In the ever-evolving landscape of gig work, flexibility remains the linchpin for many gig workers, and DoorDash drivers in Washington state are no exception. A recent survey conducted by Quadrant Strategies among 1,233 DoorDash drivers, including 272 in Seattle, unearthed a compelling insight – about 70% of DoorDash drivers in the state would consider quitting if their ability to enjoy the flexibility intrinsic to their gig was curtailed.
Washington boasts an estimated 160,000 active DoorDash drivers, although this number experiences fluctuations as new drivers join while others deactivate their accounts.
The survey underscored the centrality of flexibility in gig work, with a resounding 98% of drivers believing that their role as Dashers offers them the freedom they need. In fact, 89% of these drivers prefer being independent contractors for DoorDash precisely because of the flexibility it affords. Moreover, 70% of them conveyed that the loss of this flexibility would be a significant deterrent to continuing in this line of work.
Cheryl Young, Head of Policy Research at DoorDash, emphasized the drivers’ commitment to flexibility, pointing out that many of them have full- or part-time jobs elsewhere or are fulfilling roles as stay-at-home parents or caregivers. She noted, “You can’t have that if you have to do a certain number of hours or certain shifts, or have to report to somebody.”
Among the surveyed drivers who identified as stay-at-home parents or caregivers, 76% stressed that the ability to be available for their children and dependents as needed was the primary reason they sought a flexible schedule.
Young emphasized the uniqueness of DoorDash’s earning opportunity, stating that without the flexibility, many drivers would likely lack an extra source of income, and viable alternatives might be scarce.
The survey also shed light on the drivers’ motivations, with 90% of them turning to DoorDash to meet personal financial goals. Additionally, 64% used the platform to compensate for reduced work hours and income.
In addition to the survey findings, the article highlighted a recently enacted ordinance in Seattle aimed at regulating the deactivation process for driver-based apps. The city is also contemplating imposing a delivery fee of $0.05 to $0.15 per delivery to offset the costs of this new legislation.
In a statement, Cheryl Young emphasized the importance of recognizing the significance of flexibility for gig workers. She noted that as local policies emerge impacting the flexibility of app-based contractors, it’s critical for lawmakers and leaders to understand that Dashers and similar workers treasure their ability to prioritize family over traditional office jobs, to escape daily commutes, and to earn extra income when needed.
This survey offers a compelling glimpse into the world of gig work, where flexibility reigns supreme, and where platforms like DoorDash have become lifelines for many seeking financial stability and freedom in their work lives.