How I Make $500 Driving for Delivery Apps in My Spare Time

After my failed attempts at getting a part-time job for the summer, I recently started driving for a few delivery companies.

I work for Postmates, Instacart, and DoorDash. I also tried to sign up for GrubHub, but unfortunately, they were not looking for drivers in my area, and UberEats’ process was a little too complicated (they require a car check-up, vehicle registration, etc.)
Each of these apps involves the same thing pick-up/order food and drop it off, but with Instacart, you can also shop the order. Because of the slight nuances I’ve tried to put them on as equal ground as I can, instead of calculating money per order, I’ll do everything in time units.
This is a two-week break down of how much I made for each company that I worked, and even further breakdowns on tips.
To calculate my net pay per hour, I took my gross earnings (including tip) subtracted the cost of gas (a gallon of gas right now costs about $2.50, and my car does around 22 mpg so with some quick division it costs about 11–12 cents a mile). I then took these net earnings and divided it by how much time the delivery took.
After taking an average of all my runs for two weeks, these were my results.


Postmates UI
I worked for a total of 5 hours and 15 minutes, and I made $74.32. Of that initial $74.32, $26.14 was tipped, meaning 35% of my Postmates income was from tips. And on 6 of my 13 deliveries, customers didn’t tip me, which affected my income heavily. I drove 78.76 miles, so after subtracting cost per gallon, I took home $64.87, which comes out to be $12.36 an hour.
My main issue with Postmates is that they are not transparent about how much you are getting paid per order upfront. You find out after your delivery. But one great thing is that it doesn’t matter how saturated the app is with drivers; you can always drive.
Another factor to consider is that I only took 13 deliveries, and I worked for less than six hours, so perhaps the data is slightly skewed. Still, I ran out of patience driving for them in my area.


DoorDash UI
I worked for a total of 12 hours and 20 minutes, and I made $283. Of that initial $283, $132.5 were tipped, meaning 47% of my DoorDash income came from tips. And only on 4 of 33 deliveries did customers not tip. I drove about 280 miles, so after subtracting cost per gallon, I actually took home $249.40, which comes out to be $20.22 an hour.
The thing I liked about DoorDash is their transparency, on the screen before you accept an order it gives you an estimate of how much you will make. But the downside is that if your area is saturated with drivers and you didn’t schedule to drive, you won’t be able to work in that area unless it’s extremely busy, so you may have to relocate.


Instacart UI
I worked for a total of 27 hours, and I made $620.91. Of that initial $620.91, $305.11 were tipped, meaning 49% of my Instacart income came from tips. And I was tipped on every single order out of 24 orders. I drove about 275 miles, so after subtracting cost per gallon, I actually took home $587.91, which comes out to be $21.77 an hour.
Instacart is also extremely transparent, and you can even choose which order you want, but you do have to act fast if you want the high earning orders because people snatch them up quickly. I’ve seen and delivered orders as high as $60.
The main difference between Instacart and the other companies is that you have to get out and shop your order, so there is a learning curve involved, but the app tries to make it as easy as possible by listing the aisles of the items.

I do live in a high-income area, so that could affect the income I’m seeing. I prefer shopping to drive, and I find myself making more money on Instacart, so I tend to work for them the most. But when I’m feeling a little lazy, I’ll go onto the mostly driving apps — if you prefer driving all power to you.
These apps can definitely make you some serious money — I’ve been making more money driving delivery than I did working for as an intern for a Fortune 500 company.
It’s a great way to make some cash — especially now during quarantine when people are isolating and staying inside.
You get to help feed people and make some cash. It’s a win-win in my book.

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