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Delivery App Throwdown: It’s Time to Compare Grubhub vs Doordash vs Uber Eats vs Postmates

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How do Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates and Uber Eats compare with one another as delivery platforms for independent contractors?

How do Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates and Uber Eats compare? Let's battle it out
How do Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates and Uber Eats compare? Let's battle it out

We've taken a look in many of our past posts and podcast episodes at each platform individually. Now it's time to talk about how they line up.

As you read on, we ask the same five questions of Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats and Postmates and see how they compare:

  • How is their pay?
  • How is their app?
  • What are deliveries like?
  • Do they respect the independent contractor relationship?
  • How is their support?

My thoughts going into this comparison

Let me say this right away: I don't think there's a way to say that one is absolutely the best. All of this is subjective, it's all opinions.

I'm seeing good things for each, I'm seeing real problems for each. I think this is why it's important to have a lot of options rather than just stick with one.

When I was in telecom I had a mentor that used to present a variety of provider options to his customers and he would say pick one, they're all thieves. I kind of feel that way with gig delivery companies, they're all scum for their own reasons.

The good news is, we don't have to just pick one, you know? I think it's a good practice to work with more than one delivery platform.

How we compare Grubhub Doordash Postmates and Uber Eats

Thinking figure comparing Grubhub vs Doordash vs Uber Eats vs Postmates
How do you compare Grubhub vs Uber Eats vs Postmates vs Doordash? Here's the process we took.

In previous episodes on the podcast, we looked at each of the apps on their own:

We asked the same series of questions in each episode, so we'll compare each now based on those same questions. I'll summarize a lot of what we talked about in this comparison but you can go check out the episodes to be more in depth.

These are the five questions we asked:

  • How is their pay?
  • How is their app?
  • What are deliveries like?
  • Do they respect the independent contractor relationship?
  • How is their support?

How do Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats and Postmates compare on pay?

There was a time where you could look at a particular delivery and known what platform would have paid because the pay formula was transparent. That's gone now, other than Postmates anyway, but that's probably just a matter of time.

I could use the average profit per hour. I track every delivery and here's how it works for me:

  • Postmates: $22.48/hr
  • Grubhub: $21.61/hr
  • Doordash: $20.37/hr
  • Uber Eats: $17.87/hr

Understand – that's PROFIT – after expenses. But that's not the total picture because total earnings with Postmates is a fraction of what it is with Grubhub.

So let's talk about each one.

A look at the different platforms

Uber Eats

Uber Eats used to have by far the best base pay. They slashed that by about 45% in their new pay model, so they're right in there with everyone else.

They used to discourage tipping and that is reflected today in really low tip rates. Because of low tipping, they have to do a lot more in promotions and incentives to be competitive.

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Postmates

Postmates is a bit of an enigma. Per hour profit was the highest but my total dollars were far lower.

They seem to be the least busy in my market (or most oversaturated with drivers) so I wonder if they'd be better in other markets? Their base pay is probably better than anyone at the moment though that's not saying much.

Tips are decent but can be a wildcard when coming after delivery. It's seemed like they withhold offers when you are close to achieving an incentive, so I don't trust them there.

Doordash

Doordash is kind of weird right now as they're trying to figure out their new nonexistant pay model. Base pay is horrible. Supposedly distance and time figure into it but when 6 mile plus deliveries are paying $2, that's just a lie.

Their tips are competitive with Grubhub, and in really busy times their peak pay incentives make them easily the most attractive option.

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Grubhub

Grubhub is closer to having a transparent pay model than anyone but Postmates, but there's some weird quirks in their payouts that I write about elsewhere that make me question it.

Incentives are almost nonexistant, or when they do exist they often seem more of a bait and switch scam with all promise and no delivery. Bottom line though is they are consistent in having steady, profitable delivery offers in my market.

Concluding thoughts on pay from the different platforms

Person handing out money
How do Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, Uber Eats compare in how they pay?

The profit per hour can be misleading. It does say there can be good deliveries on all platforms, but it will vary based on how you do things. Grubhub is the middle of the pack there but I make far more with them than with anyone.

I think the question you have to ask is, who is the most consistent? For me, in my market, that's Grubhub.

Part of why the others are as high as they are is that business is steady enough with them that I can be far more selective on the others. I could be close to this rate doing only Grubhub for long periods of time. I couldn't do that with the others.

Doordash would be a firm second. If I had to rely only on Postmates or Uber Eats, I'd probably find something else.

How do Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats compare when it comes to the app?

Doordash is the best, and they are the worst. Doordash provides far more information than anyone on their offers and they have far more issues with app reliability than anyone. You get pickup and dropoff info, eta's, customer notes, miles, all before you accept or reject depending on your phone's ability. If it only didn't crash so often…

Grubhub's is far more stable and reliable. They provide better information than the remaining two, with the ability to see the address of the diner after accepting an order. Knowing the actual pay amount is a big one and there's enough information to make solid decisions on a delivery offer

Postmates lets you see a map with the customer location on the offer, but you don't know what you will be paid. After you accept and before picking up food, customer information is unavailable or hard to get to, and that's an issue. The app seems to just work, though I've had the notification sound freeze on me at times.

