Driving for Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps: Which Is Better for You?

If you follow the news, then you’ve probably heard about all the exciting new transportation and food delivery apps that are flooding the market. These new apps are transforming the way that people get from place to place, order dinner, and even get alcohol.

Instead of having to take a taxi or go to the store, you can now use the Uber app or pull up a delivery app on your phone and have everything charged to your credit card. It’s a level of convenience that previous generations could only have imagined.

What you may also have heard is that these new apps offer lots of opportunities to earn some extra money. Even as the headlines focus on the new millionaires that these companies stand to create, there’s also a chance for almost anyone with a strong work ethic and a car to make extra income transporting passengers or making deliveries.

But which option is better? On the one hand, there’s driving for apps like Uber and Lyft. With these companies, you earn money in exchange for transporting passengers in your personal vehicle. On the other hand, there are food delivery apps like Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub, and many others. While the details of what you deliver vary, all these apps require you to deliver food or groceries to customers.

The sheer number of options can be overwhelming, which is why we created this guide. Below, we’ll compare driving for Uber to driving for delivery companies. We’ll look at key factors such as hours, pay, application process, and more, so that you can easily determine which option better fits your income goals and job preferences.

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Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps Availability

Finding your city online to start driving for Uber

Let’s start with where these apps are available. After all, it doesn’t matter how great these gigs are if you don’t have access to them in your city. Looking at Uber, it has a massive availability. The app is currently available in 328 cities in North America alone, along with dozens of other cities across the world.

This means that you can likely drive for Uber even if you don’t live in a large urban area such as Chicago, New York City, or San Francisco. Naturally, demand for Uber will still be higher in larger cities, but the app’s broad availability is hard to deny.

Looking at delivery apps, the availability in the United States is equally impressive. Postmates, for instance, is currently available in 391 cities (more than Uber!). DoorDash is in around 300 cities as well, and Grubhub is in a staggering 2,200 U.S. cities.

Given this information, food delivery apps are the clear winner in terms of sheer availability. That being said, we should mention that Uber also has their own food delivery app: Uber Eats. Uber Eats is available in more or less the same cities where Uber operates, but even counting that, food delivery apps still come out way on top.

Winner: Food delivery apps

Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps Hours

Up next, let’s look at the general working hours Uber vs. drive for food delivery apps. The first thing to understand is that none of these apps constitute a full-time job. It’s certainly possible to earn a full-time income (more on that in the next section), but all of the gigs we’re talking about here are technically part-time contract work. Because of this, you can work as little or as much as you want to.

Having said that, some times are better to work than others. Uber, for instance, strongly favors drivers who are willing to work the times when the demands for the service is highest. This can often mean working during rush hour, Friday and Saturday nights, and early in the morning when people are headed to the airport. In contrast, there are usually fewer Uber ride requests during normal business hours, as that’s when most people are at work

With food delivery apps, the best times to work are when people are ordering food. This means working either during lunch or during dinner. You can also get some higher demand late at night (especially on weekends). On the other hand, people don’t usually use food delivery apps to order breakfast, so you won’t find as much business during the mornings. You’re also limited by the hours that restaurants are open (something that doesn’t affect Uber).

Given this information, we think that the two sides more or less tie in terms of the time involved. If you prefer to work nights, then apps ridesharing apps like Uber are going to be better for you. If you like working during the day or after work, then food delivery apps will be better.

Winner: Tie

Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps Pay

Person pulling cash out of their wallet

Now, we come to the part that you’ve been waiting for: pay. Can you make more money driving for Uber or food delivery apps?

Starting with Uber, Ridester has plenty of unique data related to how much money you can make. Our 2018 Independent Driver-Earnings Survey found that the median hourly earnings for UberX drivers were $14.73 (including tips).

That being said, your earnings will vary depending on where you drive and the times that you’re willing to work. If you can work during busy times, you’ll earn more due to surge pricing, and you’ll also just get more rides overall.

