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Working for DoorDash vs. Grubhub as a Driver – Which Pays Better?

Even before 2020, food delivery was on a booming upward trend. In 2018, Forbes reported an expected growth rate of around 14%, expecting revenue in the industry to more than double by 2025.

This news is, of course, great for restaurants and for the technology companies behind food delivery apps — but it’s particularly good news for anyone wanting to earn extra money in the gig economy, as well.

The two apps with the largest market share in the space, DoorDash and Grubhub, each offer users a way to earn money working independently on their own schedule. These two apps are similar in most ways and may both be strong options for any driver, but they differ in a few key features that might make one a better option than the other for some users.

Key Features

DoorDash and Grubhub each work like most food delivery apps: Customers order food by placing a takeout order with the restaurant through the app, the restaurant makes the food, and you pick up the food and deliver it to the customer. Drivers get paid through service fees, tips, or both, and orders and payments are all handled digitally through the app.

1. Requirements for Drivers

Many drivers sign up with food delivery companies instead of rideshare apps because you get similar flexibility and pay but without driving strangers around in your car. You don’t need any prior work experience to qualify as a delivery driver.

The vehicle requirements for food delivery are also typically less strict than for rideshare, so this could be a good option if you have a small or older vehicle or if you live in a major city and only use a scooter or bicycle.

DoorDash Delivery Driver Requirements

DoorDash is available primarily in the United States but expanding quickly. It’s in more than 4,000 U.S. cities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico; plus 80 cities in Canada, and in Melbourne, Australia.

DoorDash doesn’t have any specific requirements for your car, except that it’s covered by insurance. In some cities, you can even deliver by scooter or bicycle. Check with your delivery location for that option before signing up.

To be eligible, Dashers must:

  • Be 18 years old or older.
  • Own a car or, in select cities, a scooter or bicycle.
  • Have auto insurance covering their vehicle.
  • Have a valid driver’s license and Social Security number.
  • Consent to a background check.
  • Use a smartphone on iOS or Android.

Grubhub Delivery Driver Requirements

Grubhub is available in dozens of cities in 16 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. You can drive for Grubhub in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington.

You can deliver for Grubhub with any vehicle or, in some areas, a bicycle. Check with your delivery location to see if bicycle delivery is an option in your area before you sign up.

To be eligible, Grubhub Drivers must:

  • Be 19 years old or older.
  • Own a car or, in select areas, a bicycle.
  • Have a valid driver’s license. State ID is OK for cyclists.
  • Have auto insurance covering their vehicle.
  • Consent to a background check.
  • Use a smartphone on iOS or Android.

2. Driver Payment

You’re an independent contractor as a delivery app driver, so you’ll be paid for the work you do and be responsible for your own income taxes, self-employment tax, and other financial considerations employers usually handle, like retirement savings.

Payment rates vary per delivery, so you’ll decide as you work which deliveries are worth your time to accept based on how much you want to earn.

DoorDash Payment

Dashers earn “Dasher Pay,” which includes:

  • Base Pay: This ranges from about $2 to $10 and depends on the time and distance of the delivery and the popularity of the restaurant.
  • Promotions: DoorDash may bump up pay for peak hours, driver challenges, and other features available in select cities.
  • Tips: Drivers earn 100% of the tips customers add through the app.

The minimum pay is listed in the app when you see an offer for an order to pick up, so you know how much you could earn before you accept a delivery.

To get paid: You must have a checking account to receive direct deposit.

  1. You’ll receive payment via direct deposit weekly for payments earned Monday through Sunday night of the previous week. Deposits are initiated Sunday nights and show up in your bank account by Wednesday night.
  2. If you have a debit card, you can sign up for Fast Pay, which lets you cash out once daily for a $1.99 fee.

Grubhub Payment

Grubhub drivers earn “delivery pay” plus 100% of tips customers add in the app. The delivery pay is listed in the app each time you receive an offer for an order to pick up, so you know how much you’re guaranteed to earn before you take the offer.

In select markets, the company adds a “Grubhub Contribution” to guarantee a set hourly rate during certain delivery time blocks. You have to accept a set percentage of deliveries to receive this guaranteed rate. The amount and requirements will be listed in the payments section of your app if this is available in your area.

To get paid: You must have a checking account to receive direct deposit.

