Online food delivery services are one of the most convenient aspects of the rise of the gig economy.
On-demand food delivery apps connect consumers to thousands of different merchants and their fleet of delivery drivers, to help people get what they want and need without leaving the house.
And knowing which service does what can be a rather tall task.
Two of the biggest delivery companies are Uber Eats and Postmates.
They provide similar services, but they each do it a bit differently.
Below, you’ll find a complete comparison of Uber Eats vs. Postmates so you can decide more quickly which one you want to use when you need something delivered to your door.
- Uber Eats vs. Postmates: The Basics
- How Does Each Service Work?
- How Much Does it Cost?
- Driving Uber Eats and Postmates
- Signing Up to Drive for Postmates
- How Much Can You Make as an Uber Eats Driver?
- How Much Can You Make as a Postmates Driver?
Uber Eats vs. Postmates: The Basics
Both provide delivery service, but what are the main differences?
Uber Eats is Uber’s (the ridesharing company) attempt at a delivery service.
They partner with countless restaurants in cities across the world to provide fast and convenient delivery.
Uber Eats operates in most of the cities where Uber is present, although it is not in all the same markets.
The list of cities in which Uber Eats delivers is immense, so the best thing you can do is to look at the list to see if your city has access to this service.
If you live in a medium-sized city, Uber Eats is probably available.
Postmates is, as we know, also a delivery service, but the main thing that makes it different from Uber Eats is that it does not only deliver food.
Instead, by using Postmates you can get pretty much anything you want, from any store, delivered to you.
The options aren’t limited to food, Postmates also delivers alcohol and groceries.
Ordering from restaurants that aren’t partners is also possible, but that restaurant will need to have signed up to be listed on the Postmates app for this to be possible.
Like Uber Eats, Postmates operates in countless cities across the United States. But unlike Uber Eats, it does operate in other countries.
How Does Each Service Work?
For customers, Uber Eats and Postmates have a very similar ordering process.
Both services have apps and websites that allow you to place an order.
After you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, you can scroll through different options available in your area.
You can browse by restaurant or food type, or you can search if you’re looking for something more specific.
If you find what you want, then all you need to do is to click “purchase.”
The app will give you an estimated delivery time, as well as a total cost.
You’ll be charged through the app using the credit or debit card you’ve provided.
Despite similarities, there are some distinct differences between Uber Eats and Postmates.
One thing we should mention about Uber Eats, even though Uber owns Uber Eats, you need to download the separate Uber Eats app to place an order.
And one of the main differences between Uber and Postmates is that Uber Eats only allows you to see the restaurants with which it has already partnered.
Sticking with delivery partners keep fees down (but limits options) as compared to Postmates, something we’ll discuss later on.
Another difference is that Uber Eats utilizes its squad of rideshare drivers to complete deliveries.
On the flip side, Postmates has a dedicated team of drivers who only deliver.
Postmates works a little differently in that you can order from virtually anywhere.
A restaurant or store doesn’t need to be partnered with Postmates for you to order from them, but this will likely cost you some extra money.
Furthermore, Postmates customers have the option to pick up your food and avoid a delivery fee.
And if the restaurant is a partner, then you won’t need to pay anything at all.
But if it isn’t, then you still need to pay the Postmates service fee.
This is nice because expands your options when ordering food, but it also negates the key benefit of Postmates: having things delivered to your door.
How Much Does it Cost?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Each service has a different way of charging you for delivery, so it’s hard to say which is cheaper, but we’ll give you a breakdown of each company’s pricing to help you decide.
When Uber Eats first launched, it used a fixed pricing structure, which is unlike its ride service, which charges you based on demand and availability.
The delivery fee was $4.99.
However, Uber Eats did away with their fixed price plan and instituted variable pricing based on distance.
If you live close to the restaurant, then delivery will cost less than $4.99.
But if you live further away, it will cost more.
Generally speaking, ordering from places that are within a mile costs about $3.99, places more than a mile away cost $5.49.
More than two or three miles will cost you $7.99.
These are all estimates, and the actual cost can vary.
For instance, check out the delivery fees during a recent snowstorm in Denver:
To get a clearer idea of how much Uber Eats costs, download the app or head to their website and search around to see the delivery fee from some of your favorite places.
The pricing scheme for Postmates is entirely different.
If you choose delivery, the fee is usually $3.99.
But this fee can vary, and there are constantly specials for free delivery from certain restaurants.
In addition to the delivery fee, there is also a service fee (if the restaurant is not a Postmates partner), which is 19.99 percent of your total order.
