DoorDash vs. Postmates: The Competitive and Profitable World of Delivery Services

The art of convenience starts with an app, and these days we have been bombarded with an app for everything from ride sharing to ordering food. There are many options to choose from when you seek to create an income for yourself from a ridesharing company like Uber or Amazon Flex, who now offer delivery services. Yet two key players that are often forgotten about would be DoorDash and Postmates.

As a driver, you might be in two minds about how it would work. Will driving for either of these services be a good fit for you? This is a good question. In the delivery world, you are spoilt when choosing who you should drive for. It can be a tough decision when you don’t know what each of the services offer. If you look at it from a driver’s perspective, both options might seem similar, but once we look at each in detail, you will certainly see how they can provide different benefits.

To be profitable and stay competitive in the food delivery market, you have to choose the platform that works the best for you. Therefore, this post will give you a rundown of each delivery service and how you can leverage the best one and make a profit.

Let’s start by looking at both DoorDash and Postmates and what they have to offer to work for them. Let’s look at what you can expect to do for the delivery service.

What would it be like to work for these delivery services?


As a driver, your goal would be to deliver food from restaurants directly to customers who have used the DoorDash app to book their meals. DoorDash specializes in food delivery and nothing more. While working for DoorDash, your shift entails waiting for a notification of delivery orders using your version of the app. You should then receive a message of your payment rate for accepting that order.

You then have a choice to accept or decline. If you accept, you can start your work to get the restaurant items and take them to the customer. There may be an extra step as well; if there isn’t a partnership with the restaurant, you will have the option of paying with a card from DoorDash, which is prepaid. If not, you can head to the restaurant, pick up the order, and take it to the customer.


The main difference between Postmates and DoorDash is that Postmates can be used for many items like food delivery, drinks, and even groceries from around the area the customer resides in. You can then see the appeal of using such an app. People might need various items, and it’s inconvenient to leave their homes, so they use Postmate to bring them household necessities such as supplies, pet food, and even groceries.

It works similarly to DoorDash, where you receive an order via the app, and if you accept it, you will head over to the restaurant or other stores to pick up the order. Postmates give their drivers a credit card to purchase items since customers would have used their app to make the payment. Once done, as the driver, you will go to the Postmates customer to drop their order items off.

This process seems relatively easy, so I’m sure you’re wondering how much money you can make using either of the services. Let’s look at the payment rates and how to calculate it.

How does payment work on DoorDash vs. Postmates?

DoorDash – Learning from ridesharing companies, DoorDash is on a mission to make its company a good space to work where their drivers are treated fairly and receive fair pay. The first step is that before driving, you can confirm how much you will earn. That makes life more comfortable as you will know if the work is feasible or not.

They look at a couple of factors to give you an accurate and expected figure.

These factors include:

  • The expected distance you will drive.
  • How will the order be placed? (Will you place it or will it go directly via the app?).
  • Size of the order.
  • Parking space that is needed, as well as traffic constraints.
  • Wait times at the restaurant.

To give you the clarity, you will receive $1 for each delivery and then 100% of all tips you earn from customers. However, to match their guarantee, if your tips and the $1 payment per delivery does not align with the figure shared with you, you will receive a pay boost to get a match. Also, if you do make more than the guaranteed amount, you do not get disadvantaged in any way and keep the payment.

Let’s look at how Postmates work.

Postmates – The structure is significantly different from DoorDash. While DoorDash has a guaranteed payment system, this is not present with Postmates who opt to give you a breakdown of payment you may receive for your services.

Here is a breakdown for you:

  • The pick-up and drop-off and the distance between.
  • A per minute rate, which also includes wait times.
  • A per-mile rate between pick-up and drop off point.
  • Bonuses(which we’ll explain later in this post).
  • All tips.

Postmates also have a minimum that you will receive if the above does not equate to a reasonable sum, and keep in mind the calculation might be different according to your city.

Yes, the pay structure does seem minimal at best, so that’s why they do offer a few bonuses and incentives in the pay. Let’s break this down next.

Incentives and Bonuses with On-Demand Food Delivery

DoorDash – The first bonus is called Busy Pay, and like the name would suggest, you will usually receive this option when many orders come through to DoorDash. Generally, if this happens, as soon it starts, you will receive a notification, and for every completed order, a bonus gets added to your app. It’s not set and is calculated based on driver availability and how busy it gets.

Another form of incentives is known as Peak Pay. Usually, this is triggered during busy times, such as lunch and dinner. You will then be incentivized and notified when this happens.

