Did you know that 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week? Or, more interestingly, that online ordering and delivery has grown 300% faster than in-person dining since 2014?
If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that the age of convenience shopping and online ordering is also making it’s way to the food delivery game.
And, it’s also clear that thanks to rising popularity in various gig economy apps and ‘the sharing economy,’ there is tonnes of opportunity to start a side hustle that is both flexible and lucrative.
However, it’s also easy to suffer paralysis by analysis sometimes just because of the sheer number of choices that are out there. After all, it seems like every gig economy niche has a ridiculous number of companies that, on the surface, all look the same.
In terms of working as a delivery driver, two of the top contenders in the industry are DoorDash and Postmates.
I’ve covered how Uber Eats compares to DoorDash before, but for anyone considering Postmates as an alternative, this is the post for you.
Time to tackle the whole DoorDash vs Postmates debate to see which platform is the best for delivery workers.
Ready to start side hustling?
DoorDash vs. Postmates – Job Expectations & Requirements
A lot of food delivery services are pretty similar…get an order, pickup food, and deliver it to hungry customers to get paid. Nothing new here.
Delivering For Postmates
Postmates is a local delivery service for goods, and this is where the main difference between DoorDash and Postmates stems from.
On Postmates, delivery drivers can get orders for a wide variety of products. Groceries, food, clothing, or even alcohol are available for request through the Postmates app.
So, in a nutshell, if a local store sells it, it’s possible to order it using the Postmates app.
The platform was founded in 2011, and has since exploded in popularity across the United States and, more recently, New Mexico.
Postmate aims to be the go-to on demand delivery app, and it’s definitely a more robust platform than companies like DoorDash that solely focus on food delivery.
Postmates is also incredibly flexible. Workers don’t have to schedule shifts or work a minimum number of hours per week. Simply launch the Postmates apps, accept orders, and get to work.
PostMate Requirements For Drivers & Couriers
Working as a delivery driver or bike courier is pretty straightforward with Postmates. However, there are some hiring requirements to be aware of:
- Age – 18 years or older.
- Vehicle Eligibility – You can deliver with a car, truck, bike, scooter as long as you are insured. As long as your vehicle gets from point A to B, you’re golden.
- Background Check – You cannot have any convictions within the last 7 years.
- Social Insurance Number & Basic Info – Workers provide this info during the application process.
If you pass the background check and meet all of Postmate’s driver requirements, all you have to do is upload your profile photo, setup direct deposit, and activate your Postmate card.
Postmate sends their card through the mail, and this card allows delivery workers to actually purchase the goods they are supposed to delivery in store. This model is similar to DoorDash, and activating your card is done through the app.
Delivering For DoorDash
DoorDash was founded in 2013, and this delivery app has grown to more than 4,000 cities across all 50 states. DoorDash is also available in select cities in Canada and Australia.
Unlike Postmates, DoorDash is completely dedicated to food delivery. As a DoorDash driver, you’ll find yourself rushing between popular fast food or restaurant chains in your area, delivering meals to hungry patrons.
The main difference between DoorDash and Postmates, besides the sort of goods you’ll be delivering, is scheduling requirements.
There are two ways to start delivering for DoorDash. The first is to login to the DoorDash app and to schedule a delivery shift for the future. The second way is to simply open the app and select ‘Dash Now.’
However, DoorDash caps the number of drivers that can work simultaneously to help keep demand and earnings high for workers. Therefore, if you rely on the Dash Now feature for added flexibility, you might find that you aren’t actually able to work.
This scheduling feature is great for side hustlers who want a rigid schedule. However, if you value flexibility, this may prove to be an obstacle.
DoorDash Requirements For Drivers & Couriers
DoorDash has similar requirements to Postmates for new drivers, and these are also fairly standard across the world of rideshare and delivery apps.
To work for DoorDash, you must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Provide proof of valid license and vehicle insurance.
- Have at least one year of driving experience.
- Pass a background check.
