In the world of gigging and on-demand delivery, DoorDash and Postmate are giants.
Both of these delivery companies have an army of couriers, all independent contractors, ready to bring customers their food fix at any hour of the day.
For diners, there’s little difference in how the DoorDash or Postmates app works. But for drivers, there are some major distinctions between how these two food delivery apps operate.
This review article will break down the driver experience for each app, letting side hustlers know how they compare when it comes to driver requirements, pay, field support, customer demand, and overall experience.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Services
DoorDash is the most widely known and widely available food delivery service in the U.S. It operates in over 7,000 cities throughout the United States and Canada, and has more recently expanded into Australia and Japan.
DoorDash drivers, called Dashers, pick up customer food purchases from national chain, local, and fast food restaurants and then deliver it to the customer at their home or work address. They can also pick up and deliver select groceries and household goods from stores like PetSmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, or Home Depot.
There is a delivery fee for each order, or customers can purchase a DashPass which offers no-fee delivery from eligible restaurants and stores. The pass is $9.99 when billed monthly, or customers can save more by purchasing an annual plan for $59 (which works out to $4.91 a month).
Postmates is the app known for delivering anything legal at any time of the day – if you live in a city that has Postmates coverage. This could include a pack of Twinkies and a bag of men’s tube socks at 3 o’clock in the morning.
A few years ago, the rideshare app Uber acquired Postmates in a move to expand restaurant and merchant coverage to customers along with providing faster service and improved customer recommendations.
It has a wide footprint throughout the U.S., with Postmates available in most medium and large metro areas.
There is a service fee with each order, or customers can purchase a Postmates Unlimited subscription. For $9.99 a month, diners can get free delivery and 5% off orders from select restaurants and supermarkets for orders of at least $15 or $30.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Pay
Both DoorDash and Postmates pay drivers on a per-order basis and not a set hourly wage. When these drivers talk about their hourly pay, they are taking their total weekly pay and dividing it by the number of hours they’ve worked that week to reach a per-hour figure.
Hourly earnings can vary greatly from one week to the next, or even for different shifts within the same day.
Let’s go into what goes into driver pay for each app.
The DoorDash website says their drivers average a generous hourly wage and keep 100% of their tips. Hourly pay can vary greatly from driver to driver, with much of the variation driven by different markets. Overall, wages are better than or comparable to pay for other food delivery services like GrubHub or Instacart.
Dasher pay is based on a driver’s base rate which can vary based on any promotions like Peak Pay or driver challenges, and customer tips. Minimizing downtime between orders and moving quickly are both key to maximizing your pay.
Postmates calculates delivery driver pay in a similar way. Drivers earn a base pay with each order based on location or market area, mileage, and delivery time.
Before its acquisition by Uber Eats, Postmates was known for its transparency in the exact formula used to calculate based pay. It was also known for its strong referral and new driver bonuses, as well as special crusher bonuses.
Postmates drivers still earn a base fare that’s based on the amount of time it will take to complete an order, but how they reach the amount is not as open.
The base fare may also include a “trip supplement.” This is added pay for extra drive time or other factors to make otherwise undesirable orders more “worthwhile.”
Postmate drivers can also earn Boost and Surge pay bonuses for working during periods of high demand.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Sign-Up Process
The sign-up process is pretty straightforward. Check to see if DoorDash is available in your area, and then apply online to deliver.
You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, including name, address, and Social Security number (SSN), and undergo a background check.
After you submit your application, it may take 1 to 2 weeks before you can begin making deliveries. DoorDash must complete the background check and then send you an activation packet in the mail, which will include a prepaid card for select restaurant orders and an insulated bag for deliveries.
DoorDash is one of the best delivery apps because it pays a minimum rate per delivery (DoorDash will make up the difference if your pay per delivery is below their threshold!), and encourages generous tips that you keep fully.
The sign-up process for a side hustle with Postmates is very similar. Apply online to deliver, provide your name, SSN, and address, and consent to a background check.
If you’re approved, Postmates will also mail you a new driver packet which includes a prepaid card and insulated delivery bag.
The wait time, from application submissions to making your first delivery, can take 1 to 2 weeks.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Driver Requirements
Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have an iPhone or Android to download the Dasher app.
Any car is eligible to make deliveries, and scooter or bicycle delivery may be available in select metro areas. Drivers are required to hold a valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance that meets minimum state or local insurance requirements.
Driver requirements are similar for Postmates. Drivers must be 19 years old to make delivery by car, or at least 18 to deliver by bicycle or by foot in markets where those transportation methods are offered.
A valid driver’s license is required for car deliveries. Other couriers must have a government-issued I.D. to make on-foot or bicycle deliveries.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Scheduling
DoorDash has two different scheduling options for drivers. You can schedule your hours in advance in the app, or select the DashNow feature. With DashNow, you log in when you feel like it and pick up available orders – no pre-planning or shift scheduling involved.
