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 gig for drivers — Postmates or DoorDash? Each provides a similar service, but there are differences between the two that might make one better for you than another. I talked to John, a driver who works for both apps in Southern California, and he told me what delivering with Postmates and DoorDash are really like and which one he thinks is the better for drivers.
Which Has a Better Pay Structure? Which Pays More?
As a delivery driver for your next-gen app gig, you get paid by the order. There is no hourly wage. Both apps allow tipping inside the app.
DoorDash: Drivers are paid Base pay + Promotions + Tips = Total Earnings. Base pay is a calculation of “time, distance, and desirability.” An estimated order payout is displayed before you accept each order. “Peak Pay” promotions offer a bonus on each delivery during busy times. DoorDash reports that you can get paid $23 per hour while on a delivery*. Tipping is allowed and encouraged inside the app.
*Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery
Postmates: Driver pay is a calculation of: Pickup fee, drop-off fee, a mileage rate between pickup and drop off, and the time it takes you to get from the pickup to the customer. 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: DoorDash. The ability to screen orders based on estimated payout gives DoorDash a big edge over Postmates. With Postmates, there’s no way to avoid the lowest-pay orders.
Here’s what a reader had to say about the DoorDash pay structure: “I like the [DoorDash] pay model way more and seeing how much you get before you accept work is much better than being blindsided with little to know money and praying you get tipped out later to make it worth the trouble.”
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.
Essential Delivery Reading
- Should you be a driver for Postmates or DoorDash?
- Uber Eats: What it’s like delivering food for Uber
Which Has Better Flexibility, Scheduling, And Work Hours?
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.
You can choose to schedule your shift up to a week in advance, or you can drop into a shift if the market is busy enough. 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: Postmates allows you to log on whenever you want to work, no scheduling necessary.
Winner: Postmates. It can be difficult to schedule desirable hours on DoorDash, and it may be harder to work your DoorDash schedule into your life schedule. It’s much more flexible to sign into Postmates without having to schedule hours.
Which Has a Better App Experience?
Postmates or DoorDash 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.
Essential Delivery Reading: Requirements
- Delivery vehicle requirements: Can you deliver in your car?
- DoorDash driver requirements
- DoorDash Deactivation: How to Appeal
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 orders that you accept during the current order 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 order, but you have to finish your current order 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 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 Gig?
In the end, both gigs 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!