10 min read

    10 min read

    Harry here. I get a lot of questions about the difference between Postmates and DoorDash. While they both deliver, as Dash says below, “stuff”, there are a few key differences for couriers. Today, resident DoorDash expert Dash Bridges compares the two companies’ onboarding, scheduling, delivering, pay and more so you can decide which company is right for you. Or you can hedge your bets and sign up for Postmates here and DoorDash here

    Hey everyone, Dash here. As you may know, I’ve been driving for DoorDash since September 2015. In February, I decided to change it up a bit and try driving for Postmates, another of a handful of app-based delivery companies here in the SF Bay Area.

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    It was a lateral move. Postmates isn’t Lyft or Uber. They’re not delivering people. They’re delivering… stuff. Food, usually. As a driver, I wanted to check out what’s similar and different between the two companies, with the added benefit of mining a few articles out of the experience! AND, if Postmates turned out to be a better experience than DoorDash, I’d convert.

    Oh, by the way…I want to be clear that I’ve never been paid or contacted by either DoorDash or Postmates for anything outside of normal driver earnings. No corporate contacts, no consulting, no favors. I’m just a dude in a Prius driving for dollars! So without further delay, let’s talk about it.

    I always say people should diversify their income by signing up to drive for delivery, & today we break down the difference between Postmates and DoorDash.



    September 2015 – it seems like it was so long ago! I remember answering an ad in Craigslist, of all places. I went to the DoorDash site and provided the basic personal information. I waited a couple of days for a background check and was then instructed to attend an onboarding meeting at the local DoorDash office.

    That night, Labor Day, 2015, I sat in a conference room with about 7 other guys learning about best practices. The leader told us what to do when arriving at a restaurant, how to greet a customer, who to call when there’s an issue, etc. That same night I waited around after the meeting to get my bag & t-shirt and start delivering immediately.

    👉Related article: Essential gear for food delivery drivers


    This past February I signed up through Postmates’ site. Similarly, once providing my information, I waited a few days while they provided a background check. Once I passed it, I received a care package.

    That care package included the following items:

    1. A Postmates bag.
    2. A Postmates credit card.

    As far as I can recall, the package never included information about what to do, where to go, or who to see. As an experienced DoorDash driver, I was comfortable picking right up with Postmates, but what about a newbie? Yes, the app is intuitive and easy to use, but even I felt mildly unprepared to represent Postmates out on deliveries.



    Schedules are available up to six days in advance, and show open slots in the regions of your choice. If a time is available, just schedule yourself right then and there. In my experience, my desired times are usually available. I have difficulty signing in when: a) it’s a busy period and I’m spontaneously trying to sign in and b) summertime, when part-time Dashers are home from college, customers are on vacation, and there’s not enough business to go around.


    As far as I can tell, there aren’t any schedules. Slide the slider to sign in. Slide the slider to sign out. It’s just that easy!

    Heat Map


    The Heat Map shows you which areas are busiest. Before you log in, they show you what regions are busy, as shown here:

    And when you’re mid-shift but between orders, it will show you certain hot spots within your region, like this:

    Until recently, the DD Hot Spots were static, always the same three or four areas within a region. Now they bounce around from restaurant to restaurant. At first I thought they were subtle advertisements, but maybe it shows restaurants that are busy that day. Still, I don’t particularly trust these hot spots.


    Now THIS is a Heat Map!

    That’s a thing of beauty! So detailed. So easy to read. It’s nothing short of spectacular.

    Order Frequency


    My detailed shift notes show that I’ve averaged 1.8 deliveries per hour in my DoorDash career. I’ve never had a month below 1.6 deliveries/hour.


    So far I’ve averaged a 1.5 deliveries/hour with Postmates.

    While the 0.3 difference may seem negligible, it’s a full 20% lower. All other variables being equal, it would calculate to earning 20% less, mean $16.00/hr vs. $20.00/hr. That’s significant!

    To be fair, it’s a small sample size.  I’ve worked Postmates for 13.1 hours vs. 900+ at DoorDash. So that average could noticeably increase or decrease. 


    Restaurant closed? Customer not answering their door? Realized you switched your Cheesecake Factory orders? Gotta call or text support!


    When I started at DD, support was only available via phone. Since then, support has become available through text as well. I’d describe it as…. adequate. Most experienced Dashers know all the contact and resolution tricks. Typically we only need support to officially cut us free from our existing delivery to move onto the next one.

    Problem is, we often wait a long time before the rep gets on line. The interaction also includes my biggest pet peeve of customer support, the overenthusiastic rep by way of over-written corporate boilerplate responses:

    (I begin texting)

    “Re: Tom R. order at Country Café…”

    “Hi, this is Bert, your Customer Service Rep. How may I provide you with outstanding customer service?”

    “I’m here at the restaurant and they closed at 10pm. They’re not going to make the food.”

    “I’m going to look up your order. If you could be so kind as to please hold while I look up the information.”

    “I called the customer and explained. Please credit the money to his account.”

    “It would be my great pleasure to assist in any way I can. Is this in regards to Tom R. at Country Café?”

    “(sigh) Yes. It’s resolved. Can you drop the order from my Dasher app?”

    “I am happy to do whatever is at my disposal to assist….”


