Driving for food delivery services has given people the ability to earn extra money.
You can make your own hours in the gig economy.
But there are so many food delivery app jobs that it’s hard to know where you should apply.
Read on to find out what you need to do to become a food delivery driver and which service pays the most.
Table Of Contents
Which Food Delivery Service Pays the Most?
The food delivery service that pays the most is Instacart, with drivers reporting earning as much as $30 an hour.
Before you quit your day job to deliver food, you need to consider the responsibilities of a delivery job.
What Do You Need To Do as a Food Deliverer?
While it’s relatively simple to drive around all day, picking up food and taking it to customers, there’s more to an app job than you’d expect.
You need to meet certain requirements to work delivery app jobs, regardless of which platform you choose.
You also have responsibilities for yourself, your vehicle, and your working hours.
When you work as a food delivery driver, you’re an independent contractor.
That means you don’t have an employer taking taxes and Social Security out of your earnings.
You’ll have to pay those yourself as self-employment tax.
Depending on how much you earn as a delivery driver, you might have to make quarterly tax payments or else face a penalty at tax time.
As a driver, you depend on your car for work.
If it’s not running, you can’t make money.
Therefore, one of your responsibilities is to keep your vehicle in good condition.
You’ll want to take it in for service regularly.
If you’re delivering many orders, you might need to get it serviced more often than you would for your everyday driving because you’re putting more miles on it.
If you’re driving more miles, then you’ll need more gas.
It’s possible to choose nearby orders to cut down on gas consumption, but you’ll use more than if you’re commuting to your day job and home again.
Calculate your gas expenses before you think you’re making a profit.
Depending on the platform, you have to be either 18 or 21 years old to deliver food.
Most food delivery apps ask for 18-year-old drivers because you’re only transporting food, not passengers.
But to accept any order with alcohol included, you must be 21.
Regardless of your age, you need a clean driving record.
A food delivery app won’t hire anyone with a DUI on their background.
If you’ve gotten tickets or had an accident, you usually can’t have more than three infractions in the past few years.
When you apply to a service, they’ll run a background check and look at your driving record, so make sure you’re clear.
Certain apps require you to have a specific car model, usually no older than 20 years.
Again, you’re not transporting passengers, so the service doesn’t care how nice your car looks.
Is It Worth It To Deliver Food for Work?
There are many pros and cons to driving for a food delivery service.
Before applying for the job, consider the items on these lists to see if they’re worth your time.
Pros of Food Delivery
- The flexible schedule lets you pick up orders as you have time.
- The car requirements are lax since you’re not driving people.
- You can pick up a lot of orders during peak meal times.
- Most apps have Fast Pay options so you can get an instant cash out.
Cons Food Delivery
- You’re an independent contractor, so you’re on the hook for self-employment taxes.
- You’re putting a lot of extra miles on your car, leading to accelerated wear and tear.
- You have to pay for gas to keep your tank full.
What Percentage of Delivery Income Is Tips?
Most delivery apps have changed their payment structure, so the driver keeps 100% of the tips.
Customers know the tip goes directly to the person who brought the order.
Other fees typically go to the company itself, though drivers sometimes get a small cut of those fees.
Most of the delivery driver’s income is tips.
That means if a customer doesn’t tip on an order, the driver might only make a few dollars for their effort.
This eats into the overall profit when you consider the time for the drives and waiting for the order, not to mention the gas costs.
How Tips Work
Ideally, customers will tip you as their delivery driver.
You provided a service, and they should tip – just as they’d give a tip to a waiter who brought food to their table.
Unfortunately, not all customers leave a tip.
They might assume you’re getting paid enough through the app to not need a tip.
They might think a portion of the delivery fee they pay goes toward your tip.
When they use a credit card, they could forget to add a tip since they’re not using cash.
However, as with other service jobs, customers should tip at least 20% on their orders.
Some will tip more for convenience or if you were especially quick or kind.
What Does Each Food Delivery Service Pay?
