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11 tips and tricks on how to make the most money with Postmates

Postmates is among the largest and most popular on-demand delivery services in the US. As a result of its growth and expansion, the platform has been continuously looking for new Postmates / delivery drivers. And while it doesn’t require much skill to join the fleet of Postmates, beginner delivery drivers usually make the same mistakes. Despite their efforts, they waste precious time and spend more money on gas than expected. All of this can spark disappointment in the platform—maybe after just a few days using the app. However, it doesn’t have to be like this! 

Check out the tips and tricks listed below that will help you become a more efficient and productive delivery driver. It doesn’t matter whether you look for full-time, part-time, or only casual work. Besides ideas on how to maximize your earnings with Postmates, you’ll also get introduced to other delivery platforms. As most of the delivery service apps don’t require exclusivity, several drivers work with multiple platforms simultaneously. Why couldn’t you do the same?

 

deliver with Postmates

Courtesy of Postmates. Nearly anyone can work with Postmates. What motivates YOU to join?

1. Know your city

Newbies usually rely on GPS to find the right restaurants, stores, cafés and other pick-up (and drop-off) locations when starting out as a delivery driver. Even though navigation systems inform you about the shortest route or even road closures, you should know your city inside out: What are the shortcuts most people don’t know? Which are the busiest roads? What are the most favored places to order from? What are the rush hours? 

Experienced delivery drivers suggest you don’t waste time by driving around aimlessly. What to do instead? Visit the area (an avenue or a hub) where a number of chains welcome customers. The more you deliver, the more knowledge you acquire about your city—and its popular restaurant, bookstores, supply stores, cafés, and so on. 

2. Check the Postmates Fleet app for hot spots

Have you just moved to the city and you don’t know the popular stores and restaurants? In this case, use the Postmates app to identify all the busy areas and the best times to go online. The darker the dots the better! Stay nearby to receive more orders, and even accept multiple ones.

TO BE NOTED: The app uses data collected prior to your shift, so it doesn’t show real-time data. It doesn’t tell you where most of the deliveries are expected when you go online. It only gives you an idea about what places enjoy popularity among customers. 

3. Pick up offers close to your location

You should pick up orders from locations that are closest to you. Why? You don’t get paid while on your way to grab an order, so try to not exceed an 8-minute drive each time. The delivery fee only covers the time frame between the pick-up and drop-off locations. If an order is too far away from where you are, maybe you should skip it. 

Also, take into consideration eventual construction work and other factors that might make your journey last longer than what the GPS suggests. It certainly helps if you’re familiar with the streets, as mentioned already.

4. Pick up and deliver multiple orders

Another tip on how to make the most money with Postmates is to stack deliveries. Most of the time you will have to wait for some orders to get ready. Sometimes maybe half an hour or so. In the meantime, you could complete another delivery somewhere close by.

Accepting multiple delivery requests enables you to reduce the number of minutes wasted in parking lots. Postmates promises one-hour deliveries, so if you drop off the items within the given time period, you have nothing to worry about.

how to make the most money with Postmates

Courtesy of Postmates. The darker red areas indicate the hot spots in a particular city.

5. Deliver during Blitz hours

Blitz pricing occurs when the demand for deliveries is high. Delivery drivers earn more per delivery during Blitz hours. It works exactly like surge pricing, only it refers to specific deliveries. It is on an order-by-order basis, so there is no guarantee that all your deliveries in a particular hour will have a Blitz price. 

Just a hint: Blitz pricing is more common during lunch- and dinnertime, so when most people order food. Since you will deliver all types of goods with Postmates, Blitz pricing may take place in the late evening on a national holiday, for example. (Don’t forget that you can only deliver alcohol if you’re at least 21.)

6. Find out which restaurants/stores offer free deliveries

Sometimes merchants offer free deliveries to customers. Why? Perhaps they have just opened the store/restaurant and want to attract customers. If it’s a restaurant, maybe the owners would like to sell all the food instead of throwing it away. Or a national holiday is coming up and this is how they celebrate it. Veteran delivery drivers say Postmates users often choose places with free delivery. Locate these places in the app and/or keep an eye out for ads shared online and offline.

