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Driving for Postmates: The Ultimate Guide

Last updated: October 13, 2021
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vector graphic showing delivery drivers driving for Postmates

The world’s changed when it comes to people ordering food and other goods from restaurants and stores.

More and more apps are popping up, allowing people to order whatever they need without leaving the comfort of their own homes.

An on-demand delivery service is taking over how people get goods.

As demand increases, the more these delivery services need drivers.

One of the most popular delivery apps is Postmates.

If you’re looking for a way to make some extra money or are in between jobs, driving for Postmates may be an excellent option for you.

If you’re interested in driving for Postmates but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve broken down everything there is to know about being a delivery driver for Postmates.

What is Postmates?

Postmates is a delivery app similar to Uber Eats or DoorDash. Postmates is more than just a food delivery service, though.

The primary difference is that while those other apps focus on delivering food from restaurants, Postmates offers delivery services from different stores.

Postmates can deliver alcohol, household goods such as toilet paper and cleaning products, and even your dry cleaning, along with a meal from your favorite restaurant.

Since its launch in 2011, Postmates has made waves across some of the biggest cities in the United States.

With the service’s success in major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and more, Postmates is now offered in over 1,000 cities.

With the ability to order whatever you need in over 1,000 cities comes the potential for people to sign up as drivers and earn money.

Key Concepts to Understand

Whether you’re knowledgeable about Postmates and other delivery services or not, there are some things you’re probably wondering about before you sign up.

Is Postmates a Full-Time or Part-Time Job?

One of the best things about driving for Postmates is that you can make it a full-time or part-time job.

Since you get to make your own schedule, you can work only a few hours a week or enough to earn you a full-time income.

Is Postmates Safe?

Postmates does its best to keep its drivers safe as they deliver buyers’ stuff.

Whether you’re driving or ordering via Postmates, safety is the primary concern.

When you sign up to drive with Postmates, you must submit a valid driver’s license, social security, and more.

When you sign up to drive with Postmates, you can rest assured that they have put safety protocols in place that protect you.

To sign up, you’ll need a social security card and a driver’s license.

How Does Postmates Work for Drivers?

Signing up for Postmates isn’t as complicated as you may think.

There are several requirements and steps before you can start earning, but it’ll be a quick process.

The first step in driving for Postmates is to download the Postmates Fleet App.

After downloading the app onto your smartphone, you can gather everything you need to begin registering to be a Postmates delivery driver.

The second step after downloading the app is to check that you meet all the driver requirements.

Similar to other delivery services such as DoorDash or UberEats, there are specific requirements that all their drivers must meet.

To drive for Postmates, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Own an iPhone or Android
  • Have a Social Security Number
  • Have a work authorization if you’re not a United States citizen
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Auto insurance unless you’re delivering on a bike

If you’re wondering why Postmates is asking for your social security number, it’s so that they can run a background check.

Once you’ve passed the background check and have entered all the valid information, you can start driving for Postmates.

Even though you’re officially a Postmates driver, there are some essential things you’ll want to consider.

Key Concepts

Driving for gig services is on the rise for a good reason.

If you’ve signed up to drive for Postmates, here are some of the main things you’ll be wondering about.

The Overall Experience

Even if there are several Postmates drivers on the road, not one driver has the same experience.

How can you expect your overall experience to be once you start driving?

Overall, people love driving for Postmates.

The delivery service allows you to make extra money or quit the full-time job you hate and work when you want.

When you learn the tricks of the trade, you can begin making some serious cash while driving for Postmates.

Postmates pays its drivers the price listed when the drivers are given the order.

The best part is that customers can choose to leave you a tip if they think your service was above and beyond.

You may have earned a tip for speedy service, attentive service, providing excellent customer service, or more.

When you sign up to drive with Postmates, you’ll be sent a welcome bag or kit.

This includes pretty much everything you’ll need to deliver with the service.

Aside from a car, bike, or scooter, of course. The welcome kit includes:

  • A getting started manual
  • A Postmates prepaid card
  • An insulated bag

The starter manual can help you understand everything there is to know about driving for the service.

It even goes into depth on the Postmates app and all the features included.

The prepaid card is crucial to helping you deliver food and other goods.

Most orders will already be paid for when you accept, but several restaurants or other shops require you to pay for the products upon arrival.

That’s where your Postmates Prepaid card comes in. You’ll use this card instead of your own debit or credit card.

Using an insulated bag to keep your customer’s food warm during the delivery is courteous, and it can even increase your chances for a nice tip.

Driving for Postmates gives you the ability to make money without working the traditional nine to five.

It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely a money-earning tool you’ll want to keep in your back pocket.

The Postmates Fleet App

two mobile phones running the postmates fleet app against a yellow background with a ridester logo

When you sign up to drive with Postmates, you’ll need access to the Postmates Fleet app.

