How to Make Money as a Food Delivery Driver

By Ajoke Aminu


Side Hustles

Ajoke Aminu

Ajoke Aminu

Writer & Career Coach

Does the sound of a lucrative food delivery side hustle excite you? With the USA’s food delivery industry growing by 85% from January 2018 to February 2020, there has been a growing demand for food delivery jobs like DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Grubhub. If you want to become a food delivery driver, this is where you can find your answers—from how to get started to making the most of this lucrative opportunity.

How to Make Money as a Food Delivery Driver

With the increasing demand for food delivery, anyone who wants to become a food delivery driver is on the right track. Food delivery drivers enjoy both flexibility and the chance to boost their income significantly with this side gig.

How Much Do Food Delivery Drivers Make?

Generally, food delivery drivers can expect to earn anywhere from $10 to $25 per hour, while other jobs like DoorDash offer up to $30 per hour. Nevertheless, there are additional factors that can further tilt the balance in your favor.

Several key factors significantly influence food delivery drivers’ earnings. Location plays a pivotal role, with urban areas known for higher demand typically offering more opportunities and increased income compared to rural areas. The choice of delivery platform is also critical, as different platforms have varying pay structures, including bonuses, tips, and incentives that directly impact your overall earnings.

Furthermore, the timing and hours you commit to this gig are crucial. Peak hours, weekends, and evenings often result in higher earnings due to heightened order volumes. Excellent service and customer satisfaction can lead to more generous tips, further bolstering your income. Additionally, weather conditions and seasonal variations can affect the number of orders and, subsequently, your earnings. It’s essential to adapt your strategy during adverse conditions or slower seasons.

Finally, some platforms offer promotions or bonuses for completing a specified number of deliveries or working during peak hours, providing an extra avenue to boost your income. So, there isn’t a straightforward answer to the question “How much do food delivery drivers make?” However, rest assured that choosing to become a food delivery driver is a wise choice, likely to lead you in the right direction.

Getting Started: How To Become A Food Delivery Driver

In today’s economy, it’s no secret that the gig economy offers a plethora of opportunities for people to make a little extra cash. Jobs like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub have created a new market for flexible work opportunities. From the cook to food delivery platforms and drivers, everyone has a key role in this sector.

The food delivery side hustle is popular for many to earn extra income, and enjoy the thrill of the open road. Getting started as a food delivery driver is relatively easy if you try these three steps.

Step 1: Sign Up for Delivery Platforms

It’s never been easier to sign up for a food delivery platform to become a food delivery driver—an industry where there is a relatively low barrier to entry. There are a variety of apps available that provide job opportunities for food delivery drivers interested in earning extra money. Signing up for one of these food delivery platforms may be the perfect option for you:

  • Uber Eats: Uber Eats is known for its user-friendly interface and widespread availability in many cities at $20 per hour on average. It allows you to deliver food from a wide range of local restaurants and offers flexible scheduling.
  • DoorDash: Jobs like DoorDash driver are popular for the broad restaurant selection and competitive earnings of about $18 to $32 hourly. It often provides busy dashers with bonuses during peak hours, making it an attractive choice for drivers.
  • Grubhub: Grubhub delivery drivers reported earning from as low as $14 to a whopping $42 per hour. The platform offers various options for drivers, including the ability to schedule shifts or work on-demand.
  • Instacart: Instacart driver specializes in grocery delivery, offering its drivers $26 to $30 per hour. As a shopper or driver for Instacart, you can pick and deliver groceries to customers, offering a unique opportunity for those interested in this niche.
  • Amazon Flex: While not exclusively a food delivery service, Amazon Flex enables you to deliver packages with a $19 hourly rate, including groceries and restaurant orders from Amazon Restaurants.

Signing up for a food delivery platform is a straightforward process. Here are the general steps to get started:

  • Choose a platform and download their app from their website.
  • Click on “Sign Up” to create an account. If there’s a separate app for drivers, download it from the app store.
  • Complete the background check by providing any necessary documentation or information required.
  • Meet the Vehicle Requirements according to the platform’s specifications. This may involve age restrictions, insurance, and vehicle inspection.
  • Submit required documents, such as your driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance proof, and, in some cases, a profile photo.
  • Wait for approval or an interview.
  • Set up payment information and complete training (if required).
  • If you have questions, speak with the organization’s customer care representative or check the FAQ/Help section of their website.

