Food-delivery services have risen in popularity over the last several years.

The premise is simple: order food from a restaurant or a third-party service and that third-party service delivers the food to your door.

It’s a great system for those who are unable to get out (due to transportation, health, or obligations), for the restaurants who get increased business (because they didn’t offer delivery and have little to no cost affiliated with that delivery), and for the delivery driver (who wants to make money). 

 

DoorDash logo Postmates logo

 

Two of the leading delivery services are DoorDash and Postmates. DoorDash is straight food delivery while Postmates will deliver food, drinks, grocers, and more.

Good Housekeeping ranks DoorDash #1 with Postmates at #6; however, Postmates recently merged with UberEats, which ranks #2. Those rankings are based on customer satisfaction rather than driver ratings, however. 

 

Does DoorDash or Postmates Pay More?

 

If you’re looking to make money, it is important to understand all the factors from start to finish. I’ll break down the differences in setup time and cost, delivery income and process, and flexibility and incentives. 

 

Setup time and cost

 

If you want to sign up to deliver for DoorDash or Postmates, you have to sign up. We can factor in setup time and cost because time is money. 

 

DoorDash

 

The setup process with DoorDash is pretty straightforward. According to their website

Potential Dashers need

  • a smartphone
  • transportation (no vehicle requirements)
  • a driver’s license
  • insurance.

Requirements to drive for DoorDash are to

  • be 18 or older,
  • have a car, scooter, bicycle, or motorcycle, and
  • pass criminal and driving background checks, and
  • have a driver’s license, insurance, and a valid social security number.

Potential Dashers have to 

  • submit application
  • choose driver orientation
  • complete sign up
  • get the app and go

In all, the DoorDash process can take 1-2 weeks. 

 

Postmates

 

The setup process with Postmates is similar. According to their website, potential Fleet members need

  • a smartphone
  • transportation (must be in your name and in good working order)
  • a driver’s license
  • insurance.

Requirements to drive for Postmates are to

  • be 18 or older,
  • have a vehicle,
  • pass criminal and driving background checks, and
  • have a driver’s license, insurance, and a valid social security number.

Potential Dashers have to 

  • sign up
  • wait for your free delivery bag and prepaid card
  • get the app and go

In all, the Postmates process can take 1-2 weeks.

 

Winner

 

Both processes take the same amount of time, but if you have a sub-par vehicle, you’re probably going to want to use DoorDash instead of Postmates. 

 

Delivery income and process

 

Delivery companies make money in a few different ways, but the drivers are paid as well. The process of delivery and getting paid is fairly similar. 

 

DoorDash

 

Dashers have an app on their phone that tells them of a potential order (from where, to where, and the tip amount).

The Dasher has the opportunity to accept the delivery or reject it. If they accept it, they drive to the restaurant, pick up the food, and drop it off at the address.

According to their website, Dashers are paid a base pay, promotions (see below), and tips. 

 

Base pay chart

Dashers receive their pay weekly, but if they opt to receive it immediately, they pay a $1.99 fee. The pay is through direct deposit into your bank account. 

 

Postmates

 

Postmates Fleet members (drivers) have the Fleet app on their phone that tells them of a potential order. They go through the exact same process as DoorDash until it gets to pay. Postmates uses a formula to calculate earnings that varies by city. Check here to learn more about earnings in a particular city and state. 

The earnings for each delivery include:

  • an amount for each completed pick-up
  • an amount for each completed drop-off
  • a per-minute-waited rate for the time you spend at the pick-up location
  • a per-mile rate for the distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations
  • 100% of the tips you earn

Fleet members receive their pay weekly, but if they opt to receive it immediately, the Postmates payout fee is only $.50. The pay is through direct deposit into your bank account. 

 

Winner

 

This category is probably the most important but the most complicated. If you’re looking for a simple, transparent calculation of your pay and usually a higher base pay, DoorDash is the winner. If you’re looking for a cheaper payout, Postmates is the winner.

 

Flexibility and incentives

 

Part of the allure of a food-delivery position is the flexible schedule. The incentives also go a long way in making these positions worth it. 

 

DoorDash

 

In general, Dashers are able to work whenever they want. They can schedule themselves for shifts, but those shifts might be taken if the market is busy.

There is an early-access scheduling option that is available to Dashers who meet certain requirements. There is also an option to pick up immediate deliveries instead of scheduling. 

Dashers open the app, receive an alert when an opportunity arises, see how much they will make from that delivery, and accept or reject the delivery. While you have the option to reject a delivery, keep in mind that it impacts your rating in the system.

 

Dasher Rewards

 

There are a few different ways to earn more money with DoorDash. 

  1. Sign-up bonus: There is a sign-up bonus available. Simply get the referral code from someone who referred you and meet the requirements in the first 30 days. The details on sign-up bonuses vary, but the referral code will likely yield the greatest payout.
  2. Referral bonus: Once you are eligible, you will receive your own referral code. Give that code to others, and you get a piece as well if they meet the requirements. 
  3. Busy or peak pay: During the busiest times of the day (lunchtime), you can receive additional pay as a bonus for navigating through heavier traffic and longer wait times. 
  4. Challenges: DoorDash has occasional challenges available through the app. 
  5. Promos and incentives: DoorDash offers occasional promotions and incentive programs to make a bit of extra money. It’s wise to watch the app for information.
  6. DoorDash Drive: Essentially if people or restaurants request you, you can receive additional funds. This process has a lot of caveats, so be sure to check out the details.
  7. Top Dasher Rewards Program: This program is for the top Dashers who meet certain criteria. The Dashers I know struggle with this program even though they constantly have good ratings and are extremely close to meeting the criteria. They say it’s always one little detail that keeps them from receiving this status. 

