The pandemic has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs. Some had to accept lower wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate in October 2021 was 4.6 percent with 7.4 million Americans unemployed. This is higher than the pre-pandemic figures in February 2020 with a 3.5 percent unemployment rate and 5.7 million people unemployed.
Vehicle owners who need a job or a part-time additional source of income can consider becoming an independent contractor as a delivery driver for food and parcels. Being an independent contractor means you can choose when you want to work and the deliveries you will make based on the app of the company you will work with. You can also work with several companies at the same time so that you have more choices on which deliveries you want to do at any given time.
In addition to having a vehicle, you must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license. You must have a Smartphone with unlimited data so you can monitor the delivery apps you will be using even while on the road. Note that partner companies will screen your driving record when you apply. You must be a careful driver. You will also need to provide your Social Security Number.
This is a lucrative endeavor because according to ZipRecruiter, the average annual income as of October 2021 is $84,140 a year or $40 per hour. The actual range of income varies widely, though, depending on the state. The top 10 percent can earn as much as $190,000 a year while the lowest-paid get only $16,000 a year. The majority or 75 percent of independent delivery driver contractors earn $41,500 while 25 percent earn $99,500.
The top ten cities where the annual income of independent delivery driver contractors range from $99,010 to $94,058 are San Mateo, California; Juneau, Arkansas; Boston, Massachusetts; Santa Monica, California; Quincy, Massachusetts; Berkeley, California; Renton, Washington; Daly City, California; Lindenhurst, New York; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. You must first find out the rate in your area. Also, take into consideration that recipients often give tips to delivery drivers.
At the food delivery service, Hungry, most independent delivery drivers earn from $20 to $40 per hour. In New York and Boston, some drivers earn as much as $10,000 a month.
Protect Your Vehicle
As an independent contractor, you will spend for your gasoline and vehicle upkeep. You must ensure that your vehicle undergoes regular preventive maintenance to keep you safe on the road. Because you will be using your vehicle more frequently, get an Auto Armour PPF or paint protection film installation to keep it looking good. A dilapidated vehicle will not inspire confidence from prospective partner companies.
You are also responsible for your auto insurance. Since you will be using your vehicle for business, you will need a commercial auto insurance policy. Some companies, like DoorDash and Postmates, provide additional coverage on top of your insurance. Some, like Amazon Flex and Uber Eats, offer commercial auto insurance for contractors, except in New York.
Demand for Independent Delivery Driver Contractors
Even as fully vaccinated Americans can now freely go out of their homes, the demand for the delivery of food and packages remains strong. People have developed the habit of ordering food for delivery whenever they are at home. With most employed people still working from home, this frees them from having to prepare their own meals while working remotely. People are also continuing to order non-food items online through e-commerce.
According to Delivery Drivers, Inc. (DDI), they will be hiring 140,000 more independent drivers this year to deliver restaurant food, groceries, pharmaceutical items, and medical items in major cities as well as rural areas nationwide. Among their current drivers, 65 percent are working for other delivery platforms, as well, with 75 percent choosing to work five days every week. This shows that there are plenty of delivery opportunities and one can opt for this as full-time work. DDI says they offer sign-on bonuses and competitive pay to attract driver contractors.
Tips for Efficiency
To save time and gas, you must plan all your delivery stops. To find an optimized route for several stops, use an app such as Maptive, Speedy Route, or RouteXL, among others. When you map out an entire day, include stops for bathroom breaks and meal breaks.
Have a variety of boxes or baskets in the vehicle to keep packages from sliding around. For instance, fragile items like cooked food or flowers need a stable container.
If you plan to include heavy parcels in your deliveries, bring a trolley to save you from having to carry the load from your car to the recipient’s doorstep. Wear a lumbar support brace to protect your back as you lift the package from the car to the trolley and from the trolley to the doorstep.
Being an independent driver contractor may be just the business you are looking for to become your own boss. Check it out if you want maximum flexibility in your work.