- Instacart stands out for premium rates, especially in the right markets. Full-time shoppers can earn a respectable amount, with minimal wait times for order pickups.
- Flexibility in changing between different apps allows you to focus on what matters most for you, like bonuses, shift length, or surge opportunities.
- Food delivery is a great side hustle offering independence, flexibility, and the chance to explore your city while earning.
- There’s a range of services to consider, each with unique benefits. These include DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, Instacart, Gopuff, Amazon Flex, Shipt, and Caviar.
- Our Verdict: Which Is The Best Food Delivery Service to Work For?
- The 9 Best Food Delivery Services to Work For in December 2023
- The Best Food Delivery Apps: Our Take
- The Benefits of Working for a Food Delivery Service
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Verdict: Which Is The Best Food Delivery Service to Work For?
Before we reveal our final verdict, our advice is to try out a variety of different food delivery services to see which one works best for you.
Choosing the right food delivery service as a driver depends on your preferences for bonuses, shift length, and surge opportunities. While average pay is similar across platforms, consider new driver bonuses and market-specific earnings.
Changing apps is easy, so focus on what matters most to you in your decision.
With all that being said, however, our pick for the best food delivery service is:
If you live in the right place, Instacart offers premium rates compared to other food delivery services.
With some strategizing and hard work, full-service shoppers working full-time or close to full-time can earn a very respectable amount of money a week.
Another benefit is virtually no wait times when picking up orders. With other delivery services that offer food from restaurants, wait times for drivers in the restaurant can be huge momentum and earning killers.
While we can’t tell you with 100% certainty what the right food delivery service for you is, we hope to have steered you in the right direction with this article.
Now that you have a better idea about 9 of the most prominent food delivery/delivery services in America, you should be in a prime position to take your side hustle game to the next level!
The 9 Best Food Delivery Services to Work For in December 2023
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
- Uber Eats
- Instacart (for grocery delivery)
- Amazon Flex
DoorDash is one of the best delivery apps because it pays a minimum rate per delivery (DoorDash will make up the difference if your pay per delivery is below their threshold!), and encourages generous tips that you keep fully.
Doordash was started in San Francisco in 2013 and has since become the largest food delivery service in the US, with a 56% market share.
Doordash delivery drivers in the US have the potential to earn decent money if they put the hours in.
They are guaranteed a base rate per delivery, which is calculated by the time and distance to make the delivery, as well as the desirability of the delivery. If these things are higher, the pay is higher too.
On top of this, drivers have the opportunity to take advantage of promotions such as peak pay and challenges.
In peak busy periods, drivers are incentivized with peak pay – a higher base rate for that period in which drivers are paid more.
Challenges usually consist of completing a set amount of deliveries in a set time frame; if a driver completes this, they receive a bonus!
Finally, DoorDashers get to keep 100% of the tips they receive from customers.
- You must be 18 years old or older
- You need to possess a valid driver’s license
- You must own an iPhone or Android smartphone to download the Dasher App with
- You must have access to a vehicle (car, scooter, bicycle, motorcycle, or truck)
- If your vehicle requires insurance, then you need to secure a policy that meets your state’s minimum policy requirements
- You need to provide DoorDash with your social security number
- You must give DoorDash permission to run a background check
- You need to pass your background check (it includes a Motor Vehicles check)
- Finally, you need to complete an in-person or online orientation process
How to get a gig
Sign up on their website here.
- Guaranteed requests with pre-scheduled shifts.
- Access large orders and special bonuses with DoorDash Drive.
- Automatically receive higher-tip Caviar orders in overlapping markets.
- Delivery options include bike, scooter, or on foot in select areas.
- Earn any time with open restaurants and customer requests.
- Limited availability in certain cities.
- Early cash-out with Instant Pay incurs a $1.99 fee.
- Competitive demand for scheduled shifts affects opportunities and times.
Uber Eats stands out as a top choice for drivers seeking flexibility. With the ability to log in and out at will and a diverse range of restaurants and delivery options, drivers can tailor their schedules to fit their lifestyle, enhancing earning potential.
Uber started their food delivery service in 2014. Uber Eats has since become an international organization, operating in 45 countries as of 2021.
