Here Are the 8 Best Food Delivery Services for Earning Extra Cash

Looking for a side hustle that makes hungry people happy? Here’s how to decide which food delivery service to work for.
Last updated May 26, 2021 | By Lindsay Frankel
Here Are the 8 Best Food Delivery Services for Earning Extra Cash

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Whether you’re searching for a new career with flexible hours or looking to pick up a side hustle to gain some wiggle room in your budget, there are ways to make money that don’t require education, training, or a set number of hours.

And if you choose to work for a food delivery service, you’ll be able to put smiles on your customers’ faces. Because when someone is getting hangry, the person to show up just in time with a pizza is like an angel in disguise.

If you’re considering this side gig, but you aren’t sure which food delivery app to sign up with, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up the best food delivery services to work for so you can be someone’s angel — and earn the extra cash to reach your financial goals.

In this article

How we compared these food delivery services

We evaluated the most popular food delivery services out there to help you pick the best side hustle for you. We considered the following criteria:

  • Geographic availability: We favored services that are available nationwide.
  • Pay: We looked at potential and average pay for each company we evaluated and favored companies with a transparent pay structure and quick access to earnings.
  • Flexibility: We only chose companies that allowed workers to choose their own schedules.
  • Ease of onboarding: We chose companies that made it relatively easy to sign up and get started.
  • Tips: We favored companies that allow workers to keep 100% of their tips.
  • Perks: Some food service delivery companies offer perks life special discounts, and we gave preference to these companies.

8 best food delivery services to work for

DoorDash

All you need is a mode of transportation and a smartphone to deliver for DoorDash. In some cities, you can even deliver by bicycle. To become a Dasher, you need to be 18 years of age or older and pass a background check, but there are no vehicle inspections, and it’s easy to get started earning within days. We also like that DoorDash lets you earn while you travel and not just in your home city.

As with the other delivery services on our list, your hours are completely flexible with DoorDash. Just open the app when you want to start delivering and see available orders nearby. You’ll also keep 100% of your tips.

Keep in mind, however, that DoorDash does not reimburse for any expenses, including tolls and parking fees, and you need to maintain your own insurance policy. But if you incur an injury while driving for DoorDash, you may be eligible for disability payments and medical expense coverage. Check out our DoorDash review for more details.

Pay: Hourly pay varies by location and other factors. Base pay ranges from $2-$10 per delivery, depending on the estimated distance, time to deliver, and popularity of each order. You might get additional promotional pay if you deliver during peak hours or complete a challenge. And you’ll keep all your tips, which won’t be affected by your base pay.

DoorDash is a best fit for: People who love to work while they travel

DoorDash Benefits

  • Be your own boss and set your own hours
  • Keep 100% of the delivery fee plus any tips or boosts
  • Dashers earn an average of $15-25 an hour

Uber Eats

With Uber Eats, you can deliver by car, scooter, bike, or even by foot in some locations. Requirements vary by delivery option, but to become a delivery person who uses the Uber Eats platform, you’ll generally need to be at least 18 or 19 years old and have a valid driver’s license and insurance policy if operating a motor vehicle.1

You’ll need to consent to a screening to get started, but there’s no other training required. Once you download the app and accept the delivery terms, you can start accepting delivery requests as an independent driver. You can switch them on and off as you wish, so you’ll always be able to deliver on your own schedule.

Uber Eats will automatically reimburse you for tolls. Although Uber provides liability insurance coverage, you’ll maintain your own state minimum insurance policy. You’ll also pay for your own gas, but you can receive discounts if you use the Uber Visa Debit Card. Another advantage of using the Uber Visa Debit Card is that you can cash out your earnings up to five times per day at no charge. Although you can receive Instant Pay on your personal debit card, you’ll be charged 50 cents per transaction. Check out our Uber Eats review for more details.

Pay: Uber Eats doesn’t provide hourly estimates, as pay varies by location. However, delivery drivers keep 100% of their tips. Each delivery fare is calculated based on time, distance, and any promotional pay. Uber subtracts a service fee from the total.

Uber Eats is a best fit for: Delivery drivers who want instant access to their earnings

Uber Eats Benefits

  • Earn money with your car, bike, or even a scooter in some cities!
  • Set your own schedule and be your own boss
  • You can access your earnings up to 5X per day with Instant Pay
  • (Additional terms and conditions apply)

Instacart

Full-service Instacart shoppers pack and deliver orders from grocery stores. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old, be able to pass a background check, and have consistent access to a motor vehicle to work as an independent contractor for Instacart.

