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Which Food Delivery Service Pays the Best? [2020]

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I have talked about the many food delivery services plenty of times, such as in my 5 apps that pay you for every mile you drive and the 30+ best gig economy job posts.

While I consider these options to be a fantastic side hustle, all of the companies I often mention do vary in pay.

If you like the idea of delivering food on demand and/or maybe you’re already doing so, I wanted to dive in and let you know which food delivery service pays the best as well as touch upon the pros and cons. I have been using these apps for more than a few years now, so I feel as if I can offer a great understanding of what you can potentially make.

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you will have a better understanding as to which food delivery app works best for you.

NOTE:  I’m only talking about food delivery here.  If you’re interested in delivering groceries, people or even packages, refer to my 25+ ways to make money driving your car.

First, Understand Your Market Will Vary

Before I even start talking about the many food delivery apps, I want to stress that every market will vary.  What you make in your city doesn’t mean someone else will make it in theirs.  Since every app has its market share as well as a certain number of people, you can’t expect to make what others make unless you’re talking with someone who works in your city.  For a great reference, check out the graphic below to just give you an indication as to how well some apps do in some markets.

As you can see, Grubhub dominates in the NYC area, but if you were working Uber Eats in NYC, you could be missing out on 80%+ more orders.  But, if you talked to someone doing Uber in El Paso, he/she could say they are busier than ever, earning $X per hour.  I hope you see how it can vary.

Anyways, with that out of the way, let’s take a gander at the most popular delivery services.  As I write this, do keep in mind that Uber is in the process of buying out Postmates, but it does appear they will operate as they are.  Keeping that in mind, I will still include Postmates in its own subcategory.

Let’s begin.

Which Food Delivery Service Pays the Best?



#1 DoorDash [$11-$24+/hr avg]

DoorDash is high on the list since they currently hold one of the highest market shares in the food delivery world.  If you want to stay busy, DoorDash is one you want to add to your list.  The more demand, the more orders you can receive.  It definitely seems as if the demands are outweighing the number of drivers on the road.

In using this app, the company pays a minimum delivery rate, which you will see before you accept an order, as well as any tips a customer sends to you once the delivery completes.  This can be a negative to some because you do not see the full payment upfront, leading to confusion and frustration in some cases.  Your offer screen will look like this when it’s sent your way:

In this case, you would be guaranteed $9.42 plus any tips, boosts sent your way after the delivery completes.

How much you can earn with DoorDash will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • when you work (11-2 lunch rush and 5-9 dinner rush tends to pay the best)
  • if there’s a current peak pay (this means DoorDash will give you a bonus on top of every delivery as long as you meet the terms/conditions)
  • of course, where you live.

On average, as a DoorDash driver, it appears you can earn about $11 to $14 per hour during non-peak hours or up to $25+ per hour during the peak hours (11-2 and 5-9).  Remember, this is just an average and it’s gross.  Set aside that money for repairs, gas, taxes, etc.  For me, I live in the Phoenix, Arizona region, one of the top 10 food delivery markets, and it’s not hard at all to average $20+ per hour during the lunch and dinner rushes.

DoorDash operates in more than 300+ U.S. cities, so there’s a good chance there’s an opportunity near you.

DoorDash Pros:

  • you can see your pick up and drop off location
  • offers boost pay
  • you can work smaller zones
  • work anywhere you want
  • instant pay option

DoorDash Cons:

  • you do have to schedule (sometimes, you can’t)
  • drive support is poor

Requirements:

  • at least 18+ years old
  • valid driver’s license
  • valid car insurance
  • Android or iPhone
  • pass a background check

Sign up for DoorDash to start earning up to $20+ per hour!

#2 Uber Eats [$8-$25+/hr avg]

It used to be that Uber Eats was at the bottom of my list, but that has since changed.  They now encourage tipping before the order is placed and the dispatch system is fantastic.  I rarely have to wait for my order when picking it up to deliver.  Not only that, but you can now see the pickup and drop-off locations.  This is in most markets now.  If you have not used Uber Eats in the past three months, I recommend you try it as you will be very impressed with the new payout.  And, if you don’t believe me, here’s what I earned just the other night…

Backed by the Uber name, the Uber Eats segment has exploded, gaining more and more market share year after year, as seen in the graphic prior.  This simply means you will keep busy, no matter which market you work.  And, the great thing about it is that you can get started within days and work whenever you please.

