DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats – in today’s day and age, there are a ton of options available when it comes to self-employment as a food delivery driver. With all the different options available, many potential drivers find themselves trying to figure out which food delivery service pays the most.
Whether you are looking for schedule flexibility, bonuses, and incentives, or competitive pay, there is a perfect fit for anybody that wants to venture into being an independent contractor for a food delivery service.
What Does It Take to be a Food Delivery Driver?
Depending on your location, most delivery services require their drivers to be 18 or 19 years old. However, Grubhub requires delivery people to be 21 or older in Chicago and Las Vegas.
Some of the delivery services, like Grubhub, for example, require that you have a smartphone with a data plan so that you can access their app, which allows you to accept and manage orders, scheduling, and payment. Some services and locations also allow delivery people to travel via bicycle or scooter, but you are more than likely good to go if you have a car, a driver’s license, and car insurance.
Which Service Pays the Best?
As the number of delivery services increases, new drivers want to figure out where they can earn the most bang for their buck.
We tried to do the leg work for you by compiling information from some of the more popular delivery services to make the best decision for yourself.
When comparing different delivery services, consider more than just the hourly pay. Some services offer more schedule flexibility, some offer guaranteed pay and incentives, while others cover more geographic distance and delivery areas, resulting in more orders per time working.
As a potential new driver, it is essential to consider what matters to you when determining which delivery service to drive for.
#1 – Grubhub
Grubhub takes the prize for offering the highest hourly rate on average for drivers. Part of the reason for this is that in 2013 Grubhub merged with another delivery service, Seemless – so drivers technically have two customer pools to pull from if they are in an area with Seemless and Grubhub.
On average, Grubhub drivers report earning around $16.71 per hour – which, of course, will vary by location. One perk that Grubhub offers their drivers is their smartphone app – which provides support on the go and makes managing orders and pay easier for drivers.
Grubhub also offers drivers in some locations an hourly pay guarantee if they reach the minimum level of qualifications (by reaching delivery goals in work time and high numbers of accepted orders). Additionally, Grubhub drivers keep 100% of their tips, and the app offers drivers the ability to schedule their hours ahead.
Some complaints about driving for Grubhub include reduced opportunities for incentives than other services like UberEats, for example, and the increased pressure for scheduling hours – which violates some drivers’ flexibility of schedule. On top of the limitations to specific areas, these are some reasons why drivers choose other services, despite the higher hourly pay with Grubhub.
#2 – UberEats
In terms of hourly pay, drivers with UberEats typically report earning about $14.81 per hour, coming in second among the delivery services. Although the pay is a couple of dollars less per hour compared to Grubhub, drivers with UberEats report enjoying a ton of flexibility.
From flexibility in hours worked to the flexibility in locations that drivers can deliver, UberEats drivers can also provide ridesharing services by driving for Uber at the same time. Within the same app, drivers can select if they want to offer rideshare or just deliver food.
A big perk to driving with Uber Eats is the Uber incentives, like surge pricing, which gives drivers additional motivation to work more hours. Along with keeping 100% of tips, Uber Eats provides a ton of incentives for their drivers. However – some drivers have noted that because tipping is a relatively new feature for Uber, many drivers feel they do not get a lot of tips when driving for Uber. Additionally, there is no guaranteed minimum pay, but Uber’s flexibility allows you to make as much as you want by being your own boss.
#3 – DoorDash
Drivers with DoorDash report making, on average, about $14.02 per hour. DoorDash deliveries account for over half of all food deliveries across the US, making DoorDash the largest delivery service in the country. Because of their size, DoorDash offers drivers the largest network, allowing drivers to work in just about any location.
DoorDash provides drivers with many competitive incentives, like bonuses for delivering during busy times like lunch or dinner rushes. This competitive pay aspect and the bonuses and incentives give drivers the motivation to take more orders. However, some drivers have criticized the flat rate for delivery orders.
Some complaints that DoorDash drivers report are overcrowded markets – some areas have too many drivers, while DoorDash says about 10,000 new drivers are signing up each week, which might make it hard for drivers to find orders to pick up. On the other hand, the large network of drivers provides a network of support, which exists online and in-person, with drivers helping each other with advice, tips, and tricks.
Despite the large number of other drivers to lean on for support, some DoorDash drivers have noted that the support available from DoorDash is not great – mentioning that drivers only have a chat and text-based support options, no phone-based support.
What You Need to Know Before Becoming a Food Delivery Service Driver
Filing Taxes Returns
When you deliver for a service like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and the like, you work as a self-employed, independent contractor. That means instead of filing a W-2, you will file a 1099 as an independent contractor. Typical employee roles have taxes taken out of each paycheck, and the employer pays half of the taxes for Social Security and Medicaid. Still, as a self-employed worker, you are responsible for the taxes as employer and employee.
As a self-employed delivery worker, one of the most important things you can do to maximize your annual earnings is to keep track of your tax deductions. As an independent contractor, you can write off all vehicle expenses and operating expenses, which will reduce what you end up paying on your taxes and saves you money.