Regular Uber Eats drivers in the US stand to make between $8-$12 an hour, with the potential to earn more depending on their skill level and the time of day they are working.
Partnering with Uber Eats allows you to take home roughly 75% of the pay, and this can increase even further depending on your city or the time of day.
For example, delivering in city hotspots will almost certainly grant you bigger earnings because of the high frequency and demand.
Like with many other delivery services, you can also expect to earn a bit more from customer tips, but this is usually a small bonus on top of the base pay.
Uber Eats Requirements
There are multiple Uber driver requirements that applicants must meet before becoming approved.
These include, but are not limited to, being 18 years of age and older, having a clean driving record, and passing a criminal background check.
How to get a gig
- Easily access food, rideshare, and package delivery requests.
- Earn more, save on expenses, and access free tuition.
- Cash out up to five times daily for minimal fees.
- Drive on your terms without shift bonuses.
- Available in over 45 countries for a vast customer base.
- Earn anytime with real-time restaurant order acceptance.
- In-app tipping feature enhances driver earnings.
- Widespread U.S. and global presence increases earning potential.
- Uber Eats doesn't support on-foot deliveries.
- Earnings may vary with market-specific fare adjustments.
- Curbside pickup's inconvenience may affect tips.
- Uber retains a higher service fee than competitors.
Grubhub is renowned for offering stable, competitive pay rates, making it a great option for those prioritizing consistent income. Their transparent pay model, which includes time, distance, and tips, allows drivers to estimate earnings more accurately, contributing to a reliable income stream.
In 2013, Grubhub merged with Seamless, a corporate food ordering service – and a year later, Grubhub as we know it today was born! Today, customers can order food from over 320,000 restaurants using Grubhub.
Grubhub drivers can earn around $12 - $13 an hour, with the potential to earn more as they become more experienced.
Their pay formula is similar to that of Doordash and Uber Eats, with a minimum guaranteed pay, delivery pay, and tips. If you’re looking to maximize earnings, Grubhub also runs promos and special missions – so keep your eyes peeled for those!
The platform also offers even more opportunities for good drivers to take home higher pay with the Grubhub Driver Recognition Program.
If you want to get approved to earn as a delivery driver, you must:
- Be at least 19 years old (21 in Chicago and Las Vegas).
- Have a valid driver’s license.
- Have at least two years of licensed driving experience.
- Own a car or motorcycle with valid auto insurance.
- Be able to pass a background check.
- Own a smartphone with a data plan that’s compatible with the Grubhub for Drivers app (iOS 11, Android 5.0, or later).
- Bikers must have a valid state ID
How to get a gig
Sign up at https://careers.grubhub.com/drivers.
- Transparent pay structure based on distance and time.
- Guaranteed more requests with scheduled delivery blocks.
- Early access to blocks and larger orders for top drivers.
- Receive Seamless requests in shared markets.
- Instant Cash Out up to $500 daily for minimal fees.
- Deliver any time with 24/7 availability.
- Less emphasis on bonuses compared to competitors.
- No surge pricing; earnings depend on delivery block availability.
- Limited opportunities due to restaurants' in-house delivery services.
Postmates shines in urban areas, offering a wide variety of delivery options beyond just food, including groceries and retail items. This diversity, coupled with a high volume of orders in city settings, provides ample opportunity for drivers to maximize earnings and enjoy a dynamic work environment.
Postmates was acquired by Uber Eats in 2020. Since 2021, Postmates hasn’t operated independently, instead being folded into UberEats.
One of the most attractive aspects of working with Postmates is the large number of ways you can be a delivery partner — whether that’s on foot, on a bike, or in a car.
The pay is also pretty decent, with drivers realistically earning upwards of $20 an hour. However, this is still subject to certain factors such as time of the day and location. If you’re living in a big city and have a lot of time on your hands, Postmates is worth a try.
There are multiple Postmates requirements that must be met before being approved to drive. These include:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a valid U.S. driver’s license.
- Have a valid Social Security number.
- Have a mailing address.
- Live in (or near) a city that Postmates operates in.
- Be able to upload a profile photo upon request. This must be a clear headshot.
- Be able to pass a background check.
- Flat fee plus extra for wait time and mileage.
