Driving and delivery are bright spots in an otherwise bleak job market, with delivery companies like Amazon Flex, GrubHub and Postmates all scrambling to find enough workers to keep up with demand. But if you’re considering a side hustle in the delivery space, there’s a more important question to ask. What driving and delivery apps pay best?

Driving and delivery apps that pay best

The answer varies widely based on the city where you work, says Ryan Green, co-founder of a smart phone app called Gridwise. Gridwise aggregates driving and delivery data, including information on local events and airport traffic, to help drivers boost their hourly earnings and track expenses.

With 220,000 users nationwide, Gridwise pulled together user income statistics to compare earnings expectations for the nation’s top driving and delivery services, including Uber, DoorDash and Instacart. These statistics track the results of more than 2 million gigs.

 Overall

Ride share services currently pay a slightly higher average hourly rate than delivery, according to Gridwise data. That’s partly because many ride share drivers have not returned since the pandemic started. As a result, ride share companies are increasingly turning to “surge” pricing to lure drivers back to their platforms, says Green.

Overall, ride share drivers earn between 50 cents and $4 more per hour than food delivery drivers in major markets. That includes tips, which are far more likely to be given to food delivery drivers than ride share drivers. Roughly 68% of food deliveries include a tip; just 32% of ride share drivers get a tip.

However, there are wide variations in both hourly earnings — and the best platforms to work for — from city to city.

How to earn more

Notably, few drivers are platform monogamous. And, they’re wise not to be, says Green. The thing that kills your hourly rates as a freelance driver is downtime between gigs. By signing up for multiple platforms, you can switch between apps and cut your downtime dramatically, he says.

Green suggests that drivers sign up for at least two platforms. If you drive a lot, you might want to sign up with as many as five. By strategically switching between apps, Green maintains that drivers can boost their earnings by as much as 40%.

Gridwise data summary

  • In five of the 10 markets analyzed, Amazon Flex pays the most. In some cases, the difference is dramatic. In Dallas-Ft.Worth, for instance, Amazon Flex pays nearly 27% more than it’s nearest competitor.
  • Uber generally pays more than Lyft. Average hourly pay of Uber drivers exceeded the average hourly pay of Lyft drivers in 14 of 18 major cities, including New York, Seattle, Boston, Houston and San Jose. However, in Los Angeles and San Diego, Lyft pays more than Uber, but less than Uber Eats.
  • Three apps —Amazon Flex, Uber and GrubHub — are among the top paying in 7 of 10 major cities. Two of these three are among the top paying in all 10 cities examined.

 Metro areas

The Gridwise analysis shows average hourly pay for both ride share and food delivery by city. It also ranked the best payers in each city and noted how much more they paid per hour than the next-best option. Here are figures for 10 metro areas, listed alphabetically.

Atlanta

Average pay: $15.52 ride share / $12.73 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Amazon Flex, pays 18.32% more than
  2. Uber Eats, which pays 7.57% more than
  3. Lyft, which pays 0.07% more than
  4. Uber, which pays 3.9% more than 
  5. GrubHub

Bay Area (San Francisco Metro)

Average pay: $19.48 ride share / $15.97 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Uber Eats, which pays 3.38% more than
  2. GrubHub, which pays 4.60% more than
  3. Amazon Flex, which pays 1.8% more than 
  4. Uber, which pays 5.59% more than 
  5. Lyft

Chicago

Average pay: $17.16 ride share / $14.26 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Amazon Flex, which pays 0.85% better than
  2. GrubHub, which pays 4.67% better than
  3. Uber, which pays 3.55% more than
  4. Lyft, which pays 0.06% better than
  5. Instacart

Dallas-Fort Worth

Average pay: $16.41 ride share /$13.31 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Amazon Flex, which pays 26.56% more than
  2. Uber, which pays 5.02% more than
  3. Lyft, which pays 3.15% better than 
  4. Uber Eats, which pays 19.22% better than
  5. DoorDash

Houston

Average pay: $14.63 ride share / $11.93 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Amazon Flex, which pays 1.78% more than
  2. Uber, which pays 10.09% more than
  3. GrubHub, which pays 0.99% better than
  4. Uber Eats, which pays 4.2% better than
  5. Lyft

Los Angeles

Average pay: $17.37 ride share / $16.05 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Uber Eats, which pays 1.22% more than
  2. Lyft, which pays 0.17% more than
  3. GrubHub, which pays 3.06% better than
  4. Uber, which pays 2.14% better than
  5. Amazon Flex

New York

Average pay: $23.56 ride share / $14.99 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Via, which pays 0.08% more than
  2. Amazon Flex, which pays 10.82% more than
  3. Uber, which pays 12.51% better than
  4. Lyft, which pays 12.07% better than 
  5. Instacart

Philadelphia

Average pay: $19.32 ride share / $16.62 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Lyft, which pays 5.03% more than
  2. Amazon Flex, which pays 0.63% more than
  3. Uber, which pays 2.08% better than
  4. GrubHub, which pays 0.11% better tha
  5. Uber Eats

Phoenix

Average pay: $18.09 ride share / $15.39 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Uber, which pays 3% more than
  2. GrubHub, which pays 0.44% re than
  3. Lyft, which pays 1.22% better than
  4. Uber Eats, which pays 8.54% better than
  5. Amazon Flex

San Diego

Average pay: $17.56 ride share / $18.07 delivery

Best performing apps:

  1. Amazon Flex, which pays 3.69% more than
  2. Uber Eats, which pays 2.61% more than
  3. GrubHub, which pays 5.68% better than
  4. Lyft, which pays 4.88% better than
  5. Postmates