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In most parts of the world, people fire up an app to order food and groceries, amongst other items. In fact, freelancers manning the gig economy via some of the most popular apps have started to make some good money mainly because demand for them in many parts of the US has increased. Unlike working for an employer, the large selection of apps means that anyone with a bike, car, van, and driver’s license can shop for the best rates picking and choosing from half a dozen established apps.
Interestingly, the market share of an app mainly influences how much the driver or delivery person earns. So, if the app isn’t all that popular where you live, i.e., there are fewer people using it, it often means you’ll have less work. This translates to lower earnings.
Naturally, you’ll want to work with an app that can get you the most work yet offers you the best pay.
At present, DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats lead are some of the proverbial top dogs in the food delivery service industry. So, working with them in most parts of the country means that you’ll (delivery drivers) earn more because of the large volume of orders.
However, competitors with a smaller market share like Instacart tend to pay more in an effort to attract delivery professionals to their app. In the case of Instacart, they have the highest rate per hour, but that does not mean you will end up making more towards the end of the month. That’s because there is a lot more to what the best food delivery service apps offer than just basic pay.
So, the million-dollar question as someone who wants to work delivering food is where can you make the most money? Fortunately for you, this article breaks down the best food delivery services based on the information available as of writing this article. This will help you or anyone else with a valid driver’s license choose the right service to drive for.
Honestly, it depends on what you label as “best.” In terms of hourly pay, Shipt and Instacart are unbeatable at present, with delivery service providers being paid between $20 and $30. However, working for these apps will not keep you busy, which can be concerning for someone who wants to hit the roads for at least 8 hours a day.
If keeping busy matters more, the best delivery service to work for, as mentioned earlier, are Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Doordash, mainly because of their large customer base.
It is also worth noting that apart from an app’s market share, what you make also depends on where you operate. Some apps like DoorDash are big in Massachusetts, where drivers can earn around $42k, while working for the same app in Mississippi will mean you make $10k less.
The other factor that impacts your earnings is how these companies structure payments. Factors may include:
Pay per delivery – This is what you make per delivery. It is guaranteed for every delivery. If anything, this is your motivation to hit the streets each day to fulfill orders. What the delivery app pays will vary, with larger, more established apps paying comparatively less.
Peak hour pay – Usually, peak hours are defined when there are a lot more orders to fulfill than they are drivers available on the app. Many food delivery services pay more to deliver food during these peak hours and often to busy locations.
Bonus – As the term suggests, these are usually extra chunks drivers can earn by engaging in certain promotional activities. In our opinion, the best food delivery app will have many promotions that drivers can take advantage of.
Tips – Tipping is part of our culture, and drivers using apps are no different. Many, if not all, apps have a tip feature, allowing app users to tip the driver. The best apps will enable drivers to keep the entirety of their tip. Though tip terms and conditions will vary. So, drivers are advised to determine the company’s policy before using the app.
While your base pay as a driver using the app is essential, just as important are the incentives. So, you will always want to take the incentives along with the base pay into consideration. This is especially important if you plan to work as a food delivery driver full time.
Now that we understand what factors impact a driver’s remuneration, it’s time to break down what each food delivery service app pays drivers.
Typically, a driver using the Instacart app will make around $29 an hour, which amounts to roughly slightly over $25k a year.
Instacart launched over a decade ago, and since then it has grown to become a highly sought-after grocery delivery app. The primary reason behind its success has been giving app users two options. They can either be a full-service shopper or an in-store shopper.
In-store shoppers mainly take orders from customers, visit a nearby grocery store and stage it for pickup from there. This does not require delivering the items to the buyer’s doorstep, which is unlike a regular grocery delivery service.
Full service, however, requires buying the items and delivering them to the customer. Grocery delivery services pay more per hour. However, since Instacart’s market share is comparatively smaller (17.2%), app users make less money at the end of a calendar month because of fewer jobs.
Instacart is probably best for someone who is okay with fewer orders because they care about getting paid more for their time.
