Like most people, sharing economy services like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Postmates are on my mind more than I want to admit. In fact, analysts at Forbes and PWC expect the sharing economy to grow from the $15 billion it was in 2014 to a $335 billion in 2025.
But Uber and Lyft ridesharing platforms recently got hit with class actions for drivers not being paid livable wages. Uber paid $20 million in fines already, and Lyft paid $27 million. And it’s not over for these two companies, nor are delivery drivers getting any slack.
Postmates explains on its 2018 Economic Impact Report that it generated $1.2 billion in revenue from 2017 through Q1 2018 (which seems like it’s an inflated number that includes an extra 3 months revenue to look bigger).
But Gizmodo and TechCrunch are quick to point out that it’s not just extended fiscal years – companies like Doordash aren’t being honest about how much drivers are paid. Doordash (which recently purchased competitor Caviar) sent me an email in August 2019.
It’s in this turmoil that I jumped into deliveries because I need money. Jon Rice at Crypto Briefing violated our contract, and it’ll be months to a year before I’m able to recover the money from these deadbeats. The Han Kao and Jay Putera-owned Crypto Briefing is a fake media outlet that’s stealing from everyone because they, like Uber and Lyft, are just hemorrhaging money and looking to steal from American workers like me.
So I jumped from the frying pan of scam artist cryptocurrency publications committing the usual fraud everyone’s used to from cryptocurrency (which is why nobody with any common sense trusts these scams) and into the fire of contracting through delivery services.
Here’s what happened.
The Reality of Being a Postmate
While both Postmates and Doordash have similar apps, they couldn’t be more different in functionality. Postmates lets anyone go online at any time and delivery wherever they happen to be at. For the first week, I used Postmates exclusively, because it offers a $150 bonus for completing 30 deliveries from Friday morning at 11:30AM through Thursday night at 11:30PM.
When an order is ready that you are assigned, the app notifies you. You then have 30 seconds to look at the pickup and dropoff areas (exact dropoff address doesn’t show) and determine if you want to take it. If you do, just tap “Accept,” and you’ll be assigned.
Tap “Navigate,” and your mapping app (I use Waze over Google Maps for a slew of reasons, including that it doesn’t pop up a million notifications asking me to rate every place I’m going all fucking night) takes you where you need to go.
Navigating is pretty easy (I have a phone holder/charger on my A/C vent that keeps it visible), and I got a two-month trial of Sirius XM satellite radio for bringing my car in for a recall repair. I was ready to go drive and earn some money.
I actually started on a Monday evening and, once I completed my first delivery, the app was ringing me nonstop. I completed 5 deliveries, and, although I was actually averaging below minimum wage (especially when factoring in the cost of gas and car repairs), it was income I desperately needed to keep rent paid after Jon Rice’s theft.
So I kept going, and I spent that entire week driving into downtown Tucson every night to deliver Taco Bell and McDonalds to hungry, stoned students at the University of Arizona. Several deliveries will forever stick in my head.
On my second night, I was stuck at a McDonalds for about 30 minutes and a KFC for another 30 minutes. These two deliveries completely destroyed my rankings, tips, and ability to earn. It was due completely to the restaurants being poorly managed and them being unable to run their systems the right way.
KFC took so long, I actually got a call while waiting from Postmates because they were tired of paying me to sit around doing nothing. I explained the situation, and the rep was cool about it. It was the first and only time I ever spoke to anyone at Postmates.
Meanwhile, there was a dropped order at Sonic, 10 minutes before my cutoff at 11:30PM Thursday night. They could only accept cash (not the Postmates credit card I was issued), so I was stuck at 29 orders until a literally last-minute order came in at 11:29PM, and I was able to collect my $150 bonus and go home.
My pay for one week, after stressing 24/7, leaving the app up to kill my phone, and putting wear-and-tear on my car, was just over $300, pretty much what they promised I’d make after 30 deliveries. I worked about 30 hours (even though Postmates doesn’t consider me sleeping in my car in a 7-Eleven parking lot waiting for orders or sitting in traffic “working”) so I wasn’t at minimum wage, no matter what their bullshit math says.
And that $150 weekly bonus was the only reason I hyper-focused on Postmates for the first week. It turned out it was a one-time bonus that never showed up again. So I knew the next week was going to be half that. Orders also slowed down significantly for me, despite my customer tip rate being at about 50%. I can’t see my rating, but I can’t imagine I did a bad job. I reached about 50 orders with Postmates, but by week two, I was also running Doordash alongside it.
