food delivery side hustle

Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on a Food Delivery Side Hustle

Recent lack of dine-in options has opened the door wide for food delivery side hustles. 

Now, more than ever, restaurants and supermarkets rely on online delivery companies to keep their businesses going. With an uptick in demand, these companies are hiring drivers to meet their needs. 

If you are looking to make extra money or pay down debt without cutting into your regular take-home pay, it’s time to cash in on food delivery. 

Continue reading for a top apps comparison and how to get started. 


Food Delivery Side Hustle Benefits

Side Hustle Benefits

There are a number of benefits to a food delivery side hustle. 

  • You can make great tips. Receiving tips is possibly the most attractive benefit of working as a food delivery driver. Along with the hourly wage (plus a delivery wage in some cases), food delivery drivers get to keep all of the customers’ tips too.
  • You can create your own schedule. Delivery companies operate a flexible term agreement where drivers can create their own work schedules. They can also pick up extra shifts around their other daytime jobs. This is particularly helpful for students who are able to fit their food delivery around their studying schedule.
  • You get to be outdoors and get some exercise. Working as a food delivery driver gets you away from constantly sitting at a desk. You earn money while moving about connecting hungry and grateful customers with their food. Even if you’re using a vehicle to make the deliveries, you are still moving around and staying active.

No side hustle is perfect though

Like other delivery jobs, parking can be challenging, making it difficult to deliver orders on time. Additionally, you use your own car and pay for your own gas.

That said, if you know what to expect and how to optimize the opportunity, you can make extra money through food delivery. 


Food Delivery Apps Options

There are a number of  apps available to explore as food delivery side hustle possibilities. 

Discovering the pros and cons to each will help you decide which option is best for you. 



Instacart hires side hustlers to shop and deliver groceries to customers. You can work as an in-store shopper or a full-service shopper (shopping + delivery) and can set your own schedule.

Instacart Driver Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years old. If you want to deliver alcohol, which often results in larger tips, you have to be at least 21 in some states.
  • Workers should be able to lift at least 30 pounds, and as much as 50 pounds, “with or without assistance” or accommodation.
  • Have a smartphone: an iPhone (with iOS 9 or later) or Android (5.0 or later).
  • Pass a background check. Instacart says most shoppers are cleared within 10 business days, but this varies by location.
  • Have a checking or savings account. Instacart shoppers are paid via direct deposit, so you’ll need a bank account to collect your earnings.
  • If a full-service shopper, you need to have a car, auto insurance, and 2 years driving experience.

Expected Pay

The money you earn through Instacart is determined by the work you do. In-store shoppers are paid a fixed, hourly wage that varies by location.

Full-service shoppers’ pay depends on the order. Instacart provides an estimate of potential earnings for every order and guarantees shoppers will earn at least $5 for each delivery-only order and $7 to $10 for each full-service (shop and deliver) order.

Instacart Shoppers get to keep 100% of the tips they earn when driving and delivering through the service.

Full-service shoppers can also earn added tips when making deliveries.

Download the Instacart Shopper app to sign up.


Uber Eats

UbereatsUber Eats is an on-demand food delivery app that allows users to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to their location. 

Uber Eats Driver Requirements

  • Must be 19 years old or older (21 years old in Canada).
  • Must have a driver’s license, insurance, and proof of vehicle registration with 1 year of license history.
  • Vehicle requirements: 20 years old or newer.
  • Must be able to lift up to 30 pounds.
  • Bicycle and scooter delivery is available in some larger cities.
  • Bicycle partners must be 18 years or older.
  • Have a smartphone: an iPhone (with iOS 9 or later) or Android (5.0 or later).
  • Have a checking or savings account.

Expected Pay

After accounting for vehicle expenses, Uber Eats drivers earn around $8 – $12 per hour. 

You have the choice of doing only food deliveries while you work, or if your car qualifies, you can also do regular Uber rides. This makes for a food delivery side hustle with double benefits. 

Customers can tip inside the Uber app or in cash. Drivers keep 100% of tips, and customers can tip in the app before or after the order.

Like with Uber rides, you can also receive a boost during surge times. You’ll receive the highest Surge amount from either your current location or the restaurant location.

For example, if the app shows a $5 Surge where you accept the delivery and a $3 Surge over the pickup location, you will receive the $5 Surge.

Sign up with Uber Eats to start delivering today.




Grubhub is an on-demand food delivery service connecting diners with local takeout restaurants. It operates on both website and mobile application. 

Grubhub Driver Requirements

  • Must be 19+ years of age (21+ in Chicago).
  • Must have 2+ years driving experience.
  • Must own an iPhone with iOS 8 or higher or an Android with 4.0 or higher (with data plan).
  • Drivers must have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance.
  • Bikers must have a valid state ID.
  • Checking account for direct deposit.
  • Pass a background check.

Expected Pay

The site has revised its pay formula to eliminate base pay. 

However, drivers are given details about the delivery before accepting, which is very rare among delivery apps.

Additionally, if you commit to a set delivery block and take all the deliveries offered during that time, Grubhub guarantees a minimum hourly wage. The hourly rate changes by market and demand. But again, you are informed in advance. 

The average expected pay is $10 – $12. 

The app also encourages customer tipping at restaurant-style fares and passes on 100% of the tip to the driver. 

Apply to deliver for Grubhub today.




Postmates offers delivery jobs, transporting food and alcohol from grocery stores and restaurants to clients in major cities.  

It is available in all 50 states and over 400 cities in the U.S. and Mexico. 

Postmates Driver Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must own a smartphone with the Postmates Fleet app downloaded.
  • Pass a Postmates background check.
  • There are no vehicle requirements so you can deliver by car, bike, scooter, or even on foot.

Expected Pay

In general, most Postmates drivers end up earning somewhere between $10 – 20 per hour depending on many different variables, including location, average order size, and time of day. 

You’re paid for miles traveled, time spent waiting to pick up orders, and how many orders you’re able to complete in an hour. That’s in addition to keeping 100% of your tips.

Sign up free to deliver for Postmates.


Tips for a Successful Food Delivery Side Hustle

To optimize making your food delivery side hustle a success, there are a few helpful things to keep in mind. 

#1 Work multiple apps. All of the apps have their pros and cons. Whether you’re looking at pay, customer satisfaction, or driver saturation, each app shines and lacks in some areas. The key is to figure out how to make these apps work in tandem to your advantage.

#2 Work in hot spots. There are areas in your town or city that have the best chance of getting delivery requests. These often become visible on the apps, usually in the form of a map. By identifying hot spots you increase chances of deliveries and pocketing tips. 

#3 Go online during peak hours. Peak hours usually happen daily from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch orders, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for dinner orders. The weekend is busy pretty much anytime. Working during these hours boosts your chances for delivery requests and possibly delivery price increases (surges) as well. 

#4 Work smartly. To make the most of your time, aim to accept a couple of deliveries headed in the same direction. Getting to know which restaurants to accept or decline based on distance and parking availability helps as well. This information will help you decide if the delivery is worth your time.

#5 Maximize your opportunity for tips. Smile. Say  “thank you,” and use the customer’s name. These niceties go a long way to encourage tipping. If you’re delayed or an item is unavailable, communicate with customers ahead of time to manage expectations. They appreciate the attention to detail. 


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