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What is the best car for delivery and how do you find it? (Doordash, Uber Eats, Instacart, Grubhub etc.)

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And why isn't it a Toyota Prius? Or a Tesla? (Not that it can't be, but it's not as easy as just naming one model or brand).

The car you choose to make your deliveries can make a huge difference in how well you do as a delivery contractor for gigs like Doordash, Instacart, Uber Eats, Grubhub and others. But it might not be for the reasons you think.

What's the best car for delivery as an independent contractor for third party delivery companies? The best car is the one that allows you to be the most profitable.

An independent contractor with Doordash and Uber Eats examines a car to find the best delivery car.

I'm not going to name a particular car or brand or model. I won't even tell you it's a style. A Prius might be incredibly profitable for you but it would be a disaster for me.

Instead, I want to help you find the best car for you in your delivery efforts. To do that, it's more important to understand the most important factors.

And you might be surprised to find out fuel efficiency isn't one of them.

Why isn't fuel efficiency the most important factor?

A delivery driver's dream fuel gauge showing MPG (miles per gallon) to identify the best fuel economy.

Fuel efficiency is part of an important factor in finding the best car for delivery. But it's only a part. A very small part.

That doesn't mean it's not important.

The bottom line when looking for the best delivery car is that it's all about the bottom line. Your best success at finding a good car for Doordash or Instacart or Uber Eats or any of the other delivery apps is to look at the big picture.

What car is going to do the most, in the most ways, to help you succeed with your delivery business?

The delivery driver's mission statement for making a purchase

When I was in telecom, we used what we called the “technology mission statement' when working with customers.

We would tell customers that if they're considering a technology purchase, that purchase must have an actual impact on their business. We would say that “it must either help you be more profitable or more competitive. If it doesn't do either one, you shouldn't buy it from us.”

That's really what any purchase should be about when you're running a business.

If you can keep your car costs down, that's awesome. But have you ever asked yourself if the car is helping you earn more?

And when you're an independent contractor for any of these gig economy companies, that's exactly what you're doing. You're running a business.

So what's the car that's going to make you most profitable?

Here's the problem with the thought process that says “it has great gas mileage.” That's focusing on just the expense side of things. And even then, gas mileage is a fraction of the overall cost of operating your car.

If you can keep your car costs down, that's awesome. But have you ever asked yourself if the car is helping you earn more?

The best delivery car is the car that gives you the best combination for you. It's the car that lets you have the most money in your pocket at the end of the day.

Four questions to ask yourself when determining the best delivery car for Doordash, Uber Eats, Instacart, Grubhub and others:

Instead of telling you which car is the best, I think it's better for you to ask these questions about any car you might be thinking about.

These questions will help you decide what the best car is for YOU as you deliver for these gig economy apps. These will help you think not only about saving money, but how can the car help you make more?

Is this a car you can enjoy spending time in?

I honestly think this is THE most important question.

Look at it this way. If you hate spending time in the car, you won't be as motivated to go out and deliver.

Awhile back, the story came out about Sam Lyon who went on a quest to make as much money as he could in a month on Uber Eats. He earned well over $8,000 that month.

I remember people mocking him for using his Ford Mustang. They said he was wasting too much money in gas. But here was the thing – if it's a car that you can enjoy spending your time in, it's easier to put in the extra hours.

Especially when it really gets to be a grind.

A car that you can enjoy your time in and that allows you to spend a LOT of time in the car makes it easier to keep going. Sometimes it even makes you want to go out and deliver.

My old 1998 Buick Century that I used for deliveries full time for two years.
My Old Delivery Beast: Horrible on Gas but awesome on comfort.

I bought an SUV when I finally moved on from my old Buick. After two years of delivering, I found one of the most important factors for me was just getting in and out of the car (I'm 6'5, that kind of thing is important at my age). That comfort keeps me on the road.

Can this car make you more efficient?

What is it like for holding the food? If you deliver for Instacart or do grocery deliveries for Doordash, you might want something that has more trunk or storage space.

Is it a good car for getting in and out of traffic?

I mentioned my stereo. I was able to connect a backup camera to it. There's not a lot of 2009 Chevy Equinox's with backup cameras. But that thing is huge when it comes to backing into parking spaces.

If the car will let you get around easier, and let you store and access the items you're delivering easily, you can get done with deliveries faster.

If you get done with deliveries faster, you can complete more deliveries more quickly. That means you can get more deliveries done in the same amount of time.

A car that keeps you efficient is a car that lets you earn more money.

Will the car let you deliver when you need to?

The worst thing that can happen to you is not being able to drive because your car is having an issue.

It costs money to repair.

However, it also has what you call an opportunity cost. When the car is in the shop, you can't deliver.

Not being able to make money is as bad as spending money. It all hurts your bottom line.

You also have to look at conditions where you live. Does it snow a lot? You want a car that isn't shut down with the first flurry (especially when bad weather can be the most profitable time to drive).

A lone blue car out on deliveries driving on a snow covered road.

Do you live in a rainy area? How much money do you lose if you're driving a car that doesn't handle well on wet streets?

What does it cost to operate the car?

Finally. Gas mileage is important!

Fuel economy is a factor, but it's only a part of the overall cost.

A brand new Prius is going to cost more to operate than my 12 year old Chevy Equinox.

People get stuck thinking gas is the only thing that's important, and I think that's because that's the thing where you notice the cost. You have to pay when you fill that tank. If you fill it a lot you feel it more.

If you have a newer or more valuable vehicle, every mile is going to cost you as much or more in lost value as it will in gas. Go look up the value of your car on something like Edmonds or Kelley Blue Book. Now run it again but this time add 20,000 miles to the mileage and notice the difference.

A credit card on wheels.

This is why I call a car a credit card on wheels. Every mile has a cost. It's one mile closer to a major repair or to new tires or a timing belt replacement. It's a cost you have to pay later.

Often you pay that price when you sell the car or trade it in and get less money because of all those miles. Ultimately though, you WILL pay that price.

My point here is, don't look ONLY at gas. Fuel economy is definitely a factor but it's not the only factor. Understand what it costs to operate your car. Here's one method you can use to figure out the bigger picture of what your car costs to operate.

Look at the big picture when determining the best delivery car for Doordash, Instacart, Uber Eats and others.

Road sign in blue with white background that says The Big Picture, lower part of sign is green with white letters and arrow that says Next Exit.

What's the best car for delivery? It's the car that best answers all these questions FOR YOU.

A Prius might be perfect for you. It would be one of the worst decisions for me. But I'm not going to tell you to get a 12 year old Equinox that's only getting about 20 miles per gallon. While it works great for me, it might not be so good for you.

Here's what I would suggest. Start with this:

How will it make money for you?

Will it allow you to deliver longer? Will it help you make deliveries quicker? Think more about how it can make money for you than what it costs.

Something that lets you make more money trumps something that costs less because, if you're doing it right, the savings in expenses are small compared to the potential gains if you look at money making first.

Starting with expenses is doing it backwards.

But put it all together.

In the end, the car that allows you to have more money in your bank account when all is said and done is the car that is best for your delivery business.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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