You also can’t have more than 3 minor driving violations, such as speeding tickets, within the last 3 years. However, DoorDash is lenient in terms of vehicle requirements. As long as you can drive or bike, you’re good to go!
You also need to pass orientation to start delivering for DoorDash,. Orientation shows new employees how to use the DoorDash app and actually schedule deliveries, so this is a bit of a nuisance.
Thankfully, DoorDash has added an express orientation option which lets you verify your account during your first delivery attempt.
Ultimately, you can expect the entire onboarding process to take 1-2 weeks to get your account activated after signup.
Pricing Calculations – How Workers Get Paid
Of all gig economy jobs, understanding the pricing model for rideshare or delivery apps is absolutely critical.
After all, workers have to factor in the cost of doing business, such as fuel consumption, wear and tear, and possible delays due to traffic to get an accurate picture of their hourly wage.
In terms of how workers get paid, DoorDash and Postmates use slightly different calculation models.
Postmates Payment Calculations
Postmate pays drivers differently depending on the city they work in. Checkout Postmates’ payout information by market page to find your specific city.
As a general rule of thumb, here are the components that contribute to your earnings for each delivery:
- Order pick-up.
- Order drop-off.
- Per-minute-waited rate for the time you spend at the pickup location (this is massive).
- A per-mile rate for the distance between pick-up and drop-off locations.
- Tips – you earn 100%.
As an example, I chose Newark, New Jersey for my market:
Postmates is actually quite flexible when you look at how this model breaks down.
You can make decent money by completing 2-3 short orders within an hour (in a small delivery zone). However, delivering a larger order and driving a significant distance is also worthwhile thanks to the rate per mile (and assumed tip for a decently large order).
Postmates also runs Blitz Pricing, which occurs during surge order periods. Blitz Pricing can increase base pay by 1.2x or 1.5x, although I’ve heard this is incredibly rare to see.
Challenges and bonuses are also occasionally available in the Postmates app. I wouldn’t factor these into forecasted earnings, but they are good to keep in mind if you deliver during busy periods
Extra Reading – Is Postmates worth it?
DoorDash Payment Calculations
DoorDash’s payment model is slightly more complicated than Postmates. Additionally, the model seems to lean a tad bit on promotions, which I’ll cover in just a bit.
DoorDash workers are paid using the following formula:
- Base Pay + Promotions + Tips = Total Earnings.
Time to examine each factor a little closer.
Base Pay – This ranges from $2 to $10+ depending on estimated time, distance, and demand for the order. Basically, orders that require lengthy travel and more time and that are less popular for Dashers to accept have a higher base pay.
Promotions – If you meet certain promotion conditions, you can earn some nifty bonuses. Currently, there are 3 main promotions:
- Peak Pay:Delivery workers get a surge-bonus during busy hours of delivery. Peak pay is tacked on to total earnings you’re shown for a delivery.
- Challenges: DoorDash has implemented challenges to encourage workers to continue using DoorDash or to fulfill more orders per week. Ongoing challenges are found in the Dash Now section of the app. An example of an ongoing challenge is that over the course of a week, drivers will earn an extra $20 for completing 15 deliveries.
- Drive: Drive orders involve delivering orders from a restaurant to customers. These orders can be regular size or larger catering orders. Drivers earn an additional setup and on time pay for Drive orders, where applicable, and large order bonus fee on large grocery orders.
Ultimately, the DoorDash payment model takes some getting used to. This model also rewards Dashers who work consistent hours each week to complete challenges.
Thankfully, DoorDash workers earn 100% of their tips. This change isn’t surprising after the scrutiny DoorDash faced over pocketing worker’s tips, so it’s nice to see the company has made a change for the better.
Extra Reading – DoorDash Driver Tips & Tricks.
DoorDash vs Postmates – Which Company Pays More?
Alright, time to get down to the meat and potatoes of this debate…which company actually pays their drivers more?
