With all the recent business shutdowns, layoffs, and other economic shifts, more Americans than ever are looking for alternative sources of income. Starting in March 2020, a staggering 30 million people—nearly 1 in 5 workers—filed for unemployment in only six weeks. Not all of them qualify, though, and many of those that do still won’t be able to make ends meet.
Are you wondering how to become a Postmates Driver? If so, you’d be doing others an excellent service while also earning extra money. With so many people relying on contactless deliveries to keep them healthy and fed, this opportunity is more than just a way to pad your pocketbook.
You can’t just download an app and start driving, though—there’s a series of steps you need to take first. Read on to learn all you need to know about the Postmates driver requirements and how to become a Postmates driver yourself.
What Services Does Postmates Offer?
Before you prepare yourself to meet their requirements, take the time to read through the services you’ll be offering as a driver to make sure they’re a good fit for you.
Postmates mainly delivers food from restaurants. Customers can access a list of participating restaurants nearby through the website’s portal or a phone app. Then, they place their order and pay a delivery fee.
Postmates drivers in the area can choose to accept the order. They’ll then go to the restaurant, pick up the food, and deliver it to the customer’s residence. While drivers would typically knock on the door and hand food directly to the customer, many people are requesting contactless delivery, meaning you may have fewer customer interactions than usual right now.
While their primary focus is on restaurant meals, Postmates drivers also deliver groceries and other material goods. If a customer needs a phone charger, for instance, they may order one delivery from a participating gas station.
What Makes a Good Postmates Driver?
Now that you know what services a Postmates driver offers take a moment before signing up to see if you’re a good fit for the job.
Because you can accept jobs on your own time, this is a great side gig for people who need a flexible schedule. The flip side, though, is that you need to be self-motivated. You have to be able to hold yourself accountable for getting the work done.
Postmates drivers also need to be decent drivers and navigators.
A single past speeding ticket won’t disqualify you, and you don’t need to have your entire city memorized. Even so, you’ll have to be able to get from restaurants to unfamiliar residences on time and safely.
Finally, the best Postmates drivers have excellent customer service and people skills. Even though you likely won’t interact with customers for long (if at all), you will at least be talking to restaurant and store employees. You’ll need to be kind, respectful, and responsible to succeed at this job.
Meet The Basic Postmates Requirements
Does as a Postmates Delivery representative still sound like a great fit? Now it’s time to go over the process of joining the fleet.
First and foremost, there’s a list of essential requirements for Postmates drivers that all members have to meet before they can apply. Couriers must:
- Be age 18 or over
- Possess a valid US drivers license
- Be willing to take and able to pass a background check and driving record check through Checkr
- Have a valid mailing address and social security number
- Be willing to submit a clear and recent headshot photograph for identification purposes
Drivers also need to live in (or at least close to) a city where Postmates operates. While these areas can be found all across the United States, people who live in small towns or rural areas may not be able to apply due to a lack of demand.
Postmates is a great alternative to Uber because, unlike the latter, Postmates doesn’t require you to have a nice car. They don’t require you to have a car at all—just a license and the insurance necessary to operate whatever vehicle you use for deliveries.
That means as long as you can carry it safely, you can deliver food via moped, motorcycle, or pickup truck. Some larger cities with lots of orders in a small area even offer Postmates services by bicycle or on foot.
Any vehicle you use needs to be registered under your name, have current license plates, and meet all the state’s auto insurance requirements. Keep in mind that if you walk, bike, or drive a small vehicle, you won’t be able to accept large orders due to a lack of carrying space.
That is how you’ll earn money from deliveries. Postmates pay their couriers via direct deposit, so you’ll need to have an active checking account. Savings accounts and other payment services, like PayPal and Venmo, aren’t eligible.
You’ll earn money through a combination of delivery fees and tips. Postmates takes a 20% cut of the delivery fees, which tend to range between $1-5. Drivers keep the entirety of their tips, which, for most, make up the bulk of their earnings.
Later on, we’ll go over how to connect your account and start getting paid.
Every single driver for Postmates has to own a smartphone. That’s because everything on the delivery driver’s side of operations goes through the Postmates Fleet App, available for both iOS and Android. That is where you’ll accept new orders and mark them delivered.
