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If you’ve been considering ways to make money on the side, we’ve assembled the best paying food delivery jobs. Food delivery has come a long way since the days of sitting in a hot kitchen waiting for customers to call in!
Food delivery apps have revolutionized the way you earn money delivering food. Rather than sitting and waiting for the work to come to you, now you can hang out in your car with your music and snacks and go where the work is.
Most food delivery jobs use smartphone apps that’ll alert the driver (you!) where there’s a food pickup and what the destination is. You can choose to accept it, or pass on it.
If you accept it, you’ll just pick up the food, drop it off with a smile, and you’re done.
There’s no cash exchanged. The customer pays the bill and tips you through the food delivery app, so there’s no fumbling around on someone’s porch trying to make change.
Many customers will specify, “leave on porch‘ so those are literally contactless drop-offs. And nobody cares whether you’re driving your ’99 Honda with the ripped seats!
The coronavirus has caused havoc throughout the economy, but food deliveries have skyrocketed, creating thousands of job openings.
So whether you’re temporarily unemployed, or just looking for ways to make extra money, delivering food is flexible, and a good way to make quick money.
In fact, here’s a family friend of ours, Sarah, who started delivering food just a few months ago, and paid off her entire credit card after her first week.
Food delivery jobs are not only one of the better ways to make money, they can also work well when other jobs don’t:
- Maybe you have kids with crazy schedules so you have a few morning hours one day, and a few afternoon hours another day. You can deliver food whenever it’s convenient for you.
- And maybe your car has seen better days. There’s no shame in wanting to avoid car payments, but maybe you’d hesitate to drive people around for Lyft or Uber. To deliver food, it just needs to start up and go.
- Or maybe you need a way to make money, but you’d rather not spend hours inside some business with a manager hovering over you. Delivering food is a way to be your own boss. No punching a clock, no boss, and the harder you work, the more you make.
How much are food delivery drivers paid?
As with most gig jobs, your pay will vary depending on how much you work, the time of day you choose to work, the area you work in, and how much you hustle.
Almost all the food delivery apps pay drivers the same general way – per delivery, plus tips. But there are some slight variations between companies.
According to a recent survey by Indeed, food delivery drivers average $20 per hour.
It’s generally possible to raise your hourly rate higher than $20 per hour once you’re familiar with the process and take advantage of bonuses, prime work hours and a few other hacks, which we’ll cover below.
What's the best food delivery service to work for?
I’ve checked out 9 of the most popular food delivery apps, and I spoke to a driver who’s worked for three of them. I figured this was the best way to see who the best food delivery service to work for is.
And the results…
Well, they all shine in certain areas – like DoorDash and Postmates seem to pay the best.
But some of the others are pretty close in pay, but are more flexible in scheduling and have other perks like bonuses. So let’s narrow down the food delivery app that’ll work best for you!
You can make money delivering food with DoorDash using your car, your bike, motorcycle or even on foot. And you can do it in over 4000 cities in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
With DoorDash you can work whenever you want – with one caveat. You’ll need to select a shift ahead of time. It’s an easy process through the app. Just tap on Schedule and you’ll see a map of your area. Tap on the area you’d like to work in, and DoorDash will reply with whatever shifts are available for that day.
When you’re ready to work, just select Start Dashing, and you’ll begin to see available pickups. You’ll always see where the pickup and delivery locations are.
Once you accept a job, you’ll go pick up the food, then drop it off for the customer. That’s it. You don’t need to handle cash at all!
- You’ll need to be at least 18 years old.
- It doesn’t matter whether you drive a Tesla or a ’72 Buick. If your car runs, you’re good to go.
- Have a valid driver’s license, and insurance on your vehicle.
- Own a smartphone.
You can apply here, or through the app, and they’ll start the approval process which includes a DMV check. The approval process takes about a week.
Once approved, they’ll ask you to either schedule an orientation or be sent a start-up kit. After completing the orientation or going through the start-up kit, you’ll be all set to start dashing!
