A 2017 survey from Bankrate found that more than 44 million Americans have some kind of side hustle – though many use side hustles for full-time incomes – and that number has likely gone up over the past couple years. Depending on the difficulty, time involved and skill level required, side hustles can produce anywhere from $8-25/hour (sometimes less, sometimes more).
Some of the more popular side gigs in recent years have involved transportation: Uber or Lyft for transporting human passengers, Bird or Lime for recharging electric scooters, and Door Dash, UberEats, GrubHub or Postmates for food delivery beyond the standard pizza delivery we had in the pre-Internet era.
Delivering food can be a lot of fun and financially rewarding for anyone looking for a new side gig to supplement their income without the awkward social interactions (or drunk passengers) that Uber/Lyft drivers sometimes deal with. Postmates, in particular, is popular among side hustlers due to its transparent earnings structure (including 100% of tips), highly effective payment method for delivery drivers picking up customers’ orders from restaurants, and variety of pay-out options.
If you’re considering making the leap into food delivery side hustles, then delivering for Postmates could be a good place to start. Here’s why.
How Does Postmates Work?
Postmates is similar to rideshare services in that the driver is responsible for picking something up (humans or food orders) and delivering the people/food to a set destination. In other words, Postmates customers order food or drinks from participating restaurants and grocers in the area and the driver delivers the order to the customer’s front door. Occasionally, Postmates customers may order coffee or clothing (e.g., dry cleaning) to be picked up and delivered to them as well.
As a delivery driver, you do not need to have your own car for deliveries – in fact, many Postmates workers in metropolitan areas deliver orders with their bicycles. It could be a great way to get more exercise while earning money if you opt to complete deliveries via bike rides.
Ditch the Desk Job for This Side Hustle
There are many reasons why people want to ditch their desk jobs for side hustles nowadays: escaping office/cubicle monotony, fresh air, visiting exciting new places on a daily basis, greater schedule flexibility and more exercise. Postmates is not a get-rich-quick side hustle that can easily replace your current income, of course. Instead, it’s best described as an opportunity to make extra money on the side while helping customers get their orders more quickly.
With Postmates, you won’t have to worry about using your own money to pay for customers’ orders; when you become a Postmate, you’re given a prepaid corporate debit card to cover customers’ purchases. Current Postmates drivers have reported that around 60-70% of customers also tip their drivers, which means more money for you if you provide exceptional service in a timely manner.
How Much Money Could I Earn?
Postmates advertises that its drivers could make as much as $25 per hour delivering customers’ orders but in reality, you’ll likely make somewhere between $12-18 per hour. Specifically, Postmates pays its drivers the following: $0.95 pick-up, $0.95 drop-off, $0.09 per minute waiting at pick-up, $0.72 per mile between pick-up and the final drop-off point, and 100% of tips from customers.
What you could earn depends heavily on how many people use Postmates in your area, the time of day (and how many other Postmates drivers are working at the same time), the distance between the restaurant and customer’s home, and the customer’s generosity (for tipping).
How Do I Start Delivering for Postmates?
You won’t strike it rich while delivering for Postmates, but you could make a decent side income from food deliveries in your spare time. As a note, Postmates isn’t available everywhere just yet; while they operate in all 50 U.S. states, they’re not available in every city (find out if your city has Postmates).
If you have the ability to join Postmates’ Fleet, then you could reap the rewards of an exciting side hustle with incredible schedule flexibility (work when you want, basically), potential for higher earnings (especially if you provide top-notch customer service), and a variety of places to go every time you choose to work.
There is a background check and profile set-up process involved when you’re first starting out, but once you’ve established yourself as a Postmate, you’ll be able to start earning money for successfully completed deliveries (direct deposit to your account 4 days after a transaction, typically).
On one hand, it’s not the most lucrative side hustle out there; on the other hand, it certainly offers a great deal of flexibility and potential for upward earnings mobility in comparison to other types of side gigs you might’ve encountered before.