Can a delivery side hustle app help you earn consistent income but have flexible hours?
With so many delivery apps to choose from, should you deliver for Postmates? This review helps you decide if Postmates is the best use of your time.
Postmates lets you deliver food and merchandise with a flexible schedule. You can deliver by car, scooter or bike and request daily payment. But you should deliver during peak hours and on the weekends to earn the most money.
Table of Contents
- What is the Postmates Fleet?
- How to Make Money Delivering Food for Postmates
- Driver Reviews
- Helpful Tips for New Drivers
- Positives and Negatives of Postmates
- How Does Postmates Compare to Competition?
- The Bottom Line
What is the Postmates Fleet?
Postmates is a third-party delivery app that partners with restaurants and stores. Customers can order online from the Postmates website or mobile app. A Postmates Fleet driver (i.e., you!) delivers the order within minutes. You receive payment for each successful delivery.
Since you’re an independent contractor, you choose which hours you work. You can also deliver for multiple delivery apps at once. If Postmates is slow, you can search for orders on another app to keep making money.
Delivering on weekends and during peak meal times can be the best use of your time.
Below are the peak lunch and evening hours in most towns:
- Lunch: 11 am to 2 pm
- Evening: 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Simply sign into the Postmates app and wait for new delivery requests.
What Do You Deliver with Postmates?
It’s possible to deliver these orders with Postmates:
- Restaurant food
Most deliveries are for restaurants, but you can also deliver to various retail stores. For instance, you might deliver an order from Walgreens or the Apple Store.
Each city has different delivery opportunities. You can see which merchant you can deliver for before accepting an assignment.
This can be a fun way to make money by driving your car. You can also deliver by bike or scooter in some cities.
Where is Postmates Available?
Postmates operates in Washington, D.C., and cities spread across all 50 states. However, you likely won’t find Postmates in smaller towns that have few restaurants and stores.
But Postmates may be available in small towns that are major tourist destinations. Branson, Missouri and Sevierville, Tennessee, are two places that primarily cater to tourists.
Who Can Join the Postmates Fleet?
You can join the Postmates Fleet by meeting these basic requirements:
- At least 18 years old (21 years in some cities)
- Have a valid ID and Social Security number
- Pass a personal background check
- Access to a reliable car, scooter or bicycle
- Valid insurance for your delivery vehicle
Start the application process by downloading the Postmates mobile app. The Postmates app works on most Android and iOS smartphones. You will use the same app to accept delivery gigs after joining.
Postmates performs a background check for your criminal and driving history. Plus, you will also need to upload a selfie of yourself and a copy of a government photo ID.
You have the most delivery opportunities if you own a vehicle. Postmates doesn’t require a maximum age (i.e., 1999 or newer) like most delivery apps. But your car will need to be reliable and carry the minimum auto insurance for your state.
Also, it’s possible to deliver by scooter, bicycle or skateboard depending on where you live.
Postmates Fleet Welcome Kit
After joining, Postmates mails you a delivery bag and prepaid card welcome kit. In some cities, you can start delivering before receiving your welcome kit.
Some merchants require the driver to pay for the order at pickup. Postmates loads the customer-paid order amount onto your prepaid card. You scan the receipt to verify the order total to verify the customer doesn’t overpay.
Postmates Fleet App
Everything Postmates-related happens in the Postmates Fleet app. You use the app to join the fleet, choose deliveries, receive payment and contact customer service if problems arise.
The Postmates Fleet app works on most smartphones:
- Android: Operating system 5 or later (Lollipop)
- iOS: Operating system 10 or later
The app is easy to use, but minimalistic. Of the rideshare delivery apps, many drivers state that the Postmates app is the least impressive. The lack of features can be frustrating at times if you’re looking for delivery trips or need technical support.
The Postmates Fleet app has a 3.2 out of 5 rating on the Google Play store. This app has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on the iTunes App Store.
How to Make Money Delivering Food for Postmates
Restaurant deliveries are the most common way to make money with Postmates. Drivers also state you are more likely to earn customer tips on restaurant orders instead of non-food orders.
You can still make money delivering merchandise. However, these orders are less common, and it can be harder to earn a steady income if you don’t deliver for restaurants too.
Drivers will verify the identity and age of the person ordering age-restricted items. The customer will sign their name on your phone using the Postmates app as well. But it’s possible to only deliver for restaurants if you’re not comfortable with alcohol and cigarette deliveries.
What Restaurants Deliver with Postmates?
Many national chains and local restaurants partner with Postmates.
Some of the restaurants you may deliver for include:
- Chipotle Mexican Grill
- Firehouse Subs
- Krispy Kreme Donuts
Besides, it’s possible to deliver for local pizzerias, sushi bars, delis and ice cream shops.
Your delivery options are quite diverse. More local restaurants may partner with Postmates as additional customers order delivery due to social distancing rules.
