Guest Post. Postmates Vs Doordash

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Crowd-sourcing has become one of the most impactful ways people make money. Do you want to be the biggest driving service without owning any cars? Ask Uber. Want to be the biggest property rental service without owning any property? Ask Airbnb. Want to get paid tens of thousands of dollars to…just make a potato salad? Ask this guy. But this isn’t about any of those; it’s about burritos. Specifically, people taking other people burritos.

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Just like with Uber and Lyft, crowd-sourcing apps like Postmates, Grubhub, Ubereats and Doordash- have now created a network of delivery boys and girls, restaurants, and lots of hungry-ass people. Like many others, I’ve tried to fill some of those hours of free time with something that is both flexible and profitable. And I did try Uber and Lyft before, but have since discovered that food never makes unreasonable requests or pukes in your car, so yes, pizzas make better passengers.


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In order to optimize my food-taking-time, I decided to compare the different food delivery apps, both on paper and in practice. Right off the bat, one finds out that the requirements for starting to deliver vary considerably with the different companies. You want to deliver for Postmates? Done, here’s your first order, few questions asked. Ubereats is a little more cautious. They ask that you at least take your car to get inspected, I guess to make sure you aren’t delivering the food on a tricycle. Doordash kicks it up a notch- you have to go, in person (blasphemy!) for an orientation. Depending on where you live, it might be a bit of a drive to get to the Doordash center, but it’s great to get to talk to someone who has been with the business for some time and to ask questions. Not surprisingly, though, ALL companies do a background check, which makes sense after what happened with the Panda Express diarrhea terrorist.

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That difference highlighted in the different ways to join Postmates and Doordash (the companies that will be focused on from now on) reflects the different values that seem to be in the day to day work within each: Flexibility vs Structure.After making your profile on the Postmates portal, you could probably make your first delivery within 30 minutes. You press the “go online” button, and you’re on the food radar. Fast, easy, anytime- total Flexibility.

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Now with Doordash, the first thing one will notice is that before you can even go online, you gotta look at the map of your area. Doordash divides cities by sections and limits the number of drivers that may be active per zone at any given time. They do this so that no place gets unnecessarily saturated, and that drivers can be sent to the areas that need them. You can even schedule working times ahead of time to save your spot. The advantage of the zone system is twofold: one, you’re more likely to get orders because you aren’t driving where there’s an eager Dasher on every corner; two, the areas mean that all your deliveries will be limited to that part of town. That is a crucial feature- no more driving fifteen mile away from where you want to go just to make a five-dollar drop-off, and with shorter trips, you get more deliveries over all. The disadvantage is that, sometimes, you can’t drive where you want, and driving far from home, just to start driving some more, isn’t very appealing. When you are in an area that is open, you set a start time and an end time, and you’re committed to that time. If you log off during that time for too long, Doordash takes points off your profile and may start giving you less lasagnas. So, you set your time and place- ready to deliver the goods? Nope. Now the app is going to ask you, “did you charge your phone?”; “did you put gas in your car?”; “did you take a shit?” Seriously, the app asks you if you went to the bathroom before you start driving, and it’s a legitimate question, who wants cold food because their driver had to stop at a ghetto-ass gas station bathroom? With all those checked off, you can dash. And before you even started to drive, you can begin to see the pros and cons of the flexibility with Postmates and the structure of Doordash.





During the actual deliveries, the work virtually is identical, but the interactions with the apps are different. Doordash asks you to update your status more often, of course: “did you get to the restaurant?”; “did you order?”; “did you pick up the food?”; “are you on your way?” Sometimes Doordash sends random alerts like, “hey! you’ve been at the restaurant for a while, what’s going on?” or “Wait! Did you remember to get napkins? Sauces? Straws? Ok! Just checking” I thought the reminders made sense and weren’t too bad, because it is easy to forget the Ranch, but you Never want to forget the Ranch. Postmates seems a little more chill by comparison; it's not asking you stuff costantly (probably because your location is updated by gsp anyway) and you can log off at any time between trips for as long as you want, log back on any time, and you don't have time limits for every step of the delivery.

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With any of the apps, the job can be quite fun. If you love food, your inner fatty will rejoice! You drive around your city, often finding new restaurants and cuisines that beg you to return, like a Philipino restaurant that I felt was torturing me with the aroma of crispy lechon or the award winning BBQ place that had a brisket sandwich with mac n’ cheese inside! And if you’re friendly at the restaurant (and not being a dick trying to make them hurry like I’ve heard some peeps do) they’ll be awesome, sometimes giving you waters for the road, free samples, or tell you about the most popular dishes and stuff. I once got to try every kind of chicken at a Chinese place! Exception to the rule: the Cheesecake Factory. Every time I’ve been to the CF, they take as long as they want, not giving a shit at all. The Doordash app gives you timeframes for how long it should take you to order, to pick up, and to deliver (of course it does) and the CF is the only restaurant that is late every single time. I thought it was weird at first, but all became clear. One time I had back-to-back CF runs. I showed up for the second one saying, “I’m back!”, with some Mexican Jonah Hill- looking dude responding “unfortunately.” I said, “why unfortunately?” “Because we don’t get tips, so we don’t make any money off the orders.” I said, “well, I’m making money.” “Good for you” he replied, before handing me some over-priced pasta. So, yea, because the staff at the Factory can’t masturbate you for tips through the app, they get salty and your delivery order will be late every time. Basically, don’t get delivery from tip-whores. 

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As far as customers, you mostly get two kinds of customers- the kind that are excited to see you (really the burritos) and the kind who are just, “ugh just gimme the food.” Some even ask you to just drop it off at the door, probably wanting to imagine that their food appeared magically. The only tricky part with the customers can be finding them, especially with a massive apartment complex. What you thought was going to be an eight-minute trip just turned into twenty minutes because you can’t find the place. Because of course the customer wants you to take the food right to their door; you dare ask them to…move? I guess it is Doordash, not Parkinglotdash or Sidewalkdash.

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Getting paid with both apps is straight forward, but Doordash is more upfront with how much you’ll make. With Postmates, it gives you the tips at the end of the month. You may be disappointed when you see that thirty-minute, ten pizza delivery order was only worth five bucks, but elated at the end of the month when you find out they gave you a ten-dollar tip too. And let's say the customer cancels the order as you're on your way to drop off. Do you get charged for it? Do you not get paid? Do you have to take the food back? None of the above. You get paid half and you keep the food! Exception: if the order has booze, you gotta give that back, sadly. But there is nothing better than getting paid to eat free food. Overall, my experience with delivering has been awesome, so if you’ve got free time and need a little extra cash, it's a gig I recommend. Now you can choose- Flexibility or Structure.

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