As the gig economy continues to evolve, we’re seeing a pattern emerge: Companies are starting to diversify. In the same way rideshare drivers might add delivery apps as an option to make more money, some companies are moving into new areas they haven’t tried before.
DoorDash is the latest company to do this. Founded as a prepared food delivery service, the company is starting to move into the convenience and grocery store domains. This could be a great thing for drivers if it offers opportunities for deliveries that bring us additional income.
So what are the pros and cons of the latest move by DoorDash? In this post we’ll explore that, and …
- DoorDash’s motivations to get into delivery
- FAQs about being a DoorDash grocery delivery driver
- How to make this work for you
DoorDash’s motivations to get into delivery
On August 20, DoorDash announced that it would start offering grocery delivery to customers.
The company had recently expanded into working with convenience stores to deliver snacks and odd essentials, but with this move, DoorDash placed itself up against some major competitors, including Instacart and Amazon Fresh.
While this might seem to be a bold move, it really isn’t. DoorDash was already delivering groceries for some stores. Maybe the company figured it was time to get a take of the goods people order, along with being paid for delivering those orders to customers’ doors.
The only part that sounds far-fetched is the competition with Amazon Fresh and Instacart. Since these companies have been in the business a long time—Amazon Fresh since 2007, and Instacart since 2012—they have a head start on DoorDash. Still, there are many reasons why DoorDash views this as a logical next step.
Grocery delivery, for starters, is a natural extension of the company’s existing business. On August 20, when the new service was announced, DoorDash head of new verticals Fuad Hannon said the company will add features that others don’t offer. DoorDash, for instance, will deliver groceries within one hour of the order being placed.
“There’s no scheduling, no delivery slots, no day-long waits,” Hannon said.
This could be a big improvement for customers. If you’ve ever had to wait for your groceries to be delivered, or rushed home to make sure you’re there within the prearranged time window, you’d probably welcome DoorDash’s new set of promises.
For customers, this all sounds great. But how will it affect drivers?
What drivers need to know about being a DoorDash grocery delivery driver
The first question drivers ask would probably be:
“Does this mean I have to do the shopping and the driving?”
The answer is no, DoorDash drivers will remain drivers only; or rather, Dashers. The shopping part of the DoorDash’s grocery service will be performed by “embedded shoppers” supplied by the Adecco Group, a staffing company. Shoppers will work in the stores, preparing grocery orders and placing them on racks for drivers to pick up.
According to news reports, including an August 20, 2020 New York Times article, Dashers will remain independent contractors, while shoppers will be Adecco employees with benefits. So unless something changes, DoorDash drivers will be responsible only for picking up completed grocery orders and delivering them to the customers.
If this works as planned, it shouldn’t be too difficult for drivers. DoorDash has been working with some grocery delivery already, particularly for WalMart, although not all reports have been positive. Drivers are talking on social media groups about having to wait as long as 45 minutes for an order to be shopped before they can make the pick up. This could certainly put a crimp in their hourly rates.
There’s also the uncertainty about how fees will be paid to drivers. DoorDash plans to incentivize its customers with free stuff, and grocery delivery will (at least initially) be part of the $9.99 monthly DashPass subscription. That means subscribers will not have to pay any delivery fees, which makes us wonder how drivers will be compensated.
Another question is whether drivers will be able to opt out of grocery deliveries if they wish. What if you don’t want to haul a huge load of groceries to a customer’s home, especially inside an apartment building with a locked door and several flights of stairs? When a situation like that presents itself, will you be delivering or “schlepping?” Are you physically capable of doing something like that? Will the company provide special equipment for carrying multiple, or heavy, bags?
The announcement of DoorDash’s new venture is very recent, and still wrapped in that crisp, clean glow of newness and slight surprise. At this point we’re not hearing what the options are for drivers to opt in or out of grocery delivery. If you know something, or have access to inside info, please get in touch with us so we can spread the word.
How to make this work for you
For drivers, one nice aspect of DoorDash delivering groceries is that the company has ironed out some wrinkles that could develop with a venture like this. Since DoorDash has been providing delivery services for Walmart, drivers are already able to register their vehicle information. This tells them how large your car or truck is, and how many bags and boxes you’ll be able to deliver.
A great perk of having this service available is the possibilities for tipping. If a customer orders $100 worth of groceries, and pays you a 20 percent tip for delivering them, that’s a nice chunk of change. As long as the company plays the tip game straight with drivers, and also provides a decent basic delivery fee, this could be a nice way to do business.
If you don’t want to deliver groceries for your whole shift, it’s perfectly fine to do it part of the time. From what we can tell from Walmart delivery, you won’t have to schedule blocks of time for delivering groceries. Instead, they would come up for a driver just like any other delivery.
So, when you think it’s a time when people would typically buy groceries, you can switch from rideshare or another delivery service, and deliver groceries for DoorDash.
The rollout is ambitious. Grocery delivery will be available in the San Francisco Bay area, L.A., Sacramento, and other central coast cities from Smart & Final. Drivers in Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Indianapolis will pick up groceries from Meijer and Fresh Thyme.
After the initial part of the rollout is complete, DoorDash intends to expand further across the country, partnering with stores such Hy-Vee, and even D’Agostino, and Gristedes. Looks like that NYC six-story walk-up could definitely be part of the picture.
In addition to basic groceries, DoorDash will deliver ready-to-eat meals from grocery stores and markets such as Wegmans, Lucky, Kowalski’s, and others. That might be a good option for drivers who aren’t into carrying loads of filled bags.
Overall, we welcome DoorDash’s new effort, and here are the reasons:
- Drivers get additional opportunities to earn
- DoorDash (cleverly) takes advantage of shifting trends in the delivery economy
- Drivers may have some flexibility with their choice of what to deliver
- Tipping on large orders could be a great addition to driver earnings
Gridwise is here for you – Use us!
If you decide to go with grocery delivery as part of your driving gig, Gridwise can make juggling all the stats from your different apps much easier. You can track all your earnings and mileage, and we’ll tabulate them and put them in attractive, easy-to-read graphs that tell you everything you need to know.
You’ll also get information about action at the airport, traffic issues, weather, and our awesome Perks tab. There you’ll find easy access to our blog and the Gridwise YouTube channel, plus deals and discounts designed just for drivers. If you haven’t yet, by all means download the app now.
We want you to stay in touch with us and connect with other drivers. Get into our gas card giveaways on a regular basis when you find us on Facebook. And please leave your comments below and let us know what you think about delivering groceries for DoorDash, as well as anything else that’s on your mind.