The first thing you need to know about delivering for Postmates isn’t they aren’t your average takeout service. Postmates is on-demand delivery for anything.
Want a beer at midnight? Postmate it!
Stuck at home with the stomach flu and need crackers and Gatorade? Postmate it!
Hosting a party tonight and realize you’re dangerously low on toilet paper? Postmate it!
Living in the age of on-demand delivery is great for anyone who wants a flexible side hustle. And this Postmates driver review will explain how you can start working for Postmates, how couriers make, and how Postmates stacks up to other side hustles.
Postmates Driver Review: Is delivering for Postmates a great way to earn extra money?
What is Postmates?
Postmates is a delivery service that was founded in 2011 and prides itself on delivering “anything, anytime, anywhere.” They deliver from more than 500,000 restaurants, grocery, and convenience stores in over 3,500 cities across the United States and Mexico.
If you’re interested in delivering for Postmates, you need to know that when they say you can get anything delivered, they really do mean anything. Here are a few real Postmates orders:
- Ping pong balls
- One package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- $1,000 worth of Taco Bell
- A drum set
- 1,248 cans of Red Bull
Postmates has also been known for some pretty wild celebrity deliveries. Post Malone spent over $40,000 on Postmates deliveries in just 400 days. Chrissy Tiegen accidentally had 200 limes delivered to her house. Chance the Rapper has used Postmates to order a Big Mac Meal minus the burger, adult coloring books, an iPad mini, and seven PS4 controllers (all separate orders).
While celebrity orders might not be the norm, the point is that people can order pretty much anything through Postmates.
How to make money with Postmates
Working as a Postmates delivery driver offers some serious flexibility when it comes to making money. You don’t have to schedule your hours in advance, work a certain number of hours each week, or hit certain delivery minimums. You can just open the app and start delivering whenever you want.
Here are the Postmates driver requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have access to an insured vehicle, or a bicycle
- Valid driver’s license, if you’ll be delivering by car
- Have a smartphone to download the Postmates Fleet app
- Pass a Postmates background check
As long as you meet those requirements, you can start to earn extra money delivering for Postmates. You can make deliveries via car, bike, scooter, or on foot. Postmate pay drivers based on the size of the order, distance, and difficulty – I’ll explain more about this further down.
How to apply and start delivering for Postmates
Signing up to become a Postmates delivery person is a really simple process. Go online and get started at Postmates, then enter your email address and a secure password.
Postmates will ask you for your phone number and address so they can send you a Postmates card that you’ll use to pay for deliveries. You’ll be matched with the delivery location (what Postmates refers to as a market) closest to your address, but you can always change your delivery location if you need to.
Postmates will also ask for your Social Security number and date of birth so they can perform a background check. If you plan on driving for Postmates, which is how you’ll be eligible for the most orders, you’ll also need to enter your driver’s license number and expiration date.
After you’ve filled out your online application, it usually takes between 1 to 3 days for Postmates to verify your account before you can start driving. Postmates will send you a welcome packet, including a prepaid card and delivery bag.
Delivering for Postmates with the app
There are two different Postmates apps — an app for customers placing orders and another one for delivery drivers, called Postmates Fleet. As a courier, Fleet is what you’ll use to accept and fulfill deliveries.
The cool thing about working for Postmates is that you don’t need to schedule your hours in advance. This is different from services like DoorDash and Instacart where you must schedule your hours in advance.
When you are ready to work, you open the app and slide a button to start accepting orders. Delivery requests will pop up in the app, and you click “Accept” to take an order. The app pulls up a map to give you the quickest route to the store or restaurant. The order might already be placed and ready for you, or you may need to place the order yourself or shop for items on a list — you’re paid for any waiting or shopping time.
If the order was paid for in the app, you’re ready to deliver. Otherwise, you’ll use that prepaid card Postmates sent you in your welcome packet and send the purchaser a picture of the receipt and order total.
The app shows you the shortest route to the delivery location, and the purchaser may give specific delivery details, like a gate passcode or instructions to leave delivery outside the back door. Any extra information you need to deliver will be in the app.
And that’s it!
How Postmates drivers are paid
Delivery drivers are paid weekly via direct deposit, and it takes about 2 to 3 days for your payout to show up in your bank account. You can keep track of your earnings for the day or week in the app’s dashboard.
If you want fast cash, you can sign up for Instant Deposit by linking your debit card to the Postmates app and cash out whenever you want. There’s no limit to the number of times you can use it, but there’s a $0.50 fee per Instant Deposit. You also need at least $5 in your Postmates account.
How much do Postmates drivers make?
Postmates pays their delivery drivers rates based on pickup, dropoff, minutes spent in-store, and rate per mile. These rates vary by market, but here are some of the current rates in different markets around the U.S.:
New York, NY
On top of base pay, Postmates couriers also keep 100% of customer tips.
Postmates has a couple more market-specific ways to earn. There are starter guarantees for new drivers, and as long as you complete a certain amount of deliveries in a set amount of time, you earn a bonus. You can also earn payouts for each new person you invite to start driving, as long as they complete a certain number of deliveries in a set amount of time.