  1. Delivery pay for the previous week — Monday through Sunday — is reflected in your Grubhub account.
  2. You have the option to sign up for Instant Cash Out through Chase Bank. With Instant Cash Out, you can withdraw available funds from Grubhub into your connected checking account anytime for a $0.50 fee. If your checking account is with Chase, the fee is waived.
  3. Any funds you haven’t withdrawn are direct deposited into your connected checking account each Thursday.

In both apps, new and existing customers sometimes get promotions for free delivery or a discounted delivery fee. These promotions don’t affect your payment; whatever is listed in the offer is the minimum payment amount you’ll receive.


3. Driver Extras

With food delivery apps growing in popularity with customers and both companies expanding into new cities all the time, demand for drivers continues to grow. You can boost your earnings by grabbing a referral bonus payment when you bring other drivers to the app.

DoorDash Driver Referral Program

To earn a referral bonus through DoorDash, Dashers must:

  • Have completed a required number of deliveries within their first 30 days. The required number varies and will be listed in your DoorDash app.
  • Be in good standing in the app.
  • Share your phone number or unique referral link with friends, family, and personal acquaintances. You can’t share your referral link publicly — on a blog or social media, for example — to “refer” the general public.
  • Bonuses will automatically be added to your weekly pay and the weekly pay of the referred Dasher. The amount varies by city and may change over time.

Grubhub Driver Rewards

For being a Grubhub driver, you get access to special discounts with Grubhub partner brands that support your life and work in the gig economy. The offers likely change as Grubhub’s partnerships fluctuate, but may include:

  • Stash. Get $10 to start investing through this micro-investing app.
  • Quickbooks. Get up to 50% off QuickBooks Self-Employed to manage your finances as a gig worker.
  • Stride Health. Get access to health, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Underwing. Access health and wellness services.
  • Jiffy Lube. Save 15% on most vehicle services, including oil changes and tire rotations.
  • Tidal. Get three free months of this music streaming app.

The Verdict: Should You Choose DoorDash or Grubhub?

Grubhub and DoorDash are extremely similar options for anyone interested in making money through food delivery services. For that reason, many drivers sign up with both companies.

To choose the app that’s right for you, make sure it’s available in your area and that you meet its requirements before applying. Check out each app’s payment options and perks to weigh its pros and cons.

You Should Apply for DoorDash If…

DoorDash is a better fit if:

  • You’re 18 years old. Grubhub requires drivers to be at least 19 years old, and DoorDash accepts drivers who are just 18. So if you want to get started early, start with DoorDash.
  • Grubhub isn’t available in your area. DoorDash is available in all 50 states and beyond, while Grubhub is only in 16 U.S. states. DoorDash is your best option if you live outside of those states, particularly in the Midwest and the South, or in Canada.

You Should Apply for Grubhub If…

Grubhub is a better fit if:

  • You want added perks from partner brands. Grubhub’s partnerships give drivers access to discounts and offers from partner brands that support your lifestyle as a gig worker.

Both Are Great If…

Both DoorDash and Grubhub are excellent options if…

  • You want to work for yourself. Delivery drivers with both apps are independent contractors, so this gig works well if you want to have a side hustle or work for yourself full time.
  • You need flexibility. You don’t have to commit to work shifts with either app, and you can choose which delivery offers you accept, so either app is a fit if you want to make your own schedule and have autonomy over how much you earn.
  • You own a reliable vehicle of any age. In most locations, you’re required to have a car to deliver with either app, but you won’t face requirements for its size or age. Food delivery is a way to earn money regardless of the vehicle you drive.
  • You have no previous work experience. Neither company requires previous experience as a delivery driver or work experience in general, so this could be a way to start working, earn money, and build experience if you’re unable or uninterested in starting with a traditional job.

Final Word

Delivering food in your area can be a great way to earn extra money through a side hustle or work for yourself in the gig economy. It can also make a smart complement to other gig work that lets you earn money driving your car, such as rideshare, grocery delivery, and package delivery.

Grubhub and DoorDash are both popular food delivery companies for drivers and customers, but don’t limit your options to these two. If you’re interested in earning money as a gig worker through delivery work, look into other companies available in your area, including:

Finally, due to adjustments to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may see temporary changes in driver requirements, expectations, and compensation, including no-contact drop-off. It’s unknown whether these changes might last beyond the pandemic. Keep a close eye on the apps, and contact these gig companies directly for more information.

Dana Sitar
Dana Sitar has been writing and editing since 2011, covering personal finance, careers and digital media. Say hi and follow her on Twitter @danasitar.

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