Postmates is a delivery service that makes it possible to order prepared food, groceries, and drinks from hundreds of thousands of stores and restaurants across the United States. With its online ordering platform and a large fleet of couriers, it acts as an intermediary between companies that do not normally offer delivery and customers who want to have their food and drinks brought to their homes and offices.
Join us as we discover how this service works, what it has to offer, and whether it is worth the cash in this fact-based review of Postmates.
What Is Postmates
Postmates is a food and drink delivery platform that features more than 500,000 stores and eateries in the US. It lets you browse its merchant partners’ offers, order what you need online, and enjoy speedy and convenient delivery whenever you wish.
The service is based in San Francisco and it has been around since 2011. It was founded by Sam Street, Sean Plaice, and Bastian Lehmann and it is still privately owned. It announced its IPO in 2019 but decided to delay it due to the situation on the market.
At the moment, the service is in the state of active growth, with 300,000 active couriers, over 3,500 US cities covered, and new merchant partners added to the list on a regular basis. It operates nationwide, so you can use its mobile and online platforms no matter which US state you live in.
What makes Postmates different from other food delivery services is that it delivers goods other than food and beverages. You can have its couriers bring you a new laptop, shampoo or virtually anything else. As long as it is not a controlled substance, a weapon, a gift card, a person or an animal, you can have it Postmated.
If a company’s product catalog is not available on the Postmates platform, you can still place a custom order and get any kind of goods you desire, which is a great advantage of this unique service. However, for the purpose of this Postmates review, we will focus on the food and drink segment of its offer.
How Does Postmates Work
With Postmates, you simply need to enter the company’s website or install its Android or iOS app, register, and start ordering right away. You pick the store or restaurant you want to order from, add items to your cart, and hit the Postmate It button. It is that easy.
You can place both delivery and pickup orders. You can use the free mobile apps or access its platform via browser. You can opt for an individual order or edit your cart with friends by using the group ordering option. In other words, you can order any way that works for you.
Postmates has a really simple signup form that lets you get started in a minute. All you need to do in the first step is to provide your email and come up with a password. In the next step, you should enter your phone number and verify it by entering the 4-digit code you received via SMS. If you have not allowed the app to access your location or if you are accessing the platform via browser, you only need to provide your location before you start checking out the eateries available in your city.
Later on, you can edit your account and add more personal information including the exact address and payment data, but you can also provide this info at checkout. Registration is free and so are the apps, which is why you are not asked to provide credit card information in advance.
Both online and mobile platforms are designed to make the ordering process as straightforward as possible. As soon as you enter your address, you get a list of eateries and stores to scroll through.
The available merchants are divided into categories, with different options available every time you sign in. You can view the most popular stores and restaurants in your area, check out the ones that can deliver to you the fastest or explore the eateries that are exclusively available on Postmates.
If you have specific cravings, you do not need to waste your time browsing the entire selection available in your city. You can use the search function to look for something concrete, like Thai food, pizza, gluten-free meals, and so on. While we do not like the fact that Postmates has not got any special filtering options, it does let you narrow your choice down with specific searches.
For each eatery and store you see featured, you immediately get to learn how far away it is from your location, how soon you can expect your delivery to arrive, and how much you would pay for delivery. You also get additional information like what kind of food the restaurant in question serves.
Once you select a restaurant, the ordering process involves just a few clicks or taps. You browse the menu, choose what you want to have delivered, make decisions related to toppings, add-ons, and special requests, and hit the Add To Cart button. With all items you crave added to your cart, you can proceed to review your order, choose the Postmate It option, and complete the checkout process.
It is good to know that you are not limited to placing a single order. For example, if you want to have food sent to multiple locations, you can place multiple orders at the same time or you can order for multiple people at the same location with group orders.
Since Postmates has adopted a completely cashless payment system, all transactions are completed digitally. You cannot even tip your courier in cash. The payment methods at your disposal include:
- Debit cards;
- Credit cards;
- Google Pay;
- Postmates gift cards.
As far as credit cards go, you can use VISA, American Express, MasterCard or Discover. Unfortunately, alternative options like PayPal and Venmo are not supported.
Previously in this Postmates review, we mentioned that the service operates in more than 3,500 cities in all 50 US states. Most of the major cities are covered. You can find out whether your location is on the Postmates delivery app by entering your address or checking out the city list on the Postmates website.
Deliveries can be made as soon as possible or at a later time. If you want to schedule a delivery for later, you should choose the When option on the checkout screen and choose the 30-minute time slot that works for you. If you wish, you can schedule a delivery up to 7 days in advance.
With your order placed, you can start tracking it immediately on the tracking screen in the app or via browser by accessing your account page. You get to know whether the restaurant staff is still preparing your food or the courier has already picked it up. When the courier grabs your order from the restaurant of your choice, you can start tracking his or her location. You are shown the expected delivery time, which may change during the process.
At all times, you can contact the courier by tapping or clicking the Help button next to his or her name. However, keep in mind that the courier can only answer if not behind the wheel.
When your Postmates driver arrives, you get a push notification via the app, as well as an SMS. The driver is required to wait for 5 minutes for you to reach out and accept your order before moving on to the next delivery. Therefore, be sure to keep your phone close by when expecting a delivery via Postmates.
During busy hours, delays are possible, so do not be surprised if your order arrives a few minutes later than expected. Most of the time, couriers are punctual, but even if it is not possible to deliver within the designated time frame, you are notified in advance if you need to wait longer.
