Whether you are a college student looking to make money without needing a job, a entrepreneur that needs the flexibility to actually get his business up and running, or just a person who needs to make more money, we all considered driver apps of some kind.
Which is what made me start doing them in the first place, it was just making me more money and allowed more flexibility than that of the accounts payable position I had prior.
As you are involved in any opportunity that isn't a typical job, you get a lot of questions about how much you make. When my friend asked me about my experience using Doordash, I told him I was averaging about $1000 a week.
He was slightly annoyed but he asked me how I was making that much where he was not even close. I thought it was very simple, but I didn't consider that he just got started with no experience in any kind of delivery job.
When I started working as an independent contractor for Doordash, I had about a years worth of experience in food delivery when I worked for a pizzeria in Farmingdale, NY.
Since I got started in mid-late 2018, I have done over 7500 deliveries in multiple states such as New York, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and others I cannot remember.
I have seen a lot of YouTube videos and social media posts with the number of hours in a work day that these people put out and turn out with $700-$1000 or maybe more for people willing to do the work.
On my journey doing this, I discovered there was actually a simple system you can use to make a lot of money in almost any location in the U.S. where you can do this.
Yes, I literally spent the time to nerd the heck out of this to teach to other people... you're welcome!
So allow me to guide you through how you can make $1000 a week using driver apps!
Now I do want to be clear, this article is going to use mainly food delivery, rideshare and grocery delivery apps as examples because those are the ones that I have found the most lucrative.
However, it is also important to point out that these principles can be applied across the board on many apps of this nature so I think you can find some important take away points from this article.
With that said, let's get started!
Get Your Apps Ready
So the first thing we need to do in order to make $1000 a week is to get your apps ready to use. While this may seem like a no brainer, it may not as easy as it sounds.
Yes, you can download the app at any given period of time and that is very true. That doesn't mean you will pass background check right away and you will have to learn how your apps operate.
Some may require you to have a specific type of vehicle and insurance, while some have such a low barrier of entry that there is a waitlist that you need to hop on before you can get started.
You also need to be sure that your banking and payment info is properly entered in their system, because after all we want to make $1000+ a week so let's make sure we get it.
Also, I don't know if you noticed. I said apps, as in plural. I usually recommend you give as many as you can a try and see what works for you!
The last thing you want is to have only one app available and on a day that is dead, you have no choice but to sit and wait for orders not to come, or worse have to accept a bad order because you need the money.
The exciting thing about that is though is there are all sorts of driver apps that people can be a part of! Between food delivery apps such as Ubereats or Doordash, rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber, grocery delivery apps like Shipt and Instacart, and many more!
The important thing to remember here is that you need to be sure that whatever app you sign up for is available in your area. You don't want to go through the process of setting yourself up with an app you can't use.
You will also need some external apps to help you in areas where the apps can fall short, or quite frankly doesn't do the work for you at all.
First thing I would recommend is a solid GPS system, that can sync with your apps. I usually use Google Maps, I know others like Waze and I get the appeal but I always found Google maps to be consistent and in the know for traffic areas.
Next I would recommend, a mile tracking and expense tracking app. This is going to be important for writing off expenses for your taxes, and overall going to save you a significantly high amount of money during taxes season.
This can be Stride, Everlance, MileIQ etc. And the purpose of this is to track your miles, keep track of expenses, and depreciation of your vehicle as opposed to keeping a notebook and a pile of receipts that you are likely to lose as you are going about your day.
Remember, once you are driver for these apps you become an independent contractor for these apps, you are making what is known as 1099 income, which means your taxes are not taken out and you will need to pay back a certain amount every year.
Disclaimer: I am not giving you financial or tax advice, this is not financial or tax advice, please consult a certified public accountant or other tax professional on write-offs and taxes and not just listen to a random article you found online.
Finally, and this is just a personal favorite, is apps that will help you save on gas. One of the biggest expenses for anyone in this field is paying for your own gas, especially since the prices fluctuate so frequently.
This can be Gasbuddy, or my personal favorite GetUpside. Both of these give you cash back for paying for your gas.
