If you have a car and a desire to earn some extra money, you might think about giving Grubhub a go.
Almost 10 percent of Americans earn extra money from driving services, according to Finder. You could drive people around for Lyft, but if you’re not interested in making small talk with passengers, delivering food for Grubhub could be a much better fit.
Check out our review of Grubhub delivery services to find out whether this side hustle makes sense for you.
How Grubhub delivery service works
Grubhub, which merged with food delivery service Seamless in 2013, offers high-tech food ordering and delivery for customers. You could sign up as a driver to deliver food using your car, scooter, motorcycle, or bicycle.
Grubhub claims to partner with 75,000-plus takeout restaurants in more than 1,300 U.S. cities. It also lists many full-time positions on the Grubhub careers website.
Grubhub drivers are classified as independent contractors and sign up to work in multihour “blocks” or shifts. Using a mobile app on their smartphone, Grubhub drivers accept “offers” to pick up an order from a restaurant and deliver it to a customer’s address.
The driver’s work takes place within the borders of a zoned map provided by the app. You wouldn’t be asked to deliver to Los Angeles and San Diego during the same shift, for example.
Once a driver is in their zoned map, they can switch their status from “unavailable” to “active,” said Reggie Moore, who’s been working a Grubhub delivery job since October 2017.
How to apply for a Grubhub delivery job
Moore found out about Grubhub jobs while scanning Craigslist. The listing said it needed delivery drivers near where he lived in the Bronx borough of New York City. You can find out about the company’s geographical needs through its online application.
For example, I spent about five minutes completing a dummy application only to be told Grubhub currently wasn’t hiring drivers in Albany, New York. Since Albany residents ranked first among U.S. cities for picking up their own Grubhub orders, according to the company’s 2017 data, it’s no wonder drivers were not needed.
Before you start filling out the online application, ensure that you can deliver for Grubhub in your state. Here is the company’s general map of delivery locations.
Once you land on the application, you can choose which cities you might be interested in serving.
The form also contains multiple-choice and short-answer questions. For example, I was asked if I was comfortable dealing directly with restaurants and customers. I was also asked to describe why I wanted to deliver for Grubhub.
If a Grubhub delivery job is available in your area, you can expedite your application by having your state ID and car insurance handy. These items will confirm you’re legally able to drive (if a car is your preferred method of delivery).
Other requirements for drivers include:
- Being at least 19 years old (21 in Chicago)
- Having two or more years of driving experience
- Having a data plan for an iPhone or Android smartphone
- Providing a checking account for direct deposit
- Passing a background check
If your application is successful, you’ll be asked to attend a training session.
“I started within a week of completing the required paperwork,” said Moore. “They were very quick with my background check, so I was able to get on the road right away.”
Pros and cons of a Grubhub delivery job
If you scroll through the reviews section of a website like Glassdoor, you’ll soon realize there are pros and cons to the Grubhub delivery job. From the 136 current and former drivers who left reviews on Glassdoor as of January 2018, the average overall company rating was 2.4 out of five.
Let’s examine how these pros and cons might affect your experience.
4 pros if you deliver for Grubhub
1. Work when you want
By selecting your shift at the beginning of the week, you can choose whether you’d like to deliver during the day or at night. You could also choose which days to take off.
2. You can ask for support
Each delivery person is matched with a driver specialist. They’re in charge of training you and addressing your on-the-job concerns.
3. Grubhub has the demand
The company claims to service 304,500 orders daily. So if food delivery is your preferred side hustle, you can expect to stay busy.
4. The app makes life easier
“All I need to do is pick up the order, quickly check to make sure everything’s there, and deliver it,” said Moore, who previously spent four months delivering for Domino’s Pizza. “It’s easier … than working as a delivery employee for a restaurant because the payments are online.”
