Should you drive for rideshare or grocery delivery? Right now, that’s an important question on everyone’s mind. Gridwise, a driver and delivery assistant app, has broken down the numbers between rideshare driver earnings and grocery delivery earnings in this article below. Let us know if you’ve switched from rideshare to delivery (or are driving both!) in the comments below.

    There’s no doubt about it… the gig driving economy, like so many other facets of our society, has undergone a huge shift because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    If you’re a rideshare driver, you’ve noticed that reliable numbers of riders, eager for you to drive them from place to place, are much harder to find than they used to be.

    Meanwhile, the demand for food delivery has exploded.

    Not only are the traditional food delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates doing so well. Grocery delivery is also making a big splash in the gig-driving world.

    Grocery Delivery Demand

    Consumer surveys from Gridwise show that there is a 55 percent increase in the demand for grocery delivery over pre-pandemic levels, and most customers expect to continue ordering for grocery delivery, even if and when life goes back to “normal.”

    Demand for grocery delivery is so high, in fact, that Uber, in collaboration with its partner Cornershop, and DoorDash, have scrambled to launch their own grocery platforms in order to take advantage of the growing demand.

    Meanwhile, drivers on the Instacart and Shipt platforms have seen their share of driving work increase since the onset of the pandemic.

    But what does all this demand mean for drivers? Is it worth it for rideshare drivers to start grabbing up groceries to deliver?

    We put this post together to give you the objective facts about the differences between grocery delivery and rideshare, which could help you decide if grocery delivery is for you. Here’s what we’ll cover:

    • What is grocery delivery work like?
    • Rideshare and grocery delivery: Dollar-to-dollar earning comparisons
    • Grocery delivery as part of your strategy for maximizing income

    What is Grocery Delivery Work Like?

    As with rideshare and food delivery, drivers who want to work with grocery delivery can choose the companies they want to work for. Here’s some information about the major players.

    Instacart has jobs for full-service shoppers who are responsible for shopping for orders and delivering them. This requires a few complicated tasks, and all full-service shoppers have to meet certain requirements.

    The average hourly rate for Instacart shopper pay varies from $7 and $20, with an average of around $11. Read this blog post if you’re interested in learning more about working for Instacart.

    Shipt works a little differently than Instacart since customers pay for a monthly membership to get delivery service. If you shop and drive for Shipt, you’ll be able to schedule hours in your desired delivery area. You’ll get an estimated payout and description of each order, shop for the items in the order, and then make the delivery.

    The average earnings per hour for Shipt shoppers is around $15.

    Cornershop (similar to Instacart) enables customers to choose groceries at local stores using the Cornershop (or Uber Eats) app. Shoppers drive to the store, do the shopping, and deliver the orders. Earnings average from $15 to $18 per hour.

    DoorDash already handles grocery delivery for Walmart, and in August 2020 expanded its grocery delivery operation to include several other large grocery chains. Doordash drivers do not shop for groceries; they simply pick up the orders and deliver them, and DoorDash driver pay is between $10 and $15 per hour.

    Delivering groceries is quite different from rideshare. While you don’t have to deal with unruly or rude passengers in your vehicle, as a full-service shopper, you will have to meet physical demands rideshare drivers do not.

    Also, shoppers must do the grocery shopping, carry the groceries out of the store and pack them into the vehicle, drive to the customer’s location, then unload the groceries and haul them to the customer’s doorstep. Even if you’re doing delivery only, you’ll still have to carry the bags to customers’ doors.

    There are other issues grocery drivers must consider as well, like finding parking spots, and possibly dealing with customers who have minor complaints about the food you brought them. It’s different from rideshare, to be sure, and it has its good points and drawbacks. Now let’s see how it measures up in terms of financials.

    Rideshare and Grocery Delivery: Dollar to Dollar Earning Comparisons

    Earnings per hour

    The figures in this category are from April to September 2020. All median hourly income figures represent gross earnings including in-app tips, but show amounts before subtracting taxes and other expenses of doing business, such as fuel and maintenance, among others. For a more detailed look at rideshare driver earnings, read this blog post.

    Rideshare drivers earned an average of $19.67 per hour.

    grocery vs rideshare earningsGrocery delivery drivers earned an average of $14.64 per hour. This article provides more details about earnings specifically for Instacart shoppers. It’s worth noting that Instacart shoppers made considerably more than drivers that used other gig services.

    grocery vs rideshare earnings

    There isn’t a lot of difference in the earnings per hour between rideshare and grocery delivery work. But when considering the difference between the two jobs, rideshare is probably more profitable and often less taxing—as long as you don’t mind dealing with the idiosyncrasies of riders.

