Harry here. Although Uber and Lyft are still growing at a furious pace, 2015 has seen the explosion of delivery services! Companies like DoorDash are rumored to be valued at $1 billion, and although there are some questioning their business model, right now they provide a lot of opportunity for drivers. Today, RSG Guest Contributor Johan Moreno takes a look at why he feels delivery trumps rideshare driving. If you’ve done both, or even if you haven’t, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Postmates, DoorDash, UberEats, Instacart, and GrubHub are all becoming big players in the on-demand delivery space. Even Google is trying to get a piece of the pie, through its “Express” delivery service. But all these services have something in common: they’re using independent contractors as the backbone of their services, just like Uber and Lyft.
Related Infographic: Want to Learn More About Ridesharing?
And while I often hear people compare Uber to Postmates, they’re actually completely different services. I signed up last April to become a Postmates courier and like many of you, I was looking for a way to make some extra cash in my spare time. But now that I’m up over 400 deliveries on the Postmates platform, I’ve realized that being a delivery courier is far superior to being a driver for a rideshare service. Read on to see why I say being a delivery driver is much better than being a rideshare driver!
#1: You can use a car that’s ineligible on Uber or Lyft
Lots of people own cars that are more than 10 years old, and while you can’t drive that car for Uber or Lyft, you can with Postmates or DoorDash. That means you can cruise around in your old, trusty 1999 Toyota Celica for Postmates and still make some extra dough. Or even that two door coupe!
The other thing to consider is that there are no vehicle inspections when you become a driver for Postmates or DoorDash. Even if your ride is a death trap on wheels, you’re still okay to deliver. For those of you with salvage titles, you probably know that you can’t drive rideshare, but these cars can be used with Postmates and DoorDash.
Even the small stuff can benefit you. Here in Cali, it gets hot, so good A/C is a must. However, if you have a broken air conditioner unit in your car, you can still hop onto a delivery platform.
During my Postmates orientation, I did meet a man who was interested in becoming an Uber driver, but he could not drive for Uber because of the giant dent in the side of his car.
#2: Less hassle with the presentation of your car
Keeping a clean, presentable car is the easiest way to maintain a high rating on Uber or Lyft. But there’s a cost to maintaining that experience. There’s a monetary and time investment when you wash your car, vacuum your seats and carpets, turn on your air conditioner, buy air fresheners, etc. These expenses add up.
Sure, in most cases you’ll be able to write off some of these expenses come tax season. But not spending money in the first place is always better than a deduction.
For me, I absolutely hate turning on the air conditioner in my car. It wastes fuel, which forces me to fill up my tank more frequently. So when I’m by myself, I just pop open a window. But when I was driving for Lyft, I wasn’t sure if my passengers would enjoy the discomfort of cruising around with the windows open. Plus, having the windows down can make that weird noise 🙂
I’ve also been able to skip the car wash for months now. My excuse has been that I live in California and we’re in a drought. Really, it’s because I’m too lazy to wash it. But if I wanted to make some extra money tonight, I could just simply sign onto the Postmates courier app and be on my way. No having to deal with the hassle of cleaning up before I can get to work.
Obviously, if you’re delivering food, it’s important to keep your car sanitary enough to transport someone’s dinner. I always try to keep this in mind: deliver for others as you’re delivering for yourself.
#3: You can stay local and cut expenses
One of the more profitable ways to make money on Uber or Lyft is by giving passengers long rides. Here in Orange County, Uber drivers can make good money when they get a ride request to LAX. In fact, a Lyft driver once told me he gave a ride from Orange County to San Francisco and made about $500.
Sure, that might be lucrative. But not everyone is willing to drive out of town on a whim, especially if you’re not familiar with the area you’re traveling to. There’s also the added cost of driving back empty handed.
On-demand delivery services are pretty local, on the other hand. For the most part, you’ll stay in the same area while you’re logged in. This may be of benefit to parents with younger children since, in the case of an emergency, you won’t be stuck in a traffic jam in West Hollywood when you need to be at home in Orange County.
My last 20 jobs were all picked-up and dropped-off within the City of Irvine. You become familiar with the pick-up and drop-off points, which leads to more deliveries per hour. I’ve also delivered to the same customers many times and this usually yields a higher tip!
#4: Fewer worries about ratings
If you’re an Uber or Lyft driver, you’re well aware that you risk deactivation when you fall below 4.6 stars. Unfortunately, sometimes low ratings can be out of your control. Maybe you’re feeling chatty and the passenger isn’t. They might give you a low rating for that. Maybe you pick someone up in your 2005 Honda Civic and they expect to be picked up in a Tesla Model S on UberX. No joke, I’ve heard an UberX customer complain that they were picked up in a 2011 Toyota Camry. I’m sure they’re the same customers who want a fancy steak dinner at McDonald’s prices…
With Postmates, your rating is based more on whether you can get the customer their delivery in a timely manner. Plus, you don’t have your passenger constantly hovering over you, which relieves a bit of the stress. So your ratings are a little more in your control with delivery services. Just follow the instructions, don’t spill the food and you’re good.
Not saying there aren’t jerks who use Postmates. I’ve definitely received low ratings from customers with unreasonable expectations, and Postmates also requires their couriers to maintain above a 4.7 average, but you can challenge ratings to be wiped off your profile, which is something you can’t do with Uber or Lyft.
#5: You don’t have to deal with passengers in your car
Not everyone will feel comfortable driving strangers around in their car, especially intoxicated passengers. Unfortunately, the most profitable Uber and Lyft shifts come during the party hours on Friday and Saturday nights, when passengers use the service as their safe ride home from a night of a drinking.
We’ve always known it’s a PITA to deal with drunk pax but in the wake of November’s media storm of the Uber driver who was assaulted by an intoxicated passenger, some drivers might think twice before jumping onto the Uber platform.
If you’re an introvert, the best thing about being a delivery courier is that you will never be forced to make small talk with someone’s burrito bowl since you will never have a customer step foot in your car. I’m not saying that being a delivery courier is a completely desolate experience. You’re still interacting with the staff of the pick-up location and the customer.
But let’s be real, if I decided to blast Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” while giving someone a ride on Lyft, they would probably rate me 1 star based on my terrible Freddie Mercury impersonation.
If you’d like to sign up for Postmates using our link, please click here and enter the code RSG.
If you’d like to sign up for DoorDash using our link, please click here.
Bio: Johan Moreno is a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in regional news publications, including The Orange County Register. When he’s not writing or editing, you can find him making extra cash as a Postmates delivery courier. Follow him on Twitter @theocnative.
Drivers, what do you think about the delivery vs. rideshare debate? Am I on to something or way off base?