Harry here. When it comes to delivery, there are a lot of options to choose from. Today, resident DoorDash expert Dash Bridges is back to describe his (brief) foray into the world of Postmates driving. If you’re interested in signing up for Postmates, you can use our link here.
Hellooooooo, everyone! I’m back to describe my Postmates driving experience. In my last post, I described my on-boarding experience with Postmates and to summarize, I’d describe it as:
- Criminal background check
- No contact with any human being
- No training
Unless Postmates magically knew I was a veteran of over 1,500 DoorDash deliveries, they basically sent me out there with zero training and conceivably no knowledge of this job. But I guess that’s someone else’s problem. Let’s get out there and do it!
My first official Postmates pickup was for Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Just like DoorDash, as soon as I arrived, I tapped my screen to reveal the specifics of my order.
I walked in and confidently stated, “Hi, I’m Dash and I have a Postmates order for Melissa.”
The employee checked the order, got the cupcakes, and handed them to me. I slid to the next screen and got this:
This is where my Postmates experience diverged from my past experience. The majority of DoorDash restaurants have a DD corporate account, allowing them to complete their transaction directly. This direct account eliminates my involvement in a transaction. I typically sign the DD order printout, I assume for their own record-keeping, and go on my way.
Postmates is very different. I felt like every time I picked up an order, I needed to ask for the receipt and enter the receipt value into the app. Furthermore – and this is where it gets cumbersome – I needed to take a photo of the receipt and upload it to the screen, like this:
After I submitted the above claim, I was given directions to the customer’s house and delivered without incident. Once completed, I got this:
Cool! I earned $6.43!
Hey wait a minute, exactly how did Postmates arrive at $6.43? I know it’s some combination of delivery fee, mileage and tip. But what combination? Sadly, I still don’t know the metrics by which I get paid! **
** Note: At Harry’s suggestion, I later emailed Postmates support asking if they could clarify the formula by which they determine non-tip driver compensation, but they never got back to me.
Additionally, in an episode I didn’t mention above, I briefly lost my Postmates credit card mid-shift (I blame the misplacement on the accumulation of photograph-requiring receipts in my pocket, but that’s a different rant). I paid the restaurant $13.25 with my own credit card to get through the order.
After the incident, I read support FAQs that said PM won’t reimburse drivers for meals paid on their own card. I understand that policy position, but I thought my incident was cut & dried enough to warrant a one-time reimbursement/hand slap. I never received a response for either of my support emails.
I continued my Postmates shift over the next couple of hours. The mechanics of it are pretty similar to my past experience. Similar to DoorDash, once I complete an order, the app will show various hotspots to suggest an area I should travel toward to increase my chances of an order. These hotspots look like this:
I liked these hotspots because they show specific heat maps in your area, seemingly in real time. At DoorDash, those hotspots are static. Once your shift starts and you’re in your region, it shows the same 2-3 historically busy areas.
Another aspect I liked about the Postmates app is that it will send you orders even when you’re in the middle of an existing one. During busy times at DoorDash, I find myself delivering single order after single order with a very short gap (30 seconds) between order completion and new task. In the rare times I receive a new order mid-delivery, it’s easy to miss the notification if I’m concentrating on a map or interacting with a restaurant/customer. Postmates sent me new orders mid-delivery and my phone vibrated incessantly until I accepted or declined the new order.
Throughout my first Postmates evening, one annoying issue kept popping up. I was obligated to take photos of every receipt and upload it into my app. Typically I’ll grab the food, get out of the cashier’s way, exit the restaurant and reset myself when I re-enter my car. When using Postmates, I end up sitting in my front seat, photographing a receipt sitting on my leg. Did I document this awkwardness? You bet!
So How Much Did I Make?
After my shift, I was able to see my earnings:
COOL! They show individual tips! But why does the T4 delivery show a pending tip? What’s pending about it? The transaction is complete. I don’t understand.
