Of the things I've done in my life, being a delivery contractor with Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, and Uber Eats has been one of my favorite.
I've been the president of a telecom company, I've been a nonprofit business manager, I've been in sales and customer service and I've owned my own businesses. This food delivery gig has been right near the top of the list.
I guess you kinda have to enjoy it to write a blog about it, right?
How can something like food delivery be so enjoyable?
There are probably a lot of things I could be doing. Why would I choose to do this?
You know, kids grow up thinking they want to be an astronaut, an athlete, or a doctor. The few times that delivery person might enter their dreams probably involved the mail, not Grubhub or Uber Eats. (Granted, there WAS no Grubhub or Uber Eats when I was a kid. But that just means I'm old)
It's not that this is the ultimate, or anything like that. In fact, over time I've come to conclude there is no such thing as an ultimate career. Everyone is different and different things fit different people in different ways. I don't think I'd even go so far as to say that this is my dream, but I've found that delivery is a great way to pursue my dreams.
Could it be a great option for you? Maybe. I'll share six things that I love about doing delivery work.
I love the freedom of being an independent contractor.
I enjoy the delivery itself. However, I think I enjoy the freedom that comes with being independent much more.
One of the most important things to understand about this gig is that you ARE an independent contractor, and not an employee. There are a lot of differences, and there are some downsides to not being an employee. I think that if anyone wants to contract with a delivery company, they need to fully understand what it means, and I'll write more about that in another article
For me, the freedom that comes with contracting far outweighs the down side. There are some movements to require these companies to hire employees, and if that ever happened I'm not sure I'd switch over. The freedom is that important to me.
I do this to pay the bills so that I can work on other projects that I'm passionate about. The freedom to set my own schedule and operate as I need to operate is critical to being able to do this. Additionally, I can't complain about not having a boss. I'm fine without committee meetings and micromanaging.
I can go out when I want to go out. I'm free to choose the method and the manner that works best for me. I love that about this work.
I love the kind of interactions I have with restaurants and customers
If I had to choose whether I'm an introvert or extrovert, maybe I'd say I was a mid-trovert. I really enjoy interacting with people, but there's a limit. In a lot of ways, this kind of thing seems like the perfect fit.
I really like going into the different restaurants and seeing what's out there. I like getting to know some of the people there. There's something fun about seeing familiar faces and becoming a familiar face. All day long we're walking into a restaurant to pick up an order for someone that we're delivering, and there's something kind of fun about walking in to actually sit down and eat and still being asked who I'm picking up for.
I love meeting up with the customers and seeing different situations. Most of the interactions are just a few seconds, but it's still fun for me. I love the kids that are excited about the food that's being brought to the door, or the overly friendly dog who thinks a new best friend has come to bring food just for them.
Yeah, there are grumpy people out there and there are jerks. But there's a ton of really great people out there. People generally enjoy having food brought to them and are normally looking forward to what's coming.There's something very refreshing about being a part of that for them, for just a few moments.
I'm not sure I'd enjoy something like rideshare as much. Sometimes when there's pressure to strike up a conversation or keep someone engaged for the duration of a ride, that's maybe more than I'd want to do. I'm okay with it every once in awhile but all day every day? With delivery I can get just enough without crossing into too much.
I love that it's a means to run a business without having all the headache that goes with running a business.
This goes back to being an independent contractor.
Technically, we're running a business out there. Sometimes it feels more like a legal definition than anything else, but it's still very real. When a business hires people to do work, they can either hire employees or they hire another business. When that other business is just a single person, that's an independent contractor.
The thing is, with most businesses, you have a certain amount of investment you have to do. You have to buy product if you're selling stuff, or you have to develop your marketing for whatever your service is. Running a business can be awesome for a lot of people but it often feels inaccessible.
You can start a franchise, but then you have franchise fees. You can get into multi-level marketing, but even with most of those, there can still be a significant investment to get started.
Here we have a ready made business model put out for us. The marketing is already being done by these delivery platforms. We don't even have to go out and hunt for business. It's all done for us.
