More than a delivery service, Postmates is also a revenue generator for the fleet of entrepreneurial-minded drivers who work for the company. If you’re considering joining the fleet, click through to learn how the service works and how to work for Postmates.
What is Postmates?
Postmates is a web-based delivery and pickup service for local goods such as restaurant orders, groceries, office supplies, personal items and much more. Regarding product variety, Postmates is comparable to Amazon Prime Now in the sense that its drivers handle both edible and non-edible products, unlike Uber Eats or GrubHub, which are food-only delivery services. Thus, the platform has broad appeal among busy individuals seeking convenience in their daily lives.
How does Postmates work?
To use the Postmates delivery service, users can enter their address from either the Postmates smartphone app or the website. Customers pick their preferred items, request a delivery from a local venue and pay with a credit card plus the associated delivery fee using the app or web portal.
The platform will match the user with a nearby driver from Postmates’ fleet of couriers who can then accept the job and see the order. The customer then pays for the item from a local venue using a prepaid debit card provided by Postmates. Then the item is transported to the designated address by car or bike.
The platform also recently introduced a pickup option in select cities that allows users to save on the usual delivery fee by ordering ahead and picking up items directly from local venues.
What are the steps for how to work for Postmates?
Aside from working for Postmates in a corporate capacity, you can also earn extra money working for the company part- or full-time as a Postmate (i.e., a driver in its fleet of couriers).
To become a Postmate, go to the corporate website. Click “Join the Fleet” at the bottom of the page. Then, create an account with the requested information, including your name, contact information and address.
Next, you’ll need to complete the Fleet agreement and then agree to and pass a background check. Afterward, you upload a profile photo, set up direct deposits and activate your Postmates prepaid debit card. Once in the system, you can make purchases on behalf of customers.
The final step is to download the Postmates Fleet app and start accepting orders.
What should you know about doing taxes as a Postmate?
After an earlier legal dispute as to whether Postmate couriers were employees or independent contractors, a court ruling in June of this year found that Postmates are independent contractors, according to Bloomberg.
As a “gig” worker, you’re considered self-employed by the IRS and must pay self-employment taxes plus federal and state taxes. Self-employment tax (Social Security plus Medicare taxes) amounts to 15.3 percent of net earnings. Postmates would not withhold a share of this tax amount as they would for an employee.
What are some tax deductions you can take as a Postmate?
As with other self-employed workers, couriers can take deductions to help offset the legitimate costs of doing business. These deductions include:
- Mileage: You can deduct the costs of driving a car for business using the standard mileage rate or the actual expense method. The actual expense method will be eligible to you if you travel via bicycle, public transportation or another way
- Order storage costs: You can write off the expense of hot or cold bags, backpacks or food or drink storage caddies used to keep orders fresh and intact upon delivery
- Parking and toll fees: You may be forced to park in the paid parking lot of a local venue or to take a delivery route that imposes a toll, but you can deduct these costs if they are ordinary and necessary
- Cell phone costs: The heavy use of the Postmates app throughout the day may burn through your data allowance. Fortunately, the business-use percentage of your cell phone costs are deductible.
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.