7. Provide excellent customer service

Postmates delivery drivers earn base pay, around $4-$6 per delivery. Most experienced Postmates emphasize that the larger percentage of their pay comes from tips. Therefore, they suggest you always go the extra mile and give the best customer service to each and every customer. Some of them say that those who order more tend to leave more generous tips

how to make the most money with Postmates

Courtesy of Postmates. Always check the order before leaving the restaurant, you don’t want to miss that extra sauce.

8. Enjoy the perks

When joining Postmates, don’t forget to enter the referral code that will give you a sign-up bonus. It varies from city to city, maybe from month to month. If you complete 10 deliveries a month, you may become eligible for Postmates PerkSpot. 

PerkSpot offers you discounts and other benefits at great local and national shops. Through a partnership Postmates has secured with TIKD, you can also get a discount on your first ticket. However, we sincerely hope you will never need it. 


You may also like this: 11 Social Benefits Gig Workers Should Know About

9. Minimize your costs

To make the most money with Postmates, you must cut on your expenses: don’t drive extra miles between deliveries. To join the fleet of Postmates, you don’t have to own a posh car, just need one in a good condition. Some tools, specifically designed for freelancers and independent contractors, can help you find the cheapest gas stations in your city. 

What else can you do to save money on gas? Switch to another vehicle whenever you can. With Postmates, you can deliver by bike, scooter, car, van, truck, etc. The available options vary from city to city.

An extra piece of info & a trick

Postmates only see the items ordered after saying yes to a gig. But if you ride your bike, motorbike or scooter, you’ll see more details about the order before accepting it. Why is it like that? Riders must know whether they have enough space to transport the orders. Switch to any of this vehicle while sitting in the car to get more details about the order. 

10. Think about taxes

Postmates delivery drivers work as independent contractors. Although Postmates and other companies have started to offer some benefits for drivers and delivery drivers, you won’t receive those given to full-time or part-time employees. You need to file your taxes on your own. Save at least 30% of your earnings to have enough money to pay your taxes during tax season. Research what items you can deduct from your taxes.


You may also find this interesting: What Should Freelancers and Gig Workers Know About the New Law in California?

11. Read our blog & talk to others

Check out our other blog posts written for delivery drivers and others working as independent contractors or freelancers. It’s worth diving into our community stories. Aside from tapping on your screen, get in touch with other delivery drivers in your city—or online. We’re sure longtime delivery drivers have come up with some other strategies and tricks.


You may also find this interesting: 10 ways to turn your car into a money-making machine

12. Check other delivery apps like Postmates

delivery with DoorDash
Courtesy of DoorDash. Take your time and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of transportation.

In addition to Postmates, you have numerous other options to earn money as a delivery driver. Despite the popularity of Postmates in the US, it might not work for you at all for some reason. Maybe you don’t meet all the requirements, or people in your city love another app much more. The number of platforms facilitating deliveries is still growing and well-established companies don’t stop expanding. 

Check out what companies cover your area here, or simply go through the list below to learn about some of the most popular delivery companies of today. Some of these platforms have developed a feature built in their apps that allows delivery drivers to request payment on the same day.

1. DoorDash

DoorDash delivery drivers, aka Dashers, mainly deliver orders from restaurants. You have to select your hours and areas beforehand. Unless DoorDash needs more Dashers in one particular part of town, you can’t get Dashes in unselected areas. Read more about how to become a Dasher here.

Average pay: $15-$25 per delivery. Your total income is calculated as follows: base pay (a minimum of $2) + promotions + tips.

Requirements for Dashers:

  • At least 18 or older
  • Mode of transportation: car, scooter, or bicycle (in select cities)
  • Valid driver’s license 
  • Social Security number (only in the United States)
  • Consent to a background check
  • No more than three moving violations in the last three years
  • Driving record free of major violations

2. Shipt 

Shipt is a membership-based marketplace. Members can order groceries through the app and get them delivered by Shipt Shoppers to their doorstep. Shoppers accept or reject requests, set their hours, work as often as they want to, and enjoy Free Shipt membership. They receive all relevant information via the app: shopping lists, the chosen store (Kroger, Target, etc.), delivery time, etc. As members usually order fresh produce, you should have a basic knowledge of fruits and vegetables. 