While most people associate Uber with driving around people as a driver, you can sign up solely as an Eats driver, meaning you only get food requests and that’s it.

Like DoorDash, UberEats offers bonuses during certain busy periods, known as surges and even offer promotions, ranging from 1.1 to 2.0x the base rate.  While you won’t see the full payment up front, Uber will let you know how much you can at least earn.  You get paid for the distance traveled as well as a pickup and dropoff fee.  In many cases, I find that the payment is often double, sometimes triple the estimated amount due to the tips.  Of course, some people won’t tip, but in my market, it’s maybe 10% of the time, when it used to be more than 50.

Any time an offer comes in, it will look something like this:

Every market varies in how Uber presents you the incoming offer, but you should at least see the “earn at least,” in this case, the $3.89 as well as the pickup location and drop off.  In some markets, you can also see an estimated tip, which can help assess how much will be added on top of the estimated earnings.

Uber Eats has improved over the years, with drivers reporting about $8 to $12+ per hour during non-peak hours and anywhere from $15 to $25+ per hour during the dinner and lunch rush.  Again, remember that this is gross and will not include any expenses or taxes.

Uber Eats Pros:

  • backed by the Uber brand, very well known
  • can see drop off and pick up location (in most markets)
  • tipping is encouraged
  • boosts and promotions during busier times
  • great technology
  • work whenever you please
  • can work with a partner if you want
  • instant payout when you link a debit card

Uber Eats Cons:

  • some markets are saturated, leading to fewer orders
  • poor support
  • pay structure can change on occasions
  • has vehicle requirements (only app to do so)

Requirements:

  • at least 19+ years old
  • car requirements (must be no older than 20 years at the time)
  • pass a background check via Checkr
  • valid driver’s license
  • valid car insurance policy

Sign up for Uber Eats to start earning cash in as little as a few days!

#3 Grubhub [$8-$25+/hr avg]

I have been a Grubhub driver for more than a few years now and can say it’s one of the higher paying delivery apps.  However, I’m downgrading it to the third position for a few reasons, mainly because they are starting to lose market share and just aren’t as big as they used to be.

The nice thing about Grubhub is that you can see your upfront payment, so you know what you’re going to be paid and you can see your pickup and drop off location.  Basically, they give you everything you need to know before you even accept the job.  And, remember, because you’re an independent contractor, you can accept and decline any jobs you choose. Whenever a job comes your way, it will look something like this:

As you can see, you can view the pick up and drop off location, as well as the total pay.  What you see is what you get, so that offer will not change after the fact.  This can be a huge pro to some.

The biggest downfall to me, however, is that unlike the other apps, Grubhub rarely sends out bonuses or the like.  While they may send out a text, saying you can earn $x doing X number of deliveries, you often have to meet strict restrictions, such as accepting 80%+ of your orders.  In short, they won’t offer real-time bonuses as the other apps do, so your earnings will stay the same, on average.

As a Grubhub driver, you can expect to earn anywhere from $8 to $15+ per hour during the non-peak times and up to $17 to $25+ per hour during the lunch and dinner rush.  Variables, again, come into play, but when you work will dictate how much you make.  I can’t stress it enough that working during the lunch and dinner rushes are often your best bet.  In some markets, Grubhub will offer a guaranteed minimum, usually around $8 to $10+~ per hour, which means you will earn that amount as long as you’re on schedule and accept at least 80%~ of your offers.  Refer to your app when signing up as all markets do vary.

To see where you can work with Grubhub, you can view a full list of cities here.

Grubhub Pros:

  • you can see the payment in full up front
  • Grubhub has always encouraged customers to tip
  • the most helpful support out of all apps (at least to me)
  • consistent orders in some cities
  • instant pay option

Grubhub Cons:

  • very few incentives
  • Grubhub dispatches the order the minute they receive it, which means long wait times
  • you have to schedule your hours
  • there’s a wait list to join in some markets
  • can only work in your delivery zone

Requirements:

  • at least 19+ years old
  • 2+ years of driving experience
  • have iPhone or Android
  • valid driver’s license
  • valid insurance
  • pass a background check

Sign up for Grubhub to earn up to $20+ per hour in some markets!

#4 Postmates [$8-$22+/hr avg]

If you have done any research in the food delivery world, you may quickly find out that Postmates is one of the bottom feeders.  It ranks near the bottom of my list for a reason, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad choice.  Remember, your results will vary.

