Nothing is getting cheaper, and now more than ever more and more North Americans have to rely on a second part time “side hustle” to get by or get ahead. There are many types of side hustles – delivery driver, grocery picker, game tester, surveyor, content creator, the list goes on. Each of these have their benefits and drawbacks, and aren’t all suited for everyone.
Here, I am going to go in depth into the only one I am well versed in – Food couriers.
I have been delivering with SkipTheDishes and DoorDash for about a year now steadily (mostly 5-6 days / week on evenings and weekends), so I feel I have a pretty good understanding of how each system works. For both systems, the general workflow below applies:
- At the specified time, log into the app to start getting orders
- Orders will come to you through the respective app. You have 1 minute or less to accept the order or it will go to the next courier
- Once you accept the order, go to the restaurant for pickup
- Pick up food from restaurant and head to customer
- Deliver food to customer and get ready for the next opportunity for an order to come your way
This list above is grossly oversimplifying the process, which I will go over below. Overall, doesn’t sound too hard, right? Just pick up food and deliver it, what could go wrong? Well, that is where you would be wrong. Busy restaurants, long wait times, incorrect customer addresses, traffic, etc are all possibilities while working as a food deliver driver. The key is to realize that none of these issues are your fault – you can’t control the restaurant and the food prep, you can’t control traffic, nor the customers correctly adding in their address. You just have to take these issues as part of the job and move on.
Things aren’t all that bad, however. This is a side hustle that you get to pick your own hours, be your own boss, jam out to music while delivering customers their favorite thing: FOOD. All in all, it’s a pretty good gig, that CAN pay decently if done right.
If you are still reading this, I probably haven’t scared you off of food delivery side gigs, which is great! Now let’s get into the different delivery companies I will be discussing here, namely SkipTheDishes and DoorDash. There are other companies (Ubereats, Postmates, grub hub, etc) out there, but these are the two I would like to focus on, as they are the most popular and I am the most knowledgeable about.
Let’s go over some similarities and differences between these 2 companies:
- Both show how much you are getting paid
- Both show distance delivered (not dead-head time aka time to get back to the hotspot where many restaurants are located)
- Both pay you weekly, usually on Tuesday / Wednesday
- Both can set up scheduled shifts, but for Skip they give you shifts based on your availability, vs doordash you pick the shifts you want.
- The pay models are now similar between the 2 platforms (the total pay is on the order details before you accept the order, and this includes transit + tip pay)
- You can “Dash” when it is busy (red), and Skip also has a similar feature called “custom shift” where, if busy enough, you can create a custom shift and work!
- In both cases, you can pause orders from coming your way for a limited time
- Doordash allows you to sign out whenever you like, whereas Skip is more strict on this as you have to talk to support if you want to sign out early from skip.
- Skip compensates you for wait times over 7minutes (@ $0.25/min), Doordash does not compensate for wait times
- Skip USUALLY only sends you to a restaurant when the order is close to being finished, vs Doordash sends you there as soon as the customer places the order (leads to much less wasted waiting time with Skip, which means more $/hr!)
- Skip doesn’t allow you to decline orders, you just have to wait 1 minute for the order accept time to run out. Doordash allows you to decline orders right away and give them a reason from a list they provide.
- Skip tends to “chain” orders a lot more than DD in my experience, meaning once you finish a delivery with skip and swipe “delivered” another order pops up almost instantly – No deadhead driving!
- Skip has an online portal (Courier Portal) that allows you to see a breakdown of why you got paid what you got paid. For DD you can see some of this in the app, but it is not as concise as Skip’s platform.
- Skip bags are much larger than DD bags, are better quality, and will last longer / keep food temperature better.
- You do not need a red card Mastercard with skip as you do with DD (supplied by Doordash), Although Skip requires you to carry a $60 float as customers can pay you in cash at the door (you pay cash at the restaurant for the food, then they pay you back + delivery fees + tip in most cases). 95% of the time, skip customers pay online so you won’t need to worry about this that much, or can choose to just not take cash orders for your safety if you are uncomfortable with handling cash.
- Skip releases a schedule every Thursday using your availability you set the day before (Wednesday). This availability is for the following Monday-Sunday. Doordash simply lets you book your “shifts” 6 days in advance.
- Skip has a “guaranteed minimum” amount you can earn if you keep 80% acceptance (out of your LAST 10 order opportunities). This will benefit you if you are in a poor-ish market that doesn’t tip much, it can bump up a $3.95/2km order to a $6.50/2km order (the minimum is based on your area and changes from zone to zone). Skip also has a “Fast Track” program, meaning the higher your acceptance rate, the more likely you will be matched with an order. Accepting more orders will give you more orders, kind of like the rich get richer
TL:DR – Skip has more “guaranteed” pay, but you lose out of the flexibility of delivering whenever you want, as you have to have a shift in the area, or a “custom” shift in order to Deliver. Doordash has more flexibility, however you are most likely going to have longer wait times at the restaurants, as you are matched to the orders sooner than you are with Skip.
In my opinion, I would choose SkipTheDishes over Doordash because I don’t mind having to be active for the entire 3-4hr shifts, and I would prefer to get better bang for my buck. That being said, If you have multitasking skills and a good navigation and location skills of your area, you can actually deliver for more than one company AT THE SAME TIME. Do this using discretion, however, as you don’t want unhappy customers receiving their food late and cold.
Overall, both companies can be utilized as excellent tools to put more money in your pocket, get more tax write offs (as you are an independent courier under both of these companies), and fill that spare time you would otherwise be using parked in front of a TV or computer monitor.