VROMO logo

How to be a successful food delivery driver

Explore how both independent and employed restaurant food delivery drivers can have a successful career with our top tips.

Blog posts
food delivery driver motorbike with food bag on the back

Navigating the world of delivery drivers

Food delivery drivers are independent contractors, and in any freelance job, you are running your own business. 


As a contractor or freelancer with a 1099 tax form, you are in charge of monitoring your income and expenses, filing your own taxes for income earned, and ensuring you are working enough hours.


Being your own boss can be great, but with any job, there are plenty of pros and cons to consider.


Working as a food delivery driver can be a tough job – the base pay can be low, and it can be difficult to get enough hours when you need them.


However, there are plenty of pros to this position! You have the opportunity to choose when you want to work, and tips can be great.


There are plenty of opportunities in the gig economy, and due to a shortage of delivery drivers nationwide, there is more demand for drivers than ever.


With the right research, strategy, and preparation, you can be a successful food delivery service driver.


And in this blog post, that’s exactly what we’ll explore!

Getting started as a food delivery driver

Choosing the delivery platform


Uber Eats, Skipcart, DeliverThat, Doordash, Grubhub, Relay – there are so many delivery companies to choose from!


Do research to see which third-party delivery service operates in your area; some may not even be available depending on where you live. Check their payment rates and policies, and read reviews about the company from other drivers.


Another option is to work for a restaurant and its in-house delivery team.


To find these food delivery opportunities, you can search local job boards and restaurants.

restaurant delivery driver checking the location of an order on his phone while a delivery bag rests on his bike

Understand the requirements and documentation


Each food delivery app has its own requirements – this could be a certain year of car, a number of years driving, or an age requirement. Some delivery apps even allow you to use a motorcycle or bike, while others don’t.


For documents, a driver’s license will certainly be required. Other typical documents may include proof of liability insurance, proof of car insurance, and work permits.


Requirements and documents will likely have a big influence on which company you choose to deliver for.


Strategize where you will deliver


The most populated areas with a density of restaurants will likely be your best bet. If you live in a sleepy suburb 30 minutes away from the city center, staying in this area may not be best for receiving delivery jobs.


If you live in a small town where everything is close together, you may not even need to strategize where you will deliver!

hands holding a bunch of documents held together by a paperclip

After being hired as a food delivery driver

Safe and efficient driving


If you’re driving many hours a day or every day of the week to deliver food, how you drive is extremely important.


Yes, every customer wants a timely delivery, but no one wants to see aggressive drivers picking up and delivering food.


Even if you feel like driving faster is more efficient, this can lead to customer complaints if they see you as you arrive at their house. Being a responsible driver will benefit you (and your safety) in the long run. 


To be efficient while still being a responsible driver, use Google maps or other map apps to ensure you take the fastest routes.


Delivery management software can also help restaurants provide the most efficient routes for their drivers. 

restaurant food delivery driver driving a scooter with a delivery bag on his back

Etiquette & customer service


Even though you don’t necessarily have coworkers or a boss, you will still be interacting with people frequently.


You’ll also be representing the restaurant or delivery service you work for.


You’ll be fulfilling orders from different restaurants multiple times a day, and meeting customers at their home or place of work. And so even if the interactions are brief, they are still important.


Consider customer service skills as part of this job.


Developing friendly relationships with restaurant staff can help make the process a lot smoother.


Being polite and professional with customers,  even if you see them for less than 1 minute, can determine whether or not they leave a tip.


And remember, following ethical standards, like not eating a customer’s food, should be common sense.


Shockingly, based on several studies, between 3080% of delivery drivers report eating some of an order. This is something you should definitely not do!

food delivery driver delivering to a happy customer at her front door

Order Accuracy


One of the most disappointing things as a customer is receiving an incomplete food delivery order.


If sides are missing, sauces are forgotten, or the wrong order was delivered, it can completely ruin a meal for a customer.


Sometimes, a delivery driver has no control over this, as food bags are taped or stapled closed.


In addition to this, if a customer orders a hot meal, the expectation is that it is delivered hot – cold, soggy French fries are always a bummer.


On the flip side, no one likes to receive cold food like a melted milkshake.


If a company does not provide it, you can purchase an insulated bag to keep food at the right temperature for $15.

the word accuracy written behind a ripped piece of red paper

Time management


It makes more sense to complete a high concentration of delivery orders in a few hours, rather than the same amount of orders throughout the entire day. This increases the money per hour you earn, and frees up more of your day.


If you work as a first-party delivery driver for a restaurant they use delivery management technology with features like order stacking, this will certainly help with managing your time better. 


Focus on the time of day, and try to work during the peak delivery times. Remember special occasions when food delivery might be busy – like the Super Bowl, holidays, or days with bad weather. Other drivers may not be working, so these times may offer more delivery opportunities. 


Experiment with your time management strategy and consider delivery distances.


For example, completing a few small orders that each take 5-10 minutes to complete may earn you more money per hour compared to a large order that requires a 20-minute drive.

delivery customer pointing at her watch due to late delivery times

Ensuring success overtime


Keep tabs on earnings and expenses


Like any freelance job, it is important to keep track of how much you earn and spend.


You may not be clocking hours as a food delivery driver, but you can track how much you earn per order in a single hour or day to calculate your average hourly or daily earnings.


Examples of expenses you might want to track include gas expenses, car maintenance, phone bills, and costs of anything else you need to purchase to be a successful delivery driver.


Delivery vehicle maintenance and fuel costs will likely be the source of your greatest expenses. 


Pro tip: If you work for multiple delivery companies and are finding it difficult to track your earnings and performance, you can always use a platform like Rodeo to consolidate all that information (and even connect with other drivers!).

a piggy bank next to a bunch of coins

Monitor feedback


Most food delivery apps have some type of option to leave feedback for the delivery driver, as do some restaurants that use delivery management software.


Check frequently to see what your rating is, and if any notes were left by the customer. If you aren’t making tips, there may be a reason why.


Unfortunately, a poor customer delivery experience is more likely to be reported than a positive one, so it is crucial to address these right away in order to avoid further loss of money (in the form of tips!). 


Tax Time


As an independent contractor, taxes will be slightly more difficult than for traditional employees.


Tax software can be incredibly helpful during this process if you feel lost, and some even offer specific advice for delivery drivers. You will likely be able to receive tax deductions for your use of vehicle for delivery.


Doing your taxes will also be a helpful overview of your actual earnings from the year.

a restaurant delivery customer leaving a positive online review

Maximizing your potential as a delivery driver

Whether it is a full-time gig or a form of extra cash, delivery workers have the opportunity to break into this industry with no delivery experience and start making upwards of thousands of dollars per month (Talent reports the average food delivery driver salary in the USA is $42,900 per year).


To be successful in the food delivery business, it is key to do your research before you begin, develop a strategy, and adopt a few habits to ensure your time spent delivering is profitable and sustainable in the long run.



Using VROMO to streamline your restaurant’s delivery drivers

Are you a restaurant that uses delivery drivers to fulfill takeaway orders?


VROMO is a delivery management software that can help your restaurant fulfill to-go orders with both an in-house team and third-party apps when needed.


Learn more about the struggle delivery drivers experience, and how to successfully integrate them with your in-house delivery team.