Delivery drivers played a significant role during the pandemic by risking their health to collect and deliver food and groceries to people’s homes. However, many UberEats and DoorDash workers have voiced their frustration about the decline in tips they have been receiving.
Brantley Bush, a 56-year-old UberEats driver from California, expressed his concerns to the New York Times, stating, “People were almost applauded…Now we’re just the bottom of the barrel.”
Over time, delivery drivers have seen their once-lucrative profits dwindle. Last summer, some drivers began focusing on high-cost orders, hoping for higher tips after DoorDash eliminated its fuel surcharge. However, drivers are still struggling to make a profit unless the tip is worth it.
Some drivers have even taken matters into their own hands, refusing to hand over food, or even eating the food they were supposed to deliver if the tip is too low. For the most part, drivers are just trying to survive in an increasingly hostile gig economy.
According to the New York Times, Uber and DoorDash drivers are paid around $3.50 per order, plus $1 per mile they have to drive. However, Uber stated that the pay is based on a more complex formula than that.
Regardless of the formula, drivers struggle to find specific locations and methods that increase their chances of being offered a delivery from a restaurant. For example, they may need to press their phones up against the wall of a building or wait in an alley near a popular eatery, as reported by the New York Times.
Even when drivers receive an order, they can only see the amount they’ll be tipped up to $8, far below the big scores many drivers are looking for. Bush likened the search for a livable wage on tips to gambling.
According to DoorDash, the strategy of accepting only high-volume, expensive orders doesn’t actually lead to more pay for drivers. A spokesperson for the delivery company stated that accepting more orders leads to better pay than accepting only high-cost ones. “The data show that when Dashers accept more orders, they generally earn more during the course of their dash,” Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for DoorDash, said in a statement to the Times.