Flexible driving gigs are everywhere these days, and with the gig economy opportunities increasingly popular, you don’t have to become a professional driver to earn on the road.
If you want an easy money-making opportunity that doesn’t involve ridesharing, you can drive for Grubhub and deliver food on your own schedule.
In order to reliably serve the millions of people who depend on its services, the food delivery platform needs drivers like you. This article will guide you through what the gig entails, how to apply, and how to get started once you’re approved.
- What Is Grubhub?
- How Grubhub Works for Drivers
- Why Should I Deliver for Grubhub?
- How Much Money Do Grubhub Drivers Make?
- Grubhub Driver Requirements
- How to Apply to Drive for Grubhub
- GrubHub OnBoarding
- How to Make Your First Delivery as a Grubhub Driver
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Visit the Ridester Marketplace
- Navigate to the Grubhub listing
- Click the application link
- Fill out the required information
- Once approved, start delivering!
What Is Grubhub?
Grubhub is a food delivery service that was founded in 2004 by Matthew Maloney and Michael Evans, two software developers who were looking for an alternative to paper menus. In 2013, the company merged with food delivery pioneer Seamless, and today they work together with over 80,000 restaurant partners to provide food delivery in over 1,600 cities across the U.S. and U.K.
As a note, since both Grubhub and Seamless are working together, if you become a driver for GrubHub, you also drive for Seamless.
Today, Grubhub functions as an app that customers can use to place orders from local restaurants. They download the app, put in their payment information, and place their order. All payment is handled through the app, including tips for drivers.
On the surface level, this process appears to be fairly straightforward. Behind the scenes, there is a lot more going on. Especially for GrubHub drivers. But we will come back to that in a minute.
Several restaurants working in collaboration with GrubHub have their own in-house delivery drivers. But there are plenty of restaurants that rely on third-party drivers to complete deliveries. In those locations, GrubHub has started to hire drivers in mass quantities to meet their food delivery needs.
Related: check out these Grubhub alternatives if you’re looking to expand beyond this service alone.
How Grubhub Works for Drivers
Just like drivers for any other food delivery service, Grubhub drivers have two primary responsibilities: picking up food from local restaurants and delivering it straight to customers. This process can be completed through the Grubhub for Drivers app.
While this may not sound very interesting, the Grubhub driver experience is actually unique from other platforms in a few ways.
First, drivers are eligible to receive requests from customers on not one, but two food delivery apps. This is because Grubhub also owns Seamless, a lookalike platform that has a couple million more users in need of delivery services.
When Seamless users submit food orders, the request actually goes straight to Grubhub drivers. This means if you drive in a market shared by Seamless and Grubhub, you could get far more requests than on any other food delivery app for drivers.
Second, Grubhub drivers can actually schedule delivery blocks in addition to logging on whenever they want. Drivers still have a completely flexible schedule, but by driving in pre-selected blocks, they can automatically get more requests as well as higher earnings.
Lastly, drivers in some regions can qualify for an hourly pay guarantee by meeting local requirements, which may include working a set amount of scheduled blocks and accepting a specific percentage of orders. This means that you may be able to make decent money even when demand drops incredibly low.
Why Should I Deliver for Grubhub?
Of all the food delivery services out there, why should you choose Grubhub? Aside from the general benefits of being able to set your own hours and work for yourself, Grubhub has a few specific benefits that make it stand out:
- Lower minimum age requirement than Uber or Lyft — To be a rideshare driver for Uber or Lyft, you need to be at least 21 (or 23 in some markets). A Grubhub driver, in contrast, only needs to be 19 (with the exception of Chicago, where drivers must be 21 or older). This makes it a valuable opportunity for younger drivers who aren’t able to drive for Uber or Lyft.
- Well-established company — Grubhub has been around for a while, and it has the reputation and recognition that come with that. While nothing is certain, Grubhub is likely to be more stable than other smaller food delivery startups that could fold overnight (or be acquired by a larger company like Grubhub).
- Most total orders of all the food delivery apps — According to Grubhub’s driver page, they receive “more orders than any other order platform.” This means you have more total opportunities to make deliveries, which translates into a higher earning potential.
How Much Money Do Grubhub Drivers Make?
Speaking of earnings, how much can you make as a Grubhub driver?
The precise amount varies depending on your city. In some cities, for example, local laws set a minimum amount that you must be paid per hour, regardless of the number of deliveries you complete.
These laws are designed to protect drivers from the volatility that can come from slow days. To see if this applies to your city, consult the “Grubhub Payment Terms” email that you’ll receive during the onboarding process (more on this below).
In general, however, Grubhub determines pay using the following formula:
Per order rate + $0.50 per mile from the restaurant to the customer + 100% of your tips
The per order rate varies based on the market. Cities with a higher cost of living will tend to have a higher per order rate.
As a general rule though, when you drive for Grubhub, you can expect to make approximately $12 per hour before tips. The exact pay you receive for every ride will always vary based on the following factors:
- Miles: Grubhub pays drivers about 22 cents per mile (depending on your market) for the miles you drive. This includes the distance traveled to the pick-up location and to the drop-off location.
