Fee per drop – Off to a bad start?

We’re back!

The blog has been quiet for a little too long now, whilst I went on holiday and moved flat. It’s back for good now, though, with more consistent posts. For anyone who read some of the previous posts, the blog was previously called ‘A Gig Economy Blog’. Realising this was perhaps the most unimaginative name possible, I’ve changed it to ‘The Delivery Gig’, coupled with a WordPress theme change as well. Exciting times!

In my last post, a major change to my contract was offered, and I can now talk a bit more about the possible change now that it’s gone ahead! I’d recommend going back and reading the post to recap, this is essentially ‘part 2’. As the title suggests, I’ve changed from an hourly rate pay structure to fee per delivery (often called fee per drop). Under this, I’m paid £3.75 per delivery (+ tips), and that’s that. As the last post suggested, this was essentially a trade-off between security and higher pay. £3.75 is less secure because I’m solely dependent on being assigned deliveries, but the pay is greater if I deliver over eight orders in three hours.

Although I’ve only worked three shifts since changing, some preliminary results!

My first shift was far from ideal. I delivered seven orders in a three hour shift, less than I would have earned under the hourly rate (£26.25 vs. £28, not counting tips). £1.75 might not seem a lot, especially when many deliveries take me past Goldman Sachs, law offices and some of the nicer hotels in the city. But, every pound counts when you earn around £10 an hour.

The following day, however, was far more lucrative, doing 10 deliveries. Perhaps it wasn’t fair to judge the first day of fee per delivery too much, and more a result of working on a Saturday, a day of the week noticeable quieter. My average deliveries on a Saturday is 6.7, whereas for Friday is 9.3 and Sunday 10.3. The difference is observable from both a pay and waiting perspective, as a picture I tweeted shows.

One of the supposed benefits of the fee per delivery structure is the greater flexibility given, because riders aren’t bound to shifts like before. Taking this into account, I decided to work Tuesday lunchtime, my first lunchtime shift. For one thing, cycling through central London in the middle of the day in the intense heat, dodging cars, lorries and other cyclists is far less enjoyable than the quieter evening shifts. All of the deliveries I did (only three in 1 hour 26), were to large well-known companies, including Facebook. Delivering around the back-exit, I wasn’t the only rider, with a mix of major companies represented. There seemed to be a constant stream of 1-2 people carrying food through the building to drop it off at a reception.

I was glad to have the flexibility of fee per delivery, I had a spare two hours and delivering was a valuable use of that. However, working for one and a half hours seemed almost futile, it just wasn’t enough time to get into it, nor earn anything substantial. There might be flexibility in when to log in, but not when to log out to make it worthwhile.

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