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Working for Grubhub [A Complete Guide and Review]

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I have worked with Grubhub on and off for a few years now.  I have found it to be an amazing side hustle as long as you manage your money and miles right.  As long as you don’t mind driving and feel comfortable navigating your local streets, it’s one of the best ways to work whenever you want and earn up to $25+ per hour in some cases.

Whether you’re researching Grubhub and landed on this page or you want to learn more about the many ways to work while using your phone, I wanted to dive in to explain how the app works, how you can use it to your advantage to maximize your earnings and how you can sign up.  I will try to cover everything.  As always, my reviews are honest, and I would never recommend anything I personally wouldn’t use.

So, with that out of the way, if you want to make money driving around town using your car, all while driving your car, at least read this Grubhub review to see if it’s something you’re interested in.

How to Work for Grubhub

If you’re interested in working with Grubhub, you will have to apply to the job, similar to that of any other retail/food-like job.  However, the great thing about it is that the application process is relatively short as they only ask you a few questions such as your name, email as well as ask you a few questions.  You will also need to let them know which market you want to work in.  Make sure that you select the market closest to you as it’s hard to change your territory once you get accepted.

To qualify as a driver, you must meet the following requirements:

  • must be at least 19+ years old
  • have a valid driver’s license
  • have valid auto insurance policy
  • smartphone (Android or iPhone)
  • pass a background check (this means no felonies, unfortunately)
  • must have at least 2 years of driving experience

How Long Will It Take to Get Accepted?

After you fill out your application, it will then be a waiting game.

First, you will have to wait on your background check, which can take up to a week to process, depending on the current demand.  Then, even if your background check comes back clean, you will have to wait for a territory opening.  Depending on the market you applied to, Grubhub may put you on hold if there are too many drivers currently working.  This is the nice thing about the company is that they don’t accept everyone like Uber and DoorDash, which leads to less saturation. Trust me, this is a good thing.

So, in the end, if they have immediate openings, you could work in as little as a week.  However, if your market is currently filled, it could take months before you receive an onboarding email.  When I applied, for example, it took close to six months before I received an email saying I could onboard and join.  If you feel the process is taking too long, you can always email them to ask to apply to a surrounding neighborhood.

After you complete your application, you should receive an email that looks something like this:

The Onboarding Process

After you receive an email similar to the one mentioned above, you will then have to take an onboarding session, which usually takes place online.  In the past, they would have you come in person to pick up your equipment and learn about the app, but this has since changed.  Now, you will be asked to watch some simple videos, basically showing you how the whole process works as well as take a simple quiz in the end.

After you pass the quiz, you can then access the app with your user name/password and start working.

Program Levels

Before I start talking about how the app works, I first want to talk about the program levels as they can be important to some drivers.  This is a controversial topic in the Grubhub world as some drivers think it’s not worth it, while some do.  It comes down to which market you live in as your program level will depend on when you can schedule for the first time.  In other words, scheduling can be very important if you want orders and want to make money.

Every week, on a certain day, usually Thursday at the earliest, Grubhub will release the schedule for the upcoming week.  And, depending on your market, blocks can be 1, 2, or 3 hours long.  You don’t have to schedule to work, however, if you don’t schedule and turn on your app, you won’t receive as many offers since the app gives order priority to those who are currently on block.  In other words, schedules are important!

Grubhub currently offers three program levels:  Premier, Pro and Partner.

If you show up to work every block, drop less than 10% of your blocks and accept 95% of your orders, then you can schedule the earliest, which is usually on Thursday morning.  As for Pro, you will need to accept at least 85% of your orders and drop no less than 20% of your blocks.  You will know the dates/times via your app when you join.  If schedules are important, you will have to show up on the dot to start selecting as many shifts as you want for the upcoming week.

When you do schedule, you can always drop them in the future, but this can be used against you, particularly in this program scheme.  So, if you’re going to schedule, it’s always best to be certain that you will work that shift.