Shipt pays around $20 per hour on average; more experienced shoppers can make up to $250. While Shipit isn’t as established as some other apps, it is worth looking into for anyone who wants to start food delivery or work a few part-time delivery jobs.
While it does not have a significant market share, with just 6% for grocery and other food deliveries. But the good thing is that they have an excellent hourly rate, ensuring that full-time drivers using the app can make upwards of $40k annually.
The other upside to Shipt for drivers is that they can take multiple delivery orders simultaneously, unlike others that only allow one order at a time. The latter limits the driver’s productivity and how much they can make. That’s one of the reasons why Shipt drivers can make more than with any other delivery company. But it all hinges on getting enough delivery jobs.
Shipt pays the driver a base salary and commission. So, the base earning is $5, and drivers get 7.5% of the amount ordered by the customer. This allows drivers to see how much they will make from an order coming in before accepting it. If anything, this makes it possible to choose the best-paying delivery jobs, consequently maximizing your time.
However, unlike other apps, drivers using the Shipt app are required to wear the company’s branding during their work hours. Most people will not find this offensive or uncomfortable.
DoorDash typically pays $18 per hour but can rise to $32 depending on how many orders the user handles.
DoorDash is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to take advantage of a well-designed food delivery app to make money. It has a huge customer base and accounts for roughly 58% of food delivered in the US. That’s why despite the comparatively low hourly rate, drivers make good money. It is also why DoorDash is considered one of the best food delivery apps for drivers.
Drivers earn on the distance and the desirability of their order. Base pay is set between $2 and $10. But similar to Uber Eats and others, DoorDash offers incentives that include getting paid extra for peak hours. So, app users get paid more during the busiest hours. When combined with generous base pay, it’s possible to make a decent living as a DoorDash Driver.
Typically, Uber Eats pays around $19.20 an hour, which means full-time app users can make upwards of $40k a year.
The best thing about Uber Eats, especially compared to the competition, is that drivers can use their car and offer ridesharing too via the app. Plus, they can deliver food if they choose to via the app. In other words, app users have two parallel income streams, unlike what other delivery apps offer.
The downside is that there is no base pay. Earnings are mainly calculated based on the costs associated with picking up and dropping off the items. The app takes a cut or commission from the total amount earned.
App users have various ways of making more money. For instance, they can participate in Boost and Surge promos. This means they make more money by delivering food during busy times, or peak hours, as they are called.
Drivers using the app get paid around $19 an hour, meaning a full-time driver can earn $39k a year.
The Amazon Flex app connects restaurants with customers via its app that’s manned by independent drivers. It ships food for Amazon Fresh, Prime, and local restaurants. Similar to Uber Eats, drivers have the option to provide ride-sharing services via the app. In the case of Amazon Flex, drivers can choose to transport packages too, to just about any location.
Many people will like the idea of a parallel income stream because that means they won’t run out of work to do. That explains why Flex drivers can make $25 an hour on average.
As an independent contractor, you choose when and how much to work. However, once you log into the app and clock in, driving for 3-6 hours is important. Furthermore, it is your responsibility to have insulated bags and coolers to keep stuff fresh, cold, or hot.
Postmates pays drivers using the app $18 an hour. That means, on average, drivers can make slightly above $38k annually.
Now for those unfamiliar with the brand, this is the same company that shipped bags of lime to Chrissy Teigen instead of just the five limes she ordered. However, other than this high-profile mishap, the company has an excellent reputation for delivering just about anything you want anywhere in the US. That’s probably why Uber Eats acquired it.
Despite the acquisition, Postmates is still independently operated. Many people use the app as drivers because it allows them to make deliveries via a scooter, car, or even on foot.
The flexibility makes the app accessible to anybody. The only thing needed is to signup on to the platform. After which, you are paid per minute, mile, and based on pick and drop-off locations, making it an excellent app to make money delivering food.
GoPuff drivers can earn an average of $14 an hour. However, depending on their location, drivers can net as much as $60k a year, if not slightly more.
It is one of the best apps for food, grocery, snacks, drinks, and over-the-counter medicine delivery. It currently operates across 500 cities in the US, with the app following a unique model. Unlike other apps, GoPuff runs 200 warehouses that stock various commonly ordered products.
