Tales from Postmates

Postmates is a goods and food delivery service that allows customers to order almost anything they want, including personal items, groceries, and restaurant meals. The idea is that these things will be delivered to the client’s door in less than an hour.

Last week I signed up for Postmates. Now that I lived in the city I wanted to see if I could make extra income delivering food and items for people in St Pete.

The first few deliveries I made were standard food deliveries. I drove to a restaurant, told them I was with Postmates and showed them the order, picked up the food, and drove it to the customer. Some deliveries I had to order the food and pay for it with a prepaid Postmates card. I liked these a lot less because I had to wait for them to prepare the food. These usually had a better tip but meant I couldn’t make other deliveries in the meantime.

Earnings are each delivery are calculated differently based on the city. There is an amount for each completed pickup and dropoff, a per-minute-waited rate for time spent at the pickup location, a per-mile rate for distance between pick-up and dropoff locations, and blitz bonuses which I don’t believe are available in my city. I also keep 100% of my tips which is nice.

I haven’t tried other food delivery services like Uber Eats or Grubhub yet. What I like about Postmates is that you can turn it on/off anytime and accept which deliveries you want. When a delivery comes in you can see the pick-up and dropoff locations, and the order. You can’t see the name or whether the food is ready for pickup or not.

In a week I’ve made 26 deliveries and netted $150 with some tips still coming in. Depending on the day/time there can be long gaps between deliveries, sometimes hours. I’ve found the best days are Friday and Saturdays and more orders come in the evening. Last night I was able to chain many deliveries together, which meant less idle time and wasted gas driving back towards the downtown area.

I’ve been trying to get smarter about orders when I’m actively working. I downloaded the Postmates app and saw which restaurants were the most popular and which one had deals. Chipotles is the most popular Postmates restaurant in St Pete, so I ended up camping there until a order came in. This meant there was ZERO wait time to pick up the order which meant faster delivery and better tip hopefully.

Now, I’ve only been doing Postmates for a week but I already have some good stories from the food courier world. The most interesting and bizarre story involves a customer we’ll call Mr R.  Mr R would repeatedly put in strange orders. An iced tea, a side of garlic fries, two 20oz pepsis at a 7/11. Small orders but never an entree. He would also move around. Sometimes he’d be in a luxury apartment room and others in different offices. The STRANGEST part though was I never saw his face. Whenever I delivered to him, he’d be either behind a door or around a corner in the room. I would leave the food as instructed and never make direct contact.

Finally, this culminated last night when I was delivering an order of flatbread to his luxury apartment. When I knocked on his door, I could hear a girl giggling on the other side.