How Door Dash Pays:
Drivers are paid once a week, and according to Indeed, the average hourly rate reported by 188 DoorDash drivers was $17.75 per hour. This includes the delivery pay plus tips.
The delivery pay is based on distance, and time of day, which is why the pay for delivering an identical food item could vary from order to order.
You can also maximize your hourly rate by qualifying for bonuses – things like making 30 deliveries within 30 days, or referring new drivers.
One nice feature in the DoorDash app is that it’ll show you multiple orders from the same restaurant. So if a popular diner or pizza shop has several orders going to the same general area, you can earn more by ‘batching’ several orders.
Like Door Dash, you can make money delivering food for Grub Hub with any vehicle you have.
Grub Hub is partnered with over 300,000 restaurants, and has a presence in over 4000 U.S. cities and London.
Grub Hub doesn’t use a gig card. The customer pays for everything online (including the tip) so you’ll always see your total pay before you accept the job. You’ll just pick up the food, and deliver it.
- To earn money delivering food with Grub Hub, you’ll need to be at least 19 years old.
- Have a valid driver’s license and insurance on your vehicle.
- If you’re a bike rider, you’ll need a valid state issued ID.
- Have at least two years of driving experience (you don’t need delivery experience).
- Smartphone (iPhone with iOS 11 or later or Android with 5.0 or later).
You can apply here, or by downloading the Grub Hub app.
You’ll submit your personal information, then wait a couple days while they do a DMV check. Once approved, you’ll go through Grub Hub’s on boarding program where you’ll get familiar with their app, scheduling, and picking up orders. They’ll also supply you with a warming bag.
Then you can make your own schedule and hit the road!
How Grub Hub Pays:
Grub Hub is one of the best paid food delivery jobs. You’ll always see the delivery pay in the app before you accept the job. You’re guaranteed a minimum of $3.25 per job, plus 100% of the tip.
Grub Hub’s website also encourages the customer to tip, and says the standard rate is 20%, but never less than $5.
Grub Hub will also list a “minimum pay per hour” and guarantees that if you don’t make the minimum, they’ll adjust your pay so that you do.
Like any food delivery job, the amount you earn will depend on the area you work, and the time slots you’re available.
Grub Hub is one of the most popular food delivery apps, so you should be kept busy especially in a large residential area, a city or large college campus.
The app will show where certain “hot spots” are, so you can maximize earnings if you focus on those areas. Another nice feature of Grub Hub is that you’ll always see the pickup and delivery locations before you agree to accept the delivery.
Postmates is one of the more popular food delivery jobs because you can make money delivering not just meals, but things like alcohol and groceries. So even if you’re not available during traditional dinner hours, you can still earn money delivering other items.
Postmates has a presence in all 50 U.S. states, and they’re in around 400 cities.
- You’ll need a valid driver’s license and insurance on your vehicle.
- Be a licensed driver for at least one year.
- Like most other food delivery jobs, Postmates will do a DMV check when you apply.
How Postmates Pays:
Postmates drivers are paid once a week on Monday via direct deposit. They’re one of the better paying food delivery jobs, with drivers averaging between $14 and $25 per hour. You’ll see weekly minimum pay guarantees, so while you’re learning the ropes, you’ll still earn decent pay.
You’ll see in the app exactly how much you’ve earned after each delivery and how your earnings were calculated.
You can opt for weekly direct deposits, or transfer earnings to your bank account each day if you want.
Pro Tip #1
The Postmates app, like Door Dash, enables you to ‘batch’ multiple orders from the same restaurant. So if you see several orders for the same area, you can maximize your pay!
But keep in mind, Postmates advertises an under 1-hour delivery time, so you’ll want to be sure the drop-off locations are fairly close.
Pro Tip #2
One Postmates driver did an experiment, where he tracked tips and total income on 9 orders where he did not offer the customer their receipt. For those orders, he received tips on 3 of the 9 orders.