The service fee will never exceed $20.
If you order from one of Postmates partners, there’s no additional service fee (but there is still a delivery fee).
Postmates argues this cost structure allows them to offer delivery from absolutely anywhere, which is true, but it can considerably drive up the cost of your total order if you’re not paying attention.
Driving Uber Eats and Postmates
Up until now, we’ve looked exclusively at the difference between how these two services deal with customers, but there is another piece to the puzzle.
Working for either provides similar benefits: you get to choose your hours, work when you want, and you don’t have a boss.
Both companies hire independent contractors, so you’re not technically an employee of the company.
Just go to your account at partners.uber.com and opt in for Uber Eats, you can also do this through the Uber app.
It will take around a day for your account to activate, but once it does, you’ll be able to start taking jobs for Uber Eats.
If you’re not already an Uber driver, then you will need to go through the signup process first.
But before you go too far, know there are specific requirements for Uber and Uber Eats drivers.
- Be at least 19 years old (21 in Canada)
- Have a valid driver’s license, insurance, and a proof of vehicle registration
- Have one year of license history, meaning you can’t be a new driver.
- Own a vehicle that is from 1998 or later if you live in a city that allows for EATS-only profiles. Otherwise, your vehicle will need to meet the full list of Uber’s vehicle requirements.
- Pass a background check
- Be able to lift 30 pounds
In some cities, you can use a bicycle or scooter, but you must be at least 18 years old if you want to deliver on your bike.
For those who meet these requirements, the process for signing up us as simple as logging onto the Uber Eats platform to provide your personal information.
If your profile matches what Uber Eats is looking for, then someone will contact you to help you get started.
Signing Up to Drive for Postmates
Signing up to work for Postmates is rather easy, and there are very few requirements that couriers must meet.
All you need to do is either visit their website or download their app, make an account, and then enter your information.
In the beginning, all they will ask you for is your:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Current address
- Vehicle type
- Driver’s license number
If you’re identified as a good candidate, then someone from Postmates will reach out to you.
They will ask you to:
- Authorize a background check
- Review and agree to their terms of service
- Upload a profile photo
After you sign up, Postmates mails drivers a prepaid card and a delivery bag.
When you get this package, you need to activate your prepaid card through the app.
This will trigger the background check, which is the final part of the process.
The card is how you will pay for the food you pick up from restaurants.
The customer pays through the app, and then Postmates pays the merchant.
The card is so that you don’t need to go out of pocket for the orders you complete.
Once you’ve finished this approval process, you’re ready to start working.
Just open up the fleet app and start accepting orders.
How Much Can You Make as an Uber Eats Driver?
With each delivery, you receive a pickup fee, a drop-off fee, a mileage fee, and a time fee.
The pickup and dropoff fees are usually around $1-2, the mileage fee is around $.50-.60 per mile, and $.20 is a normal time fee.
This means that a delivery that is 3 miles away and that takes you 10 minutes to complete will earn you around $6.30 ($1.50 pickup + $1.50 drop-off + $1.80 in mileage + $2 for ten minutes.)
However, Uber will take a 25 percent fee off of that, which would bring your net earnings down to $4.73 for that delivery.
Uber Eats advertises an hourly rate of $8-12, which is lower than what it promises for Uber drivers.
Ways to Make More
Other ways to make money include tips, which are 100 percent yours, as well as “Boost” and “Surge” pricing.
In the app, “Boost” areas will appear, and if you make deliveries from that area, then the fees you receive will be higher.
Uber Eats uses its algorithm to determine where the most amount of orders will come from, and then it offers higher fees to make sure there are drivers there to deliver this higher volume.
“Surge” pricing is another way to make extra.
This comes about when there is excessive demand in one area or restaurant (just like Surge pricing for the rideshare service).
However, if an area is in both “Surge” and “Boost,” though, know that you will only make the higher fee.
It’s not possible to make both.
How Much Can You Make as a Postmates Driver?
Again, the exact amount you can make as a Postmates delivery person is going to depend on if you work full-time or part-time and on the nature of the deliveries you make.
Going further and delivering bigger orders will make you more money.
The minimum for all deliveries is $5, but it’s possible to make more.
Postmates calls this Blitz pricing, and it’s designed to make sure they can meet high demand.
Overall, Postmates and Uber Eats are both great options for getting your favorite food, or other items, delivered right to your door.
And for the more entrepreneurial types, they are also great ways to make some extra money.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to clarify the difference between the two, but if you still have some questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.