Skip to Content

Evaluating Delivery Offers: The 40 Cent Rule, Simplified!

In my last article, I wrote about using the 40 Cent Rule to make decisions on which orders to accept.

I was talking about this recently, and it dawned on me there was a simpler way to do things. I thought about editing the article to amend it but thought maybe it helps just to write this more simply.

This method that I am about to show you is a quicker, easier way to make a determination. It's less flexible and pretty well set on the 40 cent per minute rule (not as easy to do this with a 35 cent rule). But if you're shooting for less than $24 bucks an hour, you can still try this method and know you have a little more wiggle room.

School blackboard

Here it is, in a nutshell

  1. Estimate how many minutes the delivery will take from the moment you leave for the restaurant to the moment you get back in your car after delivering.I go into more detail in the original article, so won't go into it now. Don't stress too much, just get it in the ballpark.
  2. Double the number of minutes you expect the delivery to take.
  3. Double those minutes again.
  4. Put a decimal one number in from the right, and there you have what your minimum pay should be.

So we'll walk through a random offer I just pulled from my screenshots. There was no rhyme or reason for choosing it, which is okay. This is a Grubhub offer.

So here's the process for me: “Okay Google, directions to 5260 West Mississippi. Google tells me it's 5 minutes. (Unfortunately lately Grubhub wants to make this harder for us by not showing the address, so you'll want to at least know your market enough to know the main intersection.”

Obviously I don't know the customer's address yet, but I can tell a nearby intersection. So now it's “Okay Google, directions from 5260 West Mississippi to Florida and Wadsworth.” Google tells me that's also 5 minutes. So I'll add those up, add 7 minutes because that seems to be about the average for me for the restaurant and dropoff. And because I know this restaurant usually has a few minutes wait at this time of day, I'm adding five minutes to that.

So 10 minutes drive time, 7 minutes normal time and an additional 5 for this restaurant, I'm expecting 22 minutes.

Double the 22 minutes to 44

Double the 44 to 88

Put the decimal one in from the right and that puts it at 8.8. So I want the delivery to pay $8.80. This offer is $8.13. So this order is borderline. More often than not I'm going ahead and taking it, but if I think Tamale Kitchen might make me wait even longer than normal, I might go ahead and pass. You can go either way with this one.

If you get real good with your voice recognition on your phone with Google or Siri, you can get all this done in about 30 seconds.

So remember – estimate minutes, double it, double it again, divide by 10 and that's your target.

Try this a few times and let us know in the comments how it worked for you.

Have you tried the 40 Cent Rule? What are Your Experiences?

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

About the Author

Ron Walter made the move from business manager at a non-profit to full time gig economy delivery in 2018 to take advantage of the flexibility of self-employment. He applied his thirty years experience managing and owning small businesses to treat his independent contractor role as the business it is.

Realizing his experience could help other drivers, he founded to encourage delivery drivers to be the boss of their own gig economy business.

Ron has been quoted in several national outlets including Business Insider, the New York Times, CNN and Market Watch.

You can read more about Ron's story,, background, and why he believes making the switch from a career as a business manager to delivering as an independent contractor was the best decision he could have made.

red button labeled read Ron's story.