Starting my Postmates application
While my car was in the shop, I started on my Postmates application.
Here’s how it went down.
- I completed the Postmates application online.
- After I applied, I got an e-mail telling me to schedule myself for an onboarding session.
- In the email they will tell you to arrive 5-10 minutes early as late applicants will not be admitted. Also, there’s a link to a DocuSign agreement document you’ll need to sign. It’s like a terms and service agreement. The W-9 form for your taxes will be included. It’s important to know that you’ll be an independent contractor with Postmates. Do not expect to get health benefits from this gig.
- I took the bus to the onboarding session. My car was at the shop, remember? But I was the first to arrive.
- At the office, there was a bunch of stools with Postmates courier bags and rolls of Postmates branded stickers on top of them.
- The community manager had a PowerPoint presentation for us about Postmates (what is it is, how it works, and what we can expect from it). It was a very uninspired death by PowerPoint. The only memorable part was when he cracked a joke about how we can’t use the insurance policy Postmates has for on-duty couriers for regular check-ups if something happens.
- After the presentation, we were given a PEX Card. This card will be loaded with funds when you need to pay for the food that the customers order.
- Then they took our photos. Customers get to see these photos when you accept a job.
- They told us it would take a few days for our background check to go through. Once that happens, I’ll be good to go.
Good to go
The next day I got an e-mail informing me my background check was cleared and I was good to go deliver for Postmates. Great! But I had to wait on the status of the Prius.
There are a couple of things about the Postmates platform worth talking about. One is the payout. You typically make around $4 to $20 a delivery depending on demand and distance.
Another thing is “Blitz” pricing. When demand is high (like when there are not enough couriers on duty), Postmates will charge customers more for delivery. This is to incentivize off-duty couriers to go on duty to meet the higher demand. The concept is very similar to Uber’s Surge Pricing and Lyft’s Prime Time. When you log onto the app, you’ll see if Blitz pricing is active. A multiplier (1.5x, 2x, 4x, etc) will be applied to payout depending on demand.
Generally, you have 1 hour to complete a delivery and customers get to rate your performance. If you go below a 4.7 average rating, they’ll kick you off the platform. This is very similar to Uber’s rating policies.
Lastly, weekends are a good time to make money with Postmates, as there are typically 40% more jobs.
I thought the people who were at the onboarding session were interesting. Most were college age folks. Seems like this was a part-time gig for them. Some were artists or musicians. For them, becoming a courier was a way to pay the bills while they pursuit their art. There were some older folks. They have other jobs and wanted to make some extra income. The impression I got was that Postmates isn’t something you should be trying to make your full-time job. There are no employee benefits and any expenses like gas and wear and tear on your car (or bike) is your responsibility.
It seems there are a lot of folks who expect too much from Postmates and end up being disappointed. As evident by this Facebook page: Strike Against Postmates.