I tend to favor Getupside because you can combine it with a Cashback Rewards Credit Card and get a percentage back on gas on top of the already higher cashback per gallon, while with Gasbuddy you need to load it into an account and use their card to get cash back.
However, some people like that level of convenience and not having to take a picture of a receipt and if that is the case, I understand that and more power to you. Though, I will say have at least one or the other.
But once you have all the apps you need, you are ready to move onto the next step.
Do Your Local Research
So after we get your apps ready, it's time to do some research on your area a bit more. Most of this is done along the way so it should take the small amounts of time between orders to complete.
Determine App Effectiveness
We know it's available in your area, so let's get an idea of how busy these apps are in your area.
For Example, you may find that Doordash is super busy in one area during the lunch and dinner rush, whereas in the morning where it is time for breakfast it is not nearly as busy.
You may find Ubereats is more lucrative in your area during breakfast, or maybe it is absolutely dead and we need to consider hopping on Shipt or Instacart and deliver groceries instead of food, or if you want to try a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft and give people rides.
Location Location Location
You might also need to consider the area itself, if your app pays you tips for the most part and you know that people in your area don't necessarily tip well you may need to shift to a more middle class area.
I don't like to profile people like that, but I can't deny the reality of it. If you are not in an area where people aren't in the position to tip you or rather just won't tip you, you need to find a better place to work.
This should be rather quick to pick up and you can probably figure it out along the way and should be rather obvious.
For Example, with Doordash if you see that your acceptance rate is in the single digits rather consistently, then I hate to tell you, you aren't in a good area. Probably a lot of people who are struggling to get by and you need to move on.
These aren't bad people persay, you cannot justify taking orders where you aren't making money, it isn't sustainable for you and you will need to look into alternative locations. If you stay in a bad area for too long, you might end up where they are.
On the flip side of that, if you find yourself that you are in an area where your acceptance rate is consistently in the 20%-25% range very often or even better, you have found a healthy area for driving purposes.
This seems rather low, but this is a very true principle, 80% of the money you can make is in 20% of the orders you will receive.
If you find an area where you have more than that, you have hit the proverbial jackpot. Stay there and never leave unless you have no choice! It's those types of areas where less effort is necessary to make things happen!
Another thing to consider is your area being residential, commercial or a healthy mix of both. This is a major factor on what "rushes" actually apply to your area, as opposed to surrounding ones.
For Example with Doordash or Ubereats, residential areas will typically see a huge rush in the evenings during dinner time, and be slow during the lunch rush because everyone is at work.
With Lyft or Uber, you can find a lot of work during the off times when people are coming home from bars and others going to airports, but won't be as lucrative during the day.
This can vary with "work from home" lifestyles becoming more prominent, but this is still something important to consider for long term sustainable income.
Finding your Best Return on Time
The next thing you have to figure out is when is the best times to drive in your area. While this may seem like a no brainer answer, you would be surprised how much this affects your overall return on time, or ROT for short.
To put it simply, return on time is how much you are getting for the time you are putting into something, whether that is an app or really any business.
The reason we want to know this, is because as an independent contractor, you are not making money for your time, you are making money for the work you actually did. Whether that's driving a person, or delivering something.
For me, I usually shake my head at people who ask me something like "how much do you make an hour?" because I know they don't know better and it can vary from day to day.
In order to get the best return on time, you need to do three major steps:
Find the most optimal times to drive on which apps,
Develop strategies to save yourself the time and energy to get an order from each of those apps done,
Determine what orders you should and shouldn't accept
Finding the Most Optimal Times to Drive
The first step we need to take to optimize our ROT is to find the most optimal times to drive. Again, seems like a no brainer but it surprises me how two zones that are geographically so close to each other have totally different activity on orders coming in.
Lunch and Dinner rush may seem like an obvious answer for food delivery apps, but that may not actually be the case.
Residential areas are phenomenal during the dinner rush, and slow during lunch rush because everyone is at work.
