When it comes to making money quickly, it’s hard to beat food delivery jobs.
If you can drive or bike, you can work for most food delivery service apps. Plus, in true gig economy fashion, being a food delivery courier lets you hustle on your own schedule to make extra cash.
Two of the most well-known companies in the food delivery space are Postmates and Uber Eats. If you want to earn extra money making food deliveries, our guide will help you decide which platform is best for you.
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Postmates vs. Uber Eats
At first glance, Postmates and Uber Eats look like similar delivery app jobs.
From the customer’s perspective, these apps are almost the same. You can use Postmates or Uber Eats to order from your favorite restaurants just by using your smartphone.
However, there are several differences in terms of what customers can order, available markets, and hourly pay that impacts which company is better for drivers.
What is Postmates?
Postmates is a food and everyday essentials delivery service that began in 2011. Currently, Postmates operates in over 3,000 cities across all 50 U.S. states.
Unlike companies such as Uber Eats and DoorDash, Postmates goes beyond basic food delivery services. Postmates customers can order food, groceries, alcohol, household products, and even clothing.
As a Postmates delivery person, your responsibilities are quite variable compared to just delivering takeout.
What is Uber Eats?
Uber Eats is the food delivery branch of Uber, the world’s most popular rideshare company.
Launched in 2014, Uber Eats has quickly surpassed Postmates in market size. Currently, Uber Eats is available in over 6,000 cities across 45 countries.
Uber Eats sticks to food, groceries, and alcohol. Interestingly, Uber Eats acquired Postmates in 2020 and is set to acquire Drizly, an alcohol delivery app.
As a food delivery worker, you still sign up independently for Postmates or Uber Eats despite the acquisition, so don’t get confused!
Requirements and Availability
Both driver apps have simple driver requirements.
To check if either platform is in your area, visit the Postmates or Uber Eats website and look for the cities section where both companies list available markets. Generally, if you live in a major U.S. city, you can work for either company.
For Postmates, driver requirements include:
- Being 18 years old or older
- Passing a background check
- Having a valid driver’s license and auto insurance
- Owning a smartphone that can run the Postmates driver app
Postmates has lenient vehicle requirements. You can deliver with any vehicle if you have insurance and it runs. Some markets also let you deliver via bike, scooter, and even on foot.
To apply for Postmates, create an account with your email. You provide your name, vehicle type, social security number, and consent to a background check.
The company then sends you a welcome kit that includes your Postmates Card, which is how you pay for deliveries. You can read more about the application process in our Postmates driver review here.
Uber Eats drivers face slightly stricter requirements:
- Meet your city’s minimum driving age plus have at least one year of licensed driving experience
- Pass a background check
- Have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance
- Own a smartphone that can run the Uber Eats driver app
It’s important to note that Uber Eats requires three years of licensed driving experience for motorized vehicles if you’re under the age of 23. Your car must also be newer than 20 years in most markets. You can deliver via scooter at 19 or bike at 18.
The good news is you’re eligible to deliver for Uber Eats if you’re already driving for the ridesharing service.
But, if you’re brand new, sign up to deliver with your name and email address.
You consent to a background check, select your vehicle type, and upload your license, vehicle registration, and insurance. If you pass the background check, you’re ready to start making food deliveries.
*As of 7/18/22, Uber is migrating to a combined Driver & Delivery program that will allow a user to select how they want to earn with Uber, i.e., driving, delivering, or both! This consolidated program will be named Uber “One Earner.” Under this new model, whether a user lands on a Driver or a Delivery page, they’ll have the option to self-select which type of earning opportunity they want.
Winner: Despite the slightly stricter requirements, Uber Eats has greater market coverage than Postmates.
How the Apps Work
For Postmates, you open the app and tap “Go Online” to start working. When a delivery request appears, it includes:
- The pickup location and distance
- Approximate delivery location
If you accept the gig, Postmates helps you navigate to the pickup location. Once you collect the order, the app reveals the delivery location.
You see your earnings after you complete a delivery. Tips usually take a few hours to process.
In contrast, Uber Eats is more transparent upfront. Once you’re online, delivery requests appear that include:
- The restaurant and pickup distance
- Items in the order
- Delivery location
- Uber Eats driver pay for the trip, which doesn’t include a possible tip
- A delivery time estimation
The app also helps you navigate to the restaurant like Postmates. However, receiving payment information upfront lets you be selective about the deliveries you accept.
Finally, both apps let you contact support if you encounter issues. You can also chat with the customer and read specific delivery instructions, like an apartment building code or where to park.
Winner: Uber Eats since it provides more information for drivers before accepting a delivery request.
One difference with both companies compared to many other delivery apps is that you don’t need to schedule shifts.
In contrast, food delivery apps like DoorDash let you schedule the hours you work. Similarly, grocery delivery services like Shipt and Instacart require you to create a weekly shift schedule.
In busy markets, a lack of scheduling can lead to fewer gigs per hour because you’re competing with every other active delivery courier.
Competition aside, both Postmates and Uber Eats are more flexible side gigs. Plus, you can increase how many delivery requests you receive by working during busy periods like:
- Late-nights on Friday and Saturday
- All day on Sunday
Winner: Both apps work similarly for scheduling, so it’s a tie.
How and When You’re Paid
One of the most important factors in comparing Uber Eats vs. Postmates is how payment works.
