deliver packages for money
Updated April 09, 2020

Want to Deliver Packages for Money? Here’s How to Get Started

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With apps appearing every day to let people take on side jobs, becoming a courier is one of the easiest and surest ways to get paid. Becoming a freelance IT or artists may have its perks, but it won’t have the consistency of the aforementioned companies. If you have a vehicle, but want to add more to repertoire than ridesharing (such as Lyft), or are uncomfortable with a stranger in your car, then becoming a courier might be the perfect gig for you.

Good to Know

The courier service has exploded over the last few years. Newspapers and pizza are no longer the sole venues where you deliver packages for money. Unlike FedEx and UPS, this guide will show you how to snag delivery jobs with your own car.

Fact: As the global economy becomes more decentralized and people are becoming more accustomed to faster delivery, companies are looking to freelancers to help pick up the slack. To get started you just need a set of wheels, a smartphone, and some free time leaving you to  make money delivering packages.

We’ve gone ahead and compiled a guide of the best courier service to work for, sorting out how to find the highest paying food delivery jobs and how to get delivery jobs with your own car.

If you’re really interested in exploring the side gig scene, take a look at our ultimate list of side gigs.

Why Deliver Packages for Money?

Choosing the courier life has a lot of positives traits.

  • On-demand couriers can actually make decent money, some delivery services can even bring in up to $25 per hour, or more (mostly depending on the hours you work and distances involved).
  • If you have a positive attitude and a courtesy demeanor, then you can earn even more as many of these services have tips built into their apps.
  • While pay rates vary between on-demand courier companies, most pay a minimum flat rate for each package you deliver, plus you’re generally reimbursed for the distances you travel.
  • As a freelancer, you time is your own, you can start with only a mode of transportation, and the cost of entry is free.
  • Your schedule can be as packed or as light as you want, because when you sign up, you’re not an employee of the organization, you’re an independent contractor, who just happens to make money delivering packages.
  • With the flexible hours, most of the companies will allow you to choose which delivery you want to make.

If you want to make money delivering packages, you can either turn this into a full-time gig or just do it piecemeal.

Advantage: This might be a good career to look into in general, as couriers are always needed and may even be recession-proof.

If this seems like an endeavor you’re willing to take then the more you deliver, the more you earn per hour, helping to either save up for that vacation or pay off that student loan.

What Are the Prerequisites?

There is no set guideline shared with the various companies offering freelance courier jobs, but the best courier service to work for generally require you:

  • To be at a minimum 18 years old.
  • To have a vehicle to make the deliveries
  • To own a smartphone (many of these companies use an app)

This is just a general outline of the requirements as a courier, but make sure to check the companies website for their full list. There are the rare cases that you don’t need a vehicle, which can be great if you skipped your workout that day!

If you deliver packages for money, then you can make a decent wage without a college degree. Let’s delve into the list of the best courier service to work for.

1. UberEATS

By now, everyone has heard of the private car taxi service, Uber. However, you may not be aware that Uber also offers a food delivery service, leaving this to be one of the highest paying food delivery jobs you can take on.

Good to Know: Uber has offered this service for over four years under the brand UberEATS.

The couriers driving for UberEATS aren’t tied to any particular food establishment, allowing customers to order from a number of different restaurants.

How It Works

As an UberEATS courier, the client orders a meal from a restaurant and you just pick it up and bring it to the client.

Pro Tip: While it may not be fair to all of the customers, if you want to maximize your returns, it’s best to become familiar with the busiest areas in a city, so that you’ll have a constant stream of orders. Using the UberEATS app, you just wait till there’s an order and off you go!

Requirements:

  • The only transactions you are involved in, are the food pick up and food drop off, the app handles the payment
  • Age requirement, 19 years old
  • Vehicle age requirement, 1998 or newer.

What’s the Pay?

  • The average pay is around $10 per hour
  • After receiving payment for the pick up, drop off, and mileage, Uber takes 25%
  • The app allows for tipping, which is your in its entirety.