With food delivery apps, on the other hand, earnings tend to be a bit lower. Glassdoor reports that the average hourly pay for Postmates couriers ranges from $10-$11. Grubhub does a little better, with a reported average hourly pay of $13. Glassdoor also reports that the DoorDash pay averages $11 per hour, while the average hourly pay for Uber Eats is just $10. None of these wages are excellent; in many cases, they’re only a bit above the minimum wage.

Overall, then, the pay for working as a rideshare driver for Uber is better than that of food delivery apps. Both are still good ways to make extra cash, but the food delivery apps certainly lag behind. This is especially true when you consider that the numbers we have for Uber drivers are what drivers take home after taxes and expenses.

The data on Glassdoor, on the other hand, does not take these factors into account, which is problematic when you consider that people who work for these platforms are independent contractors who have to do their own tax withholding.

Additionally, we should note that the pay we discussed for Uber drivers is only for UberX, which is the cheapest service level that the company offers. If you have a vehicle that qualifies to driver for a higher-end service such as UberXL, UberSELECT, or UberBLACK, you can start to earn a lot of money (much higher than $14.73 per hour on average).

Winner: Uber

Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps Application Process

For this next point, let’s compare the application processes for Uber and food delivery apps.

Both Uber and all food delivery apps require you to pass a background check and submit some basic information about the vehicle you’ll be using to transport passengers or make deliveries. And both services will check your driving record if you’ll be using a motor vehicle. In this respect, then, they’re more or less equal.

Beyond this, however, Uber tends to be more difficult to get approved for than food delivery. The main reason for this is that Uber has stricter vehicle requirements. Because you’re transporting passengers, Uber wants to be sure that the vehicle is both safe and comfortable. It also needs to have at least four doors and carry at least five passengers (including the driver). Food delivery apps, in contrast, have less strict requirements since you’re just transporting food.

Overall, then, food delivery apps win in terms of the application process. The lack of passenger transportation means that it’s a lot easier to get approved, even if you have an older vehicle. This is a major advantage, as buying a new car just so you can drive for Uber in your spare time doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Winner: Food delivery apps

Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps Benefits

For this final point of comparison, let’s take a look at the overall benefits that come with driving for Uber vs. delivering food.

Starting with Uber, the app has some benefits that are quite appealing. Recognizing that Uber drivers spend more than the average person on things like car maintenance and car washes, they’ve partnered with companies like Advance Auto Parts and Meineke to offer up to 15% on basic services such as oil changes or tire rotation.

They also have deals with AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon that can save Uber partners 8-22% off their monthly phone bills. Finally, many cities have special local benefits that Uber drivers can take advantage of. To learn more, visit the Uber Rewards page.

With food delivery apps, the benefits tend to be scarcer. Grubhub comes the closest to Uber in terms of offering some discounts on auto service, but even their benefits aren’t as appealing overall. Benefits that would make sense, such as discounts at restaurants, are notably absent from food delivery apps.

Overall, then, Uber is the winner here. Certainly, their benefits are nothing to write home about, but they do offer more benefits to drivers than food delivery apps do.

We should mention that both opportunities offer lots of benefits compared to regular part-time jobs. Mainly, you get to be your own boss and set your own schedule. You don’t have to deal with a boss telling you when to work. Instead, you can set your own hours and ensure that you can still live the life you want without having to think about work as the foremost thing.

Winner: Uber

Uber vs. Food Delivery Apps: Who Wins in the End?

Based on the results of this comparison, Uber and food delivery apps tie. Having said that, we think that Uber offers more in the areas that matter to most people: higher pay and better benefits. Uber is also a more flexible gig overall, with drivers theoretically able to work at any hour of the day, seven days per week.

Driving for food delivery apps can still be worth it, particularly if you use it in combination with working as either an Uber or Lyft driver. For instance, you could drive for Grubhub during the dinner rush and then pick up Uber rides later at night when demand is higher.

The bottom line is that you should do whatever works best for your situation. If maximizing your take home pay is what matters, then Uber is the better choice. But if you’d rather not drive passengers around like a taxi driver or you don’t have a car that’s new enough, food delivery apps will be the way to go.