The Best Food Delivery Service To Work For In 2021
These days, it’s easy to earn cash with just a smartphone and a car.
Food delivery services are everywhere.
But when the options are endless, it gets harder to decide which platform offers an ideal opportunity for you.
So what is the best food delivery service to work for and why?
Every brand offers its delivery drivers unique app features and pay models that impact your overall experience on the job.
Understanding the best (and the worst) that each platform has to offer will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best food delivery app for you.
In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of driving for each of the big four food delivery services so your choice is a little bit easier.
What Is the Best Food Delivery Service To Work For?
It’s hard to pinpoint a single food delivery service that’s perfect for every driver.
Every single platform offers something a little bit different, whether it be scheduled delivery blocks and special bonuses or expedited pay for little or no fees.
As you make your decision, consider how likely you are to take advantage of bonuses, or if you’re more likely to take advantage of short shifts or surge.
Think about the experience you’re looking for and what features are must-haves.
Average driver pay is fairly similar on all these platforms as a whole, so if money is a huge factor for you, we recommend diving a little deeper and looking at new driver bonuses in your specific area.
This will guide you toward the platform that’s willing to pay drivers in your market the most, since drivers in New York City can make wildly different earnings than drivers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or elsewhere.
If you ever need to switch apps, rest assured that the sign-up process on all these platforms is incredibly simple.
The Best Food Delivery Apps for Drivers
Deciding on the best food delivery app to work for can be a complicated endeavor.
With so many to choose from, picking the right one can be complicated.
This is all while expanding their customer bases with the promises of convenient features like real-time order tracking and in-app payments via credit card.
But with so many different apps, how are you supposed to know which one is best?
In addition to our complete list of food delivery services available to customers, we have created the following guide to make it easy to find out which food delivery service is the best one for you.
DoorDash is easily the most popular food delivery service in the United States, but whether or not it’s the best food delivery app for you depends on what you’re looking for.
The DoorDash pay model is easy to understand and doesn’t actually take any set commission away from you.
Instead, it starts with a $2 to $10 base pay, depending on the estimated time, distance, and even desirability (previously rejected orders offer higher earnings).
Then, you can earn peak time and Challenge bonuses, while receiving 100% of tips.
- 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
Pros and Cons of DoorDash
Like most gigs, there are pros and cons to driving for DoorDash.
- Scheduling perks: DoorDash allows drivers to get guaranteed requests by scheduling shifts ahead of time.
- DoorDash Drive perks: High-performing drivers can access DoorDash Drive, which allows you to access large catering orders, exclusive requests, and even special bonuses.
- Caviar orders: Thanks to the acquisition of Caviar by DoorDash, DoorDash drivers now automatically receive Caviar orders in markets where both food delivery services operate. Caviar requests tend to bring in higher tips, since you’ll be picking up food orders for higher-end, pricier restaurants.
- Lots of delivery options: In addition to driving for DoorDash, the platform allows you to deliver on bike, scooter, and foot in select markets.
- 24/7 availability: As long as restaurants are open and customers are submitting requests, you can be making money any time of the day.
- Limited Availability: DoorDash is only available in select cities. If you are in a smaller market, Uber Eats might be your only option.
- High instant pay fee: Dashers are paid weekly, but if you want to cash out earlier, you must pay a $1.99 fee for Instant Pay and have a debit card.
- Limited shift availability: DoorDash scheduled shifts are in high demand. If you don’t claim them early on, you may miss out or get stuck with less desirable delivery times.
2. Uber Eats
Uber, the rideshare service, launched their own food delivery service called Uber Eats in 2014.
By letting passengers know about Uber Eats through their main app, the service quickly gained a massive user base.
Because of Uber’s proliferation, Uber Eats may be the ideal choice for drivers.
With this growth comes a handful of pros and cons to consider.
Uber Eats Pay
Uber Eats calculates driver pay based on a variety of factors, including distance traveled and tipping amount.
Drivers can expect to make between $15-17 on a good night, but this number can fluctuate based on a few different factors.
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.
Pros and Cons of Uber Eats
While Uber Eats is a great option, you should understand the pros and cons before rushing out to apply.
- All-in-one platform: The Uber Driver app makes it possible for you to seamlessly receive food delivery requests from the Uber Eats app, ridesharing requests from Uber, and package delivery requests from Uber Connect on the same platform. Even when Uber Eats peak times are over, you can continue getting lots of requests without switching to another rideshare or delivery app.
- Uber Pro rewards: The Uber Pro rewards program gives you the opportunity to earn extra money with priority airport pickups, reduce expenses with car maintenance discounts, and even get free college tuition for you or a family member.
- Affordable instant pay: The Uber Instant Pay program allows you to cash out anytime, up to five times per day for only 50 cents — or for free, if you have an Uber credit card.
