With the advent of the internet, our lives were changed forever in several major ways. All of a sudden, information could instantly be exchanged between individuals on different sides of the planet. Then came the meteoric rise of e-commerce. You no longer had to leave your house to purchase goods—you could simply order them online and them delivered right to your door.
As the internet and technology continued to evolve, companies like Postmates were born. Postmates is the next evolutionary step in the world of e-commerce: the ability to order anything online — whether it’s food, drink, grocery, or even electronics — and have it delivered within minutes instead of days.[toc]
What is Postmates?
Postmates was founded in 2011 by Sam Street, Sean Plaice, and Bastian Lehmann. Their vision was simple: allow anyone to have anything delivered on-demand by connecting consumers with local couriers willing to pick up orders from local restaurants and shops.
The company encourages people to support their local economy by shopping from local stores, and they empower local businesses to offer delivery through them thanks to their innovative API technology.
The demand for their service was huge. Postmates experienced rapid growth and they currently operate in several major U.S. cities from coast to coast. They continue to expand across the nation, launching delivery service in Hawaii in November 2017. That same month, Postmates also entered the international market for the first time, launching in Mexico City.
Postmates continues to look for new and exciting ways to innovate and provide exceptional service for their users. In 2017 alone, they changed their subscription model to start offering free delivery service in addition to entering the alcohol delivery market.
How Does Postmates Work?
Becoming a Postmates user is incredibly easy. All you have to do is download the Postmates app (available for both iOS and Android devices). After selecting your current location and registering your payment information, you will be able to sort through a variety of shopping options.
These shopping options can include everything from specific restaurant choices (Chinese, Thai, Burgers, etc.) to alcohol to clothing. If you’re looking for something specific, you can also search for local businesses by name.
Using a Chinese restaurant as an example, once you have selected where you want to order food from, the app will then list the entire menu offered by the selected restaurant. The prices are listed next to each item. You simply add any items to your cart as you normally would when shopping online.
After proceeding to the checkout, you will pay for the total cost of your food. In addition, you will pay a 9% service fee for Postmates plus a delivery fee. You can also choose to give the delivery driver an optional tip.
While at first glance, that may seem rather expensive once you factor in all of the costs, you have to consider what a huge value this service can provide you. The ability to order just about anything from a large variety of local businesses and have it delivered within minutes is huge for anyone who either doesn’t own a car or lives in a city where public transportation isn’t very convenient.
After completing your payment, you’ll be connected with a Postmates courier who will confirm your order. You’ll be able to track the driver’s progress directly through the app—you can monitor their location as they head to pick up your order and then drive to you.
The driver will either call or text you once they get close in order to arrange pickup details. After receiving your delivery, you will also have the option to leave feedback for the driver. Due to the fact that every driver is eligible for feedback, the delivery service tends to be top notch.
As you can see, it’s an incredibly beneficial business model for both customers and local businesses who are registered with Postmates as a partner.
The vast majority of Postmates reviews have been positive. Many people have praised the app for its ease of use and the fast delivery times offered by the service. One user left the following comment in her review, “Order locally and it was smooth, the app worked perfectly and even arrived faster than the stated time.”
When looking at reviews left by drivers who work with Postmates, they tend to be rather favorable as well. One of the recurring points brought up by many of the drivers is the importance of receiving tips in order to make a good living as a Postmates courier. One driver summed it up quite well by saying, “If you provide fast and friendly service, people will usually tip, and sometimes it’s a lot more than you would expect.”
As with pretty much any business out there, not all of the reviews are positive. Many of the unfavorable reviews left for Postmates tend to be due to communication issues between customers and the drivers. A few users have complained about not receiving the correct order. However, in most cases, that is the fault of the restaurant or store ordered from and out of the hands of Postmates or their drivers.
Does Postmates Offer Free Delivery?
Many people often wonder if there’s a way to waive the delivery charge involved when using Postmates. In general, the Postmates delivery fee ranges from $3.99 to $5.99, depending on the required travel distance and whether or not it’s during peak hours. The delivery fee is also capped with certain Postmates partners, such as Chipotle.
During peak hours, the delivery prices can end up surging. However, before confirming your order, you will always be notified of your total delivery price.
Postmates also offers a subscription service known as Postmates Unlimited. The cost is usually $9.99 per month, billed one time annually. Quite often however, Postmates will run a special discount where they offer the service at 30% off, or $6.99 per month.