For merchandise, you might deliver for PetSmart, Walgreens, 7-Eleven and others. You might be able to deliver groceries with some cities as well.
Each city has different restaurant options. The best way to get an idea of who you may deliver for is by looking at the restaurants in your local area.
How Do Drivers Make Money?
You make most of your money by completing deliveries. But there are several ways to earn bonus cash.
The bulk of your side hustle income comes from delivering food and merchandise. You earn a base rate for accepting each delivery plus pay for your time and miles driven.
You also have the opportunity to earn tips from customers. Postmates allows you to keep 100% of the tip amount. Fast deliveries and a friendly attitude can help you make regular tips.
Customers can leave a tip in the Postmates app or pay you with cash. However, as we gravitate toward a “cashless society,” expect to receive most tips in the app.
It’s common for delivery apps to offer a one-time cash bonus on your initial deliveries. For instance, you might earn a $325 bonus by completing 50 deliveries in the first 14 days.
How Much Money Can I Make Working for Postmates?
Postmates doesn’t state an average hourly rate that Fleet drivers can earn. Interviews from four drivers indicate you can make between $14 and $25 per hour, including customer tips.
Be aware that this hourly rate doesn’t include driving expenses or income taxes.
Example of Postmates Delivery Earnings
Postmates lists the base earning rate for each market. The rate is several cents higher in pricier cities. Four factors determine how much you earn per delivery before customer tips.
|Base Rate Category||Long Beach, CA||Panama City Beach, FL|
|1. Rate Per Pickup||$1.70||$1.20|
|2. Rate Per Drop-off||$0.70||$1.00|
|3. Rate Per Minute||$0.07||$0.07|
|4. Rate Per Mile||$0.51||$0.76|
You earn between $2 and $4 by picking up and dropping off the order. Postmates also compensates you for your travel time and distance.
If you drive six miles in 15 minutes, you can earn $7.81 in sunny Long Beach, California. The same order makes $7.81 in tropical Florida’s Panama City Beach.
All customer tips are separate from the base rate, but you won’t earn a tip on every order. Also, you may not see the tip amount you receive until 24 hours after you drop off the order.
Postmates may offer time-sensitive bonuses. For example, you might earn bonus pay if there is a driver shortage during peak hours. Another potential bonus is delivering after midnight. However, drivers state Postmates paused these bonuses.
How Does a Postmates Delivery Work?
Here is a three-step example of how a standard Postmates delivery works.
Accept Delivery Gig
The first step is accepting an assignment. The Postmates app notifies you of open gigs that are closest to your current location. While you can see what food you’re picking up, you can see the merchant name (i.e., Firehouse Subs) and the dropoff location.
You can reject the assignment if the assignment isn’t worth your time. For instance, the destination is too far away, or the restaurant rarely has the food ready when you arrive.
Pickup Food or Merchandise
The second step is picking up the order. You may need to use your prepaid card to complete the purchase. Make sure to bring napkins, condiments and utensils. Plus, your customer may mention other special requests in the order window.
You can notify the customer in the app when you leave the restaurant. Sending them a text message is also a good idea.
Deliver the Order
Follow the Postmates app navigation or use another GPS app to reach the destination. Mark the order as delivered in the app to receive payment.
Does Postmates Pay for Gas?
Postmates doesn’t reimburse your fuel expenses or commuting costs. While you earn a rate per mile between the pickup and dropoff, you should track the miles you drive.
You can claim the miles you drive as a tax deduction on your federal tax return. The IRS standard mileage rate is 57.5 cents per mile for business purposes in 2020. This deduction reduces your taxable income and can lead to a higher tax refund.
Postmates offers weekly and unlimited on-demand payments.
The weekly Postmates payment window is from Monday through Sunday. This weekly window closes at 11:50 pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) on Sunday night.
Postmates sends all driver payments on Monday morning. You can expect to see the funds in your account by Wednesday or Thursday. The exact day depends on your bank processing times.
Tip: Chime Bank is fee-free and lets you direct deposit up to two days early.
What if you need money now? Postmates let you request instant payment after each delivery. The funds transfer to your linked debit card with a minimum $5 balance. Most deposits are accessible within 15 to 30 minutes.
This feature costs $0.50 but can be worth it when you can’t wait for your check. You can request unlimited instant payments each day.
It’s worth noting that customer tips may be available for withdrawal right after a dropoff. But you may need to wait until the next day for the tip to appear if you want to transfer this cash too.
Several drivers from cities across the United States share their experiences about driving for Postmates. Their contributions are sprinkled throughout this Postmates review. These drivers all had positive and negative comments about Postmates (and food delivery in general).
Katie J. primarily receives restaurant orders rather than merchandise orders with Postmates. She enjoys the schedule flexibility and delivers during peak hours to maximize her time.
Joe F. likes the extra income that driving for Postmates offers. Being able to drive and see happy customers makes this a worthwhile side hustle. He recommends being in your town’s restaurant hot spots to get the best assignments.
