Food delivery app usage such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates grew exponentially over the last few years, and that means high competition to recruit the most drivers.
Food delivery apps are a two-sided marketplace. These apps need to have enough drivers in order to meet the needs of hungry app users.
Delivering food has become one of the best side hustles of 2021. You make your own hours, pick the deliveries you wish to make, and earn a handsome sum for the work you put in. However, with a plethora of delivery apps available today, it’s hard to decipher which one is the most lucrative option, and which one provides the best work environment.
There are a number of factors you should consider before choosing an employer. Therefore, in this article we have listed all the details you could possibly need to make an informed decision. You will learn details such as which apps offer the best pay and the most flexible schedule, as well as a list of pros and cons for working for each app. Scroll below to discover the best food apps to drive for in 2021.
1. Uber Eats
Uber Eats is an online food delivery platform that was launched in 2014 in California. Since its inception, the app has grown its operations significantly and operates in over 40 countries across the world today.
Uber Eats offers drivers a relatively flexible work structure. Drivers can choose to make deliveries as and when they like by simply opening the app and picking any available orders. The app doesn’t require drivers to schedule their work hours in advance, allowing them to work whenever they can spare the time. Drivers can make deliveries either on foot, or using vehicles such as bikes and cars.
Uber Eats Payment Model:
Uber Eats pays a base fee for each delivery that looks at the distance needed to be travelled, as well as adds payment for picking up, and dropping off the order. Drivers also get to keep 100% of the tips they earn. Uber Eats also pays bonuses to drivers for working during peak hours.
Pros For Driving For Uber Eats
- Uber Eats is one of the most widely spread food delivery services across the world. Since it is operational in most cities across the United States, there’s a high chance you can work for the company in the town or city you live in.
- Unlike many other delivery apps, Uber Eats lets drives enjoy a very flexible work schedule, where they can choose to take work as and when they like, instead of having to schedule their hours in advance.
- The app allows customers to pay tips through the app itself, allowing drivers to earn tips even when the customers don’t have cash.
Cons For Driving For Uber Eats
- The final pay for each delivery can be refigured during the order at times, creating a certain level of confusion.
- Uber Eats is known to take a larger percentage of commission from each order in comparison to other companies.
Postmates is a great delivery app that allows customers to order anything from groceries to takeout, and from board games to office supplies at any time of the day. Owned by Uber, the app was first launched in 2011 and currently operates in all 50 states in the United States. Postmates operates 24/7, allowing drivers to work at any time of the day they prefer.
Postmates Payment Model:
Postmates calculates the pay for each delivery by adding up the following fees:
- A fee for the time spent in the store waiting for the order
- A standard rate per mile traveled
- A standard rate for picking up the order
- A standard rate for dropping off the order
The pay for each driver also depends on which city they work in. Drivers can also earn additional bonuses by participating in challenges and delivering during high-demand hours. Postmates also allows drivers to retain 100% of the tips they make.
Pros For Driving For Postmates
- Postmates allows you to work at any time of the day. Therefore if you already have a day job and wish to earn some extra cash, you can easily work night shifts delivering for Postmates.
- The app provides a number of challenges that can allow you to earn additional bonuses.
- Postmates delivers a variety of things and is available 24/7, allowing drivers to pick from a larger number of orders each day.
Cons For Driving For Postmates
- Postmates isn’t available in as many cities as other apps such as Uber Eats.
- Some orders might be small, such as a cup of coffee, and offer a relatively low delivery fee.
- Customer support for drivers is considered to be limited in comparison to other apps.
Founded back in 2012, Instacart is an online grocery delivery platform. Instacart has experienced significant growth since it first began, and operates in over 5,500 cities across the United States and Canada today. The app allows customers to order from over 300 grocery vendors, and sign up for different subscription programs.
Instacart offers two types of jobs for delivery drivers. Employees can choose to work as
in-store shoppers or full-service shoppers. In-store shoppers solely shop for the orders made on the app and pack them in-store. Full-service shoppers do everything from shopping for the order, packing them, and finally delivering them to the customer. Drivers need to schedule their working hours ahead of time using the app.
Instacart Payment Model:
In-store shoppers earn a flat hourly rate that is disclosed in their appointment letters. They can earn anywhere between $9 to $16 per hour depending on their location.
Full-service shoppers tend to earn an average of $11 working during off-peak times, and $20 working during busier hours. Their fees also depends on their location, as well as additional factors such as how long it takes them to complete each order. Full-service shoppers tend to earn more than in-store shoppers.
Instacart drivers also earn bonuses when they receive 5-star ratings, and get to keep 100% of the tips they make.
Pros For Driving For Instacart
- Instacart offers two different work structures, allowing people who don’t have access to vehicles to make deliveries to work as in-store shoppers.
- Drivers can choose their own schedules ahead of time and organize their week.
- Instacart offers higher pay for drivers in comparison to many other delivery apps.
Cons For Driving For Instacart
- Instacart drivers are required to be able to lift up to 50 lbs to apply for a job.
- Drivers have to often carry heavy bags of groceries.