- Great flexibility: While Uber Eats doesn’t give bonuses for scheduled shifts, this means you can drive on your own hours and always have an equal chance of getting requests.
- Global availability: While most major U.S. food delivery services are only available in North America, Uber Eats is found in over 45 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
- 24/7 availability: Like DoorDash, Uber Eats allows you to make money as long as local restaurants are accepting orders in real-time.
- Tipping is Encouraged: To further improve the experience for Uber Eats drivers, Uber recently added an in-app tipping feature. This makes it easy for users to tip their drivers, even if they do not have cash on them.
- Because Uber already has such a large reach, Uber Eats has delivery locations available in most U.S. cities and many other cities around the world. This means that you have a larger potential customer base (and more earning potential).
- No on-foot deliveries: While Uber Eats does accept bike and scooter deliveries, they don’t accept walking couriers at all.
- Fare reductions: While the pay model of Uber Eat works a lot like DoorDash, starting with a base fare based on your assigned pick-up and drop-off locations, the platform adds a fare reduction to your pay in some markets and some modes of transportation. You may end up earning less, depending on where your delivery gig is located, even if you take advantage of promotions and surge pricing.
- Although the curbside pickup is time-saving for drivers, it is not convenient for customers. This can result in smaller tips for drivers.
- Another bummer is how much Uber takes of the profit. Compared to their competitors in the food delivery market, Uber charges a larger service fee. On average, 25 percent of the order’s delivery fee goes to Uber, whereas most companies take around 20 percent.
It has since evolved into one of the largest online ordering platforms in the world.
The company has leveraged its size to step into the delivery space.
Since this move, they have acquired numerous companies including Seamless, Foodler, and Eat24.
One of the longest-standing food delivery platforms that is still leading the market today, Grubhub is a trusted name in the gig economy.
But before you take on the Grubhub driver gig, consider these realities of working with the company.
Caviar driver pay falls well within the range that you’d typically expect from somebody working as a food delivery driver.
Drivers make around $12 per hour, which falls below minimum wage in some cities.
However, they can usually make up for this by either driving more, or relying on higher tips for better service.
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
Pros and Cons of Grubhub
The pros and cons of working as a Grubhub driver are very much what you’d probably expect from this service.
- Simple pay structure: Grubhub doesn’t have any hidden fees. It simply pays you based on your estimated driving distance and time spent driving and waiting. In some U.S. cities, you may have a chance to qualify for an hourly guarantee.
- Delivery block perks: When you schedule a shift (known as a block) on Grubhub, the company guarantees more requests and you can potentially get higher earnings.
- Driver Recognition program perks: High-performing drivers get early access to delivery blocks and can receive larger catering orders.
- Seamless requests: Much like how DoorDash drivers receive Caviar requests, Grubhub drivers receive Seamless requests in shared markets. This could mean more back-to-back requests for you, without the need to switch platforms.
- Affordable instant pay: If you don’t want to wait for payday, Grubhub’s Instant Cash Out feature allows you to request up to $500 of your earnings per day for 50 cents — or for free, if you have a Chase checking account.
- 24/7 availability: Just like on other food delivery platforms, you can deliver all day, any day as long as restaurants are open.
- Limited bonuses: Grubhub doesn’t emphasize bonuses as much as DoorDash and Uber Eats, which both include promotions in their pay models.
- No surge pricing: Grubhub historically hasn’t run on a surge pricing model, so the best way to earn extra money during high-demand times is by snatching up delivery blocks before they’re gone. Unfortunately, this means top-tier couriers in the Driver Recognition program can access higher pay before you.
- Many restaurants on Grubhub have their own in-house delivery drivers, leaving less opportunity for independent contractor drivers to serve those who order food.
Founded in 2011, Postmates is a very respectable delivery service.
Postmates is used for all sorts of deliveries, most notably food orders. But they also deliver groceries and other items from stores.
Postmates has partnerships with a number of local restaurants to offer customers special discounts.
This helped grow the customer base, making it a great option for drivers.
The Postmates driver pay calculation is pretty standard for the industry.
Drivers are paid on the amount of food they deliver, which ranges from city to city.
Drivers can expect to make around $11-15 per hour, before tips.
This is far from the $25 per hour that the company advertises, but to be fair, these numbers vary so widely between cities that you should just do some research in your own city before taking these figures as fact.
There are multiple Postmates requirements that must be met before being approved to drive.
- 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.
Pros and Cons of Postmates
Like every other service listed in our best food delivery service to work for list, Postmates comes with it’s own pros and cons.
- Great pay model: Like the apps listed above, Postmates does not run on a commission fee-based structure. What makes it even more unique is the fact that it pays a flat fee for every completed pick-up and drop-off, plus more cash for every minute you wait and every mile you drive. If your estimated wait time is incorrect, you can actually submit a request to get paid accurately.