Commercial areas may be incredibly busy for the Lunch rush, but if people go home after 5 they will be busy after dinner, though that may depend on where they are.
If they have a mix of both you can simply say lunch and dinner, but that may not be the case traffic-wise and you may be missing out on some important points of secret money.
For Example, I used to live on Long Island NY, and I stuck with only Doordash deliveries and it was amazing for me to see how many people actually made orders at 8am in the morning.
8 A.M.! Sometimes even eariler, some were high end grocery pick-ups and others were just getting someones coffee from Starbucks, as if they weren't already really expensive.
In fact, one of the best orders I got relatively frequently was getting an Iced Tea with Light Ice from a local dairy barn and walking 2 doors down to drop it off for $8.
Best use of 3 minutes in my life!
However, this was an area where ordering breakfast and coffee was normal, so it may not be the same way for your area, so you might need to switch out.
Do you find yourself driving on parkways and major busy roads a lot as a driver? If that's the case, you may need to consider not driving during rush hour, if it will slow you down too much especially with rideshare apps.
In fact, I found my sweet spot with grocery apps to be first thing in the morning, when most people are sleeping. Very few people are awake and shopping at that time, and you can go in and out with almost no issue.
As you can imagine, I do a lot of my work in the morning.
Also, another major thing to consider is the day of the week you are driving. Driving on Saturday is naturally going to be a whole different animal than driving on a Wednesday.
That being said, this part can really only be determined by diving into the work and finding what works for you.
Develop Strategies to Save Time and Energy
Now let's talk about some systems and strategies you can put in place to save yourself some time and energy completing orders.
So there are some important things to consider here when doing an order, getting to the first location, arriving to the first location, and getting to the final destination.
Getting to the First Location
So getting to the first location, this can be a restaurant if you are doing food delivery, a passenger if you are doing rideshare, and a store if you are doing grocery delivery.
I usually like to leave the in app GPS and go into my phones GPS system, for me that is Google, usually it is just a simple setting setup from your apps to make happen but make sure that is done.
Last thing you want is to be caught up in traffic or a road closure because you used that apps GPS.
Make sure you know your roads and traffic laws, and understand how they operate.
Can you turn on red lights?
Will it save you time taking side roads as opposed to main roads?
Can you access certain parking lots through other lots?
Has your GPS mislead you for this location before?
Is there road work happening here that the GPS didn't account for that you know is there?
Are there behaviors of pedestrians that should be taken into account, such as randomly walking in the middle of the road to cross the street?
Does this area have parking or do you have to *ahem* improvise a parking spot?
All of these questions are major factors that can seriously hurt your return on time. While it may not seem like a big deal to be delayed by 5 minutes by some of these things for a single order, doing 10-20 orders in a day can cost you 2-3 hours of your work day.
Which is something to consider while driving on any kind of day, but primarily as a driver for these apps.
Arrival to First Location
So this is something that is going to differ based on what apps you are primarily using so to break this down properly I will breakdown each of them individually.
If you are using a food delivery app, make sure you identify how they are handling to go orders. Do they have a separate location or do you just ask the hostess? When in doubt, ask the hostess, but it is important to remember for future reference to speed things up.
Next, is the location they keep the to go orders just a take away station, like a shelving system or a table set up? Or do they have someone specifically assigned to work that area?
Word to the wise, assume they have someone before you take something off of someplace, the last thing you want is to find out the order was not completed and was missing items or worse, someone chases you out saying "hey that's not yours buddy" or something to that affect.
If you are using a ride share app, you want to first identify the person you are riding with and make sure it is actually them.
Something as simple as introducing yourself or asking for their name is more than enough. Just don't ask them something like "Hi are you John?" or "did you order an Uber?" otherwise they can simply just say yes. They get a free ride and you get deactivated.
If you are using a grocery shopping and delivery driver app, make sure you know for sure if you need a cart. 1 or 2 items is easy to carry but 15 or more, better grab something. I usually just grab one no matter what, you never know.
Make sure you know your store, like it is the back of your hand. This is going to speed up the process so quickly, you will end up shaving 10 minutes off your time in the store.
