In today’s gig economy, it seems that everyone is looking for a side hustle. One common example of a side hustle – or a way to make some extra cash – is in food delivery services such as Postmates, Uber Eats, GrubHub, or DoorDash. It’s called a hustle for a reason. You have to work hard and, more importantly, work smart.
Nowadays, thanks mainly to delivery apps, you can transform your vehicle into a money-maker. (Even if you don’t own a vehicle, you can use apps such as HyreCar and transform someone else’s vehicle into your money-maker.) A few ways this is done are – as a driver, grocery delivery, or delivering for restaurants or fast food chains.
Let’s start by comparing two of the most popular food delivery services – Uber Eats and Postmates. Depending on your criteria, you might favor one over the other. But, ultimately, you don’t need to be exclusive to either delivery service. You can choose to deliver for both companies. But before you make the dive, let’s look into what kind of waters you’re headed for.
Postmates vs Uber Eats – Driver Requirements
The requirements to be eligible to be a driver for Uber Eats or Postmates are quite simple and straightforward. But there are a few minor differences for delivery drivers which are worth going over.
Uber Eats drivers need to be at least 18 years old.
Postmates drivers need to be at least 19 years old.
Uber Eats drivers need to use a vehicle that is newer than a 1998 model, and it must be a 2 or 4-door model.
Postmates has no vehicle requirements for their drivers.
Uber Eats drivers must have at least one year of driving experience. They must have a clean driving record dating back at least 7 years (presuming the candidate has been driving for that long).
Postmates has no requirements regarding their drivers’ driving record.
In order to deliver food for Uber Eats, you must first pass a preliminary background check upon applying to be a member of the fleet. The exact elements of the background check vary from state to state and city to city, depending on local laws and ordinances. The background check typically involves a Motor Vehicle Report. Any disqualifying restrictions applied to your driver’s license, any major driving violations, or a recent history of multiple minor driving violations could result in disqualification.
Additionally, Uber Eats requires a criminal background check, subject to state and local law, which is conducted by the accredited third-party background check provider Checkr, Inc. Any conviction for major or violent crimes such as murder, sexual assault, or terrorism will result in disqualification. A conviction for a felony offense will also result in disqualification.
Postmates also conducts a background check on their prospective drivers. The terms for disqualification are quite similar to those of Uber Eats. The only notable difference is that while Uber Eats automatically disqualifies candidates with a felony conviction (no matter the type), Postmates only disqualifies candidates with a felony conviction for violent crimes, sexual assault, drug-related felonies, or what they deem to be serious felonies.
Both Uber Eats and Postmates require their drivers to be eligible to work in the US (or in the country they plan to work in). And as their respective customers will place the order using the companies’ apps, the candidates for delivery drivers must possess a smartphone.
Postmates vs Uber Eats – Delivery Equipment
Postmates actually sends you an insulated tote bag when you sign up as a delivery person. The bag is small and won’t accommodate larger orders, but depending on the frequency of deliveries you make, you can request a replacement bag every month.
Uber Eats, on the other hand, has stopped giving out delivery bags. Instead, they sell them online (at quite a high mark-up). An insulated bag can cost from $15 to $25. The Uber Eats branded bags cost between $40 and $75.
Postmates vs Uber Eats – Customer Fees
Both Postmates and Uber Eats have a rather complex system of service fees – both for their customers and for their delivery persons. Postmates charges a delivery fee, which fluctuates depending on the distance between the pick-up point and the drop-off point. The minimum delivery fee is $5, though sometimes there are special offers in certain areas with lower delivery fees. 80% of the delivery fee goes to the delivery person and the rest, 20%, goes to Postmates.
In addition to the delivery fee, Postmates also charges its users a ‘Convenience Fee’ of 9%, while Uber Eats charges a ‘Service Fee’ of 15% of the subtotal of a user’s order. Uber Eats has a habit of changing their fees, so this information is not written in stone.
The total amount a user pays for the delivery service depends on a number of factors – local taxes, place the user is ordering from, their location, total amount of the order. This being said, a number of metadata surveys have been conducted, and in many instances, Postmates comes out as the more expensive option for the user.
Postmates vs Uber Eats – Calculating Earnings
The ways the two companies calculate the driver’s earnings are quite similar, and they are dependent on market conditions – meaning they fluctuate from location to location and from time frame to time frame.