2. Doordash

Similar to UberEATS, Doordash is an on-demand food delivery service, however, it does predate Uber’s food service by 2 years.

Good to Know: Doordash currently operates in more than 600 cities across North America, meaning it’s easy to find a gig as a “dasher”.

  • This is a great opportunity to start making some extra money with this side gig, as according to an LA Times article, 80% of the restaurants around America still don’t offer in-house delivery.

How It Works

As with the other companies, Doordash requires you to make your delivery jobs with your own car. However, in some instances, you can make the delivery by foot.

The company has also striven to become more transparent when it comes to paying their dashers, so that you’re fully aware of how much money you’re making.

To get started as a Dasher, install the app, choose a segment of time that you will be available to make deliveries and wait for your phone to buzz with an order.

Requirements:

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Cannot have any major violations in the last 7 years (DUI, Reckless Driving, Homicide or Assault, Driving with a suspended license, failure to stop or report and driving with a license that is suspended or expired)
  • Cannot have more than 3 incidents in the last 3 years *(minor traffic violations)
  • DoorDash conducts background checks on all of their dashers
  • Dashers can use bikes, scooters, motorcycles, or even walk.

What’s the Pay?

  • DoorDash’s website claims $25/hour (but independent review brings it to around $10, outside of busy holiday seasons)
  • DoorDash offers dashers a commercial auto insurance policy with a $1 million limit
  • DoorDash states that if you don’t make $10 an hour, DoorDash will pay the difference

3. Postmates

Almost transitioning away from food delivery, Postmates also includes other goods outside of restaurant deliveries.

Good to Know: Postmates is a company that also uses an app to send freelance couriers to pick up food or products from a variety of stores.

  • Postmates currently operates in over 2,940 cities across America.
  • Postmates also allows its couriers to make deliveries for merchants outside of their Plus program, but are still listed on their app.
  • The company also touts that it has over 250,000 Postmates that will bring everything, including alcohol to your door, making this an ideal job to deliver packages for money.
  • Postmates Plus program claims to have 350,000+ partners with delivery fees as low as $1.99, and free delivery over $15 (with their unlimited plan).

How It Works

To get the most out of Postmates, do some due diligence and game the system.

  • If your schedule is flexible as to when you can make deliveries, try and align them with the peak hours to get the most bang for your buck. (Generally 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m).
  • Enable Auto-Accept, that way orders will continue to stream in, just remember that you must deliver the orders chronologically.
  • Keep in mind that the Postmates Fleet Map will show you the highest area of concentrated orders called “Hot Spots”.
  • If you also would like to be a customer of Postmates, the company gives the incentive that if one of their fleet members completes over 25 deliveries in a month they are entitled to a free Postmates Unlimited subscription.

Pro Tip: Between deliveries use SurveyJunkie and make more cash taking surveys.

Requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid driver’s license and access to an insured vehicle (or bicycle)
  • Pass a background check performed by Postmates.

What’s the Pay?

As with many other service couriers, they claim $25/hour (subject to conditions, but most Fleet members net around $10/hour).

The calculation is based on:

  • Each completed pickup
  • Each completed drop off
  • Per minute rate for your time spent waiting at a pickup location
  • Per mile rate for the distance
  • Peak business hours (called blitz)
  • Tips can be anywhere from 5% to 20% (built into the app).

4. InstaCart

Out of ice cream, peanut butter, and an 8 lbs turkey? Many people will turn to InstaCart.

Good to Know: InstaCart is a grocery delivery service, that hires independent contractors called personal shoppers. These are hired to pick up groceries from a local store and bring them to a customer’s doorstep, in sometimes as little as one hour.

How It Works

Unlike the other service providers covered above, there needs to a substantial amount of care given to the orders for clients of InstaCart.