Most food delivery apps use the same basic model of service.
Drivers apply as independent contractors, and the delivery app accepts those with clean background checks and driving records.
The specific requirements regarding your age and the condition of your car vary from service to service.
Another thing that varies across delivery app jobs is the pay.
If you’re looking to make extra money as a delivery driver, check out the average pay for each of these most popular apps.
Keep in mind that the average pay varies depending on your location.
Smaller cities might not have the same volume of orders as more densely-populated cities.
The time of day can also impact how much money you make.
If you’re available to drive during mealtimes, especially on weekends, then you’ll make more money than driving during mid-mornings on weekdays.
Instacart is the best food delivery service.
Drivers make an average income of $30 per hour, according to Glassdoor.
The hourly rate can range from $26 to $32, depending on the size of your city.
Larger cities like New York and San Francisco will have more demand, while you might have a long wait in smaller towns.
You might choose to work for Instacart because you have options when it comes to orders.
It’s a grocery delivery service, so you can pick up an order and deliver it or work as an Instacart shopper yourself.
If you don’t have a car, you can still work with Instacart as an in-store shopper.
You’ll pick an order from the app, just like a driver.
But you’ll only select the items and prepare them for pick-up.
A separate delivery driver grabs the finished order and takes it to the customer.
You can select orders in advance to work with your schedule and make the most of your time.
GrubHub is one of the original food delivery services.
Over time, it expanded to include convenience stores, so you can find a variety of orders on the delivery app.
These options let you schedule shifts ahead of time so you can plan out your day.
Delivery drivers make about $15 an hour.
There’s an equation to determine each order’s base pay, involving the mileage, time at the restaurant, peak pay, and tips.
The app sets a default tip of 15%, so you know you’ll get a certain amount based on that alone.
You can also see the estimated payout before you even accept the order.
Delivery drivers for Uber Eats average about $20 an hour.
This income is most common in large cities, though.
An Uber Eats driver in New York City could make an annual salary of $42,000.
In other cities across the United States, the Uber Eats delivery salary is only about $35,000.
Therefore your hourly rate in other cities will be lower as well.
One benefit to driving for Uber Eats is that it’s a major player in the market.
While some services aren’t available in every city, Uber Eats is everywhere.
People know the name and are more likely to order from a restaurant through that service compared to some lesser-known options.
DoorDash is almost as widely known as Uber Eats, so it’s a good delivery app to use.
There’s more demand from customers, so a DoorDash driver is more likely to get constant orders.
The more orders you deliver, the more money you’ll make.
Base pay for a DoorDash driver ranges from $2 to $10, so you can make a decent amount per order even before a tip.
Delivery drivers report earning an average of $23 an hour, including tips and special incentives during peak times.
One advantage to driving for DoorDash is that you can schedule orders in advance.
You can pick orders on your way to work or on your own errands, which means you’re making more profit than you would otherwise.
Since you’re already on the road, you’re not using as much gas on the order itself, so you’re maximizing your efficiency.
How Much Does Postmates Pay?
Postmates’ pay varies because customers can order anything through the app.
That means you’re just as likely to see an order for grocery delivery as for a fast-food restaurant pick-up.
You’ll only accept orders you can handle, both in terms of your physical strength and your vehicle’s capacity.
Postmates pays according to the order and mileage.
They consider the pick-up and drop-off locations, as well as how long you spend in the store gathering the order.
They also offer driving bonuses.
Which Food Delivery Service Has the Best Perks?
Instacart not only pays the best, but it has the best perks.
You can work for the food delivery app whether you have a car or not.
Since it’s a grocery delivery service as well, you don’t have to be a driver.
The company also gives workers access to Perkspot to get discounts on travel, hobbies, and more.
Delivering food is a great way to make extra money.
You can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
But before you spend your time driving around and putting wear and tear on your car, make sure you’re making the most you can.
Finding the best food delivery service that pays the most maximizes your side hustle efficiency.