Uber Eats made a dramatic leap forward when they finally started showing the name of the restaurant, a map of the dropoff with estimated drive time, and a minimum pay amount. Once you've accepted though, you can't get to any customer information until you pick up. The app may be the most stable, but the improvements in information are still kind of limited.

four smartphones with several apps and app symbols
How do the apps themselves compare when looking at Grubhub vs Doordash vs Postmates vs Uber Eats?

Concluding thoughts on comparing apps

The toughest call in all of this is, how do you rate Doordash? They are far and away the best in information provide, and far and away the worst in stability and operation.

I think the lack of information on Postmates and Uber Eats puts those two at the bottom, it just makes it harder to make good decisions. Grubhub provides enough information that is accessible throughout the whole delivery that, when combined with their better stability I think puts them a little ahead of Doordash.

How do Uber Eats, Postmates, Doordash and Grubhub compare in the deliveries themselves?

santa running over a conveyor belt with gifts for delivery
If anyone would understand the logistics of delivery, it would be this guy.

Postmates

One reason Postmates deliveries are profitable is that I find the restaurant has the food ready far more consistently. I don't do order and pay with them, so wait times are shorter.

I tend to reject longer deliveries because I usually use Postmates as a filler, so they tend to be shorter and more efficient. They do like to offer long deliveries but longer dispatches are probably related to fewer deliveries being available in my market.

One huge problem: They will just add a delivery to your queue without asking for your acceptance. That's a major issue in my opinion.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats has been nice and straight forward on the delivery side. They might be the worst at having long waits, and they provide no ETA info to help prepare for that.

Update: Since this article was published, Uber Eats has made some dramatic improvements in the information they provide on their offer screen. You can read more on what it's like to deliver for them at

I do like that their customers are far more likely to be waiting at the curb. Efficiency with stacked orders is usually not very good.

Grubhub

Grubhub… what can I say about Grubhub?

Let me start withthis: Their dispatching is the worst. It's not even close. I wonder if their computer has trouble identifying where I am because I'll get so many offers that are for restaurants right around 6 miles away.

Multiple orders from the same restaurant will be offered with diners several miles in opposite directions. So many of their issues in getting drivers to pick up could be fixed with better efficiency in dispatching.

Doordash

Doordash can drive you crazy with some of the long waits.

However, I find that some of the information they provide on ETA for the restaurant and for the customer helps prepare for that. I've heard others with differing experiences but

I've found that they are by far the most efficient in the way they will stack orders. I'm amazed sometimes at how well they do at picking a second delivery from a second restaurant that just fits the route of the first delivery.

Concluding thoughts on comparing deliveries

Maybe I'm putting too much weight on this one factor, but I would put Postmates at the very bottom because of the issue of not giving you the option to accept or reject additional deliveries.

I would put Doordash and Uber Eats pretty close to each other, with Uber Eats maybe getting the slight edge due to customers more frequently coming out to you than with anyone else.

How do Grubhub, Postmates, Doordash and Uber Eats Compare in how they respect the independent contractor relationship?

independent contractor agreement on a clipboard
How do Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats and Postmates compare as far as respecting the independent contractor relationship?

Here's where they're all scum. I'll not get too much on my soapbox here, but all of them are guilty of advertising this like a job and treating you like an employee, but only paying you as an independent contractor. That's why I have this as a factor.

Postmates and Uber Eats are good at letting you just go available on the fly. There's no schedule to mess with, and really no pressure to accept a percentage of orders with either one.

With Grubhub, you have to schedule blocks, and scheduling is becoming more important with Doordash.

Uber Eats seems to have the best understanding of the boundaries related to independent contractors. I had a corporate person tell me that they don't do any training or provide shirts or bags because the courts could see that as an employee relationship.

Grubhub seems to go the polar opposite, with a lot of intimidation and manipulation tactics to scare drivers into higher acceptance rates.

Doordash was nailed a couple years ago with a $5 million lawsuit settlement around their requiring acceptance rates, and that's forced them to be a little better. But now that their new pay model doesn't compensate for low tips, they've been having to figure out how to get drivers to accept orders, so they're kind of in the middle.

I think the worst of them is Postmates. It's weird because they're so good about freedom of when you go available and about not even tracking acceptance rates.

But there are two big things that stand out. One is what I mentioned before about just adding orders on. The other is the lack of information on offers, especially when it's an order and pay. The problem here is you don't have freedom to make decisions, and if you reject too many orders after they were added to your tasks, they can and will deactivate drivers. That's just huge enough that it puts them at the bottom of the list.

How do Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Doordash compare when it comes to support.

Cartoon with oversized bell to ring for service
A big challenge for all four, Grubhub vs Postmates vs Uber Eats vs Doordash, is how they do at supporting drivers.

