It’s easy to turn your love for driving, biking, or walking into a profitable gig when you join the Postmates Fleet. But before you take the time to apply, you need to make sure the gig will give you the earnings you expect. So how much does Postmates pay its couriers?
Founded in San Francisco in 2011, Postmates is now one of the largest food delivery platforms in the United States. However, many massive companies in the gig economy don’t always provide great pay to independent contractors.
In order to choose the delivery gig that can best help you meet your financial goals, you need to learn how much money a potential side hustle can bring in.
Keep reading for our full breakdown of how much Postmates pays and the work expenses you can expect to incur.
- How Much Does Postmates Pay?
- Postmates Payment Structure
- Postmates Bonuses and Incentives
- How Are Postmates Couriers Paid?
- Postmates Delivery Driver Expenses
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Apply through our referral link
- Create a Postmates courier account
- Enter your basic information
- Fill out the required information
- Start delivering!
How Much Does Postmates Pay?
According to Glassdoor data, the average Postmates courier makes about $11 per hour plus 100% of customer tips.
This average is clearly a far cry away from the potential $25 per hour the food delivery app occasionally advertises. In fact, it’s lower than the minimum wage in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York City. However, that’s not to say higher earnings are impossible when working with Postmates.
Typical Postmates pay varies heavily from city to city, so you might exceed the $11 per hour average in larger cities. However, this means you might make less in rural or suburban areas.
Plus, if you give great customer service to maximize your tips and take advantage of bonus offers (we’ll talk about these offers later), you can make a comfortable living with the on-demand delivery service.
Postmates Payment Structure
While it’s almost impossible to say exactly how much Postmates pays per hour, knowing how your earnings are calculated can help you decide if this gig is worth your effort. Luckily, the food delivery service is transparent regarding its pay structure.
Every courier is paid per order based on the following factors:
- Rate per pick-up: When you successfully pick up an order from a restaurant or retailer, a flat amount is added to your base pay. This amount varies by city.
- Rate per drop-off: Similarly, when you complete your delivery at your drop-off location, a flat amount will add to your base pay. Again, this amount varies by city.
- Per-minute rate: You’ll receive a set amount of money per minute of wait time if your order is not ready when you arrive at your pick-up location.
- Per-mile rate: For each mile you drive, bike, or walk, you’ll receive a set amount of money based on your city.
- Tips: Postmates pays couriers 100% of the tips customers provide. The app typically suggests tips of $1, $2, or $3 for each order, though buyers may customize their tips.
Unlike most food delivery apps, Postmates allows you to easily find the exact rates in your city before you sign up.
Simply head to the “Payout Information by Market” page on Postmates.com, select your state, and select your city.
On the city-specific web page that opens up, you can scroll down to the “Delivery Earnings” section to see your local rates.
The rates pictured above are for San Diego, though the layout of your “Delivery Earnings” section will look similar.
Postmates Bonuses and Incentives
As with most on-demand food delivery services, Postmates offers higher earnings when you deliver in times of high demand.
On the Postmates app, this is known as “Blitz pricing,” which typically occurs around lunchtime and dinnertime. Before you accept an order, you can see if Blitz pricing applies to the specific request.
Beyond this standard peak hour pricing, the company offers couriers a few different opportunities to make extra money. These opportunities fall within the following categories:
- Bonus per delivery: When delivery partners are needed, Postmates will sometimes offer a bonus payment for every delivery completed (usually within a specific time frame and delivery area).
- Crusher: This one-time bonus may be offered to users in qualifying markets and requires you to complete a set amount of deliveries within a specific time frame.
Guaranteed earnings: These offers are similar to Crushers, as they require a set amount of deliveries within a specific time frame. However, instead of a bonus, you’re promised a set minimum payout.
- Invites: As part of the Postmate driver referral program, you can earn a guaranteed payout when someone signs up to drive with your invite code and completes a set amount of deliveries in a given time period.
How Are Postmates Couriers Paid?
Postmates couriers are paid once per week on Mondays through direct deposit. You can expect your funds to be available by Wednesday or Thursday each week unless a bank holiday delays the payment processing.
