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Increase Delivery Profits by Working Multiple Applications

Quick Reference: Tax and PPP help.

Let's talk multi-apping. That's a term some use in the delivery community to refer to delivering for more than one company or app at a time.

But before we dive in, I want to cover a couple of things to lay the foundation. This has to do with some things we covered in previous posts in this series.

Here are some important things to understand before we dive into working multiple apps.

First, you are an independent contractor and that gives you rights

One of the rights is that you have the right to work for whoever you want and whenever you want. This is very important. These apps are your customers, and you have the right to have multiple customers. Your obligation as a delivery contractor is on a delivery by delivery basis. Period. It begins when you accept a delivery and ends when you drop off. AT that moment you are a free agent.

Second, understand the dangers of putting all your delivery eggs in one basket.

I invite you to check out this post if you haven't already. It talks about the importance of multiple options when you look at your revenue opportunities.

Third: You really need to set your goal first rather than just try to figure out if what you made was enough.

Go to post I just linked – really go through that process. An important idea there is to determine what you think you should make if you were doing this as a traditional job. $15 per hour? $18 per hour? What is this work worth? Once you determine a rate that you are worth, add 50% to it. That’s because you have expenses and taxes that you don’t have in a traditional job. There are things in a regular job you don’t get either, like paid time off for holidays possibly vacation. So really , 50% is low – I know that seems like a lot, but stick with me, Thursday we’ll talk about that more. So, you think this is worth a $15 per hour job? You have to make $22.50 per hour to have the same earning power. Keep that in mind and hold onto it for a bit.

Now That We Laid That Out, Take a Look at What You Are Earning:

Figure out what you average per hour. Compare that to what we just said about setting a goal. Are you making enough? What if you aren’t? The way I see it, you have three choices:

  1. You recognize that in your market, the business model isn’t sustainable. You recognize what you really are making – it isn’t enough, and you really are better off doing something else, and you move on.
  2. There is the option to just work more hours. That’s the beauty of being independent, isn’t it? You can work as long as you need to meet your goals. And that’s true, and a lot of times that’s a great option. But I see two potential problems with this:
    • Go back to to our third post in this series where we talk about your why. I feel it’s one of the most important posts in the series. It digs into your why, and that’s to lay a foundation. Why are you doing this? Do the extra hours take you away from that? For me, I do this to have flexibility to do some projects I’m passionate about that don’t generate revenue. Extra hours reduce that flexibility. If you do this for family but have less time with family now, are you defeating your purpose?
    • If you’re earning $18 per hour, that compares to a traditional $12 per hour job in earning power. When you work more than 40 hours per week, the comparative earning power goes down. Why? The traditional job pays time and a half for overtime, but not your work as an independent contractor. You are earning more cash and sometimes that’s the most important thing, but just realize that comparatively you’re earning even less.
  3. Find a way to increase those earnings. Now this whole section on operations, going back to this last Monday and up until this coming Tuesday, is really designed to help you do that. Finding ways to operate more profitably.

Which brings us to delivering for more than one company, as that can be one of the best ways to meet that 3rd option.

Should you deliver for more than just one of these delivery companies? That is totally up to you and depends on your goals and your potential where you are. If you’re just working for one, you have to ask yourself, is it enough? Are you making enough?

Look at your hourly earnings. Compare that to the goal we talked about earlier. Does it match? Do you see the ability to earn enough doing a single app? If that’s where you’re most comfortable, and that is your business decision, keep running the single app. I do really really encourage you to at least get signed up on one or two others if available, do just enough deliveries to stay active, so you have them as a backup.

If you want to go deeper, there are a number of ways multi-apping can help you out. It gives you a backup like we discussed. It can decrease your wait time between orders. You have more options to choose from, meaning you are more likely to find deliveries that meet your price as we discussed two posts ago. You can also be far more efficient, dramatically shortening the average delivery time, which means you can get more deliveries in the same amount of time.

So, how do you work multiple apps? There are three approaches to it. Some will choose one, some will do all three at different times.

  1. You work more than one app, but only one at a time. I did very early on, doing only Grubhub most the time but on weekend nights I did Uber Eats when they had some unbelievable incentives. If you decided you want to only focus on one app but go ahead and get a backup, you might do your deliveries for the backup app(s) separately from your main app.
  2. You work them simultaneously but deliver individually. This is the option many will choose, and is safer than number 3. You go available on more than one platform at a time, choose a delivery from one of them, commit to that delivery and go unavailable on the other apps (where possible), and then repeat.
  3. You double dip (or triple or God forbid quadruple dip) – you deliver orders from more than one platform simultaneously, such as orders from the same restaurant but different platforms that are going to the same general area.