- Blitz pricing and bonuses for additional earnings.
- Variety in deliveries, from food to office supplies.
- Instant deposit feature for immediate payouts.
- Drive any time with constant demand.
- Tips encouraged by default in the app.
- Simple vehicle requirements, including non-auto options.
- Diverse delivery options expand customer base.
- Attractive driver referral program for extra income.
- Uncertain future with Uber Eats acquisition.
- Extra shopping time required at various stores.
- Possible delays with on-site order placements.
- Managing payments with a prepaid card can be cumbersome.
- Limited availability compared to Uber Eats.
- Customer interactions may affect delivery efficiency.
Instacart specializes in grocery delivery, ideal for those who prefer shopping over restaurant pickups. It offers a unique experience, allowing drivers (and shoppers) to earn by shopping for and delivering groceries. This appeals to those who enjoy a more interactive and varied workday.
Instacart allows customers to shop at nearby stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and office supply stores and then sends a shopper to go and fulfill the order.
Full-service shoppers are gig workers, while in-store shoppers work directly for Instacart.
Instacart is another option for people who are always on the go and would love to earn a little extra while doing their errands!
With add-ins such as peak times, tips, and even item difficulty, Instacart full-service shoppers reasonably earn between $5 and $10 per order.
On top of that, there’s also a $0.6 per km of traveling distance and incentives. As a result, they can stand to earn around $15 - $25 an hour.
How to get a gig
Apply here to start shopping for Instacart!
- Full-service shoppers (shoppers that drive) earn decent money
- In-store shoppers (shoppers who don’t drive) can earn better than the minimum wage without a car.
- No full-time earning potential for in-store shoppers.
Gopuff stands out by delivering a range of everyday essentials, not just food. It's perfect for drivers who prefer short, quick trips, as Gopuff operates localized micro-fulfillment centers ensuring swift deliveries. This model offers drivers a steady flow of orders and the potential for frequent, consistent earnings.
Gopuff was started by two university students who wanted to take the burden off their only friend with a car who was running all the errands. Today it operates in the US and UK.
Gopuff drivers can earn around $14 an hour, with bonuses for longer shifts.
The main factor to consider is your location. Those who are doing deliveries in larger cities have a much wider pool of options to choose from, so they can expect to earn much higher pay.
How to get a gig
You can sign up to drive for Gopuff here.
- Pays a guaranteed minimum wage
- Drivers can work from a centralized location
- Only pays out weekly
- No incentives such as peak pay
Amazon Flex offers a unique twist for drivers by focusing on package deliveries rather than food. It's ideal for those who prefer a more predictable route with scheduled blocks and the backing of a well-established company. This option suits drivers looking for a structured schedule with reliable earning potential.
Started in 2015, Amazon Flex allows people to deliver Amazon packages using their own car.
A high volume of orders paired with opportunities to earn more? That’s where Amazon Flex shines brightest!
As it stands, Flex already offers good hourly rates (from $15 to $20 an hour) with a consistent stream of orders.
What makes that even better is that Amazon Flex also allows drivers to rack up rewards points that can be used as discounts for gas and car maintenance, as well as cashback on some occasions!
How to get a gig
Sign up to become an Amazon Flex driver here!
- Good hourly rates
- Flexible hours
- High demand
- May not be available in some areas
- Competition with lots of other drivers for the same jobs
Shipt is ideal for those who enjoy a more personal touch, focusing on grocery and household item deliveries. Drivers, acting as personal shoppers, select and deliver orders, offering a more engaging experience. This is perfect for individuals who like interacting with customers and providing a tailored service.
Shipt operates as an offshoot of Target, originally founded in 2014 and acquired by the retail chain in 2017.
Like Instacart, you shop on behalf of customers (mostly in Target, but you will occasionally pick up orders from other stores as well) and deliver their orders to them.
Shipt drivers can earn upwards of $15 an hour, with experienced drivers reporting earnings of around $20 - $25 an hour.
A pro tip for higher earnings: Make sure to check out orders in the “Promo Pay” section! Chances are there’s something there worth picking up.
You should also try to schedule orders throughout the day as efficiently as possible. By doing so, you’ll be able to maximize your income and earn much more than is typical!