I do recommend you see how many shifts are available in your market when you first sign up.  If you’re noticing that blocks are almost always available, no matter what, then the program levels really won’t matter.  However, if blocks are a rarity, you may want to consider early scheduling.

TIP:  If no blocks are available, refresh your schedule at :14 and :44 on the hour.  When people don’t show up for their shift, they are automatically dropped and sent back out to the queue.  Keep refreshing and be sure to grab them quickly as other people are doing the same thing!

Your Schedule

To start working for the first time, you will want to schedule yourself for a shift.  This can be done by opening the app and clicking on the lines in the upper-left hand corner.

In doing this, you can then see which shifts are available for the day, if there are any available at all.  Your schedule should look something like this:

This part is self-explanatory.  Click on the plus sign if you want to add that shift and make sure you turn your app at that time so that Grubhub doesn’t mark you absent.  If you can’t make the shift, then click the “-” sign next to the shift to drop it.  Remember, dropping and not showing up to a shift can hurt your stats, but an absence is much worse than a dropped block in most cases.

Working for Grubhub

After you schedule yourself and turn your app on to start accepting offers, it’s now a waiting game.  Depending on the time of day and where you work, you can get an offer almost immediately.  In some cases, you may have to wait for hours.  Again, it’s geographically dependent.  However, if you work the lunch rush, usually 11-2, and the dinner rush, 5-9, you should stay much busier than working outside those hours.

When you do receive an offer, a yellow notification will pop up, which will look something like this:

You can then click on it to view your offer, which will look something like this:

On this screen, you can see the pickup location, the drop off location as well as where you’re located.  It also shows you the TOTAL earned.  What you see is what you’re going to get unless the customer tips at the door.  This is rare, however.

As a general rule of thumb, try to make at least $1 per mile.  Anything less than this and you’re going to run your car into the ground.  As an independent contractor, you can accept any offers you want, so don’t feel afraid to push that reject button.  Once you accept, you are now obligated to take the order, however, you can always drop it later.  In doing so, though, this can be used against you as you’re not completing a delivery as stated.  If you do drop your orders, only do so every 50-75 orders to be safe.

As you get used to your area, you will soon find the hot spots as well as which slow restaurants to avoid.  When you get your market down, you can thrive as you will know exactly where to park so that the pings come to you first.

Accepting an Offer

Once you accept an offer, it will then show up on your task screen.  This is where you can look at the details and start driving toward the restaurant. You can also look at the exact diner location as well as any information that you need to know.  It’s very easy to navigate.

As long as you deliver the food by the ETA and follow directions, everything should go without a hitch.

How Much Do Grubhub Drivers Make? Is Working for Grubhub Worth It?

So, the golden question is, how much do you make as a Grubhub driver?

This is a hard one to answer as your market can be so different than another.  For example, you could stay busy all day in New York City but struggle during a dinner rush in Iowa.

With that being said, most of your money, as I mentioned, will be during the lunch (11-2) and dinner (5-9) rush.  If you work these hours, you can easily gross $15 to $22+ per hour; however, any time outside of this time frame can be at random.  Some days you may see offers, enough to net you $10 an hour, whereas some days may send you nothing.

Let it be known that you don’t get paid by the hour; rather, you’re paid by the order, which consists of a mileage rate, pickup rate and whatever the customer tips you.  Usually, you can cram in two orders an hour, sometimes three if you’re lucky, but don’t count it.  So, if you did an $8 and $12 order in the hour, you earned $20, etc.

In the end, your hourly range can greatly vary from $10 to $22+ per hour, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Be sure to check out a guide I wrote in the past, detailing which delivery service pays the most.

TIP:  Remember, this is your gross earnings.  You still have to set aside cash for your gas, expenses and even taxes since you’re technically “self-employed.”  Be sure to track your mileage, either using an app or writing it down.  Come tax time, this can help bring down your tax burden.

