Did you ever see the movie Inception? It was one of those make your head spin kind of movies, and it kind of reinvented the very word. The dream within a dream within a dream… You kind of have to see the movie to understand it.
A lot of delivery drivers who are independent contractors don’t realize there’s a sort of customer inception going on here. A customer within a customer within a customer…
The People You Deliver to Are Not Your Customers
They are actually customers of customers of customers.
Okay, I’ll try to make some sense of this…
Here’s a recurring theme on this site: Remember who you are!
Remember, you are not an employee of Grubhub or Ubereats or any other platform when you are an independent contractor.
Being an independent contractor means you are operating as a business. You are contracting with a company (Doordash, Postmates, Bitesquad, etc) to deliver food.
When you contract with someone, the one you contract for is your customer.
Grubhub is your real customer.
Or Ubereats. Or any of the others you might be contracting with.
This is important to understand. Now much of this site is going to be about taking control, not letting these companies control you like an employee. But just as important, especially if you want to keep making money, you still have an obligation to provide excellent customer service. But it also means you still are the boss.
Would you as a customer expect to walk into a store and demand that the store sell you that 2 liter Mountain Dew for 25 cents? There are times the store has to say no. Sometimes your obligation is the same – if you want to be around to continue delivering for these companies sometimes you have to say no.
And sometimes stores will have a loss leader. What that means is they sell and advertise items for lower than their cost. Maybe that store advertises the 2 liter Mountain Dew for 25 cents, even though it costs them a lot more. Why would they do this? Because when you come in to buy that, you also pick up a few other things and the store makes money. Sure, sometimes someone’s going to only buy the Mountain Dew, but in the bigger picture enough people bought enough other stuff that it was worth it.
Sometimes taking that bad order puts you in a better position to make money. But here’s the key – you do it because you determine it makes sense. YOU are the one taking control now.
Providing Service to the Chain of Customers
Your job as a business owner is to be strategic about how you deal with customers. You are the boss and you set the price, but you cannot get so frustrated with how the companies act that you get hostile and alienate them.
And then there’s the customer’s customer. That means the restauarant. The restaurant is contracting with the platform who is contracting with you. How you act with them makes a difference. If you tick off the restaurant order could you be the last straw as to whether they continue to use Ubereats? When those companies lose customers, there are less orders to go around, and less money for you. At the same time, when you build a reputation of being courteous and helpful, I know from experience that there are times I walk into a restaurant and there are other drivers, that I get priority service in getting my food ready and out the door because they know me and I treat them well.
And what about the ones we thought were our customers?
You know, the ones who we deliver to? If they’re not our customers, whose are they?
Well, they’re getting the food from the restaurant.
But they’re ordering from the platform like Doordash.
And hey, if the customer is the one who pays you, and the customer tips you directly….
Are they Doordash’s customer? The restaurant’s? Yours?
Kinda makes your head spin, doesn’t it? Kinda like the movie….