Nobody has to be a rocket scientist to do the math. The expenses of being a gig driver are costing some drivers more than they’re being paid. We’ve got the incredible rise in fuel prices to thank for that, of course. When the cost of gas first went up in March, DoorDash placed a fuel surcharge on customer orders to help out their Dashers, who had to fork over a whole bunch more dough at the pump.
Understandably, there are limits to how long any company, or their customers, can afford to do that. At the end of April, DoorDash removed that surcharge, and drivers have been stuck holding the gas pump in one hand and an empty wallet in the other. Now, a few months later, we’re seeing some big changes in Dasher driving patterns.
It turns out that drivers are turning down more orders than they’re picking up and delivering. In this blog post, we’ll look at what’s happening and how Dashers can combat rising gas prices and keep their earnings at the highest levels possible. Here’s what we’ll explore:
- How Dasher behavior has changed since the surcharge was removed
- What Dashers can do to improve their odds of making money
- Gas rewards for rideshare and delivery drivers: Gridwise Gas
How Dasher behavior has changed since the surcharge was removed
Delivery driver gas reimbursement was sorely needed back in March when gas prices first began to soar. It isn’t any different today. Still, back on May 1st, DoorDash removed its gas surcharge, which offered Dashers $5 per 100 miles driven. Now the company offers a small gas discount for DoorDash drivers that applies only when drivers pay with the DoorDash prepaid debit card. It offers them about 10% off the price of gas.
According to some drivers, this isn’t enough to truly compensate for the surge in gas prices for DoorDash drivers. Now when low-ball food orders come in, Dashers are taking advantage of their ability to reject them. It helps that a low acceptance rate doesn’t provide grounds for deactivation. Still, it’s not a good thing that drivers can’t afford to accept the small orders that once served as the basic bread and butter of their business.
Rejecting inordinate numbers of orders takes a huge bite out of driver earnings. Drivers used to be busily delivering orders almost constantly on a given shift, but now they often sit around simply waiting for a request to come through that makes delivering it worth their while. This also affects the restaurants, where freshly cooked food grows cold and soggy while waiting for a Dasher to finally come and pick up the order.
In a Business Insider article, reposted by yahoo! news, a Dasher described new practices he’s instituted to avoid losing money by picking up low-priced deliveries. He reports declining as many as 87% of orders, nearly 9 out of 10! Another driver stated that he pays $140 for gas, which he has to take from his weekly earnings of approximately $700. That’s 20% of his weekly take. With this ridiculous ratio of gas money spent to Dasher dollars earned, it’s no wonder drivers are developing new strategies for making a few bucks.
Unless Dashers begin to formulate real, workable strategies, DoorDash, and the customers it serves, will begin to suffer. In the article cited by yahoo!, a driver on Long Island, New York, reported seeing restaurants tossing out food because no one was coming to pick up the orders.
What Dashers can do to improve their odds of making money
No one wants to see the gig driving business suffer, but as the volume of completed trips is declining, profits on food delivery could decline for all parties involved. Drivers are picking and choosing their restaurants, and carefully calculating the amount of gas it will take to complete deliveries. They’re not taking small orders, as a rule, because it just doesn’t make sense for them. Picking out specific establishments that have the higher paying orders is a good start, but there are even better ways to put together winning strategies.
Here are some alternatives drivers can employ to improve their earnings:
- Get a fuel efficient vehicle. Though they can be convenient for loading and reliable in all kinds of weather, huge SUVs and trucks literally guzzle gasoline. Not everyone can afford a hybrid or electric vehicle, but if it’s possible, drivers could benefit by thinking about a trade-in on that huge, comfy ride. Economy cars would be a more affordable, and smart, option. They’re still big enough to fit food orders, too.
- Switch to more streamlined transport. If you happen to deliver in an urban area, consider moving out of your car and onto a bicycle or scooter for your deliveries. In some markets, it’s even possible to walk your orders to their destinations. The big bonus: no gas required!
- Diversify. It could pay to alternate between delivery and rideshare driving, depending on your schedule. Rideshare driver gas reimbursement isn’t the greatest, either, but hourly rideshare earnings, on average, are somewhat higher than delivery.
- Use tech to track income potential. Where to Drive and When to Drive from Gridwise provide data from real drivers in your locale. You can put these features to work for you, so you can see which neighborhoods are producing the most money, and at what times of day the majority of the cash is rolling in. It’s a much more efficient alternative to driving all over town or guessing which restaurants will give you the biggest orders.
In any event, what would really help most of all is a break on those soaring gas prices. Rather than asking questions like “Does Uber cover gas?” or “Will DoorDash ever bring back the gas surcharge?” it pays to look to a source that will be there for you all the time.
Gas rewards for rideshare and delivery drivers: Gridwise Gas
If you’re still waiting for DoorDash, or another rideshare or delivery company to help you cover the cost of gas, you could be sitting there idle for a while. It’s unlikely that the gig companies are going to restore the ones they’ve already cut off.
That’s why you need to go to a source that will always be there for you. The Gridwise Gas program offers Gridwise users a $0.50 per gallon discount on up to 100 gallons a month. That’s $50/month you can save on gas! To save more on gas, follow these easy steps:
- Download Gridwise
- Subscribe to Gridwise Plus
- Go to Benefits
- Click on Gridwise Gas and sign up
- Activate your gas card when it arrives in the mail
- Use your gas card as a debit card at the pump
- Save on all the gas you buy!