Step 2: Understand the Basics of the Food Delivery Apps

In a world where convenience is the order of the day, it’s no wonder that food delivery apps have become a staple in our daily lives. These apps function by connecting consumers with nearby restaurants through food delivery drivers, who can swiftly bring food straight to their doors. It’s also the perfect side hustle for introverts, who are looking to start earning in the first week. Food delivery drivers can understand how food delivery apps work through these six essential steps:

  • Accepting Orders: When a customer places an order, nearby drivers receive notifications. They can choose to accept or decline the order based on factors like location, distance, and potential earnings.
  • Picking Up Orders: Once a driver accepts an order, they head to the restaurant to pick it up. They may need to provide a unique code to verify the order.
  • Delivery: Drivers follow the app’s navigation system to reach the customer’s location. They can contact the customer through the app if needed and provide an estimated delivery time.
  • Completing Deliveries: Upon reaching the customer, drivers hand over the food, often following contactless delivery procedures. The app confirms the delivery, and drivers can move on to the next order.
  • Earnings: Drivers earn money based on factors like the distance traveled, order value, and any additional bonuses or tips received. Earnings are typically deposited into their app account and can be cashed out periodically.
  • Rating and Feedback: Drivers are also rated by customers, and their performance can affect their access to future orders.

Step 3: Choose Your Delivery Vehicle

When it comes to food delivery, getting the right vehicle can make all the difference in the world.

It can significantly impact your efficiency, earnings, and overall experience. If you’re looking to make some extra cash with a food delivery side hustle, there are a few options to consider. Here are the pros and cons of using different types of vehicles:



  • Capacity: Cars have ample space for multiple orders and larger deliveries.
  • Comfort: You’ll have a more comfortable and climate-controlled environment.
  • Speed: Cars allow for faster deliveries, especially for longer distances.
  • Versatility: You can deliver in various weather conditions and transport larger orders.


  • Fuel Costs: Operating a car can be expensive due to fuel costs.
  • Parking Challenges: Finding parking, especially in busy urban areas, can be challenging and time-consuming.
  • Maintenance Costs: Cars require regular maintenance, which can add up over time.


  • Eco-Friendly: Bikes are environmentally friendly and produce no emissions.
  • Maneuverability: Bikes can navigate through traffic and narrow spaces more easily.
  • No Fuel Costs: You won’t need to spend on fuel or maintenance as much.
  • Exercise: Biking can double as exercise, promoting a healthier lifestyle.


  • Limited Capacity: Bikes can only carry smaller orders, limiting your earnings potential.
  • Weather Dependency: Bad weather can impact your ability to make deliveries.
  • Physical Strain: Frequent biking can be physically demanding, especially on hilly terrain.


  • Compact: Scooters are compact and easy to park, making them suitable for urban areas.
  • Efficiency: They offer a good balance between speed and fuel efficiency.
  • Lower Operating Costs: Scooters generally have lower operating costs than cars.
  • Environmental Impact: They produce fewer emissions compared to cars.


  • Limited Capacity: Similar to bikes, scooters have limited storage space for orders.
  • Weather Dependence: Weather conditions can affect scooter deliveries.
  • Safety: Scooters can be riskier than cars, especially in busy traffic.
Electric Vehicle (e.g., E-bike, E-scooter)


  • Efficiency: Electric vehicles combine the benefits of bikes/scooters with motorized assistance for longer distances.
  • Eco-Friendly: Unlike traditional vehicles, electric vehicles don’t produce emissions.
  • Lower Operating Costs: Electric vehicles have lower operating costs and are energy-efficient.


  • Initial Cost: Electric vehicles can be expensive to purchase initially.
  • Charging Infrastructure: Access to charging stations may be limited in some areas.
  • Maintenance: They may require occasional maintenance and battery replacement.