Postmates calculates its fees based on four factors – pick-up fee, drop-off fee, per-minute fee, and distance-covered fee. All of these fees vary from location to location. Postmates users can also tip their delivery driver. Postmates drivers keep 100% of their tips.
Additionally, Postmates drivers can earn bonuses. These bonuses also fluctuate depending on market values.
Delivery bonus – for every delivery made in various time frames and delivery zones
Crushers – a bonus for a high number of deliveries made during a set period of time
Invitees – a bonus for every person you sign up as a Postmates driver who completes a set amount of deliveries in their first weeks
Uber Eats uses a similar approach to calculating their fees – base delivery fee + mileage. However, Uber Eats also frequently runs promotions that alter the payouts, and they are constantly changing their fees. They do try to be transparent, but honestly, it can be difficult to follow sometimes. And once you have their fees figured out, chances are they’ll change.
When Uber Eats first launched their app, they encouraged their users not to tip (or they didn’t make it easy for them to tip, and they told users that delivery persons were paid well enough that a tip wasn’t necessary). They have since changed their approach. They have lowered their base pay for drivers and have made it easier for Uber Eats users to tip. As a result, delivery persons have noted a slight increase in their pay overall.
Both services now enable and encourage tipping. In the US, it is becoming more and more frequent – if not expected – for users to tip for a delivery.
Uber Eats vs Postmates – Small Differences
While both apps are quite similar – a similar service at a similar cost, paying out the delivery driver a similar percentage – there are a few small differences.
Uber Eats partners with various restaurants in a given location. This means that when a user places an order, it goes directly to the restaurant, the user pays for it, and the driver picks it up with little to no wait.
Postmates also partners with restaurants, but users also have the option of placing an order with a restaurant that is not partnered with Postmates. In these cases, the delivery person has a Postmates card (which is loaded with the exact amount of the purchase cost), and they use it to pay for the order. This means that there can be an additional wait with some Postmates orders.
Postmates is a doorstep delivery service, which means you will need to find the user’s door. If they live in an apartment complex, you might need a security code to enter, then you might need to climb stairs and hunt for the right apartment.
Uber Eats has doorstep delivery, but they also offer curbside delivery. When making a curbside delivery, you don’t need to find the specific apartment number or hunt for a parking space. The customer meets you at the curb.
Types of Products Delivered
Uber Eats is exclusively a food delivery app, while Postmates users can order anything from any shop.
Insulated Delivery Bags
Postmates provides a small insulated tote bag for its drivers. Uber Eats does not.
The Bottom Line
The amount you earn delivering food with these two apps, Postmates and Uber Eats, will depend on a number of fluctuating factors – your location, the time the order is placed, distance covered, promotions, tips, etc. It is not possible to calculate in advance which app pays its drivers more.
Surveys of delivery drivers using the two apps rely on self-reported data and are not very reliable – especially given the fact that the wages are dependent on so many factors. However, taken globally, it appears that there isn’t much of a difference between the two. Some drivers in certain locations report that they make more with Postmates (though the difference is small), while drivers in other locations report that they make more with Uber Eats.
The good news is that you don’t actually need to choose between the two. You can sign up to deliver for both apps and test your local market yourself.
How Much Can You Expect to Earn?
Drivers report that they can average between 2 and 6 deliveries per hour and make between $4 and $7 per delivery. Naturally, deliveries are mostly made around midday for lunch orders and in the evening for dinner orders and late-night grub. You also need to factor in fuel costs and other costs associated with your vehicle. Plus, you need to pay your own taxes.
Reports of earning vary wildly, but enough people are doing it for extended periods of time which should lead us to assume they are earning enough money to make it worth their while.
How to Offset High Vehicle Costs
In addition to taxes and fuel, there are other costs that should be factored in when trying to calculate expected earnings. There is vehicle insurance and, perhaps the greatest cost and the one most difficult to calculate, vehicle depreciation. Essentially, this means that the more you use your car, the less it’s worth.
However, there is a way to offset this cost – use someone else’s car.
With the HyreCar app, you simply select a car from the available options in your area at a set daily, weekly, or monthly rate then you can begin making deliveries with Postmates and Uber Eats. You will still need to pay for fuel. But you don’t need to buy insurance or worry about vehicle depreciation costs.
Instead of personal driver’s insurance, once you rent through HyreCar, you will benefit from ride-sharing insurance offered by HyreCar.
The rental fees do add up, though. But HyreCar is definitely an option worth looking into for those looking to make a bit of extra money driving for food delivery services like the Uber Eats app and the Postmates app.
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