Best food delivery service to work for in 2021

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Want to know what the best food delivery service to work for is?

In this post, we’ll review the companies you’ve heard of before, and introduce you to some that might be new to you. After reading the information we’ve compiled, you’ll be better equipped to choose the best food delivery company for you to work for. 

The best food delivery services to work for in 2021 include:

  1. Uber Eats
  2. DoorDash
  3. Postmates
  4. Grubhub
  5. Foxtrot
  6. Waitr/BiteSquad
  7. Caviar
  8. GoPuff

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Being a food delivery driver
  • How to sign up to be a food delivery driver
  • Equipment every delivery driver needs
  • The ABCs of the food delivery driving gig
  • The best food delivery companies to work for in 2021

Delivery is booming and delivery drivers continue to thrive. This is true even as the economy begins to reopen in the wake of the shutdowns that began in 2020. Delivery drivers are making good money, as you can see in this Gridwise post from April 21. It breaks down earnings and outlines the incentives delivery companies are offering to drivers in 2021.

Whether you’re already delivering, or thinking about taking it on as part of your driving gig, let’s start by covering some basics about what working for delivery is like.

Being a delivery driver

So … you want to be a delivery driver.

Driving for delivery is pretty straightforward, but there are ins and outs you’ll want to know about. There’s a little bit more to it than driving, picking up, driving, and dropping off. Let’s start with business basics.

As a delivery driver, you’ll work as an independent contractor just as you would with rideshare. The hourly rates mentioned in this article represent gross pay. So, you’ll need to take taxes into consideration, as well as expenses like fuel, vehicle repair, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and wear and tear on your vehicle.

How to sign up to be a food delivery driver (Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, and others) 

Going to work for a food delivery company isn’t much different from signing up with a rideshare platform. You download the app, fill out the forms, upload some information, and wait for the background check to come through. You can find out more about the specifics for each company on their websites, which you can access by clicking on the company names in this article.

Whether you’re already a rideshare driver or are choosing between rideshare and delivery for your first driving gig, you’ll want to know about the features of delivery driving that set it apart:

  • You’ll worry less about the age and type of your vehicle. For most delivery services your vehicle can be up to 20 years old, and can either be a two- or four-door model;
  • In some areas, you may not need a car at all. You can use a bike or scooter, and if you’re an urban delivery person, you can even work on foot;
  • Less interaction with the public: You simply pick up food and drop it off. You still see people and speak with them, but the interactions are short and (hopefully) sweet;
  • More predictable working hours: Mealtimes are the most popular times for food delivery, so you’ll definitely want to work then. There are other opportunities to deliver, though, such as the “midnight nosh” shift.

Now that you see the definite pluses to being a delivery driver, here are some more things you’ll need to know.

Equipment every delivery driver needs

Containers and bags. You’ll need something to keep hot food hot and cold stuff cold. Your company may or may not give you a thermal bag when you sign up to drive, but it’s good to have at least one. If you want happy customers who give good tips, you’ll need to keep food and drinks at the desired temperature. You can buy your own delivery bags and containers that are suitable for the heavy-duty carrying jobs you’re likely to encounter.

A crate of some kind is another good accessory. This can make carrying bags of food back and forth from your car a lot less awkward. While you’re in transit, the crate helps limit spills on your vehicle’s upholstery and carpeting.

Payment for parking. Especially in urban areas, parking can be an issue for pickup and delivery. Carry quarters with you, or have a parking app ready to go, so you don’t wind up having to pay fines for tickets. Also, don’t forget to add parking costs to your tax-deductible expenses, and keep records of them with Gridwise.

Protective clothing and equipment. Unlike rideshare drivers, delivery people don’t stay behind the wheel for hours on end. Having the right weather gear is crucial – you won’t want to have to stop working because a sudden storm catches you without rain gear. Depending on what the climate is like where you live, a brush and scraper for snow and ice may also be essential.

Sure-footedness. Wear appropriate shoes or boots. You’ll be walking and carrying a lot of stuff! You won’t want to slip on wet or icy sidewalks or roll an ankle when boxes or bags block your view of where you’re putting your feet.

To get more ideas about the assortment of gear you’ll need, be sure to check out this information-packed Gridwise post.

The ABCs of the food delivery driving gig

Payment for orders. Some companies cover every part of the payment in the app, while others don’t. You will probably need a payment card from your company to use when you pick up your customers’ orders. The restaurant or other establishment will process the payment and charge the company’s account, and the company then will charge the customer. 

If your company uses a card, it will be mailed to you shortly after you sign up as a driver.

Talking about the payment process now might seem premature, but we want you to be prepared. While it’s possible to start delivery driving without a company card, you won’t get many requests until you secure one. Once you receive your card, activate it and start using it right away. Carry it with you into every restaurant or establishment, because you’ll need to use it most of the time. 