Also, make sure you ask for help if you don't know where something is. Looking around for something aimlessly is going to hurt you more than help you, so put your ego aside and ask for help (this might just be my problem).
Use the register that is most effective for you, you have less than 15 items, use the less than 15 items line. You think you move faster than the cashiers and want to use self checkout, go for it, find me if you see me there!
Getting to the Final Destination
Now once you are checked out you have the cargo, whether that is a person or groceries or someone's meal, you are good to go and it's time to get to the final destination!
Same rules apply to the GPS, make sure you use the GPS outside of the app. Make sure you still know your roads and all that good stuff and arrive to your destination.
Now, here's where rules start to differ across types of apps though not by much. Rideshare is simple, stop the car "here we are, hope you have a great day!" they hop out have a great day!
For grocery and food delivery, you have new rules based on where you are going.
For apartment buildings, make sure you follow instructions specifically and be sure to be in contact with the customer if you get lost.
For gated communities and sometimes buildings in general, you are probably going to need a code to get in. Make sure you know the code and how to imput it, whether you need a # or * before or after, do you need to hit the call button before or after, is the dang thing busted (can be).
You also might need to go to a specific floor or building within that community, and have specific entrance ways where you can only access a certain suite range from while the suite you are looking for is on the other side of the building.
Warning, most GPS systems do not take you to the exact location and place you someplace in the middle of the community.
This might seem self explanatory, but I have been lost in these types of communities far too many times because the landlord didn't fix a sign or didn't make the proper labeling to each building and floor.
Some are really easy, ask security and they point you in the right direction, very simple. Others, not so much but once you do them a few times, you can pick up quick.
Hospitals are a different animal, you need to go to the entrance they want you to enter, go into the lobby or wait outside and hang tight where the security team wants you to go.
Most times because security can be a bit hard about that stuff, so you would need to contact the customer and they would need to come down or send someone down to get the food from you.
Now let's say you find the front door just fine and the instructions say leave at the door. Take a picture of where you left it, make sure to get some surrounding area in the photo, like the door or the bench or whatever you think they can recognize.
Make sure they get the pic and a personal message from you, something simple like "hey just dropped off your food, I hope you have an awesome day!" is usually more than enough and will make you seem like a great customer service oriented person.
Also make sure to ring the doorbell or knock only if they ask for it, or if it says hand the order to me. Some people would prefer to be handed the food, and make sure you do give them an smile and a "have a great day" and make them feel special.
All in all, follow the instructions you receive from the app you will be okay for the most part.
Determining What Orders you Should and Shouldn't Accept
Now let's talk about the most challenged subject I have ever had in the gig economy. Knowing what orders you should and shouldn't accept, and that can be easily accomplished by setting your standards properly.
There are a few things you need to think about when setting your standards, and they are
The smallest order you would be willing to accept dollarwise
The farthest you will be willing to drive by the dollar amount
How quickly you can get that order done
The Smallest Order you Should Accept
So first we need to determine how much is the smallest order you are willing to accept. This can be different for each type of app, though I do have a rule of thumb.
How much did you want to make within an hour? I know I said you don't get paid by the hour, but hypothetically how much did you want to make within an hour. Include tip, base pay all of it.
Okay, now if you were following my instructions, you would have found how many orders you almost always do within that hour, not your high point your average. Now take that number and add it to the equation below.
(the amount I want to make an hour) divided by (the average number of orders I complete in an hour) and whatever that amount is round it to the nearest dollar and that should equate to the amount you should take as your smallest order.
So for me that would be I want to make about $16 an hour at the very least and with the roads near me, I find I can complete 2 orders an hour on a given hour of work so my bottom line is $8 per order.
Now I do want to be clear, yes it is 100% possible to accept a $3 order and receive a cash tip, but that isn't measurable and nothing that is immeasurable over time is truly sustainable.
The Farthest you Should be Willing to Drive per Delivery
Next, let's talk about distance per delivery, because this is not just important for you to making as much money as possible with these driver apps, but for making sure that you are able to write off as much as possible when it comes to tax season.
