Need Extra Cash? The Lowdown on Delivery Apps

If you’re one of the 8.3% of Americans who need more than one job to make ends meet, you’ve probably considered working side gigs for apps like Lyft or Fiverr. The emerging delivery app market has opened up to offer a lot of new side gig options, some with good opportunities for tips. Companies like GrubHub, Postmates, Instacart, and Shipt offer new food and retail shopping delivery services with different norms for drivers. There are many ins-and-outs of the delivery app game, however, and drivers trade stories about good and bad experiences.

Most apps work on basically the same principle. Delivery jobs are offered to you through the app and you choose whether or not to accept them. These jobs are offered for a certain prescribed delivery fee. Sometimes certain food or retail outlets offer bonuses in addition to delivery fees, and sometimes you’ll find peak hours bonuses offered through the app itself as well. Generally, you should have some idea of at least the pickup point and what you’ll be picking up, and what you’ll be paid for it. How the payouts work gets a bit more tricky from there.

Maximizing pay per hour is obviously the goal of anyone working for a delivery app, so it’s important to pay attention to how payouts work with each one. For instance, some apps tell you upfront what your tip will be for a delivery, while others do not. Many apps don’t tell you how far your delivery will be, which means you accept a job not knowing how much gas you’ll use which can cut into not only your time but money spent on the delivery.

Some apps will deduct your tip from the delivery fee, which can deeply cut into your profit. This can all be confusing and shows why it’s important to have a very good idea of how payouts work with each app so you can work out how much money you’ll actually make from any job you accept.

Another thing to attempt to quantify with any delivery app is how much time your pickup will take. For retail delivery apps, the delivery driver generally enters the retailer and shops for the items. Depending on how complicated or large these items are, this can be a time-consuming enterprise and it’s important to try to determine which jobs will represent a good return for the time it will take to do them.

Similarly with food delivery apps, there can be vast differences in pickup experiences. Some apps send orders directly to the restaurant so orders are ready for pick up, but others require the driver to place the order once they arrive at the pickup location. This can add a great deal of time to the delivery and cut into the profitability of an order you accept.

It’s not unusual for people to work for more than one app, often simultaneously, and this is because of strong points (and weak points) among different apps and variations in delivery norms across regions. Do your research and look for the best delivery app for your time availability and area so you can bring in the extra cash you need at the highest rate of payout possible!