To ensure speed of delivery, the driver picks up items from the nearest warehouse. This saves time and even money because all deliveries are within 30 minutes of the closest warehouse.
The model favors delivery drivers using the app because they don’t have to spend a lot of time on the road, picking up and then delivering items. That’s why GoPuff drivers end up making a lot more money despite earning a measly $14 an hour.
Caviar drivers can earn an hourly wage of $16 an hour. This can add to roughly $25 when you factor in bonuses and tips. The average full-time driver can expect an annual payout of $58,763.
Originally launched in 2014, the app was acquired by DoorDash a few years ago. The acquisition led to the drivers using the app referred to as Dashers. That’s why the hourly payout for drivers on both platforms is very similar.
Most people will still end up earning more driving for Caviar than they will for DoorDash. One reason is that Caviar has access to DoorDash’s extensive network. That means drivers are almost guaranteed delivery requests. Often multiple requests a minute, plus Caviar is a better paying delivery app.
The mathematical formula used to determine a driver’s pay is similar to DoorDash, which means adding base pay to tips and bonuses.
On average, a Grubhub driver will make $14.16 an hour, which amounts to roughly $25k a year. However, this is the average rate, meaning some may make as little as $9 an hour while others net $4219. The wide discrepancy in what drivers make is down to how the app works.
Signing up to use the app as a delivery driver is quick and easy. However, the app requires that new drivers pass a background check for security reasons.
Now the other way to maybe look at this is that when there are deliveries, there are several dozen deliveries at the same time. That means if you put in the work at the right time, you can and will make more money with Grubhub than any other food or grocery delivery app.
Drivers’ are paid based on the total time it took to deliver and the distance between the pickup point and drop-off location. However, there is no base pay or guaranteed minimum hourly pay, which means that your income is dependent on the location of your orders and the number of orders fulfilled. That means drivers operating in large, busy cities like New York, Washington, and LA, will obviously make more money than others.
A great feature of this app is the rewards program referred to as Recognition Program. This is based on diligence. Drivers with a good track record of fulfilling orders, and being on time, will get scheduled higher-paying delivery work. In other words, they get dibs on higher-paying work before the competition. That’s how some drivers make upwards of $40 an hour while others are stuck at $9 an hour. However, it takes time to work your way up the ladder, similar to a conventional job.
Favor drivers earn an average of $10 an hour, with some taking home $20. However, there are also those that make only $4 an hour. But why?
Owned by H-E-B, it is one of the largest food retailers in the state of Texas. The service is based in Texas and mainly offers its services to restaurants in and around Huston, Dallas, and Austin, in addition to a few other major cities.
The drivers are called Runners; these runners don’t actually run but instead drive a car, motorcycle, truck, or scooter. So, on-foot runners need not apply!
Runners earn 35% of the delivery fee and all the tips received. People who want to use the app and make money when they feel like it or when they have the time will not need to schedule delivery hours. However, those who want to do it full-time will wish to schedule hours in advance. The advantage of scheduling deliveries is that Runners are guaranteed a $9 to $10 incentive making it a pretty sweet deal.
You now probably have a pretty good idea of what each food delivery app or service pays. In addition, you are now better positioned to weigh the pros and cons of each of the abovementioned apps based on where you live and how you want to work. Granted, you may want to do more research into each app available in your area.
Depending on who you are, each of the services we’ve discussed can be a good choice or probably not the best decision based on your location. For instance, if you live in New York City, you’ll want to sign up with Uber Eats because they pay well. The other option would be Amazon Flex, which pays best in Los Angeles.
The other thing you’d want to do to make the most money is to diversify your income streams. In other words, use multiple food delivery apps at the same time. There is no reason why you should be loyal to a single app. The advantage of being an independent contractor is that you aren’t bound to any one company. So, take advantage of that fact.
Peak hours pay the most across all apps on average. Then there are also those that pay the most over the weekends, and some pay more during weekdays. So, by combining the strengths of each, you can maximize earnings, especially if you want to deliver food full time and do more than just pay the bills.