As with the other services on our list, you’ll be able to choose your own hours when you do grocery delivery for Instacart. Instacart also offers an option to work as an employee and pack orders in-store, which doesn’t require a vehicle, but requires that you schedule your shifts in advance.

Instacart doesn’t reimburse for gas or vehicle maintenance. The company does offer a few perks for contractors, however. Shoppers are provided with injury protection that will help pay medical bills for on-the-job accidents, savings on health insurance, and free access to Care.com. Check out our Instacart review for more details.

Pay: As a full-service shopper, you’ll get paid per delivery batch, and the amount will depend on the number and type of items, delivery distance, and the level of effort involved. Instacart sometimes runs promotions that allow you to earn extra cash, and delivery drivers also keep 100% of customer tips.

Instacart is a best fit for: People who love exploring grocery stores

Instacart Benefits

  • Make your own schedule and work when you want
  • Get paid within an hour through instant cash out
  • Choose between just shopping or shopping and delivering

Postmates

With Postmates, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up and deliver orders from restaurants, liquor stores, convenience stores, and more. You can sign up in just five minutes and no training is required. You choose your own schedule — just open the app and begin accepting deliveries when you want to work. You get to keep 100% of the tips you earn.

You must be 18 years old and have an insured vehicle, such as a car or scooter, to deliver for Postmates (unless you have a bike in some markets). You’ll also need to have a smartphone and be able to pass a background check.

Postmates doesn’t offer vehicle maintenance or mileage reimbursements, and you’re required to maintain your own insurance policy, but there are some perks to being a regular delivery driver. Postmates provides discounts through PerkSpot to eligible drivers who have completed 10 deliveries in the prior month. Check out our Postmates review for more details.

Pay: Payout rates vary by city. For each delivery, you’ll get an amount for each pickup and drop-off, a per-minute rate for the time you wait, and a per-mile rate. You’ll also keep 100% of the tips you earn.

Postmates is a best fit for: People who enjoy visiting a variety of establishments in their city

Postmates Benefits

  • Get paid to go shopping and make deliveries
  • Be your own boss and set your own hours
  • Get paid weekly

Shipt

Shipt delivery drivers shop orders at Target and other big box retailers and grocery stores and deliver them to customers’ doors. You’ll need to be 18, have a reliable car (1997 or newer), driver’s license and insurance, and a smartphone.

You’re in control of your schedule when you work as a contractor for Shipt. Perks include a free Shipt membership and the opportunity to attend Shipt shopper community events.

Shipt does not reimburse for mileage, so you’ll be responsible for gas and vehicle maintenance costs. You also don’t have the option of delivering by bike. However, you will get exclusive discounts on auto insurance, maintenance, gas, and more. Check out our Shipt review for more details.

Pay: Shipt reports that shoppers earn an average of $22/hour, but actual earnings can vary. Paychecks are delivered weekly.

Shipt is a best fit for: People who love to shop at Target

Shipt Benefits

  • Earn money shopping and delivering groceries
  • Be your own boss and set your own hours
  • Apply in under 10 minutes
  • Get paid weekly

Grubhub

When you deliver for Grubhub, you’ll pick up takeout orders from restaurants and bring them to customers. It’s easy to sign up, and there’s an optional training session that will cover everything you need to know. You can create your own hours — just open the app to start accepting deliveries when you’re ready.

To deliver for Grubhub, you’ll need a car with auto insurance, or in some areas, a bike. You’ll also need to be at least 19 years old and have a smartphone.

Grubhub doesn’t reimburse for mileage, but the company does offer perks like 15% off at Jiffy Lube and cashback rewards for gas purchases through GasBuddy. And if you have a Chase bank account or sign up for one, you can get instant payouts.

Pay: Earnings are sent through direct deposit every Thursday, or you can cash out instantly for 50 cents (the fee is waived if you bank with Chase). Hourly wages vary, but the earnings for each trip are based on mileage, time spent on the road, and bonuses if applicable. Drivers also keep 100% of their tips.

Grubhub is a best fit for: Restaurant lovers who bank with Chase

Caviar

Caviar is a part of DoorDash, so when you sign up for one, you can accept delivery opportunities from both. When customers order from Caviar, they’re selecting from a curated list of restaurants. Caviar tends to cater toward higher-end restaurants so these deliveries could result in better tips, but that’s not necessarily always the case. The signup process, requirements, pay structure, and perks are the same as with DoorDash.

Pay: You’ll receive a $2-$10 base pay plus extra if you drive during peak hours or complete a challenge. You’ll also keep 100% of your tips.