Then he tracked 7 other orders where he handed the customer their receipt while saying something like, “Here’s your receipt just in case there’s any problem.” For those orders, he received tips on all 7 orders.
This could be because Postmates doesn’t prompt the customer to tip until after the order is delivered. Just food for thought.
Uber Eats is one of the most popular food delivery jobs, and if you check their website you’re likely to see most of the restaurants in your town are partnered with them.
Like most food delivery jobs, you can drive for Uber Eats whenever you’re available, and you can choose to accept or reject jobs as they’re offered.
Customers ordering food through Uber Eats have the option of selecting, ‘Leave at Door‘ as they check out, so many of your deliveries will be contact free.
- You’ll need a vehicle made after 1998.
- A valid driver’s license, and insurance on your vehicle.
- Depending on the city, you may be able to use a bicycle, or a scooter with at least a 50cc motor.
- If you’re driving, you need to be at least 19 years old and have a minimum of one year driving experience.
Uber Eats is one of the easier food delivery apps to get started with. You can apply here. Just fill in the form with your email, name, phone number, preferred password, and location.
Then select your mode of transportation – car, bicycle or scooter. Depending on your selection, now you’ll be asked for proof of insurance, license etc.
Once completed, Uber will review everything. And if you’re approved, you can start earning money immediately.
How Uber Eats Pays:
For every successful delivery, you will earn around $3 which translates to $10-$20 per hour with tips.
You’ll get a weekly earnings statement from Uber Eats, but your pay frequency is very flexible.
You can have your earnings transferred to your bank account each day, or even up to 5 times a day.
You can maximize your pay several ways, like driving during Uber’s “boost” periods, or by trying to focus on mostly on curbside deliveries.
One downside I’ve heard from several Uber Eats drivers that’s worth mentioning, is that not a lot of customers tip
Instacart is a bit different than some of the other food delivery apps. Here, you’ll deliver groceries, not prepared meals.
Instacart offers two options: You can choose to be a full-service shopper, where you go in the store and purchase the food on the order, then deliver it, or you can do only the in-store shopping piece.
- If you’ll be delivering, you’ll need:
- To be at least 18 years old.
- Have a valid driver’s license and insurance.
- A vehicle.
- A smartphone.
- You need to be able to lift 30-40 pounds.
To apply, just install the Instacart app on your phone and it’ll walk you through the process.
They’ll ask for your driver’s license number to do a check. It’ll take a few business days to receive a response.
Once you’re approved, they’ll send you a getting started packet in the mail. The packet will include an Instacart debit card along with instructions on how to activate it.
You’ll use this card to purchase the groceries, so you’ll never use your own money.
Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go. You can start receiving jobs through the app.
How Instacart Pays:
Instacart pays anywhere from $10-$25 per hour, depending on the jobs you accept, and whether you do deliveries, since that would include tips. You’ll be paid once each week.
If you’re looking for jobs like Instacart, where you deliver a variety of items, you might want to check out Deliv. It’s not necessarily a food delivery job, but it’s a way to make money on the side delivering almost anything from businesses in your area.
I’m including it here because jobs delivering food have really expanded recently. So if your area becomes saturated, Deliv could be a nice alternative. With a bigger range of businesses, your opportunity to make a side income increases.
Deliv operates the same as a food delivery app. You’d install the app and when you decide to work, you’ll see pick up opportunities for you to choose.
You might pick up a pair of shoes at one store and deliver them to someone who doesn’t drive. Then you might pick up flowers or a gift basket and deliver them locally. You don’t need to shop or purchase anything. You’ll just pickup items and deliver them, and there’s no cash exchanged.
- At least 18 years old.
- A car (2004 or newer).
- Driver’s license and insurance.
- 1+ years of driving experience.
- A smartphone with a data plan.
- Speak English fluently.
- Be able to lift up to 50 ibs.
You can signup here to start working with Deliv. First, they’ll ask where you live to verify they operate in your location – they’re currently in 35 markets in the U.S.
