How Deliveries Gave Freedom To One LA Driver
This is a post from guest contributor who goes by “Silver Lining.” He is a single father and an Instacart shopper in Los Angeles who typically works 20-30 hours a week. He shares his experience as a delivery driver in Los Angeles.
If you would like to become a contributor to Rideshare Dashboard, email ridesharedashboard at gmail with a brief introduction about yourself, such as how long you have been driving on Uber, Lyft or delivering for Instacart, Postmates.
Los Angeles is known as the City of Dreams, where you’ll find people from all over the world who move to this entertainment Mecca in hopes of making their dreams a reality. While many have a passion without a paycheck, or income that isn’t steady, they look to other ways to create an income with a flexible schedule, good earning potential and the freedom that your typical 9-5 can’t provide. Let’s also not exclude parents/single parents who need job flexibility to work around their families, while providing an additional stream of income in a city where the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation. Fortunately with these modern miracles called Smartphones and Apps there are many flexible, independent contractor opportunities available to Los Angelenos.
You can call me Silver Lining. I believe that in life there is always a solution to everything except death. You just have to find it! I’m a single parent of a very active and involved pre teen. Among other titles I carry, I’m an LA Delivery Driver flexibly working between 20-30 hours a week, with an opportunity for more if I desire. I’m now providing for my family with more flexibility that allows me to build my business faster and create the life of our dreams. A year ago I found myself at a crossroads. My toxic 9-5 part time J.O.B (just over broke) had taken its toll. I could no longer be at someone’s scheduling mercy and be told where to be at a certain time, how much I was going to be paid as I worked hard to make someone else rich, and be told when I could take a break. I needed to burn the ships, work my business full time, have a flexible schedule to take care of my child, but my business income didn’t pay all my bills yet. So how was I supposed to make the transition to the life of my dreams?
Everyone at some point has taken a Lyft or Uber. These are the two most popular rideshare platforms, but not everyone is willing or able to drive strangers around in their vehicle. You might have reliable transportation, but it doesn’t fit into the criteria set by Uber or Lyft to be a driver. I needed to create the additional, flexible income while building my own business, but my vehicle wasn’t up to the standards for rideshare. This is when I discovered Postmates which is a 24/7 Delivery Service enabling people to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, groceries, office supplies or pretty much anything delivered on demand.
You need reliable transportation, a smart phone, and a two hour on-boarding training is required. At the on boarding you take care of paperwork and are trained on the basic knowledge of using the App for deliveries. Postmates encourages you to schedule hours when the bi weekly schedule is released, but you are able to pick up hours pretty much anytime you’re available to work because there is an option to SWAP your shift so others may accept the shift. There is great flexibility with Postmates since there are no penalties if you can’t get your shift swapped and decide not to work. You’re able to turn on the App and accept deliveries without being scheduled, but Postmates claims that deliveries are dispatched with priority to those on the schedule. In my next post I look forward to sharing my personal experience with Postmates as I used it to transition out of a 9-5 and all the things I discovered along the way.
Another option I discovered that has no vehicle requirements and a flexible schedule is Instacart. Instacart is a service which allows you to get groceries delivered to your door within 1 hour. You’re essentially a personal shopper for clients who place their grocery orders online, and you deliver. Instacart employs in store Shoppers at some Whole Food locations, and you only deliver these orders that have already been fulfilled by in store Shoppers. The schedule is still flexible, but not as much as Postmates. Each week you set your available hours and what parts of LA you desire to work. The schedule comes out once a week, and you can cancel a shift within 48 hours without receiving a penalty. A less than 48 hour cancellation will earn you a “strike” and if you get five of these bad boys within 30 shopping batches, you could face being taken off the Instacart platform. My favorite scheduling feature is that you can “edit” your shift at anytime. Let’s say that I’m scheduled to work at 10:00am and I decided to sleep in that morning, something is going on with my child, or I’m just running behind. I can edit my shift to start at a later time. You are able to edit your shift down to two hours without receiving a “strike.” By keeping a close eye on the schedule, you may pick up other shifts during the week based on demand increase or other Instacart Shoppers cancellations. Unlike Postmates, you can’t just decide to get into your vehicle, turn on your Postmates application, and work. While flexible, there still is more of a commitment with Instacart.
To find out more about how to sign up for Instacart, refer to this post on the Instacart onboarding process.
I look forward to sharing what I experienced working both platforms, pros and cons of each and which delivery platform provide a better quality of life for me in Los Angeles in terms money and time.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course!