The Reality of Driving for Doordash
Doordash is a little more difficult to get started than Postmates (although both are easier than Uber Eats, as you don’t need to bring your car anywhere for an inspection). The difficult part is actually getting any shifts. In order to actually sign in to Doordash, you have to wait for it to be busy in a certain area. It’s actually the service I tried driving for first, but it was such a pain, it took forever.
And that’s not where the problems stopped. Doordash’s overzealous “account managers” were harassing me daily via text and phone call to encourage me to drive in the middle of the summer heat when nobody is really in Tucson and I specifically told him I would not be doing it. Yet still these pushy ass salesbitches continued harassing me. They called so many times, I purposely drove for Postmates first and I always prioritize Postmates orders over Doordash because I can not stand being harassed as a contractor by overzealous, pushy, annoying salesbitches.
These account managers at Doordash are so bad, I’m actively rooting for Postmates. But if you want to drive for Doordash to experience it for yourself, click here to sign up.
When I finally could login, I thought maybe Doordash would have a more efficient logistical system in place. It does not. They continued trying to send me all over the place. Although Doordash let me pick up two orders on one trip, it neglected to mention it was doing that so I wouldn’t notice the second order was taking me 12 miles from my home and was one I normally wouldn’t take.
This would’ve been acceptable had I been able to pick up a delivery out in the boondocks and head back toward civilization. Instead, Doordash left me out there, ended my shift, and wouldn’t let me extend it because it wasn’t busy enough.
Driving for Doordash turned into a logistical nightmare, so I only do it minimally. I have below a 50% accept rate. This is because every time an order comes in, I’m blasted with 10 notifications only to see they want me to drive 20 miles out of my way to deliver to someone across the street from the place they’re ordering from. When I say no, I’m blasted with another dozen messages, and they really go out of their way on an annoying guilt trip that has not once ever worked.
And no matter how fancy they try to say it, neither Doordash nor Postmates paid anywhere even close to minimum wage. Doordash even routes you to restaurants to encourage you to sit in their parking lot for free, unpaid, off the clock for 30 minutes, so they can pay you $6 for a 30-minute delivery and call it minimum wage, even though you only make $6/hour.
The Perils of the Sharing Economy
Overall neither Doordash nor Postmates is ultimately worth the trouble, at least not in a spread-out metropolitan like Tucson or Phoenix. The amount of time and gas wasted that isn’t reimbursed would be comical, if not for me being the asshole wasting it.
During the day, you’re better off driving for Postmates, as you’ll get a lot of orders for Walmart and grocery stores. I even drive Apple products regularly, as they pay a $4 bonus. But I still have to be picky, because they’ll try to have you drive all 50 miles to the other side of town for that bonus. Be very mindful of which orders you accept. Both companies have terrible logistics platforms that brutally punish drivers for attempting to accept every order.
They both have fancy math that show an either/or mentality toward paying drivers. You either get paid a flat $1 delivery rate plus driver’s tips, or you get paid per minute waiting at the store and mile driven. Neither pay model accounts for time/mileage to the restaurant, time spent sitting in traffic for delivery, etc.
And on top of this, on nearly every occasion, both Postmates and Doordash were overcharging the customers. In some cases, like Baskin Robbins, Postmates charged the customer $9 for a $6 medium milkshake, while a large was $8. At McDonalds, KFC, and Taco Bell, I would regularly add an extra item to the order because buying 4 for their special was cheaper than buying 3, and both prices were cheaper than the customer actually paid.
Having used both Postmates and Doordash as a customer, I understand that I’m paying a delivery fee. I also tip the drivers in cash at the door (this is noted on my delivery instructions) to ensure the money goes into their pocket. This is something I always did out of respect even before driving for either.
But for me as a driver, I’m now stuck. The criminals at Crypto Briefing destroyed me financially this year by holding thousands of dollars in back pay for nearly a year. I’m stuck using my car to generate enough income to pay rent. So we’re going to keep going and see if I can’t make it worthwhile somehow. At a bare minimum, at least I’ll be included in the inevitable class action lawsuit against both of these companies.
Make sure I get my form to fill out, because I already want my compensation.