Kevin H. states that the majority of his deliveries are for restaurants. He receives fewer offers for merchandise deliveries from Walgreens and the Apple Store than before. Also, you’re more likely to receive tips for restaurant deliveries than merchandise orders.
All three drivers recommend being strategic about which deliveries you accept. Being available on the app doesn’t require you to take the first request you receive if it’s not a good fit for you. Better routes can come if you deliver during peak hours.
What to Watch Out For
Each driver expresses the same negative drawbacks about Postmates. Postmates isn’t always the best app. As these drivers also deliver for other apps.
The most notable complaint can be the lack of delivery opportunities. Other delivery apps tend to be busier. As an independent contractor, you can scan multiple apps in your free time to accept the best request.
Postmates tends to pay drivers less than other apps because of the lack of bonuses. In contrast, other apps may offer bonuses during peak times when demand is high, but drivers are few.
These bonuses help the drivers earn between $20 and $25 an hour with other apps, but with Postmates, you’ll make between $14 and $20 per hour.
Also, the Postmates app has fewer features than other delivery apps. While the Postmates Fleet app isn’t hard to use, other apps provide a better experience. The ease-of-use makes it easier to calculate your potential earnings and search for open requests.
Helpful Tips for New Drivers
While you can jump in and start driving right away, these suggestions from Postmates drivers can boost your potential income.
Deliver During Peak Hours
You are less likely to have idle time when driving during your city’s peak hours. So if you hang out in your city’s restaurant district, you can quickly get to the pickup location. Note that Postmates only pays you when you’re delivering and not while you wait for a route.
It’s also possible to “stack routes” by delivering multiple orders on the same run. You may want to try this once you understand how delivering for Postmates works.
Be Selective About Routes
You can see the restaurant and dropoff locations before accepting a task. Keep in mind that long deliveries reduce your hourly rate as well as the chance of making tips.
Remember, your time is as valuable as the money you can make. So being selective can actually make it easier to make $100 a day–if that’s your goal.
Some restaurants are notorious for not having the food ready by the scheduled arrival time. And other places won’t prepare the food until you arrive as they require payment first. Learning which restaurants to avoid can be a process of trial and error at first.
In addition to knowing which restaurants to avoid, be picky about your travel distance. Most of your income comes from the pickup and dropoff rates. The more time you spend driving means less time you have to claim new deliveries.
Longer travel distances also increase the risk of traffic jams and hitting red lights. These delays make a long commute even longer.
Know Local Traffic Laws
You’re financially responsible for any traffic tickets you get while delivering. Specifically, know where and where you cannot park for pickups and dropoffs.
Illegal double parking and parking against the flow of traffic can result in a ticket. Or the traffic officer may place a boot on your car If you’re away from your vehicle too long. In either instance, the cost exceeds your potential income for that delivery.
Deliver World Class Customer Service
Making customers happy means you’re more likely to get a tip. These tips help increase your hourly rate. For instance, you might make $20 an hour instead of $15 an hour.
Here are some ways to increase the odds of getting a customer tip:
- Text the customer when leaving the restaurant in addition to updating your delivery status in the Postmates app
- Bring extra napkins, sauce and utensils
- Keep cold items separate from hot items, so each keeps its ideal temperature
- Choose shorter delivery routes to reduce wait time
- Leave a business card with your Postmates details
Positives and Negatives of Postmates
- Flexible hours
- Can deliver for food and merchandise
- Keep 100% of customer tips
- Instant daily payments are available
- Not all delivery requests are worth the effort
- Customers don’t always leave tips
- Instant payments have a $0.50 fee
- Other delivery apps can provide a better experience
How Does Postmates Compare to Competition?
Postmates is a legit way to earn part-time income. But how does Postmates compare to other delivery apps? Here is a quick comparison between Postmates and other apps.
Postmates vs. Uber Eats
Postmates and Uber Eats operate in many of the same cities but may have different restaurant partners. The better app can depend on which restaurants are in your city.
You may also be more likely to earn pay boosts from Uber Eats when delivering during peak hours or busy areas. These bonuses can increase your hourly pay.
Related: Read our Uber Eats review to learn more about this delivery app side hustle.
Postmates vs DoorDash
DoorDash is the favorite delivery app of the drivers contributing to this article. One reason why is that DoorDash tends to be the busiest app in most cities. DoorDash seems to be available in more small cities as well. The DoorDash driver app is also easier to use than the Postmates Fleet app.
Plus, you can earn more money as DoorDash offers a higher base rate for drivers. Also, DoorDash is more likely to offer delivery bonuses than Postmates.
Related Post: DoorDash Review
The Bottom Line
Postmates is worth joining to earn extra income. You can make the most money by delivering for restaurants. However, Postmates may not be the best option for your city. So you may need to join a second delivery app to find consistent income as Postmates can be slow at times.
Do you drive for other delivery apps? Do you think Postmates is worth it? Share your comments to express your thoughts.