Food delivery companies are offering drivers HUGE incentives

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Food delivery driver incentives are a hot commodity these days, and (of course) we can’t help but notice what’s going on… and pass the news along to you.

We previously looked at how rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are offering drivers incentives for working with them. Now, food delivery companies such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub are waving irresistible incentive pay and bonuses under the noses of drivers.

In this post, we’ll look at the numbers that show the rise in incentives, and examine why they’re being offered. We’ll also look at what the big food delivery companies are offering so you can get in on the pandemic-fueled delivery driving boom that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Here’s how we’ll break it down:

  • Delivery driver incentives: A look at the numbers
  • Why companies offer incentives now
  • Delivery driver incentives from the big food delivery companies
  • How long will the incentives last?

Incentives for delivery drivers: A look at the numbers

No one could have predicted that the delivery business would keep up its explosive growth this far past the early days of the pandemic. Nonetheless, hungry customers have obviously adopted food delivery as part of their daily routines, and they don’t seem to be getting away from it.

As you might guess, this is good for food delivery drivers – and the numbers back up our speculation. By looking at 2021 delivery driver earnings, you can see how much they’re making. Let’s begin by examining weekly earnings for January–March 2021.

Drivers pulled in an average of $211.62 in the first week of January and saw their highest take, $225.47, toward the end of March. Numbers don’t seem to be going down, even though states are opening and the weather in more wintry parts of the country is getting milder by the day. 

Earnings per hour also show robust growth trends so far in 2021.

Earnings per hour were at their highest, $19.56, in March, which was a significant rise from $17.41 in January. These trends show just how strong of a foothold delivery has gained in the market, and how much drivers can profit from it.

What could be happening to keep these earnings up so high? Our information shows that delivery driver incentives are playing a big role in the rise in earnings. Our delivery driver incentives index shows a sharp rise in the percentage of earnings that include incentives. 

So why would delivery driver incentives rise by as much as 355% in just a few weeks?

A quick look at the hiring websites and the countless ads might seem like these companies are looking for ways to get drivers to come and work for them… and indeed they are. Delivery is here to stay, and the companies need a growing number of drivers to keep up with the demand.

Why companies offer incentives for delivery drivers 

Unlike the past, when the delivery companies were so flooded with prospective drivers they were added to waiting lists, the companies have been aggressively reaching out to attract new drivers and retain the ones they have. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many rideshare drivers ran to delivery as a refuge where they could keep making money. When the delivery business surged, the need for more drivers continued. And now, with cities and states beginning to reopen, and some drivers going back to rideshare, both types of drivers are in demand.

It’s surprising that delivery driver demand has stayed so high even as the rideshare business has picked up, but that’s indeed the case. According to an April 12, 2021 article in US News & World Report, Uber has stated that March 2021 allowed Uber Eats to see its highest ever revenues. The fact that delivery volume remained high even as the vaccines rolled out and more restaurants opened confirms that customers’ craving for delivery is a habit that isn’t going to be broken anytime soon.

An April 7, 2021 article in Fox Business states that Uber will spend $250 million to entice new drivers to come on board, and get former rideshare and delivery drivers back to work. Company spokesperson Kayla Whaling said the driver stimulus will come in the form of bonuses and new guarantees and will be in place for the next several months.

Driver incentives from the big delivery companies

Uber is not alone in its determination to spend money on increasing the supply of drivers. Many food delivery companies are also offering incentives to drivers. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

Uber Eats

Uber will make a hit with drivers who refer a new person or coax a former Uber driver back to driving. The company recently raised the ceiling on its referral incentive from $150 to $500. There are also incentives tied to the number of deliveries in a certain week or weekend period, plus extra bonuses for completing consecutive trips during high-volume time periods and in busy places.

It appears Uber is spending money on bringing both rideshare and delivery drivers into the fold. You can learn more about what it’s like to drive for Uber and Uber Eats in this article on Uber vs. Lyft.

