.
Tips for Maximizing Your Delivery Driving Job Income
While all three platforms are set up to help drivers to enjoy a decent side gig, there are some tips to help you to maximize your income. These include:
Limit Your Work Area
While it may be tempting to try to cover the largest area possible, this will dramatically increase your gas costs. It is better to work within a smaller radius, so you can not only cut your fuel costs but also travel more quickly between jobs. Ideally, you should choose a restaurant-heavy area where you can park and wait for orders. This will save you time and money, as you can return to this spot if things start to slow down.
Plan For Busy Periods
There are obviously busier times when the demand for food deliveries are higher, so plan your schedule so you can work these busier periods. There’s a higher demand during lunch and dinner, so you’re likely to get more work, more tips, and bonuses if you work during these periods.
Tips can make the difference between an average hourly rate and a great hourly rate, so you need to try and boost your tips. Additionally, while you’ll face a fee from your income, these platforms allow you to keep 100% of your tips, so it helps to earn tips where you can. To achieve this, you need to try to go above and beyond to give your customers a great experience. Be polite and remember you’re in the service industry. It costs nothing to say thank you and smile. However, you can also do some little things like grabbing plastic silverware, napkins, and straws from the restaurant. Even if they don’t need them, your customer is likely to appreciate the gesture.
Decline Troublesome Delivery Requests
While it may seem counterintuitive to turn down work to make more money, it’s possible to maximize your earnings by declining troublesome delivery requests. If a pick up is in an area where you struggle to find parking, it’s too far away, or the restaurant is known to have long wait times, you will waste time and potential earnings by accepting this request. Of course, this does come with experience, but if you come across delivery issues, make a note of them and bear them in mind before you accept a delivery request.
Work for Multiple Platforms
As a delivery partner, you’re not tied to one specific company, so you can drive for multiple platforms and minimize your downtime between deliveries. Since we’ve established that DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats all offer a great platform, why not sign up for all three. By driving for more than just one platform, you can maximize the orders you deliver during each shift and boost your earnings.
So, if you’re having a slow time on Uber Eats, check out Postmates and fill in your time until Uber Eats picks back up. You may even find that there are patterns on each platform, so you can work the busy periods on each app and rack up those bonuses. Just be sure to keep organized, so you don’t end up with mixed up order details and poor customer service.
A delivery driving job is a great way to earn a little extra cash as a side gig, or it can develop into a full-time opportunity. If you treat your delivery driving like a job, where you don’t put off work to sleep in or hang out with friends, you can develop a serious income.
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