Harry here. One of the best ways to make more money, diversify your income, and yes, maybe take a break from delivering people for a little while, is to drive for on-demand delivery companies. But which one is “the best” for drivers? In Part One of a two-part series, RSG contributor Ezra Dubroff breaks down the pros and cons of his favorite delivery apps. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Stay tuned for Part Two of this series, where Ezra will discuss what it’s like driving for these delivery apps at once.
By now, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve officially entered the age of the on-demand economy. You’d be hard-pressed to find another modern industry more lacking in loyalty between company and worker. The only thing promised to a driver is payment for the work he or she has completed. And after the current ride or delivery is complete, there’s no guarantee there will ever be another, no matter the effort of the worker.
Given these conditions, I’ve adopted the same approach as the app companies. I have no absolutely no loyalty to any of them and will drive or deliver for whichever will pay me the most money at that moment. After all, I’m working as an independent contractor, so I might as well take advantage of that employment arrangement as best I can.
Since all of the app companies are essentially grappling for the services of the same pool of drivers and need us on the road in order for their businesses to operate, they have to remain somewhat competitive in what they offer. So if I’m going to go out and work, why not log into multiple apps to try and find the best opportunities? Seems like common sense.
While I prefer working for certain apps and tend to avoid others, I know that each app offers unique advantages and disadvantages, so I try to keep an open mind and always evaluate the opportunities presented to me.
My experience in the rideshare and delivery industry has taught me that no two days of driving are the same. One day DoorDash might be jumping and Postmates is dead. Another day UberEATS might be offering an incentive that’s too good to pass up. It’s in my best interest to go online with a number of the apps I’m signed up with and then make informed decisions about which order requests I’d like to fulfill. Hopefully, Mystro will add support for delivery apps sooner rather than later!
Keep in mind that local conditions, pay and other factors vary from one market to the next and my favorite delivery apps might not be the same as those of another driver. Having said that, I present you my current personal preference list for delivery apps as a driver in Los Angeles, CA:
- GrubHub provides extensive order info with the incoming request: pickup location, dropoff location and total payout to the driver, including tip (see screenshot below).
- Customer app encourages generous tipping at the time the order is placed (see screenshot below).
- Live & helpful US-based phone support while you’re on a delivery.
- Consistent order volume at meal times in my city.
- All orders are prepaid.
- I’ve never been offered any type of incentive from GrubHub. This is fine with me as I like their system, but I know some drivers prefer to pursue incentives.
- Scheduling: GrubHub encourages its drivers (almost to the point of misleading them to believe it’s required) to sign up for scheduled blocks. Being on the schedule guarantees minimum hourly earnings (only $11 in L.A.) but requires an 85% acceptance rate for the day. I never sign up for the schedule because I prefer the flexibility and independence of working when I want and accepting the jobs that make sense for me.
- Drivers are limited to a delivery zone chosen at initial registration. The zone I work in is huge, so it hasn’t been a big problem for me. But there have been times when I found myself outside the zone and wish I could deliver.
Sign up to deliver with GrubHub here.
- DoorDash provides the pickup location, dropoff location and total value of the order (NOT total payout like GrubHub) with the incoming order request. This allows a driver to “guestimate” what the tip might be, although there’s no way of actually knowing the exact amount (see example below).
- DoorDash customer app encourages generous tipping at the the time the order is placed (see example below).
- Per-job incentives are offered at the busiest times, sometimes as much as $3 extra per order with a minimum acceptance rate.
- Delivery payouts are a low flat rate ($5 in Los Angeles). Anytime there is a flat rate payout, someone is getting the short-end of the stick, and it’s usually the drivers. Because of this, I focus on orders with higher values since the tips will likely make the work worthwhile.
- Driver support is through a chat function in the app and in my experience has been unhelpful and too slow.
- Wild swings in demand in my market. Sometimes I’ll receive 2 requests a minute from DoorDash. Other times I’ll go 90 minutes without a request.