Market Minimums

In some markets, they do offer you a market minimum, usually around $10 per hour.  As long as you’re active and accept most of your offers (this is noted by your market), you are guaranteed a minimum rate.

So, if you worked two hours and were guaranteed $10 an hour and received only $5 in total offers, then Grubhub would make it up to you and add $15 to your account.

Every market has its own minimums, while some markets have none.  Check with your local market driver specialist to see what minimums you qualify for.

When Do You Get Paid?

Grubhub does have an instant pay option, however, some banks don’t receive the money instantly.  Rather, it may take up to 24 hours.  However, if you bank with Chase, it appears your money appears rather quickly.

If you don’t accept the quick pay option, then your money will be directly deposited on Thursday, sometimes a day earlier if you bank with certain banks.

The Pros and Cons

As with any work opportunity, there will be both pros and cons.  This is something I will cover in any review I write.  Below are most of the pros and cons I could find online, as well as what I have experienced personally.

The Pros

  • good support
  • can work whenever you want (as long as you schedule)
  • see the FULL payout before acceptance
  • can see where you’re picking and dropping off from
  • they emphasize tips when customers order (you get to keep 100%)

The Cons

  • you have to schedule
  • in some markets, schedules can be hard to find
  • a waiting list in most markets
  • they dispatch you the order as soon as they get it (this can lead to a lot of waiting at some restaurants)

Grubhub Tips

And, in my last subsection, I wanted to share some tips I learned over the years.  Hopefully, in applying these tips, you can maximize your earnings and make Grubhub an enjoyable experience.

1. Make sure that program levels make sense in your area.  If you always see schedules opened, then the program levels are worthless.  In this case, you don’t have to worry about acceptance rates.

2. Join a local Facebook group as this is a great way to receive insight from local drivers.  Plus, it’s fun to network!

3. Try your hardest to make at least $1 per mile.  After a while, it should be easy to estimate how many miles it will take to deliver your order.  If you’re making less than a mile, it won’t be profitable.

4. Save at least 20% of your earnings for future taxes and car repairs.

5.  Your car should get at least 30+ MPG to make it worth it.  Don’t drive a truck or SUV as the gas will kill your profits.

6. Give a restaurant three times.  If they are slow each time, put them on your ban list and never go again unless the payout is worth your time.

7. You have about 10 minutes before the app marks you absent.  So, if your schedule started at 10 and you check in at 10:06, you will be fine.  Don’t sweat it.

8. You CAN reject orders as you’re an independent contractor.  This is in no way held against you.

9.  Figure out where the restaurants are in your area and sit near them during slower times.  A good cluster of restaurants will always lead to offers.  Keep in mind that 99% of the orders are automated, and usually, the closest driver gets it when an order comes through.

10. Download the Grubhub app customers use and look at the restaurants nearby.  Usually, those with the most ratings tend to be the most popular, so try to be near these.

11.  If there’s no tip, there’s a good chance the customer won’t give you a cash tip.  I have a 10% success rate.  In other words, no tip, no trip.  And, yes, you can see the tip after you accept the order.  This is a nice perk Grubhub offers.

12.  Join the amazing Grubhub subreddit.  Many drivers share a lot of good tips.  Be forewarned that you have to weed through a lot of whining, though!

Final Thoughts

In the end, Grubhub is one you will definitely want to consider if you want to deliver food.  I wouldn’t say they are the #1 option as I have had more luck with Uber and DoorDash, but it doesn’t mean you should at least try it.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Remember, your market is going to be much different than mine, so in some cases, you may see more orders with Grubhub than DoorDash and vice versa.  You just have to download and sign up with them all to see which ones work best in your area.  Only you can find that out.  I, unfortunately, do not have a definite answer.

For now, at least signup and get approved on the app.  Then, once you’re active, play around with it.  Remember, since you’re an independent contractor, you can work whenever you wish, so if you only want to deliver once and not do it again for another three weeks,  you can!

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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. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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