Many of our readers are probably familiar with the company Postmates, in some form. As part of the gig economy, most of us have several side hustles, such as rideshare on on-demand delivery. Postmates isn’t just your typical food delivery service like Grubub or UberEats. They are striving to be the high-end courier, handling any and all delivery needs.
Recently, in effort to continue their surge in growth, Postmates began a huge advertising campaign via television and the web. Not only are they extremely focused on acquiring new customers, but they are aggressively recruiting new couriers across the US with great onboarding incentives. What does does that mean for you? A fantastic money making opportunity to add to your hustle.
As a valuable resource on the internet for all things rideshare and gig-economy, our goal is to give you the best information available, the greatest tips, and the best chance to succeed. Let’s get into it right away so you can start delivering as soon as possible!
What Is Postmates?
In the hustle and bustle of our wild world, you have access to just about everything you need at the click of a button. Whether you need a ride from an Uber, grocery delivery from Instacart, a hot meal from DoorDash, or you need a place to stay with Airbnb, there’s an app for it.
Where exactly does Postmates fit into the ever-expanding gig-economy?
Postmates is a courier service that connects customers with local businesses, with the standard promise of delivery within the hour. At first glance, who wouldn’t want such a service? Everyone could benefit from a courier with guaranteed delivery of personal items, groceries, and restaurant meals.
The concept was simple, and this San Fransisco based startup has capitalized, becoming one of the major fish in the delivery market.
How Does It Work?
Postmates taps into the gig-economy in much the same way as Uber, Lyft, or DoorDash. Through a simple app interface, customers can order items from an array of providers.
The crazy cool part of the entire process is that Postmates claims you can “order anything, from virtually anywhere.” Within reason, to be sure. You could get an order on anything from food, drinks and groceries to tech products and other consumer goods!
The Mechanics of Postmates
A customer needs to download the app, create an account, and browse nearby locales for products to be delivered. There is a slight delivery fee of approximately $3.99 depending on the market. Once the customer has ordered the product, the app pings the closest delivery specialist to the pickup location. I bet you can imagine what happens next. The courier then grabs the product and delivers it to the customer within the hour. Sounds awesome right? I’m about to order something myself!
But how does this work for those of us who want to become a Postmates driver? First thing, let’s take a look at the requirements.
Requirements to Become a Postmates Driver
Before we get into the in-depth requirements, let’s make sure you are in an area that Postmates currently services. Postmates serves the following communities.
- East Bay
- Las Vegas
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Oklahoma City
- Orange County
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Washington DC
Therefore, if you are a potential customer or courier, you know that you can get started right away if you live and work in one of the areas mentioned above. That is all well and good, but what does it take to deliver for Postmates?
Beyond availability, in your immediate area, there are only three primary requirements for you to join the Postmates Fleet. Including the following:
- You must have a valid driver’s license and must be 18 years of age or older
- You must have access to an insured vehicle, or a bicycle —if you would prefer
- You must be able to pass a background check by Postmates
What? You don’t even need a car! If you live in an urban setting like a metro area, a bicycle will do just fine, provided you are in killer shape. Pass a background check, simple right? See how easy it to sign up for Postmates?
How to Sign Up as a Postmates Driver
First thing is to input your information so that Postmates can run a background check on you. This process is straightforward and fairly easy to pass, much like an Uber or Lyft background check. This is required before you are invited to participate in the next step, which is an orientation.
Some orientations are local, and others have been reported to be wholly online, depending on the market. I know when I signed up for Postmates, the orientation was all through the mail, but that was nearly four years ago.
Once you have a schedule for your orientation meeting, you need to provide several documents such as the following:
- A copy of your current insurance card (if you’re driving a car for deliveries)
- Your smartphone
- A government-issued photo ID
- Either a void check or a bank account routing number to set up a direct deposit for payment
Should you have all your T’s crossed and I’s dotted, you’ll then move to the onboarding process to join the Postmates Fleet. It includes speaking with a local area manager about the expectations and a brief session regarding tips for performing at a high level.