Here is what’s included with a Postmates Unlimited subscription:
- $0 delivery fee on all orders over $20
- All merchants are included with no exceptions
- No surge pricing during peak hours at any time
- Alcohol and groceries delivered in under 30 minutes for free, no matter your order size
If you are going to make regular use of the Postmates service, this subscription model provides fantastic value.
How to Contact Postmates
If you need to get in touch with Postmates with any questions or concerns that you have regarding an order that you have placed through them, you can contact the Postmates Order Support team directly through the Postmates app.
When using the app, simply tap on the clock icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen. From here, select the name of the merchant from the list, and then scroll down and select “Contact Support.”
You can also contact the support team on your computer through the Postmates web store. In order to do so, just open up your order history, select the merchant, and then click on “Help.”
In order to properly address your question or concern regarding your order, Postmates must be notified within 48 hours of the delivery in question. If the 48 hour window has passed, there may be more restrictive guidelines in place in order to address the issue.
Postmates Help Center
Postmates also has an official online help center that you can check out.
From here, they have support sections set up for customers, merchants, and members of their driving fleet.
Postmates Twitter Information
For more general questions or comments, you can reach out to Postmates through their official Twitter account:
Postmates vs. Everybody Else
Postmates isn’t the only delivery service that’s available to customers these days. They face competition from a few different companies, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Instacart.
All of these companies use a similar business model—customers place an order through an app on their mobile phones, and then a delivery driver representing the company fulfills the order.
So how does Postmates stack up against its main competitors that we mentioned above? Let’s take a look.
Postmates vs DoorDash
The main difference between Postmates and DoorDash is that the former company can delivery just about any type of product you can imagine while the latter focuses solely on connecting users with local restaurants.
The delivery fees for DoorDash tend to be quite low, starting out at only $0.99 and they also offer real-time tracking so you can stay updated on the status of your order.
Both services offer fairly expedient delivery times, with DoorDash claiming an average delivery time of between 40-45 minutes depending on your city. DoorDash is a little bit more established as well, offering service in more than 300 cities with over 40,000 restaurant partners.
Postmates vs Uber Eats
Uber Eats is similar to DoorDash—they focus solely on delivering food orders from local restaurants to their customers. Users simply browse through hundreds of restaurant listings or search for their favorite spot directly through the app.
As with Postmates and DoorDash, customers can then place their order and pay directly through the app. Upon confirming their order, they will be able to track the progress of their delivery in real-time.
One notable aspect of Uber Eats is they don’t require their drivers to own a car—they actually have several delivery team members who will make deliveries by bicycle or scooter as well!
Uber Eats charges their customers a flat $4.99 delivery fee on every order. They recoup most of their costs by charging the restaurant a commission fee for every order delivered.
Postmates vs Grubhub
Grubhub is yet another company that is focused strictly on connecting customers with their favorite local restaurants. Their business model closely follows that of Postmates and the previous two companies we compared—users can browse through the app, make an order from their favorite restaurant, and have it delivered directly to their door.
Grubhub does go a step further though by tracking the eating habits of their users. The more that you use Grubhub, the more data they can collect. They then use this data to make recommendations for other restaurants that you might enjoy. It’s quite a neat feature.
Grubhub also allows you the option to place an order and pick it up yourself. It is completely free to use the app if you choose to do this. On the other hand, if you opt for a delivery, the Grubhub service is still free, but you will be charged a delivery fee that is set by the restaurant itself.
Postmates vs Instacart
Instacart differs from the above companies in that they don’t deal with restaurants—instead, they offer a delivery service for customers who want to shop for groceries online. They’ve partnered with retailers nationwide, offering you fast delivery service from not only local stores, but also from big-name retail chains as well.
Instacart has team members dedicated to both shopping for your order (they gather your groceries for you in store after you place your order) and for making the deliveries.
They have a varying pricing structure—they will charge $7.99 for groceries delivered within one hour and $5.99 for grocery deliveries that take two hours or more. They also offer an annual membership for $149 that provides free delivery service on all orders over $35.
As we briefly mentioned when discussing Postmates Unlimited, the company has a few different pricing structures in place.
In most cases, Postmates will charge a flat $5.99 delivery fee in addition to the total cost of your goods ordered. Postmates also offers a lower delivery rate of $3.99 through certain partners that they have.
As mentioned, during peak delivery times, the delivery charge can surge, which creates an incentive for Postmates delivery drivers to make themselves available in order to meet your needs.
