DoorDash vs. Postmates – these two delivery heavyweights offer consumers new ways to get food fast, and they’re also great options for side hustlers. But is one better than the other?
We now live in a world of on-demand everything. There are streaming services for any show or movie you could ever want to watch, same-day delivery from Amazon, and apps that deliver food right to your door.
Consumers love immediate access, and it’s opened the door for side hustlers to make extra cash. This is great news if you want to destroy your debt, save more for retirement, or set aside cash for emergencies.
Today, I’m taking a deep dive into two of the most popular food delivery services, DoorDash and Postmates, to tell you which one is better to earn money with. Enjoy!
What do you deliver?
What are the requirements to get started?
What do you deliver?
What are the requirements to get started?
Postmates vs Doordash: Which is a Better Side Hustle?
Since 2011, Postmates has been delivering “anything, anytime, anywhere.” Customers can place orders with Postmates 24/7 for everything from ping pong balls, Taco Bell, toilet paper, or Chinese takeout.
Postmates has been the go-to delivery app for celebrities. Chance the Rapper has used Postmates for an iPad and adult coloring books. Post Malone spent over $40,000 on Postmate deliveries in just over a year. And in 2017, Seth Rogen had his wife’s birthday dinner delivered by Postmates.
The point is, customers can use Postmates for anything, and that is probably the most important thing to know about becoming a Postmates delivery driver. Orders of anything, anytime, anywhere.
Uber purchased Postmates in July of 2020 so it’s now part of the Uber/UberEats family.
Founded in 2013, DoorDash is now delivering food in over 4,000 cities across the U.S. Customers place an order in the DoorDash app, and a Dasher accepts the order and fulfills it.
DoorDash delivers food from your favorite chain restaurants to local spots, and there are currently over 300,000 restaurants that have partnered with DoorDash for deliveries. Dashers pick up pre-paid orders from restaurants or place the order and wait, and then deliver to customers.
One of the more notable things about driving for DoorDash is that you can schedule your hours in advance. You can still open the app and deliver when you want, but scheduling gives you the option to plan for work in advance. DoorDash will also use scheduling to limit the amount of Dashers working at a certain time, which means less competition over available orders.
Postmates vs. Doordash: Driver pay
Let’s just start with what you probably came for… does Postmates pay better than Doordash? Or is it the other way around?
Well, drivers for both apps report fairly similar earnings, but the services differ in the way your pay is calculated.
Postmates pays delivery drivers separate rates based on pickup, dropoff, minutes spent in-store, and rate per mile. Pay varies by area, but here are a few examples of what you can earn across the U.S.:
New York, NY
DoorDash uses the Dasher Pay Model, which is base pay + promotions + tips, and that total is your take-home pay.
Your base pay is the amount you keep no matter what, and it ranges from $2-$10 and varies by order.
Promotions include Peak Pay, which is when certain areas are in high need of delivery drivers. These areas light up red in the driver app, and you’ll see the additional dollar amount you’ll earn for each delivery you make in a Peak Pay area.
DoorDash also has Challenges, which is currently in beta mode. Challenges give drivers additional pay for completing a certain number of deliveries in a set amount of time.
New Postmates drivers can earn sign-on bonuses after completing a certain number of deliveries by a specific date. You can earn referral bonuses too when you get others to start driving for Postmates.
Postmates also offers Blitz Pricing, orders with higher payouts, and Hot Spots, very in-demand delivery areas. There are also Crushers, which are bonuses for completing a set number of deliveries in a certain time period.
Both Postmates and DoorDash let drivers keep 100% of tips.
Postmates vs. Doordash: Requirements and availability
DoorDash is in more cities nationwide than Postmates, but both are available in most major cities and suburbs across the U.S. Both delivery services have very similar requirements for couriers.
Here are the requirements to deliver for Postmates:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a smartphone so you can download Postmates Fleet, the courier app you’ll use to complete deliveries
- If you plan on driving, you’ll also need to pass a DMV background check and have access to an insured vehicle
- Pass a Postmates criminal background check
And the DoorDash requirements:
- Must be 18 or older
- Have access to a car, scooter, or bicycle in some cities
- Have a driver’s license number
- Have auto insurance
- Complete a background check
Both apps require you to have a Social Security number if working in the U.S.
Winner: DoorDash has the edge because it’s available in more cities throughout the U.S.
Postmates vs. Doordash: Signing up to deliver
If you’re eligible to work for Posmates or DoorDash and they offer deliveries in your area, it’s time to sign up. Both apps have a very similar sign-up process:
- Apply to deliver online – sign up for DoorDash here
- Complete a background check
- Receive an activation packet, which includes a prepaid card and insulated bag for deliveries
- Download the app
It can take between 1-2 weeks after you apply for either to start delivering.
Winner: Tie! Both apps have a similar straightforward sign-up process.
Read more at How to Make Money: Top 44 Ideas for 2020.
Postmates vs. DoorDash: Delivery hours
Remember when I said that Postmates delivered anytime? That means you can make money driving for Postmates 24/7. Now, you’re not going to earn as much at certain times of the day (lunch and dinner hours, plus Friday-Sunday are the busiest times), but the idea is that you can use any of your spare time to make some cash.
DoorDash has a Dash Now option if you’re in an area that lights up red or pink in the app. Those areas have a high number of orders coming in for new Dashers. But you can also schedule your hours in advance with DoorDash.
Side hustling is all about flexibility, but some people are going to want something they can plan out and count on. You can schedule time blocks anywhere from a week in advance to day-of with DoorDash.