How to get a gig
Sign up to become a Shipt driver here.
- You can fulfill multiple orders at once
- Offer incentives and referral bonuses
- Some areas have lower demand
- Extremely strict delivery window
Caviar distinguishes itself by partnering with upscale, gourmet restaurants, appealing to drivers aiming for higher-end deliveries. It's best for those looking to cater to a more exclusive clientele, often leading to better tips. This service suits drivers seeking a premium delivery experience with potentially higher earnings.
Caviar specializes in delivering food from more ‘curated’ (upmarket) restaurants. Doordash acquired Caviar from Square in 2019.
As a Doordash-owned outfit, Caviar drivers are paid the same way Doordash drivers are – meaning the pay rate is similar as well.
However, Caviar delivers food from higher-end restaurants so there is the potential to earn more from tips. The amount of money you earn depends on when you work and how efficient you are.
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a car, truck, bike, scooter, or motorcycle capable of making deliveries
- Have at least two years of driving experience
- Have a smartphone capable of running the Caviar courier app
- Have a current driver’s license (all drivers) and current vehicle insurance (if delivering with a vehicle that requires it)
How to get a gig
The link to sign up can be found on the Caviar website.
- Clear earnings visibility before accepting orders.
- Higher pay rates due to upscale restaurant partnerships.
- Parking ticket reimbursement for every 100 deliveries.
- Average hourly earnings of about $25.
- Limited delivery areas, focusing on wealthier markets.
- Fewer restaurant partners, potentially reducing delivery opportunities.
The Best Food Delivery Apps: Our Take
Every food delivery service offers unique advantages and drawbacks. Your choice depends on your location and personal preferences. Remember, you’re not restricted to just one service.
However, it’s advisable for new drivers to start with a single service to get accustomed to the workflow and manage the challenges and benefits of multiple app juggling more effectively later on.
For beginners, it’s recommended to start with well-known services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates. A key tip is to leverage the attractive sign-up bonuses these companies offer.
While customers often get free delivery on initial orders, new drivers can benefit from substantial bonuses, adding a nice boost to your regular earnings. A smart strategy is to try each app and accumulate these bonuses along the way, ensuring you meet their specific requirements to maximize your income efficiently.
Finally, regardless of the app you choose, excellent customer service is paramount. Customers value quick deliveries, responsiveness to their requests, and courteous service. Prioritizing these aspects can significantly enhance your delivery experience.
The Benefits of Working for a Food Delivery Service
Food delivery services are one of the best side hustles in the gig economy. After all, where else are you going to find a job that offers so much independence and flexibility?
Food delivery also offers an unrivaled opportunity to explore your city or region and get paid for it at the same time.
I’m speaking from experience here: in my time as a food delivery driver, my mental map of where I live expanded exponentially and it’s something I’m genuinely grateful for today.
What’s more: like any job, with time comes experience – and with experience comes chances to earn better money! The tips and bonuses are out there; you just need to find a way to get them that works for you.
The following list contains 9 different food delivery services and their earning potential, pros and cons, company profiles, and how to apply to work for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does driving for food delivery services compare to driving for grocery delivery services?
While driving for apps like Postmates may require a bit of shopping every once in a while, Shipt and Instacart Shoppers are expected to drive and shop on every order.
You’re also more likely to receive large requests on grocery delivery apps, where most customers are placing orders worth over $35, which can mean more time and effort per order. However, this means you can earn more than the average food delivery driver.
Do food delivery services have strict vehicle requirements?
Most food delivery platforms are very lenient when it comes to vehicle requirements. You usually just need a working vehicle that can reliably get you to your pick-up and drop-off locations — no inspection needed.
Uber Eats is just a tad stricter, since it’s owned by a rideshare platform, but most vehicles should qualify.
What happens if I don’t show up for a delivery shift on Grubhub or DoorDash?
Both platforms may penalize you if you’re consistently cancelling shifts or being a no-show by disallowing you from scheduling more in the future. This can impact your earnings over time, since you won’t be able to maximize requests.
Grubhub does allow you to cancel without penalty 72 hours or more ahead of your shift. Constant cancellations and no-shows can also hurt your performance, so you may not qualify for the platforms’ driver perks programs.