DoorDash

DoorDash offers incentives on a regular basis. These include Peak Pay in times when demand for drivers (known as Dashers) is high and there aren’t that many on the road. Challenges reward Dashers for reaching certain earning levels and/or completing a certain number of trips in a given time. Another incentive, known as Drive, is a privilege offered to those who qualify to accept large orders, get more money per trip, and probably earn higher tips.  Read more about this and other details about working for DoorDash and Uber Eats in this Gridwise blog post

While the need to bring in more drivers is high, DoorDash is extending a generous Guaranteed Earnings incentive. Drivers who complete 400 deliveries as a new Dasher will earn a minimum guarantee of $2,750.  For instance, if you earn $2,500 on those 400 deliveries, DoorDash will add $250. If you’ve already earned $2,750, however, you’ll no longer be eligible, as you will have exceeded the minimum guaranteed earnings level. 

Especially if you earn less than $2,750 on your first 400 deliveries, this is a generous offer and incentive for new Dashers, and along with the other programs offered by DoorDash, a good incentive to keep doing those delivery runs.

Grubhub

Grubhub isn’t quite as flashy as the other companies when it comes to offering incentives. They tout their discounts for drivers, which are pretty standard with all the companies. With Grubhub, you will get special offers from affiliated businesses. You can get a good idea of what exactly is offered in this Grubhub article.

Like Uber, Grubhub has a recognition program. It qualifies drivers to increase their status and receive more desirable trip requests based on their performance with attendance, acceptance rate, and block drop rate. 

Grubhub also awards drivers bonuses, often for taking orders that are passed on by others who have passed them by. And there are bonus incentives for completing a certain number of deliveries per day in a given time period. These can total as much as $20 per day, plus another $50 if, for example, a driver completes 5 deliveries per day for 5 consecutive days. That would be a $150 bonus for 25 deliveries in 5 days. Not bad!

Postmates

Postmates offers many incentives for delivery drivers. There are bonus per delivery offers, which come up in the app, and Crushers, which reward drivers with an extra payout for completing a set number of deliveries within a given time period.

Postmates also offers Guaranteed earnings programs and Invitation bonuses. At the moment, in one city, Postmates drivers can earn up to $250 for each friend who completes 70 deliveries with Postmates in that city. 

It’s clear that Postmates is another company that’s investing money into incentivizing drivers. This could have something to do with the fact that it was acquired by Uber in 2020, and while still a separate brand, is being folded into Uber’s company culture.

How long will the incentives last?

Although delivery companies have experienced an unexpected acceleration in their earnings, they still struggle to make a profit. There will be a need for them to continue to incentivize people to drive for them, but who knows how long this will continue? The next six months or so will be quite telling.

If the pandemic eases, and more people start feeling safe due to an increased prevalence of vaccinations, perhaps drivers will be more willing to jump back into the company pool. If there are new surges in COVID, and the lockdowns continue (or start again), the companies may have trouble getting drivers to take risks, and be stuck continuing to offer incentives like those we see now.

If you feel safe about delivery driving, there’s every reason to take advantage of these incentives and benefit from them. Chances are, with trends for delivery failing to decline even as more localities open, there will always be money in driving a delivery gig.

Which gig is best for you? To get a detailed comparison, read this Gridwise blog post and pay attention to which is most popular and lucrative in your town.

Incentives change all the time, so keep watching your apps and the websites of the various companies. If you have any news or experiences that involve incentives for food delivery drivers, please leave us a comment below. And remember, if you can’t decide which company you want to drive for, you can always compare your performance for each company – with Gridwise.

Compare, track, and maximize your earnings with Gridwise

Driving for more than one app, or doing both rideshare and delivery? Make sure you download Gridwise to maximize your money and keep track of your earnings, mileage, and expenses. Gridwise seamlessly records the pertinent information from every app you use once you sync them. Just go online at the beginning of each shift, and the rest is taken care of for you.

When you want to see how you’re doing with all the apps you use, your data will be displayed on slick graphs like these:

Gridwise gives you information about airport activity, traffic, and events in your town to keep you in the right places at the right times, and even sends weather advisories so you know when to carry your rain slicker with you to the restaurant.

Use the Perks tab to get discounts and deals for drivers, plus easy access to driver news from our blog and YouTube channel. Join us on Facebook to get in on great community discussions and gas card giveaways.
You always get a bonus when you drive with Gridwise – the ultimate assistant for rideshare and delivery drivers! You still don’t have the app? Download it now.

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