The food delivery market has blown up over the past couple of years, and today we're comparing two of the most popular options: Postmates vs Grubhub. Working for food delivery services has become an incredibly flexible side hustle with a low barrier to entry, making it an excellent option if you want to supplement your income, pay off debt, bulk up your emergency fund, and so on.
Overall, Postmates and Grubhub are really similar in how the apps work for drivers, but we're going to cover all of the essentials, like driver requirements, pay, incentives, driver support, and more.
Over 3,500 U.S. cities
Over 4,000 U.S. cities
What are Postmates and Grubhub?
Postmates and Grubhub are two of the most popular food delivery services right now. They’re fairly similar side hustle apps, but there are a couple of key differences that might make one stand out to drivers and customers.
Postmates is known for delivering anything, anywhere, anytime. You can order groceries, takeout from restaurants, fast food, drug store essentials, and whatever other random things you want.
Postmates has called itself the “whatever-you-can-think-of delivery app.” They’ve even shared some wild celebrity orders to give you an idea of what you can Postmate.
- Demi Lovato used Postmates to order a single Twinkie
- Kylie Jenner had them deliver "3 cozy blankets" from Target
- Chance the Rapper had Postmates deliver adult coloring books and men’s swim trunks
- Post Malone once had $8,000 worth of Popeye’s biscuits Postmated to a party
The average delivery driver won’t see orders like that, but it’s important to understand that Postmates isn’t just for groceries or meals.
Uber purchased Postmates in July of 2020 so it’s now part of the Uber/UberEats family.
Grubhub specializes in restaurant delivery only, from both local places to big chains. They have partnerships with more than 320,000 restaurants in more than 4,000 U.S. cities.
Since Grubhub was founded in 2004, it has merged and partnered with several smaller companies. This includes Seamless, AllMenus, LevelUp, and MenuPages, and it's currently owned by JustEatTakeAway, which is a Netherlands-based food ordering and delivery company.
Postmates vs Grubhub: Driver requirements
If you’re thinking about driving for either Postmates or Grubhub, the best place to start is their driver requirements. Delivery services like DoorDash and Instacart have very similar requirements if you're looking for other options.
Postmates courier requirements:
Delivery by bicycle or on foot:
Grubhub driver requirements:
- Must be at least 19 years old (or 21 in Chicago or Las Vegas)
- Have access to an insured vehicle (car, van, truck, SUV, motorcycle, scooter) or bicycle
- Have a smartphone so you can download Grubhub’s driver app
- Pass a background check
The difference here is the age requirement. If you’re 18, then Grubhub would be a no-go for you, and drivers in Chicago and Las Vegas have even stricter age requirements. It's also worth mentioning that drivers under 21 cannot accept alcohol orders for either Postmates or Grubhub.
The winner is...
Postmates has slightly less stringent age requirements allowing anyone who's at least 18 to deliver on bicycle or foot.
Grubhub vs. Postmates: Driver Pay
Delivery apps don’t pay drivers a flat hourly rate, and there are lots of factors that determine your pay (more on this in the next section). Driver pay formulas change based on how much you make per order or any given day.
It’s important to note that there can be a pretty wide range in what drivers for Postmates and Grubhub make because you're paid per order, not a flat hourly rate.
How much does Postmates pay?
Pay varies greatly depending on the location, time of day (or night) driven, and how many deliveries are made. Glassdoor averages pay at $13/hour with a range of $10-$17/hour
How much does Grubhub pay?
Glassdoor reports that Grubhub drivers average $16/hour, and the pay range goes from $10-$23/hour.
The winner is...
There's no clear winner or loser here, because there is a wide range of pay for both Grubhub and Postmates drivers.
Postmates vs Grubhub: How is driver pay calculated?
Postmates and Grubhub both use formulas to calculate how much you make per delivery. The goal is to make sure that you’re paid more for deliveries that take more time or that are farther away. Both companies have made tweaks to their driver pay formula over time, and they may change again in the future.
Grubhub driver pay formula
One of the biggest changes Grubhub made recently was to eliminate the base order amount. Base amounts varied by market, but they were around $3-$4.
Now, you’re paid per mile for both the pick-up and drop-off end. Grubhub increased pay for the total mileage amount, and the pay formula now accounts for time spent driving and waiting.
Here’s an example of Grubhub’s pay formula that compares the previous and new model:
Grubhub drivers always keep 100% of their tips.
Grubhub shows you an estimated time and mileage amount for each order in the app, and this amount doesn’t change after you’ve accepted the offer. That means that if you get stuck in traffic or have to take a detour, you’re paid the same amount as if there weren’t any issues.
But that could also be good for drivers if the order takes less time or miles than the app thinks it will take.
Grubhub has a Recognition Program that rewards drivers for attendance, order acceptance, and block drop rates. Here’s what those terms mean:
- Attendance Rate: Percentage of time blocks that you schedule and attend
- Acceptance Rate: Percent of order offers that you accept
- Block Drop Rate: Percent of time blocks your schedule, but drop before or during the block.
This program incentives drivers showing up for work and taking as many orders as possible. Some drivers don’t accept orders because the pay looks too low.
All Grubhub drivers start at the lowest level as Partners, and then can move up to one of the two upper levels:
As you move up the ranks, you get more control over when you schedule your hours in the app, and you may get to deliver catering orders, which typically pay better.
Postmates driver pay formula
The factors Postmates uses to determine your per order earnings are:
- An amount for each completed pick-up
- An amount for each completed drop-off
- A per-minute-waited rate for the time you spend at the pick-up location
- A per-mile rate for the distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations
Postmates drivers also keep 100% of their tips.