- Bonus availability: Postmates has a number of incentives that can help you make more money, including Blitz pricing for high-demand times, “Crusher” bonuses for completing a set amount of deliveries within a time frame, and limited-time guaranteed earnings offers.
- More variety: One of the most unique parts of the Postmates app is the fact that customers can order everything from food and dry cleaning to office supplies and alcohol. This delivery job will take you to places well beyond your local fast food chains and eateries.
- Affordable instant pay: Postmates’ instant deposit feature lets drivers cash out at any time for 50 cents.
- 24/7 availability: Just like the other apps on this list, you can keep driving as long as restaurants and customers are available.
- Behind the scenes, drivers are required to contact customers if a restaurant is out of the food that was ordered. This can keep the driver from being on time and reduce the overall number of deliveries completed in one day.
- Drivers are sometimes required to actually place an order at a restaurant when they arrive, then wait there as the order is being prepared.
- In some instances, drivers must pay for the meal via a prepaid card provided by Postmates. This added layer of responsibility can be irksome.
- Postmates is not available in as many places as Uber Eats.
- Unknown future: There are lots of unknowns in the future of Postmates couriers. Uber Eats acquired the platform in July 2020, so it’s very possible that there will no longer be a separate Postmates Fleet app in the near future. If you want to avoid completing another sign-up process, you may want to join Uber Eats if it’s available in your market.
- Shopping time: Because you may be sent to a grocery store, convenience store, or drug store that doesn’t pack deliveries up for you, you may need to spend some extra time shopping for requested items. It’s more of a hassle than the quick pick-up orders that most food delivery drivers are used to.
- The Postmates app actively encourages customers to tip by automatically including the monetary amount with the bill. Since customers have to go out of their way to remove the added amount, drivers are much more likely to receive a tip.
- Since Postmates did not start out as a rideshare app, their vehicle requirements are pretty easy to meet.
- Customers can request all sorts of items other than food. For example, customers can order groceries, school supplies, or anything in between. Due to this, Postmates has a larger pool of potential customers.
- You don’t need an automobile, such as a truck, car, or van, to be a delivery driver. Postmates also allows scooters and bicycles in some areas.
- They have a great driver referral program to earn extra cash.
As the name implies, Caviar is a high-end delivery service.
Caviar focuses on providing on-demand delivery from the best restaurants (which usually don’t offer delivery).
Caviar has also started working on meeting the delivery needs of major business caterers.
Caviar advertises that drivers can make up to $25 per hour, but existing data from drivers suggest that number is usually around $16 per hour.
- 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)
Pros and Cons of Caviar
If Caviar is of interest to you, check out the following pros and cons of becoming a Caviar courier before selecting this option from the list.
- Before you even accept an order, drivers are able to see exactly how much money will be earned by completing the delivery.
- Since Caviar works with more expensive restaurants, drivers are typically paid well.
- Caviar offers drivers parking ticket reimbursement! Couriers can be reimbursed for one parking ticket for every 100 deliveries.
- Caviar couriers make about $25 an hour on average.
- Unlike the other big players in the food delivery industry, Caviar is not well-established (yet). To date, this food delivery app has a very limited delivery area, focusing mostly on wealthier markets like New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, prominent markets like Denver and Atlanta are still missing from the service (though that will likely change as Caviar continues to expand).
- Couriers have reported that not many restaurants use the service. So even if you are able to be a Caviar driver, there may not be any deliveries to make
The Best Food Delivery Apps: Our Take
All food delivery services have their pros and cons.
Depending on your location and what you are looking for, one service may be supremely better for you than another.
Bear in mind, you do not have to limit yourself to one food delivery service.
But new drivers should focus on getting familiar with one service before branching out.
This will help you prepare for the stress (and rewards) associated with juggling multiple food delivery service apps.
Drivers who are just starting out should consider going with one of the more established food delivery services.
We suggest starting with one of the big three companies: Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates.
And whatever you do, make sure to take advantage of lucrative driver sign-up bonuses.
Many people know that customers can get free delivery on their first orders from these services, but there are also sizeable bonuses available for new drivers.
These bonuses are a great way to earn some extra cash on top of your usual earnings.
One great way to use these referral codes is to try each app and collect the bonuses on the way.
This is the best way to maximize your earnings in the shortest amount of time.
Just make sure you meet the minimum requirements to ensure you get your guaranteed earnings.
Finally, no matter what food delivery app you choose, never forget the value of excellent customer service.
Customers will appreciate it if you keep the delivery time for each order low, meet any reasonable requests they have, and give them polite service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every food delivery service is a great money-making opportunity for drivers like you.
To learn more about your options, read these FAQs:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Choose the Best Food Delivery Service for You
There’s no single food delivery service that’s perfect for everyone.
The most important thing you need to do is learn about the pros and cons of every platform, then compare them to the features and opportunities you’re looking for.
Once you have your ideal company in mind, start looking at driver requirements for the service and apply soon if it’s a good fit.