First Shifts

I have now begun working in the gig economy!

I worked 6:30-9:30 Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and will be each week). I’ll be going into more detail on specific aspects of working in the future but, for now, I thought it’d be useful to outline a general shift.

Each rider chooses a specific area to work in (mine is ‘West Central’, extending from around Oxford Street to the Barbican and up to St Pancras). To begin, you locate yourself near the centre of your area, open the mobile app and make yourself available for orders. If/when you are given an order, you swipe to accept and are given directions to the restaurant with specific instructions given occasionally (e.g. enter through the back entrance). Then, quote the order number, wait for the food, check everything is included, and place the order in the backpack. You confirm with the app you’ve received the order and follow directions to the customer. Once you’ve arrived at the customers’ home (or office) you confirm you are there, hand the order over and wish them an enjoyable meal.

Each order in total, if nothing goes wrong, takes around 20 minutes, with cycling to the customer making up around 4-7 minutes. The only issue I’ve encountered so far has been difficulty in finding the customer address. This is usually due to the app giving poor (or in one case, very inaccurate) directions or the address listed by the customer isn’t clear. This isn’t a common issue but can make the whole process 50% longer.

Friday and Saturday I delivered 7 orders each but Sunday was more successful with 11. My aim is 9 (three deliveries per hour seems reasonable) but that doesn’t take into account waiting. This was a bit of an issue on Friday and Saturday and the time spent waiting (wasting?) feels particularly long. Sunday was busier (this was expected as until 8 pm, I was paid extra per delivery made). Each delivery area has a specific area where you are meant to go if there are no deliveries. Deliverers of all companies usually meet here to pass the time and it is apparently the best location for getting orders through the app.

The three hours passed relatively quickly, more focus given to directions than minutes. However, the novelty wore off surprisingly quickly. I enjoy cycling in cities, weaving around cars and seeing different parts of central London, but using the app and making deliveries is very repetitive. I wouldn’t say it was boring, but the cycling is definitely the most enjoyable, for me at least.

That’s a quick overview, expect more details on specific aspects (waiting, tips, flexibility, weather etc.) in the future!

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