As soon as you’re through with onboarding, you’ll just have to wait for your Postmates Debit Card and a Postmates delivery bag. Right on!
How Much Can You Expect to Make as a Postmates Driver?
This is the information that most are interested in? If you’ve been driving for rideshare, you know how much an Uber or Lyft driver makes. How does it compare with Postmates? How much will you get paid?
Postmates has a pay structure that is similar to other gig-economy jobs. Postmates offers couriers a flat delivery fee combined with a commission. The commission is based upon the courier’s time spent, and distance traveled on each delivery.
Be advised the flat delivery fee differs from market to market, so it is advisable to check your area’s earning potential.
How Does Pay Work? Do They Have a “Surge” or Bonus Structure?
As mentioned above, pay will be based upon a base fee and your commissions, however, much like Uber and Lyft, Postmates offers a bonus program. They call this program Blitz Pricing, and it works similarly to Surge.
During the high demand times of the day, Postmates will tack on a bit extra for your effort. Generally speaking, Blitz pricing works by multiplying your base delivery fee from anywhere between 1.25 and 1.75, sometimes higher. Pretty good, right? Well, what about tips?
How Often Do You Get Paid?
Postmates pays out weekly via direct deposit. You have one of two options to proceed with to get paid. You can wait for the week to roll over and wait for your previous weekly earnings to reflect in the bank account you have provided.
Deposits tend to post within two to three days. If you are in a bind, you can use the Instant Deposit feature that has become popular on most gig-economy apps.
Instant access to funds are said to clear in 15-30 minutes. The benefit of the weekly payout is that there is no fee for the direct deposit. Much like Uber and Lyft, if you choose Instant Payout, you will be charged $0.50 for each deposit.
Do You Receive and Maximize Tips as a Postmates Driver?
Getting tips is always great, which is why some rideshare drivers are finding ways to boost their tips.
As a Postmates driver, you’re always eligible to receive tips from the customer, and Postmates likes to brag about how you keep every penny. I realize that isn’t a great line. But anyone working for other gig-economy companies, knows its no laughing matter — especially when some companies have questionable pay structure for tips.
What Sort of Jobs Will You Get in the App as a Postmates Driver?
All in all, there are three different types of delivery requests that you can receive within the Postmates app.
Once you have accepted a request you will be directed to a GPS location wherein you will retrieve the items the customer has ordered.
Orders That Have Been Placed
This is usually common among restaurants that are fully integrated with the service. Once you accept the order, you will receive a time estimate to complete the order. You will navigate to the location and pay for the order with your Postmates Express Card, or PEX card.
Orders That Have Been Placed and Already Paid For
This option is much more like an Uber Eats delivery, wherein you simply navigate to the location and pick up the order. Generally, the restaurant will require you to show your app or verify the name of the customer’s order. You will then retrieve the order and deliver it.
Manual Order and Payment
This is where Postmates differs from Uber Eats and similar platforms. In this case, which happens to be the most common, you will navigate to the location and then proceed to collect, order, and purchase the requested items.
It can be frustrating, but it can be fun too!
If it is a retail location, you might be asked to search for particular items, then take them to the register to pay with your PEX Card. This can be frustrating, particularly if you don’t know the lay of the land.
My advice is to remain calm, ask an associate, and try to have fun with it. I’ve had frustrating experiences and some that I’ve found that next cool outfit, accessory, or decoration.
Should You Accept Every Delivery?
Anyone who has driven for rideshare or done delivery in the past knows the importance of this question. With Postmates, it is no different. You need to be savvy about the trips that are going to make you the most money.
For example, as an Uber driver, I have to learn to make the most of my airport trips to ensure maximum earnings. The same goes for Postmates.
If you are accepting a ton of short trips, you are most likely going to miss out. Orders that come in during busy blitz times are generally accepted because of the increased fee. But if you are waiting long periods, it is advisable to accept longer trips and skip on shorter trips. However, don’t pass on too many, or you might lose money that way.