Let me put it out there. There is no good support. There just isn't. These apps are all designed to get the work done with as little management as possible.

Now I have to say, less management is a good thing, but when you need help, there is no real good solution. All of them contract to overseas call centers, there are rumors they may actually be some using the same centers. That means there's a language barrier and that also means you're dealing with people who just don't quite understand how the delivery works.

Grubhub and Uber Eats are probably ahead of the pack here in that they have options for some direct support.

Grubhub has a Driver Specialist for each region, though they can often be hard to get ahold of.

Uber Eats has their Greenlight hub that you can go to when you need to talk with someone directly about your account. I think that it's easier to talk to someone with Uber Eats in that regard.

Maybe the part that gives Grubhub the lead the most would be that they have a team of driver specialists that are separate from customer care. However, they're getting harder to get through to and I understand that may also have been farmed out to out of country.

Doordash has regional offices, but again, accessibility is an issue. Call support is often extremely frustrating either due to the language barrier or lack of training.

With Postmates, finding support is just hard, there often just is no support.

So how do they all compare overall?

I don't know that I could say there is a definitive way to compare Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats and Postmates. The bottom line is that things could be slightly different based on markets. Some of the things around pay and how deliveries work are going to vary by market. Others are what they are but your experience may be different than mine.

If I use a point system where the best in each category gets 4 points, second gets 3, third gets 2 and last gets 1, it would look like this:

Pay

  • Grubhub = 4
  • Doordash = 3
  • Postmates = 2
  • Uber Eats = 1

The App

  • Grubhub = 4
  • Doordash = 3
  • Postmates = 2
  • Uber Eats = 1

Deliveries

  • Uber Eats = 4
  • Doordash = 3
  • Grubhub = 2
  • Postmates = 1

Respecting the Independent Contractor Relationship

  • Uber Eats = 4
  • Doordash = 3
  • Grubhub = 2
  • Postmates = 1

Support

  • Grubhub = 4
  • Uber Eats = 3
  • Doordash = 2
  • Postmates = 1

And the winner?

  • Grubhub = 16
  • Doordash = 14
  • Uber Eats = 13
  • Postmates = 7

Remember, this is so incredibly subjective and opinionated that you can't make any decisions. My purpose here isn't really to declare a winner as much as it is to give you some things to think about when you evaluate.

I think in the end, there is no best.

Guy holding tropy trying to compare Uber Eats Grubhub Doordash Postmates and deciding there is no winner
When you compare Grubhub vs Doordash vs Uber Eats vs Postmates I'm not sure there really is a winner. And that's okay. Don't pick only one.

It's like I said above, they're all thieves. They all have issues. They all exploit people by trying to get independent contractors to act like employees.

But remember this: They're all your customers. And that puts you in control. When you look at it in that light…. some of that stuff doesn't matter as much.

In the end, it all boils down to, where and how can you run your business the best?

That's why I don't think the answer is to go with any one platform.

Here's the thing: Postmates deliveries have the highest profit per hour but in my market if I tried to do this full time with only them, it would be a flop. It would be a LOT less per hour. In some markets they're dominant and that might not be the case.

But because I can fill them in with others, I don't have to worry about that, you know what I mean? I have times where a short Postmates or Uber delivery can be coupled with a Grubhub delivery or squeezed into a time when I'd be waiting, and in the end they make each other better.

So what I would tell you is, get your own set of questions, what are the things that are the most important to you?

They may be the questions I'm asking, they may be different, but… be open minded, ask the same questions, be honest about the strengths and weaknesses. Don't get up in your feelings about something one is doing wrong.

If there's a real issue with how they treat you, it's okay to fire your customers. But if you can still operate well in spite of the issues… be the boss here.

Know what's good, understand what isn't but know how to work around what isn't… Capitalize on what you can capitalize and run your business.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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Brent Taylor

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

The question lingering through all of this and at the end, is WHY? I'm not an IT guy, but why can't the software consistently be equal and good across all four of these platforms? If these are competitors, why don't they copy and build upon the best of all of them? If they get so much scrutiny over pay, and that's got to be the bottom line with drivers, why not pay well on every order and strive for profit off volume? Why does their support have to be overseas; and if it must be to hold down costs, why can't train these people better? Both for customers (restaurants and diners) and drivers? One would think that one of these companies will get this right, across all these issues, become the leader in this industry and force the others to either catch-up or go under.

ronald.l.walter

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Those are all great questions. Common sense says they should do what you suggest. The problem is the business model isn't built on common sense.

What all of these companies are trying to do is offer cheap and easy delivery but the costs related to the manpower are so exorbitant that it's not sustainable. That means they either have to do things on the cheap like they are now, or they have to raise their prices. But as long as the others are charging so little, customers are going to go with the cheap.

This isn't a sustainable business model. None of these companies can survive as it is right now. Eventually they will all go under. If someone did what we know they should do, they have to have patience. It has to be a structure that understands they're not turning a profit for a long, long time. But, once all the others go under, that's when they clean up.

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