And yet we have all the rights of being a business owner. We can choose where and when we work. When we look at these delivery platforms as our customers, it opens the door to working with several customers. That's why I say I'm doing delivery for Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates AND Uber Eats. They're all my customers. I can add more if I wish or I can focus on just one.
There aren't many opportunities like this, where you can start a business, operate it as your own business, make your decisions, and not have the risk and expense of getting started that goes with starting a business.
I love that this is a gateway drug to greater entrepreneurial opportunities.
Maybe this is an extension of the previous point. I love that delivering for these platforms is a great training ground for operating other businesses.
I get an exposure to the consequences of bad business decisions. If I decide to chase a delivery that looks like it will pay a lot without paying attention to the cost and the time involved, I pay the price. It's my fault. But I also get the results of good business decisions.
This allows me to practice looking at life through a business owner's eyes. I get the opportunity to see what happens when I take responsibility for everything that happens. Did I not make enough money? When I see it as my fault and not that of Grubhub or Doordash or any others, I start seeing how I can do things differently. Should I work a different platform or an additional one? Should I choose a different time? Or does the market just not support what I'm doing right now? It's all up to me.
It also gives me a chance to learn what I need to do the additional things I want to do. I can listen to podcasts and audio books while I'm delivering. I've been able to do that to help me learn how to put this site together (and my podcast) – and these are skills and experiences I can take into future ventures.
I love that this gives me a taste of what it was to run a business (the previous point) but even more, I love that it allows me to grow into future opportunities that are fully my own.
I love that the work doesn't follow me home at the end of the day.
Some jobs do that. A lot of jobs do that. I've had many. You go home and you're worrying about that upcoming meeting, or that sale or whatever is going on with the work. I've had too many times where the stresses of the job keep me awake at night.
This has been about as low stress as it gets. I go out, I do deliveries, I go home. It's that simple. Sometimes you have to develop a mindset to make that happen. I do see too many people who stress over the tips or the pay structure or any of those things. I think you need to develop this attitude that it depends on you, not on Grubhub or Uber Eats or anyone else. That kind of self accountability makes a difference and makes you less likely to feel like a victim of circumstances.
If you've ever come home from work with the weight of the world on your shoulders, you know what I mean. There's a ton of freedom in being able to leave the work behind until you decide to go back out there.
I love the money I make.
All the other things are great. I think they may actually mean more than the money. However, if the money isn't there the other things either aren't possible or aren't all that meaningful. All of a sudden it's not that great to be operating a business if it's not really making any money, right?
Here's an important caveat to this: A lot of couriers are making a LOT less money than they think. All they see is the money coming in from the delivery companies. They forget about what it costs to operate their cars. The money, when you are running a business, is not what is coming in from those companies, but what's left over after your costs.
Having said that, the money has been a pleasant surprise. For me, my PROFIT has been consistently over $20 per hour. It's not the kind of money that makes you feel like you won the lottery. However, for a low stress, uncomplicated thing like doing these deliveries, it's pretty good. This has allowed me to earn what I need, full time, for more than two years now and still enjoy all the other things I love about this.
There are no guarantees about the money. Some markets aren't as busy as mine. I know of many who are probably losing money and not realizing it. In that regard it's not that much better than a lot of sole proprietor businesses. That said, it can pay surprisingly well. It has the potential to be a solid full time income or a great side hustle to help you pay down debt or save up for something special.
Do you enjoy this? WOULD you enjoy this?
I write this knowing there's two different types of people possibly reading it. Maybe no one is reading it, I don't know. Some of you are drawn to this site because you already deliver for one or more of the gig economy delivery platforms. Others may be looking for information to help make a decision.
If you already deliver, what do you love about this? Let me know in the comments.
If you're thinking about it… would you enjoy it? You might. Or, you might hate it.
If the things that I mentioned above appeal to you, you very well might enjoy doing this yourself. I wouldn't recommend that you sign up for anything yet. There are a lot of things I love about this, but there are also a number of reasons you may want to re-think the idea. I think it's critical that people go into this with eyes wide open – that you understand both sides. Stay tuned, I'll share some of the pitfalls around contract delivery for Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, Uber Eats and all the other platforms that sign you on as an independent contractor.
I will say this: For me, the things I love far outweigh the bad things about it. Will they for you?