There has never been a better time to work as a delivery driver, shuttling around packages to customers. Thanks to mobile apps and the consumer’s increasing reliance on e-commerce, we’re living in a golden age for drivers.
This article explores what you need to deliver packages for money outside of trying to land a job at UPS or FedEx.
Keep reading to learn more about how to get started driving and earning income on your own time.
How to Make Money Delivering Packages
The on-demand e-commerce economy is growing larger by the day as consumers get more comfortable ordering everyday items online.
If you’re interested in making some more money with this shifting consumer sentiment, good news: Getting started is simple. You just need to find the opportunities that make sense for you.
You can make money by downloading these Android and iOS apps and delivering products to different locations during the hours you choose to work.
- DoorDash, UberEats, or Grubhub: Food Delivery
- Instacart or Shipt: Grocery Delivery
- Saucey: Alcohol Delivery
- Amazon Flex: Amazon Deliveries
- Postmates: Deliver Anything
1. DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub
Consumers love apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub because they provide instant access to a variety of restaurant and take-out menus. For example, you can order anything from tacos to sushi to hamburgers to soup, all from one app.
Suffice it to say, these apps are revolutionizing the way people order food. And they’re also changing what it means to be a delivery driver thanks to the rise of the gig economy.
Truth be told, delivery drivers often keep multiple apps open throughout a driving shift and take the highest-paying jobs that come along. Having multiple apps open also gives you access to different restaurants.
For example, a popular local restaurant may be on DoorDash but not on Uber Eats. By leveraging a variety of these delivery apps, you can increase the likelihood you get more top-paying gigs.
The only real downside to working for any of these companies is that you have to pay service fees. Most of these apps take a cut of the money you make when you drive for them. So, before putting the pedal to the metal, read the fine print and understand exactly what you’re getting into.
2. Instacart or Shipt
The Instacart app is a bit more involved than other delivery apps. With Instacart, customers place shopping orders, and Instacart drivers go into stores and hand-pick items.
As a driver, you can interact with shoppers to make sure you’re selecting the right items. You can also communicate with shoppers and ask them questions, such as which back-up items they might want if the customer’s first choices aren’t available.
At the end, you pay for the items out of your pocket (Instacart reimburses you) and deliver them to their destination.
Due to the extra effort involved, Instacart drivers tend to receive better tips. It’s just another way to diversify your delivery gigs and make more money.
Another grocery delivery app to check out is Shipt. Just like Instacart, Shipt pays you to shop and make deliveries.
If you’re the type of person who likes the idea of running errands for other people for cash, both apps are worth checking out.
Learn more about becoming an Instacart full service or in-store shopper today and start earning extra money.
Yet another app to check out is Saucey, which operates exclusively as an alcohol delivery service.
Consider this: By driving for Saucey, you’ll save parties by keeping them stocked up. More importantly, you’ll save lives by keeping drunk people off the road and at home.
Add it all up, and you can make money and help people at the same time. What’s not to like?
4. Amazon Flex
The next time you drive through your neighborhood, look at all the Amazon boxes sitting on everyone’s front steps. Not all of them got there through Amazon’s signature blue vans. Chances are many were delivered by ordinary drivers like you making deliveries through Amazon Flex.
Just like any other app, Amazon Flex lets you pick up packages at your convenience and drop them off at destinations around town.
It’s a great way to make extra money on the side while using your own car. Plus, you get to put Amazon on your resume.
Postmates is a general delivery app available in all 50 states and now over 400 cities.
When driving for Postmates, you might also pick up and drop off things including office supplies, groceries, takeout alcohol, household items, and everything in between.
Everything can be managed from the Postmates app (named Postmates – Fleet) and applying to sign up only takes a couple of minutes.
Using the Postmates app in conjunction and another delivery app is great for diversifying your routes and making more money from different types of orders.
What You Need to Deliver Packages
While there are tons of opportunities to deliver packages, not everyone is eligible to do so. Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you’re interested in becoming a driver in the gig economy.
A clean driving record
Most companies require drivers to maintain a clean driving record, especially when transmitting expensive or sensitive materials.
You may have a hard time finding employment in this field if you have a history of major traffic violations or a criminal record. Be prepared to pass a background check and possibly a drug test if you want to deliver packages.
That said, some shipping companies work with drivers to provide a second chance. As such, it’s worth pursuing an opportunity even if you may think you are ineligible.
For example, some companies may let you start in the warehouse, and then you can work your way up to a delivery position once your driving record is sorted out.
A decent vehicle
These kinds of delivery jobs require you to have your own car or truck.
That doesn’t mean you need an expensive, top-of-the-line vehicle. But you do need something that is clean, presentable, and reliable — particularly if you’re picking up passengers.
If your car is constantly in the shop, your income could take a hit. Plus, it’s expensive having to pay for repairs all the time.
For the best results, save up for a vehicle that will stay on the road, so you keep earning money.
A driver’s license
Most delivery jobs require a standard license. However, you may have to get a commercial license when transporting heavy or dangerous equipment or operating large machinery.
For example, operating a truck or tractor that’s more than 8,000 pounds, less than 26,001 pounds, and more than 80 inches wide requires a class D license.
Solid driving skills
It’s also important to have solid driving skills. If you have a heavy foot or have a hard time navigating traffic or finding destinations, a delivery job may not be a good fit for you.
Some people are meant for this type of job, and others aren’t. This isn’t a skill you can develop on the fly when people are counting on you to bring items.
Customer service skills
Yet another thing you should have for delivering packages is strong customer service skills.
Most of the time, you’ll just be transporting and dropping off items. However, some jobs may require spending time with the customer and communicating with them, which takes patience and the ability to make conversation.
