How Much Do Grubhub Drivers Make? Is it Worth Your Time?

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When the economy’s unstable, having more than one source of income is a smart way to feel financially secure. If you start a side gig now and lose your job at some point, you’re already in a position to stretch your savings until you find something else.

Having a side gig isn’t just for emergencies. It can be a great way to budget for a vacation or other big expense or even build skills for a resume.

Grubhub may not be the most lucrative side gig, but it’s a great introduction to side-gigging and the gig economy, as are all of the other delivery platforms. It doesn’t take too much to get going with Grubhub. As long as you maintain an active account, it’ll be there when you need it.

What Is Grubhub?

Grubhub was founded in Chicago in 2004. It was originally supposed to be a digital alternative to paper menus that restaurants would send to people’s houses. Another company called Seamless was founded in 1999 in New York as a way for companies to order food from restaurants and caterers.

More From Your Money

In 2013, Seamless and Grubhub merged. A year later, the Grubhub that we all know today started offering delivery from restaurants that didn’t offer the service. In 2020, Grubhub’s revenue and active users both grew 39%. Now, people can order delivery from more than 300,000 restaurants with their phones.

How Does Being a Grubhub Driver Work?

Grubhub drivers are independent contractors. This means they set their own hours, choose which orders they want to deliver, and pay for their own expenses. Some areas allow delivering on a bicycle, but most of the time you’ll need to drive a vehicle and have auto insurance.

Choose Your Own Hours

Once you’re accepted as a Grubhub driver, you’ll have the opportunity to choose some hours ahead of time. Scheduling hours gives you priority for orders — a small advantage over other drivers who just jump on the app and take available jobs.

As you move up in the Recognition program from Partner to Pro to Premier, your priority level for orders and scheduling blocks goes up as well. At the Pro or Premier level, you’ll have access to large catering orders as well. You won’t get fired for calling into a scheduling block or forgetting to do it, but it will affect your recognition level.

Determine Your Delivery Area

At the beginning of your scheduled block, you need to be in your delivery area. After you’re set up there, toggle your app to “Taking Offers.” When you receive an offer, you have 90 seconds to accept it or decline. Again, you won’t be fired if you decline every offer, but you won’t make any money either. You’ll need to maintain a 95% acceptance rate for the Premier level of the Recognition Program.

How Deliveries Work

Most of the time, you’ll just have to drive to the restaurant, pick up the order, and go, following any special instructions that came with the offer, if applicable. Sometimes, you’ll need to place the customer’s order and pay for it on the Grubhub card. If you pay for it with your own money, you won’t get reimbursed.

When you arrive at the delivery address, drop off the food and get your tip in the app.

More From Your Money

Payment

You’ll receive money through direct deposit. If you’re a Chase customer, you can choose to be paid instantly at any time for free. If you’re a customer at another bank and want to receive your money instantly, you’ll have to pay a 50-cent fee. You can also just wait and get paid every Thursday.

How To Become a Driver for Grubhub

To be a Grubhub driver, you need to be at least 19 and have a car, car insurance, and a driver’s license, unless you are in an area that accepts bicycle delivery, but you will still need to provide a copy of your state ID. You will also need a phone with iOS 11 or Android 5.0 or newer.

Here are the four steps to becoming a Grubhub driver.

1. Sign up

To become a Grubhub driver, you have to create an account online and submit your application, with a copy of your driver’s license and proof of car insurance. If you’re in an area that accepts bicycle deliveries and want to do that instead of driving a car, you’ll still need to provide a copy of your state ID.

You will also have to authorize a background check. Most places will put you on a waiting list at this point.

2. Paperwork

If you pass the background check, which means no felonies, violent crimes, or excessive moving violations, you will have to set up direct deposit to a checking account and some other new-driver-related paperwork.

3. Onboarding

The onboarding is optional but worth your time. This is where you learn how the app works, how to set your schedule and how to pick up orders. It’s similar to an expansive FAQ, and it’s faster to go through it than to learn by trial and error.