This is how you’ll go online and begin delivering food, groceries, and more for money.

Through the app, you’ll be able to complete orders, see your earnings, past orders, and reach customer service if necessary.

Pickups and Drop Offs

The main thing you’ll need to navigate when driving for Postmates is pickups and drop-offs.

There’s a bit to learn, from locating the restaurant, following their protocols for picking up food, and then making your way to the customer’s location.

Pickups From Restaurants

When you’ve navigated to the first pickup spot, whether it be a restaurant, grocery store, or another store, you’ll want to bring your phone inside with you.

Some people leave it in the car, but most of the time, you’ll need it to verify order details and items in the order.

a vector graphic showing a postmates delivery courier leving a restaurant, another coming, and the restaurant owner wondering how postmates for restaurants works

Usually, the restaurants or stores will have specific instructions for delivery drivers on how to pick up their orders.

Some have to go to a particular counter. Some just need the customer’s name, some just the order number, or some may want all the information to ensure it’s going to the right driver.

In an ideal world, the order will be ready by the time you arrive, but that doesn’t always happen.

If you have to wait a few minutes, this is completely normal.

Be patient because the store may be busy, or they have to wait until you’re there to complete the order.

When you’ve picked up the order, the app will be able to tell you if the order was paid for or not.

If it was, then you can head out and get the delivery to the customer.

If it hasn’t been paid for yet, you’ll want to use the prepaid card from the welcome kit.

Navigating to Destinations

Once you’ve confirmed in the app that you’ve picked up the order, you can start making your way to the customer’s destination.

The app will provide you with the best way that helps to avoid traffic and take time off your commute.

Technology is essential, but it’s not without flaws.

Sometimes finding a customer’s home may be a little complicated.

If you need assistance from the customer, you’ll be able to contact them via text or phone call from the app.

Food Drop Offs

As you arrive at the customer’s house, you’ll want to check the app and see if there are any specific delivery instructions.

Some people may want you to knock to alert them that you’ve arrived, while others don’t want you to knock or ring the doorbell at all.

Following any and all instructions left by the customer is one of the best ways to enhance your likelihood of getting a tip.

Scheduling and Shifts

As with any job, you’ll want to know when you’ll be working and when you’re not.

Here’s everything you need to know about scheduling and shifts with Postmates.

Do Postmates Couriers Pick When they Want to Work?

Postmates couriers pick when they want to work!

If you’re not a morning person, no one is forcing you to work in the morning.

The same goes for if you’re not a night person.

Postmates won’t force you to work at certain times of the day.

While you’re in complete control of when you work, choosing to go online during peak hours can increase your chance for more deliveries and more earning potential.

How Often Do Postmates Drivers Work?

There’s no requirement for how often you have to work with Postmates.

You can work every day, once a week, once a month, or anything in between.

You can work 40 hours a week but maybe only 25 the following.

That’s the beauty of driving for gig service apps.

How Long are Shifts When Driving for Postmates?

To add to the beauty of working as few or as many days you want per week, that applies to hours too.

If you only have time to deliver for two hours one day but can go online for eight the following day, that’s perfectly fine.

You’ll simply go online when you’re ready to drive, and then when you’re ready to sign off, sign off.

Payments and Earnings

Besides, when you will be working or not working, you’re probably wondering how and what you can expect to make when driving with Postmates.

How Much Do Postmates Drivers Make?

The truth of the matter is, it varies. Pricing will vary across the United States, depending on where you live.

For example, if you live in a larger city, you probably get more orders.

More orders equal more money.

Generally speaking, most Postmates drivers can expect to make a minimum of $4 to $6 per order.

This increases when the customer chooses to tip you, it’s surge pricing, and if the customer’s destination is relatively far away.

On average, most Postmates drivers make around $18 an hour.

Suggested Read: How much does Postmates pay?

How Do Postmates Drivers Get Paid?

When you sign up to drive with Postmates, you’ll be asked to enter your bank information.

This allows the company to pay you via direct deposit.

It’s one of the most attractive features because your money goes directly into your account and not into PayPal or another service.

When Do Postmates Drivers Get Paid?

Besides the fact that you get paid through direct deposit, the frequency at which you get paid with Postmates is ideal.

Postmates pays drivers once a week.

Remember that it may take two to three days for your earnings to show in your account, depending on your bank.

Does Postmates Reimburse Drivers for Expenses?

As you drive with this gig app, you’ll incur some expenses.

If you’re using a car, you’ll be using quite a bit more gas than average, you may need to pay road tolls, and then there’s the added car maintenance.

Postmates doesn’t reimburse drivers for any of these, unfortunately.

The positive side is that they will send you a document come tax season where you may be able to write off some of these expenses as work-related.

It’s not the same as reimbursement, but you will pay less in taxes.

