So, the tumultuous year 2021 is finally behind us. Whether you say, “I had a great year,” “Good riddance,” or simply, “Meh!” is largely a matter of perspective – with earnings undoubtedly a major factor.
We at Gridwise know that drivers look to us for current industry information, and we’ve got the numbers you want. We broke down the data from over 200,000 Gridwise drivers across the United States to analyze what type of delivery jobs (food, groceries, or packages) and which platforms were the most lucrative for drivers in 2021. We then used that data to develop recommendations for the current year. So let’s get right to it …
What is the best food delivery service to work for in 2022?
Food delivery is the most common and popular gig for delivery drivers. Due to its low entry cost and easy-to-meet eligibility requirements, thousands of gig workers sign-up for food delivery jobs to make a living.
With so many delivery platforms to choose from, it’s natural to wonder which is the best food delivery app to work for, or what food delivery app pays the most. Let’s address those questions by looking at the 2021 earnings data from the three most popular food delivery platforms in the US: Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
- Grubhub paid the most to drivers for food delivery in 2021. Drivers’ median earnings per trip ranged from $10.60 to $11.88, nearly $1.00 – $3.50 higher (depending on the month) than Uber Eats and DoorDash during the same period. The median earnings per work hour ranged from $15.38 to $20.26.
- Uber Eats ranks second in driver pay for food delivery in 2021. Its median earnings per trip ranged from $9.07 to $11.02. On the other hand, the median earnings per work hour were in the range of $15.04 to $19.01. Uber Eats did better than Grubhub on the per-hour metric for a few months, though. Uber Eats drivers (like many) made more money during the first half of the year during the driver shortage.
- DoorDash placed last in this category with drivers making considerably less compared with competitors. DoorDash’s lowest median earnings per trip were recorded in July at $7.68, while the highest was in January at $8.11. Median earnings per work hour for DoorDash were also lower, just brushing $17.34 in March and dropping to $14.71 in July.
What is the best grocery delivery service to work for in 2022?
Now, let’s take a look at grocery delivery services. It’s a bit challenging to pick apps here since some food and package delivery platforms also deliver groceries in select markets. So, we chose Instacart and Shipt to keep it simple.
- Instacart is the market leader in the grocery delivery space. Yet, earnings are a mixed bag with Shipt drivers making more money during some months of the year. Instacart’s median earnings per trip were in the range of $15.20 to $17.69, while the earnings per hour were $14.80 to $26.40.
- Our earnings data from Shipt breaks the pattern we have seen so far with other services. Driver earnings on Shipt were scattered and don’t show any clear downward trend throughout the year. Its median earnings per trip were between $15.45 (October) and $18.82 (November), while earnings per hour landed between $17.27 and $19.79.
What is the best package delivery service to work for in 2022?
Lastly, we have driver earnings data from package delivery services Roadie, Amazon Flex, and the new kid on the block, Curri.
- Roadie is an “on the way” delivery platform that matches gig drivers with shipments whose delivery locations are on routes they already intend to travel. The company was acquired by UPS in the last quarter of 2021. Despite the big name, the app ranked last in driver earnings with a recorded median earnings per trip of $12.82 to $15.11 and earnings per work hour of only $13.93 to $17.49.
- Amazon Flex is one of the most versatile package delivery platforms out there. It supports multiple delivery types, products, and vehicles, attracting a wider range of gig drivers. Our data show per-hour driver earnings on Amazon Flex in 2021 were in the range of $19.21 to $23.96. The per-trip earnings are a wildly different story, though, likely due to how Amazon pools multiple nearby deliveries into a single trip. Median earnings per trip were significantly lower, ranging from $4.94 to $7.40.
- Curri is a logistics platform for delivering building and industrial materials from suppliers to construction sites. Because it’s a newer delivery service, we only have driver earnings data for the last six months of 2021. Median earnings per trip ranged from $40.00 to $82.50 (seriously!) while earnings per work hour were $27.65 to $43.64. These numbers are substantially higher than competitors due to the nature of Curri’s business.
How do these earnings compare to advertised earnings?
It’s difficult to compare advertised earnings to actual earnings as some companies tend to cherry-pick data points to better market their platforms to drivers. Our data, pulled directly from Gridwise drivers, hopefully gives you a better idea of what you could (or should) make.
