For my original post in November 2014 about working as a Postmates courier, click here. This current post you are reading is an update one year later after working with Postmates.
Executive summary for those not wanting to read my commentary:
Postmates has not changed much. You still are a delivery drive in SF and you will not be rich. I averaged around $15/hr. But if you work harder and hustle better than I did (very easy to do since I am lazy) you can probably do a lot better than my $15/hr average.
Candidly, I have completed only 9 orders for Postmates in 2015. I only picked being a Postmates courier back up after I was contacted in early October from Janic at the Canadian Broadcast Company to do a radio interview for a spot he was doing on the “gig economy” and he wanted to get insight from a Postmates driver as Postmates was going to expand to Montreal, Canada. Janic did a ride along when I was delivering a few deliveries a few weeks back on October 17th.
Postmates was running a promotion for a minimum floor of $25 during this time and I have my own opinions on this for which I will save you my emotion ridden thoughts and say that I did not qualify for the $25/hr minimum during my deliveries with Janice on October 17th. I am still waiting to hear about the final broadcast and if I will make the cut. I hope so and I will share that if that occurs.
Details of my Postmates work in 2015:
3 jobs in January 2015
2 orders in February 20151 in March 2015 for a promotion for $25 to return
3 jobs in October (all on October 17th with Janic from the CBC)
1 job on November 7th
I was sort of kicked off the platform (the platform is what Postmates calls it to avoid California labor laws to pay you as an employee, thus justifying paying you as a contractor. Postmates argues, like uber and lyft argue, that they are connecting you with customers who want to have deliveries. Ok fine.) and I also left on my own accord as I had a full time office job. I was not doing deliveries and Postmates took me off as a courier.
I was mainly doing Postmates on the side to earn extra money. After doing it a bit, the time and effort I put in for the monetary reward was not worth it. I.e the pay was not good enough for me.
Now, I am not saying that it will not be good enough for you, just that with my job situation the amount of time I was putting into Postmates to effectively earn about $15/hour was not worth it. I determined it was better to enjoy my life watching Netflix than deliver some smelly curry to lazy tech engineers from curry up now. I also have a full time office job and I too get to be a cushy office employee!
It was a rather simple process to get back online to work with Postmates. I had to go back to the Postmates office on 475 Valencia street and be approved (because of my stellar rating from last year of a 4.9 out of 5.0 I was given the green light and a new pex card) to roam the streets of SF. Like a herion addict looking for his next fix after the come down, the excitement wore off of delivers and I am now looking for my next fix. And that is coming from sharing my experiences at Postmates. I reject a lot of jobs and was recently kicked of while writing the draft of this post yesterday. Hell, it is even surging right now as I write today, and I can make some good money getting out there and delivering, but I chose to write this for you dear reader. The choices we make in life.
APP updates. The app is better.
Better Dashboard with better transparency on the payouts. Mileage estimate. Mapping / routing. Wait time estimate for orders that have been placed in advance. This is a good update. This avoids waiting for 50 minutes at little star pizza for the pizza to be ready. Added the timing feature to see how long the wait is if an order is ready or not. If its blank it is not ready!! Or you have to place the order yourself. The app now has the distance you would be traveling. This is a nice feature. Very necessary for bikers. A hill feature would probably be great for bicyclists.
Pay out not much better.
Update: This is changing!!! I got an e-mail the day that I was going to post this. I will include the links and screenshots below for information, however I have yet to delivery a job with the new payout structure. It is new starting November 19, 2015.
New payout model full FAQ document from Postmates linked here.
There is a lot of money in San Francisco. People will pay a premium for a service such as Postmates. A recent example is an order for an apple store pick up as I write this.
There is a need/market for the service. Postmates is filling that need / market opportunity. Like the industrial workers in the steel mines at the beginning of this century, and to the current workers in mines, the hard work goes unnoticed.
Wire Transfer / Direct deposit fee Postmates still takes $.15 of every payment. This is ridiculous. Yes, 15 cents is not much money, but come on. Quit taking my cut! You are taking 2.5% of my earnings. At the current level of zero interested rates by the fed, this is a huge take!
Texts from Postmates Customer service. You will get texts from the Postmates customer service.
The majority of the orders are still for food orders, however there are more interesting orders. Such as: Fed ex pick up, Pharmacy pick up, Apple store pick up, Cleaners order.
Risk of accidents. You are using your own car. I never told my insuracnce I was using my car for work. Rates would have gone up. Thankfully I was never involved in a situation which resulted in any injuries or issues. I did have a small incident where I hit the person in front of me while on the corner of hayes and van ness, but gratefully the guy I hit was in a good mood and we shook hands, saying all is well and went our separate ways. Thanks man!
Tips to make your Postmates courier work more profitable
Accept jobs make money. People are lazy. Including myself. I am picky and justify not accepting jobs. But you are not going to make money sitting on your ass.
Stack jobs. You will have the ability to do more that one job at a time starting from the time that you pick up your first order and set it to delivery. Pay during blitz is the best.
Get a scooter or motorcycle. Parking sucks and you don’t want to be hit with a double parking tickets from the fascists at the SF Department of Traffic. This is funny now, but my friend who referred me to Postmates (he did it part time for fun and runs his own accounting site at: alkdj) got a parking ticket when we went to the Postmates office on Valencia street to pick up his pex card. 5 minutes in the Postmates office and already had a ticket. And he was in a real parking spot. Not double parking which will get you an extra fine.
Don’t pick orders that have a bunch of stuff to pick up. $14 for a safeway run? Are you freaking kidding me??? It will take you an hour just to pick up all this stuff. Dude, this is not priceline. You don’t name your price or name your order. You want all this stuff?
Don’t pick up the phone from Postmates customer service. They just want to assign some shitty crappy job that some knucklehead courier screwed up. Don’t be left picking up the trash from someone else’s mess.
Don’t take jobs from taqueria’s in the mission. You will most likely have to wait in line to order as lots of these place do not accept orders in advance over the phone.
Don’t take jobs where people are ordering from burger king and mcdonalds. These poor ass fools ain’t gonna tip you!
Do take the jobs where someone wants booze.Wine or liquor orders are great. You will most likely get tipped from tipsy customers! They might be drunk and tip you more!
How to make Postmates better?
Admittedly, I do not have the answers. I like to rant and complain though! Ultimately as a driver, you are just cog in the system of life. As a courier, you are easily replaceable and Postmates will and can just remove you from being a driver at any time.
A better payout structure is necessary (just changed, see above; I don’t have any commentary on this yet). Pay people as employees. This is where I understand the Postmates effort to ensure you pick up certain jobs to have the minimum. Let’s put it this way, if you are hard worker and smart enough, you will have a better job than a Postmates courier delivery driver and will be ordering your lattes delivered to you. But $6 for a mcdonalds order is not worth it.
The gig economy is only making a few people a lot richer where the working stiffs are left sweaty and dirty from your thai food spilling all over myself and the inside of my car.
I only delivered in my car and on the evenings during the week. During the day and evenings during the weekend. If you are a bicyclist or a walker (new since last year) your experience will be different. The morning or lunch shifts during the week I never worked. Hustle at your own risk.
Ultimately the incentive is not there for me. My heated room with a cup of warm coffee in the cold, crisp November Sunday morning sure beats getting off my ass to pick up a chitpotle burrito bowl for your lazy ass for $10.
Enough of my rant for the day. Time to enjoy some netflix and have a pizza delivered.