In order to set up direct deposit, couriers must have a valid checking account. Savings accounts, Postmates cards, PayPal accounts, and other online accounts cannot be used for this.
If your checking account doesn’t allow direct deposits (or if you simply want faster payment), you can make instant deposits for a fee of 50 cents.
All you need to do is input your debit card information in the “Banking” section of your app. Then, you can cash out at any time.
Postmates Delivery Driver Expenses
Although Postmates can pay a decent amount of money, every courier must remember they are classified as independent contractors rather than employees.
This affects you in two ways. First, you’re responsible for all your self-employment taxes. Second, you must cover any non-medical, job-related expenses you accrue.
Full-time employers typically cover half of your Medicare and Social Security taxes, allowing you to pay just 7.65% of your income toward taxes. But independent contractors like yourself are their own employers.
Because of this, you’ll have to pay the IRS 15.3% of your income to cover Medicare and Social Security taxes. So, make sure to set aside 15.3% of each paycheck for quarterly self-employment taxes in addition to funds for any other annual income taxes.
Postmates drivers can expect to spend about 57.5 cents per mile on gas plus a significant amount of money on car maintenance, car payments, auto insurance, and similar expenses. However, all these expenses are usually tax-deductible. Just keep track of all your car-related expenses and your delivery mileage.
Couriers who deliver on foot or on a bike are lucky to have fewer job-related expenses, save for a pair of shoes or minor bike repairs here and there.
Note that Postmates automatically provides their couriers with occupational accident insurance. They will pay up to $1 million for job-related medical expenses. However, you should file any claims as soon as you can in order to receive funds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know how much Postmates pays its couriers, you can make an informed decision about whether or not the platform is a good fit.
To help you decide, we’ve answered a handful of frequently asked questions about the driving gig:
1. When are peak hours for Postmates requests?
Peak hours for the platform typically occur each day around lunchtime and dinnertime — defined by Postmates as the periods from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are particularly great days to deliver, as the demand for Postmates rises on weekends.
Driving during these peak hours will often allow you to take advantage of Blitz pricing throughout your market.
2. Will I make more money with Postmates or with other food delivery services?
No single platform guarantees you’ll make more money while delivering for them, as business may depend on which app gets the most requests in your area, how many drivers you compete with, and how many tips you earn.
That’s why it’s best to work with the company you personally enjoy the most, whether it’s because of the app experience or the restaurants you get to visit.
3. Can I turn Postmates delivery into a full-time job?
Yes, some Postmates couriers successfully deliver food on the platform on a full-time basis. Though you’re never guaranteed to get enough requests to make your desired income, there are no rules against driving with Postmates for 40 hours of the week.
More commonly, full-time food delivery drivers will split their time between multiple platforms to maximize the number of requests they get every hour.
4. Are there downsides to working for Postmates?
Not everything about working for Postmates is perfect. For instance, a courier may end up traveling miles away into a random neighborhood to deliver a snack to a college kid who may not give a tip. There’s not much you can do about this, as the app will send you wherever there are customers ordering food.
Another downside is that drivers may wait a long time to pick things up at certain stores or restaurants. The waiting time is a hurdle that some drivers shrug off, while a number of Postmates drivers typically do multiple jobs simultaneously, thereby increasing their earnings.
Some couriers have stated that they are not inclined to quit their regular day jobs just yet to work for Postmates. As those who have tried being a Postmates courier confirm, the pay is not mind-blowing.
Postmates: A Solid Way to Earn Extra Money
If you need extra cash or even a full-time gig, Postmates can help you earn a decent income on your own schedule. By delivering food around your city, you can be one of the thousands of independent contractors who benefit from the company’s delivery gig. With this guide, you will also be prepared for job-related expenses that come your way when you get started.
When you’re ready to move closer to your future gig in the food delivery industry, read our guide on how to become a Postmates driver to make sure you know exactly what to expect.
We also recommend checking out our investigations into how much Uber and Lyft drivers make, so that you can decide if it would make sense for you to work for those services in addition to delivering for Postmates.
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.