Keep in mind that you’re looking for the Postmates Fleet app, not the general Postmates app that customers place orders through. You won’t need to download that one at all unless you’re hoping to order from Postmates yourself.
How To Become A Postmates Driver
After you’re sure that you meet all the requirements, it’s time to go through the Postmates application process. Signing up is straightforward. Just head over to the “Join the Fleet” section of the Postmates website, create an account, and fill out their questionnaire.
After you’ve submitted your application, the in-house team will verify your identity, check to make sure your application doesn’t show any red flags, and then add you to the team. You’ll get a free delivery bag and inactive prepaid card to use on occasions where customers haven’t paid for their orders ahead of time.
Once the welcome kit arrives at your home by mail, you can finish setting up your account and start making deliveries right away.
Activate The Fleet App
After you’ve been approved and gotten the welcome kit, it’s time to pull out your smartphone and open up the Postmates Fleet app. That is where you’ll activate your prepaid card—something you should do ASAP to expedite the process.
You’ll also need to connect the app to your bank account to allow for direct deposits. To connect your bank account, you’ll need your account number, your bank’s routing number, and your necessary information.
Once per week, your earnings are deposited straight into your connected account. You can also cash out instantly whenever you want, but keep in mind that each extra deposit has a small processing fee of $0.50. It’s best to make only one or two transfers per week, so you don’t lose out on earnings.
Start Driving And Earning Cash
Have you made it through all the above steps? Here’s what to know to maximize your earnings.
Accepting Delivery Assignments
All your deliveries come through the Fleet app. To start accepting deliveries, turn on your phone’s location and select your vehicle type in settings. You can then go through the list of available orders and accept the ones you’re interested in.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to see the delivery address until after you accept the order. You’ll only see the restaurant where you’ll pick up the food. Be careful not to pick up too many orders before delivering them, or you may end up bringing cold food to customers whose homes are far apart.
If you want to set aside a specific block of time to work instead of doing deliveries here and there, consider turning on the auto-accept feature under “preferences”. This feature sends you new orders as you drive, so you don’t waste time manually searching through the list.
Also, make sure to take advantage of hotspots and blitz pricing. Hotspots are areas with high demand for drivers—you can check where they are in the Fleet app. Blitz pricing multiplies the delivery fee during peak hours, so make sure you turn on notifications to avoid missing out on extra cash.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
While you don’t have to bring anything more than your phone, delivery bag, and prepaid card, there are a few ways you can set up your environment to make deliveries easier.
First, if you’re driving a car, make sure you have a vehicle-dedicated charging cable, so your phone doesn’t die. A dead cellphone can mean the end of your workday, but if the cable never leaves your car, you don’t run the risk of forgetting it at home.
Another invaluable phone accessory is a dashboard mount. You can choose between magnetic mounts and clips that adhere to your vents. Either way, this lets you use your phone for hands-free directions without having to take your eyes off the road.
Finally, try keeping a small stock of food extras—salt and pepper packets, condiment packets, napkins, and packaged straws—in case your customer’s order didn’t come with them. Because your income comes from tips, going above and beyond to make customers happy can directly impact your paycheck.
How To Keep Track Of Your Finances As A Postmates Courier
Working as a courier for Postmates or other delivery services isn’t the same as being employed by a business. You’ll be serving as an “independent contractor”, meaning that taxes won’t be taken out of your earnings.
You’ll need to keep track of your earnings and file a 1099 form to report your earnings. You might also have to file quarterly estimated taxes, depending on your state’s requirements.
If you earn less than $600 during a tax year, you may not owe anything, but it’s better to be prepared.
Postmates also doesn’t cover any of your vehicle costs. You’ll need to pay for your gasoline, maintenance, insurance, and other related fees by yourself, so leave room for these in your budget. The good news is that you can write off the miles you drive while you work as business expenses on your taxes.
Are You Ready to Earn Extra Money?
Once you’ve followed all the steps in this guide on how to become a Postmates driver, you’ll be well on your way to earning money. If you find that delivering for Postmates is the perfect fit, you may even decide to take this side gig and make it full-time.
For those of you who are looking for more ways to earn cash on the side, we’ve got your back. Check out our ultimate 2020 list of creative ways to make money online. And for more support on managing your money even through uncertain times, head over to our financial help center for ways to stay afloat when faced with the unexpected.