- Time spent: You’ll receive about 13 cents per minute you spend driving and waiting.
- Tips: Delivery drivers get 100% of the tips customers provide.
If you qualify for an hourly guarantee in your market, you can make at least a set minimum wage (usually around $11 per hour) for every hour you’re signed on for deliveries. Grubhub will pay the difference.
Of course, you’re never stuck at these low average wages. Grubhub drivers are independent contractors, which means maximum earnings do not exist. By following our tips to increase Grubhub driver pay, you can consistently reach higher hourly averages and make a comfortable living with food delivery.
However, independent contractors are responsible for all job-related expenses, so don’t forget to budget for gas, car maintenance, and similar needs.
To maximize your earnings, we recommend the following strategies:
- Operate in an area with a high volume of orders — This is something you’ll learn from experience or through talking to more experienced drivers. The more orders you can complete, the more you can earn.
- Provide excellent customer service — Tips are the part of your earnings that you have the most power to influence. To maximize tips, always be polite and prompt in your deliveries. Thank the customer for their order, smile, and wish them a pleasant day. These seem like small details, but they can make all the difference in how much the customer tips (and whether they tip at all).
Grubhub Driver Requirements
In order to deliver food for Grubhub, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
While the average driver does qualify to drive for Grubhub, the company has some set standards for all of its independent contractors. 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
- Checking account for direct deposit
In select markets, electric scooter and bike delivery positions may be available to gig workers who don’t own a car or motorcycle.
When applying to deliver for Grubhub as a biker, you will not be required to have car insurance or driving experience. Prospective bike delivery partners can also submit a state ID in place of a driver’s license.
How to Apply to Drive for Grubhub
When you’re ready to get one step closer to being your own boss, you can try your hand at the Grubhub application process.
Assuming you meet all the requirements we outlined above, applying to be a Grubhub driver is easy. To streamline the process, we recommend having the following at hand before you start your application:
- Driver’s license (if applying to make deliveries using a motor vehicle) or state ID (if applying to make deliveries by bike)
- Proof of car insurance
- Bank account information (Grubhub will need this to pay you)
From there, you can begin your application by filling out the form on Grubhub’s website. Applying online to drive for Grubhub is easy when you follow these simple steps:
1. Head to driver.grubhub.com and fill in the form at the top of the page with your first name, last name, email address, and phone number. Then, tap “Next.”
3. Tap “Let’s begin” to start a short questionnaire that determines your eligibility. When you submit, you’ll either move forward or be informed of why you can’t move forward (usually due to eligibility issues or lack of demand in your area).
4. If you’re able to move forward, follow the prompts to set up your driver profile. You’ll need to provide required documents such as your driver’s license, vehicle insurance card, and checking account information. Then, you’ll need to authorize a background check.
When you’re approved, you’ll need to finish filling out paperwork and complete your online onboarding, in which you’ll get clear details about how to successfully fulfill delivery requests.
GrubHub offers in-person onboarding sessions in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York (Manhattan), Orange County, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Diego North, and Schaumburg.
If you are not in one of those cities, onboarding can be completed online.
The process is basically the same for in-person and online onboarding. New drivers are required to review a slideshow that goes over how to make deliveries as well as the following topics.
- An introduction to the company
- Getting started with GrubHub
- Scheduling Time Blocks
- Making Deliveries
- Some “Tips and Tricks”
- How Drivers are Paid
Once you’ve gone through the above slides, you’re done with onboarding. The final step is receiving an insulated GrubHub bag. If you attend an in-person onboarding session, they will give you your bag upon completion. If you complete onboarding online GrubHub will mail you one.
Once you’ve completed onboarding and have your insulated bag, you’re ready to begin making deliveries as a Grubhub driver.
Working as a GrubHub Driver
As we mentioned in the onboarding process, drivers should schedule a delivery block. This is optional, but we highly recommend it. Drivers who schedule blocks will be preferred over other drivers that do not. It is possible to get deliveries without scheduling a block, but scheduled drivers will receive priority.
If blocks fill up before you are able to claim a spot, keep a lookout for dropped blocks. On occasion, drivers will drop their block, making it available for other drivers.
GrubHub uses the block method to avoid an oversaturation of drivers. This also helps ensure there are drivers on call during busy periods.
It is important to note that GrubHub allows drivers with a higher “level” to schedule their blocks before others. Drivers who are able to attain Premier status are entitled to a load of perks, such as being able to get first access to large catering orders. Delivering a large catering order is a fantastic score for drivers due to the large order fee and bigger tips. It’s easy to see why reaching the Premier level is worth it.
For more, read our guide on what it’s like to work as a Grubhub driver.
Once you schedule a delivery block, the next thing drivers need to do is get into position. GrubHub will not start sending you deliveries until you are in a predefined delivery zone. To identify where your delivery boundary is for your unique location, open the GrubHub app and click on the bars located in the upper right-hand corner, then select “View Region Boundaries”.