Then they’ll ask for some details about yourself and your car. (Currently they only do on-foot deliveries in Manhattan).
Once you complete the short application they’ll do a DMV check and respond to you within a couple business days.
How Deliv Pays:
Deliv pays a bit different from some of the food delivery jobs. They assign an hourly pay rate for each block of time during the day. In addition, they compensate you for your miles driven.
You’re paid once a week, and you’ll receive a statement showing the breakdown of your pay.
Deliv advises that you’ll make up to $22 per hour delivering for them.
Shipt is similar to Instacart, where you’d earn money to shop and deliver groceries. But Shipt also delivers household essentials, so you can earn money by picking up and delivering items from places like Target or CVS.
Shipt doesn’t have quite the reach of Instacart, but they’re expanding rapidly. In fact, since the pandemic, they’ve added over 100,000 delivery people.
As with other food delivery jobs, you can work when you want with Shipt. They’ll even supply you with gloves and masks to use while you work.
- At least 18 years old.
- Have a valid driver’s license, with auto insurance.
- At least one year of driving experience.
- A reliable vehicle, at least 1997 or newer.
- You’ll need to be able to lift at least 25 pounds.
- An iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or Android (5.1 or newer) smartphone.
You’ll apply on Shipt’s website, where you’ll submit your name and email, and they’ll ask what delivery area you’d like to work in. So here, you’ll be able to see if they serve your area. When your application is submitted, it’s reviewed and you’ll be contacted for an online interview.
You could potentially be asked some questions about food shopping, so you’ll want to make it clear that you can distinguish between things like parsley and cilantro.
(I mean, they’re always labeled, but your interviewer will want to know that you have the sense to read the label.)
How Shipt Pays:
Food delivery jobs with Shipt pay an average of $15-$25 per hour. They advise that once you get the routine down you should average about $22/hour. They pay once a week, on Friday.
An average shopping and delivery could take about an hour, but if you focus on one area where you’re familiar with the stores, you’ll maximize your pay. Recently, they’ve been giving bonuses of anywhere from $50-$200 a month to the most active shoppers.
Shipt’s food delivery app will help out by recommending certain stores depending on the customer’s location.
Saucey is a delivery service that specializes in liquor deliveries. They operate similar to a food delivery app, in that you accept jobs through your smartphone. Then you’d go pickup the order and deliver it.
As of 2020, Saucey operates only in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Fresno, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Orange county, Orlando, SF East Bay, Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle, Silicon Valley, South Bay LA, Tampa and Washington DC, but they’re rapidly expanding.
- To deliver for Saucey, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old.
- Have a vehicle 2007 or newer.
- Have a valid driver’s license.
- A smartphone.
- You cannot have any DUI charges within the past 5 years.
You can apply here to be a Saucey courier, and they’ll verify whether they serve your area.
One caveat with Saucey is, that delivery is not contactless. The customer needs to show proof of age when they place the order, and when it is dropped off. So the driver will scan the customer’s ID using the Saucey app before handing the item over.
How Saucey Pays:
Saucey advises that you should make at least $7 per delivery, which average about 30 minutes each. In fact, they guarantee that for every 50 orders, you’ll make at least $350 which works out to $7 per delivery. You’ll also be eligible to receive tips.
Saucey places a high value on customer service, so they want you to maintain a customer service rating of at least 4.8 out of 5.
They’ll supply you with training, a cooler bag, and a hands-free mount for your phone,
Working with Eat Street is another way to make money delivering food, but they operate a little differently than other food delivery apps.
You’d set your own hours, get paid daily, and always keep 100% of tips like other food delivery jobs. But rather than working as an independent contractor, Eat Street would hire you as a W2 employee.
- A valid driver’s license and insurance.
- Clean driving record and smartphone.
- A reliable vehicle.
- Ability to work nights and weekends is preferred.
