There's nothing like instant gratification, and with the growth of same day delivery services, like Postmates and Google Express, even your online shopping can offer near-instant gratification. For a price, you can get your groceries delivered and even have orders from big retailers like Costco, Ikea, and Target brought straight to your door. Same-day service (and in some cases same-hour service) can save you the time and hassle of running errands—and they don't have to break the bank.
But before you rush off to sign up, there are a few things to consider about same-day delivery services:
- Most companies offering same-day delivery only do so in select areas. If you aren't in (or at least near) a major metropolitan area, you may be out of luck.
- Each service has a different selection of items—just like any other online retailer, some same day delivery services will offer the items you're interested in and others won't. Before you sign up for a service, check what's on offer, especially if you're picky about which brands you use. Amazon Prime Now and Google Express both offer free trials of their same-day delivery services, which let you give them a test-run before you commit.
- What you pay through a delivery service may not be what you would pay in a store. While these services all charge delivery fees, some may price the items you're buying higher than your local shops—which can make it tough to see what the service really costs. Before you buy, it's smart to do a cost comparison so you can decide whether the convenience of delivery is worth it.
- While we've listed some big national companies here, you may find local delivery services that will do the same—and possibly for less. If you're looking for standard groceries and household items, check your area grocery stores to see if they offer delivery.
- Some specific retailers offer same-day delivery—though, unlike the rest of this list, only for their own items. If you're clothes shopping but don't want to head to the mall, both Macy's and Kohl's offer same day delivery in select areas.
- If you’re interested in same-day delivery and your area isn’t covered by one of these services, keep your eyes open—they’re all continuing to expand.
Now let's take a look at five ways to get just about anything you need delivered to your door in as little as an hour.
Google Express' $95 a year pricetag comes down to just under $8 per month, for which you'll get free same-day delivery from a selection of major retailers in your area. Though the stores you can shop at varies depending on location, there's a good mix that seems designed to match nicely with everyday errands. The overall cost isn't particularly high if you consider you're recouping the time (and gas money) you'd spend running around town to pick up groceries and other household goods.
Cost: Eligible orders are free for Google Express members ($95/year), $4.99 per order for non-members.
Fees: $3 for not meeting minimum purchase requirements, $2.99 (or more) for deliveries within two hours. Additional fees may be applied for deliveries of alcohol, cold groceries and bulky items.
Minimum purchase: $15 for most orders, $35 for cold groceries.
Items available: Items from major retailers including Costco, PetSmart, Target, Walgreens and Whole Foods. Available stores vary depending on your location.
Delivery areas: San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, plus certain areas of Arizona, California, the Midwest and Nevada. Cold grocery delivery is only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Delivery time: Same day or overnight. Some orders can be delivered within two hours for an additional cost.
Free trial: Three months.
Postmates offers the ultimate in convenience with the ability to pick up anything in a wide range of locations. However, you pay a pretty steep price for that convenience—especially with that 9% service fee. That price means Postmates probably isn't what you want to use for everyday deliveries like groceries, but for days when you don't have time and absolutely need to get something done Postmates can make sure it happens.
Cost: Deliveries start at $5 (depending on the distance) plus a service fee of 9% of the cost of your purchase.
Fees: A "blitz pricing" fee may be charged for busy delivery hours, you can also tip the driver (but only through the Postmates app).
Minimum purchase: None.
Items available: Just about anything available at stores and restaurants in your city. Postmates will even pick up and deliver items you've purchased from someone on Craigslist.
Delivery areas: Select cities in Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Delivery time: One hour.
Free trial: None.
Amazon Prime Now
Though Amazon Prime membership—at $99 a year—is slightly more expensive than Google Express, you have to remember that Prime comes with a lot of other perks—including free two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases, Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Photos. If you're using all of these features and Now's same-day delivery, it's a heck of a deal. However, if you're just using it for same-day delivery, you'll want to take careful stock of what's available before committing. While Amazon has a decent variety of products, it doesn't offer every brand or every item for same-day delivery.
Cost: Free for Amazon Prime members ($99/year).
Fees: $7.99 for one-hour delivery, you can also tip the driver.
Minimum purchase: $20
Items available: Groceries (including cold groceries), household items, electronics, and more from Amazon, plus items from local stores and restaurants (select stores in select areas).
Delivery areas: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Manhattan and Brooklyn, Miami, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Eastside, Tampa, and Virginia Beach.
Delivery time: Within two hours. One hour delivery available for an additional fee.
Free trial: 30-days
Instacart is essentially a personal shopping service: someone is sent to the local store of your choice to pick up all the items on your shopping list and deliver them. Because of this, you have a great range of stores and products to choose from—more than Google Express or Amazon. Instacart is also available in more locations than Google or Amazon, making it a solid choice if you want to outsource your grocery shopping but aren't in one of the few major metropolitan areas the big retailers serve.
The downside is cost. In addition to having a delivery fee (or an annual subscription fee), the prices on Instacart may be higher than what you'd pay at your local store. We'd recommend doing a price check on your grocery list before deciding whether the convenience is worth it.
Cost: Two hour orders are free for Instacart Express members ($149/year). Otherwise, $5.99 for deliveries within two hours, $7.99 for deliveries within one hour.
Fees: A "busy pricing" fee may be charged for busy delivery hours, you can also tip the driver (a 10% tip is included by default but can be changed).
Minimum purchase: $10 ($35 for Instacart Express members)
Items available: Groceries from local stores such as Whole Foods and Costco.
Delivery areas: Select cities in California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgie, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Delivery time: Two hour and one hour deliveries available. You can schedule deliveries up to six days in advance.
Free trial: First delivery is free.
While TaskRabbit isn't a delivery service, you can use it as one—and when you do, it's the most flexible option on this list. With TaskRabbit, you pay someone by the hour to do just about anything you need, from a single grocery trip to going through your whole errands list. The downside is that pricing is very unpredictable. Different "taskers," as they're called, may charge different rates and the time it takes to do your delivery can vary (there's a minimum one-hour charge). Still, if you need more options than the other services offer, TaskRabbit is your best option.
Minimum purchase: None.
Items available: Anything at any store or restaurant in your area.
Delivery areas: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and Orange County, London, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington D.C.
Delivery time: Varies.
Free trial: None.
Considering one of these services, but wary of the cost? The question to ask yourself is what your time is worth. If getting someone to pick up and delivery your groceries saves you an hour of time—and you still have what you need at the house before dinnertime—that's likely worth the $5 to $8 you'd pay for delivery from Google, Amazon, or Instacart. On days when you just don't have the time, that can be well worth it.
[Image credits: delivery via Shutterstock, Google, Postmates, Amazon, Instacart, TaskRabbit