- Scheduling is required: DoorDash’s scheduling system limits the number of drivers in a certain area at a certain time. If it’s busy enough, the app will allow me to go online whenever I want. But if it’s not busy, advanced planning and scheduling is required.
Sign up to deliver with DoorDash using our affiliate link here.
- The most order requests of any app in my market (see example below).
- Postmates couriers can go online and work in any Postmates market at any time.
- The app encourages generous tipping post-delivery. I’ve received tips as high as $50 with Postmates because customers were pleased with the service I provided.
- Deliveries are paid based on waiting time and mileage, plus the Blitz price-multiplier will be activated at times of high demand, increasing earnings potential.
- Support is essentially non-existent. If there’s any confusion or problem, it’s best to get out of that delivery if you can because Postmates isn’t gonna help you. I’ve contacted Postmates a number of times for support over the years and can’t remember a single time they actually helped me or resolved an issue.
- The app encourages generous tipping post-delivery. Yes, I included this as both a pro and a con. Since the Postmates app encourages tipping after the order is delivered, it creates an easy out for customers to leave no tip, since they’ll never have to see the driver again. Because of this, I find I earn more total tips with GrubHub and DoorDash, which require the tip to be added at the time the order is placed.
- In addition to having the most order requests, Postmates also has the most “bad” order requests: Orders from Starbucks for one coffee, grocery stores, drug stores… These orders are generally time-consuming and not profitable, which is why I usually decline these jobs.
- The only order information provided is the pickup location and the order contents (order contents visible if motorcycle mode is enabled.)
Sign up to deliver with Postmates using our affiliate link here.
Disclaimer: I’m signed up as a Caviar driver and often open the app while I’m looking for delivery requests, but I have not yet completed a Caviar delivery.
- Delivery payouts seem fair and are displayed in advance of accepting or rejecting an order (see example below).
- Extra pay is added to deliveries at times of high demand.
- Very low order volume and very few restaurant partners = minimal earnings opportunities in my market. Though I have received a number of order requests from Caviar, none have made sense for me to accept based on my situation at the time. I’ve always been too far away or too busy with better options to accept a Caviar order request. Hopefully, Caviar will grow to the point that it’s a more viable option in my city.
Sign up to deliver with Caviar using our affiliate link here.
I’ve left UberEATS without a ranking because when I’m out delivering, I treat it as a separate animal. Since UberEATS pays drivers comparable rates to other delivery apps while also discouraging tipping, it really limits our earnings potential.
The best earnings opportunities I’ve found with UberEATS are through pursuing incentives like Quest and Boost. And since Quest offers require maintaining an acceptance rate, I’m unable to rock 3 or 4 delivery apps simultaneously and still meet that acceptance rate. So I usually save UberEATS for when there are great incentives offered and then just focus on UberEATS only (see example below of Uber Quest bonus earned through UberEATS deliveries).
The exception for me that would allow me to run UberEATS in addition to other apps would be if there’s a great Boost offered. Since Boost multipliers do not require a minimum acceptance rate, I could pursue UberEATS deliveries in addition to deliveries from other apps, while not worrying about an acceptance rate. (see example below of 2.4x Boost offer plus earnings from that day.)
You can sign up for UberEATS using our affiliate link here.
My favorite thing about delivering for multiple apps is that I have options. I have the ability to plan my day around driver incentives, if any are available, or I can just go out and deliver freestyle: open up several apps and only accept the jobs that seem most promising and profitable to me.
Now that we’ve covered the basic strengths and weaknesses of these apps, let’s hit the road and see if we can make some money. In part 2, I’ll apply this knowledge to real world situations and attempt to maximize my earnings while delivering for multiple apps.
Readers, do you have any questions for Ezra about the delivery companies he drives for, or anything you’d like him to cover in part 2?
Make Every Mile CountDid you know that every 1,000 business miles can generate $535 in tax deductions? Never miss another mile with the new QuickBooks Self-Employed automatic mileage tracker.
-Ezra @ RSG