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Here at Ridester, we’re very excited about the world of food delivery. There are just so many options for drivers, and it seems like every day a new service appears. We’ve written about how to deliver for Postmates, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart and even Amazon Flex.
In this post, we’ll explore what Caviar is, why you should deliver for the service and how to apply to be a Caviar driver.
What Is Caviar?
Caviar is a food delivery service owned by payment processing giant Square, whose software you’ve probably used if you’ve been to a coffee shop, food truck or restaurant lately. Caviar bills themselves as a high-end food delivery service, focusing on quality instead of quantity. If Uber Eats is the Walmart of food delivery, then Caviar is the Whole Foods. The company also prides itself on providing accurate, high-resolution photos of every item on the menu of the restaurants they deliver.
In practice, Caviar works just like every other food delivery service on the market. You open the app, browse the restaurant’s menu and place an order. On the courier side, it’s also much the same — just have the app activated, take delivery requests as they come and pick them up at the restaurant. From there, you deliver them to the customer, who then has the option of leaving you a tip and rating your service.
Why Deliver for Caviar?
Out of all the food delivery services out there, why should you work for Caviar? Like all food delivery apps, you have a flexible schedule, the ability to earn tips and the chance to work independently.
But how does working at Caviar stack up compared to other food delivery apps? Based on reported experiences of real Caviar drivers, delivering for Caviar seems to have the following advantages:
1. No Need to Use a Payment Card
With some delivery services (such as DoorDash), drivers are responsible for paying for the food using a company card. This can be frustrating, as the need to process the card can slow you down (especially if the restaurant is busy). Furthermore, it can result in awkward situations with the restaurant staff, since the policy of most delivery companies is not to leave a tip for the staff.
With Caviar, you won’t have these issues. All payment is handled in advance. All you have to do is show up and pick up the customer’s food.
2. Higher-End Restaurants
While this doesn’t seem like it would matter, some drivers report that the higher quality of restaurants on Caviar results in a more pleasant work environment. As one Caviar courier in New York noted in a review left on Glassdoor, “Their partner restaurants tend to be very nice and high quality (most of the time friendly restaurants).”
Furthermore, if you enjoy finding out about new restaurants, Caviar is a chance to learn about them (as opposed to seeing the same Chipotle, McDonald’s and Panda Express when delivering with other services).
3. Potential for High Hourly Pay During Busy Times
As with all services, a higher demand means higher potential earnings. In services like Uber and Lyft, this is reflected in the form of surge pricing. In food delivery, it means busy charges. In Caviar’s case, these higher charges get passed on to drivers, meaning that during busy times some drivers have reported earning as much as $18 to $22 per hour.
On the flip side, the pay can be much lower (lower than minimum wage in some cases) during slow times. This problem isn’t unique to Caviar, but it is something to bear in mind. The company’s site claims Caviar couriers can earn “up to $25/hour,” but this is rarely the case in real life. Still, the potential exists to make a solid wage if you operate during busy times and make deliveries in an efficient manner, especially if you get some solid tips during your deliveries.
Where Can I Deliver for Caviar?
Compared to other food delivery apps such as Uber Eats or DoorDash, Caviar has a more limited reach. Caviar delivery is currently available in the following cities across the United States:
- Boston, MA
- Brooklyn & Queens, NY
- Chicago, IL
- Dallas, TX
- Fort Worth, TX
- Greater Philadelphia, PA
- Knoxville, TN
- Los Angeles, CA
- Manhattan, NY
- Marin County, CA
- Northern Virginia, VA
- Orange County, CA
- Peninsula, CA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Portland, OR
- Richmond, VA
- Rockville, MD
- SF: East Bay, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Seattle Eastside, WA
- Walnut Creek, CA
- Washington DC Metro, DC
- Woodbridge, VA
The company continues to expand into new markets, so we suggest you download the Caviar app to stay updated on when the service will be available in your area. That way, you can be one of the first drivers to sign up!
How Do I Become a Caviar Driver?
The application process for Caviar is similar to other food delivery apps and rideshare services. To start making deliveries, you’ll need to do the following:
1. Meet Caviar’s Courier Requirements
To work for Caviar, you’ll need to meet the Caviar driver requirements:
- 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)
As long as you meet the above, you’re eligible to apply.
2. Fill Out an Application
The Caviar courier application consists of watching a few videos and answering questions about them. It’s straightforward; as long as you pay attention to the videos, you’ll have no problem passing the short quizzes.
Once you’ve filled out the application, a Caviar representative will contact you to let you know if it has been accepted.
