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If you’re taking on a new job, a need for money is probably the reason. Even if the Grubhub driver gig seems like the most appealing opportunity around, it still needs to meet your earnings expectations before you sign up. To figure out if the flexible hours are worth the pay, there’s one question you need answered: How much do Grubhub drivers make?
The question is a little more complex than you might think. To really understand how much Grubhub drivers make, you need to learn about how driver earnings are calculated in the first place, as well as what expenses you need to expect.
This article will help you dive deeper into Grubhub courier pay, so you can decide if you want to sign up or look elsewhere in the gig economy.
- How Much Do Grubhub Drivers Make?
- Grubhub Driver Pay Breakdown
- How Are Grubhub Drivers Paid?
- Grubhub Delivery Driver Expenses
- Opportunities to Earn More
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Do Grubhub Drivers Make?
Drivers for delivery apps like Uber Eats, Postmates, Instacart, and DoorDash make about the same, give or take $1. In some major metropolitan areas, like New York City and Los Angeles, $12 per hour actually falls below minimum wage.
Of course, since rates aren’t the same in every market, hourly averages can vary from city to city. Plus, there isn’t actually a limit to how much you can earn, so if you consistently provide great service, you can offset the high costs of living in areas like Los Angeles and New York City by earning more tips.
On the flip side, there is no guarantee that you’ll reach $12 every single hour. This average combines all U.S. cities, so while drivers in high-demand cities may be getting consistent delivery requests, drivers in other cities may frequently be stuck with slow days.
Grubhub Driver Pay Breakdown
For a more accurate look at how much you can make as a courier for the food delivery company, we need to take a look at how driver pay is actually calculated.
While it’s hard to narrow down the average Grubhub driver’s pay per-delivery — especially since Grubhub no longer offers a base pay — the following factors will always determine your earnings. Exact pay rates will vary by city, but here’s the gist of what to expect:
- Miles: Grubhub drivers earn around 22 cents per mile, including the distance you drive to get to your pick-up and drop-off locations.
- Time spent: Drivers additionally earn around 13 cents per minute spent driving and waiting.
- Tips: Customer tips go straight to delivery drivers with no deductions. Drivers keep 100% of tips.
So, if you need to drive one mile to get from your current location to a restaurant, plus three miles to get to your drop-off location, you would get 88 cents for miles driven.
If that takes you 15 minutes of driving time, plus five minutes of waiting time at the restaurant, you’d get $2.60 for time spent.
If your customer then leaves a $3 tip, you would get the full $3 tip.
In total, you would earn $6.48 for that 20-minute delivery.
The total amount that your customer pays for their meal, delivery fees, and service fees has no bearing on how much you earn.
Does Grubhub Charge Commission Fees?
Grubhub does not directly charge drivers commission fees in the sense that they don’t take a percentage or fee from couriers. Rather, Grubhub just makes the difference between what you make and what customers pay (plus the commission fees that restaurants pay). There are no hidden deductions that will surprise you later on.
Your earnings, as calculated based on the Grubhub driver pay structure above, are fully yours.
How Are Grubhub Drivers Paid?
Drivers are paid via direct deposit every single week. Grubhub sends out these payments on Thursdays — including your earnings from Monday to Sunday of the preceding week — and the funds are typically available to you within five days.
If you ever need your earnings faster, you can also choose to cash out using Grubhub’s Instant Cash Out feature, located on the earnings tab of your Grubhub for Drivers app. As soon as you tap “Cash Out,” Grubhub will send your earnings (up to $500 per day) in exchange for a 50-cent fee. This fee is waived for drivers who receive their direct deposits through a Chase checking account.
While Instant Cash Out payments may still take up to three days to process if your bank doesn’t support real-time payments, it’s still an affordable option to get your funds without a long wait.
Grubhub Driver Expenses
Grubhub drivers are all classified as independent contractors, which allows you to take control of your own schedule. But being your own boss also means you’re responsible for all of the job-related expenses you accrue. We’ll explain some of the costs that you can expect when you become a delivery driver.
Grubhub delivery drivers put much more wear on their vehicles each week than the average driver. Because of this, you can expect to spend significantly more on gas and car maintenance needs (like oil changes and alignments) than usual, if you’ve never driven for an on-demand delivery or rideshare app before. Your increased smartphone data usage may also come with extra costs.
While these job-related expenses are typically tax deductible — as long as you track your mileage and keep receipts — you will need to set aside room in your budget for the initial cost, as you don’t want to overspend.
If you purchase a car specifically for your delivery job, you’ll have extra car payments and insurance payments to consider, too. But even if you’re using a car you already own, you will likely need to add on business-use coverage to your current car insurance policy. This is because Grubhub — unlike competitors DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats — does not provide any commercial auto insurance coverage when you’re actively working on a request. Most personal car insurance policies will not cover you when you’re driving for a job.