Accepting orders. Now, let’s shift into reverse and look at what happens when you first open up for taking orders. As with any other service, you turn on the app and wait for a request. When you get a ping, in most cases you’ll get a rundown of where you need to pick up the order, an approximation of how long it will take to complete the delivery trip, and how much you’re likely to make. Click on the order to accept it, and you’ll be directed to the restaurant or store to pick it up.

Know before you go. Check the specifications for the order carefully. You may want to pull over to make sure you understand what you have to do. In some cases, you’ll be expected to place the order on behalf of the customer, so you’ll have to pull over, make the call, and then proceed to the restaurant. This gives them time to get the order started, which saves you the extra wait when you arrive to pick it up.

The pick-up. Each restaurant or other establishment has a different setup for drivers. Sometimes, directions such as “pick up at drive-thru” will come up on the app. If not, check the doors and windows of the restaurant or store for signs that will give you pick-up instructions.

Once you find out where to go, you’ll want to bring your thermal bag and/or crate with you. Sometimes the bags are sealed so you can’t check the order to make sure it’s complete; but if the bags are open, it helps to take a look. If possible, grab some extra condiments, utensils, and napkins. Customers appreciate these items and may feel inspired to give you a nice tip.

The drop-off. Driving with food in the car can be … interesting. Arrange the order in your car in a way that avoids spills, and remember – you’re carrying precious cargo for your hungry customers. Check the app for any specific delivery instructions. Note: If you have alcohol in the order, you must verify the customer receiving it is over the legal drinking age, and you must get the customer’s signature. This means orders with alcohol cannot be delivered contact-free. Alert the customer and make sure he or she will be waiting for you when you arrive.

Stacked orders. During especially busy times, you might be asked to pick up two or three orders on one trip. This is called “stacking” orders. Pay close attention to your app, and pick the orders up in the sequence shown. Your app will use GPS to take you on the route from one order and delivery to the next, so you won’t have to worry about mapping out the route. Stacking is a good reason to make sure you have more than one thermal bag, and possibly that crate mentioned earlier.

Now that you know the basics of delivery driving, let’s look at the best companies and what makes each of them stand out.

Uber Eats

Most Uber rideshare drivers have had at least one experience with Uber Eats. There’s an option in the Uber app to accept deliveries, rideshare trips, or both. Check your app’s settings to make sure you’re open to deliveries, if that’s what you want. Note: if you’re already approved as an Uber rideshare driver, you’re good to go with Uber Eats. But if you only drive for Uber Eats, you must meet additional requirements to be a rideshare driver. See this Gridwise post for more info.

While most of the food delivered by Uber Eats comes from restaurants, Uber announced in October 2020 that it planned to expand the service to include groceries, florist services, and pet supplies. In February 2021 Uber acquired Drizly, an alcoholic beverage delivery service, so more opportunities may open up there.

Uber Eats is extremely popular. It is already in most markets and is in the process of expanding even further. In New York, there’s a tab on the app that customers can use to get groceries delivered, and there are plans to expand grocery delivery to more cities in the near future.

In other regions of the U.S., Uber Eats drivers are delivering over-the-counter pharmacy items as well as prescriptions. It’s likely that Uber will roll both these services out as widely as possible, so additional opportunities to make more money with Uber Eats seems like a definite.

The downside of working for Uber Eats is that the company isn’t overly generous about supplies. You have to buy your own insulated bags, for example. The use of a card, called “Uber Plus,” is optional. Uber encourages you to send for one, but it’s not as crucial as it is for some other apps. 

In fact, the drivers we’ve heard from don’t give the card great reviews, so you may want to think twice before getting one. You can continue to deliver without the card, but not on foot, since Uber Eats requires you to have a car, bike, or scooter. According to Gridwise data, you can expect to earn somewhere around $14.81 per hour, although this may fluctuate depending on where you live.

Note: Lyft is also contemplating going into the delivery business, but details are not yet available. We’ll update you when they start flowing in; in the meantime, you can read more about it in this article.

DoorDash

DoorDash proudly asserts that it gets more requests for deliveries than any other app, and it has the statistics to back up the claim. According to this article in Business of Apps, Edison Trends determined DoorDash commands 45% of the food delivery market in the U.S. This is good for drivers because it means that as a DoorDash driver (better known as a Dasher) you’re likely to get lots of requests for deliveries.

With such a popular app there are often waiting lists for new Dashers, but don’t let this stop you from signing up. You are likely to make it to the top of the list before you know it. With DoorDash, you can use your car, bike, scooter, or motorcycle to deliver, although the company doesn’t allow deliveries on foot.

