Postmates vs Instacart. Which is Better for Drivers?

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Working for Postmates vs Instacart

postmates vs instacart

They call it the 'Gig Economy', also to distinguish it from the old economy. The phenomenon is more widespread in the US market and absorbs 49.6% of the ads. Among all the advantages of self-employment there is first of all the flexibility that only working for delivery or ridesharing companies can offer.

Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Doordash and Instacart here are some names of the Gig Economy. “What platform should I choose to earn money?” There are now so many companies offering job opportunities and sometimes it is difficult to choose for whom to work. We want to help you with your decision.

In this article we focus on two companies that seem very similar at first glance: Postmates and Instacart. At the end of this article you will know everything you need to know to make your choice and decide who among Postmates and Instacart is right for you.

Why work as a driver for Postmates or Instacart?

Postmates and Instacart, as well as their competitors (Doordash, Caviar and Shipt), do not offer a fixed salary, but collaboration contracts. Precisely for this reason they are the right solution for those who want a few extra money at the end of the month or for students. Working for Postmates or Instacart, surely you can maximize your earnings and have more money in your pocket. Finally if you're looking for a job that doesn't require a lot of commitment and qualifications or skills, this job is for you.

What are Postmates and Instacart?

If you know the etymology of the Gig Economy, this is a fairly recent term. It is born thanks to the creation of applications and websites that offer services 'on demand'. In addition to being appreciated for their services by users, Postmates and Instacart are the right solution for those who want to work as delivery drivers. Postmates and Instacart are two platforms and work respectively through Postmates App and Instacart App. But what are the differences?

What is Postmates?

Postmates platform is an easy and reliable way to get the food and merchandise you love delivered. You can order just about anything with the Postmates App. In fact, the main purpose of Postmates is to help people unlock the best of their cities – and their lives, with an insanely reliable on-demand “anything” network.

Postmates has really competitive service fees and offers innovative solutions that can help you save money like Postmates Party. Postmates new users can save money with our promo code and get $100 free delivery fee. In addition the on demand delivery service offers discounts to all the users. Take a look at our complete guide to promo codes for existing users.

What is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery delivery service. Customers select groceries through the Instacart App or Instacart website from various grocery stores. As a Instacart Full-Service Shopper contractor you have to shop and deliver the customer’s order.

Understanding the difference between Instacart and Postmates is the first step while you are looking for a side hustle. While with Instacart you will shop and deliver only groceries, with Postmates, you will deliver food, drinks and also goods from all the retailers available in the on-demand delivery service app.

In which cities can I work for Postmates or Instacart?

Postmates was founded in 2011 in San Francisco by Bastian Lehmann, Sean Plaice, Sam Street. On September 18, 2018 Postmates, the on‐demand delivery pioneer, announced that it raised $300 million led by Tiger Global Management LLC (“Tiger”), on the heels of a record‐shattering year of growth, market expansion, and adoption of the industry’s first subscription service.

Postmates is currently available in more than 450 U.S. cities and Mexico City. Check our complete list of cities with Postmates.

Instacart was founded in 2012 thanks to an idea of Apoorva Mehta. Instacart is growing fast and now available to 70 percent of all households across the country. You can take a look at this list of cities with Instacart.

Winner: With a broader reach, Postmates has an added advantage over Instacart where the app is still working to maximize its penetration and partner with more grocery stores across the United States.

Posmates vs Instacart: What Are the Job Requirements

Postmates Fleet Delivery Driver Requirements

  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Be eligible to work in the United States
  • Have access to
    • a vehicle (No vehicle inspection required)
    • a bike
    • a scooter
    • walk (allowed in some markets)
  • Own a smartphone (iPhone / Android)
  • Pass a background check

Instacart Full-Service Shopper Requirements

  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Be eligible to work in the United States
  • Have access to a vehicle (No vehicle inspection required)
  • Own a smartphone (iPhone 5 / Android 4.4 or newer)
  • Be able to lift between 30-40 lbs with or without an accommodation
  • Pass a background check

Requirements to become a Postmates Driver or Instacart Full-Shopper: Our opinion

The list of qualifications is not so complicated either for Postmates or Instacart. What changes is the flexibility that only Postmates offers, to make deliveries with any type of vehicle (motorcycles, bicycles and in some markets even just walking). You can take a look at our complete guides to driver requirements and vehicle requirements.