DoorDash also offers a guaranteed minimum, which means you will make a certain amount per hour while working. This can happen for peak periods like lunch and dinner. There are, however, criteria to be met before you get the payment.

Keep in mind you must fulfill these requirements to gain access to the guaranteed minimum:

  • Sign up for the dates, time, and areas in the text or notification sent to you.
  • Meet targets for deliveries requirements during the offer time.
  • Average a minimum of 1.3 orders during the promotion.
  • Have a 90% acceptance rate for orders that are sent to you.

Their system does the calculation, and if you meet the criteria we mentioned above, you will receive the guaranteed minimum and your hourly wage plus any tips you make.

Let’s consider the bonuses for Postmates next.

How do such bonuses work?

Postmates – The bonus from Postmates is extensive, so let’s focus on each aspect in more detail.

The first bonus opportunity is found in your day to day rewards when you meet the following criteria:

  • Higher earning for delivery completed within a specific timeframe
  • Sum deliveries for when you complete a total number of deliveries at a designated time.

The other opportunity is that you can get guaranteed earnings based on meeting weekly goals and requirements.

Here is a breakdown of the guaranteed earning structure:

  • Simple Guaranteed earning is for completing a specific number of deliveries during a certain period.
  • Tiered guarantee earning is based on the time when you complete the deliveries.

The incentive and bonus structure appear to be complicated at first, but it’s useful in creating a fair delivery driver environment. Let’s now understand when you will get paid and how that works.

How and when will you get paid?

DoorDash – This can either be done weekly or using Fast Pay. For weekly pay, you are paid for every delivery made on Monday and Sunday. Payments are then made by DoorDash on Sunday and should reflect within 2-3 days.

For Fast Pay, you can get paid immediately if you opt to pay a $1.99 fee. However, this does come with requirements, including completing 25 deliveries and being a driver for two weeks. Only debit cards qualify for Fast Pay deposits.

Postmates – They have a similar structure where you get paid weekly, and also you can receive an instant deposit when paying a fee of $0.50 provided you have linked your debit card and have a $5 balance.

Now that you understand the pay structure, what about the working hours associated with DoorDash and Postmates.

What are the working hours?

DoorDash – You don’t have the option of working 24 hours a day and seven days a week. One option is to notify DoorDash when you work in advance by scheduling the time using the app. This is how to plan your shift, ensuring you have a guaranteed place despite many drivers.

The second option is to “Dash Now,” which means you can set up your app and start driving for DoorDash. This can be ineffective since you are competing against scheduled drivers who are given preference, and you may have to wait until there is availability. This is a useful feature as it allows an adequate number of drivers to ensure individuals can make a stable income for themselves during their shift.

Postmates – Postmates is more flexible, so you can drive whenever you want since there isn’t an option to schedule shifts. You can see how this can become problematic where there might be too many drivers available and lower everyone’s earning potential. This could lead to unhappy drivers.

We can also learn the following from the Postmates site:

Now that you understand how both delivery services work, what do you need to become a driver exactly? Let’s find out in the next section.

What do you need to become a driver?

These are the requirements for both Postmates and DoorDash:

  • You have to be 18 years by the time you sign up
  • Your phone should be able to access the apps
  • Your social security number is needed
  • Have a clear criminal background and background check

As well as personal requirements, there are also vehicle requirements such as:

  • Valid driver’s license and insurance
  • If you have a bike, scooter, or wish to walk, you can use these methods to deliver in certain cities.

Final thoughts on DoorDash vs. Postmates

DoorDash is available all over the US, with 46 cities that are serviced; meanwhile, Postmates has 385 active cities.

Keep this in mind if you plan to do this as a full-time income gig and move around a lot. Also, there is a further upgrade where you can earn more with Doordash, but you have to pass specific criteria. It is called DoorDash Drive and means that you get to work directly with restaurants who contact DoorDash to make their deliveries exclusively. You may then be designated this restaurant provided you meet the criteria. Postmates, on the other hand, do not offer this service to their drivers.

Now that you understand the significant differences and similarities between DoorDash and Postmates, you can make an informed decision on which is the best for you. You may find that DoorDash caters more exclusively to their drivers’ needs and well-being; however, Postmates offer a better pay structure with more flexibility. It does essentially depend on your needs and which will fit into your lifestyle. If you are still undecided, why not give each of these delivery services a try and then make a decision.

We trust that this post has given you some food for thought on the best way to earn a profitable side income using either DoorDash or Postmates. Please let us know if you have any questions in the section below!


Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the world of online marketing and branding. Follow his journey at and


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