  • Since customers are requesting actual groceries, it will be up to you to determine the ripest fruits and vegetables, as well as checking the expiration dates on milk and eggs.
  • The client may even give specific instructions, as they may be planning a meal for next week and doesn’t want the apples they ordered today to spoil for the apple pie they want to make next week.
  • There is also a chance that what the client wants will be out of stock and it is up to you to pick the closest replacement (after confirming that it is suitable with the client).

Requirements:

  • S. driver’s license and an auto insurance policy
  • Criminal background check
  • Smartphone with the Instacart app
  • 18 years old (21 years old concerning certain states)
  • Be able to lift at least 30 pounds.

What’s the Pay?

In the same trend as the other delivery service providers, there is the claim of $25/hour, however, many Full Service Shoppers report and average of $10/hour according to a Glassdoor survey.

Keep in Mind: InstaCart does offer a position outside of a delivery service, and that is an In Store Shopper, where you will spend your whole shift at one store, gather groceries for clients.

The pay of an In Store Shopper is slightly higher at $14/hour, however, you are stuck there the whole shift.

The pay is based around:

  • Pay Per Mile
  • Batch Consistency which refers to the number of units, types of items, and store location
  • A bonus for every five-star rating on Full-Service orders
  • Tips
  • Peak Hour Pay Boosts.

5. Roadie

Roadie is same-day and they claim “on-the-way” delivery service. Their goal was to utilize the unused passenger space in people’s car to make delivers prompt. The business model is structured around the principle of delivering goods with people already heading your direction.

How It Works

  • If you’re driving from D.C. to New Mexico, and someone in Texas wants a guitar in Tennessee, then they can commission you to pick it up for them and for an hour detour, you may end up making $100.
  • Roadie also offers delivery of lost baggage from an airport, which can be life saver if someone is stranded without their suitcase.
  • Roadie is currently operating in over 11,000 cities with the claim of a larger same-day footprint than Amazon Prime.

Requirements:

  • A car
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Auto Insurance that meets your state’s requirements
  • Drivers are rated by the community and must maintain a minimum 4-star rating to stay active.

What’s the Pay?

According to the Roadie site you can make:

  • $60 local gigs
  • $650 for long distance gigs

While what the website claims may be exaggerated, in some areas, it is up you to determine if a gig is worth the pick-up.

    • There is no set hourly wage
    • Location, distance and size will help determine the price you’re willing to settle for.

6. Amazon Flex

This list would not be complete without mentioning Amazon in some capacity.

The multinational e-commerce giant, has been consistently increasing the speed of their deliveries, and it has finally come down to accepting freelance couriers.

How It Works

When making deliveries for Amazon Flex, you’ll be tasked with picking up orders from local Amazon delivery stations. The requirements for Amazon Flex are a little more thorough than the other services mentioned.

Requirements

  • Be 21 years old or older
  • An Amazon account
  • Have a smartphone
  • Have a social security number
  • Pass a background check
  • Have a vehicle (mid-size sedan or four door truck without an open bed)
  • Have auto insurance (Amazon Flex provides insurance, but it only applies while making a delivery).

What’s the Pay?

This is one of the best ways to make money delivering packages. According to Glassdoor, user-reported salaries ranged from $18-$25.

  • Pay is per block of time allotted to making deliveries
  • Blocks can be 3, 3.5, or 4 hours long
  • If you complete your deliveries before the block is up, you’ve effectively increased your pay per hour.

Wrapping It Up

While the courier business may not be for everyone, there is a lot of money to be made in the industry.

As long as you have a vehicle, a phone, and the willingness to do some legwork, you’ll always be employed. You can even control your pay to some degree.

To maximize your rating with these companies and thereby maximizing your return, you should:

  • Be polite and courteous when servicing customers
  • Call or text the customer in case of any delays or unavailability
  • Try and complete your deliveries succinctly to bring in the most amount of cash per hour
  • Always double confirm the order to be as accurate as possible.

If you want to deliver packages for money, an office where the view is the open-road, and the power to set your own schedule then follow this guide to see how far you can go in this business.

If you’ve tried your hand as an on-demand courier let us know about your experience down below.

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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