DoorDash drivers use a payment card, called the Red Card, which you’ll receive shortly after signing on. You’ll get a thermal bag delivered to you within a few days of becoming a Dasher, and you won’t have to pay for it (which is nice). If you want more equipment, you can buy whatever you need directly from DoorDash, or get your own.

DoorDash can be a reliable source of income if you don’t mind hustling. According to Gridwise data, the company pays an average of $14.02 per hour, which is on the low side. While you’re apt to get a lot of requests, you’ll have to make many deliveries to earn the kind of cash you might rake in with a company that deals with higher-end restaurants.

One good thing about DoorDash is that it’s familiar and widely available. Another is that it has partnered with Walmart, so there are even more opportunities to deliver. DoorDash is definitely a player in the delivery market, and shows signs that it will continue to grow.

Postmates

Postmates has a reputation for being a higher-paying, higher-end service. However, Fleet drivers’ median income in 2020, as measured by Gridwise, was $9.95 per hour. 

Shortly after you sign up, Postmates will provide you with a card and a thermal bag. You’re not required to use the card for payments, but you’ll get many more calls if you use one.

You can use a bike to deliver with Postmates, and in some areas you can even walk to make your deliveries.

Postmates has been a relatively successful company. In fact, its potential for growth attracted the attention of Uber, which acquired Postmates in July 2020. While the two companies will combine resources, Postmates will continue to operate as a separate company, at least for now. If you want to read about the merger and what it means for drivers, check out this Gridwise blog post.

Collectively, Uber Eats and Postmates will control at least 37 percent of the food delivery market. Also worth noting is that part of Postmates’ original mission was to “enable anyone to have anything delivered on demand,” as its website states. Once the deal is finalized, both Uber Eats and Postmates will be in the business of delivering more than just food, offering drivers more opportunities to earn.

This ability to deliver more than just food, the potential for high bonuses, and higher average earnings, are some great aspects of working for Postmates. The only downside is that Postmates isn’t available as widely as Uber Eats, DoorDash, or some of the other services. 

But who knows? With Uber’s cash and humongous network backing the company up, the Postmates Fleet may expand to more cities and towns. 

Grubhub

Although it is often compared to DoorDash, Grubhub is more widely known due to its presence in more than 4,000 cities in the United States and Canada. It’s obvious that the company sets high standards for its drivers. 

For instance, the use of insulated bags is not optional. Grubhub will send two bags, and you have the opportunity to purchase more through the app. 

There are waiting lists for new driver approvals in many areas, as the company doesn’t want to saturate the market with drivers. Don’t let this discourage you, but do keep applying to additional companies. You can deliver for Grubhub with a bicycle in certain areas, usually large cities.

Grubhub stands out because it permits drivers to schedule their work hours in blocks of time through the app. This gives drivers the opportunity to organize their calendars around the times when they’re available to work. Those who schedule blocks get first dibs on deliveries, which makes this method more attractive. In some cities, there is even a minimum payment for drivers who don’t get many (or any) orders during a scheduled shift.

Earnings for Grubhub drivers average about $16.71 per hour, according to Gridwise data, which is more than drivers from other services. You’ll still have to work hard, of course, but it’s possible to make a decent income, especially if you factor in tips.

As a Grubhub driver, you’ll use a payment card, which will arrive as part of the package you receive when you first sign on. You will need to use it when orders are not prepaid.

Grubhub is a good delivery company. Its drivers are treated with respect, and the company tries to keep them happy. That, along with the large footprint Grubhub has in the food delivery universe, makes it a good choice for drivers. And now that Lyft has partnered with Grubhub, the future looks even brighter for drivers.  And with the incentives companies are offering as of late, earnings could go up by a big margin in 2021.

Foxtrot

A step beyond the usual food delivery company, Foxtrot curates food and “daily essentials” in its two major locations, Dallas and Chicago. In a sense, Foxtrot is a very special kind of café and corner store, with several retail locations as well as the delivery service offered through its app and website. To be a Foxtrot “courier” you must be “the best of the best,” because the company promises customers that you’ll deliver “the store to your door”… in under an hour.

Foxtrot seeks “professional, speedy, and courteous” couriers. They want drivers to have a great attitude and deliver a top-notch customer experience in 60 minutes or less. Foxtrot couriers pick up orders from the store locations and deliver to customers within the Foxtrot delivery zones; in most cases, about two miles away.

To enjoy this job, you’ll have to also like navigating the city and interacting with people. You’ll need to be at least 21 years of age in order to make alcohol deliveries. You must also be able to work flexible hours, at least 20 hours per week.