Winner: Tie

Postmates vs Instacart: Job Review

Some important things to know before becoming a Postmates driver or a Instacart Shopper

  1. Sceduling Delivery: With Postmates you do not need to sign in shifts and schedule deliveries. All Postmates drivers have the same job opportunities and there are no priority pings. With Instacart as well as with Grubhub you need to schedule in advance your deliveries shifts. Sometimes it is very difficult to obtain the full time hours you need. When there is an abundance of "Shoppers", you will NEVER get performance bonuses because they have too many Shoppers.
  2. While Postmates officially ditched its classic 1-to-5-star rating system for a binary thumbs-up, thumbs-down rating system, when you are shopping for groceries for Instacart, you are timed and must meet performance goals. When you can't easily find suitable replacements or have to deal back and forth with the customer on such a replacement, you can't meet those performance goals.

Postmates vs Instacart: Driver Pay

“Life is a matter of choice,” says Schwartz. “But, is this good news or bad news?” With so many choices, people find it difficult to make any decision at all. If you’re currently considering looking for a new job soon, perks, benefits and higher salary are so important.

If earning more is a fundamental need for you too, take a few minutes to see this review of Postmates drivers and Instacart Shoppers hourly pay. According to Indeed a Instacart Full Shopper earns $17.21 per hour. That is 21% below the national average. While a Postmates driver earns $24.98 per hour. That is 55% above the national average.

Postmates vs Instacart: How much can you earn?

Important Reminder: Earnings from working as a Postmates driver or Instacart Shopper vary based on the number of deliveries made. The more hours you spend on this activity, the greater your chances of earning. Drivers can freely decide how many hours to work and on which days of the week. While driving for Postmates is it a good practice to follow our strategies that will help you earn more.

Instacart Shopper hourly salary
Postmates delivery driver hourly salary

Winner: Postmates

Postmates vs Instacart Background Check

Before you can begin earning money as a delivery driver with Postmates or Instacart, you must go through a background check process. The background check is FREE. Postmates and Instacart are safe platforms and use a third-party company to complete their background checks. The list of qualifications to become a Instacart full shopper or join Postmates Fleet includes:

  • No more than 3 moving violations in the previous 3 years, such as
    • Driving without insurance
    • Speeding tickets
    • Accidents
  • No DUI or any drug related violation in the previous 7 years
  • No driving related convictions in the previous 7 years, such as

You cannot deliver with Instacart or Postmates if in your background check you have (in the previous seven year period) a crime including:

  • Felonies
  • Sexual offenses
  • Theft
  • Drug related crimes

If you are curious and want to learn more about the background check you can check our accurate guide on Postmates background check.

Winner: Tie

postmates vs instacart incentives and bonuses

Postmates vs Instacart: Driver Sign up Bonus and Incentives

Postmates Sign up Bonuses and Incentives

Sign up for Postmates is a lucrative opportunity with our Postmates referral code FL-eleonorap. Postmates sign up bonus range between $150 and $1,000. Once you are approved, it's important for you to know that Postmates offers incentives to all existing drivers such as:

  • Earnings Guaranteed:For example, earn $300 if you make 30 deliveries. Tips are not factored into your guaranteed earnings total.
  • Bonus Per Delivery: Earn an additional bonus for every delivery accepted within a specified timeframe and completed.
  • Share your Postmates Referral Code: You can use your Postmates referral code to invite new drivers in the Postmates platform and eran money.

Instacart Sign up Bonuses and Incentives

Instacart Shopper have acces to the folloing incentives:

  • Peak Boost: You'll receive an additional bonus amount if you work during trhe peak hours. Instacart requires you schedule in advance your delivery shift
  • Quality Boost: For example you qualify for $3 for every 5 star raiting orders.

Instacart as well Doordash has restriction in their referral code policy. The requirements to be elegible to a referral bonus include:

  • Be an active Shopper
  • Have completed 40 hours of service on Instacart platform

Our Opinion

Sign up for Postmates or Instacart is free. You will work as an independent contractor. If you’re not satisfied with the pay rate you can always change. After a first analysis Postmates offers more incentives to their drivers.

You can also maximize your earnings with our tips and tricks for Postmates drivers. Take a look at our guides to Fleet app and learn how to find Postmates Hotspots

Postmates vs Instacart: Tips

Recenty Instacart had a deceptive business practice. They used customer tips to subsidize the $10 per delivery minimum payment the company guarantees its workers.

Instacart will change this controversial tipping policy. Like Uber Eats, Postmates guarantee that 100% of the customer’s tip goes to the worker. Take a look at our complete guide to Postmates tips


The previous Instacart pay model and bad tips practices have attracted much criticism from current Instacart drivers and customers. Many of whom have chosen to work only on other platforms.

In general we believe that working for Postmates is more flexible, it does not require you to sign in work shifts in advance. The possibility of using a motorcycle, a bike or making deliveries walking is a chance that only Postmates offers. Finally, Postmates sign up bonus and incentives make the job more lucrative.

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