On-demand deliver apps Postmates and DoorDash are expanding across the US fast, and each company is hiring as many drivers as it can in most markets. With much easier vehicle requirements that permit just about any car, both Postmates and DoorDash are turning out to be a good alternative to driving for Uber and Lyft.
Which is the better job for drivers — Postmates or DoorDash? Each provides a similar service, but there are differences between the two jobs that might make one job better for you than another. I talked to John, a driver who works for both apps in Southern California, and he told me what delivery jobs with Postmates and DoorDash are really like and which one he thinks is the better driver job.
Is DoorDash or Postmates a better app?
When you’re a delivery driver for either Postmates or DoorDash, you’ll receive and complete delivery requests using a mobile application. All incoming orders come in through the app, and the app is where you see what you need to pick up and where you need to take it.
The DoorDash app: Overall, John likes the DoorDash app because it presents all of the necessary information in a simple, easy-to-follow manner. The DoorDash app breaks the order down into a step-by-step list that makes it very obvious what you’re supposed to do next. There aren’t too many buttons or options on the screen, so it’s always easy to see how to contact the customer or how to double-check the order.
Order batching: If two pickups are very close to each other, the DoorDash app gives you the opportunity to accept and batch the second order. The app then shows you a color-coordinated list of steps that shows you the best order to pick up and drop off all of the orders in the most efficient way. For John, order batching mostly works well but there have been occasions when the second order was too far from the first.
One complaint: There is no in-map app. If you want to navigate toward the pickup or drop-off location, you have to tap a button that takes you to your preferred map app.
The Postmates app: John finds that the Postmates app is a bit harder to use because information is separated and hidden behind a series of menus and buttons that aren’t always intuitive. The app makes you press more buttons — for instance, you have to tap to check off every item in the order list. DoorDash doesn’t make you do that.
Unlike DoorDash, Postmates has an in-app map that shows you at a glance where the pickup is and where the drop-off is. John likes that. The in-app map also shows you a suggested route, but he usually ends up using a route fetched from Google Maps instead of relying on the suggested route. In the in-app map, other jobs that you accept during the current job show up on the map as dots, which is a good way to keep track of what’s next.
Postmates also allows order batching. You’ll receive other orders while you’re in the middle of your current job, but you have to finish your current job to start the next one.
Winner: The DoorDash app. Even without an in-app map, the cleaner, simpler design makes it easier to use. The batching feature is better executed and you don’t have to continuously tap buttons.
Which job has a better pay structure? Which pays more?
As a delivery driver for your next-gen app job, you get paid by the order. There is no hourly wage. Both apps allow tipping inside the app.
DoorDash: You are paid a flat $6 fee for each delivery and you receive 100% of all tips. Occasionally longer or more challenging orders will result in a $1–$3 “boost” pay. The app makes it obvious that you’re supposed to tip either inside the app and in person. Because DoorDash is newer and business can be slower, John reports that he makes $6–$15/hour. Tipping is allowed and encouraged inside the app.
Postmates: Your fee is calculated based on the distance from the pickup location to the drop-off, and the time it takes you to get there. That means you’re not paid for the trip to the pickup location. If demand is high, the app triggers “blitz pricing,” which is a 1.25–1.75x multiplier. John makes $10–$18/hour with Postmates. Postmates also allows customers to tip inside the app after the order is complete.
Winner: Postmates. Even though some Postmates jobs pay less than the DoorDash $6 minimum, Postmates ends up paying a higher hourly wage.
Which app is busier?
This depends a lot on your local market, but in general, Postmates is better established and gets a lot more delivery requests than DoorDash. John reports quite a bit of downtime with DoorDash, and almost no downtime with Postmates.
Which has better scheduling?
Both apps give you the option to schedule your delivery shift in advance, but it’s not a requirement.
DoorDash: You pick a shift that spans a block of time and begins in a certain area. You can edit the shift to start later and end earlier when you sign up, and you can select several as long as they are half an hour apart. If you pick a shift in an area, you must be physically in that area to start your shift in the app. Even though you signed up to begin your shift in one area, you’ll receive orders all over the region. In big markets like Los Angeles, that means you can end up far from where you started.
You can choose to schedule your shift up to a week in advance, or you can drop into a shift as little as one hour ahead. Warning: DoorDash says that they can deactivate (fire) you immediately if you fail to show up to a shift with less than 24 hours notice. Stern emails and alarming text messages remind you of that all the time, and it can be off-putting.
Postmates: You can schedule your shifts up to two weeks in advance, or you can go on duty in the app whenever you want. People who sign up for shifts in advance get dispatch priority. Unlike DoorDash, your starting location doesn’t matter as long as it’s within the regional boundaries.
If you schedule a shift and you plan to miss it, you can give it away to another courier using a shift swapping system without being penalized.
Strange thing: To go off duty, you must complete your current order and not have any orders upcoming. That means that you’ll have to decide to end your shift, then reject all job offers you get while you’re completing your final delivery. That took John a shift or two to figure out, and one time he felt stuck in a loop when he kept accepting job after job and never getting a chance to sign out because orders kept coming.
Winner: Postmates. DoorDash’s threats to fire you if you drop even one shift without 24 hours’ notice is off-putting, and it’s nice that you can sign into Postmates whenever without having to select an open shift in a certain area.
Which company is better?
I asked John to tell me overall how he felt about each company. He said that both have pretty responsive support systems that resolve issues with orders really quickly. Both provide phone support, but Postmates is phasing that out and it could mean that problems become harder to deal with.
Both companies send a good number of annoying text messages telling you to sign into the app, or letting you know that blitz pricing is enabled. On some days you’ll get up to five texts from each, and you can’t unsubscribe or stop the messages because they come from the customer support line that you need to reach during an order if something goes wrong.
Postmates as a company feels more corporate, established, and organized. DoorDash seems more like a young startup that doesn’t closely monitor everything that’s sent out to drivers.
Winner: Toss-up. Both provide good support, but both send annoying texts.
Overall, is Postmates or DoorDash the better job?
In the end, both jobs are quite similar: The requirements are similar, the apps are similar, the work is similar, the pay is similar, and the frequent text messages from the companies are similar. Both offer flexible scheduling with no minimum required hours. Both pay around $10/hour.
If both apps are in your area, it’s worth trying both out to see if one pays better. You might find that they are the same, or you might find that one is better in your area. If you don’t try both, you’ll never know which one is the best!