The rates for each of those factors depend on the market you’re delivering in, and bigger, busier cities tend to have higher rates.
The market you’re in also determines your Postmates Starter Guarantee. This is how much you can expect to make if you complete a certain number of deliveries in a certain number of days. The Starter Guarantee in Charlotte, NC is a guaranteed $400 including base earnings and delivery bonuses if you complete 60 deliveries in 14 days. This is the minimum amount you’ll make and doesn’t include tips.
Postmates has other kinds of incentives for delivery drivers, too, including:
- Bonus per delivery: Each an extra payout for every delivery you accept and complete in a specified time frame
- Crushers: Complete a certain number of deliveries within a set period to earn an extra payout bonus
- Invitees: Invite your friends to start delivering for Postmates and you can earn a guaranteed amount for each invitee who completes a set number of deliveries within the first few weeks
The bonus per delivery and Crushers incentives encourage Postmates drivers to drive during busy times and accept more orders. These incentives can add a couple of dollars or more to each delivery.
How does the driver pay formula affect drivers for Postmates and Grubhub?
We like the Grubhub recognition program – it’s nice to be rewarded for showing up to work – but it could hurt drivers if they have something come up at the last minute that prevents them from working during their scheduled blocks.
Postmates bonuses reward drivers for completing more deliveries when they’re working without any penalties.
When Postmates pays
Postmates pays their couriers every week via direct deposit. It can take 2-3 days for the money to show up in your bank account. You can keep track of how much you’ve earned for the day or week in the Postmates Fleet app. To access your Postmates pay even faster, you can link a debit card to the app and use instant deposit. You can cash out whenever you want, but there is a $0.50 fee per instant deposit.
When Grubhub pays
Grubhub sends driver payouts on Thursday over every week. These go out via direct deposit and take around 3-5 days to show up in your bank account. There is also an instant payment option with Grubhub. Like Postmates, it costs $0.50 per cashout, but that fee is waived if you’re using a Chase checking account.
The winner is...
While Postmates has a better rewards program, Grubhub gives drivers the option to cash out early for free if they have a Chase checking account.
Postmates vs. Grubhub: Driver experience
Grubhub has drivers schedule blocks of time to drive, which is similar to a traditional part-time job where you schedule your hours to work, except that you put yourself on the schedule. This can make it easier to plan ahead and you’re guaranteed to work the hours you schedule.
The flipside of Grubhub’s scheduling is that it gives scheduling priority to drivers who are in the upper level of Grubhub’s Recognition Program, and you have to work to earn that privilege.
Postmates drivers don’t have to schedule blocks of time, instead, they can open the app and work whenever they have the extra time. While this gives you more flexibility, the downside is that if there are already a lot of drivers on the app, you won’t earn as much.
The apps are the same when it comes to accepting orders, shopping, and delivering. The apps give you all of the information you need to make deliveries, and they're both very user-friendly.
The winner is...
The scheduling advantage is better for some drivers than others, so we can't pick a winner for everyone.
Postmates vs. Grubhub: Driver support
Back in 2020, both companies launched programs to keep drivers and customers safe, and the support has continued as new crises have arisen.
What Postmates is doing:
- Charging customers a temporary fuel surcharge of $0.35 or $0.45 on each order. The amount varies based on location, and 100% of the surcharge will go directly to workers.
- Postmates started offering no-contact delivery in March 2020. It’s an option customers can choose when they place an order, and they give specific instructions for where to drop off their order.
- They are placing temporary holds on anyone’s accounts (merchants, drivers, and customers) if they’ve tested positive for COVID-19.
- Postmates set up the Postmates Fleet Relief fund to help cover the costs of medical care or co-pays related to COVID-19.
What Grubhub is doing:
- Grubhub temporarily increased driver pay by an unspecified amount to offset rising fuel costs.
- New driver kits include face masks and hand sanitizer, which are available for reorder every 30 days
- Drivers can request contact-free deliveries
- Grubhub has a community relief fund to help delivery partners and merchants who have been impacted by COVID-19
Grubhub also offers an affordable health services plan through UnderWing health. It’s $20/month for drivers and includes board-certified doctor visits via phone or video, no-cost prescription coverage for common ailments, and mental health services.
Which is better: Grubhub or Postmates?
Both of these delivery services are pretty similar overall, but I want to go over the differences and standout features so you can decide which app is best for you.
Where Postmates shines
Overall what drivers love most about Postmates is flexibility, and we've heard this from many couriers.
Postmates doesn’t require you to schedule time in advance, and drivers have equal access to orders when they work. You have more chances to make more money with Postmates with per delivery bonuses and Crushers.
Where Grubhub shines
Grubhub is great for those who know for sure when they can work. You can schedule hours in advance and are rewarded when you show up. Grubhub also has a couple of perks that add value to the job, like the UnderWing health services program and free instant deposits if you have a Chase bank account.
Postmates vs Grubhub: The final word
Both of these services are solid side hustles to supplement your income, and you can work them as flexible part-time jobs.
Remember, you don’t have to sign up for just one either! You can also sign up for other services like DoorDash and Instacart. The most successful drivers (those who make the most money) sign up for multiple companies and toggle back and forth between two or more apps.
The difference for drivers is that Postmates drivers don’t need to schedule their hours in advance like Grubhub drivers do.
Neither are paid a flat hourly wage, but once you calculate per order pay and tips, Postmates and Grubhub drivers can make somewhere in the $10-$20/hour range.
DoorDash drivers make more on average than Postmates drivers. You can expect to get paid $15-$25/hour while on delivery with DoorDash, and you can also schedule your hours or use the “Dash Now” option to hop on the app during busier times. That’s a win for driver.