If you’re researching food delivery services, my Postmates vs. Uber Eats comparison breaks down two of the most popular companies of 2021.
As more and more people are choosing to stay home and order out for their food, on-demand food delivery services like Postmates and Uber Eats are constantly adding new drivers to keep up with the need.
Uber Eats and Postmates let drivers pick their own hours, earn decent pay, and earn money with your car. It’s a no-brainer for many side hustlers.
I’ve taken a close look at both Uber Eats and Postmates to tell you what you can expect to earn, what the driver requirements are, and answer some of the most common questions about Postmates vs. Uber Eats.
Postmates vs. Uber Eats | Which is Better for Drivers in 2021?
What is Uber Eats?
Launched in 2014 by Uber, Uber Eats is an on-demand food delivery service that reaches more than 45 countries and 6,000+ cities worldwide.
Uber Eats specializes in restaurant delivery, and customers can use the app to read menus, reviews, and ratings before they place their order. The customer stores their credit or debit card information in the app to make for a faster checkout.
Once the order is placed in the Uber Eats app, a courier sees the order in the app, assigns it to themself, and then picks the order up, and delivers it to the customer.
Uber Eats couriers can deliver meals by car, bike, scooter, or even foot, but this really depends on the market.
What is Postmates?
Postmates was founded in 2011 and is known as the on-demand delivery service for anything. Customers can order party supplies, groceries, electronics, alcohol, take out, etc. It currently delivers from more than 600,000 restaurants, retailers, and grocers across the country.
As part of its promotional material, Postmates famously posted celebrity receipts showing the ridiculous amounts of money celebrities were spending on Postmates orders:
- Kylie Jenner spent over $10,000 in Postmates orders in one year and reportedly ordered 4 times in less than 10 minutes.
- Post Malone ordered more than $40,000 worth of goods from Postmates, including a lot of fast food (his favorites were Popeyes, KFC, and Burger King).
- Chrissy Tiegen accidentally ordered 25 bottles of A1 Steak Sauce on the app, and her husband, John Legend, ordered more than 600 times in one year.
- Cara Delvigne has used Postmates to order makeup from Sephora, a lot of Taco Bell and Dominos, AirPods, and a vacuum.
Postmates customers place orders in the same way they do with Uber Eats -- find the store or restaurant on the app, place the order, and pay using the app. The Postmates courier assigns themself the order in the app, fulfills it (this might involve shopping instead of just picking up food), and then delivers it to the customer.
One of the most notable things about Postmates is that it was acquired by its competitor, Uber Eats, in July of 2020. The sale went for an insane $2.65 billion. Despite the acquisition, Postmates will continue to operate as its own brand.
Uber Eats vs Postmates: Driver requirements
Whether or not you qualify to drive for either company is going to be a major factor in deciding which you work for.
Uber Eats driver requirements
To sign up as an Uber Eats driver, you must:
- Meet the minimum age to drive in your city
- Have at least one year of licensed driving experience (if you’re under 23 years old, you need 3 years of experience driving)
- A valid U.S. driver’s license
- Eligible vehicle (this varies by city, but you can expect requirements for a 4-door vehicle that is at least a 1998 model or newer)
- Provide proof of residency in your city or state
- Have vehicle insurance
- Go through a background check and driver screening
Postmates driver requirements
These are the requirements to sign up as a Postmates driver:
- You must be 18 years old
- Have access to a reliable vehicle, scooter, or bike
- Car insurance if delivering by car
- Pass a background check
- Have a valid driver’s license if using a vehicle
Postmates vs Uber Eats: How drivers are paid
These companies are really similar in how they pay their drivers, but one of them is much more transparent about how driver pay is calculated.
Postmates driver pay formula
Postmates uses a market-based formula that uses four different factors to determine your pay: rate per pickup, rate per dropoff, rate per minute, rate per mile.
Here’s what that means in simpler terms: What you earn per order is pay for each completed pickup + pay for each completed drop off + time spent waiting in the store + distance traveled.
Like I said, the rates vary by city, but the table below will give you an idea of what those rates look like in different parts of the U.S.
Rate per Pickup
Rate per Dropoff
Rate per Minute
Rate per Mile
St. Louis, MO
Postmates drivers also get to keep 100% of their tips.
New Postmates drivers will see a Starter Guarantee that promises they’ll earn at least X dollars in their first few weeks. The terms depend on where you’re driving, but new drivers in Houston, TX (where I live) who complete 30 deliveries in 14 days are guaranteed to earn at least $200.
Postmates also offers bonuses to increase your pay, including:
- Bonus per delivery: You earn an extra payout bonus for every delivery accepted and completed in a specific time frame and zone.
- Crushers: This bonus is if you complete a certain number of deliveries in a set period of time.
- Invitees: When you get people to sign up as Postmates drivers, you earn a guaranteed amount for each invitee that completes a certain number of deliveries in their first few weeks.
You’ll be paid weekly on Mondays via direct deposit, or you can cash out anytime you want in the app. The instant deposit feature doesn’t have any limits, but it does cost $0.50/deposit.