    Looking at the rest of the earnings categories tells more about the differences between the two kinds of gigs.

    Earnings per Trip

    From April to September 2020, rideshare drivers earned an average of $10.61 per trip.

    grocery vs rideshare earnings

    The average earnings per trip on a grocery delivery trip was a whopping $22.39.

    grocery vs rideshare earnings

    On top of the vast difference in the per-trip earnings, the other benefit grocery delivery has to offer is stability.

    Earnings per trip has remained at around the same level, in contrast to the fluctuations we see in rideshare. This is a very big advantage, and one that carries a lot of weight in the uncertain times we live in at present.

    Admittedly, grocery delivery trips take more time than most rideshare trips, so this earnings-per-trip number should be interpreted with that in mind. Nonetheless, average earnings of $22.39 per trip for grocery delivery is definitely not too shabby.

    Should Rideshare Drivers Add Grocery Shopping to Their Driving Strategy?

    If you’ve remained solely a rideshare driver in 2020, we know you’ve felt your share of pain. While there is evidence that business is starting to bounce back, there’s still a long way to go before rideshare driving returns to the stability and the levels of income potential we enjoyed in 2019.

    Here are a few things drivers should think about when deciding if grocery shopping is right for you.

    How COVID-19 affects your options

    The pandemic has brought rideshare drivers some new and concerning issues that didn’t exist before. One is your danger of becoming infected with COVID-19 every time you’re exposed to passengers in your vehicle. Another is the number of people who are now working from home; if they have their own vehicles, they’re likely to transport themselves where they need to go rather than sending for you.

    What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2020

    There’s no way to predict what the future holds, of course. But looking ahead toward the next few months, we can tell that many employers are in no rush to bring business back to normal. With offices closed, the reasons people used to need rideshare drivers have sharply declined.

    Restaurants and bars, for instance, aren’t staying open or reopening in every location. “Work from home” is no longer a novelty; it’s becoming more and more common, and in many cases a long-term corporate strategy.

    An August 2020 article on the CNBC Make It site elaborates on that issue. Will people be working from home forever? In some cases, yes. At the very least, corporations will be keeping their remote workers where they are right now, at least until sometime in 2021.

    Although you may not want to shift totally from rideshare to grocery delivery, to maximize your income you can do some of both.

    Work more than one rideshare or food/grocery delivery gig

    Affiliating with more than one company might open the way for you to get more riders, depending on the specials and discounts being offered at a certain time. At this point, the companies are rolling out lots of offers to customers. Check and see which of the services will attract the largest number of takers.

    You can find our list of the best food delivery services to work for here.

    Combine rideshare and delivery

    You’re a great driver, and you’re used to handling more than one task at a time, right? Of course, you are. So it only makes sense that combining rideshare with food and/or grocery delivery is a smart way to get around all the difficulties of our shifting work and entertainment habits.

    Drive passengers when you sense that people are moving around in your town. These days that’s most often during the daytime, but study your scene to be sure. During evenings and on weekends you’ll be consistently busy if you deliver groceries or prepared food.

    Some of these options may even allow you to become a “late-night hero” again. Think of all those smiling faces you’ll see while delivering sub sandwiches to hungry students burning the midnight oil.

    Gridwise Helps You Hold it Together

    Once your business is booming again—and it WILL boom again—how will you keep track of your earnings, mileage, and everything else you need to run a legitimate gig driving business with multiple apps running? Relax and let Gridwise take care of it all for you.

    Gridwise’s earnings and mileage tracking capabilities not only show you numbers; the app arranges them in easily decoded graphs, so you can track your progress and determine the best hours for working for different platforms. Take a look at these slick graphs.


    Just start tracking when you begin your shift, and the Gridwise app records your mileage. You can enter your earnings wherever you live, but soon, once our beta test phase is complete and the new features are picture-perfect, Gridwise will automatically link to your apps and sync your earnings info.

    Now you don’t have to wonder why Gridwise is called the ultimate rideshare and delivery driver assistant.

    And that’s not all. On our Perks tab, you get deals and discounts for drivers, easy access to our blog, and links to breaking news from the Gridwise YouTube channel. Follow us on Facebook too, so you can get in on great gas card giveaways, and share tips and musings with other gig workers.

    What did you say? You don’t have the app yet? Well, then… download it now!

    -Harry @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.