So for me I have a very straight forward rule, the miles I drive should never exceed the orders dollars I make per delivery.
For example, if you receive an order for $8 you should never drive more than 8 miles.
Now one thing I would say is make sure you leave room for error, because the last thing you need is to add miles to your drive because you missed a turn or something silly like that.
So try to take order that allow you a bit of wiggle room and room for error.
Disclaimer: I am not giving you financial or tax advice, this is not financial or tax advice, please consult a certified public accountant or other tax professional on write-offs and taxes and not just listen to a random article you found online.
Also, another thing to consider on this subject is how far out of your zone is that order going to take you? If you drive 5 miles out of your zone to complete an $8 order, how long will it take you to get back to an area which you can receive another order?
How Quickly you can Complete an Order
So now let's talk about probably one of the most location specific subjects in driver apps, and that is how quickly you can complete an order.
The reason I say this is location specific is the number of factors that go into it, most of which are roads and restaurants in a given area.
We already talked a lot about roads, so let's talk about restaurants.
Where in some areas there are very few restaurants that give you problems, there can also be some where everyone and their mother tends to dislike the wait time in a location.
This is why I recommend developing a running NO-GO list for restaurants. Restaurants that earn a place on my NO-GO list are usually for wait time, and staff that I generally dislike, typically because they are just rude, unhelpful, or just lazy.
Which is why seemingly everyone I talk to that has a NO-GO list at all, has at least The Cheesecake Factory on it.
They have usually upwards of 20 minute wait time and if you ask them a question, they snap at you and say "if you don't want to wait, just reassign the order! I don't care" and that's just insulting.
Let's Talk Numbers
Now that we know how to maximize our time spent for the best ROT possible, we can finally talk numbers and how to think about them.
Finally I know.
So one thing I need to ask you before going to deep is how many days a week do you plan on driving?
Do you want to drive 4 days a week? 5 days? Maybe you are like me and want to drive everyday!
That sounds like a lot, but let's breakdown my mindset.
So the goal is $1000 a week, which means you need hit a goal every day you decide to drive, again you are paid for orders completed not orders that need to be done.
So if I drive for 4 days a week, I would need to make $250 for each day I work, and I set my lowest order to $8, which means I have to receive, accept and complete 32 orders each day I work.
Now some can be more than $8 and there are going to be a fair amount that are, but what we are measuring is worst case scenario.
That's a lot of orders and honestly, I think my heaviest day order-count-wise was 36 and that was exhausting and almost a 5am to 12am kind of day. Great day, money making day, but exhausting day and I can't imagine that being sustainable.
So now let's do 5 days a week, I would need to make $200 for each day I work, lowest order is still $8, which means I have to receive, accept and complete 25 orders each day I work.
This is much more doable and I have seen a good amount of people doing this, and doing it well.
If I work 6 days a week, I would need to make $167 for each day I work, again lowest order is still $8, I would need to receive, accept and complete 21 orders each day I work.
Again still doable, there is a good amount of people that do this so they can have a day off.
Then there is me, doing 7 days a week, I need to make $143 everyday, lowest order is $8, I would need to receive, accept and complete 18 orders for everyday.
This seems like it is a lot of work, but now I when I miss a day of work because I have to get my car repaired or something I am not stressing because not only I can relax, I can be sure that I have worked everyday and made up the difference.
Now I do want to say this, if you want to make more money than $1000 a week, you are going to want to accept more deliveries and continue to work throughout the day even past your goal.
However, you really should never not hit your goal on any given day of the year if you want to actually make $1000 a week.
So while this is a broken down version of how it works and it can seem very complicated when reading it or watching a video about it, let me be clear, all of this makes more sense as you doing the work.
So don't overthink it for any reason, and just keep doing the work, continue to make things happen for you and you will inevitably succeed overtime.
With that said, thank you so much for reading this article! I hope you gained some value and learned something that you can apply to your gig economy driving experience!
Feel free to look around the website and I look forward to helping guide you in the future!