  • Zero Operating Costs: Walking has no fuel or maintenance costs.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Walking is the most eco-friendly option.
  • Local Deliveries: Ideal for delivering within a small, densely populated area.


  • Limited Range: You can only cover a short distance on foot, restricting your delivery radius.
  • Speed: Deliveries may take longer due to walking.
  • Weather Dependency: Weather can be a significant barrier to walking deliveries.

Tips for Making More Money as a Food Delivery Driver

Food delivery drivers are the unsung heroes of our modern times—playing a part in ensuring the populace doesn’t starve. If you’re looking to increase your earnings as a food delivery driver, there are a few tips and tricks that can help.

  • Efficient Routes To Save Time and Earnings: Plan your delivery routes efficiently to minimize travel time between orders. This allows you to complete more deliveries in less time, increasing your overall earnings.
  • Capitalizing on Peak Hours: Identify and work during peak hours when demand for food delivery is high. These periods often come with higher order volumes and better opportunities for tips, boosting your income.
  • Increasing Your Order Volume: Try to accept multiple orders from the same restaurant or nearby locations, known as “stacking.” This optimizes your time and can result in more earnings per trip.
  • Exploring Platform Incentive Programs: Many delivery platforms offer incentives, such as bonuses for completing a certain number of deliveries in a specific timeframe. Take advantage of these programs to maximize your income.
  • Maximizing Earnings through Special Offers: Keep an eye on special promotions or discounts offered by the delivery platform. These can attract more orders, potentially leading to higher tips and earnings.
  • Excellent Customer Service: Providing exceptional service can lead to higher tips and positive ratings, which can, in turn, improve your chances of receiving more orders and earning more over time.

Key Considerations and Challenges of Working a Side Job as a Food Delivery Driver

Before you hit the road, it’s important to consider a few key factors that may come your way. The gig economy has been a saving grace for many, offering a flexible work schedule and additional income stream. However, the role of a food delivery driver can come with its own set of challenges. Addressing these considerations and challenges thoughtfully and proactively is key to succeeding as a food delivery driver and ensuring a sustainable income.

Time Management

Balancing your side job with other commitments can be challenging. Effective time management is crucial to ensure you’re available during peak earning hours while meeting personal obligations.

Vehicle Wear and Tear

Constant use of your vehicle for deliveries can result in increased maintenance costs and potential depreciation of your vehicle’s value over time.

Fluctuating Income

The income from food delivery can be inconsistent, with earnings varying from day to day or week to week due to factors such as order volume and tips.

Weather and Traffic

Adverse weather conditions and heavy traffic can affect delivery times and may present safety concerns, especially during rush hours or inclement weather.

Handling Customer Complaints

Dealing with dissatisfied customers or addressing order issues requires strong communication and problem-solving skills to maintain a positive reputation.

Safety Concerns

Late-night deliveries or navigating unfamiliar neighborhoods can pose safety risks. You must take precautions to stay safe.

Expense Management

Managing expenses, including fuel, vehicle maintenance, and other operational costs, is essential to ensure that your earnings outweigh your expenditures.

Platform Dependence

Relying solely on one delivery platform can leave you vulnerable to changes in the platform’s policies, demand fluctuations, or potential deactivation, emphasizing the importance of diversifying your work.


It’s clear that the food delivery side hustle has the potential to offer a rewarding career for those who are up for the task. With the rise of convenience culture and the ever-growing demand for speedy food delivery, there’s a considerable opportunity for you to jump on board and reap the benefits. Here, we’ve explored the world of food delivery as a lucrative side gig, shedding light on how to become a food delivery driver and the key considerations and challenges.

Furthermore, having discussed tips like time management, efficient route planning, and providing excellent customer service, food delivery can be a piece of cake for you. With the right strategies and a commitment to excellent service, you can tap into this thriving industry and pave the way for a rewarding side gig. After digesting the article insights, you’re just a step away from becoming the hero to deliver a piping hot pizza to a grateful customer on a cold night!

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Ajoke Aminu

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