In addition to the self-employment taxes, you are also responsible for keeping track of your write-offs. It is extremely important to keep track of your mileage, gas money, parking fees, toll rates, mobile phone fees, any delivery supplies, and any other 1099 write-offs as a delivery driver.
Vehicle expenses that can be reported include all costs associated with using your car for your job. This consists of the mileage, parking fees, and tolls you might need to pay while making your deliveries. There are two ways to calculate your mileage, which influences the total amount you report:
How to calculate vehicle expenses:
- Standard mileage: Standard mileage estimates offer an easy-to-calculate option that averages and estimates the costs of all driving costs, cost of gas, repairs or maintenance, and the depreciation of the value of your vehicle. Most drivers end up claiming a larger amount if they use the standard mileage calculation to estimate their vehicle expenses.
To calculate the standard mileage estimate – multiply the miles driven by 56 cents, plus any costs you can report for tolls and parking.
- Actual expense: If you keep a detailed record of your vehicle’s financial information, you might opt to report the actual expenses. However, to report actual expenses, you must have extremely detailed records. Many drivers seek professional help when it comes to claiming the actual expenses incurred for their work vehicles.
Costs you should keep track of when it comes to your actual expenses include gas, repairs and maintenance, license and registration fees, roadside assistance plans, car insurance, lease payments, car washes, personal property taxes you pay for your vehicle, and your vehicle’s depreciation value.
Having the right equipment on the job can help make your life easier, but it also could make your customers happier, increasing your ratings and the likelihood of getting tips. Some delivery services might provide you with the equipment when you start, but others don’t – so make sure you get what you need.
- Insulated bags: Insulated delivery bags are essential for delivery drivers to ensure that food stays warm in transit. Nobody likes cold food, so keep those orders fresh and hot with an insulated delivery bag.
- Coolers: Just like with hot foods, nobody likes when their cool items warm up. Consider keeping a cooler in your car to keep drinks and chilled items cold until you deliver them to the customer.
- Dividers: Keeping all the orders separated makes keeping track of orders easier, and it helps you grab orders quickly when you arrive at the customer’s location.
- Extra supplies: If a customer forgets to request something from the vendor – like napkins, plates, or condiments, you could save their day! By keeping a stash of extras in your car – consider paper plates, napkins, straws, ketchup, and other popular condiments – you could be a delivery hero, which usually means more tips!
Don’t get so caught up in the job that you forget to take care of yourself. You can do several things to keep your health and safety at the top of your priority list.
- Weather: Nobody likes to deliver in bad weather, especially if you are on a bicycle or scooter. Sometimes this can be unavoidable, but if you have the option to plan ahead, checking the weather report can save you from finding yourself trying to complete orders during a storm.
- Traffic: If you have been living or driving in the area you work for a while, you might have a pretty good grasp of the traffic patterns in your delivery area ranges. If you start to accept orders in a new spot, however, you might want to take some time to explore alternate routes to avoid the high-traffic roads.
- Routes: Similar to traffic, there might be good and bad ways to get around the area you are delivering in. Whether there is a not-so-great part of town that you’ll want to avoid at all costs or a couple of lights that are notorious for holding you up, take some time to research road closures and routes to make sure you get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Keeping your delivery vehicle in good shape is another way to make sure you stay safe on the job. If you deliver on a bike or scooter, make sure to keep your ride in good shape. If you use a car, make sure you stay up-to-date on your maintenance and always consider – your gas, tires/tire pressure, windshield wipers/fluid, defrosters, and oil levels. Staying on top of your vehicle maintenance can help prevent you from making emergency stops in the middle of trying to complete a delivery.
- Documents: Especially if you deliver using a car, you want to make sure you have all of your paperwork. This includes your car’s registration, proof of insurance, and your driver’s license.
Providing excellent customer service could be the difference between getting a good tip and not getting one at all. Friendly faces that express positive attitudes leave lasting impressions for your customers. By checking all of the orders for accuracy when you pick them up, expressing gratitude to customers, appearing presentable and practicing strong hygiene habits, and dressing your best can all keep your customers happy.
Especially after the COVID pandemic, no-contact delivery offers an additional layer of defense to protect drivers. By leaving orders in specified locations, drivers can avoid making contact and practice social distancing while on the job, limiting contact between people.
- Disposable Gloves: By wearing disposable gloves, you can avoid touching customers’ food directly, which keeps the order clean for the client, but also keeps your hands clean while handling many orders.
- Designated Locations: Before you arrive to the customer’s location, be sure to check and make sure if they specified a drop-off location. By double-checking their preferred drop-off spots, you can make sure you leave the order in the right spot, avoid having someone else grabbing the order, and speed up your drop off process.
- Drop-Off Photo: To increase accountability and make sure your customer finds their order when you drop it off, make sure to take a photo and send it to the customer. This way they will be sure to find their order, and there will be a record of successful drop offs.
Which Food Delivery Service Pays the Most?
Among the top three food delivery services in the market, Grubhub pays the most. But before you apply to become a delivery driver, evaluate each one and choose which delivery job fits best with your lifestyle.