Tech

How Does Postmates Work?


While it’s convenient to hit a drive-thru on your way home, it’s even more convenient to just head home, relax, and have that food delivered while you’re chilling on the couch.

There are a ton of great food delivery apps to choose from, but the one we’ll highlight today is Postmates. If you’re curious about the app, here’s everything you need to know!


What Is Postmates?

Founded in 2011 by Bastian Lehmann, Postmates is a food and goods delivery service with a presence in over 100 metropolitan areas throughout the US. Postmates is simply another great option to consider when thinking about getting a meal or groceries delivered, much like DoorDash or GrubHub.

In July 2020, Postmates was purchased by Uber for $2.65 billion—with the intention of keeping Postmates going as its own separate brand and app.

Download: Postmates for Android | iOS (Free)

How Does Postmates Work?

Much like GrubHub, DoorDash, or any other top food delivery app, Postmates works primarily through its mobile app. Though you can make orders through the Postmates website and sometimes through certain retailers’ websites, most people use the mobile app because it’s always right at your fingertips.

The first step in ordering something from Postmates is to figure out what to order! When you first open the app, you’ll see six main categories advertised at the top: restaurants, grocery, convenience, alcohol, pharmacy, and baby. So, whether you’re in need of a fresh meal, a nice drink after a long day, or some extra diapers, Postmates has you covered.

Once you’ve decided what you want, the process is pretty intuitive. As an example, if you’re getting some food from McDonald’s, you can either scroll through the home screen until you see a nearby restaurant or head over to the Browse tab to search “McDonald’s.” Once you click on a McDonald’s entry, you’ll look through the menu, choose what you’re in the mood for, and follow the on-screen instructions until you reach checkout.


On the checkout screen, you’ll double-check your delivery address and add any specific instructions for your driver. Then, you can also pay extra if you want Priority Delivery, stick with free Standard Delivery, or choose to schedule a delivery time for later. After tapping the Next button, you’ll be prompted to tip your driver.

You can track the entire delivery process through the Postmates app. You’ll know when the restaurant receives your order and starts making it, and when it’s picked up—along with seeing the courier’s car on a map when they’re on their way to your place.

If you want to avoid delivery fees and a tip for the driver, you can choose to pick up your order instead. Ordering it through the Postmates app still earns you rewards like normal, but you have to physically go to the restaurant yourself to pick up your food.

What Can You Order From Postmates?

On the home screen of its mobile app, Postmates advertises six main categories to shop from:

  • Restaurants
  • Grocery
  • Convenience
  • Alcohol
  • Pharmacy
  • Baby

While most Postmates orders consist of food from restaurants, Postmates delivers much more to its customers. Whatever you need, as long as it’s not on the prohibited list of items you cannot have delivered, you can have a courier bring it to your door in under an hour and never have to leave the comfort of your home.

Items that Postmates couriers will not deliver to you include:

  • Live animals
  • Gift cards
  • Guns or explosives
  • Any controlled or illegal substances

What Is the Delivery Fee For Postmates?

The delivery fee for Postmates orders varies among merchants, and sometimes you may even pay a different delivery fee for the same merchant if you make two orders during different times of the day. The fee varies based on demand, your location, and how many delivery people are nearby.


What’s nice, though, is that you’ll always be able to see the delivery fee before you make your order. As you’re scrolling through restaurants, you can spot the fee easily on the restaurant’s card before you even click it to open the menu. You could see a delivery fee for as low as $0.49 or for as high as $9.99; it depends on how busy it is and how far the retailer is from you.

One way to ensure you never have to pay a delivery fee is to sign up for Postmates Unlimited (which is the same as Eats Pass for Uber Eats). It costs $9.99 per month, and—among other perks—gets you free delivery on all orders and 5% off the service fee for food orders over $15 and grocery orders over $30.

Where Is Postmates Available?

Postmates officially states that the service is available in over 6,000 cities across 45 countries, and that they’re still growing.

You can check the location area of the Postmates website to see if your city is specifically listed, or simply enter your delivery address to see if the app services your area.

Do You Tip Your Postmates Driver?

Most often, a 20% tip is appropriate. While you do have the option to not tip your Postmates driver, it’s highly recommended.

Also, although Postmates drivers can’t see the exact tip amount you leave until after the order is completed, they can see a base pay estimate when your order pops up in their delivery area. If you don’t leave a tip, the base pay is typically a lot lower. Postmates drivers can tell if this is a no-tip or a low-tip order, and may choose to not take your order.

You can tip your Postmates driver while you’re in the checkout phase of your order, but you can also change your tip amount after your order has been delivered. When you’re asked to rate the driver, you can confirm your original tip or change it if you’ve had a worse (or better!) experience than you were expecting.

You can choose to tip in cash as well. But it’s better to tip in the app, so drivers see a higher base pay estimate. Doing so will make them more likely to take on your order.

100% of the tip you give to your Postmates driver goes to them; Postmates, nor Uber Eats, takes out service fees on tips.

Will You Try Out the Postmates Delivery App?

It’s definitely a smart idea to investigate all the available food delivery apps before choosing your favorite, but the only way to truly tell is to test them out yourself!

One person’s sole experience with food delivery apps will never match yours. Nonetheless, it’s worth at least trying.

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