According to Indeed, Foxtrot delivery drivers make about $12 per hour, which is lower than the national average. Tips for this kind of service, however, are likely to be generous. There are also little perks, like free coffee, milestone delivery incentives, and a growing benefits program. This might include paid time off as well as company discounts at the Foxtrot stores.

Waitr/Bite Squad

Waitr bought Bite Squad in 2018, and together they provide a platform for ordering food and getting it delivered to customers who aren’t in large urban centers. Rather than serving, and competing in, the major cities, this combined operation puts its focus on smaller markets. 

Waitr/Bite Squad serves the suburbs around Washington, D.C., and also operates in cities like Minneapolis (where it started), various college towns in Florida, and Columbus, Ohio. You can sign up to work for this operation through Delivery Logistics, the company used to recruit and vet potential drivers.

Driving for Waitr/Bite Squad would be an advantage if you live in an area that’s underserved by larger delivery companies. You might also find there’s less competition from other drivers by working for this smaller-scale operation. 

An even greater incentive might be what you can earn with this company. Indeed states that the average hourly wage for Waitr/Bite Squad drivers is $16.62, which is 8% above the national average.

Caviar

When you start the sign-up process to drive for Caviar, you’ll notice that it says you’re signing up for DoorDash. That’s because DoorDash acquired Caviar in 2019 so they’re the same company. Caviar calculates pay the same way DoorDash does, so you would technically be a “Dasher,” but there’s a difference … a rather large one.

If you sign up to drive for Caviar, you will get calls for both Caviar and Doordash. Caviar orders are from high-end restaurants, and therefore they will result in drivers getting higher pay and better tips. According to Glassdoor, based on 10 Caviar driver salary reports, the typical Caviar driver earns $32 per hour.

This is great money for delivering food, to say the least, especially if you live in a city that has a large number of restaurants that are considered to be 4- or 5-star establishments.

Now that Caviar has been taken over by DoorDash, it’s available in over 4,000 cities and towns in all 50 states. This gives you a chance to mix your Caviar with a little DoorDash on the side if you happen to live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of fancy eateries. You can grab up a bit of the best of both worlds.

GoPuff

With GoPuff, you’ll deliver more than just meals. This company offers all kinds of essentials delivered to customers’ doors by GoPuff driver-partners. They want customers to be able to order the kinds of items they might run out of, and use the GoPuff service to avoid making yet another trip to the store.

GoPuff is available in 100 cities and towns, but not all the cities are huge. So, if you live in a smaller market, like Flagstaff, Arizona or Norfolk, Virginia, you could have a pretty solid gig going on with GoPuff.

In states where it’s permitted, alcoholic beverages are among the items GoPuff delivers. So, GoPuff drivers must be at least 21 and are required to take a training course for alcohol deliveries. 

GoPuff also provides the packages to be delivered, so drivers don’t have to do the shopping. After selecting the hours they want to work, drivers sign in at their local warehouse where the items to be delivered are picked out, organized, and bagged or boxed.

As a GoPuff driver, you get a guaranteed payment on each shift, because the company will pay you simply for showing up at the warehouse. Your schedule is pre-arranged for you, and you’ll never be asked to deliver anywhere that’s more than 30 minutes away from the warehouse. GoPuff offers incentives and premiums from time to time, but the average earnings for drivers, according to Glassdoor, is only about $14 per hour.

Still, if you’re looking for a predictable, steady gig with enough flexibility to allow you to choose your own horse, GoPuff could work really well for you.

Now that you’re armed with all the information about food delivery companies, we hope you’ll choose the ones that work the best for you, and create a gig life that allows you to be safe, healthy, and prosperous.

But, in case something happens to stop your cash flow in its tracks …

Get Gridwise protection!

Working for any delivery company means you’re an independent contractor. While this gives you a lot of flexibility and freedom, it also means the company you work for won’t pay you the benefits you might get from a full-time job.

What can you do to protect yourself from lost wages due to health concerns, hospitalization, unfair deactivation, or post-collision vehicle repair? 

Gridwise Protection goes over and above any insurance your company might offer, and protects you even when you’re not driving. If you’re unable to work for any of the reasons we mentioned, Gridwise Protection will replace 80 percent of your lost income.

And this awesome program only costs $7 per month! When you sign on, you can say goodbye to worrying over many of those “What if?” scenarios that plague independent contractors. If you lose your income temporarily, Gridwise Protection has you covered.

Not only do you get financial support to cover up to 80% of your income from driving, there’s free legal advice for those who are unfairly deactivated. Also, if you get sick, Gridwise Protection offers telehealth services you can count on, 24/7.

Sign up now, and get the first month free.  Then, you can get your delivery gig going full speed, armed with a safe, cozy, and secure safety net from Gridwise Protection.

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