Customer service skills are particularly important when driving dedicated routes (more on that below). If you have customers that you see every day, you need to be able to communicate with them and maintain friendly banter.
If you want to use apps like DoorDash and Postmates, you need a solid Android or iPhone for running apps and communicating with customers.
If you’re thinking about becoming a driver, invest in a decent mobile phone with plenty of capacity, a great battery, and strong signal coverage. And make sure you have a way to charge your phone in your car, too — whether that’s via the car itself or through an external battery.
Tips to Make More Money Delivering Packages
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about making deliveries for businesses in your area.
Location is key
Location is absolutely critical for success when delivering packages. If you live in a rural area or part of town where there isn’t a lot happening, you may have to camp out on the other side of town to get more jobs.
Consider driving up to an hour to a metropolitan area like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, or Boston to get more jobs and connect with more customers. Just make sure that you’re not spending more on gas than you’re bringing in.
Consider a dedicated route
If you love driving around and making deliveries, you may want to supplement on-demand apps with a dedicated route.
A dedicated route is one that you’re responsible for covering every day. For example, you may work for a florist and deliver bouquets to various customers. Or, you may work for a milk company and provide fresh milk to stores.
Some types of dedicated routes require using company-owned vehicles and advanced licenses or training. However, you can earn a steady paycheck this way and benefit from having a structured routine.
When your shift is done, you can make more money with on-demand deliveries using some of the apps we’ve discussed earlier. Just don’t drive for an on-demand service while you’re on the company dime.
Benefits of Delivering Packages for Money
Set your own schedule
Many delivery apps let you drive when you want, giving you total freedom over your own schedule.
So, if you pull a long day at work and then drive after your shift ends, you can sleep in the next day and work in the afternoon. Or, you can work weekends if you want and do other things during the week to make ends meet.
Of course, this does not apply if you work a dedicated route. In that case, you’ll have to be available when the company needs you. Flexibility is why more and more drivers are choosing the gig economy. But getting a steady paycheck is important, too.
Put away more money
Putting money away into savings and investment accounts can be stressful if you’re working on a limited salary. By delivering packages to customers, you can increase your monthly cash flow — giving you more money to put into interest-bearing savings accounts and investment vehicles.
The more money you put aside while you’re young, the faster you can achieve financial freedom and retire to pursue the life of your dreams.
This requires hard work and determination. But anyone can achieve it.
Diversify your income
Another reason to deliver packages is to diversify your income. When you’re completely reliant on a full-time job, you’re highly vulnerable — especially if you don’t have any emergency savings in the bank.
Delivering packages is a great way to cast a wider net and increase your personal safety and sense of well-being.
Rent your car when you’re not using it
You can make even more money when you’re not driving by renting your car on a site like Turo. This site connects vehicle owners with people who need short-term transportation like trucks or cargo vans.
All you have to do is list your car on Turo and hand over the keys. You’ll get paid directly through the app.
Worried someone is going to destroy your car? Turo also offers insurance to protect you and your vehicle.
Watch out for odors
One unexpected downside to making food deliveries is that your car may smell at the end of a shift. If you spend three or four hours transferring hot and aromatic dishes to customers, you and your car may wind up smelling like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Over time, odors can cling to a car and be difficult to remove. This can ruin the value of your vehicle, and it can also lead to negative reviews when driving for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.
Avoid this by having your car cleaned frequently and looking for ways to contain odors when driving food around during a shift.
For example, consider getting airtight storage containers or installing an air filtration system in your car to contain smells.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I deliver packages part-time?
The best way to deliver packages part-time is to work for an on-demand delivery app like Postmates or DoorDash. This type of app can provide steady income along with flexible hours.
You can work as much or as little as you like when driving for an on-demand delivery app. There is no minimum monthly quota that you have to maintain to keep driving.
Can you make decent money as a delivery driver?
It largely depends on what you’re delivering and how often you’re driving. Location and timing also play a big part.
To maximize the opportunity, get to know your local market and identify peak delivery times. For example, consider driving around dinner time when people are getting off work and ordering takeout from local restaurants.
What should I do with my delivery earnings?
Take a look at your financial situation and determine where it makes sense to allocate the money you bring in from delivery jobs.
Some people may want to pay off credit card debt or open a retirement account, while others might want to invest in cryptocurrency.
If your goal is achieving long-term financial independence, make sure you’re putting the money to work for you … not spending it on something you don’t need.
Is delivering packages a good side hustle?
Delivering packages can be a great side hustle. And if you learn how to master the system, you can potentially make it a full-time job.
Just keep in mind that delivering packages can take its toll on your body. It can require a lot of heavy lifting and sitting down for long periods of time. Traffic can also be stressful.
If you’re thinking about becoming a driver, make sure to take care of yourself and stay in shape. Otherwise, you could run into health problems and go back to square one.
Do drivers work as independent contractors?
If you deliver for an on-demand app, you’ll most likely be classified as an independent contractor. This means that you’ll be responsible for paying taxes on the income you bring in and will need to familiarize yourself with self-employment taxes.
If you work part-time or full-time for a company, you may be classified differently. Check with each service for clarification.
Do you need special auto insurance to deliver packages?
You might. At the very least, you should probably upgrade your insurance if you plan to drive a lot.
The good news is that many platforms offer insurance while you are working for them. UberEats, for example, provides coverage while you are on a route.
Each delivery service and insurance plan is different, so make sure to look into which rules apply to your situation.
The Bottom Line
Working for delivery companies can be a great side hustle that puts more money into your bank account. The work is flexible, and the cash can add up if you are dedicated to making money.
Since you’re reading these words, you’re probably serious about delivering packages for money.
So, what are you waiting for? Download some apps and see what it’s all about. Safe driving!
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