The delivery fee is waived on orders over $20 if you are a Postmates Unlimited subscriber. For $9.99 per month (or $6.99 per month if you sign up during a promotional offer) you will receive free deliveries in addition to other great member benefits.
Postmates also charges a service fee with each order, usually around 9% of the total cost of your goods ordered. This fee can be variable however.
You will always be aware of the total combined cost of your goods, delivery fee, and service fee through the Postmates app before completing your order.
It’s also possible to cancel an order that you place with Postmates. Depending on when you cancel the order, it may be completely free of charge or you may have to pay some or all of the order cost based on the following criteria:
- If the order hasn’t been placed yet and the Postmate hasn’t yet arrived at the merchant, you can cancel the order through the app, completely free of charge
- If the order has been placed and the Postmate is en route to pick it up, you’ll pay for the items along with a cancellation fee—since the service wasn’t completed, you won’t be charged a delivery fee or service fee
- If the order has already been picked up and is on its way to you, you will be charged the complete total for the delivery, including the delivery and service fees
The cancellation policy is structured this way in order to fairly compensate both merchants and Postmates drivers for their time.
Postmates Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Postmates Legit?
Postmates is a legitimate company that operates in over 100 major markets in the United States alone. They have also recently launched their first international delivery service in Mexico City.
You can find more information about them by clicking here.
Is Postmates Safe to Use?
Postmates is incredibly safe to use. After placing your order, you will receive confirmation from your Postmate delivery driver. From here, you can monitor the status of your order from pick-up all the way to delivery.
All of the drivers who work for Postmates have been independently screened with background checks. They also use a ratings system that gives each driver feedback.
How Does Postmates Work?
Postmates works by connecting customers with couriers who will make deliveries for a huge variety of local businesses. Using the Postmates app, you can place an order for items ranging from food, alcohol, groceries, and more. A courier will then pick up your order and deliver it directly to you within minutes.
How Much Does Postmates Cost?
The total cost of Postmates depends on whether or not you are a Postmates Unlimited Subscriber.
For non-subscribers, you will pay a total that combines the cost of your goods purchased, a delivery fee, and a variable service fee.
Postmates Unlimited members pay $9.99 per month and have their delivery fee waived on all orders over $20.
How Much is the Delivery Fee?
The Postmates delivery fee can vary. In general, you will be charged a flat rate of $5.99 for your delivery. However, certain Postmates Partners offer a cheaper rate of $3.99 per delivery.
The delivery fee is waived on all orders above $20 for Postmates Unlimited subscribers.
What is Postmates Plus?
Postmates Plus is the term given to merchant partners of Postmates. These are the merchants that you will be charged $3.99 for the delivery fee instead of the standard flat rate of $5.99.
Does Postmates Take Cash?
As the Postmates payment process is handled completely through the app, they are unfortunately unable to accept cash payments.
Is a Tip Included with Postmates?
A tip is not included in your total when placing an order with Postmates. You are only charged the cost of goods along with the variable service fee, and if applicable, the delivery fee.
How Do I Tip with Postmates?
After your order has been delivered, you will receive a notification in the Postmates app asking you to rate the order. You will also be asked whether or not you would like to leave a tip for the driver. You can enter your desired tip amount through the app.
Postmates will process the tip payments for their drivers and pay them out within 4-7 business days.
How Do I Cancel a Postmates Order?
If you would like to cancel an order made with Postmates, you may do so through the app. Simple select the “Help” option from the order status page and then click on “Cancel Delivery” from there.
Please note that depending on when you cancel your order, you may still be charged some or all of the order cost. More information can be found here:
Is Postmates Worth It?
We believe that Postmates is most definitely a service worth paying a little bit extra for. Whether you’re paying for the Postmates Unlimited membership or just paying the flat delivery rate and variable service fee, the service that you receive in return is incredibly valuable.
It’s especially good for anyone who doesn’t own a car or for those who live in a city where public transportation can be a hassle. Being able to place an online order for just about anything and have it delivered within minutes makes Postmates worth it without question.
If you regularly purchase goods online and you’ve been on the fence about trying out the Postmates service, there’s no better time than the present to try it out. The company is offering a free trial for their Postmates Unlimited service and they regularly run promotions where they give out delivery credit.
If you’re used to waiting days or even weeks for your online deliveries, you’ll be amazed at how efficient Postmates is. The first time that you receive an order for something you placed in under 30 minutes, you’ll be able to see for yourself what an outstanding service it is.
So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Postmates.com and download the app to try the service out for yourself!