Here’s an example of the starter guarantee where I live in Houston, Texas:
Starter guarantees change based on market demand availability of new delivery jobs. When I first published this article in 2020, the starter guarantee in Houston was $275 for completing 35 deliveries in 14 days.
But how much do Postmates drivers actually make?
Like I said, what you earn depends a lot on where you’re delivering. A Postmates delivery person in a big city will likely make more money because there’s a higher need and a higher level of difficulty, meaning it may be more difficult to get from place to place and restaurants might be busier.
Postmates CEO Bastian Lehman says that during peak hours, drivers have a median pay of $19/hour.
Drivers on Indeed reports earnings from $12.40-$37.40/hour, with an average pay of $21.06/hour. And on Glassdoor, drivers have reported base hourly earnings from $6-$26/hour, with an average base pay of $11.
Keep in mind, there are a couple of factors not mentioned in those figures that can affect your earning potential as a delivery driver:
- Wear and tear on your car. When you put more miles on your car, that’s more frequent oil changes, new tires, brakes, etc.
- Time between deliveries. Say one delivery took 20 minutes to make, but you might find yourself waiting 20 minutes before receiving your next order. You’re not getting paid for those 20 minutes, but you are waiting to work.
These are the same things you’ll need to think about if you’re considering rideshare driving or delivering for similar companies.
Postmates Driver Alternatives
Like I’ve said a couple of times, Postmates offers serious flexibility. That gives you a better work-life balance if you want to make extra money, and that’s what a lot of Postmates couriers like about it.
However, if you’re not interested in delivering for Postmates, there are tons of other food delivery services you can try. Delivering for more than one at a time is a great way to earn even more – it’s what a lot of the most successful drivers do to increase the amount of money they make delivering food.
Here are two other top companies worth checking out:
- Instacart: Grocery delivery service that pays around $20/hour during busy times. You earn per delivery and keep 100% of your tips. You schedule blocks of time to work. Read more at Instacart Shopping Side Hustle: How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make?
- DoorDash: Food delivery service that averages pay around $20/hour. One major difference is that you can schedule your hours in advance. Learn more at DoorDash Driver Review (and How to Earn More than Average).
Postmates driver review – the final word
As long as there are orders in the app, delivering for Postmates offers a flexible schedule if you want to make some extra money. So if you’re looking for work outside the house, it’s an option worth checking out.
The downside is that some drivers find that they make less than expected because of factors like the time between orders and the wear and tear delivering can put on their vehicle. Keep that in mind if you do want to start delivering for Postmates.
And if none of these options do it for you, there are still lots of side hustle ideas. There’s no excuse not to start earning more money, especially if you want to destroy your debt, save more for retirement, fund an epic vacation, or just put more money in the bank.
Yes, there are several ways to help you earn more money with Postmates!
If you’re able to deliver during peak pay hours, you’ll find more orders available on the app. The busiest times on Postmates are 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are also some of the busiest days for drivers.
For ultra busy times, you may find orders with Blitz pricing. These orders have even higher payouts, but not all orders during this period offer Blitz payouts.
Markets sometimes have Hot Spots, which show up in the app like this:
The darker red the area, the more likely it is that you’ll get an order, so you may need to drive to a different location to increase your chances. The best way to find Hot Spots is to check the Fleet app during peak hours.
Postmates also offers a couple of different driver bonuses, and you’ll be notified about these in the app or via email. There are Crushers, which is a payout bonus for completing so many deliveries in a set time. You can also earn a Bonus per Delivery for every order completed in a certain time frame — it can be around $1 to $2 extra per order.
You can also turn on Auto Accept in the Postmates app to automatically take new orders, and this will reduce the amount of time you wait between orders. New orders are automatically added to your route, and you can turn it off or pause it at any time.
Read more at How to Make Money: Top 44 Ideas for 2020.
Unfortunately, some customer orders can get canceled for any number of reasons. A customer can change their mind, a restaurant might be too busy to take new orders, or have to close unexpectedly.
If the order was canceled when you’re on your way or already at a restaurant or store, you will still receive a small portion of your payment. For orders that have been paid for or in route to be delivered, you’ll receive your full fee. You probably won’t receive a tip, and you can do what you want with the order.
Yes. As long as you have location services turned on for the Fleet App, all you need to do is open it up and find orders. Realistically, you could be traveling and still earn some extra cash with Postmates.
Yes, Postmates delivery drivers keep 100% of customer tips.
As a food delivery person, you are considered an independent contractor, meaning Postmates doesn’t withhold any taxes.
If you make more than $600/year with Postmates, they will send you a 1099-MISC form with your annual earnings. You should still report your earnings to the IRS even if you don’t make $600 with Postmates.
You can write off the mileage on your car, but you’ll need to be tracking that throughout the year. Postmates recommends using the Stride Tax app to track this.
Learn more about tax time at How to Handle Taxes for Your Side Hustle.