You can apply here to deliver food for Eat Street. You don’t need a resume or a cover letter. The application process is similar to other food courier jobs and would take a few days to a week.
If you’re hired as an employee, you would work with a team leader who’d help you to access training, driver benefits and opportunities for advancement!
How Eat Street Pays:
Eat Street guarantees you’ll make a minimum of $10 per hour, and has built-in incentives that could increase your pay up to $25 per hour.
You’ll get paid daily.
They offer voluntary dental and vision insurance, as well as voluntary accident insurance.
Eat Street provides company discounts to places like Verizon, Anytime Fitness, Valvoline, and Jiffylube.
How to maximize your earnings as a food delivery driver
Each food delivery app has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Some pay better than others, but then others may have more jobs available. Or others may have a more user-friendly app to work with.
But there are some strategies you can use with almost all food delivery apps to maximize your pay.
1. Work with more than one app
Once you get your feet wet and feel confident, you can maximize your income by working more than one app simultaneously.
You’ll want to ease into it, because you want to be familiar with the drop-off locations. There’s no sense in picking up two orders if they’re going to homes ten miles apart. You want to maintain good customer satisfaction and maximize your tip.
2. Become familiar with where, when and how to work
Some areas will have more consistent orders, but maybe the deliveries could be more time consuming. For instance, having to park and go into a high rise apartment building will take longer than pulling up to a home in the suburbs.
Some time slots will obviously be busier, like dinner hours. But becoming familiar with restaurant locations and pick ups, and your delivery area will give you a good idea whether you can pick up more than one order and get them delivered quickly.
3. Take a few seconds to verify the order
If you’re busy juggling a few different orders it’s tempting to run in, grab an order and go. But if someone’s receipt shows they ordered an extra egg roll with their Kung Po chicken and it’s not in the bag, there goes your tip.
It’ll also help you to maintain a high customer satisfaction rating.
4. Bad weather = More tips
I’m not encouraging anyone to drive during a blizzard, but when it’s uncomfortable out – like hot weather or a rainy Saturday, people tend to stay home and order food more.
5. Be flexible with the area you work in
If one area appears to be getting saturated with drivers, it could be worth your while to drive a little further and work in another area. More deliveries in a closer proximity equals higher pay.
Is a food delivery driver an employee or an independent contractor?
With most gig jobs, you’re considered an independent contractor. This has some pro’s and cons – the pro’s being your ability to work whenever you want. You’re basically your own boss.
In exchange for this freedom, the responsibility of withholding taxes shifts from the employer to you, but don’t worry, it’s not anything you should have trouble with.
Instead of the ‘employer’ issuing you a W2 form at the end of each year, they’ll send you a 1099 form. The 1099 shows the amount of money paid to you throughout the year.
Since the ‘employer’ isn’t withholding taxes throughout the year, it’s a good idea to set aside a portion of your pay each week.
Here’s a great article written specifically to help couriers handle taxes. It lays things out very clearly.
Keep in mind that you can deduct a LOT of your work expenses. Everything from your phone, charger, a portion of your phone plan, car washes, AAA membership, parking fees, tolls and more.
Well, you could just search for ‘food delivery jobs near me’, but hopefully this list gives you a head start and some info you can use to make extra money quickly.
Food delivery jobs definitely have advantages that other jobs don’t.
Their flexibility and quick money can work especially good if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to pay off debt.
Stretching debt out for several years, and making minimum payments doesn’t just mean you can’t afford a vacation or something nice for the house. The real opportunity cost is that you’re losing precious time to invest money and earn compound interest.
Some of the food delivery apps pay on a daily basis, so if you’ve got the cash to start making multiple payments per month, imagine how much quicker your debt payoff will start to snowball – like our family friend Sarah, who paid off an entire credit card her first week.
I’ve heard of a few couples who tag team with their food deliveries. One drives, and the other runs in for the food and navigates. How many other jobs let you hang with your girl or guy while you drive around listening to music?
How about you? Does a food delivery job sound like it could work for you?
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