Average pay: The platform says shoppers can earn $16-$22 per hour, which is a gross amount.

Requirements for Shoppers:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have access to reliable transportation (car year of 1997 or newer) and car insurance coverage.
  • Must have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Must have knowledge about hand-picking fresh produce
  • Must provide their own insulated cooler bag
  • Must be able to lift 40 pounds
  • Must be familiar with using an Android (5.1 or newer) or iPhone (10 or newer)

3. Uber Eats

Uber Eats specializes in food delivery. Delivery drivers choose their own hours and means of transportation (bike, scooter, or car). Bike delivery is not an option in every city. Some people drive with Uber and deliver with Uber Eats to earn more money.

Average pay: Delivery drivers usually make $10-$14 per hour, which is a gross amount.

Requirements for Uber Eats partners:

  • Mus be least 19 years old
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Need a car that is 2000 or newer

4. Grubhub

Since its launch in 2004, Grubhub has served millions of hungry customers and become one of the most popular apps. The platform focuses on food delivery, thus connecting customers, restaurants, and hard-working delivery drivers who make their own schedules. They either schedule blocks in advance or turn on the app and accept deliveries at any time when their market is open. The platform encourages drivers to schedule their shifts. 

Average pay: $20.48 per hour, which is a gross amount.

Requirements for Drivers:

  • Must be at least 19 years of age
  • Must have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance for drivers
  • Valid state ID or driver’s license for bike riders
  • Must have a smartphone (iPhone with iOS 11 or later or Android with 5.0 or later) with a data plan 
  • Must have a checking account for direct deposit

5. Favor 

delivery with Favor
Courtesy of Favor. Runners transport all types of items for a great variety of stores.

Favor is available in the main cities of Texas and some other places (Eugene, New York City, etc.) in the US. Through the platform, people can order anything from food to clothes. So-called Runners, who work part-time or full-time, deliver the purchased items. Some people Run with Favor to supplement their full-time income, pay off student loans, or go on vacations. 

Average pay: Runners tend to make $12-$18 per hour, which is a gross amount.

Requirements for Runners:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have a smartphone
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must have reliable transportation
  • Must have a clean record

6. Caviar

Caviar is another platform where people can order food. Couriers enjoy great flexibility and choose their own hours 7 days a week between 8 a.m. and 11.30 p.m. They pick their own vehicle (car, truck, bike, scooter, or motorcycle). Different areas have different options. The company is growing rapidly and planning to reach new markets in the near future. Hopefully, your hometown as well if it’s not there yet.

Average pay: Caviar Couriers can make $18-$25 per hour (gross amount) and get paid instantly using the Cash App.

Requirements for Couriers:

  • Must be at least 18 years
  • Must have access to a reliable vehicle
  • Drivers must have 2 years of driving experience
  • Must have a smartphone to use the Caviar app
  • Must pass a background check

7. Deliv 

Deliv offers same-day delivery service for people purchasing items from retail stores, pharmacies, department stores, and many more. The platform works with drivers representing groups such as stay-at-home parents, retired people, professional drivers, college students and others. (It seems the company doesn’t accept applications at the moment; we checked it in July 2020).

Average pay: Drivers earn $15-$22 per hour (gross amount).

Requirements for Drivers:

  • Must be 18 or older
  • Must have a vehicle (car year 1988 or newer)
  • Must have one year of driving experience
  • Must have a smartphone with a data plan
  • Must speak English fluently
  • Must have good customer service skills
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Must pass a background check

8. Instacart

delivery with Instacart
Courtesy of Instacart. What kind of Instacart shopper do you want to be?

Instacart has a lot in common with Shipt; it’s another platform that works with shoppers. The main difference is that you can join Instacart as a Full-Service Shopper or as an In-Store Shopper. Full-Service Shoppers work as independent contractors who shop and deliver goods. They set their own hours and must have access to a vehicle. In-Store Shoppers are part-time employees working flexible hours in stores. They only shop, so they don’t have to drive anywhere. 

Average pay: Shoppers make about $9-$18 per hour (gross amount), but it varies by city.

