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Should You Join the Postmates Fleet?

What is Postmates and how does it work?

Postmates is an on-demand delivery service based in the United States. Through its network of several million contracted couriers, Postmates offers local deliveries in 2,940 American and Mexican cities. While primarily intended to deliver food items, Postmates has expanded its reach to include other types of businesses such as pharmacies and convenience stores. 

Postmates customers must download and place orders through the company’s mobile application. Upon placing an order, a notification is sent to the Postmates-affiliated business at which the order was placed. The business can either accept or decline the order. If the order is accepted the business prepares it and then notifies the system when it is ready. A Postmates contracted courier is then instructed to pick up the order and deliver it to the customer’s address. If the business is not affiliated with Postmates, a courier is sent to the business and, in the case of food, orders it, waits for it to be prepared, and then delivers it. 

After the items are delivered, customers have the option to tip the courier and rate the business. If the order is wrong or there are any other issues, customers have the option to report them. More times than not, Postmates will refund either a part of or the entire order. 

How does Postmates make money?

Postmates does not charge a premium on any of the products it lists. Instead, it chargers a number of fees to pay their couriers, run the company, and create a profit. 

A delivery fee is charged on every order. For merchants affiliated with Postmates, that fee ranges from $1.99 to $3.99. For merchants that are not affiliated with Postmates, the fee is between $5.99 and $9.99. To offset the lower delivery fee, affiliated merchants pay a percentage of profits on items sold through the application. 

A variable service fee is also charged on all orders. This is a percentage-based fee that varies based on a number of factors but is usually between 9% and 19.99% of the total order. 

During busy hours or when there are few Postmates couriers available, a blitz fee is added.

In addition to the service and delivery fees, Postmates charges a small cart fee of $1.99 on orders less than $12. 

Rather than pay all of these fees, Postmates customers have the option of becoming a Postmates Unlimited member. Postmates Unlimited members pay a $9.99 monthly fee or a $95.88 annual fee. For this price, customers get to forgo the $1.99 small cart fee. On orders equal to or above $15, customers also do not have to pay the delivery fee or variable service fee. However, if the merchant is not affiliated with Postmates, the variable service fee will still apply. Postmates Unlimited members do not have to pay blitz fees.

A table summarizing the pricing system (without a blitz fee) is below.

What are the requirements to become a Postmates Courier?

First and foremost, a Postmates courier needs to download the Fleet app on their mobile device. Next, the courier must pass a background check (Note: providing your social security number is required). Postmates then requires a profile photo be uploaded and direct deposit set up. Following the completion of these steps, prospective couriers will receive a final list of instructions by email.