Winner: Another tie there are unique perks available in both delivery apps.
Postmates vs. Doordash: Making deliveries
When you’re ready to start delivering, you’ll log in to either app and see what orders are available.
With Postmates, you’ll see the order plus any additional offers, then accept.
In the DoorDash app, you will see orders plus your guaranteed pay, which is unique to DoorDash. You click “Accept” if you want to take an order. Note that not accepting orders can affect your overall DoorDash driver rating, but that’s not the case for Postmates. More on driver ratings further down.
Both apps send you a prepaid card and an insulated bag after you sign up to deliver. You use the card to pay for any orders that aren’t pre-paid for in the app. The bag is used to keep food hot or cold while you’re on route.
Winner: Tie! Postmates delivery drivers aren’t negatively affected for not accepting orders, but they aren’t shown guaranteed earnings like DoorDash offers.
Postmates vs. Doordash: How and when you’re paid
Both delivery services pay drivers weekly via direct deposit, so you’ll need a bank account to get paid. Deposits take around 2-3 days to show up, and most drivers see the funds in their accounts by Wednesday evening.
If you don’t want to wait for direct deposit, both apps have an option to cash out quickly
- Postmates: You can sign up for Instant Deposit by linking your debit card to the Postmates Fleet App and pay $0.50 to cash out instantly.
- DoorDash: If you’ve made at least 25 deliveries and have dashed for at least two weeks, you’re eligible for Fast Pay. It costs $1.99 to cash out your earnings instantly.
Winner: Postmates lets you cash out for significantly less if you want your money instantly.
Postmates vs. Doordash: Driver ratings
Both companies have a rating system for drivers, but Postmates ditched it’s five-star rating system for simple thumbs or thumbs down.
Here’s what Postmates says about the change to its rating system:
“Postmates does not use a star rating system. We believe that this helps you avoid being held responsible for circumstances outside of your control (for instance, if an item was prepared incorrectly). Instead, customers rate their delivery as a whole with a thumbs up or thumbs down. The customer’s choice will never affect you, your standing, or your ability to stay on the platform.”
DoorDash has a five-star rating system based on four factors:
- Customer rating: This is a 1-5 scale calculated from your 100 most recent ratings (old ratings are replaced as new ones come in). You need to maintain a 4.2 average rating or DoorDash can deactivate your account.
- Completion rate: The percent of deliveries you’ve completed out of your 100 most recent deliveries. But if an order is canceled by the customer or merchant, those won’t count against your completion rate. You need to maintain a completion rate of at least 70% to stay on the app.
- Acceptance rate: This is the percentage of deliveries you accept. There’s no minimum acceptance rate to stay on the platform.
- On-time/Early rate: This is how many orders have been delivered on-time or early out of your 100 most recent deliveries. While there are no minimums, customers are more likely to give you a higher customer rating for on-time or early deliveries.
DoorDash doesn’t specify how your acceptance and on-time/early rate affect your ability to find and accept deliveries. But the fact that your overall rating is determined by an algorithm means that there is some weight placed on these factors in determining your ability to make money on DoorDash.
Winner: Postmates has a simple rating system that does not affect your ability to make money.
Can you do Postmates AND Doordash?
Yes! Just like rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, you can deliver for both DoorDash and Postmates, and many drivers do.
The benefit of driving for both is that you open yourself to more delivery options, which equals more cash. Many drivers run the apps at the same time, and find orders in either app that are close to where they’re delivering. And if orders slow down in one app, you can always check the other.
Keep in mind what I said about DoorDash’s acceptance ratings, so it’s better to accept those orders than decline them for an order with Postmates.
The reality of what you’ll earn with Postmates and DoorDash
With both Postmates and DoorDash, you’re going to make the most money as a driver in a high-traffic area of a large city. You’ll also need to drive during the busiest times, which are lunch and dinner hours and Friday through Sunday.
Busier times mean less downtime as a driver, and too much downtime will only cut into your pay. Think about it like this: your first delivery took you 20 minutes, then you sat for 20 minutes waiting for your next delivery. You’re not being paid for that downtime between orders. This is why many drivers sign up for both companies.
Another reality for drivers is the cost of gas and more frequent car maintenance, plus the overall wear and tear on your car. It’s hard to nail down an exact figure per driver or delivery, but any amount of car expenses will eat into your take-home pay.
Couriers for both DoorDash and Postmates are considered independent contractors, meaning neither company withholds taxes — you are responsible for this. Both companies will send out 1099-MISC forms for drivers that make $600 or more throughout the year, but you’ll still need to report earnings under that amount, especially if your combined earnings for both companies is $600 or more.
There are a few eligible deductions that you can take on your taxes with either delivery service, including:
- Car insurance
- Tolls and parking
- Your phone and phone plan
- Accounting costs
Learn more about tax time at How to Handle Taxes for Your Side Hustle.
Final word: Postmates vs. Doordash
Both of these are 100% legit side hustles, and there are unique features to each that make them worth checking out — DoorDash shows your guaranteed pay and lets you schedule time, while Postmates offers more flexibility and doesn’t have a rating system that affects drivers.
If you're looking for a good side hustle that pays well, Doordash and Postmates are both great options.
Overall, Postmates and DoorDash give you flexible ways to make money in your spare time with pay that’s comparable to what you would make driving for Instacart, Uber, or Lyft.
So, if you can find the time and want to make more money, check out both apps and see how they work for you.