Requirements for Shoppers:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be eligible to work in the US
  • Must have consistent access to and be able to effectively use a recent smartphone (iPhone 5 / Android 4.4 or newer)
  • Must have the ability to lift 50 lbs with or without accommodation
  • Must have consistent access to a vehicle (only for Full-Service Shoppers)

9. EatStreet

As its name suggests, EatStreet has been launched to connect diners and their favorite restaurants. The company is available in 250 cities throughout the US. As opposed to other platforms, it doesn’t work with independent contractors but hires people as W-2 employees who do shifts as they wish. 

They are paid daily through DailyPay. They’ve given the opportunity to advance their career and receive discounts at Verizon, Anytime Fitness, Valvoline, and Jiffy Lube. The platform also offers voluntary dental and vision insurance and voluntary accident coverage to eligible employees.

Average pay: Drivers make around $5-$23 per hour, but it’s location-dependent.

Requirements for Drivers:

  • Must have a reliable vehicle and clean driving record
  • Must have valid driver’s license and insurance
  • Must have a smartphone
  • Must be able to work nights and weekends is preferred
  • Must be able to work well independently, have a great attitude and willingness to learn

FAQ

How much money can you make with Postmates?

Postmates serves several markets, mainly urban (metropolitan) areas. The level of daily earnings varies from place to place. Postmates have stated that delivery drivers can make up to $18-$25 per hour. (This is a gross amount.) People driven with Postmates say one can earn ca. $10-$18 per hour (before expenses such as fuel consumption, taxes). Deliveries usually pay $4-$6excluded tips. As written in section 7, most of the income made by Postmates comes from tips. If you work 8 hours a day, you may earn a gross amount of $120 (8×$15).

🚘What does Postmates pay per mile?

The base pay is $1.35 per order. Drivers also earn $0.10 per minute while waiting at the restaurant and $1.03 per mile between the pick-up and drop-off location. Drivers get to keep 80% of the delivery fee added to each order. Postmates customers are encouraged to leave a tip (5%, 10%, 15% or 20% of the delivery fee).

💵 How to get larger tips on Postmates?

- Look professional and be presentable: wear nice clothes, carry the food and drinks in your Postmates delivery bag.
- Know your orders: check whether or not the employee at the store/restaurant has handed everything over to you.
- Communicate well: send updates to the customer a couple of times. 4. Ask for extra condiments, napkins, etc.
- Keep the cool and warm stuff separate. (This makes lots of sense, right?)
- Give the receipt to the customer. (They say it encourages them to leave you a tip.)

Is it worth driving with Postmates?

There is no simple answer to this question. It truly depends on whom you ask. A few people who have delivered with Postmates say the platform is more for students and freelancers. Why? They can easily deliver a few hours a day and make some extra cash without the pressure of pocketing a large sum every day. If someone is searching for a high-paying job, they may give a pass on Postmates. Yet it’s better to gain some experience yourself to conclude whether or not this is what you’ve been looking for.

Summary

Working with delivery apps—such as Postmates, DoorDash, Instacart, etc.—require minimal experience, but it takes time to get a hang of them. No one is born to know all the tricks and tips for maximizing time and productivity, or to offer five-star customer service. It’s something that people learn. You too.

Whatever delivery service app you decide to download to start making extra money, feel free to use the tips shared above. Of course, some of them may apply exclusively to Postmates, but at their core most of these apps share a lot of similarities. With some conscious decisions and strategies implemented, you’ll provide better customer service while enhancing your efficiency and productivity. Most of the customers appreciate great customer service and tip delivery drivers for their meticulous work.

Would like to receive recommendations about the right (delivery) jobs for you without spending hours spotting them online? Consider signing up for Appjobs.com where you find information about all kinds of companies and their specificities. As the second list shows, companies set different requirements for delivery drivers, which you must take into account when looking for jobs. 

Barbara is a trained journalist, working in the field of media since late 2009. She holds a master’s degree in Communication Studies and Cinema Studies and has attended several freestanding courses as she believes in lifelong learning. Her passion for (audiovisual and written) content has led her to work on projects related to film programming, content production and management, social media management, event management, and project management. She enjoys doing research and sharing the acquired knowledge with others.