4 cons if you deliver for Grubhub
1. You might be bored stiff
Although the job is easy and helps Moore earn some extra money, he used “monotonous” to describe his average day in the car. If you become sick of routines, it might not be the right side hustle for you.
2. There’s competition for shifts
Scheduling blocks of time to work is first come, first served.
“You need to make sure you are ready when the blocks for the week become available for scheduling,” said Moore, who signs up for two to three two-hour shifts per weekday. “Otherwise you can go into a week with hardly any hours.”
3. You’re not a full-time employee
As an independent contractor working for Grubhub, you won’t receive the same medical benefits or perks as a full-time Grubhub specialist.
One former San Francisco-based driver sued Grubhub over being labeled as an independent contractor. He sought overtime pay and reimbursement for expenses that an employee would have been eligible to receive, according to Bloomberg.
4. You’re responsible for your expenses
As your own boss, you’re also your own financial support system. If you use your car to deliver, for example, you’ll have to cover the cost of maintenance and find ways to save on auto insurance. As an independent contractor, you’ll also have to prepare for tax season.
How to make money working a Grubhub delivery job
When you deliver for Grubhub, you keep 100 percent of your tips. As for your standard pay, Moore said his Grubhub delivery job guarantees him $5 per delivery. If he makes less than $12 in an hour, Grubhub fills in the difference.
The minimum amount you can earn with Grubhub might vary depending on your city’s minimum wage requirements. In Chicago, for example, you could earn a minimum of $15 per hour, according to SuperMoney.
No matter your location, the more deliveries you make, the more money you can earn. The amount you earn is tracked in the pay summary section in the Grubhub app.
Aside from signing up for blocks of time, here are three more ways to increase your earnings:
- Stick to areas of your city that have a higher density of take-out restaurants. You could search on Grubhub’s app to make sure you’re near a good number of them.
- Deliver during dinner hours, when orders — and tips — are the largest.
- Sign up for days or nights that are popular for ordering, such as during big sporting events or in bad weather.
You’ll have to account for the money you spend on gas too. Grubhub reimburses Moore $0.50 per mile, based on the shortest distance between the restaurant and the customer. That leaves Moore paying for the gas he might use driving to restaurants and waiting around for offers.
For example, Moore might drive zero miles from his home to a restaurant. But he would only be reimbursed $0.50 per mile for the three miles he drives from the restaurant to the customer’s address.
Still, the $0.50 per mile is helpful. The average American driver spends $0.56 per mile when driving 15,000 miles per year, according to AAA. That cost includes fuel, maintenance, insurance, and other expenses.
You might incur other costs of the job, such as buying a car charger and dashboard mount for your smartphone.
“It’s not hard to get started, but make sure it is worth whatever it costs to make your deliveries,” said Moore, who spends 20 to 30 hours working for Grubhub each week. “Working just a few hours may not leave you with much net take-home [pay].”
Is Grubhub for you?
Like other options for side hustles, you’ll be at the mercy of demand. Lyft drivers require a certain volume of passengers, for example. You’ll need enough takeout orders to make the Grubhub delivery job worth your effort.
You’ll also have to rely on tips. Moore estimated that they represent close to half of his earnings. If he delivers a $50 order, for example, he receives his $5 delivery fee, plus what the customer adds. If they tip 15 percent of the $50 bill, that’s another $7.50 in Moore’s pocket.
Moore said he plans to continue to deliver for Grubhub. The money he earns from the side hustle helps him make extra student loan payments.
“It pays decently if you work enough hours,” said Moore, who has also considered applying for more permanent Grubhub careers. “But I would prefer a full-time job with benefits.”
Think about your situation before signing up to deliver for Grubhub. If you need some extra money to pay down debt or build an emergency fund, run the numbers to make sure Grubhub will help you earn enough to reach your goal.
Although having a car helps, consider your location and availability before making a decision. Grubhub might only be lucrative if you live near cities that place a lot of orders. You’ll also have to make yourself available at peak times to deliver orders.
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