I have vaguely heard of Postmates circa 2014-2015 about this company that delivers anything and almost everything to people in town, mostly food. The idea of doing Postmates came from my friend David who signed up and asked me if I signed up yet. We both likes startups and new tech, it’s probably a techie thing. So David signed up about a month before and went thru an orientation in downtown Las Vegas. I figure why not and signed up and completed my orientation. If there is a reason why I signed up for Postmates, I would answer with one word only; curiosity. I was curious on how it works, how it makes money and how the hell does people entrust other strangers with their food/items.
Postmates is a straight forward delivery idea via an app. While it’s main purpose is to deliver food to people, it also does a lot of activity related to delivery. During my time doing Postmates, I have encountered many different requests, some are out of the ordinary and some are straight up weird. I have delivered an important document/check, delivered dog medicine from a vet clinic, pick up and deliver crickets for a snake to eat, picked up multiple ”Plan B” pills and birthday cakes along with a verbal message to pass along to the client. Funny thing is that I never received an order to buy condoms, just Plan B or commonly know as “the morning after” pills. I guess that explains a lot if you are into social experiments.
My Postmates curiosity started in February 5th, 2016. My friend David and I decided to give it a go but with both in the same car using his app. We did a few runs and I was actually intrigued with how money can be made by picking up a food order, deliver and possibly getting a tip. So after a few runs, I decided to take an order myself using my own car. I did one order that night and went home. I had this wild idea that I am going to test this Postmates thing starting at 7am tomorrow morning. I woke up early as usual, jumped into shower, ate some breakfast and turn on the app. I instantly received a ping for an order and off I go. A few hours later, I am drowning with orders and had no time to eat lunch or take a break. I continued to work all the way until 9pm. I couldn’t stop at all as I continues to get orders if I don’t turn off the app. It was wild and crazy day for me. My total earning for that one day was around $256. I know it might not sound impressive but to me it is very new idea of being one with your car and making this money without a boss. It was an addiction to me as I did the exact same thing and by Monday, I called my mother and told her about what I have been doing in the past weekend. During that time, I was still finding what I wanted to do next and this seems to makes sense by working as much as possible or a little as I want giving me the flexibility. Mothers being mothers will always worry about their child’s future. I remember it clearly that she said doing food delivery, you can’t possibly make any money. Well, I am a person that loves to prove someone wrong because the things I do, I put a lot of thoughts around it before committing. So I did Postmates for a month and my total earning for that month of February is around $3560 plus. As I mentioned earlier, it was a mini gold rush for people that are willing to put in the work. I did a little more in the month of March. I was able to cover my car payment, my mortgage, my utilities and even get to save about 50% of my earnings.
At that point in time, I was in between things, ideas and where should I go. A year prior to February 2016, I was working for a casino. After that, I began to dabble back into my freelancing roots, looking for new opportunities and did lots of traveling. It was a whirlwind of thoughts going thru my mind of where I should move to, what should I do and discovering things along the way. Nothing concrete did came about but stumbling into Postmates opened my eyes into Independent Contracting and the idea of controlling my time on my own terms. After putting in the work for 2 straight months, I earned around 7k and it felt like I was liberated from my own prison created based on my strict terms. The main source of that is probably because I am from an Asian family. For some it might sound like a downgrade in life but in reality, I never felt better about myself. Yes, the cushy job of being in an air-conditioned office to being a food monkey isn’t much of a promotion. I definitely get it but here is a little secret, the office job pay I was getting after tax is actually similar or less than the amount I can hustle on my own. So if you ask me who I am doing this for, it is definitely for me. My buddy who I grew up with in Malaysia now working in Singapore ping me that he was about to go on a road trip from Saigon to Hanoi, all on a scooter. He asked me if I am down to roll with and I said yes. Now ask yourself if you can work two full months and off a full month to travel with a normal job, the answer we all know is No. It was a trip of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I actually met my wife at the end of the trip via Tinder but that’s another story to tell.
If you can choose where to do Postmates in America, where would it be? My answer would be in Las Vegas. The reason is simple, it is because Vegas doesn’t have traffic jam, at least then. It’s 2022 now and population have grown a lot so go figure. One other strong reason is that Vegas is my town and everything is close to each other. Let me put it into a perspective that you can understand. In LA, if you are picking up from Alhambra and needs to deliver to Santa Monica, you can kiss your time good bye because it is not close by and the amount they are paying/tipping is not worth it. My area is Summerlin and to those that are geographically challenged, it is on the west side of Vegas next to Red Rock Canyon Conservation area. Delivering food in this area have it’s advantage such as higher income folks, no traffic at all and it’s safe. Location is very important when you are providing a delivery service and being proxy to restaurants are definitely a plus. This area is known to have higher income earners so Postmates have this market on lock because wealthier folks tend to order take out more than the opposite which provides higher chances of getting an order back to back. One of the lesser know fact is that this is not a downtown area or city setting, so there is no parking difficulties. I have delivered to everywhere in Las Vegas and to many different neighborhoods. The ones to avoid is definitely Las Vegas Strip, behind the strip towards the east and downtown Las Vegas. One of the key to be successful in providing delivery services as an independent contractor is to set your home as your headquarter. When you venture further and further away, Postmates tends to send you those orders where you have just dropped off food making your return trip back further costing you more time. That will not be a good business common sense. Tipping is a big portion of the earnings and I don’t get them sometimes, most of the times. You would image that a wealthier person would tip more but that’s mostly untrue. The richest are normally the cheapest and their famous last words to me is I will tip you on the app and you will never hear from them. It is the normal folks that actually gave me the biggest tips on record. I once delivered a bottle of coke from Walgreen and the customer tipped me $20 and $1 on the app. What it means is that with a great location like Summerlin, there is a lot more disposal income but less tips. I will still choose this area because it is my home base.
What Postmates means for me is a foot towards a different direction in making money while being able to travel. When I look back to the year of 2016, I basically worked total of 6 months while the other months I was traveling. This is an eye opener for me and made me realize that I could still travel while making decent amount of earnings. Now not everything is grand, there is still cost to this kind of work. First cost is your time, second would be gasoline and third is your car maintenance/wear and tear. I practically trashed my beloved it Toyota Matrix and expedite the aging of that sweet machine. Any regrets? No. Anything to improve on? Infinite.