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Rideshare vs. Delivery: Which Gig Economy Job is The Best?

Harry Campbell The Rideshare Guy
December 16, 2021

Thinking about picking up a side gig? Which is better for you: rideshare or delivery? Breaking down the pros and cons of each here.

Buckle has partnered with Harry Campbell, founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, to provide our Members with the very best tips, tricks, and news to help maximize their income as a rideshare and delivery driver.

Considering picking up a side gig, but not sure if rideshare or delivery is better for you? There are key differences between both! 

From earnings to strategies and expenses, we’ll break down the differences between rideshare driving and delivery, including pros, cons and more. 

Rideshare Driving vs Delivery Driving

First, a caveat: no two gigs are the same, and no two people will have the same experience. That being said, there are distinct differences between rideshare driving and delivery driving. 

Let’s start with rideshare driving first, then we’ll break out delivery. 

Rideshare Pros and Cons

One con is that there aren’t very many rideshare platforms to choose from - if you don’t live in a major city like Los Angeles or New York City. 

For instance, in most markets in the U.S., drivers only have the choice between Uber and Lyft. In the larger markets, the market share is comparable and you can stay busy with either or both apps. But in the smaller to medium markets where Uber has a larger market share, drivers do report that Uber is the more reliable option. But regardless of the market you’re in, it always pays to be signed up with both apps - just in case. 

Requests for rideshare ebb and flow, meaning you can schedule your day pretty easily. The busiest times of the day are morning commute, evening commute and bar closing time. You know when to go out and drive to have the best earnings. 

One downside is that you’re in your car all day, with limited means to get out and stretch or keep active. However, every day is different. You’ll be seeing different parts of your city or metro area than you’ve ever seen before and constantly meeting new people.

Depending on your personality and preferences, you might enjoy having an endless stream of strangers in your vehicle, or you may find it off-putting. 

You’ll also need to adhere to somewhat strict vehicle requirements. Most rideshare companies require vehicles under a certain age, with a specific number of seats available and other requirements. 

Learn more about rideshare vs delivery in The Rideshare Guy’s comparison here

Delivery Pros and Cons

Contrary to rideshare, with delivery, you have a lot of platforms to choose from and you can fairly easily determine which ones are most lucrative for your market. Simply go online with all of them and then switch the others off after you get a request. If you hit a slow patch with one platform, you can easily switch to another. 

With delivery, you won’t have to deal with people as much, but interactions with customers will still have to happen in some fashion. You won’t have the person in your vehicle, but you may need to text or call your customer for clarification, directions or just to say that the delivery has been completed. 

Without people in your vehicle, you can listen to whatever music, podcasts, audiobooks, and silence that you want. Food won’t complain about your choices. 

It’ll be helpful as a delivery driver to learn the restaurants, grocery stores and retails in your area to help determine which are the ones that treat drivers well and have food ready on time. In some cases, requests from one store on one app will pay better than if you were to get a similar request from the same store on another app. 

For deliveries, you have fewer vehicle requirements to worry about. Many delivery platforms will even let you walk, bike or use scooters for your deliveries. 

Rideshare Earnings

For Q3 2021, Gridwise, an app for rideshare and delivery drivers, found that rideshare drivers are earning around $22 per hour compared to $15 per hour for delivery drivers. 

According to the drivers The Rideshare Guy has surveyed, a majority of them work 10 hours a week and make around $200-$300/week.  Most full-time drivers are earning around $600-$800/week, but I know many drivers who routinely top out at $1,000/week (or more!) due to the many bonuses, guarantees and promotions that Uber offers to incentivize drivers to hit the road.

Keep in mind, with how much you use your vehicle, you’ll have depreciation and maintenance costs, as well as the cost of gas to take into consideration. 

Delivery earnings

Delivery drivers, according to the statistics from Gridwise above, earn around $15 per hour. However, keep in mind that delivery drivers typically have lower expenses since they typically drive less, have more flexible delivery options (like using an e-bike, bike, or even delivering on foot!), which would cut down on vehicle-related expenses. 

Keep in mind, earnings on non-grocery delivery jobs may vary from the chart above. Learn more about each platform’s earning potential in Best Food Delivery Service to Work For: 13 Apps Compared.

Customer Experience with Rideshare

As a rideshare driver, you’ll have first-hand experience with your customers. Some will want to talk, whereas others will want quiet. Do you have a personality that could chat all day while also recognizing that some passengers may want quiet?

As far as tipping goes, customers on rideshare services tend not to tip, or to tip lower compared to delivery. Even though tipping has been customary for taxis, it doesn’t seem to have translated over to rideshare. However, if your customer wants to tip, they can do so in the app, or with cash. 

Customer Experience with Delivery

If all goes smoothly, you likely won’t have much if any direct contact with your customers on a delivery platform. You may need to check in with them if items are out of stock or if you need clearer instructions on how to find their apartment. 

However, for the most part, you’ll be picking up items and delivering them with minimal contact. This is especially true during the pandemic, as a lot of customers choose “leave at door” as an option for the deliveries to prevent unnecessary contact. 

As long as things go well with the order, it is likely you’ll receive a tip for your service. Many platforms will tell you upfront what the tip is or if a tip is included before you accept the request. This will help you determine what your earnings could be approximately. 

Summary

There are a few key differences between rideshare driving and delivery driving. One main one is the level of activity. 

With rideshare, you’ll be in your vehicle most of the time with limited options for getting out and stretching or walking. 

With delivery, you’ll be in and out of your vehicle at the restaurant or grocery store as well as when you make the drop-off. You may also not even need a car to deliver, instead using an e-bike, bike, or simply walking. It’s a much more mobile job than rideshare!

If you aren’t as comfortable dealing with strangers, you might want to steer clear of rideshare since you’d have strangers in your vehicle constantly. On the other hand, if shopping stresses you out, you might not want to consider grocery delivery. 

Which sounds more appealing to you? Will you give both rideshare and delivery driving a try?

Harry Campbell is a former Boeing Aerosapce Engineer and founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, a blog, podcast and Youtube channel for ridehail drivers and other gig workers and author of, The Rideshare Guide. Over the years, Harry has covered the gig economy industry closely and talked to tens of thousands of drivers and gig workers about their experience on the road.

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