I pulled up outside of a small, two story building north of Downtown Phoenix, parked my car and looked for the appropriate conference room. I entered through the door alongside a very diverse mix of about twelve people. I was greeted by Bill, who took my information, snapped a photo and directed me to a seat in the large room of about 75 people. I was officially starting the process of adding another side gig to my resume: driving for Postmates.
What is Postmates?
Postmates is a courier service that allows peer-to-peer deliveries of items from a driver to an orderer. The vast majority of Postmates deliveries are food. The greatest benefit of Postmates is that it allows app users to order food from restaurants that don’t deliver. This includes everything from fine dining to Chipotle to McDonald’s. When you place an order through the Postmates app, a delivery driver, or Postmate, is dispatched to pick up your order from the restaurant and deliver it to your door for a fee.
Driving for Postmates
Like other peer-to-peer services such as Uber, Lyft, or Amazon Flex that rely on independent contractors to serve as their fleet of drivers, Postmates offers the opportunity for drivers to turn on the application and deliver food and goods whenever they feel like working. Once you are registered as a driver for Postmates, you simply open the application, go online and accept deliveries for which you’ll be paid a fee and in most cases, a tip.
Advantages of driving for Postmates
Postmates vs. Uber
As someone who has driven for both Uber and Postmates, there are a few benefits of driving Postmates that I like. While the pay is typically thought of as lower than Uber (but in many cases, not by much), there is less face-to-face customer service than you encounter with Uber. This could be a pro or a con for some, but for me, there are simply times when I don’t feel like chatting with riders, stocking bottled water, or even keeping my car clean (I know, I know). Another advantage of Postmates over Uber is that you are not required to drive the same vehicle for every trip. With Uber, you must register your vehicle and only drive that vehicle unless you register another. With Postmates, you are able to drive whatever vehicle you would like, including delivering on foot or by bicycle in many cities. The other advantage of driving with Postmates that many people like is that they pay five days after you make a delivery, but also pay daily. So, for those looking for a daily paycheck, after the first five day period, if you are making deliveries every day, you are getting paid via direct deposit every day.
Postmates vs. Amazon Flex
While both of the services let you use whatever vehicle you would like and you are welcome to drive in silence, listen to your radio, listen to Audiobooks or sign your heart out, there are a couple additional advantages of Postmates over Amazon Flex. The biggest advantage of Postmates over Amazon Flex is that you are not locked into a delivery schedule. With Amazon, you must plan for roughly four hours at a time to make deliveries, whereas with Postmates, you can turn on the application, make one delivery, then turn it off and call it a day. This is great for times when you have a bit of time to kill, but don’t have a full day to put into your side gig.
How to become a Postmate driver
If you want to start driving for Postmates, it is a pretty simple process. You start by going to the Postmates application page and filling out the form. You will then select a time for an onboarding session in your area. These sessions typically take about an hour to complete. They will take your photo, give you your Postmates debit card (or PEX card as they call them) and initiate your background check. There will be about a 45-60 minute presentation with basic tips on how the process works as a driver.
I actually found this information very useful as they addressed a lot of the frequently asked questions about the application and specific scenarios that will arise for you as a driver. After that session, you will be able to download the Postmates Fleet application. Once you have passed a background check (mine happened that same day, but they can take a few days), you will be ready to start making deliveries. For most drivers, you will be able to start making deliveries on the same day that you complete orientation. So all in, you are talking about 48 hours to one week from your initial application to delivering piping hot food to people in your community and making money.
Download the Postmates App
One thing that I’ve run into a few times with Postmates is that their site is far more simple and mobile-first than many of the other applications out there. As a result, some people have a hard time finding the download link for the application. If you go to the following link, you will be able to download the Postmates app:
Note: for IOS, you will have to go into Settings > General > Profiles & Device Management then touch the icon for Postmates Inc to trust them as a developer. The application will not work unless you do.
From there, you can simply login if your account is active and start making deliveries.
How much money can you make as a Postmates driver?
As of this post, I am still fairly new to delivering for Postmates. In my personal experience, it takes me about 28 minutes to complete an order on average and I make an average of $8.55 per order. That is a fairly small sample size, so I’ll write a post in the future when I have more deliveries under my belt.
The consensus from most Postmates is that you will make between $8 and $20+ per hour. This was confirmed by the gentleman who led my onboarding session.
The way that the formula works for how much you get paid is as follows:
Base rate + per mile rate + per minute rate + tip = Total Payment to Driver
I believe that this varies by market, but for Phoenix, Arizona, the numbers are currently $1.85 base + $0.68 per mile + $0.10 per minute + tips.
When Blitz pricing is in affect based on high demand and a limited number of drivers, you will receive 1.5x the formula above.
Hopefully this all helps to give you a sense of what the opportunity is to make money as a Postmates driver. For me, I think this is a perfect side gig to add to my current repertoire of Uber, Amazon Flex and Airbnb. Stay tuned for more updates as I continue driving. If you have any questions for me or want to share information on your experience as a Postmate, please leave a comment below, or feel free to send me a note.
If you’d like to stay in the loop and follow my future updates on driving for Postmates, join the Stealthy and Wealthy email list and I’ll keep you up to speed.