Luckily, you won’t have to pay for annual vehicle inspections. These are not required by Grubhub.
As an independent contractor, you’ll also have to budget out income taxes yourself. Grubhub will not withhold any taxes from your weekly payments, so it’s crucial that you remember to save for tax payments yourself.
In addition to the money you save for income taxes, you’ll also have to budget out 15.3% of your income for self-employment taxes, which consist of your Medicare and Social Security taxes. Traditional employees only pay half this amount, since employers cover the rest, but since you are legally your own boss, you are required to cover both halves.
All Grubhub earnings — including those that come from promotions and cash tips — must be reported to the IRS and calculated into your annual income.
Whether you drive for Grubhub on a part-time or full-time basis, you are not eligible for any benefits. This means you will need to cover your own health insurance, paid time off, and any other benefits you are interested in receiving.
Some of these costs may be tax deductible, so we recommend working with your CPA to sort out your eligible expenses.
Opportunities to Earn More
Part of the beauty of becoming a Grubhub driver is the fact that you’re never limited to a set hourly wage. If you want to consistently earn more than the average hourly pay, here are two opportunities you can take advantage of:
1. Scheduled Blocks
Grubhub delivery drivers have the unique opportunity to increase earnings by scheduling delivery blocks ahead of time. These are basically driving shifts that are available when Grubhub anticipates a need for more couriers. When you commit to a shift instead of driving on a totally flexible schedule, you will get more requests and higher earnings during your delivery block.
Just make sure to avoid dropping shifts within 72 hours of your scheduled start time or being a no-show. If you consistently do so, Grubhub may restrict your access to scheduled blocks and, therefore, the extra money you can receive from these opportunities.
2. Grubhub Recognition Program
The Grubhub Recognition Program allows the best delivery drivers to access unique perks when they keep up the good work. After your 20th request, you’ll automatically be assigned to one of the following levels:
- Partner: This is the default level and comes with no special benefits.
- Pro: If you have a 100% attendance rate for scheduled blocks, at least an 85% order acceptance rate, and a block drop rate of less than 20%, you’ll be assigned to the Pro level. This gets you earlier access to delivery block scheduling, as well as access to larger catering orders and referral programs.
- Premier: If you have a 100% attendance rate, at least a 95% acceptance rate, and a block drop rate below 10%, you’ll be a Premier driver with all the Pro perks, but with first dibs on delivery blocks.
Your Grubhub Recognition Program level can change over time, since it is always assigned based on your activity in the most recent 30 days.
Drivers in select markets may be able to qualify for hourly pay guarantees by keeping up their rates, as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much you make as a Grubhub driver depends on a set of factors that are easy to understand when you break them down, especially if you’ve driven for similar food delivery services in the past.
If you still have any questions about your potential earnings, read our answers to these common questions:
1. How much do Grubhub couriers make when delivering on bike or on foot?
Your chosen delivery method shouldn’t directly impact your earnings, since you’ll still be earning based on the same pay model and local rates. However, if you’re delivering on bike or on foot, you are limited to a smaller delivery area, which could limit the amount of requests you receive per hour.
On the plus side, you can avoid the many driving expenses that Grubhub drivers pay as part of the job.
2. Does the same Grubhub driver pay structure apply to Seamless orders?
As a Grubhub driver, you may sometimes receive delivery requests that were submitted through Seamless, a food delivery brand that merged with Grubhub in 2013. For these orders, you will be paid based on the same driver pay structure.
Payments for Seamless deliveries are sent as part of your weekly direct deposit, so your entire driving experience should be exactly the same, regardless of which app your customers order through.
3. How does Grubhub driver pay work if I’m picking up from multiple restaurants at once?
If you receive an offer to pick up multiple orders from more than one location in the same trip, the same Grubhub driver pay structure applies. Bundled offers simply help you complete more orders at once, which typically leads to more tips in less time.
4. Are customers required to leave tips?
Tipping on Grubhub is not mandatory, so it’s possible that you’ll be left with low tips or no tips on some orders. While tipping at least 15% is custom, don’t be surprised if you’re left without a tip every once in a while.
Luckily, Grubhub does try to support drivers by suggesting a 20% to 25% tip on customers’ checkout screens.
Understand Your Earnings
Grubhub driver pay can vary immensely between cities and between individual drivers, but when you understand the basic pay structure and the expenses you may accrue, estimating your potential earnings is much easier. When you take advantage of opportunities to earn more as you drive, you may even end up with higher-than-average earnings every time you drive.
If you decide the food delivery opportunity makes sense for you financially, read our complete Grubhub driver guide to learn more about applying and driving for the company.
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.