- Drivers have to schedule their hours in advance, and hence cannot choose to work as and when they like if they have some extra time.
Founded in 2013, DoorDash is an online food delivery app. The company currently operates in over 4,000 cities across the United States and Canada. DoorDash offers customers a list of over 450,000 vendors to choose from on the app, as well as options to schedule later deliveries.
DoorDash delivery drivers are known as ‘dashers.’ They can choose to schedule their working hours ahead of time, or use the apps ‘Dash Now’ feature to make unscheduled deliveries during busier hours. Dash Now allows drivers to benefit from higher pay during peak hours.
DoorDash Payment Model:
DoorDash drivers tend to earn an average of $20 per hour. The Dasher payment model calculates the final pay for each delivery by adding up the following components:
- Base Pay: The base pay looks at the time it takes to complete each delivery, as well as the distance needed to be traveled. Base pay also takes the desirability of an order into consideration and tends to range between $2 to $10 per delivery.
- Promotions: Promotions include challenges that allow drivers to earn bonuses for completing a certain number of orders in a specified period of time, as well as peak pay for delivering during busier hours.
- Tips: Dashers keep 100% of the tips they earn.
Pros For Driving For DoorDash
- The DoorDash app offers a default 15% tip for each order.
- Drivers can enjoy a flexible work schedule by scheduling their work hours in advance, but also being able to work when they want using the ‘Dash Now’ feature.
- The app offers a number of different ways to earn additional bonuses, incentivizing drivers to work more.
Cons For Driving For DoorDash
- Drivers can only access customers support via chat.
- Scheduled hours tend to fill up fast, leaving drivers with fewer options.
Similar to Instacart, Shipt is an online grocery delivery platform. Founded in 2014, the app allows customers to choose from a list of over 260 grocery stores across the United States today. Even though the app largely concentrates on delivering groceries, some orders require drivers to shop from stores such as Petco and Office Depot.
Shipt shoppers are required to wear a Shipt t-shirt while on the job. In order to apply, drivers must have access to a vehicle that was manufactured after 1997, be able to lift 40 lbs or more and provide auto insurance. Shipt shoppers are also required to have basic knowledge of fresh produce and have access to a smartphone.
Shipt Payment Model:
Shipt drivers tend to earn between $15 to $22 per hour. The pay for deliveries is based on commission. Drivers earn $5, along with 7.5% of the order amount in commission for each delivery they make. The total pay is shown on the app before picking an order.
Pros For Driving For Shipt
- Shipt Shoppers get free Shipt membership which is worth $99 a year.
- The app shows Shipt Shoppers exactly how much they will make for each delivery before they accept any orders. This allows them to choose the most lucrative option.
- Drivers can shop for multiple orders together to increase their earnings.
Cons For Driving For Shipt
- Compared to Instacart, Shipt is still not as widely spread across the country, and therefore isn’t available in a number of cities in the United States yet.
- Drivers need to carry heavy bags of groceries to make deliveries.
GrubHub is one of the oldest online food delivery services to exist across the world today. The company was originated in 2004 and currently operates in all 50 states nationwide. Customers can choose from a list of over 200,000 restaurants using the GrubHub app. In February 2020, the app began offering monthly subscription options for users.
GrubHub asks drivers to schedule their working hours ahead of time. They can choose blocks of hours each week using the app. The company urges drivers to stay consistent and monitors how many times they drop scheduled blocks of time within 72 hours of a shift. If drivers consistently keep dropping scheduled hours, they are barred from picking additional blocks of time in the following weeks.
GrubHub Payment Model:
The Grubhub ‘delivery pay’ takes the following factors into consideration:
- The time spent waiting at a restaurant to pick up an order
- The time taken to make the delivery
- The mileage required to complete the order
Along with the base delivery pay, the drivers also get to keep 100% of the tips they make for each order.
Pros For Driving For GrubHub
The GrubHub app showcases the exact delivery pay for each order, allowing drivers to pick the most lucrative orders to deliver.
- GrubHub offers great customer support for drivers, by providing live phone support in the United States.
- Similar to DoorDash, GrubHub sets the default tip amount to 15% for each order.
- The GrubHub app also showcases details for each order such as the pickup and delivery location. This allows drivers to choose orders that are most convenient to them.
Cons For Driving For GrubHub
- Unlike the other apps on this list, GrubHub doesn’t offer many incentives and challenges to earn bonuses.
- Drivers are required to sign up for a specific delivery zone to work in.
So which one is best to drive for?
Every food delivery app that made this list is a great company to drive for. There really isn't a clear winner as all of the top players in the game offer similar pay to compete with each other.
It really depends on what apps are used the most in your area. For example, where I live there doesn't seem to be a high usage for Instacart. However, almost everyone in my neighborhood orders from Uber Eats and Doordash.
Therefore, I choose to drive for Uber Eats and Doordash. That's right, I drive for these companies too! I don't deliver food full-time. I have enough on my plate running this blog and freelance writing.
However, I think driving for a food delivery service is a fun way to spend some of my nights on weekends. It's great money, and I have a lot of fun doing it.