- Grubhub doesn’t say exactly how much drivers can expect to make, but the job listings portal Indeed.com says Grubhub drivers can earn an average of $14.16 per hour. According to our data, the actual earnings for 2021 show that drivers made an average of $17.06 per hour.
- Uber Eats also won’t mention any per-hour earnings, but they do state the minimum drivers can make in different cities when they complete 200 deliveries. In New York City, for example, that number is $1500, or $7.50 per trip/delivery. Thankfully, the actual earnings were an average of $2.27 higher than the minimum guaranteed by Uber Eats. On Indeed.com, Uber Eats driver pay stands at $19.06 per hour, but our data show that earnings were closer to $16.56 per hour in 2021.
- DoorDash claims Dashers nationally make $25 per hour including tips. Unfortunately, that’s much higher than what drivers actually made in 2021 according to our data. Even the best month recorded fell short from advertised earnings by as much as $7.65. Indeed puts DoorDash’s per-hour pay at $15.07. Either way, that’s well short of their advertised earnings.
- Instacart shoppers earn $13.75 per hour according to Indeed.com, while our data puts that number at $17.04.
- Shipt promises an average of $22 per hour to drivers who shop and deliver groceries, but the actual earnings from our driver reports never touched $22/hour. They fell short anywhere from $2.20 to $4.75 depending on the month. The company does mention “experienced shoppers” while touting the $22/hour pay, so it’s possible that number applies to only a select group of drivers on the platform.
- Roadie claims drivers can make an average of $15 on local deliveries and up to $650 on long-distance trips. However, the actual earnings were short by roughly $1.25 per trip on average in 2021.
- Amazon Flex promises $18–25 per hour to drivers – which means the advertised earnings mostly match what Gridwise drivers actually made in 2021. Even on Indeed.com, drivers claim to have made roughly $20.49 per hour, so at least one app is in the ballpark.
- Curri doesn’t say anything about how much drivers can make on its platform, but does mention that larger vehicles and longer trips get higher pay. Even job portals don’t have much to offer here since Curri is a new platform.
Note: Have you experienced different earnings on these platforms? Share your takeaways with our exclusive driver network.
Earnings data key takeaways
- Grubhub and Curri were the best apps for gig drivers in 2021.
- Drivers on most of these platforms made more money during the first half of 2021, which can be attributed to the acute driver shortage. As the situation eased, earnings dipped in the latter half of the year.
- Actual Flex driver earnings deviated the least from officially advertised earnings. DoorDash and Shipt drivers made significantly less than reported earnings.
Quick Tips: How to make more money from delivery jobs
Gridwise data is based on median earnings, which means there are outliers on both ends. Is there a way delivery drivers can join the pool of best performers? Are there any ways drivers can make more money on these platforms? Yes!
While these strategies may not be foolproof, they work more often than not.
- Referral bonuses: Referral bonuses are among the most credible and effortless ways to make extra money on delivery platforms (and are often forgotten). The newer the platform, the higher the referral bonus tends to be. For example, Curri is currently the only package delivery platform to have an active referral bonus program. Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Instacart also offer referral programs for drivers.
- Multi-apping: One of the most effective ways to earn more on delivery platforms is to use more than one app at once. Busy time slots differ by category of apps and several local factors. Understanding the patterns and logging into more than one app can reduce your waiting time and improve your earnings.
- Choose your orders carefully: Remember, you don’t have to accept all orders that come your way. Some platforms do reward higher order acceptance rates, but there will always be room to reject a few low-value orders without adversely affecting the inflow of high-earning offers.
- Tips: Earning tips is a great way to substantially improve your earnings with very little effort. Being attentive, proactive, polite, and punctual increases the likelihood of customers paying higher tips.
- Rewards programs: Many delivery apps have programs to reward their best-performing drivers. For example, DoorDash’s Top Dasher program offers a plethora of benefits to top drivers on its platform.
- Download Gridwise: Our gig driver assistant app helps you earn more from your time in the driver’s seat. This free app allows you to score discounts, save at tax time, find hotspots, compare your earnings across apps, and more.