To start accepting orders, double-check that you are located in the delivery area and set your status to “Taking Offers”. This can be done by tapping on “Unavailable”. When the next screen pops up, slide the red dot from “Unavailable” to “Taking Offers”.
Now that GrubHub knows you are ready, offers will be sent to you based on your location. When an offer comes through, you will hear a cowbell. Once you do, a 90-second countdown will begin. If you do not accept the order within that time, it will be issued to another driver.
Before you accept the offer, you can see the customer and restaurant location as well as your own. GrubHub will also show you are much you’ll earn by accepting the order.
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Once you decide to accept the offer, the GrubHub app will direct you to the restaurant.
Be sure to grab your GrubHub bag and click “Arrived” after you enter the restaurant. When you have the order in hand, verify that you have all of the items. Then click “Got Order” and “Leaving”. Doing so will make the GPS pop up as well as directions to the diner.
Once you are at the customer’s location, click “Arrived” and deliver the order. When the meal has been delivered to the customer, tap “Delivered” to start the process over again.
In the event that you run into a problem, below the “Delivered” button is a “There’s a Problem” link. Do not be afraid to use it if you need to.
Picking Up Orders from Restaurants
One of the major perks of working for GrubHub is not having to pay for the food on the customer’s behalf (like some other delivery services). Unlike services like DoorDash or Postmates, GrubHub has established lasting relationships with restaurants.
This relationship includes setting up payment processing integrations. This means the restaurants accept payments directly from GrubHub, eliminating the need for a prepaid card.
In most situations, restaurants will have the order ready and waiting for you upon your arrival. All you have to do is grab it, follow the directions we mentioned in the last section and go.
Getting Food to Customers
As we mentioned earlier, once you have picked up the food, the GrubHub app will direct you to the final destination. Upon making the delivery, if your customer service skills were on point, customers may give you a tip. This can be done in person or they can pre-tip via the app. Drivers keep 100% of tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making money on a flexible schedule is easy when you drive for Grubhub. To learn more about working with the food delivery service, read our answers to these common questions:
1. How do I know if Grubhub operates in my city?
The most efficient way to figure out if Grubhub operates in your area is simply by starting the application process. Once you select your state in the second step, you can select from a complete list of markets within your state.
2. Can I drive full-time for Grubhub?
While Grubhub is often treated as a part-time gig, it is possible to work 40 hours per week (or sometimes more) on the platform. However, because you’ll still be considered an independent contractor, there’s no guarantee you can always get the total weekly hours you want.
To reach a full-time equivalent, some drivers choose to sign up for multiple food delivery services, so they can earn with companies like Postmates and DoorDash in addition to Grubhub.
3. How often are Grubhub drivers paid?
You’ll receive a payout for your completed deliveries once per week, though any drivers with a Chase checking account can request instant cash-outs at no extra cost. All other drivers can choose to request instant cash-outs for 50 cents per transaction.
4. What are scheduled blocks?
The process described above is all you need to do to complete orders. However, in order to give drivers the opportunity to maximize their earnings and avoid oversaturating particular times with too many drivers, Grubhub also allows drivers to schedule their hours in advance through the Grubhub for Drivers app.
These pre-scheduled time slots are called blocks. To sign up for a block, open the Drivers app and tap on “Scheduling” in the menu. You’ll be able to see available blocks and select the ones you want by tapping on them. You can schedule blocks up to a week in advance; Grubhub will text you a notification when blocks for the week are available.
You aren’t required to schedule blocks to make deliveries, but note that Grubhub does give scheduled drivers priority when it comes to offering orders. This means that it’s in your best interest to schedule blocks in advance when you can.
5. Are Grubhub Drivers Employees?
No, Grubhub drivers and delivery partners are independent contractors. They are not employees of Grubhub, as a federal judge ruled in February 2018 in San Francisco after Grubhub driver Raef Lawson sued the company for back wages, overtime, and expense reimbursement.
This has raised considerable controversy, as it was the first “gig economy” case to come before a court. However, as Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement to Ars Technica, “We’re extremely satisfied with today’s ruling in Lawson v. Grubhub, which validates the freedom our delivery partners enjoy from deciding when, where, and how frequently to perform deliveries.”
Whichever side you wish to take, the reality is that under present California law and federal law, Grubhub delivery drivers are classified as independent contractors. This comes with certain disadvantages, including the ones that came up in the Raef Lawson lawsuit. However, being an independent contractor does offer benefits when compared with traditional employment, like a flexible schedule.
Drive for Grubhub to Earn Cash
For anyone who loves being behind the wheel, Grubhub is a great opportunity to earn money by navigating around the city. With this gig, you can get a fairly reliable income on a flexible schedule — and all you need to do is deliver food to hungry customers.
We hope this guide has given you everything you need to know about how to be a Grubhub driver. It’s an exciting opportunity to earn extra cash while working a flexible schedule, one that would have been unimaginable even a decade ago.
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.