Don’t Want Strangers in Your Car? Make Cash With These Delivery Apps Instead

17,487 Views
Male driving a car during evening traffic jam.
SbytovaMN/Getty Images


Some people can make bank — even full-time wages — driving for ride-sharing services.

And that’s awesome. But other people hate the idea of plucking (sometimes drunk) strangers off the street and delivering them to an unknown neighborhood.

Trust me; I get it.

Plenty of money-making options for drivers don’t involve real, live humans. For example, you can get paid to deliver food — whether that’s groceries or takeout. In my opinion, the gig seems less daunting than ride sharing, and you can still make a substantial side income.

So for those of you who would rather not welcome strangers into your cars, we’ve compared six popular food-delivery services from the perspective of the side hustler.

1. Become an Uber Eats Driver

Courier On Bicycle Delivering Food In City
Daisy-Daisy/Getty Images

Ahhh, the sweet smell of takeout stinking up your car.

OK, it might not be the most appealing thing in the world — you might want to crack a few windows, depending on the type of cuisine you’re delivering — but Uber Eats offers flexible food-delivery opportunities.

Here are more details:

  • Locations: Uber Eats is all over the U.S. — and the world, really. For a full list, go to its location page.
  • Pay: Drivers are paid a pick-up fee, for the distance traveled and a drop-off fee. Uber takes a service fee. Delivery partners can cash out up to five times a day with instant pay.
  • Schedule: Flexible.

Requirements include (may vary by location): You must…

  • Be at least 19 years old if delivering by car.
  • Delivery options via car (must be a 1997 or newer with at least two doors), bike, scooter or foot depending on your area.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have a valid driver’s license and insurance (if you deliver by car or scooter).

2. Become a Shipt Shopper

A woman takes groceries to her car.
William DeShazer for The Penny Hoarder

If you sign up as a Shipt Shopper, it’s your job to pick and choose grocery orders to fill and deliver. Take notes from Destiny Frith, who used Shipt to earn up to $20 an hour when she was between jobs.

Here are more details:

  • Locations: Shipt is currently available in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, and expanding throughout the rest of the country. An easy way to see if it’s in your area is to enter your zip code here.
  • Pay: The Shipt site says shoppers can earn up to $25 an hour. Shoppers are paid per order, so that’ll vary by order count and tips.
  • Schedule: Flexible, though peak days are Sunday and Monday, according to the driver application.

Requirements: You should…

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a reliable vehicle that’s less than 15 years old.
  • Have an iPhone (iOS 8 or newer) or Android (4.4.2 or newer) phone.
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance with at least a year of driving experience.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Own an insulated cooler bag.
  • Know your way around the produce section.
  • Be able to lift at least 25 pounds.
  • Be able to avoid smoking on the job.
  • How to apply: Fill out the short online application. Shipt will email you with more details within 24 hours. You’ll have a virtual interview, either through your computer or on your phone. Shipt says it takes approximately 15 minutes.

You might have seen Shipt in the news. Target bought the service, which means Shipt Shoppers will  get to spend more time at Target in the future, and what could be better than that?

3. Become an Instacart Shopper

Instacart is different from other grocery-delivery services because it offers shoppers two different money-making opportunities.
Your first option is to sign up as a full-service shopper, which requires you to shop and deliver groceries. Then there’s the in-store shopper option, which doesn’t require making any deliveries. The in-store shopper simply shops in the store and bags the items so they’re ready for pick-up.

To be consistent with the delivery trend we have going, we’ll focus on the full-service shopper.

Here are more details:

  • Locations: There’s a big ol‘ map of Instacart’s service areas. Enter your zip code to get more details about your area.
  • Pay: Instacart doesn’t share any average earnings, though you’re paid per delivery. Some recent Indeed reviews of Instacart have mentioned $9 an hour in Indiana. In a bigger area, like San Francisco, one independent contractor cited making $15 to $20 an hour.
  • Schedule: Flexible, no note of popular times.

Requirements: You must…

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Have reliable access to a vehicle and two or more years of driving experience.
  • Have a smartphone (iPhone 4S or Android 4.0 or newer).
  • Be able to lift 30 to 40 pounds.
  • How to apply: Enter basic information here. Then, attend an assigned in-person group session, where you’ll get an overview of Instacart, its app and your next steps.

4. Become a GrubHub Driver

Grubhub has been around for a while — since 2004. It satisfies all of our take-out needs.

Side note: If you’re wondering why Seamless, another food-delivery service, didn’t make the list, GrubHub and Seamless merged a while back. So if you want to drive with Seamless, it’ll redirect you to GrubHub’s driver page.

Here are more details:

  • Locations: Here’s a long list of cities GrubHub delivers in.
  • Pay: GrubHub deems pay “competitive” and notes that drivers keep 100% of their tips.
  • Schedule: Flexible.

Requirements: You must…

  • Be at least 19 years old.
  • Have two or more years of driving experience.
  • Have an iPhone (iOS 8 or newer) or Android (4.4.2 or newer) phone.
  • Have a valid driver’s license, insurance and clean driving record. You can also deliver via motorcycle, scooter, bike or food.
  • Have a checking account for direct deposit.
  • Pass a background check.

5. Become a DoorDasher

This is arguably the best title on our list of food-delivery gigs: DoorDasher.

With DoorDash, you’ll be delivering food from restaurants in your area.

Here are more details:

Requirements: You must…

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have no major violations in the past seven years.
  • Have less than three accidents or traffic violations in the past three years.
  • Have an iPhone or Android smartphone.

6. Become a PostMates Driver

Young female checks over her eggs that arrived in her organic food delivery.
MartinPrescott/Getty Images

Want to live life on the edge? You could deliver just about anything as a Postmates driver — food, drinks, groceries… You never know!

Here are more details:

Requirements: No requirements are immediately mentioned on the site, except that drivers must be at least 18 years old.

  • How to apply: Enter your email address and create a password here. Continue to enter basic information and authorize a background check. Next, you’ll get to create a profile, set up direct deposit and explore the dashboard. Wait for a welcome kit in the mail.

So now you know: It is possible to make money in the gig economy without that whole… people… thing.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. In doing research for this story, she went through the sign-up process of most all of these services. Cue 100 email updates asking me to finish my applications… Oops.

Do you think this article might help you put more money in your pocket?Thumbs UpThumbs Down