Option 1 is pretty simple and you can figure your way around that pretty easy.

What about Option 2?

If you want some really in depth stuff, you should go look up Gig Coach Jake on Youtube. He’s got some videos that have some of the best in depth step by step ideas that you can implement. Definitely check out his information, it can be helpful.

Here are some suggestions on how to run multiple apps:

  • I recommend starting with the platform you know best and make that your default. That’s the one that wins the tie on similarly valued offers.
  • If you’ve never worked the second platform, carve out enough time to get familiar with them, where you’re only working that platform. Get a feel for how it works, build familiarity with the restaurants (you’ll probably find many are already on the platform you know).
  • If things are fairly busy, I tend to run my default platform, and will only fire up a second or third app when there’s a lull, or if there’s a trend of a lot of unacceptable offers coming from my main platform. I recommend only doing a second app to get started, and if you really get to feel like a pro you might add in another.
  • Go available on your secondary app. Now you’ll have offers come in for both. Evaluate your offers to see if they meet your price, when you find one that has enough value, accept it.
  • When you accept an order, commit to it. Go unavailable on the other app if it allows you to, or reject offers if it doesn’t while on that delivery.
  • As you get within a couple of minutes of dropping off that delivery, choose whether you want to go available only on your default app or to do so on both. If things are really slow, I will go available on both but if my default app seems like it will keep me busy I might only log on that.
  • Rinse and Repeat.

What about that third option: double dipping?

You have to really know what you’re doing, and you have to really know the restaurants, the area, the traffic, all that, to pull this off well. The potential for making one or both of these orders late by doing this is also very high. Late deliveries and unhappy customers have a greater potential of interfering with future opportunities of working for a platform than about anything else. I really caution against it if there’s any question at all of whether you will have a problem getting both deliveries done with excellence. This can really only work if both restaurants will have food ready around the same time and if the drop-offs are both efficient. There are times that things with at least one of the orders will go south and you have to be ready to unassign an order so that both aren’t totally screwed up.

Here are some things you need to keep in mind when you multi-app:

Let’s go back to the very first point I made at the start of this post: Your obligation is on a delivery by delivery basis. That means that you are free to operate on multiple apps. But there is an obligation piece. As soon as you accept an order, you are making a commitment to provide excellent service ON THAT DELIVERY. If working another delivery interferes with that commitment, I would stress that you not work multiple apps. You HAVE to know your market to make this work well. Know the restaurants, know how they work, know traffic.  Do not let your using multiple apps create a situation where you make a customer’s delivery late.

Here is a very brief look at how the four major apps work with multi-apping, in my experience:

Uber Eats has its main benefits that you can log in and log off on the fly. The biggest drawback is you don’t know where you’re going (though there are rumors they’re experiementing with a change).

Grubhub tends to be my primary because they’re most consistent in my market. Having good information on where the order is going is a strength. The biggest drawback with them is the block schedule system – going unavailable while on a schedule block can potentially threaten future access to scheduling blocks.

Doordash: Doordash provides absolutely the best information in my experience on their order screen including the overall distance for delivery. They seem to have tighter delivery windows so it’s easier to be late if multi-apping. Order and pay options can really slow you down. You can run into some problems with them when going unavailable as well, because there are limited slots available in a region during time frames and someone can take your spot if you log off. However, they do have a limited pause feature.

Postmates tends to be my main choice for a secondary app. They have the same log on and off flexibility as Uber Eats but you can see dropoff location. You do have to worry about getting order and pay deliveries and that can slow you down. They have been known to add second, third, and fourth stops after you accept an order without giving you the chance to accept or deny – that’s my biggest beef with them really, and it can really throw you off when that happens.

Your experiences may vary. Make good business decisions on whether multi-apping works for you.

That’s a quick in a nutshell look. Your experience with these platforms may be totally different than mine. Your experience with multiple apps may be totally different. Having access to more than one platform in my opinion is one of the most important things you should do, just to have options. Running multiple applications when things are slow or when it’s hard getting acceptable offers can be profitable. Just make sure you are aware of the risks and don’t let it interfere to your commitment to provide excellent service.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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