Uber Eats driver pay formula
Unfortunately, Uber Eats is much less transparent about how drivers’ earnings are calculated. Here’s what they do say…
Uber Eats earnings are calculated by adding:
- Base fare: This is your pay for pickup, drop off time, and distance.
- Trip supplement: This is a newer earnings component that takes into factors like total time and distance, and Uber Eats says it “helps make every delivery worthwhile.”
- Promotions: There are a few different promotions, including Surge, Boost, and Quest.
- Tips: You keep 100% of your tips.
The promotions pay you a little extra for things like delivering during busy times. Quest is reaching certain trip goals in a set amount of time. Boosts are multipliers during busy times. Surge pricing is higher pricing based on the busy times – it’s similar to Boost, and Uber Eats will always pay you the higher of the two if they’re both happening at the same time.
Uber Eats drivers get paid in two different ways. You can do a weekly direct deposit, where your previous week’s earnings are processed on Wednesday, and Thursday is when the money hits your bank account.
The other option is the Instant Pay feature. This is an instant payout to a personal debit card that costs $0.50/cashout, up to 5 times per day. Or, you can open an Uber Visa Debit Card and do Instant Pay for free.
Does Postmates or Uber Eats pay more?
It’s really hard to say that one pays better than the other, especially now that Uber Eats owns Postmates. Both of these companies, and others like DoorDash and Instacart, have stopped advertising how much you earn because it’s dependent on where you’re driving, when you work, how often, and tips.
That might not sound very helpful if you’re looking for a solid answer, but I can tell you what drivers from each company have reported for Uber Eats:
- One Uber Eats driver said they normally get 3-6 deliveries per hour and earn $4-$6 each, equalling a range of $12-$36/hour
- Another Uber Eats driver said they average $20-$25/hour, mostly delivering Chinese food in their area in the evenings
- An Uber Eats driver in a college town in Oklahoma said they averaged $12/hour because most of the college kids they delivered to didn’t tip
- An Uber Eats driver in Chicago said they make $100 in 4-5 hours of delivering
And for Postmates:
- One driver averaged $7.40 per delivery and earned an average of $15/hour
- Another driver said their lowest per hour was $8/hour and the highest was $50/hour
- A Postmates driver in Las Vegas said they average $4 per deliver and can do 3-4 deliveries per hour for $12-$16/hour
- A Seattle driver said they don’t count in hours, rather days and average $800-$900 for four to five days worth of work, plus they plan their work around incentives
Reading those pay reviews gives you an idea of what you can expect: inconsistency. I don’t think that’s a bad thing as long as you’re aware of that from the beginning.
Drivers in dense areas typically earn more because they can do more deliveries in a shorter amount of time. In college towns, you might struggle to get tips.
Overall, both Postmates and Uber Eats drivers can realistically expect to earn somewhere in the $12-$20/hour range.
It’s worth noting that you’ll be considered an independent contractor, meaning you’re responsible for withholding taxes. Most tax experts suggest saving 30% of each paycheck for taxes.
Food delivery and rideshare drivers also pay for their own gas, and there’s also more wear and tear on your car because you’re driving it more often. That means more regular oil changes, you may need new tires more frequently, etc.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all formula that says how much you’ll spend on car-related costs, but know that they will eat into your take-home pay.
Uber Eats vs Postmates –the final word
What most people love about driving for Uber Eats and Postmates is the flexibility. Once you’ve signed up to drive, you can log into the apps whenever you have extra time and make a decent amount of extra cash.
You’re not signing up for a long-term commitment, the driver requirements are minimal, and you can leverage the apps to increase your earnings.
As long as you understand that you’ll need to set some money aside for taxes and car-related expenses, I think that either one of these companies is a solid choice to drive for.
Yes, you can leverage both apps to increase your earnings and many drivers do.
You can keep both apps open and active while you’re working, then be selective about the orders you take. You can take orders that are close to one another, take larger deliveries because the payout is higher, etc. The only hard part is toggling back and forth between more than one app.
DoorDash is another popular choice — drivers average $15-$20/hour. Or you can try Instacart or Shipt. Those two are grocery delivery services, and orders take a little bit longer, but the per hour pay is also close to $15-$20/hour.
You can read about each of those options at:
There are a couple of peer-to-peer car rental platforms that rent cars for delivery drivers. HyreCar and Getaround are two of the most popular ones. You can do hourly rentals on Getaround or a 2-day minimum on HyreCar.
Both of those rental platforms provide the kind of insurance you’ll need to deliver for either app, and the policies are good for 30 days.
HyreCar rentals average $24-$40/day, and Getaround rentals are $6-$10/hour. This cost will obviously eat into your take-home pay, and there’s also a chance the service you want to drive for won’t accept rental cars. This seems to vary by market.
Listen, there are plenty of other side hustles out there if you don’t have a car, but HyreCar and Getaround may be good options if your regular car is out of commission for a few days.