Well, according to Indeed salary reviews, Postmates isn’t too shabby. In fact, delivery workers earn an average of $17.41 per hour.
According to DoorDash, drivers can get paid $23 per hour while out on delivery.
Now, according to Glassdoor salary reviews, DoorDash workers earn an average of $12 per hour.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Postmates hourly earnings might be a tad high. According to Indeed, the average DoorDash worker earns an extra $4,500 per month.
Time to do a bit more digging!
As usual, doing a bit of searching on Reddit brings up more realistic figures. Just take a look at this thread on how much people make working for Postmates:
If we checkout a collection of other Reddit threads on how much DoorDash workers make, you get a similar, albeit slightly more volatile story:
After interviewing my friend about delivering for Uber Eats or DoorDash, the DoorDash info lines up pretty well. He averages around $7.50 an order in downtown Toronto, and he was able to complete around 2 orders per hour, or $15 worth of work.
To recap, here is my understanding about the current pay model of DoorDash and Postmates:
Postmates – Great for earning a stable $10-$13 per hour after you factor in mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle.
DoorDash – This app is either significantly better or worse than Postmates depending on your city and how often surge pricing or bonuses occur. According to DoorDash, you can get paid $23 per hour when you’re out on delivery.
Tips For Increasing Your Earnings
It’s important to work smart not hard, regardless of the delivery company you end up working for.
After interviewing my friend Grant about his experiences working as a food courier, it’s clear that there are some tried and true tips to increase your earnings with companies like DoorDash or Postmates:
- Work Peak Hours – Focus on working shifts that pay surge pricing. This usually includes dinner rushes or post-bar food rushes on Friday and Saturday.
- Provide Great Customer Service – Work for tips. If there’s anything you can do to communicate more effectively with your customer or to make their experience better, go for it.
- Stack Orders & Apps – Postmates lets drivers chain deliveries, which means they can pickup multiple orders from the same merchant if their customers live close to one another. You can do the same thing on DoorDash, or even use two food delivery apps simultaneously. Just be sure to not over-book yourself, or you risk running late and upsetting customers.
- Factor In Business Expenses – You can actually claim a tonne of food delivery related expenses on your tax return. Be sure to use a mileage tracking app like Hurdlr to track your mileage for business expenses, and keep records of your fuel costs and any repairs.
- Push For Bonuses – Keep an eye on ongoing promotions from DoorDash and Postmates and actually commit to fulfilling one. $20 or so for a bonus might not sound like much, but that’s almost an extra 2 hours of work in compensation.
Extra Reading – The Best Times To Do Postmates.
Final Thoughts – Which Company Is Better?
Both DoorDash and Postmates are a reliable way to earn at least $10 per hour if you work smart. DoorDash has a higher earning ceiling, and is probably a better platform for serious gig workers looking to schedule a lot of shifts and work during peak hours.
In contract, Postmates is better for gig workers who value flexibility and earning stability.
Whatever the case, just be sure to be realistic with your expectations and to track your earnings and expenses.
The most common complains I hear about working as a delivery driver or courier is that “X company said I’d earn Y, but after gas and repairs I only earn Z.”
Well, frankly, the cost of doing business is not DoorDash’s or Postmates’ concern. They state what you’ll earn in the payment model, and it’s up to you to track your expenses, deduct them on your tax return, and to make a judgement call from there.
As long as you work smart and use some earning optimization tips, you can realisitcally earn a few hundred dollars a month from both these companies.
Personally, I like Postmates more due to the flexibility and payment for waiting feature, but testing both platforms is worthwhile in your city.
Hopefully this DoorDash vs Postmates article has helped clarify what you should expect from both companies. If you end up trying out a delivery app, let me know which one (and why) in the comments below! I’d love to hear more about your earnings and personal experience with either company.
Catch you guys in the next one!
Extra Reading – Make $200 Per Day With Postmates!
DoorDash disclaimer: For Illustrative purposes only, actual earnings may differ and depend on expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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