With all of these programs (not available all the time or in all locations), it’s easy to understand why people opt to deliver for DoorDash. 

 

Postmates

 

Postmates boasts more flexibility in scheduling than DoorDash. According to their website, Postmates drivers can schedule themselves anytime and adjust their schedule freely. Most of the reviews by drivers boast the flexibility as the best feature of Postmates.

 

Postmates offer

Postmates offers

 

There are several ways to make additional money with Postmates outside of their formula that are laid out nice and neat on their website

  1. Sign-up bonus: There is a sign-up bonus available. Simply get the referral code from someone who referred you and meet the requirements to make up to $1,000. 
  2. Referral Invites: Once you are eligible, you will receive your own referral code. Give that code to others, and you get a piece as well if they meet the requirements. 
  3. Promotions: Postmates is pretty transparent with their promotional programs. They are listed on the app under promotions. They are broken into active, upcoming, and expired categories (which shows how you did).
  4. Guaranteed pay or earnings: If you meet certain criteria but do not make the projected payout, Postmates covers the remainder. 
  5. Crushers: Complete a certain number of deliveries within a set time period and earn an additional payout bonus.
  6. Incentives: Postmates offers several incentives. The incentives, like the promotions, are available on the app directly. 
  7. Perks: Postmates perks are not directly linked to money but align more with savings. Postmates partnered with Stride to provide health insurance and tax assistance. 

 

Winner

 

Postmates is the clear winner in the flexibility category; although, some of us like scheduling, which helps us be more responsible. As far as incentives, DoorDash has more convoluted offerings than Postmates, but DoorDash’s calculation system is so much simpler and more transparent that I opt for clarity. However, Postmates wins all day long with their Stride partnership. 

 

Maximize your earnings

 

There are a few ways to maximize your earnings with these companies. 

 

Be great

 

It goes without saying that service is an area where you deal with the good, the bad, and the ugliest of people.

The customer is NOT always right, but you have to deal with them professionally.

I was a waitress for 16 years, and I cannot count the times someone was having a bad day, and I dealt with the crap they handed me with grace only to have them return the next week to apologize.

Most of the time, apologies come with tips or a new recurring customer. So be great even if the customer isn’t.

 

Look the part

 

We live in a shady world, so be present and mindful of the way you look. Dress with the shirt or hat of the place you are representing.

Both DoorDash and Postmates have branded gear, so invest in it.

Put your hair back or up. Wear deodorant. Clean your car (outside and inside).

Use the bag to maintain the temperature of the food. Use drink carriers. Look like delivering food is what you do for a living even if it’s your side hustle. 

 

Overdeliver

 

While you’re picking up the order, grab some extra napkins, plasticware, straws, condiments, and anything else you can think of that the customer may or may not need.

Text 2-3 updates per order. Be as close to your planned or scheduled arrival time as possible.

If the restaurant has coupons available or deals, bring those or let your customer know about them. Eventually, you can win over customers and restaurants to develop regulars who request you.

 

Be prepared

 

Bring some change for larger bills just in case the customer provides a cash tip and needs change.

So many people provide a cash tip in lieu of or in addition to a tip on the order (especially in smaller towns).

Be prepared to provide change for a larger bill, but stumble around for it to see if they give you the entire bill.

 

Rank high

 

Both DoorDash and Postmates have a ranking system; although, they are vastly different.

 

DoorDash

 

DoorDash is complex, including customer rating, acceptance rating, completion rating, amount of deliveries completed during the month, and the amount of lifetime deliveries completed. To qualify for their rewards program, you must have 

  • a customer rating of at least 4.7
  • an acceptance rate of at least 70%**
  • a completion rate of at least 95%
  • 100 completed deliveries during the last month
  • at least 200 lifetime deliveries completed

 

Postmates

 

Postmates is simple. Thumbs up for good service or thumbs down for bad service. Postmates theorizes that there are many things that can go wrong that are not the driver’s fault, so the driver shouldn’t be penalized for those issues. 

It boils down to provide good customer service and complete the jobs you accept. 

 

Do it all

 

Perhaps the best way to maximize your earnings is to work for as many delivery-based companies as you can.

You can work for DoorDash and Postmates at the same time.

In working in both of these positions, you’re an independent contractor, so you can choose who to work for and when.

Sign up and try them both for a while. See where the biggest earnings come in or balance both. 

 

Which one do I choose?

 

Ultimately, there are many factors that will help you decide if you want to make a choice between DoorDash and Postmates.

Your town may not have one or the other, so that makes your decision easy, but chances are, your town has both. 

If you’re looking for the greatest flexibility and incentives, Postmates is probably right for you.

If you’re looking for the greatest transparency and consistency, DoorDash is probably right for you.