The Side Gig Experiment: Postmates

Most of us hard-working citizens have some form of the sometimes dreaded “side-gig”, all “you don’t have to turn on your red light” jokes aside, to make extra cash to supplement our things. Whatever those things may be, the average person has some need for extra cash here and there. Even with a full time job, I’ve found that my SAT Test Proctor and consulting rackets weren’t cutting it. Expensive tastes and golden retriever-spoiling tendencies be damned.

Postmates Review on Coffee and Cactus

I decided on a whim after being referred by a family friend, that the Postmates courier gig would be my chosen poison. One short information session and a basic background check later, I was set to deliver Phil’s BBQ and Lime Gatorades to hungry and thirsty San Diegans. So far I’ve been at this for about 50 deliveries, and I have a few thoughts on the experience.

Postmates Review - on Coffee and Cactus

The first few jobs you do on Postmates have a bit of a learning curve. I tested out the interface from a customer’s perspective to gain insight on how they see things before embarking on the courier side. I found out that for instance the customer app will sometimes leave out an easy option for adding a drink to your order, so now I almost always text the customer before picking up their order to ask if they’d like a drink. Another piece of the initial learning phase includes finding the best places to park in a packed metropolitan area. I can’t imagine how bad the parking must be in a larger city like NYC. Maybe working by bike would be more efficient in situations like that. Unfortunately, some of the highest paying jobs I’ve had so far are in the belly of the beast: the center of downtown where free parking is a rarity.

The biggest advantage to Postmates is arguably the flexibility of your schedule. Just pull up the app and click “Go On Duty” whenever you’re free to work. One caveat: there’s an option to schedule yourself for priority to have more jobs, and some of the better jobs. The problem with it is that the schedule is released once a week and the spots fill up quickly. The act of scheduling yourself a week out diminshes some of that flexibility. Also, if you sign up for scheduled slots and don’t show up to work, I hear rumor that you run the risk of being removed from the platform. Fair enough. I’ve found that the best strategy to get priority on a whim is if you check the schedule an hour or two before you want to go on duty- usually there are a bunch of couriers that want to swap their shifts last minute.

Even with the small downsides in flexibility and parking issues, I’ve found that the gig is fun and easy to do if you’re willing to put in a few hours of effort here and there. I wouldn’t want to by any means rely on this as a primary source of income, but it’s great if you want to make a few extra clams here and there.

If you’re interested in trying Postmates and are located in one of their many service areas across the country, my referral code, i6fpp entitles both of us to $10 in credit with your first order, which makes a decent dent in the cost of most orders. If you’re interested in becoming a courier yourself, check out more information and apply here.

What are your side gigs? Leave your thoughts in the comments below- and take joy in that they’re now powered by Disqus!

Jam on,