Before we move on to the next section of this Postmates review, you should know that Postmates deliveries are not exclusively made by humans. In certain areas, you can have your orders delivered by Serve, the company’s delivery robot. This option lets you receive your orders faster since Serve is a sidewalk robot and thus cannot get stuck in traffic.
How Much Does Postmates Cost
Postmates is free to use, but each order total includes more than just the food value. There are 4 basic types of fees you can expect to pay, including the service fee, the delivery fee, the blitz fee, and the small cart fee.
The delivery fee depends on whether you order from a merchant that is among Postmates’ partners or not. For partner merchants, the fee amounts to $0.99 to $3.99. For non-partners, the fee can range from $5.99 to $9.99. The amounts are not fixed because they depend on factors such as time and distance.
The service fee varies, but it normally amounts to 9% of the order value. Since it is percentage-based and thus differs from one order to another, it is not disclosed in advance, but it is shown at checkout.
The blitz fee is charged during peak order times. According to Postmates representatives, this small additional fee varies and it is charged to encourage Postmates couriers to be available during busy hours.
Finally, the small cart fee amounts to $1.99 and it is charged when your order value is smaller than the minimum price. For all cities except for LA, the minimum price is $12. In LA, the minimum is $10.
In addition to these fees, you also pay sales tax when applicable and you leave tips. The recommended tip is 10-20% of the order value, but it is up to you to decide on the exact amount. You can tip at checkout and change the value during the delivery process and up to 10 hours after delivery. You can also choose the Tip Later option and decide on the amount afterward, based on your satisfaction.
Since Postmates does not hold product catalogs of all merchants featured, you do not always know the exact order total in advance. The platform provides an estimated total and the exact value may change later on, once the prices are checked.
If you find the fees to be high, the good news is that there is more than one way to save cash with Postmates. First of all, you can opt for Postmates Unlimited, the company’s monthly subscription that lets you enjoy free delivery on all orders whose value is equal to or exceeds the minimum price. The small cart fee and the blitz fee are also waived for subscribers. The subscription costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year and it comes with a 7-day free trial.
Another easy way to pay less is to make use of Postmates Party. This is a feature that lets you order from a trending restaurant within a 5-minute window and have the delivery fee waived. When ordering with Postmates Party, deliveries may be delayed due to the large number of orders placed at the same time.
On the other hand, if you do not mind paying a bit extra to have your order delivered sooner, you can choose the company’s expedited delivery option called Postmates Priority. If you choose this option and your delivery does not arrive as fast as promised, you do not pay the extra fee.
How To Drive For Postmates
You can apply to become a Postmates courier at any time by accessing the Join The Fleet section of the company’s official website. You need no prior work experience and you do not even need to possess a vehicle. All you need to do is fill out a registration form and wait for Postmates to get in touch with you.
The form requires you to provide your email address and the password that you want to use for your account. Then you enter your first and last name and your phone number and address. You choose the city where you want to work and provide driver’s license details if driving. If not, you can choose to use a bike or deliver on foot.
In the final step of the application process, you need to provide your SSN number and authorize a mandatory background check. Then, you simply wait for your application to be processed and for the background check to be completed. Once approved, you get your delivery bag and a card that you need to use to pay for orders and you can start delivering.
As a Postmates courier, you have full freedom when designing your schedule and you can choose to accept or decline delivery orders. There is no minimum number of deliveries made or associated fees. You can work anytime, for as long as you want.
How Much Do Postmates Drivers Make
With Postmates, you get a delivery pay plus 100% of the tip for every delivery. The delivery pay includes the base pay, which amounts to about $3 on average. On top of that, you are paid per mile and per minute. Postmates representatives claim that you can earn up to $25 per hour if you choose to deliver for the company. This is confirmed by information on Indeed, where the average pay per hour for Postmates drivers ranges from $16.51 to $24.93.
As expected, your total earnings depend on the number of hours you work per week, whether you deliver during busy hours, and whether the customers are generous with tips. As a Postmates driver, you are paid weekly via direct deposit. However, you can always choose to withdraw your earnings earlier with instant deposit.
Postmates Pros & Cons
To make sure Postmates meets all your standards and expectations, it is important to know its biggest advantages and disadvantages. With a short overview of its pros and cons, you can easily decide if Postmates is the right food delivery app for you.
- Over 500,000 stores and eateries featured
- Available in all 50 US states
- Reasonable fees
- Membership benefits
- Order scheduling and tracking
- Expedited delivery available
- Charges blitz and small cart fees
- The exact order total not always known in advance
How do I delete my Postmates account?
To delete your Postmates account, go to the Customer Help section of the Postmates site and choose the Email option in the Contact Us section. Click Account and then select Delete Account. Fill in the form provided and click the Report Issue button.
What does Postmates deliver?
Postmates delivers food, drinks, groceries, household products, electronics, and much more. It cannot transport weapons, controlled substances, animals, people, and gift cards. Everything else you can purchase in your city, Postmates can deliver.
Where is Postmates available?
Postmates is available in all 50 US states. It currently delivers to more than 3,500 cities. You can check whether it is available in your city by entering your address on its online or mobile platforms.
How to sign up for Postmates?
To sign up for Postmates, visit the service’s site or install its iOS or Android app and fill in the signup form. You need to provide your email address and the password you want to use and enter and verify your phone number. Registration is free.
How much should I tip on Postmates?
Postmates recommends leaving a tip amounting to 10-20% of the order value.