3. Attend an In-Person Session
If Caviar accepts your application, they will then invite you to attend an in-person interview and orientation. Don’t stress about this interview. If they’ve invited you to attend the in-person session, you’re most likely in. During the in-person session, a Caviar representative will explain more about how the service works and what your responsibilities will be as a driver.
Make sure to bring the following to your in-person session:
- Your bank account information (to set up direct deposit)
- Your Social Security number (to fill out your tax paperwork)
- Your driver’s license (for identity verification)
- Your proof of vehicle insurance (if applicable)
In most cases, you’ll need to pass a background check as part of your application. Caviar will initiate this at the in-person session. You should receive the results within a week (usually sooner).
Also, while you’re not required to do so, it can be helpful to download the Caviar courier app before coming to the in-person session. You won’t be able to activate it until you’ve completed the session, but it will speed up the process if you’ve already downloaded it. Download it here for iOS and Android.
4. Get the Right Equipment
Caviar requires all drivers to have approved insulated bags before making deliveries. One disadvantage of Caviar is that their official delivery bags are not free; you must purchase them. The prices varies based on your market, but it’s usually between $10 and $20.
You are allowed to use other delivery bags, which can be helpful if you already have some from another food delivery service. However, Caviar must approve the bags before you can use them.
5. Make Your First Delivery
Once you have the right equipment, have completed all the necessary informational sessions and have been approved, you can start making deliveries. This is the most exciting part, and we encourage you to enjoy it; you’ve earned it!
Caviar Driver FAQ
Here are answers to some questions you might have as a new or prospective Caviar delivery driver.
1. Are Caviar couriers employees?
No, Caviar couriers are independent contractors. This means that you are responsible for withholding and paying your own taxes on income you earn delivering for Caviar.
2. How do Caviar couriers get paid?
Caviar deposits payments into your bank account each week via direct deposit.
3. When is the best time to work for Caviar?
As with all food delivery services, peak times are the lunch and dinner shifts. Delivery is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. If you want to maximize your earnings, you should work during peak times in busy areas. You’ll get a better sense of which areas are prime for deliveries with experience.
4. Does a Caviar driver get tips?
Customers have the option to leave a tip before the order is delivered. Tips are capped at $5 for iOS devices and $3 for Android. We’re not sure why Caviar has this policy, or why the maximum tip amount differs between devices. Of course, there’s nothing to stop a customer from giving you a cash tip if you provide exceptional service. We wouldn’t count on this happening, but it’s possible.
5. Does Caviar provide delivery vehicles?
No, you’ll need to make deliveries using your personal vehicle. As long as it runs and is reliable, you can use it. You can minimize your operating costs by using a more fuel-efficient vehicle (or a fuel-free vehicle like a bike).
6. Can I make Caviar deliveries on foot?
Currently, you must have a vehicle to make deliveries. If you want to deliver on foot, we suggest you check out Uber Eats or DoorDash, which allow you to make walking deliveries in certain markets.
7. Does Caviar reimburse my expenses?
No, since Caviar drivers are independent contractors, the company does not reimburse you for any of the expenses you incur to maintain your vehicle or pay for gas. Make sure to account for this when figuring out your hourly wage, as the operating costs can eat into your profits.
8. Can rideshare drivers deliver for Caviar?
Sure. In fact, the company encourages people who are or have been Uber drivers or Lyft drivers to apply. Since Caviar typically experience its biggest rushes during lunch and dinner, it can be a great way to supplement the income you earn driving for Uber or Lyft during slow times.
For example, you might choose to deliver for Caviar during lunch, go home to rest for a few hours and then head out later at night to pick up rideshare passengers. We always encourage you to diversify your income, and there are no rules that say you can’t drive for Caviar and other sharing economy services.
9. Can I sign up for Caviar delivery shifts in advance?
Yes, you can. Within the Caviar Courier App, you can view time slots in advance. You’ll be able to see which time slots offer Peak Pay, which means you’ll have higher potential earnings during those times.
There’s no requirement to schedule your shifts in advance. It can be a helpful way to see when you can make more money, but in practice these shifts tend to fill up very quickly.
For this reason, the best way to maximize your Caviar earnings is to operate during the times that are consistently busy: lunch and dinner. With time, you can figure out which areas tend to be busier than others.
Start Making Deliveries for Caviar
We hope this guide has answered any questions you have about what it’s like to make deliveries for Caviar, as well as how to get started as a Caviar driver. Like all food delivery services, the potential to make good money is there as long as you’re smart about when you operate and how you manage your costs.
For all the advantages it has, Caviar is just one food delivery app of many out there. To get a sense of what it’s like to work for other food delivery apps, check out our comparison of delivering for Postmates vs. DoorDash or Postmates vs. Uber Eats.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.