Here’s something interesting. After a Postmates shift a few nights later, I saw this Earnings report:
Postmates’ own app shows I got stiffed by the customers who ordered Tender Greens and Pizzeria Delfina. First of all, HMMPH, how dare they! Secondly, I was surprised that I’m able to see individual order tips. I love it, of course. I find it interesting, but I’m surprised Postmates shares this level of detail.
After my first week on the job, I received a deposit for my week of work. The deposit of $105.21 didn’t match up with any combination of payouts and tips in my previous time working there. How did they come up with that specific amount? I have no clue.
Furthermore, I could tell that my hourly wages were lagging well behind my $20-$21/hr I’m making with DoorDash. The orders weren’t coming quite as frequently and the per delivery payments weren’t as high. I became disillusioned.
On Sunday, February 12, I had an order in the car and a 10-minute drive to its destination when I received a buzz from the Postmates app. It was for Cold Stone Creamery. I could see the Cold Stone location directly across the street from me. Normally that would be a great stroke of luck, but in this case, the algorithm assigned me to this delivery even though I was 10 minutes away from my current destination. Furthermore, the app instructions were very clear that we must follow orders in the sequence listed on the screen. Basically, Postmates gave me an order knowing I’d need to drive 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back. In my experience, that’s a long trek.
Note: Don’t forget to track your miles as a delivery driver! As a delivery driver (and rideshare driver) you can deduct mileage at tax time. Looking for a free mileage tracker? Check out Stride Drive (now available on Android and iOS).
20 minutes later, I arrived at Cold Stone. Again, my experience told me I’d receive an ice cream order in the form of prepackaged quarts, etc. awaiting pickup in a freezer. When I arrived, I opened these instructions:
Wth? So Postmates sent me to a Cold Stone to stand in line and order a single ice cream. In fact, the instructions were vague enough that I had to call the customer and ask if they wanted the Like It, Love It, or Gotta Have It size. Oh yeah, well guess who DIDN’T LIKE IT? ME! I completed the order, got the plastic enclosure, wrapped it up in a bag, and drove another 12 minutes to deliver a single melted ice cream to a (wonderfully polite) customer.
It’s entirely possible that I’ve become entitled in my relatively long (18 months, 1500-ish deliveries) career, but for some reason I found that last order insulting. I drove over 20 minutes and stood in line for 5-10 minutes for one lousy ice cream? No way. After cancelling an earlier shift due to an app ‘freak out’, the disappointing per hour earnings and this incident, I was done. I declared my experiment complete. Luckily, it was early enough in the evening that I could actually DoorDash for a couple of hours.
Funny side note: The same night as the Postmates Cold Stone experience, I received the smallest DoorDash order of my career. A single $3.25 bakery eclair.
I got a good laugh out of it and delivered it without batting an eyelash. My girlfriend asked me how I could flip out over the ice cream but laugh off the éclair. It was a great question, and my only response is that the pastry came in its own self-contained box. It wouldn’t spill in the car. The pickup and delivery were in close proximity. And finally, I was confident that on a Sunday night, DoorDash would have another order for me shortly after. I know DoorDash and I trust DoorDash to give me an opportunity to make good money. It’s just that simple.
Below are my final stats for my Postmates experience, tips and all (click to see a larger image):
Postscript: At the end of February, upon delivering a meal to a customer, I got to talking to him for a few minutes. He said his friend works for UberEATS and is offering a $700 bonus if you drive for them for a certain period of time/deliveries. Would I want to try ANOTHER delivery service, this one owned by Uber, allegedly the Devil’s Favorite Entrepreneurs? Ehh, I’m thinking about it…The deposits came out $3.40 above my posted earnings. Based on estimates of the time I spent on my shifts, I spent 11.3 hours driving for Postmates, giving me a $14.09/hr wage. My average with DoorDash is $20.89. Oh well. I’m happy I took on this experiment, but I’m going back to DoorDash.
Until next time, drive safely!
Readers, do you drive for Postmates, DoorDash or both? What is your experience driving for delivery companies? Any questions for Dash he didn’t cover? Leave your question in the comments below!
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-Dash @ RSG