The biggest gripe about this app is that you often have to place the order ahead of time a lot of times, meaning there could be long waits for only $3 in compensation.  Not only that, but you may find that you’re doing more than just food delivery as they deliver just about anything, as long as you can walk into the store and purchase it.

Let me give you a quick example.

When I was working the app, someone wanted me to go to the Home Depot and purchase two cans of paint.  Obviously, this could take quite some time, especially if you have to wait behind a few people to get your paint made.  In this situation, I declined it.

How much earn on Postmates will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • the current bonuses (Postmates often offers a guarantee when you complete X amount of deliveries)
  • if there’s a “blitz” (this adds even more money to your order pay)
  • again, your location

The downside to Postmates is that they won’t show you any payment information up front, just the drop off and pick up location.  It will look something like this:

Most jobs pay a flat $3~ or so, depending on some factors, but this won’t include tipping.  And, since the app encourages tipping after the delivery, you will find many orders, in comparison to the other apps, will have little or no tips at all.

With all of that being said, the average Postmates driver makes about $8 to $11 per hour during non-peak times and anywhere from $16 to $22+ per hour during the lunch and dinner rush.  Again, it’s hard to give you a definite answer as your geographic region can be much different.  To know for certain, it’s best to sign up and then test your market to find out how much you can make.

Postmates Pros:

  • you can sign on whenever you please (no schedule)
  • you get paid to wait as well as mileage
  • can do more than just food (can be a pro or a con)
  • you can use your bike/scooter in some areas

Postmates Cons:

  • a lot of pay and order jobs, meaning long wait times
  • have to take pictures of receipts and upload on many orders
  • poor support
  • tipping can be subpar
  • very slow in some markets
  • can’t see order contents until you accept the job
  • more than just food as customers can add random items

Requirements:

  • 18+ years old
  • valid car insurance
  • valid car driver’s license
  • pass a background check

Join Postmates to start delivering as soon as this week!

#5 Caviar [$10-$20+/hr avg]

Caviar is limited to a few cities, the main reason I’m putting down on the list.  Due to it not being as popular as the rest, you may find that your market doesn’t receive nearly as many orders as its competitors.  In 2019, DoorDash did buy out Caviar, but the apps seem to work separately, at least for now.  This can always change in the future, however.

As a Caviar driver, your structure is similar to that of DoorDash,  You can see the “estimated” pay rate as well as where you’re picking up and where you need to drop off.  The company also pays bonuses in the case it’s during a rush period.

Even though I haven’t driven with them personally, I did find that drivers tend to like it because they target a more upscale crowd.

Caviar Pros:

  • tends to attract a higher-paying crowd
  • good customer support
  • pickup and drop-offs seem to be smoother
  • offers delivery guarantee
  • bonuses

Caviar Cons:

  • limited to certain cities, so volume may be lower

Requirements:

  • 18+ years old
  • valid car insurance
  • valid car driver’s license
  • pass a background check
  • two years of driving experience

You can sign up for Caviar here

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s hard to give you an answer as I can’t stress it enough that your market will matter.  Personally, I have found that Uber Eats, Grubhub and Doordash all pay similar rates, so it’s then a matter of which app you prefer.  I like the Uber app, mainly because I feel their technology is superior to that of the competitors.  They tend to dispatch their orders much better and I don’t find myself waiting that long.  Plus, I can find myself much busier since their market share is higher in my area.

No matter which app you use in your town, I don’t see why you can’t at least earn $14 to $20~ per hour during the lunch and dinner rush.  Sometimes, it can be much more if you take advantage of promotions and work the busier days such as a Sunday.  If you want to research ahead of time, read the subreddits on Reddit as each company has its own.  Browse through the many questions to see what people are saying.  This can oftentimes give you a better understanding.

For now, apply to all of these apps and start working them.  Sooner or later, you will get the hang of which one works best in your area.  As an independent contractor, remember that you get to choose when you want to work and who you want to work with.  So, worst-case scenario, if you find one you don’t like, you don’t have to work it ever again.

Now, as always, I leave it up to you.

If you can help me figure out how much you make in your area, feel free to leave a comment below.  Again, it’s hard to leave an average because every market is so different, the reason the ranges are so large.  If you can help me out, that would be great!

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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