4. Get Gear

Grubhub will send you an insulated bag and a credit card to use for deliveries that haven’t already been paid. You can also use an insulated bag of your own.

Pros and Cons of Being a Grubhub Driver

Here are some of the pros and cons that come with being a Grubhub driver.

Pros

  • You can schedule a block of hours or just start driving at any time by toggling your app to “Taking Offers.”
  • Since you set your own schedule, you can take days off without penalty or make up for hours whenever you want.
  • You get tips and can keep 100% of them.
  • You might get extra money for bonuses, challenges, and sweepstakes.
  • You can get paid instantly or consistently every Thursday.

Cons

  • There’s no guarantee of payment or orders. Some shifts will be slow or dead.
  • The Recognition Program means that it will take time to get to maximum earning eligibility.
  • Depending on your car, the tax deduction for mileage may not cover wear and tear or gas.
  • The scheduling process isn’t fully flexible because of the Recognition Program. If you miss your block, even by accident, you will not be eligible for Pro or Premier for 30 days.
  • There’s usually a waitlist for becoming a driver, especially in and around big cities.

Pro Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings

There are several ways to earn as much as possible with Grubhub. You’ll probably figure out a lot more as you go, but here are five tips to get you started.

1. Reach and Maintain Premier Level of the Recognition Program

This will get you the highest priority for driver rewards, offers, and scheduling. To get to the Premier level, you’ll need to have a 100% attendance rate, a 95% or greater acceptance rate, and a 10% or less block-drop rate.

2. Track Your Expenses

As an independent contractor, you’re responsible for your taxes. This can be a hardship but it also means that you can take deductions, like mileage. Check with an accountant to see what deductions you can take as a Grubhub driver.

3. Be Efficient

Use a map app that lets you put in multiple stops. This will get you the most efficient route when you have more than one order in your car. Notice where restaurants keep their Grubhub orders so you can park closely for maximum efficiency.

4. Deliver During Bad Weather

If it’s raining or snowing just enough to be annoying, people are much more likely to order in. Casual Grubhub drivers might skip these jobs to avoid driving in bad weather. If you take them, you might get better tips. If the weather’s too unsafe though, consider skipping these jobs, too.

5. Make Notes About the Restaurants

If you notice some restaurants take way too long to make orders, you can either skip them or use them as your bathroom break. If you know that a restaurant messes up orders a lot, you’ll save time in the long run by checking them.

How Much Do Grubhub Drivers Make?

There are several factors at play when it comes to how much Grubhub drivers make. If you’re at your day job during meal-delivery peak times and can only work slower shifts, you probably won’t make as much as other Grubhub drivers. You may also live in an area that doesn’t use Grubhub very much.

If you live in a pretty populous area, you can expect to make $12 to $15 per hour on average. This will not be a consistent wage. Some shifts will be busy and some will have almost no orders. If you take advantage of the tips above, you can push that estimate up a little bit. You can also increase your earnings by driving for multiple food delivery apps at one time.

Is Grubhub Worth It?

There’s a lot to consider when deciding if Grubhub’s worth your time, including where you live, how much money you need to make, and whether you even like being alone in the car that much. If you prefer more interaction with people, you might want to check out driving for Uber instead.

Takeaway

Grubhub’s a great platform to use if you’re looking to dip your toe into side-gigging or earning a little extra cash, but don’t let it be your only source of income. If you’re on the fence, you may as well put in an application now because of the waitlist.

About the Author

Diane Fogle is the owner and sole freelance writer at The Little Green Bird. She received her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Denver.  The research skills gained through that program, combined with a love of learning and intellectual freedom, have led her to a passion for helping businesses communicate with their customers. She lives in Colorado where she hikes with her husband, two young daughters and an old greyhound.
How Much Do Grubhub Drivers Make? Is it Worth Your Time?
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