I’ve only been working for three weeks now and I’ve already got the potential to change contract. They’ve offered to change my pay from an hourly rate to a fee per delivery structure. I’m not sure if/when I will change, but I thought it’d be interesting to write about them, and maybe it’ll help me reach a decision!
This is what I’m under at the moment, £7 per hour and an extra £1 per delivery. So far, I’ve done, on average, 9 deliveries for each three hour shift (lowest has been six and highest 11). When I only did six, there was a long wait of at least 40 minutes at the central location and then another 20 minutes at the restaurant. Talking to another deliverer at the restaurant, he summarised the waiting particularly well, as a time that isn’t tiring but just boring and where you can’t properly relax (a delivery and more cycling can appear on the app at any time).
Fee per delivery
The other option is a £3.75 fee for all deliveries completed. It’s been trialled elsewhere (for 8 months) and although it’s optional and can be reverted, it’s being encouraged by the company. All new riders in my area will be fee per delivery with no choice once they join. In the email explaining the possible change, the company claims to have been talking with over 1,500 riders and holding over 130 focus groups about it. It’s good to see dialogue and no rush for it to be introduced. Some of the other things claimed are:
Almost 90% of riders who change prefer it to the old system
Riders make, on average, £2.50 more per hour than hourly rate deliverers
As well as this, the fee per delivery system means I become a completely zero-hour worker with no shifts and full flexibility on when I work. Again, this is one of the benefits frequently reiterated. Also, it’d now be possible to see, through the app, when demand will be greatest over future weeks. This should mean I can work when it’s busiest and spend less time waiting around.
Money, safety and community
There’s no deadline to choose by but if one is going to mean the pay is greater then it’s best to switch sooner rather than later. If I work a three hour shift (automatically earning £21 under the hourly rate system), it only takes 8 deliveries to earn more under the fee per delivery structure.
If I keep averaging 9 deliveries in three hours then I should earn more with the fee per delivery model and could technically earn the same amount but in less time than three hours. From a purely pay perspective, the new option seems better.
However, I wonder whether the new system means I’ll become more assertive in cycling, increasing the likelihood of injury. I’m yet to be hurt cycling in London (beyond getting wet and some sore legs) but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened sooner rather than later. Also, I don’t expect the change to be particularly beneficial from a rider ‘community’ perspective. I already recognise the riders who work similar hours but if I’m free to work whenever, I’m maybe less likely to build contacts and relationships with other riders beyond occasional small talk. From the few I’ve talked to, everyone seems to have joined for a variety of reasons (even if the cash-poor student is the popular image) and it’s always interesting to hear what other people have been up to.
I’m still not 100% sure what I will do, but the choice is definitely appreciated. The new model will offer an apparently ‘shorter, clearer and easier to understand’ contract so if I do change, expect a post on that! I’ve already briefly mentioned the contract but I’ll go into more depth in the future.
I welcome any thoughts or suggestions so feel free to comment below or I’m always on Twitter.