Is Driving for Postmates a Hard Job?

What you think is difficult and what someone else thinks is difficult may vary.

Generally speaking, driving for Postmates isn’t a hard job.

The most challenging part is learning to navigate the app and to and from places.

As long as you’re comfortable driving in your city, you shouldn’t find the job overly challenging.

With any new position, there may be a learning curve, but you’ll catch on quickly.

How to Maximize Postmates Earnings

How much you’ll earn when delivering with Postmates will vary, as mentioned earlier.

Even though you can expect to make roughly $18 an hour, there are a few ways to maximize your earning potential.

1. Earn More Tips from Customers

Customers aren’t required to tip their Postmates drivers, but the vast majority do.

Following all of the Postmates policies, delivery and pickup instructions, and offering excellent customer service are all great ways to earn more tips from your customers.

2. Work in Hot Spots

Hot spots are areas of town where there’s a large number of deliveries at one time.

When you open the app, you’ll see specific areas that are shaded in red or orange.

This indicates that you’ll want to go to these locations to increase your earning potential if you go online.

3. Go Online During Peak Hours

While hot spots can pop up at any hour of the day, peak hours happen around the same time every day.

These typically include the hours where most people are eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Pros and Cons of Driving for Postmates

There are pros and cons to every job, including driving for Postmates.

These are general pros and cons.

What you consider a pro, your best friend may not.

Pros

Here are some of the biggest pros of driving for Postmates.

A Car is Not Necessary

While using a car is the most popular choice for delivering with Postmates, you don’t need a car to drive with Postmates.

Depending on where you live, you can use a scooter or bicycle.

You’ll want to check the requirements for your city because not all allow you to use these alternative methods.

Delivery Fees Increase with Distance

When you’re driving with Postmates, you get to make your own work hours, and ultimately, can decide how much and how far you’re willing to drive.

Postmates knows that driving long distances isn’t always ideal since it may take you longer to get a new order.

The further away your customer is from the store they ordered from, the larger your delivery fee will be.

This means more money for you if you’re willing to make the drive.

Pay Incentives Like Blitz Pricing are Attractive

If you’ve driven with Uber before, you’ve probably heard of surge pricing. Blitz pricing is Postmates’ version.

When the demand for deliveries is higher than the number of couriers the app has available, you’ll earn more money if you’re able to take on order.

Cons

While there are plenty of pros, there are downsides to working with Postmates.

Drivers are 1099 Contractors

When you drive with Postmates, you’re considered an independent contractor.

This means that you’ll need to account for your taxes as you get paid.

They’re not automatically taken from your paycheck.

Expenses Can Eat Earnings Fast

If your car doesn’t get good gas mileage, you’ll be filling up your tank more often.

This expense can eat into the amount you’re earning very quickly.

If you can’t find a way to keep expenses low, you may find that it’s not worth your time.

The Hidden Frustrations of Driving for Postmates

One of the biggest hidden frustrations of driving for Postmates is that Uber bought the app.

When this happened, some Postmates drivers were disqualified from driving anymore since Uber’s policies were slightly different.

How has COVID-19 Affected Postmates Drivers?

COVID-19 has changed how everything in our world works.

For drivers, this means following their COVID policies to keep themselves and others safe.

They began offering no-contact deliveries where drivers could leave the items on the porch without having to hand them to the customer.

Divers were required to wear a mask while entering shops and when handling the deliveries.

This was an attempt to keep the driver, customer, and staff at the stores safe during this uncertain time.

Is It Worth Driving for Postmates?

Yes and no. Some people may think driving for Postmates is the ideal job and 100% worth it.

Others may not have the same opinion.

If you’re looking for a job where you can work when and how much you want, it’s worth it for you.

If you’re not able to make enough to cover expenses, then it’s probably not worth it for you.

Choosing to work during peak hours and blitz pricing can help make driving more worth your while.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about driving with Postmates, we’ve got you covered.

Can you drive for Postmates with a felony?

No. Postmates will allow some criminal charges, but regardless of what it is, if you have a felony on your record, they won’t let you drive from them.

Can I drive for Postmates without the prepaid card?

You can! You’ll only want to accept orders that you don’t need to use the prepaid card at.

How does driving for Postmates compare to driving for Uber or Lyft?

The most significant difference between these three gig apps is that with Postmates, you won’t be driving people around.

Lyft doesn’t offer food or goods delivery, and Uber offers both.

Uber has expanded to groceries and other goods besides restaurant meals.

Overall, they have similar requirements to drive for them, and the earning potential is comparable.

Wrapping Up

Postmates is one of the best ways to earn some extra money or make money so you can work when you want.

The sign-up process is simple, and once you’re registered to drive with them, you make your first delivery that day.

The job is relatively easy and gives you the freedom to work on your own schedule.

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