Caviar is a best fit for: People who love fancy restaurants

Gopuff

Gopuff is a network of micro-fulfillment centers that stock everything from snacks to essentials to alcohol. The service is available in 650 U.S. cities and most markets are open 24/7, which is great for night owls. You can choose your own hours and work as much as you want, and you’ll only have to worry about going to one pickup location, which will have hassle-free reserved parking.

To deliver for Gopuff, you need to be 21 or older and have a smartphone, car, valid driver’s license, and insurance in your name. You’ll also have to pass an alcohol delivery training course paid for by Gopuff. Gopuff doesn’t offer any reimbursement for mileage or perks for drivers.

Pay: Pay varies by location, but you’ll earn a fee for each delivery and keep 100% of your tips.

GoPuff is a best fit for: People with parking anxiety who want to deliver booze

Tips for making the most of food delivery services

  • Keep your finances organized. As an independent contractor, you’ll need to pay quarterly taxes, and there are certain expenses you can deduct to reduce your overall tax burden. Using a service like Keeper Tax can help you keep your income and expenses organized.
  • Make sure you're insured. If you deliver by car, you’ll need an auto insurance policy. And because you’ll be driving for business, you’ll need to either choose a car insurance company that offers a rideshare endorsement or purchase commercial car insurance.
  • Earn rewards on gas. Because you’ll be driving a lot, you might want to get one of the best gas credit cards so you can earn rewards, along with a cashback app like GetUpside.
  • Be aware of the requirements. Know that you’ll likely be required to submit to a background check, but in most cases, not every conviction will preclude you from employment. If you made a mistake in the past and your record reflects that, be prepared to explain the circumstances. Too many infractions on your driving record might also hurt your chances of getting hired.
  • Get a working smartphone. If your phone is too old or unreliable, it’ll prevent you from reaching your full potential in a delivery job. Make sure you have a working smartphone, either Android or iOS, and a way to display it on your dash so you can follow GPS directions easily.
  • Work for multiple services. Many delivery drivers choose to work for more than one of the best food delivery apps. Deliveries could be slow on one app while another is offering a bonus, so getting on board with more than one company may be advantageous.
  • Provide great customer service. A FinanceBuzz survey found that Americans tip 15% on average when they order delivery, and though many customers may automatically tip that amount, it’s possible to get more or less depending on the service you provide. Be prompt, always follow instructions, and if you’re providing no-contact delivery because of the coronavirus pandemic, follow up with a friendly phone call or text to ensure the customer received their items.

FAQs

What is the best food delivery service to work for?

The best food delivery service for you will depend on several individual factors. First, narrow down the list to services for which you can meet the requirements. For example, if you’re under 21, you won’t be able to work for Gopuff, and if you don’t have a car, you won’t be able to deliver for Shipt.

Next, choose whether you’d like to pick out items at grocery stores or pick up prepared meals at local restaurants. You might decide to sign up for more than one delivery service so you can take advantage of multiple promotional pay offers.

Who pays more: Uber Eats or DoorDash?

Neither Uber Eats nor DoorDash publishes average hourly rates, as they vary by city. For both services, you’ll earn pay for each delivery that’s based on the time, effort, and distance required, along with any bonus payouts, such as for driving during peak hours. You’ll also keep 100% of your tips. It’s important to note that Uber Eats takes a cut of your total calculated delivery fare (except tips), but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll earn less than if you worked for DoorDash.

Which is better: Shipt or Instacart?

When deciding between Shipt vs. Instacart, first ensure you meet the requirements for both. If you don’t have a car, you have the option of working for Instacart as an employee. Shipt tends to be a better option for Target lovers who enjoy access to a community of shoppers, whereas Instacart may be a better fit for people who like visiting a variety of stores. But there’s no reason you can’t work for both.


Bottom line

It’s a pretty safe bet that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in your city feeling snackish at this very moment. They might have a hankering for chicken nuggets and fries, which was the No. 1 most popular delivery food of 2020. Or there could be some sort of emergency requiring a box of wine.

If you’re wondering how to make money while fulfilling those cravings, these eight food delivery services could be an awesome opportunity for you, whether you’re looking for a part-time gig or to fill a full-time schedule. Narrow down the list based on whether you bike or drive, prefer grocery stores or restaurants, or are looking for certain perks. If they’re available, check out the estimated rates for your city.

In the end, you might choose to give more than one of these services to try. You’ve got nothing to lose and 100% of your customers’ tips to gain.

Instacart Benefits

  • Make your own schedule and work when you want
  • Get paid within an hour through instant cash out
  • Choose between just shopping or shopping and delivering

Author Details

Lindsay Frankel Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.