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Courier MBA Day 15: Working multiple delivery platforms (even at once)

On Day 13, we talked about accepting and rejecting delivery offers.

Some folks are afraid to reject deliveries. They're afradi that if they turn down a delivery, it might take too long before the next one comes along.

Sometimes they are right. But usually that's an issue when dealing with one delivery platform.

In Day 5, we talked about your sources of revenue. I feel strongly that one of the biggest mistakes people will make is tying themselves to only one source of revenue. Being able to work well with more than one option is one of the best ways to maximize your earnings potential.

Multiple app screens on the phone at one time

Is it allowable?

Can you deliver for Grubhub when you're delivering for Doordash?

Absolutely.

In fact, these companies are not allowed by law to restrict your ability to do so. Not as long as they choose to use contractors instead of employees.

They decided to create this business to business relationship between themselves and you – that was THEIR choice. Part of that relationship means you have the right to have other customers.

Related: Episode 72 of the podcast gets into more detail on working more than one appication.

Three Levels of Multi-App Work

There are really three different ways you can work multiple platforms, depending on your comfort level. As you get more experienced and more comfortable with one, you may be ready to move to the next one.

First Level: One at a time.

I originally started with Uber Eats. Grubhub was the next platform I signed up for.

When I started Grubhub, I would dedicate time to only delivering Grubhub. There were still times that I'd go back to Uber Eats, but I would only deliver on Uber Eats.

When ever I would log on to deliver for a platform, I would only go available on that platform. I did this as I added Doordash and Postmates as well.

Second Level: Toggling back and forth.

In this level, you log on to accept offers from more than one platform.

When an offer comes in that is acceptable to you, you commit to that offer. At that point you log out of or pause your other apps until that delivery is completed, and then you log in again.

It's kind of like you're creating a competition or a bidding war between platforms. You open it up to see who is the first to offer you a delivery worth taking. You complete the delivery and then open up the competition again.

This method gives you a higher likelihood of getting a good delivery offer. If the offers from Doordash are constantly low, maybe Uber Eats will pop up with something better. At the same time it helps you avoid the conflict of handling the other apps while you are on a delivery.

You need to understand your platform to make this work well. For example, if you are scheduled on a block with Grubhub, it's not a good idea to log out or go unavailable when scheduled. Likewise with Doordash, if it's difficult to get on to dash in your area, you'll want to be aware of the 35 minute timer when you go on pause. Sometimes it's better to just reject offers than to log out on those platforms.

Third level. Simultaneous Deliveries.

Proceed with caution.

There are times when you will find a delivery offer that comes in from two different platforms at the same time that line up well with each other.

I do not recommend this until you are really comfortable and really familiar with each of the platforms you work with. I also do not recommend you do this if there is any chance at all that taking one will make the other delivery significantly late.

Examples would be if a delivery for Doordash and Uber Eats both come in for the same restaurant, and you do not have to go out of the way on one delivery to get to the other.

Avoid deliveries that go opposite directions. Avoid doubling up deliveries where you likely have a long wait at one restaurant to get to the other. They absolutely must be seamless and very well lined up with each other to make this work.

I say this for two reasons. One, I firmly believe that you made a commitment to the customer when you accepted a delivery to get the food to the customer as quickly as possible and in as good a condition as possible. To accept another delivery that interferes with that commitment is unprofessional, in my opinion.

The other reason is that a lot of platforms are cracking down on couriers taking too long to complete orders. There's a reasonable amount of time where you can be expected to complete the delivery once you pick up the food and if you're going significantly over that amount of time due to multiple deliveries, you can lose your ability to deliver for one or more of these platforms.

Having said that, there are times that adding an extra delivery that is going the same direction can really bump up the profitability.

But, like I said: Use caution.

Tips on working towards multiple platforms.

A businessman overwhelmed by too much responsibility – wearing too many hats. Isolated on white.

If you're ready to start working more than one delivery company, here are a few things you can do.

Get very familiar with one to begin with.

Get to know the quirks of the delivery platform you're on. When are they busy? When are there likely to be glitches? What restaurants do they work with?

I think you're most likely to be successful switching back and forth between platforms when you know them well.

For instance, Grubhub will most likely have longer waits at the restaurant in my market unless things are extremely busy and they're having trouble keeping up with orders. Postmates is more likely going to have me place an order and wait for it. Doordash and Uber Eats are more likely to put out incentives when things get really busy. Knowing the differences in how these work will make it easier to make decisions.

Add your next platform and dedicate some time to it to become familiar.

There were things very different about delivering for Grubhub than for Uber Eats. The same was true for each one that I added.

One thing to keep in mind is that when you sign up with a platform, a lot of times they'll have a referral program that benefits both the driver and the person who refers you. The caveat to that is that you have to complete so many deliveries in a certain time to get that bonus.

If you want to add another platform in your area, email me and I can let you know if I have a referral code or I can find someone who does.

I recommend going all in on the new platform for awhile, even if it's not paying as well as the one you are on. If you have an incentive program, you're more likely to hit your goal that way. But it also gives you time to learn the nuances around that program and start figuring out what you can do to be profitable on that one.

This approach builds a foundation to let you then add on the next option, or to be able to start working in conjunction.

Wait for a slow period to start your first multi-app session.

One of the best times to turn on multiple applications is when things are slow. If there's a long wait between good offers, that's when it might be a good idea to turn on another app and see if they come up with something better.

It can become very distracting during extremely busy times to have multiple apps. That's the kind of thing you want to ease into. If one app is consistently feeding me good orders, I often don't bother turning on any others.

Proceed with caution into phase three

I do a lot fewer of these than I used to. I think it's because I'm seeing more inconsistency on when the food is ready at the restaurants. I've had a couple of times where I mistook the locations and accepted deliveries that were in opposite directions. I'll cancel one of the deliveries rather than make one of the customers wait so much longer for me.

With Day 13 we talked about evaluating orders. The key to doing that well is having a good understanding of how long it will take to deliver. You want to make sure you know your market extremely well and have a good handle on if the food's going to be ready. You want to know the traffic and if stopping at one customer on the way to another will slow you down dramatically.

How do you know when to work multiple applications?

I think you just know.

You know when relying on one is slowing you down. You know when you have to wait longer. Also, you are getting a good feel for how long something will take.

More than anything, I think it comes down to knowing your business. This is why I spent so much time on the foundation. You know what fits for you.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.