The holiday season is just around the corner, and given the compromised global supply chain, it may prove to be a difficult one for both consumers and workers. To keep up with demand, companies like Amazon are planning to expand their workforces in expectation of greater consumer demand. To help make this happen, they’re hiking pay rates and offering new benefits such as college tuition payments for hourly workers.
The holidays are also a time of year when consumers may be seeking out additional income streams to make ends meet. Thanks to app-based rideshare and delivery services like Uber, Shipt, and Amazon, there are more options than ever for workers. Companies looking to fill vacancies may face fierce competition to win workers to their teams.
Which gig-based companies will have the most work to do in order to retain and hire employees for the holiday rush? To find out, we asked over 1,000 workers currently driving for one of the seven most popular app-based delivery and taxi services about their day-to-day experiences and their satisfaction with their workload and pay.
- Most drivers are stacking gigs to make ends meet. Sixty-two percent of the workers in our study said they drove for more than one company. Nearly a third said they drive for three or more.
- Amazon Prime drivers reported the most satisfaction with their pay, with 76 percent saying they had a positive view of their compensation. Only six percent viewed their compensation negatively.
- Despite similar pay satisfaction levels, Lyft drivers were less satisfied than Uber drivers with the amount of work they’re able to do.
- Employees of the meal delivery services Grubhub and Postmates reported the least satisfaction with their pay. Nearly one in five Grubhub drivers had a negative view of their pay, while 17 percent of Postmates workers felt the same.
Rideshare Workforce Overview
The seven companies in our research represent a huge part of the gig economy. But Amazon was far and away the most popular employer for gig drivers, according to our data. Nearly three-quarters worked for Amazon Prime delivery. Uber was also very popular, with over half of drivers reporting that they worked for the ride-hailing company.
What companies do you currently drive for?
|Amazon Prime delivery||72%|
Note: multiple responses allowed
More than 60 percent of drivers worked for more than one company, and 32 percent worked for three or more of the companies included in our research. One of the major draws of gig work is the prospect of having multiple income streams and more ownership over one’s schedule.
For instance, If no one is hailing Ubers on a given day, perhaps a driver can drop off a meal for GrubHub. If a child gets sick and needs a parent to stay home, drivers can opt out of work for the day and decide what their priority is.
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For anyone considering whether or not to download a driver app, pay is likely one of the most important factors. Our data suggest Amazon Prime drivers are the most likely to be happy with their compensation.
Delivery drivers’ pay satisfaction
|Company||Satisfied||Neutral||Unsatisfied||Hourly pay estimate*|
*Based on estimates from Indeed.com
A full 76 percent of Amazon drivers reported being satisfied with their compensation, and only six percent viewed their compensation negatively. During the holiday season following Thanksgiving, Amazon, as well as large-scale deliverers such as UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service, make plans for the mass movement of items into, out of, and within the United States. This year these big deliverers will want to avoid a repeat of Christmas 2020, when shipping associations estimated a million packages failed to reach their destinations by the promised date.
With that in mind, Amazon has been focused on making its warehouse and delivery roles more attractive to potential employees. As this very specific advertisement from the company notes, there is good money to be had: Amazon is now offering at least $20 an hour in some locations, in addition to signing bonuses of up to $3,000.
Current hourly rates for Amazon drivers are slightly higher than companies whose workers express less pay satisfaction. Postmates, Uber, and Lyft drivers, for example, earn around $13 according to Indeed.com estimates. Additionally, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have regularly come under fire for their pay rates and working conditions.
Despite having one of the higher pay rates, Grubhub drivers were least satisfied with their earnings. This could be due to changes in the Grubhub app that impacted drivers’ income potential. Before the update, the default tip amount was between 10 percent and 25 percent. In 2020, the company switched its tip settings to default to zero, which created a significant reduction in some drivers’ earnings.
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Of course, pay is only one factor that any employee would consider. We asked drivers about their satisfaction with their workload, another critical element. And unlike pay – which is better the higher it goes – workload can cut in both directions. With too much time-sensitive work, drivers are unable to control their schedules as promised. Taken to extremes, too much work can add pressures to work haphazardly and drive unsafely, with some to the point of getting into crashes. Overwhelming workloads and burdensome job expectations can also negatively impact mental health. On the other hand, too little work and a driver’s precious time is wasted and financial targets go missed.
Delivery drivers’ workload satisfaction
Lyft drivers were least likely to express satisfaction with their workload, which for many drivers was likely on the lower end. This could be due in part to stiff competition from Uber, which still dominates the rideshare market in the U.S.
On the other hand, 59 percent of Amazon Prime drivers in our study reported satisfaction with their workloads. But these drivers are working hard to keep up with demand. Some drivers in our study reported working long overtime hours with few breaks in order to fulfill their quotas. Others faced difficulties during the workday as they battled traffic to make on-time deliveries and keep their ratings high.
Of course, this type of work can be seasonal. Workloads for delivery and rideshare drivers may drastically increase during the holiday shopping and party seasons, and fall off in the following weeks. Time will tell if the trend of high satisfaction at Amazon prevails through what will surely be a grueling holiday season of supply snarls and delivery delays.
Tips for Prospective Drivers
If you’re looking to make extra cash for the holidays, pass time in retirement, or create a more flexible lifestyle, rideshare gigs may be a good option. But rideshare companies are not one size fits all. Here are a few things to consider if you're thinking of getting into the driver’s seat.
- Talk to current drivers about their experiences: The best way to figure out what a job is really like is to talk to current employees. Ask what a typical day looks like as well as the pros and cons of their work. If you don’t know any other drivers, look through rideshare message boards to get a feel for the realities of the job.
- Consider your location: Before signing up to be an Uber driver or an Amazon delivery person, think about the level of demand you could expect in your town or city. If you live in a remote, rural area with little tourism, it might not be in your best interest to become a rideshare driver.
- Research the benefits and sign-on bonuses: Before applying, think about the number of hours you’d like to work and the amount of money you’d need to earn. Then research a few rideshare or delivery companies to see if their estimated pay ranges would meet your needs. Also find out if they offer any sign-on bonuses or special benefits when comparing between companies.
Business.com conducted an online survey of 1,020 individuals employed as drivers for seven major app-based delivery and rideshare companies. The study was conducted online in October and November 2021. Hourly income data came from Indeed.com estimates from November 2021. To determine hourly rates, the estimates given as annual salaries were divided by 2,080, the number of hours worked full-time in a year.