Postmates delivery drivers receive pay that includes:
- A base rate for pickup and delivery
- A per-minute waiting fee for slow orders
- A per-mile rate you travel for the delivery
- Potential blitz bonuses for delivering during busy periods
- 100 percent of all tips
Specific rates depend on your market. For example, here’s a breakdown of several Postmates cities:
The major differences are in mileage and pickup rates. Additionally, to maximize your tips, it’s important to be friendly, on-time, and message the customer if you encounter difficulties to provide quality service.
Postmates pays you every Monday through direct deposit. You can request an instant payout for a $0.50 fee. This is useful if you need money now.
As for Uber Eats, earnings include:
- Base fare, which includes pickup, drop-off, time, and delivery distance
- A possible trip supplementation fee that compensates you if delivery time or distance is longer than expected
- Potential boost and surge bonuses for delivering during busy periods
- 100 percent of all tips
Unfortunately, Uber lacks Postmates’ transparency on how much drivers in each city can expect to earn. However, delivery requests show the minimum payment so you can choose gigs that are worth it.
Uber Eats pays through direct deposit every Thursday. You become eligible for Instant Pay after driving for the app regularly, which lets you withdraw earnings immediately for a $0.50 fee.
Winner: Postmates has the edge due to a greater ease for instant payouts.
Do You Make More With Uber Eats or Postmates?
Both delivery companies state you can earn $20 per hour or more as a delivery worker.
However, if you look up Postmates and Uber Eats on salary databases like Indeed and Glassdoor, you’ll find that:
- Postmates couriers earn approximately $15 per hour
- Uber Eats couriers earn approximately $12 to $15 per hour
Winner: Postmates pays more than Uber Eats on average.
One area where Postmates and Uber Eats differ significantly is driver ratings.
As a Postmates driver, you don’t get a star rating from customers. Instead, customers give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to provide feedback about their overall experience.
According to Postmates, this prevents you from getting negative reviews for things outside of your control, like a restaurant messing up an order. This means it’s harder to have your account deactivated by a string of unlucky reviews.
In contrast, Uber Eats lets restaurants and customers rate you with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and comments. Your total rating is the average of your previous 100 ratings.
Uber is also rolling out Uber Eats Pro. This program rewards drivers with points for completing deliveries, working during busy periods, and receiving positive feedback.
Points accumulate and place you in a Gold, Platinum, or Diamond class. Benefits vary between classes and can include cashback on refueling, car maintenance discounts, and even free tuition with Arizona State University Online.
Winner: Postmates has the advantage since ratings are more lenient. However, if Uber Eats Pro rolls out to more drivers, Uber Eats gains the edge.
Can You Do Postmates and Uber Eats at the Same Time?
You can work for Uber Eats and Postmates simultaneously. In fact, working for multiple delivery apps at once is an effective way to increase your hourly earnings.
The trick is to run both apps at the same time to potentially get order requests on both delivery apps. Once you get a request that’s worth accepting, you can turn off the other app while you head to the restaurant.
When you’re close to delivering, turn both apps on again so you get a steady stream of order requests.
Pros and Cons
Postmates and Uber Eats have a lot in common. However, because of differences in pay, driver requirements, and availability, each delivery platform has a unique set of pros and cons.
- Slightly higher pay
- More lenient driver rating system
- Transparent earning calculations
- Simple driver requirements
- Available in fewer cities and countries than Uber Eats
- Fewer promotional and boosted pay opportunities
Uber Eats Pros
- Extensive market coverage
- See earning information before accepting deliveries
- Eligible to deliver if you already drive for Uber
- Surge and Boost pay bonuses for working during busy periods
Uber Eats Cons
- Pays slightly less than Postmates on average
- Young drivers face strict requirements
Additionally, working for either app inevitably puts wear and tear on your vehicle. You should also factor in fuel costs and your independent contractor taxes.
Is Postmates or Uber Eats Better?
Deciding if Postmates or Uber Eats is better to work for largely depends on your market.
Uber Eats has wider coverage and is international. This means that, for most couriers, it is the most accessible choice between both of these on-demand delivery options.
In contrast, Postmates pays slightly more than Uber Eats. If it’s available in your city, it’s worth signing up for Postmates first.
However, you should sign up for both delivery services to test which one works best in your market. Additionally, running both apps at once helps you get more requests per hour so you can earn more money.
If you want to supplement your income, working for delivery apps is one of the most effective methods.
There’s a consistent demand for delivery drivers, and you don’t need previous work experience to make money driving. You also earn good money with either service.
As long as you work during busy periods and track your expenses, making food deliveries can have a positive impact on your monthly budget.
What do you look for when working as a delivery person for a courier service? How often are you in need of cash to supplement your income?
*Earning more on certain types of orders (ex. alcohol): Earn more per order as compared to restaurant orders. Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries you accept and complete, time of day, location, and any costs. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from tips, peak pay, and other incentives.
*Get paid instantly (DasherDirect): Subject to approval
*Cash out daily (Fast Pay): Fees apply
*Start Dashing today: Subject to background check and availability
*Dash anytime: Subject to availability
Tom is a freelance personal finance writer and blogger originally from Toronto, Canada. Tom’s writing has appeared on numerous personal finance websites, including Bankrate, Money Crashers, Yahoo Finance, and dozens of personal finance blogs. He also shares personal finance advice and teaches young adults how to earn more money on his blog ThisOnlineWorld.com.