Most drivers plan to use DashNow. They regularly count on certain days and times being lucrative, and will just log on then, select DashNow, and find plenty of orders available. The best times to dash are meal times, weekends, and occasionally late-night hours after the bar rush.
Postmates delivers anything at any time to customers, which means drivers can work any time of day on any day of the week. If you’re a night owl or an early bird, this could be a competitive advantage.
While lunch and dinner hours are commonly the app’s busy times, there is still money to be made in the off hours with this popular delivery service.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Delivery Process
For both services, when you’re ready to make deliveries, log into the app and see what orders are available in your area.
With both DoorDash and Postmates, you’ll have an insulated catering bag to keep food hot. You’ll also receive turn-by-turn driving directions for the restaurant and customer address, and a prepaid card in case you need to place the customer’s order on-site at the merchant’s.
Within the DoorDash app, you will see available orders and the guaranteed delivery payout. A driver has 45 seconds to tap “Accept” for an order they want to drop off.
You can decline orders too if the pricing seems too low for the time it will take or if it involves driving to a busy area during rush hours.
Accepting orders is one metric in how DoorDash evaluates a driver’s performance and it’s good to keep your overall acceptance rate high. That said, that figure matters less than it did a few years ago, and many drivers disregard that metric altogether.
Postmates is similar to DoorDash. You’ll see available orders in the app and have 15 seconds to accept or decline any given order.
Drivers have found that customer ratings and cancellation rate are the two metrics that matter to the platform in terms of available deliveries and remaining in overall good standing.
Cancellation rate means canceling or terminating a delivery after you have already accepted it.
DoorDash vs Postmates: App Experience
With both apps, downloading and using the apps is how you’ll pick up deliveries, request payment (including direct deposit and fast pay options), find navigation directions, and more.
You don’t need to have the latest model smartphone to use either app; it just has to be new enough to support the latest app releases.
For Apple smartphones, you must have an iOS (operating system) of 15.0 or more recent. Overall, the iOS app provides a good user experience for Dashers. The app has a 4.7-star rating based on over 2.4 million reviews.
In Google Play, the app has an average 4.3-star rating based on over 250,000 reviews. Drivers complain of glitches, bugs, and crashes. However, there is more variability with Android devices being used. Newer devices with more RAM will deliver better performance.
With Postmates, it’s a similar split user experience. Apple store reviews are quite high for the driver app whereas Google Play Store reviews are mixed.
For iPhones, iOS 15.0 or newer is required. The app has an average 4.8-star rating based on over 2 million reviews.
In Google Play, the app has an average 4.3-star rating from over 219,000 drivers.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Driver Support
As a food delivery titan with a large USA presence, DoorDash offers its Dashers many ways to directly contact driver support. This includes phone support by calling 1-855-431-0459, chat support, email assistance, and in-app support as well.
In response to COVID-19, Door Dash began offering drivers the option for contactless delivery. And at the height of Covid, “sick leave” pay was also offered.
Additionally, amid skyrocketing fuel costs, DoorDash offered a temporary weekly gas bonus of up to $15 per week. It was meant to offset fuel costs for high-mileage drivers. Similarly, DoorDash drivers who use the DasherDirect Visa debit card can earn up to 10% cash back on gas purchases.
Postmates’ drive support is less than ideal. The average delivery person won’t need to contact support often, but when they do need to, there’s no phone number to reach Postmates support.
Instead, drivers will need to review the driver help FAQs or send a support email. Rideshare Guy and similar side hustle resource sites have videos, articles, reviews, and related posts with helpful tips that many drivers find useful.
The app has also taken voluntary measures to support drivers amid rising gas prices, including adding a temporary fuel surcharge of up to $0.45 per delivery. They also offered financial assistance during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
DoorDash vs Postmates: Demand
Both DoorDash and Postmates are available in nearly every major city and suburb in the U.S., but DoorDash has a significantly larger share of the market. DoorDash commands a 65% market share compared to Postmates with 2%.
This means that Dasher drivers may be busier. The app’s Goliath market share means customers order from DoorDash more frequently, requesting more deliveries and necessitating more drivers. DoorDash has over 32 million subscribers, and its goal is to reach subscriber adoption rates in line with Amazon and Netflix.
While Postmates has a smaller market share, it does offer a more varied driver experience with a broader range of merchants and goods that customers request. And the app has a smaller but hugely devoted following.
The app has over 9 million subscribers throughout the US, ordering over 5 million items per month. This is a solid stronghold.
Postmates and DoorDash are two of the best food delivery apps out there. Neither one can steer you wrong for ordering a milkshake and tater tots at 1 o’clock in the morning, but for DoorDash drivers, you may find more late-night orders coming your way.
The pay, work hours, and peak demand times are very similar for both Postmates and DoorDash. So it may come down to trying both hustles and seeing which one you like best.