    Oh, and early in my career I misplaced my DoorDash card and paid for a meal out of my own money. I then scanned the receipt with an explanation email to get reimbursed. I got my money back 1 or 2 pay periods later.


    The darndest thing about Postmates–after onboarding and working for them for 13 hours, I’ve still never received an email, support, or instructions from anything resembling a human being. It’s all been automated. I haven’t required any in-order support, so I can’t comment on that level of Postmates service.

    Once, however, I lost my Postmates card mid-shift (too many receipts in my pocket…I’ll explain later) and for efficiency I paid for the meal out of my own pocket to get reimbursed later. I emailed support twice but never received a reimbursement. To be fair, I later read in their FAQs that they won’t process reimbursements. Still, my case was pretty simple and would have appreciated an explanation either way.

    Receiving Orders

    As I’ve written in the past, a key factor in maximizing your earnings is the quality of the orders you receive. You’re going to make far more money averaging three miles for a $60 order than driving 12 miles on a $15 order. While drivers tend to accept the large majority of their orders, it’s helpful to understand the quality or potential of the assignment.


    This is a screenshot of a DD order notification. It succinctly provides me everything I need to know about an order.

    It provides me the restaurant, the order value, the total driving distance and my end point. I can think to myself, “Oh, this order takes me towards home. I’ll just make this my last one of the night.”

    (I took this order, btw. Long distance, but no traffic)

    👉Related article: Essential gear for food delivery drivers


    Here’s the sequence of screens for my Postmates order:

    I need to eyeball the distance and it’s only on the FOURTH screen, AFTER I’ve arrived, that I realize I’m picking up one lousy item. Buzzkill.

    Restaurant Interaction


    Most DoorDash restaurants have a corporate account that handles payments. Typically I’ll check the order then sign a printout confirming I picked it up. From time to time I’ll use my DD-provided credit card to pay for a meal. I swipe the card and that’s that. No receipt required.


    Some Postmates orders, like in the Veggie Grill sequence shown above, do not require a payment. Other times (more often than at DoorDash) I need to use my PM-provided credit card to pay for the meal. Once I pay the bill, I then need to punch in the total into a calculator, and then take a photo of the receipt and upload it. In a word, laborious.


    Pay Rate


    The rate is flat delivery fee + 100% of tips + any additional bonuses or boosts. Very straightforward. At the end of the day, you see this:


    Their FAQs describe the formula: flat delivery fee + 100% of tips + per minute waited rate at restaurant + per mile rate between pick up & drop-off location. What remains a mystery are the waiting & mileage rates. We can’t see them. We don’t know if they’re being applied correctly (or at all).

    As you can see, Postmates provides more per order information than DoorDash, but I don’t know what my earning mix is between fee/wait time/mileage, AND it’s been nearly 48 hours since I made that Veggie Grill delivery. I think I should be able to see tip/no-tip by now.



    Although they had numerous frustrating company-wide payment snafus last year, DoorDash’s payment system is now very consistent. A work week is Monday – Sunday, with payments for those weeks depositing the following Tuesday. I always know exactly what I’m getting paid, because I can access this:

    We’ve heard rumblings that DoorDash may roll out a system that pays Dashers more quickly, but nothing’s live yet.

    However, DailyPay does allow DoorDash drivers to cash out instantly. Sign up with DailyPay using our affiliate link here.


    Per info on their website, Postmates payouts occur 4-7 business days after completing a delivery. The timing disparity is due to a number of factors, including delivery completion time, bank processing time, etc. In my own experience, I can say that I delivered the evenings of:

    February 2, 7, 9, 12

    And was paid on:

    February 11, 13, 16, March 1

    I wasn’t counting on the money, so I didn’t pay much attention to the payments. But those dates certainly seem inconsistent. Plus, figuring out how much I got paid is wayyyy more confusing than it is with DD. Check this out:

    Why did I get paid on March 1 for a Steam (restaurant) delivery tip I earned on Tuesday, February 7? I’m sure this instance is a rare snafu, but in general my Postmates payments create confusion via TOO MUCH information compared to the simplicity of the DoorDash payments. Of course, you could say that DD isn’t proving they’re actually paying 100% of tips, but (naively, perhaps) I just trust that they are.


    While I tried to explain the driving differences in an even-handed way, it’s pretty clear that I’m Team DoorDash. From earnings potential to user interface to payment clarity, I think DD is the consistent winner. Of course, Postmates may have a stronger presence in your town or maybe you’ve found your niche doing certain Postmates runs. But for me, I’ve felt that I’ve put in enough time with both platforms to stay with DD 100% of the time and not look back.

    As always, drive safely everyone!

    -Dash @ RSG

    Readers, what’s your experience with DoorDash or Postmates? Is one company more popular in your city, or would you say your experience is more like Dash’s? And if you’re thinking of signing up with Postmates or DoorDash, I’d appreciate if you used RSG’s sign up links!

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    👉Read next: Essential gear for food delivery drivers

    Dash Bridges

    Dash Bridges

    Hey! I'm an independent contractor in Silicon Valley working Door Dash as a side hustle to my day job. I sincerely enjoy my work as a Dasher, but let there be no doubt, I am here to maximize earnings!

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