How to Maximize Earnings as a Postmates Driver?
The rule of thumb here is to position yourself in high demand areas that service a broad range of delivery points. For instance, if you are in a Blitz pricing area that services a longer distance, you stand a better chance of making more money. This is because your real money comes from your commission, which is based on time and distance.
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Once you get started, you will begin to note which areas and restaurants are most active on the platform. My advice has always been to keep a log of your day’s trips and see if you can divine a pattern over time. Once you have keyed into the appropriate areas, it is time to figure what are the best times.
Best Times to Turn on the App!
Regardless of your market, Postmates will most likely be most active during standard delivery rush hours.
You can expect a brief morning rush for breakfast eaters, followed by a high demand lunch rush, and finally, a smaller dinner rush. There is also the opportunity to hit some Blitz pricing late at night when people are prone to order in after a long night out.
Ultimately, you need to decide when is best for you and your availability. Again, keep a log of when you saw the highest demand and received the most requests, those are going to be the times to turn on the app.
You could also use some rideshare assistance apps like Mystro to help you switch between platforms and choose trips or deliveries that will make you more money.
What to Do About Delivering in Bad Weather?
Weather is a key element of any gig-economy job, particularly a rideshare or delivery job. While Postmates does not require you to own a vehicle there are still a number of factors even the cyclist courier needs to factor in.
The best way to make the most of your day as a Postmates driver or rideshare driver is to use apps for rideshare and gig economy workers, like a weather app.
If You Drive for Postmates…
Be sure your insurance is in order. Driving in inclement weather can boost your earnings because of high demand and low supply of drivers, but it also increases your risk of a crash. If you plan to drive during bad weather to make some money, make sure your car is properly equipped. Snow tires for snow, ice scrapers, good windshield wiper blades, and de-icer.
If You Decide to Cycle for Postmates…
I’ve actually done a few runs with Postmates on the bicycle and it was rather fun on a nice day. However, if you plan on delivering during inclement weather, you’ll need to pack a rain poncho, water-resistant or waterproof bags for your bicycle, and some sort of eye protection. Don’t forget your helmet! Seriously, no one’s order is worth you busting your head over. Be smart out there.
How to Interact with Staff at Your Pickup Location?
This is something that not many people think of right off the bat, but it is important. If you do the delivery gig, you need to be sure to maintain professionalism for both the pickup and dropoff.
It means you need to maintain personal hygiene and dress at least somewhat appropriate for the job. The gig-economy is laid back, to maximize your earnings and receive tips, you should dress to impress.
In regards to pickup location staff, be as courteous as possible. Much like Uber Eats, Postmates does have a rating system that pickup staff can rate your performance. The same goes for the customer you are delivering to. If you show up to a business park to deliver food smelling like body odor and dressed in rags you can kiss a tip goodbye.
Can You Make Postmates a Full-Time Gig?
This is a question that I often hear and the answer is simple. Technically, yes, but more often than not, no. Postmates does present a fun and engaging way to make a little extra scratch in your free-time, but I would hardly call it a full-time breadwinner.
Approach your Postmates courier gig —as well as your rideshare gig— as a business. That means that no matter how much you earn or how much you deliver, be smart about it. Set aside taxes, grab a gap-insurance policy, and track your expenses like a hawk.
Final Tips and Thoughts to Becoming a Postmates Driver
Whether you are a customer who wants something ordered from Postmates or you are a Fleet Courier, Postmates offers a fun opportunity. My advice as a Postmates Fleet courier is to enjoy the experience as much as possible because no job is fun if you complain.
If you decide to take the leap and join the Fleet, maximize your fun by exploring the city and interacting with new people.
Exploring the city is a great opportunity to learn about cool new venues, restaurants, and shops. Interacting with new people affords many people with opportunities that you wouldn’t have previously had access too.
If you can make money while living a little, what’s the harm? Sure you won’t become a millionaire by being a Postmates Fleet courier, but you might just have a little bit of fun, find a new place to nosh, or you might meet that next client for your side biz.